Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2009

On the last day of the year, its time for my Best of 2009 list. The following represents my top choice in books, quotes, music, television, movies and acting. These selections were the ones that most moved me, made me laugh, inspired new thinking, or just hit me in the right way to say, "WOW!" Enjoy! Oh...and have a happy and safe New Year's! See you in 2010.

Best Book

Our Choice by Al Gore

A continuation of ideas presented in 2006's An Inconvenient Truth, with actual solutions to inspire a complete revolution in how we live our lives that lessens our impact on the environment.

Best Quote

"How about in honor of the troops, ya' stop makin' things up!" -- Sarah Palin

She said this in her resignation speech to reporters that she felt made up lies about her and played "gotcha!" games about the nonsensical stuff she says. She's like a character from a Dr. Seuss book. Only funnier. My second favourite quote is also from Sarah Palin: "Only dead fish go with the flow." Actually, Sarah, if you live your life right, its supposed to "flow." Living in the flow is not a dead fish.

Best Song

"Love Song" by Sara Bareilles

No other pop song captured my fancy all year than this highly addictive love song. Even Michelle Obama mentioned this song to reporters as an example of current music she listens to.

Best Album

This Is It by Michael Jackson

Though this is practically a re-recording of his classic hit songs, with only one new song, I was disappointed in the big release by U2 and Taylor Hicks' follow-up to his first post-American Idol album. The only other albums I listened to the most were all holdovers from last year or greatest hits CDs (by Jericho Road, Toto and ABBA). Since Michael Jackson passed away this year, I decided why not give him the honour of another Best Album?

Best Television Series

Mad Men

I'm slow to discover this show, but I'm hooked. No other show comes close to the intrigue, dialogue, style, acting, and storylines as this one. This one has "WOW" all over it!

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Zoe Saldana, Star Trek

Granted, its not much of a role, but she looked really good and left me wanting to see more. I hope her role gets expanded in the sequel. Let's see what she can do. After all, if Star Trek is set in the 23rd century, its reasonable to expect that a woman might be running the show. Why should Captain Kirk and Spock have all the fun?

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Alessandro Nivola, Coco Before Chanel

I've seen Alessandro act with a British accent and now he speaks French in a movie? With his very Italian name, he represents our multinational world. Besides that, he did a great job in the role of an Englishman whom Coco Chanel falls in love with.

Best Actress

Audrey Tautou, Coco Before Chanel

I'm a huge fan of Audrey Tautou, what can I say? She did a phenomenal job as Coco Chanel, the fashion pioneer who changed the clothing style women wear (emphasizing comfort instead of the restrictive but elaborate clothing that served to present women as mere decorations to men). The movie is kind of dull, but Audrey is spectacular and charming.

Best Actor

Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

I never heard of this actor before, but when I saw The Hurt Locker, I was completely blown away. He plays a professional and competent soldier whose job is to defuse bombs in war-torn Baghdad. He is so dedicated to his job that he will risk death just to finish the job and thus spare lives rather than call it quits and allow the device to blow up, sending shrapnel in all directions for innocent people to be hit with. Watching him on screen, one does feel the tension his job carries, and how that accumulated stress affects him outside of work. Most heartbreaking of all is seeing him deal with the feelings regarding pesky Iraqi kids who befriend GIs and what may happen to them because of the friendship. Though I also enjoyed George Clooney's and Morgan Freeman's performances in Up in the Air and Invictus, respectively, there was no better acting performance this year than Jeremy Renner's. I hope he gets a Best Actor nomination at Oscar time.

Best Director

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

I have no idea who this director is, but she did an amazing job with one of the best films of the year. Her film about the Iraq War is certainly the best one made so far and joins ranks with some of the best war films of all time. Its truly an amazing accomplishment. I don't think even Oliver Stone could have made The Hurt Locker any better than it is.

Best Motion Picture

Up in the Air

I reviewed this movie earlier this month, so you can read the blog post for that in case you're wondering my thoughts on the film. Essentially, I thought it was tone perfect and very much the film of our current national experience. It says a lot about our country and where we might go in these difficult times. More than that though, its about a person who avoids personal relationships in favour of the job he loves, then finds himself allowing to fall in love and how that affects his life and job afterwards. Its a powerful film, with some humour, great acting, and interesting cinematography (we see huge swatches of America and its cities from the air).

A list of my Nine Favourite Films of 2009 appears on the sidebar, for those who are curious.

Here's to a great year in music, movies, television, and books for 2010. I'm already looking forward to the two films on the Beat Generation next year (one is about the obscenity trial surrounding Allen Ginsberg's Howl and the other about the murder of a gay stalker that Jack Kerouac was found complicit in for attempting to hide the murder weapon). Memo to Hollywood: more biopics! Also due next year, a movie about life in the Green Zone, based on the book that I had read this year, which made me excited to experience it for myself (we'll see in 2010 if I find a contractor position).

1 comment:

Margie's Musings said...

I always enjoy your "bests", Nicholas.