Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Looking Back: 2010 Entertainment

It is The Law! in Bloglandia that bloggers must create end of year lists. If you don't, they send your posts off to black holes in cyberspace and give all your contact information to spammers and trolls. Or something.

Being an upstanding and lawabiding cybercitizen, here Apprentice Writer's EOY list in no particular order.

Most Enjoyable Historical Debut: Rose Lerner, 'In For a Penny'. Sympathetic characters that not only grow but do so believably, and a plot that refreshingly is as much about the group of people surrounding the two main characters as it is about those characters themselves. Ominously, Ms. Lerner is a Dorchester author and will see her follow-up book distributed as ebook only rather than print. Hopefully she has gained enough presence not to suffer unduly from Dorchester's 'reorganization'.

Most Disappointing Junior Movie: Toy Story 3. Way too much tension for the target demographic, too few laughs, this was Disney/Pixar making a grab for the 3D cash cow.

Book that Started Well But Could Have Been So Much More: Audrey Niffenegger, 'Her Fearful Symmetry'. A Ph.D. who doesn't toss aside his more snoozeworthy dissertation subject when the real thing comes along? An undertaker with no curiosity about Very Odd requests? A cemetary bigwig who witnesses something Impossible and says only 'How improper!' (or something to that effect) and that's it? Suspension of disbelief broken to the degree that the book was finished purely for the sake of finding out what happened to infinitely more appealing subplot characters.

Most Enjoyable Movie Seen This Year but Released Last: Sherlock Holmes.
RDJ and Jude Law in top form - come on! What's not to like?

Most Thoughtful Movie Seen This Year but Released Last: Up in the Air

Book that Managed to Live Up to Its Hype: Kathrynn Stockett, 'The Help'

Most Ongoing Guilty Reality TV Pleasures: Top Chef, Next Iron Chef, Amazing Race, So You ThinkYou Can Dance (US & Canada)

Most Missing-in-Action-in-Canada Guilty Reality TV Pleasure: Project Runway

Most Eagerly Anticipated Books Released This Year But Inexplicably Haven't Gotten Around to Yet (AKA longest Category Title, AKA Most Grammatically Incorrect Category Title):
Dark Road to Darjeeling, Deanna Raybourn (historical mystery, Book 4 in a series)
The Iron Duke, Meljean Brook (steampunk, Book 1 in a series)
Lightborn, Alison Sinclair (dark fantasy, Book 2 in a trilogy)
Towers of Midnight, Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan (high fantasy, Book 13 and second-to-last in a series)
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Helen Simonson (literary fiction, standalone)

Worst Movie: For a long time, the most likely contender was From Paris with Love , which offended cinematically and geopolitically in equal measure. John Travolta channels old Schwarzenegger movies by shooting wildly all over the place while in various forms of motion and having pretty much every bullet hit a target while scads of adversaries miss every time despite dispensing a revolution's worth of ammo. More oddly, EVERY SINGLE ONE of the vast quantities of people he kills are members of visible minority groups. Considering how often parts of Paris have burned due to racial tensions in recent years, this was an astonishingly unfortunate visual image. Does France really need cinematic entertainment that sends the message that visible minorities are criminal scum that deserve eradication by over-the-hill megalomaniacs?
Apprentice Writer thinks not.

Then along came Baby on Board. This utter waste of celluloid was mean-spirited, distasteful, and most of all 100% unfunny. AW is entirely unfamiliar with Jerry O'Connell's previous work (who, by the way, wins this year's award for Worst Haircut for a Male Character) and had only seen 'Bowfinger' (which she really enjoyed) of Heather Graham's work, so she can't tell if this film is representative. But she has been a fan of John Corbett's since his 'Northern Exposure' days and was sorely disappointed to see him as, perhaps, the biggest culprit in this execrable mess. Mr. Corbett - what has happened to you??

Most Unexpectedly Fun Movie: 'Killers'. After the drudgery of 'The Ugly Truth' (Katherine Heigl and Gerrard Butler have NO chemistry), 'The Bounty Hunter' (Jennifer Aniston and Gerrard Butler have NO chemistry), and 'Love Happens' (Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhard have NO chemistry), AW was not expecting a whole lot from this Katherine Heigl/Ashton Kutcher vehicle but she actually really liked it. Maybe the problem with the others was Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston?

Most Promising Book Currently Reading: Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jamesin. Holy Gripping Storyline, Batman - this fantasy gives new meaning to the terms 'multi-layered' and 'don't treat the reader like s/he has no intelligence'. Beautifully written, but wow do you ever have to pay attention to what's going on. And it's book 1 of a trilogy, so if the beginning momentum holds up, it looks to be a promising start to the new reading year!



Rachel said...

I have not but I lurv your categories!!!!

I, too, was surprised and delighted by Killers (completely fails as a spy movie but is so freakin' funny as a couple comedy) and horrified by From Paris With Love.

Jemisin is great, isn't she? It just so happens that I have come by an extra copy of THE BROKEN KINGDOMS which is second in the trilogy. Would you like it?

M. said...

Be still my heart.
Rachel, please don't toy with me. I'm fresh back from 5 wifiless days spent blissfully stunned by 'Hundred Thousand Kingdoms' and impatient with tired old genre cliches of another book that shall remain nameless, to find this jawdropping offer.
Are you reviewing for two parties???

Rachel said...

hehe, I toy not! (How mean would that be?:) I have two copies because I pre-ordered it and then it showed up on my last list of book review possibilities and I requested it. Voila! Two copies!

Send your addy to sgwordy (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll ship it this week. Yay Jemisin!

M. said...

Wordy Scientist - I love you. If you're ever in Toronto I'll repay you in homemade cinnamon buns. Plus: so much fun to meet online buds IRL, just had my first such meeting with someone who usually lives on the Atlantic coast, was fab!

Rachel said...

I'd attempt a joke here but I believe my love could also be bought for the price of a book. hehehehehe ;)

With cinnamon buns on the table Toronto just got shoved way up on the to be visited list. (Actually have never been to Canada.)

I would guess that
"Apprentice Writer
would certainly get a book to you but just in case, if you send your mailing info today I can ship it out tomorrow. (my email in comment above)