We are quite aware that 2011 is SO last year. But we had this post in the works and just somehow never got around to actually putting it on the blog. We thought it would be interesting to document the movies and television shows we watch each year and see how our viewing habits change from year to year. Some of the movies/shows are not actually 2011 shows, they are just ones we watched in 2011. We never have time for live television shows anymore - we record and watch as we have time, which isn’t very often. For me, it is mostly weekend nights. Troy also seems to fit in a little extra time between the hours of 10 pm and midnight, when the girls of the house are getting their beauty rest. Needless to say, we are often a season behind on our favorite shows. So please don’t share what has happened on the current seasons - we aren’t big fans of spoilers.
He Said: Top Five Movies Watched in 2011
2011 easily had the least number of movies I’ve watched since I started focusing on movies on my other blog. By my count, I watched around 30 movies in 2011, whereas in 2009 and 2010 I watched close to 100 each year. I was still able to see plenty of great stuff this year, though.
- Certified Copy. Abbas Kiarostami’s film was the best movie I saw this past year and one I need to write about at some point. It’s a perfect mix of Italian locations, beautiful cinematography, outstanding lead performances by Juliette Binoche and William Shimell, and a brilliantly layered and intellectual look at language, wordplay, and identity. Yes, it’s one of THOSE kind of films :)
- I Saw The Devil. I wrote about this one already, one of the best revenge films I’ve seen, though certainly not for the weak of heart and NOT FAMILY FRIENDLY (as Tricia wanted me to point out). If you need a comparison, I wouldn’t call it a stretch to equate Jee-woon Kim as the Quentin Tarantino of South Korean filmmakers.
- A Prophet. Yes, this marks three movies with subtitles at the top of my list. Pretentious, huh :P Jaques Audiard’s French prision/gangster drama is grimy, naturalistic, and intense. Though not as colorful as Scorsese or as dreamlike as Melville, the influence of those directors’ films is apparent, and fans of theirs would certainly appreciate this.
- Sunset Blvd. Of the classic movies I watched for the first time in 2011, this would be my favorite. It’s perfect noir and perfect satire, with a performance by Gloria Swanson that stands the test of time despite how oft repeated it’s become 60 years later.
- Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Okay, so this is likely the worst film I saw last year, but it’s of the “so bad it’s good” variety. Here, just watch this clip and this clip to understand why...FOR A BILLION DOLLARS!
She Said: Top Five Movies Watched in 2011
I am not sure that I even watched more than five movies in 2011 . . .
- The Muppets. This is the only movie I saw in the theatre in 2011. I totally loved it and had a grin on my face for the entire two hours that I was at the theater – it made me feel like a little girl again!
- Sherlock Holmes. This is the 2009 version that I finally watched. I thought it was fun and entertaining - I immediately went and downloaded a few Sherlock Holmes novels to read on my Nook. Someday, I will get around to watching the 2011 sequel: A Game of Shadows.
- The Adjustment Bureau. A clever plot about the extent to which one controls his or her own destiny - and a fun watch. Of course, I am likely to see pretty much any movie that stars Matt Damon...
- The Ides of March. I had an embarrassing moment in an MBA class several years ago when the professor asked who thought politics were boring. Without thinking, I raised my hand (I never do that)! I was also the only one out of approximately 50 students who raised a hand and therefore got singled out during the next 1.5 hour lecture. This was awkward because I was sitting in the back of the class where I always sat to try to avoid attention, and everyone had to keep turning around to look at me. For the record: (1) I do not think politics are boring and I will forever be more careful before giving a rash answer, (2) the lecture was possibly a little boring, and (3) this movie probably more accurately depicts some of my true notions about politics.
- True Grit. A 2010 film, but I didn’t see it until 2011. I am a big fan of old western movies (moreso the ones with Jimmy Stewart than John Wayne though). This movie had the same feel of some of those old westerns.
He Said: Top Five Television Shows Watched in 2011
- Breaking Bad, Season 4. It was between this and Game of Thrones for the top spot. Breaking Bad may have a less epic scale, but there a microscope-like focus on the characters here that makes each episode enthralling. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul lend two of the best performances on television and the writing and pacing kept a sustained tension and feeling of impending doom. The last shot evokes a tone as that of the end of Godfather II, making me very intrigued to see the inevitable fall-from-grace the final 16-episodes are pointing towards.
- Game of Thrones, Season 1. An incredible undertaking by HBO here -- probably the best production values and sense of grandeur that TV has thus far produced. It’s fantasy TV for people who don’t really like the more generic good-versus-evil progression of something like Lord of the Rings, a perfect mix of soap opera, action, and epic, long-term storytelling with enough characters in it that you need a guide to keep track. I just hope it doesn’t go the route of Rome or Deadwood and manages to make it to its ending point…
- Justified, Season 2. The second season improved upon the first, with better pacing and utilization of the supporting cast. Margo Martindale definitely earned her Emmy for the role of Mags, but it’s Timothy Olyphant and Walter Goggins portraying Marshall Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder who provide the catalyst for what make the show so entertaining week after week.
- Friday Night Lights, Season 5. This is about as good as network dramas get and one I’ve expressed my love for before. Throughout five seasons the show had characters come and go, but it was always the relationship of Coach Taylor and Tami that was the glue that held the show together. The last image we see of them, showing both of them doing what they love to do (coaching/teaching) was a perfect ending to one of my all-time favorite shows (and maybe got me a little misty eyed). Clear eyes, full hearts…
- Parks and Recreation, Seasons 3,4. Literally the best comedy on TV and season 3 stands as the funniest season of comedy I’ve seen since Arrested Development went off the air. The additions of Adam Scott and Rob Lowe were a brilliant bit of casting and for my money, Amy Poehler is the best actress in all of TV, drama or comedy.
She Said: Top Five Television Shows Watched in 2011
- Friday Night Lights. My favorite television show ever. Y’all, I heart Mrs. Coach aka Tami Taylor. I once bought a dress because I thought it looked very “Tami Taylor.” Next I bought sunglasses for the same reason. Nuff said.
- Cagney and Lacey. Yep – my favorite television viewing in 2011 includes a 1980s police procedural show. I’m a big fan of Tyne Daly as an actress and I love that the female detective she plays in this show is also a working mom. For working moms, not much has changed in 30 years (wardrobe and technology aside)!
- Parenthood. Great parenting drama that has made me cry and laugh a lot. Especially poignant after becoming a mom myself. I think the character Julia is a slightly exaggerated version of me – I wouldn’t put it past myself to install crime scene tape around a “misdeed” of Madelyn’s and lecture her on the finer points of law (favorite scene ever!).
- Parks & Recreation. I don’t know how long it has been since I last watched comedies (dramas are typically more my style). But the 30-minute length works with my limited television-watching time and this show consistently makes me laugh. It has actually been a long time since I could say that about a television show.
- Chuck. I have had a lot of fun watching this show the last few years. I have yet to watch Season 5 that started this fall, but Season 4 ended particularly well in my opinion – especially since it was the third potential “ending” the writers had to plan for the show due to cancellation threats every season.
Madelyn’s Top Five in 2011
Madelyn’s screen time at home is limited at this point to an occasional PBS morning show and a handful of dvds for special occasions such as (a) long car trips, (b) times when Mommy or Daddy are behind on work, or (c) when Madelyn is sick - not that being sick is a “special occasion” but it warrants an attempt to get her to slow down her activity level.
- Toy Story 2. Madelyn refers to this as the “Jessie” movie. It is definitely her favorite between the three Toy Story movies. She would probably pick this movie over Wall-E now, but Wall-E and Eve do hold the distinction of being her favorite stuffed animals who she takes to bed with her every. single. night.
- Winnie the Pooh. The new 2011 version is sweet and cute. Madelyn likes to refer to the rumbles in her tummy just like Winnie the Pooh. She also loves to pretend-hide during the credits while she waits for the Bacson monster to appear, and constantly asks if we have an “issue” (from one of Owl’s lines in the movie).
- Super Why. This is probably my favorite preschool show on PBS. It emphasizes letter recognition and reading. Madelyn has assigned a super character to each of us. She is Super Why, I am Princess Presto, and Troy is Wonder Red (a girl – hee hee). When the Super Readers raise their hands and jump into a book each episode, Madelyn makes sure that we have our hands raised too. It’s adorable.
- Dora the Explorer. The least annoying of the Nickelodeon preschoolers, in my opinion. We don’t watch this one very often, but we have a few dvds that Madelyn enjoys.
- Rio. The music is the star of this movie for Madelyn and it never fails to encourage some spontaneous dancing. Madelyn insists that Troy and I join her in dancing - it is quite a sight to behold.
- Tricia Olson, 2012