Monday, December 18, 2006

The Year in Review Part One: That's Entertainment

Yes, it is the end of the year, or nearly so. It's time to look back on the last 11 months and ruminate about what was good, what was bad, and what was odd. Fortunately, I won't be commenting on world events or fashion dos and don'ts. In fact, I'm pretty self-absorbed with my yearly review.

It's got three parts, and each week I'll post one segment. Part one is about the TV and film landscape. Part two will go more personal as I look at the state of my writing life in 2006. Finally, I'll wrap up with probably the most personal post I've ever made on this blog. If that is at all intriguing to you, well, you'll have to wait for New Year's Day for that package.

So let's talk film first (It'll be short).

I got Netflix, and yet somehow I saw fewer 'new' films this year. I did finally see what all the fuss was about with 'Network' (stop booing at me, you have some film skeletons in your closet too I bet). I also branched out into watching a lot of silent films and Expressionist films...The Seventh Seal, M, The Cabinet of Dr. Calgari, Nosferatu.

As for films released this year -- there were a lot of films that just didn't scream out for me to see them in a theater for $11-14. When I did get a chance to take in a film, I was usually treated to a good one -- The Departed, Inside Man, Little Miss Sunshine, United 93, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Films which surprised me (in a good way): Cars, Casino Royale, Clerks II, Nacho Libre, World Trade Center, Slither, The Benchwarmers (I told you it surprised me -- I laughed more than I thought I would), The Guardian, even Tenacious D: In the Pick of Destiny.

Movies I hated: V for Vendetta, Failure to Launch, A Prairie Home Companion (sorry Altman).

Movies I still feel mostly indifferent about: Stranger than Fiction, MI:3, X-Men3, Hostel.

Movies I was disappointed by: Snakes on a Plane, The Descent, Saw III, Lucky Number Slevin, Firewall, and The DaVinci Code.

I usually see at least 35-40 movies in a theater every year. By my count I saw only 25 this year. You might attribute that to me watching more TV (which is very true), but I have to say, only two films on this list did I actually catch on DVD after their runs (Failure to Launch and The DaVinci Code, both sucked). That tells me I lacked interest in most of the offerings.

Now, there are some films I still want very much to see -- For Your Consideration, The Queen, Borat, Superman Returns, The Devil Wears Prada, Thank You for Smoking, The Good Shepherd, The Fountain, Blood Diamond, Apocalypto, and a few others -- most being released right at the end of the year (attention studios: you are releasing too many films at the end of the year!!)

So, let's talk about my obsession -- I mean, area of intense study: television.

I think we all know what's good. And I've mentioned (repeatedly) what was bad. But let's talk about those shows that make up the rest of the schedule...the shows which defy all reason and are still on the air. That's right, I'm talking about you, One Tree Hill. And you, NCIS. Where would we be without Crossing Jordan or America's Funniest Home Videos on the schedule? They are like old friends, the mere existence of whom give us comfort when we look at the TV Guide. "The world can't be all bad. 'According to Jim' is still on the air." And with that, we change the channel, secure in the knowledge that Jim Belushi must make *someone laugh* (right?)

Okay, I kid. But, seriously...I can't be all scripted, all the time (as much as I'd love to), there are some alternative programming skeletons in my closet...

I love Dog. Not just any Dog, but Dog The Bounty Hunter. I have also been known to catch an episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen. Don't scoff until you've seen that trainwreck. Hell's Kitchen and American Idol are my idea of good quality reality show entertainment. Also a big fan of Ghost Hunters. And Cash in the Attic (on Beeb America). Proj Run? Appointment viewing, obviously, but so is Breaking Bonaduce. And you thought my eyeballs were bleeding just from all the 'scripted' TV I watched. Little did you know, I gobble up all this other stuff too!

And really, I can sleep at night knowing that at practically any time of day, I can find a COPS rerun. Sometimes you just need to see some K-Fed poseurs trying to outrun the fuzz to fulfill your humor quotient.

Okay, so next week I'll bring it 'round to discussing my own personal writing journey this year. It's been quite a year, as most of you know.


wcdixon said...

Good review...and happy holidays!

Patrick J. Rodio said...

Have a great holiday & a kick-ass new year!!!

Bill Cunningham said...

Merry Christmas!