So yeah, this took me forever to complete, but all selections, and most of the content was completed in January 2012. Same disclaimer as last year (I’m hardly an expert, blah blah…)
I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would. I was intimidated by the idea of sitting through a silent film. It took me ten minutes to settle in, but once I did I was captivated. In some ways the story was more powerful and better acted without dialogue. It’s an exercise in nonverbal communication.
And for the record, I wrote this opinion before it won best picture.
Runner Up -Drive
Hard for me to choose between Young Adult and Drive, however, I’ll give Drive the slight edge. Dark and captivating, Ryan Gosling delivered a solid performance while saying almost nothing. A must watch for 2011.
Honorable Mentions: Young Adult, Money Ball, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Best TV Show:
Did anyone doubt that I would list Game of Thrones? It was quite a year for George R.R. Martin. I’ve been reading this series since I was 17, and was thrilled to see an adaption by the best channel on TV. HBO did a great job of bringing this complex and bulky book to the small screen.
Runner Up – Breaking Bad Season 4 – AMC
Breaking Bad is quickly becoming one of my favorite TV shows of all time. And season 4 did not disappoint.
Honorable Mentions – Portlandia Season 1 and Sons of Anarchy Season 4
Best – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Far and away the best album of 2011 came from my boy from Eau Claire. An incredible follow up to his mind blowing first album, For Emma, Forever Ago. It’s hard to pick favorites on this album, but Holocene and Calgary top my list as best tracks. I also had the privilege of seeing Bon Iver live in concert this summer at the Chicago Theatre. Best concert I’ve seen this year.
Runner Up – Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Another solid album by one of my favorite bands. I also had the chance to see them this summer at The Pitchfork music festival.
Honorable Mentions: The Decemberists – The King is Dead, Wilco – The Whole Love
Best – Dance with Dragons – George R.R. Martin
Finally! This one was six years coming. It was great to have a new book in a series I’ve been reading for 17 years. While not the strongest of the series, I happy about the trajectory that the novels are moving in. I just wish they would move a little faster.
Runner Up – The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Laugh it up. Yes, I loved the shit out of The Hunger Games. It’s not the most original plot, or the best written novel I’ve ever read. But…it’s entertaining and I loved the characters. I have to give credit to Suzanne Collins for writing a solid novel for young readers. I hope that this series brought the love of reading, just like The Three Investigators, Narnia, and The Hobbit did for me when I was a kid.
Best Non-Fiction Book:
Oops. Pathetically I did not finish one nonfiction book in 2011. I’m already well into one for 2012, so I hope to revive this category next year.
Best: iPhone 4 from Verizon
It’s a little lame to go with something that’s was already 6 months old at the start of 2011, but Verizon’s iPhone 4 marked the first time that you could get an iPhone on a network besides AT&T. I bought this guy the day it came out. I have to admit, it may be the finest piece of hand held technology that I’ve ever owned. I know the 4S may be better, but I’m holding out for the 5th generation.
Runner Up: Sony HT CT-150 Home Theater System
After my old surround sound system died I needed something new. At around $300 this sucker was a deal. The sound is great, in my small apartment it can mimic a full five speaker surround system with sound effects coming from all directions. A great buy, especially in a small room.