Top 11 of 2011: Part TwoPosted: December 22, 2011
Broken Spork’s writers are presenting their best of the year in movies, TV, sports, music, and general awesomeness.
By Beth Meroski
11. Downton Abbey S1
This miniseries (from Julian Fellowes, the writer of the supremely excellent Gosford Park) made Masterpiece Theatercool last year. That’s no small feat. Let’s hope series two is just as well-written and Maggie-Smith-filled.
10. The Hour S1
The Hour is an Aaron Sorkin-esque drama about the inner-workings of a British news program that takes place in the late 1950s. I couldn’t not love this show. Also – I’m slightly obsessed with Ben Wishaw and his body of work (not to mention his bod. amiright?! I love me some lithe & nerdy men.)
What do you get when you mix beautiful/innovative direction by Mike Mills with the talents of Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor and a jack russell terrier? A near-perfect film. Beginners is also a prime example of my favorite kind of love story: the kind where the-main-character-doesn’t-know-how-to-love-but-then-does-by-the-end.
8. Mr. Fox, by: Helen Oyeyemi
I found this book whilst wandering around a Barnes and Noble. I randomly picked it up, skimmed the first few pages, and suddenly found that three hours had passes and I had read the entire book in one sitting on a less-than comfortable stool in the middle of a bookstore. Needless to say, this book is a transformative (not a word, I don’t think) experience of a novel. Here is a description I stole from Amazon, because I would mangle it if I tried to sum it up: “Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don’t get complicated. In this book, the celebrated writer Mr. Fox can’t stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It’s not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently.” Mr. Fox is so well written it’s almost criminal. I recommend the heck out of this book Buy it here.
7. Mildred Pierce
Kate Winslet is a god. And HBO knows its way around a miniseries.
6. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
When I was interning this past year at Conan, I got to watch this documentary weeks before it was released. One day in the Team Coco digital offices we piled into the conference room, rearranged couches and chairs, and watched it. I have a very clear memory of sitting in that room thinking “I wonder if 14-year-old-die-hard-Conan-fan Beth” would have ever thought she’d end up here.” So my love for Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is twofold. I enjoy this documentary as both a well made piece of cinema and as a representation of the dream-come-true that is (somehow) my life.
5. Boardwalk Empire S2
I remember watching Mad Men when it first came out – and feeling depressed. I thought: “This is it, this is as good as TV drama will ever get”. Boardwalk Empire is the only show that has given Mad Men a run for their money in terms of “quality television drama”. (Sidenote: I’ve never seen Breaking Bad. I know this is a great TV-sin, and one I’m working on remedying over Xmas break. Based on the reverence with which people speak of Breaking Bad, my idea of “the best” in “quality drama” may be subject to change…)
4. Midnight in Paris
My pick for Best Picture. The premise and message of this film is the most wonderful thing ever. However, I think the movie had the wrong effect on me – When it was over I just wanted to crawl inside the world of this movie and live there forever.
3. Doctor Who S6
2011. The year I became a Whovian. And the year that series 6 of Doctor Who was transmitted to our screens. I was completely blown away by this series. Series 6 was like a perfect marriage between the zany adventures I’ve come to expect from Doctor Who, with a new strange and wonderful Lost-esque level of mystery. I’m more excited about the Doctor Who Christmas Special on Christmas, than Christmas.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
Ditto everything Andrew said. I fell in love with books in 4th grade after reading HP. In 6th grade my best friend and I screamed our heads off when the basilisk appeared on screen. This summer I watched the final installment of this wonderful series with a new best friend in California. Harry Potter is the major literary/film text of my childhood and youth.
1. Bossypants, By: Tina Fey.
Self-explanatory. My hero. Also I met her and she was wonderful. Dear everyone: Don’t listen to what people say – go ahead and meet your heroes.