I decided to look at Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 Must List for the year as a single entity. Everything on it has been mentioned in previous issues and I have blogged about a majority of the things on the list. If I haven’t watched, read, or listened to it, I’m not going to offer commentary on it.
1. The Social Network
EW: “Director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin turned Facebook’s origin story into a fast, funny masterpiece. Thanks to zippy dialogue and a sparkling cast, Network was this year’s can’t-stop-talking-about-it sensation.”
My opinion: There’s a reason this is on nearly every top ten list for the year and has won a ton of Best Picture awards from the various critics circles around the country. It’s an amazing movie. As far as writing, acting, and directing go, it’s nearly flawless. The score is phenomenal. It’s the frontrunner for Best Picture at the Oscars and deservedly so.
2. Modern Family
EW: “Coming off last year’s stellar debut, the ABC sitcom found an excellent groove between hilarious and endearing. With its outrageously charming ensemble and an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy, we can only ask: May we always be part of this Family?”
My opinion: This is tied with Community for the funniest show on TV right now. All of the actors are absolutely hilarious. The writing is always spot-on. Every week, I tune in and expect to laugh my ass off. I am almost never disappointed.
3. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
EW: “A follow-up to The Corrections, Franzen’s huge, lush novel about a marriage is also a fully formed portrait of our time.”
My opinion: I have not read this yet. It’s nearly 600 pages long and I just haven’t had the time to get into yet. My mom said it’s really good, though.
4. The Kids Are All Right
EW: “This keenly observed family drama was better than just all right: It was a remarkable portrayal of an unconventional domestic life.”
My opinion: I have this from Netflix right now. Expect a review in the next 24-36 hours.
5. The Walking Dead
EW: “In a mere six episodes, the first season of AMC’s horror hit put most new TV shows to shame. Get past the zombie kill shots, and what really makes Dead work is its still-breathing protagonists, the best cast of freaked-out survivors since that show about the island.”
My opinion: Absolutely not. I watched the first episode and I really was unimpressed by it. To be fair, though, I can’t get past the blood and gore. The sight of blood makes me queasy, so I spent most the pilot wanting to vomit.
6. Speak Now, Taylor Swift
EW: “Forget the guys she may or may not be singing about (Taylor Lautner? John Mayer? Kanye West?). The 21-year-old’s slyly produced smash album is a surprisingly grown-up study of romance, regret, and heartbreak.”
My opinion: Aw, hell no. I will give it to her that it wasn’t as awful as I had expected it to be. However, she keeps writing the same song over and over again. I liked her first album, but I’m more than ready for the Taylor Swift phenomena to end.
7. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
EW: “After last year’s VMA antics, West was bent on releasing one of 2010’s best albums. And with a roster of greats assisting his own poignant rhymes and masterful production, he did just that.”
My opinion: I have not listened to the full album yet. I plan on doing so in the next few days, so I will form an opinion then.
8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
EW: “Skloot set out to discover how one dead woman’s cells ignited a scientific revolution. The resulting book is part medical thriller, part ghost story, and impossible to put down.”
My opinion: I hadn’t even heard of this book, but from the description in EW, it sounds intriguing.
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
EW: “Bleak and paranoid, the seventh Potter movie could’ve been a slog. But director David Yates transformed Hallows into vivid entertainment, with thrills, chills, and genuine humanity.”
My opinion: As I wrote in my last post, I adored this film. I firmly believe it belongs on this list. My favorite of the big blockbuster movies this year.
10. Mad Men
EW: “AMC’s ‘60s-era drama has long operated at a slow boil, but this year reaffirmed that Mad Men is always worth the wait. Between Kiernan Shipka’s breakout performance as Sally, the not-long-for-this-world Miss Blankenship, and Don’s surprise proposal in the October finale, season 4 may be the series’ best yet.”
My opinion: This is arguably the best dramatic series on television in quite some time. As far as I’m concerned, it’s right up there with The West Wing, Veronica Mars, and Friday Night Lights. Trust me, that’s extremely high praise in my book. However, the cracktastic twist in the finale this year kind of hurt my opinion of the overall season. Ignoring the proposal that came out of left field, though, watching the Don Draper’s downfall and eventual “rebirth” was absolutely fantastic.
Coming tomorrow: My own top 10 list