December 28, 2011

Alfie's Favourite Things, 2011

This has been such a busy year for me (change of work, home, etc.), that it feels like I have lost some footing as a pop culture vulture and am behind on my viewing, listening, reading, and am especially behind on making snarky anti-Kardashian comments. Sure gotta catch up on all of these!

That being said, I am a total pop culture junkie, and here are my faves of the year. Let me know your favourites in the comments, I have some catching up to do!

I am behind the starting line here, as have not (yet!) seen many of the critical hits like The Artist, The Tree Of Life, The Descendants, or the latest Adam Sandler bomb. My fave movie so far was Crazy Stupid Love, the smart and grown-up romantic comedy with Steve Carrell and Julianne Moore; it made me laugh and made me care about its characters. Honourable mention to Moneyball, Midnight in Paris, and X-Men First Class.

Book, fiction
Julian Barnes' The Sense Of An Ending took my breath away; this slim haunting smart novel is about Tony Webster, a middle-aged man who hears of the death of a figure from his past and for the first time re-examines his life choices by going out and investigating his own past; his soul searching became mine. A terrific read.
Honourable mention to a creative new new twist on Sherlock Holmes in The Sherlockian, Jodi Picault's family drama Sing Me Home, and the suspenseful and twisty Await Your Reply.

Books, non-fiction
Famous movie reviewer Roger Ebert amazed me with his autobiography Life Itself, where he talks about movies and family and travel and business and his fight with cancer. It is a smart and interesting read, easily my favourite of the year.
Honourable Mention to the beautiful and fascinating coffee table book Fleetwood Mac: The Definitive History and the Starbucks business book Onward.

Best show overall is still my beloved The Good Wife, which got smarter and faster and continued to pile on talented guest starts like Michael J Fox and use them wisely. While I watch a lot of TV, there are few shows I really follow, and this is the top of that list. It is complex and smart and morally thoughtful. It really is The Great Wife.
Honourable mention to the always funny The Big Bang Theory and the surprisingly intimate and touching A Very Gaga Thanksgiving. And we also watch a lot of the disturbing and addictive Criminal Minds.

Adele, 21: While reminding me of the Shirelles sand Supremes, and 70s Billy Joel and Elton John, and yet totally original, this soulful heartbreaking spirited album about an angry breakup is breathtaking. I have been playing it in my car for months, and we will be playing it twenty years from now. It is that good.
Honourable mention to Steve Nicks, In Your Dreams, Kelly Clarkson, Stronger, and Lady Gaga, Born This Way.

iPad Apps
While not new to the Apple world, it was new to me... I love love love iPad Scrabble. It's like real old fashion Scrabble and so much more.

Live shows
In New York, we saw the new Broadway musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert and loved every minute of its joyous happy self. And in Las Vegas we saw the not-as-new Cirque de Soleil show Beatles LOVE which was my favourite Cirque show ever, from its death-defying acrobatics to it reworking of the Beatles songs, to its amazing staging and costumes. A must-see. And here in Edmonton, I laughed my ass off when we saw Joan Rivers live. A truly hysterical comedian.

What have I missed? What were your favourites of the year?


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