Saturday, January 01, 2011

Entertainment in 2010

Films & Television
  • Best recent films I saw in 2010: I'm not sure if I have a favorite film of 2010, though I saw several good ones, most notably Inception (2010), The Hurt Locker (2008), and Toy Story 3 (2010). I also liked Tron Legacy (2010), Downfall (2004), Frost/Nixon (2009), Moon (2009), Iron Man 2 (2010), How to Train Your Dragon (2010), and Restrepo (2010).
  • Best classic films I saw in 2010: I've watched a lot of classic movies this year, most of them second tier classics, having already worked through the AFI top 100 movies of all time. Thus the movies I'm watching now tend to be in the second best hundred or worse. That said, I really enjoyed Mildred Pierce (1945), one of the great examples of film noir.
  • The worst film I saw in 2010: Ponyo (2008) Okay, obviously I just don't get it. Wow, that was supposed to be a version of the Little Mermaid? Huh? Alice in Wonderland (2010) was also insanely weird, and not as funny, as I expected (much like the books). Avatar (2009) should also get a mention here based on its story. I've seen it a few times now and the story and dialogue just keep getting worse.
  • Recent films I wanted to see in 2010 but will have to rent in 2011: Tangled, True Grit, The Social Network, The Fighter, Despicable Me, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
  • Films I didn't expect to see or like in 2010 but really did: The Blind Side (2009), Zombieland (2009), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Coraline (2009), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Up in the Air (2009), and Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009).
  • Best television show in 2010: "Sherlock." This modern adaptation of the famous stories is absolutely excellent; one of the best Holmes on screen ever. Honorable mention: "Star Wars: the Clone Wars", "Survivor," "Castle", "American Pickers," "Pawn Stars," "The Walking Dead," and "Outsourced."
  • Best Film & TV references, allusions, and homages in 2010: "Community." Half the fun of watching that sitcom is trying to catch all the references to other shows and movies in each episode.
  • Best South Korean Historical Melodrama and Band of Brothers knock-off: "Road No. 1" The South Korean television mini-series recounting the early days of the Korean War was, at the same time, really good and really weird.
  • Best Sci-Fi that died in 2010: Both "Caprica" and "Stargate: Universe" got bumped from their usual Friday night spots by professional wrestling, of all things, and died a slow death on Tuesday nights. Both of those shows deserved a little more life, but alas…

Books, Games, & Miscellaneous
  • Best fictional book I read in 2010: Sir Arthur Conan Dolye's Sherlock Holmes has been primary retreat into fiction this year. I started with Hound of the Baskervilles (1901) and then went back to the beginning with A Study in Scarlet (1887). Both were fantastic and I intend to go through all of the Sherlock Holmes stories this year.
  • Best non-fiction books I read in 2010: War (Sebastian Junger, 2010) and With the Old Breed (EB Sledge, 1981) were both excellent accounts of the wars in Afghanistan and the Pacific in WW2, respectively.
  • Books I wanted to read in 2010 but will have to read in 2011: I still have stacks of books that surround me both at home and at the office. Lots of Christian non-fiction gets left on my desk, which I try to digest to keep up with what other folks at church are reading. I also have my towering stack of WW2 books and historical fiction. But who knows which ones I'll actually get to in the next twelve months.
  • Best video game I played in 2010: I played very little console video games this last year, but I chipped away daily at several iPhone games. Some of the best were Fruit Ninja, Zen Bound, Cut the Rope, Angry Birds, Pocket Frogs, and We Rule.
  • Favorite restaurant in 2010: for the second year in a row… bd's Mongolian Barbeque in Overland Park. Although the chicken sandwich (hold the pickles) at Chick-fil-A deserves an honorable mention. QT fountain drinks continue to command an unreasonable amount of my pocket change as well.

My kids have had their annual dose of silly cartoons and kid's TV shows, including a new infusion of "Dora the Explorer" thanks to Anneliese. But as they get older, the entertainment choices vary. The older three boys played a lot of Nintendo DS games this year and they've enjoyed their various Wii games as well. Brennan has read the first three or four Harry Potter books this year, rewarded with watching the movie after each book is finished. Tanner has also begun reading books, but not as ambitiously as his older brother. Brennan and his brothers are also playing LEGO-brand board games (some assembly required!).

Shannon played some games on her phone, mostly puzzle games while we watch TV. Games like Words with Friends, Orba, and Bejeweled have occupied her limited down time most of the year.

Here's last year's list.

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