Friday, December 31, 2010

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - Moments

The Top Ten Moments of My 2010

All of these moments have been blogged about at length so I will let you go back and read the blogs about them, rather than me rehashing it all here.

10. Covent Gardens - My favorite place in London. There was something about being there with the live music, the food, and the atmosphere. It was just my favorite place to be.

9. Getting in the fountain at Buckingham Palace - Who knew that getting in that fountain would be so great?

8. Seeing the Rockettes - A true dream come true. After so many years of loving them, I finally got to see them in Radio City. It was truly wonderful.

7. Being at the Eiffel Tower - There are moments in your life when the clouds part and you see things clearly. Well, in this case, it was the parting of the trees and I remember seeing the tower for the first time and thinking "Wow. I can't believe I'm actually looking at this in person."

6. Homecoming - It's number 6 for a reason.

5. Seeing the Macy's Parade - It was a dream come true. I felt like a kid again and it was so thrilling to be a part of something that is so intertwined in the tradition of America.

4. Last Night in Apt. 3 - It's especially poignant now that I'm looking for a new apartment to create new memories in.

3. The weekend - The best weekend of the year with my boys. Black Eyed Peas in concert and a tour of Texas that included Dallas, Waco, Austin and Houston. It was one of the most fun three days I can remember. Ever.

2. The Last Night - I blogged recently about this but it was the night that I went to the Rockefeller tree and had my closure on my college experience and on the experiences that I had this year and over the past few years.

1. The Broadway Inspirational Voices concert - Life changing.

2010 was a banner year for me. Finishing the yearbook, finishing college, going was really an amazing year.

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - Fascinating Things

The Ten Most Fascinating Things of my 2010

10. Awards Shows rising ratings - I've long been an award's show enthusiast, but this year there seemed to be more converts in the general public too. Ratings rose for all the major awards shows, which means good news for everyone involved.

9. Olympics - After watching over 90 hours of the Olympics, I still love them. It's just such an exciting time in the world. It was also fun to be in Europe during the World Cup and seeing people love it so much.

8. Britney on Glee - The hype was so great for her being on there, even more hype than the Madonna episode and while the episode itself fell victim to the fact that Glee decided halfway through their first season to be terrible, it was still exciting to see people get so excited for Britney's music again and to see her on screen.

7. Jimmy Fallon's Emmy Opener - Really, it was so awesome that it set a high bar for other shows to have to follow. Having so many stars all singing and dancing on stage with the Glee kids was brilliant and made everyone involved that much more awesome.

6. Betty White on SNL - There was not a single misstep, not a single problem. Having her on there was brilliant but having all of the previous female cast members on there as well was a stroke of genius. I haven't seen an SNL episode that's been as good since.

5. The Hurt Locker Wins - Everyone thought Avatar would take it, but the better film won. I have nothing against Avatar, but it wasn't the best film of 2009. The Hurt Locker was.

4. Katy Perry's 1-2-3 punch - Everything she's done has turned to a hit. The first three singles from her album all shot to number one but beyond that, they shot to the kind of status in a song where it's not just going to disappear. They are going to long be a part of the zeitgeist of musical meaning.

3. Lost Finale - Some people hated it and while I have actually defriended people on Facebook because they talked bad about Lost, I feel one hundred percent correct when I say that it was a brilliant finale of a brilliant show.

2. Spider Man on Broadway - What a giant mess huh? And while it still stands to be seen whether or not this show will actually make it at all, for now, it's the biggest disaster of 2010 (which is saying something considering that Christina's Bionic came out this year). Come on people. Get it together.

1. Simon Cowell Leaving Idol - He became an icon a few years ago, and this year, he became a smart icon. He left a show that was collapsing in the format it was in and he knew it was time for something different. The tribute to him was beautiful but he will forever be someone that is a reference point in television culture.

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - Movies

The top 10 Movies of my 2010

Please bare in mind, this isn't my list of the best films of the year. This is my list of the movies that I enjoyed. There's a huge difference.

10. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work - I love documentaries and this was such a good one. It showed this distorted icon of a comedienne in such a real light, presenting her good and bad traits to the viewer in an engaging way. Regardless of how you feel about her, this film is fascinating.

9. How To Train Your Dragon - Surprise me much? How is a movie that has such an abysmal title SO GOOD? Yes, this film wins the award for the worst title of a movie this year, but it was charming and wonderful nonetheless.

8. Tron: Legacy - What a wild movie. And as much as the effects were awesome (except for the younger version of Jeff's getting better but that was no Benjamin Button work), I think my favorite part was the soundtrack by Daft Punk that was a clear work of genius.

7. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - I appreciated this film so much because it didn't take itself too seriously and it delivered on the video game geeky that the trailer made it look to be. It was really fun.

6. The King's Speech - This was a simple, understated film that was just really terrific. In the same way that The Queen was terrific, this was too. It probably doesn't hurt that I was just in London this summer and I now have a soft spot in my heart for it.

5. Inception - The magic of this film was lost on me since I saw it so long after it came out and had been hearing about it from everyone for months. BUT - it's a flawlessly made film that was a twisting and turning spectacle of entertainment. Too many twists make me mad in movies, but the straight forward way of telling this story let the audience stay completely in pace with what was going on.

4. Black Swan - What a hauntingly beautiful film. It lingers with you long after you've left the theater and it's really just a beautiful piece of cinema.

3. A-Team - This was just a flat out fun movie. I don't care what anyone says. It looked fun and it was fun. It looked hokey and it was hokey. It looked like a mindless action movie and it was a mindless action movie. And I loved every minute of it.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - How wonderful, how fitting, how perfect, how poignant, and how engaging was this film? Some folks don't care for some of the Harry movies (they're the ones who read the books and are a bit snobbish) but in my humble opinion, the films just keep getting better and better.

1. Toy Story 3 - The best film I've seen all year. No other film had me in the throws of an all out emotional collapse and certainly no film was as touching and wonderful as this.

Again - these are my favorites, not the artful best of the bunch.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - Disappointments

The Top 10 Disappointments of my 2010

10. Natalie Grant's album - It was only okay. And I expect greatness from her. It was far from it. Next time, let's focus on songwriting and avoiding the word 'human.' She's still my favorite. Still. But the album was beige and sounded like every other middle-of-the-road singer's album. Nothing special.

9. The Burlesque soundtrack - I've blogged about it before. How many songs do we need that are about nothing except the word 'burlesque?' Come on Christina. You're one big fail this year. Beyond disappointment. Flat out fail.

8. Clash of the Titans - I wanted that movie to be great. It wasn't. Plot? Nah. We don't need it. We've got sexy Sam Worthington. (not enough this time guys. Sorry)

7. Crystal Bowersox not winning Idol - What happened here? We have someone who is a real artist, who has an authentic and interesting voice and we go with the guy that looks like no one special and sings like every other alternative singer out there? American fail.

6. Promises, Promises wasn't very good - Well, it wasn't good at all. Why spend all that money to bring a show back to Broadway that is bad? It wasn't the actors' fault. It was the show. The show itself was bad. Not even Kristin could save it.

5. True Blood was not good either - People thought it was weird that it got snubbed when the Globe nominations came out a few weeks ago - but truth be told, it wasn't all that great this season. There were bright moments but mostly, it was forgettable. Sadly.

4. Party Down being canceled - Did you watch this show? It was so clever. I'm so frustrated that it won't be on any longer. The quirky shows never seem to make it very long do they?

3. Top Chef's winner Kevin - Are you kidding me guys?! The guy I liked the LEAST won? When there was no build up for him to win at all? What? At least Yigit pulled out the win and redeemed this tragedy on Top Chef Just Desserts. But come on. Kevin? Fail.

2. Most things GLEE - way to be terrible at everything this year. It's bad when your guest stars are better than the show (Gweneth, Britney, Kristin Chenoweth - all good) The writing gets worse each episode, the songs are becoming lackluster, and Kurt's character ISN'T THAT INTERESTING.

1. Jenny Slate not being hired back at SNL - Car Horns N' More, Door Bells N' More, Alarm Clocks N' More. Three of my favorite SNL sketches...ever. And she, much like many funny women before her, didn't get hired back on for a second season. The way things work at SNL will never make sense to me really but letting Jenny Slate go wasn't good for the show. None of the women who replaced her have done anything to match her.

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - Disney movies

Now, please understand that this isn't an every year sort of thing. This is because of my Master's paper I wrote this year on the Architected Archetypes of Disney Animated Movie Musicals. Right. So that's the reason for this list. (The other reason is that Disney has said they are going to stop making these movies and so this is my written protest of discontinuation of something that altered film making forever.)

The 10 Disney Animated Films of my 2010

10. 101 Dalmatians - Who doesn't love this movie? So many puppies all in one place! And with lil British accents! And really, it's a film about teamwork. The barking chain? Hello?

9. The Lion King - Token Lion King entry here. Shut up Elton John. We get it already. It's flawless.

8. The Jungle Book - In my research, the major animated directors of today said that this film is the pinnacle of characterization and story telling in animation. I agree with them.

7. Sleeping Beauty - Everything about this film is picturesque and even though the villain is terrifying and probably the epicenter of every children's nightmare, I still think the way this movie is made is more like a live action movie than had been previously seen. It's an epic.

6. Pocahontas - The music is really really good and even though the wind blows purple leaves in the faces of the audience who is apparently too daft to figure out the symbolism of the winds bringing about changes in the characters (not to mention it's horrible historical inaccuracies) it's just a beautiful film. Plus, her hair moves better than any of the other princesses.

5. Beauty and the Beast - Yes. It's the best of all of them. But I don't like it the best. So it sits at number five. Call it retribution for the Beast being mean to Chip.

4. Hunchback of Notre Dame - I found that the story in this movie is so deep that it probably didn't register with the toddler set, but that, mixed with some seriously good music, and it's a film that's a gem of the Disney collection.

3. Lady and the Tramp - How did I never realize how great this film is? The characters are awesome, the story is good, and it's just a well made movie. Overall, as a film, it's just a really great one.

2. Robin Hood - It's just a fun film and you know you are sympathetic to the bunnies in poverty. No bunny should be in poverty!

1. Dumbo - It's my favorite. I love Casey Jr. and the animals comin down the track. It's been my favorite since before I could talk. Don't mess with Dumbo.

Don't act like you don't watch Disney movies. Own it. You do.

Friday, December 24, 2010

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - Characters on TV

The Top 10 TV Characters of my 2010 

10.Gloria on Modern Family. The problem with this list is that I really like the entire casts of all of these shows, but that would have been redundant. So the reason I like Gloria the most from Modern Family is for the simple fact that she's the funniest. When she blamed her car accident on "de big copcake" I lost it.

9. Cary on The Good Wife. I chose Cary because I think he's the most interesting of the characters. You never really know what he's going to do, if he's going to be vindictive or if he's going to be helpful. Mostly, he brings the perspective of a younger person to the field and does it in a way that doesn't feel contrived.

8. Eric from True Blood. It's more fun for the vampires, lets face it, and while this season of True Blood wasn't really all that great, Eric has the story that's most intriguing. Without him being on the show, there wouldn't be much of a dynamic among the characters.

7. Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock. He's hysterical. And crazy. And he's crazy in real life too, but somehow, Tina Fey figured out a way to harness that energy and turn it into something that's really funny.

6. Stanley and Phyllis from The Office. They are two of the more soft spoken characters on the show and that's why I love what they say. I think they have some of my favorite lines on the entire show. Phyllis thinks she's sexy and Stanley is always irritated. How is that not funny?

5. Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. We all could use a little more optimism and she exudes optimism. This is such a great show and I really wish more people would watch it because it's such a great show. But Amy Poehler makes her so likable and so believable,

4.Shirley from Community. She's not the first character you think of when you think of Community but her subtle, sometimes religious, quips are funnier than a lot of the silly things that other characters say. Personally, I find Abed to be so wildly unbelievable and I know he's everyone's favorite character, but for me. It's all about Shirley.

3. Scotty on Brothers and Sisters. The episode where it was found out that he cheated on Kevin was heartbreaking and that's only because we have come to care so much about Scotty's relationship with this family. They are a really good example of a positive relationship and a break from the chaos that can be the Walkers sometimes. Okay. Most times.

2. Chuck and Blair on Gossip Girl. They count as one because their back and forth is the most fascinating thing on this show. They have taken something that could have just been a teenage show about cell phones and made it stay interesting. And they've done it without being all Ross and Rachel. And they also do it while looking immaculate.

1. Joan from Mad Men. I don't know that I even need to say anything. She's the best example of a strong woman who is struggling in the world she lives in. And she's stunningly gorgeous.

I'm a writer and so I'm fascinated by the ways that different characters are written into stories for different reasons. I also love to see how characters change and evolve. That's why I did this list. Well that and I spend so many blogs referencing these folks so I might as well give them some sort of award or something.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - Songs

The Top 10 Songs of my 2010

10.F**K You! by CeeLo - The song was funny and all but it was Gweneth on Glee that made me really love this song. I just think it's funny that he took the phrase that most people write around and just wrote it. And it's incredibly catchy.

9. Glitter in the Air by Pink - This isn't a new song, but it was new to me when she sang it on the Grammys, dangling above the audience. The live version from her tour album is really astounding, and it's just a beautiful song.

8. Dog Days are Over by Florence + the Machine - Her performance on the VMAs was amazing, the song is so catchy and while she may not be the best live (see Katy Perry), her voice is interesting.

7. Commander by Kelly Rowland - Kelly has always gotten the shaft and she's consistently produced good music. This song was awesome and I wore it out.

6. Nightwork by the Scissor Sisters - While I have known of the Scissor Sisters for a long time, it was their album Nightwork from this year that turned me from minor fan to major fan. This is my favorite song on there, but really, it represents the album from which it came.

5. Shark in the Water by VV Brown - Again, this isn't a new song, but it's new to me and I love it. It's got the kind of drive and move to it that so many R&B artists are afraid of.

4. Firework by Katy Perry - I've been having a sort of love affair with her over the past year with Katy, and I liked this song a lot. Then I saw the video and my liking went to loving. I love this song. Pure and simple.

3. Someday by The Black Eyed Peas - This isn't a single, yet, but it's on their new album. It evokes a feeling. There is just something about it that encompasses me and it's my favorite song on their new album.

2. Someone Like You  by Adele - Technically, this song hasn't been released yet, but she sang it on a show in London and it's on youtube, so it counts. It's beautiful, she's sings effortlessly and that's that.

1. Grenade by Bruno Mars - From the moment I heard it on SNL, it has been stuck in my head. Shortly after, it blew up all over the radio and while it's great there, there was something about it live that just made it incredible.

Musical consolation prizes are due to Kylie Minogue whose album I wore out, Nelly's Just a Dream (who thought he'd ever have a hit again?) and Rihanna's Only Girl in the World. She can't sing worth anything but it's a great dance song.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - TV

The Top 10 TV shows of my 2010

10. Brothers and Sisters - This isn't the best show on television by any stretch, but it is my favorite. I imagine that I'm a Walker. No matter what happens, I love this show.

9. America: The Story of Us / Life - This is a documentary tie. America:Why did this mini series teach me more about American history than any class? I wish I could answer that. But it was informative and so well produced. Life: The Discovery Channel again made us look with wonder at the world around us.

8. Gossip Girl - Chuck Bass. Enough said.

7. LOST - The final season didn't leave me wanting anything. While there were other "fans" out there who wanted everything spoon fed to them and all the loose ends tied up, I saw the show for what it was: a story of the human condition. And the finale was spot on brilliant.

6. Top Chef - It's the best reality show on TV. American Idol gave up that crown a few seasons ago and while it's going to try to retake it this next year, Top Chef stands as victorious. And it beat all the other reality shows at the Emmys too. Rightfully so. We love Padma.

5. 30 Rock - I need Tracy Jordan in my life on a consistent basis, it's continually a love letter to New York City, and it's always good. Always.

4. Modern Family - It won the Emmy for a reason. Because it's the funniest show on TV.

3. Cougar Town - This show started as a silly show about an older woman dating a younger guy, but what it became was a show about a close knit group of friends who drink wine and don't do much else. It's what I wish my group of friends would be like when we're in our late thirties...early forties...late forties? How ever old they are on there.

2. Community/The Good Wife - Community is the most creative show on television. Somehow, it gets away with the quirky and the strange, without seeming out of place. I mean, what other show can pull off an entire episode in claymation or have a major plot point being a dorm wide fort made of sheets? It's awesome.
BUT - it's tied with The Good Wife because really, The Good Wife is the best show on network TV. It's interesting, it's fun, it's serious, it's tough. The cast is brilliant. It was rated Entertainment Weekly's best show of the spring. It should be noted that Community was New York Magazine's number one show of the year. Just so we're all in the know.

1. Mad Men - It's the best show on TV. Period. It's flawless art.

My vote for Best Picture

Here's my confession.
I kinda want Toy Story 3 to win Best Picture at this year's Oscars.
I do.
When I think about it, I think that it was actually the best film I've seen this year and I don't care one bit what anyone thinks about it. I kinda want it to win.
And now Entertainment Weekly has ranked the final scene of the film as the best scene of any film of the year, including the spinning room scenes in Inception. And I have to agree. Has there been a more poignant scene in a film this year? And it's because it delivered on everything that we didn't know that Toy Story promised us. It took this film that everyone loves, and made it come full circle in a flawless way. The more I think about it, the more spellbound I become of it.
So there it is guys. I think that if ever there was a film that Disney could take the top spot with in modern film making, it's this one. Will it win? Probably not, I think Inception will win by default. But I think Toy Story should win. I think it's the most deserving film of the year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10 Top Ten List Blogs of 2010 - Stage

I'm doing my Top 10 Lists of 10 things I loved in 2010. Get excited.

The Top 10 Stage Moments of my 2010

10. Bells Are Ringing. The NY City Center production that was more of a staged reading than it was a full production, but I went to see Kelli O'Hara and it was such a wonderful show. She was flawless, as I knew she would be, the cast was great, and I was surprised by the fact that the choreography was so legit.

9.La Boheme at the SoHo Theatre in London. When I went to London, I wanted to see a big production (more on that later) and a smaller fringe production. This was a modern day telling of the opera, sung classically but with the words changed to fit today's slang. It was funny, heartbreaking, and innovative. A third of the play took place down stairs in the bar. Awesome.

8.Memphis. It won the Tony for a reason, because it's wonderful. It's wonderful music, wonderful performances, and a wonderful story. I hope more people continue to go and see this show because it's really something special. And can we talk for a minute about the dancing? They were not playing games on that stage.

7.Hair in London. I know. Shouldn't this be higher on the list? Yes. It should. But since I'd seen it before, it landed here at 7. But I don't know that I need to elaborate much on it. It changed my life the first time, it had me in the throws of a sobbing fit this time. I've never heard that kind of sound come off a stage and I've never felt more encompassed by a show and the feeling it provoked. It was perfect.

6.A Brief Encounter. What a play! It was funny, it was quirky, it was interesting, it was different, it was innovative. The cast was awesome and more talented than they let on even. There was a jam session at the back of the theater after the show was over. It truly was wonderful and the kind of play that makes you believe that you can make absolutely anything happen on the stage.

5.West Side Story. I still can't get over the fact that it happened. When Tony and Maria see each other and the lights dim and the background fades out. Just like in the film. It happened there in front of me. And the snapping. It was exactly what I imagined it would be like, and more. It really was a stunning stunning stunning show.

4.Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. I'd only heard good things about this show, I tried multiple times to see it and finally did. It told a story in a way that isn't traditional and so I really loved that. The music, what little of it there is, is good and the more I listen to it, the more I like it and the way they tell the story. It had all the angst of a jukebox musical by Green Day, but with an original story and original music which makes it infinitely better.

3.Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. Seeing this was something like a dream. Taking the conventional telling of Swan Lake and flipping it, having all male swans, made this a completely different story. It wasn't so much a love story any longer. What it became was a story about seeking to become the person you want to be and chasing after something that you are afraid of inside of you. It was both brilliant and beautiful, both poignant and profound.

2.The Scottsboro Boys. This was the best musical of the season. Hands down. It was simple in it's storytelling and that made it all the more effective. The music was amazing, the performances were stunning and everything about this show worked. I'm hoping that it is able to come back before the Tonys to really show them what a brilliant show it is. When looking at the juggernaut that is Spider Man, it's easy to feel dwarfed, but this is what real theatre is about.

1. Oliver! in London. I've never seen such a grand production of a traditional musical in my life. With a cast and orchestra of almost 100 people, this was truly a spectacle. I even took the backstage tour of the theater one day, just to learn more about the oldest continually running theater in the world, The Royal Theater at Drury Lane. How incredible. While I've seen some really incredible things this year, this has the place in my heart at number one.

Consolation: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman. Saw it in Dallas, I can tell there are things they are working on to make it better, but it was really a terrific show. Right there with it is The Mousetrap, in London. The longest running play in the world, it was a throwback to a simpler time in theater, as was Superman. Both were engaging and interesting and both deserved to be mentioned here.