Top 10 Films of 2011

This list is so out of date that this should be in sepia tone.


Look, you and I both know that there’s no legitimate reason to writing a post like this in late June. I missed anything resembling timeliness months ago. But the way I figure it, why get lost in a sea of year end lists at the actual year end when you can do it when the next year is half over? Plus, writing this list late then using the intro paragraph to explain its lateness is practically a Critically Speaking tradition now.

I probably didn’t see enough movies to make an observation about the year in film as a whole, but if I’m not going to let something like the calendar stop me from posting, why should a lack of experience? By and large, when it came to the biggest promoted films, be they blockbusters or Oscar contenders, it wasn’t that impressive a year. Critics I read and trust have come out and said 2011 was one of their favorite years for film, but their lists supporting it are full of films that you’d be lucky to catch at all unless you live in a major metropolitan city. So I’ll trust them that the farther you looked this year, the more gems there were to unearth. Which would be awesome if I had more time to watch movies. But I don’t, so I was largely underwhelmed by the offerings of 2011, which is probably the biggest reason why I had little motivation for posting this in a timely fashion. But even with that lack of motivation, I have to say, I stand by every choice on this list. Maybe only one of them is what I’d truly describe as “great”, but all of them were well worth my time. And yours.
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Top 10 TV Shows of 2011

Surveilling the 2011 TV landscape


While my top albums of the year list diverged from critical consensus due to a mixture of life-related ignorance and trend-related indifference, this list will look like a lot of the others you’ve seen elsewhere. It’d be nice to make a statement and be more original, but best is best. When it comes to TV, consensus tends to emerge because even critics have to limit their viewing, as it requires more of your time to watch a tv series than watching a movie or listening to an album. So the critics do some sampling, champion their favourites, and I listen.

And even though I’m selective when it comes to my TV-watching, it’s still the medium that dominates most of my time. There’s so much good TV out there that even I can’t keep up, so for 2012, I’m trying to reduce my consumption to only greatness. If a TV show can’t meet the standards of the series you see here (or fails to continue to meet previous standards), then it’s gotta go. After all, I gotta make room for other great shows (some of which might even be missing here, although probably not). So if you’d like to be more selective with your viewing, consider this a guide of what should stay in your line-up.
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Top 10 Albums of 2011

Remember when we owned things?


2011 was an odd year for me and music. Looking around year-end lists by other publications made me worry about how out of step I’ve become. Yes, some of the albums you’ll see on this list have popped up on other lists, but not as often as in year’s past. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve become more original and iconoclast, but honestly, it seems like the way to make this list was to be an artist I already liked releasing an album of similar quality to that which I’ve liked in the past (although it could just be that what was buzz-worthy this year was genres I don’t really care for). While I stand by my choices here, it’s possible that in the future, I may end up thinking of 2011 as the year my tastes calcified and I just gave up. But until then, at least I’ll have these albums to sustain me.
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Top 10 Movies of 2010

The only way this list will be helpful at this point.

The only way this list will be helpful at this point.

Yes, this list is incredibly late. So late that there’s really no need to post it at all. Even if I allow myself to believe that there are people interested in my opinion on these things, I’d have to assume any such interest died months ago. Especially since I basically ranked my top movies months ago in my Oscar post. So why do it?

Well, I’ve done a year end movie list every year since I started blogging, so it feels incomplete to not have one. The Oscar one doesn’t necessarily fit the bill, given that I hadn’t even seen all ten films nominated at that point, plus my top ten includes at least a couple films that weren’t nominated for best picture (alright, literally, only a couple. What can I say? They did a good job this year. Plus, I didn’t see all that many movies). Mostly, this list is here not for now, but for years from now when I want to know what I liked in 2010 (so I have when I start another best of the decade list that I’ll never properly complete). Plus, I don’t really update this thing much anymore, so why not feed it with some new content, no matter how outdated?
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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.
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Critically Speaking Picks the 83rd Academy Awards – Part One

When will I be named a member of the Academy already?


In years past, one of my favourite posts to make was the Andy Awards, where I chose not only who I thought should win awards in the various movie categories, but also who should have been nominated in the first place. After all, why pick from a flawed list put together by Academy members influenced by various politics and what not? Plus, if you’re interested in reading my opinions, then you’d probably want me choosing from my own opinions, not from someone else’s.

But, now I have a son and a lot less time to watch movies. Gone are the days where I could compile unique choices of nominees from the dozens of qualifying films I’ve watched. Last year, I did a quick selection of winners tacked on to a year end list. This year, I’m giving in and picking from the Academy’s list of nominees; largely because I haven’t seen many movies from 2010 other than the ones that were nominated. Of the films to score major nominations, the one I haven’t seen yet but wish I had is 127 Hours. I’d be interested in seeing Rabbit Hole if I thought I was capable of handling it, but as a father of a young son, I don’t think I could. I almost watched Animal Kingdom the other night but didn’t, while I’m comfortable skipping Biutiful (Iñárritu films leave me cold).

To clarify: this is a post of who I think should win each award, not who I think will win. Oscar predictions are all over the net, and basically are no fun unless you’re in a pool. It’s become an annoying side business that distracts from the real discussion of what is worthy when all anyone wants to talk about is the various campaigns and tea leaf readings trying to predict the hive mind of members of the Academy. Also, I’m only going to be picking categories where I seen enough of the nominees to have at least a partial basis for an opinion (which probably puts me ahead of many members of the Academy).
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