Top 20 TV Shows of 2010

This would make my TV watching so much easier.


I had big plans for my year end TV post to finally dive into podcasting to discuss my list with my TV viewing-and-life partner. I did a good amount of prep so we wouldn’t stumble around the whole time, gave my wife the hard sell to convince her to humour me (a pattern in our relationship), and set aside a night to record (cutting into valuable TV watching time). We talked for about 2.5 hours, going over the greatness of the year in TV, each of the top 20, and a little bit about different shows that missed the list. Sure, that’s a long podcast, but with editing and splitting, I think it would’ve been a fun two-parter. It was all pretty cool… until I realized that I completely screwed up the recording (largely due to the high potentiality that I forgot to hit the “record” button before we started).

We thought about redoing it, making it shorter in the process, but never got around to it. Now we’re over two months past the end of the year, which is a little late to be talking about the previous year of a continuous medium like television. Not only are we past the point of relevance for such a list, the past two months for fresh content makes it pretty difficult (how do you talk about a show in terms of 2010 if it’s continued to run new episodes since then?).

But… I already made the list. And the internet isn’t going to break if one more list is added to it, even one that’s a little late to be relevant. After all, I didn’t spend my time watching all or at least a majority of 41 different shows to not tell people what I think of them. So even though it’s entirely unlike me to do so, I’ll be posting them without comment, since I’ve already spent 2.5 hours sharing my thoughts with my number one reader on these, in addition to thoughts I already typed in last year’s Andy TV Awards and thoughts I’ll share in this year’s awards. But I’d love to discuss any show here if you’re interested, so leave a comment and we can chat.

And now, the list.
Continue reading

Top 10 Movies of 2008


As I did with my albums of the year list, I have to begin this list lamenting the fact that the 2008 year in film was not as good as the 2007 year in film. It was a down year for art in general, as pretty much any critic you read will tell you. Part of the reason for the negativity is the fact that the usual year end glut of awards baiting prestige films were largely disappointing, often ranging from merely solid to outright bad. And since that’s the steady diet critics (and myself) are fed around the time they write year end lists (albeit theirs come out at the actual end of the year, whereas mine waits until February, but I have to pay to see my movies), so it’s not surprising that the same enthusiasm wasn’t there, especially when the year before featured instant classics like No Country for Old Men, Zodiac, and There Will Be Blood.

Instead, the greatness in 2008 came not from the types of movies Hollywood likes to get dressed up for to dole out awards, but from the films fans line up for to buy overpriced concessions to see on opening day, or movies released early in the year when people weren’t paying attention. So this list is still filled with movies I enjoyed quite a bit, and recommend to everyone. As of this writing, I’ve seen 63 films released in North America in 2008, which includes some foreign language films that were released in their native countries in previous years, but doesn’t include some TIFF films I saw that haven’t yet been released (some of which would definitely contend for this list and will probably pop up next year… unless it is phenomenal). Of those 63, these were the best…
Continue reading

TIFF 08: Day 6

Time to review the theatres themselves. Thus far, we’ve only been to three of the different theatres showing festival screenings, with two others to experience later this week. A majority of our screenings have been at the Ryerson Theatre, which is a large amphitheatre for the college, seating 1200 people. This is the third big venue for the festival, following Roy Thompson Hall (home to the big gala premieres) and The Elgin Theatre (home to the Visa Screening Room, which features other big gala premieres and second screenings of stuff from the Thompson). Screenings at those two theatres aren’t eligible for use with our Festival Lite packages (which is, of course, complete bullshit – especially when it comes to repeat screenings at the Elgin. I can understand reserving gala premieres for those willing to pay $40, but repeat screenings? This is what has shut us out of films like Burn After Reading, The Duchess, Rachel Getting Married, and The Good, The Bad, and The Weird). So the Ryerson is the only place we can go for third-tier gala premieres (such as Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Slumdog Millionaire, and tonight’s The Brothers Bloom), and the odd big name repeat screening (Passchendaele, RocknRolla). Luckily, because it’s such a big venue, we were able to get into all the screenings we chose for it, and have always been able to get seats where we want (which is generally close to the front to get a good view of the celebs, and off the side as close to the aisle as possible).

The bad side of the Ryerson is that it’s a pretty shitty place to watch a movie. The sound is fine and the picture quality is great (using Dolby Digital when they can), but the seats are terrible, meaning that you spend most of the film squirming from one uncomfortable position to another. The washrooms are also a mess, down the stairs and across a hall, with the ladies room usually a solid 15 minute wait (of course, the dude’s line is never that long, so I’m good. But I can still sympathize for my wife, right?).

The Scotiabank Centre is your typical modern cineplex, with comfy seats, cup holders, and stadium seating, plus fast food in the concourse. It’s also the only one that lets us line up inside, so that’s a nice touch on the rainy days (oh, and Kim wants me to add that it takes our Scene card for concessions). No complaints there, although you’re not gonna get any premieres here (that said, Ed Harris still showed up to introduce Appaloosa). The AMC is a new venue, similar to Scotiabank in that it has the modern amenities of a multiplex, but better. Every theatre is digital, the seats are more plush, the armrests pull up so we can sit closer to each other without the barrier, there’s a nice individual snack plan. So far, AMC is our favourite venue, with the only flaw being that they make you wait outside (although today we able to get out of one screening in time to walk into the next, foregoing the line). Too bad there’s no AMC theatres where I live.

Read on for musings on The Wrestler, More Than a Game, The Dungeon Masters, and The Brothers Bloom
Continue reading

Movie Review Catch-up

This quickie review package contains two 2008 theatrical releases, the sort of thing that the old me would have obsessively tried to write out full reviews for, even if I didn’t have the time. Now, I’m trying to branch out a bit more, so movies like these are getting lost in the shuffle. Which isn’t a judgement on the films themselves necessarily, but more that I’ve now gotten far enough away from them that I probably wouldn’t be able to give them a full write-up anyway. Especially since blockbuster season is upon us and I try to get my thoughts out there on the movies people are more likely to see.

Read on for reviews of:
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)
Margot at the Wedding (2007)
Redbelt (2008) 
The Visitor (2008) 
Continue reading

Top 5 Worst Movies of 2007

I wasn’t going to do this list this year, feeling so good overall about the year in movies. Then this happened, and I figured I might as well. I’ll be force-feeding myself some more 2007 movies in the coming weeks, so there’s a good chance that something else I’ll see would have contended for this list, but I figure at some point you have to accept that you’re either not going to see everything, or you’re never going to make a list (I choose A. On that note, expect my best movies of the year list soon).

More than any other list I write, I must stress that this is the Top 5 Worst Movies of 2007 That I Saw. Some of these are plenty bad, but I’m absolutely certain that I haven’t seen most of the worst movies of the year, as I generally make an effort to avoid bad movies (whereas I am pretty confident that I’ve seen the majority of great movies, so I like that list more). Still, it’s always fun to make fun of stuff, so here we go.
Continue reading