Top 11 of 2011: Part One

Broken Spork’s writers are presenting their best of the year in movies, TV, sports, music, and general awesomeness.

By Andrew Childs

11. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo  (In anticipation)

David Fincher getting back his dark and eerie style + Trent Reznor’s soundtrack = 99% chance of greatness.

10. Fantasy Football

I mean, we have a rookie quarterback who is second in the league in rushing TDs (Cam Newton) and 3 other quarterbacks on pace to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing yardage record (Brees, Brady, and Rodgers), it’s a pretty amazing offensive season that translates into a pretty amazing fantasy season all-around, ESPECIALLY because none of us were sure that there was going to be an NFL season at all!

Side note:  My fantasy team isn’t going to make it into the playoffs this year via a huge meltdown.  There were 3 separate instances that would have put me in the playoffs.  Needless to say, 0 of those 3 instances happened.

9. Hugo

One of the most amazing films of 2011.   Martin Scorsese is able to show us his creative range by allowing subjects that made me fall asleep in silent film courses to come to life and making a heartfelt story about a child finding his way in life (this is especially impressive considering he made a film that uses the word “fuck” 2.37 times per minute). Maybe the most amazing thing about the film was the use of 3D.  It wasn’t used as a gimmick or minor spectacle, it was used strategically to bring us into Hugo’s world, and it succeeded in doing so.

8. NBA Lockout Drama

I would also mention the NFL Lockout on this list, but the NFL managed to get a deal done without missing any regular season games, and went on to have a successful season… The NBA season has yet to commence, and adding on to all of the drama that went on during the lockout  (notably Bryant Gumbel referring to David Stern as a “modern-day plantation owner” ) Chris Paul’s trade to the Lakers was blocked by the league.  It’s been a drama-filled month following a deal that was supposed to get things settled, so it will be interesting to see where things go heading into 2012.

7. Game of Thrones

My favorite new series this year, and HBO delivers again with the stellar cast of Game of Thrones.  Peter Dinklage’s characterization of the small-but-cunning Tyrion Lannister is constantly entertaining, and Sean Bean just has a way with roles based in the Middle-Ages.  Plus, *Spoiler Alert* the main character (Bean) dying in the first season, I mean, come on, the show just ropes you in.  Season 2 teaser here.


6. Tim Tebow

All my feelings about Tim Tebow aside, he is the most polarizing athlete I have ever witnessed (Chuck Klosterman wrote a fantastic article about why this is the case), and potentially the most inexplicable one as well.  How does an NFL quarterback complete on an average of only 11.5 passes a game and still go 7-1?

Well, a relatively easy schedule for those 8 games, a resurgent defense, and the crazy play of Willis McGahee helps them out, but you have to admit that all of those 4th quarter comebacks have some weird, unexplainable feel to them.  I may not be rooting for him, but it’s like nothing we’ve seen before.


5. Conference Realignment

All of the speculation of a new “Super-Conference” system in Division I sports was pretty wacky, and is still having an effect on the college football world.  Texas A&M and Mizzou are heading to the SEC, the Big 12 is rounding off the conference with West Virginia and TCU, the Big East adding Boise State, Houston, SMU, and others, it’s dog-eat-dog in the conference world now, who’s going to fall out of the loop?  In the next few seasons we’re going to see century long rivalries end as well as new rivalries develop.  The bottom line is that the landscape of college sports is changing, and we’re going to find out if it’s really for the better.

4. Friday Night Lights

The fifth and final Season of Friday Night Lights was a great wrap-up to one of the great TV shows of all time.  While it wasn’t the most amazing season of the series, it was able to connect us to new characters through the pipeline of Kyle Chandler’s consistently amazing performance (for which he deservedly won the Lead Actor Emmy as a major underdog to Jon Hamm) and seems like it had the legs to go another 5 seasons.

I’m holding out hope for a potential FNL movie.  We all miss Dillon, TX.


3. Breaking Bad

Holy shit.

I probably said that about 20-30 times throughout this last season of Breaking Bad, and the *Spoiler* demise of Gus at the end was probably the loudest “holy shit” of them all.  It just keeps getting better, and next season we’re going to find out how far Walter White will go, how insane will he become?  Breaking Bad wears the crown for best TV show this year.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

I know you’re thinking that this is really high, but I’m looking at it as the last of the Harry Potter films and books, the end of the Harry Potter franchise.  Of course, there will be new HP content like there is with Star Wars, but in all reality it’s the last Harry Potter story.  And for us in the “Harry Potter Generation” it’s a somber reality.  However, if we look back on aaalllll of the books and films, it’s a completely amazing body of work, and probably the best fictional series of all time.

1. Watch The Throne

It edges out HP because Jay-Z and Kanye West are the two biggest hip-hop artists in the world, Jay-Z may be the greatest of all time, and when you put all of this together you get Watch The Throne.  It’s the best album of 2011, and an instant classic because not only is it insanely fun and quotable (“N**gas in Paris”) but it’s also able to put things into perspective (“New Day”).  The beats are so inventive that it keeps you locked into the song; it becomes a spectacle.

I saw Kanye and Jay-Z live about a month ago, and it was, by a landslide, the most elaborate concert I’ve ever been to.  They were raised onto two massive columns above the crowd with projections of animals in the wild, civil rights marches, and stills of Malcolm X.  It was complete experience, and it really drove Watch The Throne straight to the top of 2011.


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