The Third Annual Andy Movie Awards

And now, the real reason I make so much effort to watch any and all Award-type movies: so I can compile my own list of winners, making as informed votes as possible for someone who has to pay for every movie he sees (unless I’m with someone who pays for me), and find the time to watch them in between a job and life that are not in the movie critics field (well, not yet anyway).

To qualify for an Andy Movie Award, a movie had to A) be released theatrically in North America within the calendar year of 2006, and B) be seen by me. These rules made 54 movies eligible (one of which I just watched 6 hours ago), but leaves out a couple documentaries I saw from HBO and Showtime. As for movies that were actually nominated by the Academy, there were 43 different feature length movies nominated for an award by the Academy, of which I saw 28 (65%). The percentage increases if you take the Documentary and Foreign Language categories out of the equation, as I missed 6 of them (3 each) for the simple matter that they haven’t been available in my part of the world (well, one was made available last week, but has only shown maybe 7 times since then). That would bring my percentage up to 73% (24 of 33), which would be the percentage of Oscar-nominated movies that I had the ability to see and did see, which ain’t bad if I do say so myself.

Here, I will present my nominees and winners in the same categories, and in the same order, as the Academy did on their telecast, with the exception of short films (which I saw none, but do have three downloaded to maybe watch later), the categories I don’t know enough about to make nominees (Editing, Sound, Sound Editing), or the category I think is completely fucking stupid (Best Original Song). But enough with the introduction, on with the show…
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Top 10 Movies of 2006

I gave myself til the end of January to post this list, hoping to catch up on all the end of the year releases that don’t reach most screens until January. Well, it’s the end of January, so it was time to commit to my list. After all, year end lists become less and less relevant the farther away from the end of the year they come.

I didn’t get a chance to see every movie I wanted to see from 2006, but I did catch a lot of them (46 and counting). Movies that I wanted to see by have not yet seen include Pan’s Labyrinth, The Last King of Scotland, Little Children, Flags of our Fathers, Jesus Camp, Deliver us from Evil, Hollywoodland, and The Good German, so that’s why none of them make the list. No worries, as this won’t be my last word on the year in movies (that’ll come around Oscar time).

For most of the year, I thought 2006 to be a pretty crappy year for movies. But, while putting this list together, I realised that it turns out that there was a lot of good movies this year, just not necessarily at the multiplex. Instead, it was a year of disappointing and diminishing returns for heavily promoted movies, especially during the summer. But if you sought out good movies, there was some great ones to be seen. So, if you’re down on the year in film, maybe you just weren’t seeing the right movies.
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Top 10 TV Episodes of 2006

Hey, I wasn’t kidding when I said I love year-end lists. Thus, I shall leave no stone unturned in my attempt to quantify the year in pop culture. Unlike my Top 10 TV Shows of 2006 list, this list only judges episodes that aired in the calendar year, January-December. So some might be from current seasons, while others will be from previous seasons.

To put the list together, I went through episode listings and summaries from the shows I watch on various web sites like TV.com, IMDb, Wikipedia, and Television Without Pity, picking out episodes that stand out in my memory. Then I worked from that list to make my ten. I didn’t do anything crazy like re-watch every episode or anything, cause if an episode wasn’t memorable enough for me to decide on it now, then it wouldn’t be top ten, now would it? As a result, this list is heavy with event programming, be it season finales or sweeps week episodes that send the show into hiatus. But, hey, they usually save their best stuff for then anyway, so I’m sure this list is solid.

NOTE: Since I’ll be talking about specific episodes, the write-ups will be necessarily spoilerish. For people who want to skim but remain unspoiled, the pictures are fairly unspoilery.
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Top 10 Albums of 2006

After much deliberation and last-minute cramming of 2006 albums, I’ve decided to commit to my top ten albums of the year list. This list was harder for me to make than last year’s top twenty, as this hasn’t been a banner year for music. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been some good albums this year, but no great ones. At this point, I’m not sure any of the albums on this list would get five stars were I to review them. Things could always change of course, as I spend more time with a particular album, my appreciation of it could change, or an album I’ve yet to have heard may be a five-star effort.

But I did my best to listen to as many albums that I could (well, of bands that I would be interested in, no sense in checking out the best the world of country has to offer, for instance). So I feel pretty good about the make-up of my list as it stands right now.
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Top 10 TV Shows of 2006

Like last year, this list will be for shows whose season ended in 2006. It’s too awkward to try and judge the second half of one season from January-May, then the first half of the next season from September-December. Seasons should be judged by themselves, as a whole. Thus, this list will include seasons that began in 2005, but ended in 2006, or shows that had their entire season within 2006. Seasons that began in 2006 but have yet to finish do not qualify for this list.

Shows I don’t watch, and thus will not make this list include all procedurals and cop shows, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, The Wire, 24 (which I do watch, but am behind on the DVDs), and Gilmore Girls. Also, I didn’t catch all of the first season of How I Met Your Mother, so I’m leaving it off the list. Consider that an honourable mention.
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Top 5 Concerts I Saw in 2006

I did this list last year, realising that its not exactly the kind of list others can judge. No one but my wife could say whether or not these particular shows were the best of the 8 I saw this year (9 if you include the Evening with Kevin Smith event we attended). But, it’s a fun way to look back at the year and see what kind of shows I went to. I’d be interested in seeing a list like this from others if they have one, or any year end list for that matter. Seriously, put the year in the title of a list and post it in December/January, and I’ll read it. It’s something I should probably look into.
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