Monthly Archives: December 2010
So, thats Christmas over for another year, though the turkey will keep you going for another week. Did you get anything good this year? Really? Wow, thats quite a cool present. Well, even though it has passed Boxing Day, many of you are probably still prostrate on the sofa, and this was the last link you clicked on before you lost all semblance of energy. A goood time then, to award the second of my 2010 Awards. This time, its Best TV Drama. The nominations are:
WINNER: Misfits (E4)
This was initially a programme I was late to, flocking to it along with most others when the rave reviews started. And I am so glad I did. What initially comes across as another excuse to feed taboo hungry teenagers with their fill of swearwords, gratuitous sex and violence, also captures the attention with clever plotlines, decent acting and excellent dialogue.
A fantastic example of all of these comes in a recently aired episode from Season 2, where Le Grande Fromage (played by up-and-comer Jordan Metcalfe, doing some of the finest acting of the series), a supervillain whose ability is total kinesis of dairy products. This inspires one of the immortal lines of the series: “You feel that? Thats the mozzarella you had earlier, wrapping itself around your cerebral cortex.” That is an example of dialogue that has been sorely lacking from high end dramas in recent years, and I commend Misfits for such bravery in allowing it into top quality British drama.
Sherlock came on to our screens with very little attention for most people. It was just a quick three-parter reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes story. And modern adaptations are rarely as good as they sound. This is often because writers cant wait to fill any script with up to date pop culture references and slang. Sherlock saves itself by reworking the story faithfully. Writers Moffat and Gatiss kept true to the original, with updated technology the only real differences. But most credit has to go to the acting performances of Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Andrew Scott in his one scene as Moriarty. The dialogue is crisp and the storylines are superb. Most importantly, we realised how much we missed Martin Freeman’s blank look of helplessness as a complete arse patronises him. A second series has been announced for 2011, and I couldn’t be happier.
The Trip (BBC2)
This was a very slow burning comedy that was misunderstood by many. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have been friends and collaberators for many years, and their on screen chemistry really holds the programme together. In fact, it is the only thing in the programme at all. The show is all about Steve and Rob trying to out-do each other, be it with impressions, intellect or integrity. However, it really works, and as probably the most minimalist and divisive drama of the year, it really captured my attention, and held it well.
The Great Outdoors (BBC4)
The real hidden gem of the nominations and the subject of my first blog, way back in August. This was a quirky little comedy about rambling, with a fantastic cast (Mark Heap, Ruth Jones, Katherine Parkinson) that really gels together to lift the script onto a whole new level. I don’t know how much I can say about this that isn’t already covered in the earlier review, but I dearly hope it earns a second series this year.
So, those are my favourites. If you have anything to say that may sway my decision one way or the other, please post a comment. Results will come soonish.
It’s December. There’s thick piles of snow blanketing the country. Paul McCartney and Bing Crosby are blasting out of shop stereos everywhere. Mince pies and mulled wine are back in season. Tim Allen is making a surprising amount of appearances on the television. So it must be that time of year again.
What, Christmas? Well yeah, but I was talking more about the Awards season. And not the big ones. This is the time of year, more than any other, where amateur bloggers and Facebook know-it-alls think, “people really care what I think.”
Well, I am a bigger know-it-all than most, and I have a blog. So here is my two pennies worth on the best of 2010. Bear in mind, I can only make a list based on what I’ve seen, so feel free to tell me I’m wrong for missing things out. But I’m not.
So, without further ado, here are my nominations for Best Film 2010.
Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Toy Story 3, Due Date
Part marketed as the greatest mindfuck since The Matrix, I’d be suprised if this didn’t win Christopher Nolan the Best Director Oscar that has been sorely lacking from his mantelpiece. The visual aspects of the dreamworld that he creates are spectacular, and the concept itself is great fun to get lost in. I was expecting to struggle in any efforts to keep up with the plot, but it was fairly simple to keep up to speed with what was going on in each level of each delicately crafted dream state.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
As a commercial entity, it flopped at the cinema. As a piece of pop culture artwork, it was one of the most thoroughly enjoyable movies I’ve seen all year. When you take your seat at the cinema, and the first thing you see of the movie is an 8-bit recreation of the Universal logo, you realise you are in for something good. For all I am told about comic book movies such as Sin City and 300, this is just as much of an artistic representation. Every image is bright and colourful, cartoony and in your face. As a project from Edgar Wright (director of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead) the pop culture references come thick and fast. Michael Cera makes another appearance as ‘socially insecure geek’ that he has mastered so successfully, and former superheroes Chris Evans and Brandon Routh make the best appearances of the evil exes. I’m not expecting this to come top of the list, but watch it anyway.
Toy Story 3
This film could not be omitted. As part of the generation that rightfully owns this trilogy (back off all those under 16, you got The Chronicles of Narnia- deal with it) it was a must see for me. The only thoughts I had going into the cinema were, ‘please don’t ruin the series’, and I am pleased to say it didn’t. As a film, I have to say I didn’t feel it matched up to the other two. It wasn’t as funny, and the overall plot seemed a bit slapdash. However, this film was all about wrapping my childhood up, and sentimentailty levels went through the roof. It brought back the mindset many of us new twenty-somethings had forgotten about childhood, the feeling of picking up a toy and creating a whole new world and adventures around it. Toy Story was the exact reason many of us could never give our favourite toys away when we grew up, and watching Andy have to do it had a big impact upon all who watched it in the cinema. It was closure, and though I didn’t cry, it took a hell of an effort.
I really wanted to put Dinner For Schmucks up as my comedy nomination. I feel wronged that it has such a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared to The Other Guys (see below for details). It was surprisingly funny, with a stellar casting, and wonderfully sad and sentimental in all the right places. However, Due Date just pipped it in terms of belly laughs.
Todd Phillips brings a lot of the script success of The Hangover with him, and more importantly, Zach Galifinakis. Galifinakis, like Cera, has found himself in a recurring role, that of ‘weird guy’. He was the undoubted star of The Hangover, and paired this time with Robert Downey Jr, he has taken the role to new levels. The pairing is inspired, the script is full of quirks for Galifinakis and irritated quips for Downey. Some scenes are slightly unsavoury, but as a whole I feel it is a massive step up from The Hangover. And that much at least makes it worthy of an appearance on the shortlist.
So, thats it. I’m sure you are wondering where the likes of Kick Ass, The Social Network, Despicable Me and Shutter Island are. Truth is, I haven’t been quite arsed enough to see them, but I’ll get around to them at some point. Give me your votes on this list and I’ll have results for you after the New Year. And there are still a few categories to go. So stay tuned. Or not. But you won’t get many better opportunities to tell me how wrong I am.