Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Movies Of 2009

The final Best Of list of the decade! Makes me a little…I dunno…nostalgic? Weepy? Excited? Something. It definitely makes me feel something. Here are my top movies of 2009. Note! I haven’t seen Avatar or The Fantastic Mr. Fox yet, both of which may very well deserve a place on this list, but we’ll all just have to deal with their absence, okay? Here we go…

10. (500) Days of Summer – The further away I got from this movie, the less I liked it. Zooey just really didn’t do it for me. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, however, rocked my world, so it makes it on my list.

9. Up – I rewatched this a few weeks ago and it’s still magical, but mostly I just like the talking dogs.

8. Star Trek – So much fun. Truly not my father’s Star Trek.

7. Precious – A tough movie about physical and sexual abuse. I saw it with my mom and nothing has ever made me feel so lucky to have her.

6. Zombieland – Funnier than The Hangover. Plus, Zombies. Hello!

5. Food Inc. – A disturbing look at food manufacturing in the US. Seriously, how scary is our food?! Can we please get back to eating things made by, like, the earth?

4. Where the Wild Things Are – Spike Jonze did a phenomenal job recreating one of the seminal works of my childhood. I don’t understand why more people didn’t check it out.

3. Up In the Air – A film for our times. Great performances, great story, great ending. Jason Reitman is well on his way to become one of the country’s great filmmakers.

2. The Hurt Locker – Another film for our times, I guess. A different slice of life in the Iraq war, packed with action and emotion. Jeremy Renner is, deservedly, finally on the radar.

1. Inglorious Basterds – I’m shocked to find this at the top of my list, really. When I saw it back in August, it blew me away, but I never thought it would be my favorite film this year. Just goes to show…QT is still a genius...and it was kind of a crap year at the movies.

Honorable Mentions: Away We Go, Julie & Julia, Adventureland, Every Little Step, District 9, A Serious Man

What you got?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Day After Christmas!

Christmas has technically come and gone, but it's still Boxing Day/St. Stephen's Day, so allow me to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry, if slightly belated, Christmas. I meant to post something yesterday, but I was busy unwrapping gifties and stuffing my face with cookies.

From all of us as Gingers is the Watchword, I hope you experienced peace on earth, good will towards men, silent nights and little towns of Bethlehem. God bless you, every one.

(Except you. You know who you are).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best TV Shows of 2009

It was a good year for TV and I'm still formulating this list in my head. Let's discover my favorites together, shall we?

10. Big Love HBO - The third season of the polygamist drama was chock full of deceit and murder and even a controversial look into the Mormon church and it's rituals. This show just keeps getting better.

9. Lost ABC - Season 5 will be remembered as the season the hit show really let it's Geek Flag fly. I'm still not sure what the frak is going on, but I can't wait to find out.

8. Glee Fox - I realize it's too cheesetastic for a lot of people, but I like it. The music is fantastic and it reminds me so very much of my high school days.

7. Friday Night Lights NBC - I've not watched the latest season, as it won't be on regular TV until the summer (I think), but season 3 was a great. Coach and Tami are still the best couple on TV, Lyla has become less of a skeeze, and watching the Riggins brother, Jason and Herc flip Buddy Garrity's house was one of the funniest things ever.

6. 30 Rock NBC - Deal breakers. Slankets. Night cheese. Liz Lemon speaks to me (and every other women like me...I know...I am not special). The most recent episodes have been uneven at times, but it's still one of the best shows on TV.

5. Dexter Showtime - Best nemesis ever (John Lithgow) + Best ending ever = Best season ever.

4. Breaking Bad AMC - Bryan Cranston is so good on this show, it's ridiculous. Add Aaron Paul's outstanding performance, drugs, chemistry, cancer and small town America and it's hard to understand why more people aren't watching.

3. Curb Your Enthisiasm HBO - Hands down, the funniest show of the year. Nothing else comes close.

2. Mad Men AMC - A friend of mine said to me last night, "You and Liz are obsessed with Mad Men" and why wouldn't we be? It's a phenomenon. Good season and perhaps the most satisfying season finale of all time (what? hyperbole suits me!).

1. True Blood HBO - I don't care if it's campy...or if most of the foreign-born actors have trouble with southern accents...I love this show. It's my favorite of 2009 and summer 2010 can't come soon enough.

Honorable Mentions - Damages, Torchwood: Children of Earth, Dollhouse, Rescue Me, #1 Ladies Detective Agency


How is there not room on the actual list for this awesome season of Rescue Me? Gah!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More on The Sing Off

Because I so love posting things no one cares about but me, my favorite number from The Sing Off...Styx "Come Sail Away" by Tufts University's Beelzebubs:

How adorable is that lead singer?!

Also, Ben Folds need to host something full time...anything. He is amazing.

That is all.

UPDATE: Ugh! Stupid YouTube. The performance can still be seen here. Scroll down to the second video.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The List: Vol. 6

This is my least favorite week of the year. It's not because Christmas is looming and I'm in a rush to finish my shopping (I'm done, actually) and it's not because everyone seems to be all cozy and coupley and I am eternally single and it's not because the weather is cold and gloomy (it was 80 here this weekend...suckas!). Nope, it's because Liz is back home visiting her family and she's not here to chat with me all day. This makes me very sad. So, I need to make a list of things I've liked recently to remind myself things could be way worse (though really, I'm not sure how). Here goes:

Movie: Up in the Air - This weekend, while everyone was watching Avatar, I caught the new movie from Jason Reitman (Juno) starring George Clooney. It's really good and, like, perfect for 2009, as Clooney plays a hired gun who sweeps into downsizing companies and fires people. There's sexting and the technology vs. human interaction argument and great performances by Clooney and Anna Kendrick. Check it out immediately.

DVD: Paper Heart - I was eager to see this pseudo-documentary about love from Charlene Yi (the weird Asian girl in Knocked Up) and it did not disappoint. It is adorable and funny and charming and really well done. Queue it up!

TV: Dollhouse - It's already been cancelled so, of course, it's getting even better. With sleeper agents and evil scientists, I can't wait to see how the remaining episodes play out. PLUS, fellas, Eliza Dushku may be a terrible actress, but she's semi-naked in every single there's that.

And something that sucks almost as much as Liz being away:

Travesties: The
Survivor Finale - SPOILER ALERT! Last night's Survivor finale was retarded. The jury picked the "nice" girl who didn't ruffle feathers over one of the best Survivor players ever. People are dumb.

What you got?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Best of the Decade: Movies

Moving right along, our favorite movies of the decade...


10 Coffee and Cigarettes – OK, this pick is random, but I loved it. It’s a series of black and white vignettes with actors and musicians chatting over (you guessed it) coffee and cigarettes about odd topics. Cate Blanchett plays herself and her jealous cousin, Jack and Meg White discuss Nikola Tesla, Bill Murray serves coffee to the Wu Tang Clan, etc, etc. Probably not going to make a lot of “best of the decade lists,” but it was certainly a bright spot for me over the last few years.

9. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – This was a decade clogged with movies about hilariously immature men and the horrible, bitchy women with the gall to want them to grow up. What I love about Anchorman is that it seems to realize its idiot male characters are idiots, rather than role models to aspire to. That, and its got more laughs per minute that pretty much anything released in the last ten years. “Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.” Priceless.

8. Before SunsetBefore Sunrise was a little movie about an American backpacker and a young French woman spending a special night together in 1995 Vienna. In 2004, director Richard Linklater picked the story back up, with the two meeting again after 9 years. While the first film is cute, the second has an emotional heft you don’t expect, and Linklater’s growth as a director is on full display. Before Sunset is what happens to rom-com characters after the credits role.

7. Persepolis – This is a movie about a young woman coming of age in Iran while the country is turning into a theocratic tyranny, and somehow I strongly related to it. Apparently growing up sucks everywhere, no matter what. Good to know.

6. There Will be Blood – A look at the two biggest forces in American history - capitalism and religion – and what happens when they collide. Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood’s score aptly sounds like the music for a horror movie.

5. No Country for Old Men – Javier Bardem personifies death (and maybe the devil) itself as he stalks Josh Brolin across the southwest in this Cohen Brothers masterpiece. Who knew death looked like the Little Dutch Boy? Intense, funny and frightening, this was one of the most deserving Best Picture winners of the decade.

4. Kill Bill (I count Vols. I and II as one film. Suck it). In both sending up and paying homage to action movies of every stripe, Quentin Tarantino endows the violence with the kind of feeling and artistry that we’re not used to seeing in our roaring rampages or revenge. I guess it takes a woman’s touch.

3. Lost in Translation – Two adrift souls find each other in Tokyo, and discover confusion isn’t so bad when you’re not alone.

2. The Royal Tenenbaums – I love Wes Anderson as much as the next middle class college graduate, but sometimes his characters are less human beings than collections of affectations. In The Royal Tenenbaums, he struck the right balance, and made one of the greatest examinations of family I’ve ever seen.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Jim Carrey proves he can act without ACTING!, Kate Winslet shows us the dark side of the manic pixie dream girl, and the film as a whole makes us ponder the meaning of love, memory and everything else that matters.


10. Sideways - Maybe it's because it takes place in California...or because it got me more interested in wine...or maybe it's because it let us all know just how amazing Paul Giamatti is, but I loved this story of love and friendship and wine and middle age. Endlessly watchable for the performances alone. I'm still not drinking any fucking Merlot!

9. Mean Girls - Everything about this movie is teen flick perfection. Penned by the genius Tina Fey, starring the pre-trainwrecky LiLo, and introducing us all to Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried, it's one of my all time favorites.

8. High Fidelity - There are several irrefutable truths about me: 1. I love John Cusack with the fire of a thousand suns and 2. I will read just about anything Nick Hornby touches. Naturally, that makes HF a big hit in my heart. Plus, Johnny's love interest in the movie is named Laura...which may or may not have special significance to me. AND The Boss cameos! ALSO, Jack Black is hilarious. I think you get the point. This movie is awesome.

7. The Wes Anderson Collection - I tried (really I did) to choose one Wes Anderson film for this list, but I can't do it. I like them all equally. Even The Darjeeling Limited (which no one liked). Thank God this is my blog and I can do what I want!

6. The Station Agent - Who knew a movie about a dwarf, a grieving mother and a mouthy Cuban could be so damn entertaining and heartbreaking? Bonus points for Peter Dinklage and Bobby Cannavale looking so hott!

5. O Brother, Where Art Thou? - My favorite Coen movie of the decade (yes, I like it even more than NCFOM). It looks and sounds amazing, draws inspiration from Homer, and is really, really hilarious. Can't ask for more than that really.

4. The Dark Knight - Best. Comic book movie. Ever.

3. WALL-E - The star of a very bright Pixar galaxy and the best first half hour of cinema since Saving Private Ryan.

2. Lost in Translation - There is absolutely nothing I love more than movies about loneliness and no movie has ever captured it better. Sofia Coppola is a genius and I think we all thank God for Scarlett Johansson.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - I've seen this at the top of several Best of the Decade lists...especially those complied by 20/30-something bloggers. Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry obviously tapped into something profound and universal. And, like Liz said, the performances by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are just perfection.

Honorable Mentions - 28 Days Later, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, The Departed, Once, Shawn of the Dead, Bowling for Columbine, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Memento, Children of Men, Moulin Rouge

So, there's our 2 cents. Your thoughts on a decade of movies?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Best Albums of 2009

It’s that time of year again: When I tell you my favorite albums from the past 12 months, and you tell me that you’ve never heard of any of these people!

(Note: This is not to be confused with our controversial list of the best albums of the ‘00s).

Obviously I didn’t get around to hearing every single album released in 2009, and obviously I have a certain taste, so if there is an album not mentioned here that the people simply MUST know about, tell us about it in the comments section. And, as always, please excuse the whiteness of my picks.

10. The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love Indulgent and nonsensical? You bet. Initially disliked and dismissed by yours truly? Oh yeah, totally. More satisfying and likeable upon further listening, especially when taken on its own merits rather than compared to the band’s previous work, to the point where I have done a complete 180 and included it among the best of the year? A doy!

9. The XX: xx An album full of songs this restrained and yet so sexy could only be made by the British. London-based The XX’s spare arrangements and entwining male and female vocals have a way of sneaking up on you, luring you in with their tentacles of deceptively simple bass lines and keyboard beats. Let them.

8. Neko Case: Middle Cyclone With her tales of untamable animals and heartbroken weather patterns, Neko Case bouys her reputation as a force of nature, and reminds everyone how awesome she is, as if we’d forgotten. And no, she didn’t make the list just because she’s a ginger. (Although it certainly didn’t hurt).

7. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart If The Onion was going to invent a precious little shoegaze group that indie rocks fans were predictably fawning over, it would probably have a name like "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart." So believe me when I say I didn’t want to like this band. And yet.... So maybe I'm a lemming. But hey, if being a lemming means I get to listen to this catchy, lo-fi fuzz pop which conjures up images of those few teenage moments when you didn’t feel crawling into a hole and dying and actually enjoyed being young, march me toward the cliff.

6. Antlers: Hospice The most depressing album of the year was also one of the most beautiful. God, that’s such a “music writer” thing to say. Sorry. But hear me out: As the title suggests, Hospice is an album about dying, in all its shapes and forms. It’s dark and moody, but in the midst of all, there are glimmers of … not hope exactly, but perhaps catharsis. Death may be sad and scary and disquieting, but it’s also the only time we’ll ever really let go.

5. Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca “Arty,” “experimental” and “weird” are three words that come to mind when describing the Dirty Projectors, but by borrowing from the best parts of the Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, the Velvet Underground and …. pretty much every other band you’ve ever heard, the bizarre stew somehow comes out charming and fun. You just might have to give it a few listens.

4. Grizzly Bear: Vekitimist A band that makes cabin-in-the-woods folk learns how to rock a bit, and explores a dark side. Haunting harmonies and freaky keyboard flourishes help this record defy the “acoustic band” label.

3. St. Vincent: Actor John Mellencamp once said that aside from Joni Mitchell, there are no female artists. I’m not sure where Mr. Our Country gets the authority to declare artistry, but I’d like to give him a copy of Actor, the latest album by Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent. “Singer/songwriter” doesn’t begin to describe her complicated, intricate songs that are also somehow highly listenable. Clark plays every guitar, piano, clavieta and xylophone you hear, and tops it off with her Disney princess voice to create something you’ll probably never hear in a Chevy ad, but won’t ever want to take off your iPod.

2. Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion For years now, the members of Animal Collective have been making lush, textured music that’s equally inspired by late ‘60s psychadelia, late ‘90s electronica and the entire catalogue of Brian Wilson. On Merriweather Post Pavilion, the band pulls their eccentric creation out of the fringes, creating something that music fans who don’t buy everything on vinyl despite being born after the invention of the CD might want to explore. It’s accessible, yet fascinating. It came extremely close to being my No. 1 of the year, but …

1. Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Every song sounds like a hit. Not a note is wasted. The dance floor sheen would have been an overproduced wasteland in lesser hands, but here it’s the sound of a great band just nailing it, over and over again. The second track’s appearance in a car commercial couldn’t even make me hate it. That’s unheard of. Best of the year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Some Bullet Points or Whatever

I currently have a serious case of the Christmas humbugs which is caring over to general humbuggedness (humbuggery?) in all aspects of life. Here's the thing: I am the worst gift giver in the universe. I apparently gave my dad Ghostbusters on DVD two Christmases in a row (an act I have no memory of, but about which my family teases me every year) and I literally lost sleep over this year's gifts last night. I just put too much pressure on myself to get "the perfect thing" when really I should just say, "Screw you guys! I'll get you what I want," but apparently that's not very Christmas spirity or whatever. So, I'm a grumpasaurus and you all suffer the consequences. I'm sorry...I don't want it to be this way...I just don't see any other option! Anyway, here are some talking points for your water coolers this morning/afternoon:

  • Golden Globe nominations are out. When will House and Entourage stop being nominated? At least True Blood and Glee made the cut. Oh, and apparently we all need to see Avatar now. It better be effing good, James Cameron!
  • I went to bed at 7:30 last night and missed The Sing Off (though I did DVR it). What's wrong with me?!?
  • My Fantasy Football teams went 4 for 4 this weekend and I'm now in the black. So, that's something to be happy about. We're all rooting for a Packers/Chargers Super Bowl, right?
How about you? How are you feeling about this holiday season? Do you still love House and it's predictable plot lines? Did you stay awake for The Sing Off? And do you want to see me win this fantasy league or not? Selfish...

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Sing Off Will Be Epic

Not since Clash of the Choirs have I been quite so excited about a singing show. Tonight, NBC debuts it's week long singing extravaganza of acapella groups from around the nation. Now, I'd always planned on watching, because I love a signing show, but then...THEN...I saw a preview and learned Ben Effing Folds will be one of the judges!!! OMG, how I love Ben Folds. This totally makes sense as Ben released an album of groups singing his songs acapella this year (which is amazing, btw. Definitely worth picking up.) Also involved are Nick Lachey, one of the dudes from Boys II Men (holla!) and the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls (Meh). Basically, to sum up, I can't wait!

And speaking of awesome rock stars, The Let's Make Outs (fka No Seriously, Let's Make Out fka Let's Make Out) played our first open mic night last night and it went pretty well. Our best song is our ode to everyone's second favorite philanderer, Don Draper. We're trying to record the sure-to-be-future-hit and we'll post it here for your listening pleasure whenever we accomplish that goal.

Anyway, what about you? Are you excited for The Sing Off? Or am I alone usual?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Hanukkah!

The Festivle of Lights begins at sundown, so a very happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish readers. I am not a member of your faith, but as a fan of latkes, chocolate gold coins and three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax, I applaud your continuing efforts.

La Chaim!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Best of the Decade: Music

In part two of our attempt to recap the Decade in Pop Culture, Red and I give you our picks for the Top Ten Albums of the ‘00s!

We tried to weigh artistry and all that snobby stuff, but mostly it just came down to what we enjoyed listening to the most. The best part is, unlike our television lists, our choices here are really different. I’ve listed them in descending order (10-1). Red goes first, because she included key lyrics.

Red’s Picks

10. The Magic Numbers: The Magic Numbers A little known band from England, my ex-boyfriend once called them “The least attractive band in the world” and, while that assessment may be true, they certainly know how to rock.
Key Lyric: “Take a chance/with a women who lets you”

9. Counting Crows: Hard Candy Perhaps the best record from the band from the Bay. Adam Duritz is so sensitive, he bags all the fine ladies. Hard Candy shows us why.
Key Lyric: “I really love the redhead girls/I’m just like all the boys from Texas.”

8. Wicked: The Musical The musical of the decade produced some of the best songs of the decade. It’s now everywhere, so go see it already!
Key Lyric: “And if I’m flying solo/At least I’m flying free.”

7. Los Campesinos!: Hold On Now, Youngster Rarely have I found a band or an album so infectious. I still cannot stop listening. I love how they blend super upbeat music with the most depressing lyrics you’ve ever heard. Ahhh, contrasts.
Key Lyric: “When our eyes meet/All that I can see/Is you’re the b-side.”

6. Hem: Eveningland So mellow, it can almost lull you to sleep, but as I’ve said a zillion times, this is what my band would sound like if I had a band. (Though, now, Liz and I have a band which sounds nothing like Hem, but whatever. That’s not important right now!)
Key Lyric: “I don’t want us to believe in the gravity of solid ground/The world below is not so big that it can keep us down.”

5. Justin Timberlake: Justified JT does what no one else can…he’s insanely likable and still so freaking cool. He can “Rock My Body” anytime.
Key Lyric: “It wasn’t like you only talked to him and you know it/(Don’t act like you don’t know it!)”

4. Rilo Kiley: More Adventurous My favorite Rilo record, back to front. I fell in love with them after I heard “Portions for Foxes.” End of story.
Key Lyric: “Plannin’s for the poor, so let’s pretend that we’re rich/And I’m not my body or how I choose to destroy it.”

3. Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way The Chicks are amongst the most daring artists in American music and this is the ultimate F-You album. Refusing to apologize for trashing George Bush and playing music no one puts on the radio, they still managed to sell records and win awards. They are amazing.
Key Lyric: “In the easy silence that you make for me/It’s okay when there’s nothing else to say to me/In the peaceful quiet that you make for me/And the way you keep the world at bay for me.”

2. Postal Service: Give Up Ben Gibbard makes electronica cool and listenable.
Key Lyric: “I’ve been waiting since birth to find a love that would look and sound like a movie.”

1. Ben Folds: Rockin’ the Suburbs Ben Folds first solo effort contains some of his best songs. Obviously, my favorite artist’s best album must be THE best album of the decade.
Key Lyric: “Everybody knows it sucks to grow up”

Liz’s Picks

10. The New Pornographers: Twin Cinema The Canadian power pop super group was at its best on this 2005 album, finding a pitch perfect blend of all the different voices and songwriting talents within. If you’ve never heard the song “The Bleeding Heart Show,” you’ve never really lived.

9. Death Cab for Cutie: The Photo Album From missing out on the perfect chance to tell your crush how you feel, to emptying an absentee father’s ashes at sea only to have the wind blow them back in your face, this record is full of intimate moments that make the listener feel like they’re in on a secret. A secret worth being in on.

8. The White Stripes: Elephant One of the most interesting groups of the decade decides to announce they’re not a novelty or a fluke by turning in a hard rock masterpiece. Not a bad strategy.

7. Bright Eyes: Lifted or I understand why a lot of people are turned off by Conor Oberst’s histrionics and self-obsession, but I’m also slayed every time he sings lines like, “Where was it when I first heard that sweet sound of humility? / It came to my ears in the goddamn loveliest melody / How grateful I was then to be part of the mystery, to love and to be loved.” No, he’s not the next Bob Dylan. He doesn’t need to be.

6. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Jeff Tweedy is trying to break your heart. With Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, he succeeds, and man does it hurt so good.

5. Rilo Kiley: The Execution of all Things My favorite album by my favorite band. Jenny Lewis’ gorgeous voice and Blake Sennet’s underrated guitar licks create charming Americana about growing up, getting old and moving on.

4. Sufjan Stevens: Come on, Feel the Illinoise Part history lesson, part magnum opus, all fantastically original. It prominently features both the banjo, and a backup group called the Illnoisemakers. What’s not to love?

3. The Postal Service: Give Up The glitchy electronica of Jimmy Tamborello turned out to be a surprisingly perfect fit for Ben Gibbard’s boyish tenor and prose-like lyrics. What began as a work-on-it-when-we-have-time side project somehow managed to capture the best of what was happening in music in the early 21st Century.

2. Radiohead: Kid A The cover of Spin Magazine proclaimed in 2001 that, “To save themselves, Radiohead had to destroy rock and roll.” I’m not sure Radiohead necessarily “destroyed rock and roll” with Kid A, but they certainly took it to strange and new places, places that are still more and more revaltory with every listen.

1. Arcade Fire: Funeral If you were unfortunate enough to live in the Northeast in the winter of 2003-2004, your toes probably still curl at the memory. It was one of the coldest on record. I remember one day, the newly launched Mars Rover reported back that a spot on the red planet was warmer than the city of Boston. In the midst of this, The Arcade Fire was recording Funeral in Montreal. Images of empty neighborhoods full of snow haunt the record, and the whole thing is ultimately about death in all its forms. But listening to Funeral isn’t chilling; it’s the opposite. Funeral is the roaring bonfire you want to gather around when everything looks desolate. It's one of the few albums I’ve bought based on buzz alone that not only lived up to the hype, it exceeded it.

What do you guys think?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Best of the Decade: Liz and Red's Top TV Shows

We like lists around here...I think that's well documented. So Liz and decided to each present our Best Of picks for the entire decade. We'll present them every Thursday or Friday (you know we can't be tied down!!!) for the next few weeks and you are encouraged to present your picks in the comment section. Should be fun, right? RIGHT?!?!?

We start with our favorite TV shows. The only criteria we established was the show must have debuted between 2000 and 2009 (this eliminated some classics such as Freaks and Geeks and The Sopranos, so there's that). Here's what we came up with (NOTE: Our picks are very similar because we are pretty much the same person. That's why we get along so well...narcissism):

Liz's Picks (Liz goes first because she wrote better blurbs than I did. Sue me!)

The Wire - As we enter year two of the Greatest Depression Ever, and people point fingers at Wall Street, debtors and every president ever elected, The Wire is there to remind us that the corners of American cities have been rotten since long before national unemployment hit double digits. The Wire did what weekly television has always been capable of but never quite dared: Fixed it eye on the great problems of our day, and never flinched.

Lost - The question, “How will it end?” has hung over Lost since its mind-boggling pilot debuted 5 years ago. This May, we’ll find out. I can’t imagine the writers can find an ending to the time-bending saga of more than a dozen castaways, “others” and the people caught in between that will satisfy every viewer. But the journey to that end has been like nothing we’ve seen on TV (especially network TV) before, and no matter what, it will be worth it.

Mad Men
- The first thing you notice about Mad Men, is that it looks like nothing else on television, and I’m not just talking about the skinny ties and evening gloves. Every shot is framed with precision, every color feels agonized over; this is a very delicately constructed world. Add to this brilliant, subversive writing and acting, and you really feel like you’ve been transported to another time and place. One you might not want to live in, but sure is fun to visit for an hour a week.

Arrested Development - The Bluths never really learned or grew the way bad people are supposed to on television, and that’s what made them so endlessly entertaining. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, Arrested Development’s central characters were some of the craziest ever concocted, and the show was an all-too-brief shot of brilliant lunacy into the TV comedy landscape.

30 Rock
- When trying to describe 30 Rock, the word I always come back to is “zany.” Less sophisticated than Arrested Development and not as cringingly realistic as The Office, 30 Rock thrives on a scattershot rhythm that makes viewers think anything could happen next. The only safe assumption is that whatever it is, it’ll be hilarious.

The Office - When it’s at its best, The Office finds hilarity in the mundane. Such banal tasks as going to meetings, eating lunch and selling paper are sources of high comedy. The show has wavered a bit lately, largely because it’s gotten away from the everyday realities of actual offices, but then every once in a while, Andy will refer to himself as “the ‘Nard Dog” one more time, and I fall in love all over again.

Veronica Mars
- Whip smart writing, a cool film noir vibe, and all shot in beautiful San Diego? Naturally this show about a teenage sleuth was too good for this world. But those who did watch got a fantastic mix of humor, mystery, action and wise cracks that all the Law & Order spin offs in the world will never be able to fill.

Battlestar Galactica
- The sci-fi show for people who don’t like sci-fi flipped the script on just what it was metaphoring so many times, the eponymous space ship itself felt like a human character by the end of the series. Were the show’s humans oppressed or oppressors? Is an insurgency evil or necessary? What does it mean to be human? BSG asked all these questions, and left the answers up to us. Plus, hot robots.

Big Love
- Of course the best female characters and most sympathetic depiction of a deeply religious family on television are all on a show about bigamy. The trials and tribulations of the Henrickson clan make for fantastic drama, and they don’t even swear!

The Colbert Report - In taking on the persona of a blustering, blow-hard right wing pundit, Stephen Colbert has managed to do what The Daily Show tries but really doesn’t: Make equal fun of the left and right, and points out how ridiculous and silly it all is anyway. In spoofing the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Colbert comes off as mostly poking fun at Republicans, but he manages to make a lot of subtle (and therefore all the more cutting) jabs at Democrats as well. You end up not really knowing where Colbert himself stands on it all, which you can’t say about Jon Stewart.

Red's Picks
The Wire - You're totally shocked, right? If you still haven't seen this show, what in the eff are you waiting for?!

Mad Men - It looks amazing and stars the most beautiful people in the known universe.

Lost - Proof network television can produce a terrific, hour long drama.

30 Rock - Liz Lemon is my hero.

Battlestar Galactica - I like sci-fi, but this show redefined the genre and made it cooler and more human than ever before.

Friday Night Lights - Coach and Tami Taylor are the most remarkable couple on TV. They give me hope.

The Office - The evolution of this show has been most entertaining. So different now from it's UK counterpart, Thursday nights wouldn't be the same without Michael Scott and company.

Veronica Mars - Criminally underwatched, Kristen Bell gave one of the best performances of the decade and, as we've mentioned before, inspired the name of our blog.

Gilmore Girls
- This show makes me want to move to small town USA. Even if the last season was less than satisfying, Lorelai and Rory will always be my favorite mother/daughter combo.

Rescue Me
- The first and second seasons were fantastic...the third, not so much...but the most recent season proved this is a series to be admired. Plus, the fact that it deals so much with 9/11 makes it an important show for this decade.

Honorable Mentions: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Dexter, Weeds, Breaking Bad, Flight of the Conchords, Alias: Seasons 1 and 2, and John From Cincinnati...just kidding.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This (mostly) Just In...

Grumpy is Good for You - Sweet! I can finally stop apologizing for being in a bad mood all the time!

Tiger, Tiger Woods, Ya'll
- This story makes me very sad. Apparently, Tiger Woods is a big ol' philanderer. I've always really liked Tiger and never thought he'd be one of "those" guys. As Liz said yesterday, "If tall, blond Scandinavian models get cheated on, there's not hope for the rest of us." We are all doomed.

Marilyn Monroe + Mary Jane - The screen starlet smokes pot in a film recently purchased by a collector...which was then, of course, leaked on the interwebs. Ah, modern society.

Top Chef Finale: Part I - What's the deal with these two part, two week finales? It's so freaking annoying! Just tell me Kevin won the damn thing already!

Vote for Me! - It's that time of year...when Grant Miller doles out his esteemed Drysdale Awards. And this year, by some weird fluke, I've been nominated for Blogger of the Year! There's pretty much no chance in hell I will win, but please vote for me so I'm not dead last. Please?!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I swear I haven't read or seen Twighlight, but ...

Me and some friends were talking about Twilight last night - like you do - and one of my guy friends said he thought it was a double standard that older women are allowed to talk about how hot the vampire and werewolf guys are, but if those theatres were full of older men hooting and hollering at teenage girls, there'd be a national outcry.

I see his point, but at the same time, I see a difference that I can't quite articulate. I thought this might open a fun "boys vs girls" comment war. Or like, 3 people could comment, and 2 of them will be me and Red. Whatever.


P.S. Sorry for this lame layout, and for not using an ecard that better suited the topic. Both are a result of Blogger being stupid.