Monday, January 17, 2011

(40) - Top TV Shows from 2010

Now I've created three lists for this one. One just from dramas, one just for sitcoms/comedies, and one encompassing both. Now the last one is a tricky one, because how does one judge comedy vs drama? Every ranking depends on the mood you are in I guess, but I tried to rank them. I will only show the list showing both genres, because you can see how they broke down genre-wise from there. So here we go, my Top 26 TV shows in 2010...

26 - How To Make It In America (HBO - Comedy) - This was a surprise one for me. I only got into it towards the end, so I had to go back and watch it On Demand. Pretty good.
25 - Human Target (Fox - Drama) - Purely popcorn fun. I do like all the characters though. They keep me entertained. The storylines are meh, but the action is pretty good.
24 - South Park (Comedy Central - Comedy) - I love South Park. It's one of my favorite comedies of all time. This was a good season too, I just happened to like other TV out there.
23 - 24 (Fox - Drama) - A pretty good ending to a great series (only Season 6 was truly, truly awful). Was looking forward to a Jack Bauer movie, but it looks like that won't happen. I enjoyed watching Jack solve ridiculous plot twists for 8 seasons. Sad to see him go.
22 - Damages (FX - Drama) - A nice bounceback from a pretty lackluster Season 2. This season got me back into the series. Glad to see it coming back on DirecTV. The dynamic between Glen Close and Rose Byrne is pretty great.
21 - The Pacific (HBO - Drama) - Band of Brothers part II it is not, but it is still some pretty phenomenal TV. The intertwining stories of the three marines I think did it a disservice. An eye opening experience to anyone who didn't know a thing about WWII on the Pacific Islands.
20 - Warehouse 13 - (SyFy - Drama) - Surprising fun. I love me my SyFy stupid shows. Was The Pacific better than this show? Absolutely. But I liked this more, and it's my list. So go away if you don't like it.
19 - Eureka - (SyFy - Drama) - Been invested in this show from the beginning. Really enjoy it. It's good fun. I like the SyFy tandem of Eureka & Warehouse 13.
18 - The Office (NBC - Comedy) - One of my favorite comedies of all time, but it's hard to argue that it's becoming stale. Do I still love it? Absolutely. I love every episode. But Steve Carrell is right to leave after this season. I commend him for making a good call. Will suck to see him go.
17 - Eastbound & Down (HBO - Comedy) - After such a groundbreaking first season, this season was a letdown. I predict we can get one more season, MAYBE two more, but after that this show has to go. Definitely funny moments throughout this season.
16 - 30 Rock (NBC- Comedy) - I will always laugh at this show. Ridiculous plots aside, this show brings the funny. Tina Fey is amazing. Simply put. Alec Baldwin is great, but Tina Fey is what makes this show tick.
15 - Boardwalk Empire (HBO - Drama) - Disappointing? Not in the least. I loved this show. People wanted more of The Sopranos, but I say fuck them. This isn't The Sopranos. Perfect blend of story, character, and action, with bits of comedy thrown in there. Season 2 should go above and beyond this season as well, they set it up perfectly.
14 - Fringe (Fox - Drama) - I desperately wanted to put this show in my Top 10. But I couldn't get it around the next four shows. I love this show with a passion. I am in love with Olivia Dunham. This show brings the weird and crazy every week. With the whole alternate universe and an impending war between the two, I cannot wait to see what happens this year.
13 - Rubicon (AMC - Drama) - So pissed this show got the ax after one season. People thought it was too slow. I say nay, you people have no patience. The mystery kept unraveling piece by piece, and it was at perfect pace. There was hardly any action in this show because this wasn't a show about action. This was about telling a story and keeping you guessing until the last episode. Great stuff.
12 - Treme (HBO - Drama) - David Simon knows his shit. The Wire is the greatest TV show of all time. Treme had an incredible first season. I wasn't quite sure where it was going in the beginning of the show. There wasn't any clear protagonist or antagonist, but then I realized that's not what this is about. This is a character piece telling incredible stories all surrounding one horrific tragedy. Looking forward to Season 2.
11 - Bored To Death (HBO - Comedy) - All I have to say is wow. Almost cracked the Top 10. I enjoyed Season 1, but didn't love it. Season 2 dropped all the things I hated about the first season, AND improved on what I loved. The supporting characters in this show are what makes it run.

10 - Dexter (Shotime - Drama) - Five seasons now. And each season is different than the next. This season doesn't break that trend. I waited until the end of this season to watch every episode back to back. And I ran through this season in one day. Love me some Dexter. Julia Stiles was a nice addition this season.
9 - LOST - (ABC - Drama) - What can I say about LOST? Been in love with this show for five years. A lot of people didn't love this season, or more specifically didn't love that there were questions answered in ways they did not like. People felt like they wasted years watching this show? Let's be honest. If you felt that way, you only wasted about 100 hours of your life, but you're an idiot for even thinking that. This show made me love TV again. Sad to see it go, but there was no way for it to be strung out.
8 - The Walking Dead - (AMC - Drama) - Six episodes, that's it. What a statement. The first episode was great, the rest were good. But it kept me riveted for six weeks. Looking forward to Season 2. And what the fuck was whispered in his ear at the end?!
7 - Friday Night Lights (NBC/DirecTV - Drama) - We're into the last season now. Outside of the first half of Season 2, this show has been so great. It's not about football. It's about these people and how their lives revolve around football. Also, Texas is fucking crazy. But this has become a Top 10 show for me (of all-time).
6 - Justified (FX - Drama) - Had zero idea about this show until about a week before it started, and then bam, the show hit me like a ton of bricks. Have always been a fan of Timothy Olyphant (dating back to his "The Girl Next Door" scene stealing character), and he really carries this show. Just the right amount of comedy mixed in with great story. Major surprise here.
5 - Modern Family (ABC - Comedy) - I didn't want to give this show a chance. Anyone who liked it I wrote off immediately. But then people kept talking about it. And it kept winning awards. So I finally caved in and watched the first episode with my girlfriend, and we finished the whole season in just over a week. Loved it. Season 2 has dipped a little, but Season 1 was as good a first season for a comedy that I can remember.
4 - Party Down (Starz - Comedy) - Such a shame this show got dropped. Two seasons, 20 episodes, this show was such a great idea, and each episode knocked it out of the park. Adam Scott played his role perfectly, Ken Marino was fantastic, as was the rest of the supporting cast. It's a shame this show didn't get more love.
3 - Parks and Recreation (NBC - Comedy) - Ron Swanson. Andy Dwyer. Tom Haverford. April Ludgate. Amy Poehler is very good, but the supporting cast is phenomenal. Great comedy. So happy it returns this Thursday.
2 - Mad Men (AMC - Drama) - Season 4 started off with the question, Who is Don Draper? And by the end of the season, I was still asking that question. Who could have saw how this season ended? It came out of left field, but it was so brilliant and crazy that it worked. Each season of Mad Men has been tremendous, and this was no exception. A Top 5 TV show of all-time.
1 - Community (NBC - Comedy) - The pilot episode had promise. It wasn't great, it wasn't bad. This show had me hooked after the Debate 109 episode. The ensemble cast is tremendous, each bringing something different to each episode. The dynamic between Troy and Abed is flat out amazing. Joel McHale's character is the "main" character, but his character is arguably the worst. Not to say he's bad, but the supporting cast is just so strong. In the middle of Season 1 they recognized that and shifted the show to be more of an ensemble-base, and they have continued that trend in Season 2, making this show my #1 of 2010.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I just realized I left off Curb Your Enthusiasm. That'd probably go between The Office and Eastbound & Down. In the 17-19 range.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

(39) - Top Movies of 2010

Well, it's that time of the year. Top 10 lists dominate the blogosphere, and as usual, I have my thoughts as well. Here are my Top 20 Movies from the past year, starting with 20, and ending with my favorite.

20. Easy A - Emma Stone was fantastic in this. The family dynamic with Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson were the high points. Showed that Emma Stone has a big career ahead of her, and can handle her own in a lead role.
19. The Other Guys - Say what you want, but Will Ferrell kills me. He can make me laugh in anything. Mark Wahlberg was ok in this, not bad but not great. Michael Keaton was very funny as was his love for TLC songs.
18. Dinner for Schmucks - Uncomfortable and amused. That's how I felt throughout this movie. Never quite sure which I felt more, but this movie definitely brought the funny. I didn't think Steve Carrell would consistently make me laugh throughout the movie, but he did. A testament to his talent.
17. The Kids Are Alright - A great movie. And I can see why this is in a lot of Top 10 lists this year. But I just didn't love it. The performances by Annette Benning, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo were all superb, and they should probably all be nominated, but I just didn't love this picture.
16. Unstoppable - Tony Scott's most entertaining movie in years. Denzel was typical Denzel, and Chris Pine coming off of Star Trek showed he is more than capable of handling action roles. Great action.
15. Hot Tub Time Machine - When I saw this movie in April I was confident this would be in my Top 10 at the end of the year. I didn't anticipate the great dramas that were going to be coming out, but this was my second favorite comedy of the year. Hilarious look at the 80s.
14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I - The best Harry Potter movie yet? Methinks not yet. But paired with Part II which will be out next July, then yes it (they) will be. Very dark, just how the book was.
13. Shutter Island - A great thriller. Really enjoyed Leo in this. Nothing is as it seems. Kept me on the edge of my toes, as did the fantastic soundtrack. Not a typical score, but highly effective nonetheless. Top 5 Score/Soundtrack of the year.
12. Cyrus - My favorite comedy of the year. Dark, black humor. Jonah Hill was terrific, as was Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly. This was more uncomfortable than Dinner for Schmucks, and was funnier.
11. Repo Men - My surprise of 2010. I loved this movie. The performances were great. The action was great (and gory). The soundtrack was great (another Top 5). Really enjoyed this film. This was 2010's "Taken" in my book -- a very surprising movie.
10. Scott Pilgrim vs the World - I wanted to see this when it came out in theaters but never got around to it. Bought in on Blu Ray, and just wow. Edgar Wright did an outstanding job making this movie. It was like watching a comic book. Definitely gets better with repeat viewings.
9. The Town - Ben Affleck has taken his talents behind the camera, and it has served him wonders. His two directorial attempts ("Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town") are very skillfully done, showing he has range beyond his acting, which is a good thing because normally his acting isn't great. But he takes center stage in this one and does a very fine job. Jeremy Renner owns his role, and Rebecca Hall is great. Jon Hamm was surprising in his role showing his range. The car chase scene after the second robbery was directed phenomenally.
8. Black Swan - Visually stunning. Musically unchallenged. Darren Aronofsky gives us an outstanding follow up to "The Wrestler." Natalie Portman brought everything to her role, which in my opinion should net her Best Actress at the Oscars. Mila Kunis was great in her supporting role and should also get a nomination.
7. Kick-Ass - Don't remember the last time I had so much fun in a theater. Nic Cage was great, and so was Aaron Johnson, but the movie will be remembered for the breakout of Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl. She was outstanding. One of the Top 5 scenes I've ever seen was her Point of View rescue attempt of Kick Ass and Big Daddy set to John Murphy's score from "Sunshine." Simply put: wow.
6. True Grit - When I saw this trailer I instantly was sold. The Coens doing a western? Sold. With this movie they made their job look incredibly easy. With a fantastic score by Carter Burwell, and Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper (the latter two in limited roles) being perfectly cast, this movie was a win. But the surprise comes from Hailee Steinfeld who went toe to toe with all of these great actors, and came away with the best performance. Kudos to her.
5. The Social Network - David Fincher has become one of my two favorite directors. When I hear that he's making a movie, I instantly get excited. When I heard he was doing this movie, I was a bit confused because he has knack for being drawn to darker movies. But after watching, I can see why this story attracted him. Jesse Eisenberg was great as the neurotic and partially crazy Mark Zuckerberg, and watching how he simultaneously grew a massive online empire and lost connection with everything else is powerful. Doesn't hurt that Aaron Sorkin's script was great and quickly paced.
4. The Fighter - Didn't think this movie would be in my Top 5 when I first heard about it, but here it sits at #4. Christian Bale was outstanding, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams were fantastic, and Mark Wahlberg was surprisingly great in his role as real life boxer Micky Ward. Not just about boxing, but about a family and the relationship between them and the sport they all love, this movie had it all. David O. Russell did a great job with this movie, and is a win.
3. How To Train Your Dragon - Ok, THIS movie was the surprise of 2010. Went into this with zero expectations, and came out in love with Toothless and everything else about this movie. The score by John Powell is simply phenomenal, and is my favorite score of 2010. Dreamworks finally showed they have talent in the storyline department as this would be a shoe-in for Best Animated Feature, had they released it in 2011. But it came out in 2010, and had to go up against...
2. Toy Story 3 - this movie. TS3 completes the best trilogy of all time (not arguable). Such a fantastic story. The ending is simply heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. I've never been able to part with my two favorite toys from my childhood because I wouldn't know how I could do it. And watching Andy do just that, and accept that this would be the end, was so moving. Not ashamed to say I teared up.
1. Inception - My favorite movie of the year was "Inception." Such a mindfuck of a film. Christopher Nolan is my other favorite director (along with D. Fincher) that when I hear he's doing a film, I get giddy. This movie made my head spin, but in the good way. The score by Hanz Zimmer was fantastic, and will probably win for Best Score. It was my second favorite of the year, only behind HTTYD (Movie #3). The gravity-less hallway fight seen with Joseph Gordon-Levitt was jaw dropping and such a pleasure to watch.

Movies not screened yet that would probably crack the Top 20: 127 Hours, Winter's Bone, Let Me In, The King's Speech, Blue Valentine.

And for kicks, my worst movies of 2010 (the one's I've seen, in order from 1-5): When In Rome (a shame because I love Kristen Bell), Clash of the Titans, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Robin Hood, Prince of Persia.