Top Ten Movie/TV Events of 2011

Written by  //  December 29, 2011  //  Media & Popular Culture  //  1 Comment

If 2012 does not see the return of Community, then the world can go right ahead and end. See if I care.

The proper way to bid farewell to the old year and bring in the new is to read lots of top ten lists. Here are ten (arbitrarily chosen) events that managed to catch my attention this year [along with suggested emotional response].

Happy New Year, folks!

10. Reliance Entertainment’s BIG Day Out [Mildly Interesting; Kind of Amusing]

Has Reliance bitten off more than it can chew with its expensive Hollywood pipe dreams?  Are they way in over their heads? The first of the much touted Reliance-funded DreamWorks films released this year–  Cowboys & Aliens, I Am Number Four, Fright Night, The Help and Real Steel and they all did terribly at the box office/were panned by critics.  I personally loved Real Steel, but that was simply not enough to forgive The Help and Cowboys & Aliens. If I were them, I’d be praying for Spielberg to pull a Saving Private Ryan with his upcoming film, War Horse.

9. Sequels 2: Electric Boogaloo [A Little of Everything]:

As I mentioned before, 2011 was the Year of the Sequel.  It is quickly becoming a highly respected and equally despised art form.  While most this year were still ludicrous attempts at daylight robbery, many were admirable and tried to to do more than what a sequel is required to do.  My favourites of the year were X-Men: First Class, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Harry Potter 7.2. With a number of big ticket sequels due to release next year, let’s hope somebody manages to pull a Terminator 2.

8. H8rs gonna be h8rs  (deal with it) [Mildly Interesting; Awesome when Chetan Bhagat got his derrière handed back to him]

This year, Hollywood (quickly followed by Bollywood) decided that it is not enough that we watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians: Khloe and Lamar. Oh, watch them we will; how can we avert our eyes from such roadkill?  But we’re not allowed to watch them with horrified fascination any more. We’re supposed to love and empathise with Kim’s life decisions, and read Chetan Bhagat’s “books” to appreciate them deeply or not have an opinion at all.  Mario “Nut-bar” Lopez and Arjun “Less emotive than furniture” Rampal, with their shows H8RS and Love 2 Hate U are determined to make sure that poor ill-treated celebrities not only laugh their way to the bank but are also showered with rose petals by fawning millions on their way there.

7. The Womenfolk Get Their Own Little Film [Eyebrow raising (it took them this long?)]

Bridesmaids is possibly the first non-romcom film in recent times with women as the target demo that didn’t try to patronise them. It was a properly funny movie where the protagonist wasn’t an adorable klutz.  She took responsibility for her miserable life instead of being a slave to plot devices.  Hell, they even had gross bathroom humour! Granted, it wasn’t particularly funny, but what a milestone for Hollywood to put in actual poo-related pratfalls and not assume that we’d disapprovingly wave our lace handkerchiefs under our noses.  Of course, all that goodwill was promptly lost with The Help.

6. The End of An Oprah [Super duper sad]

I always thought that at some point in my life, I’d end up on one of those really cool, Christmas-special episodes of The Oprah Show and come back with armloads of free stuff.  With the last episode of this epic show airing in May this year, we’ll have to muddle through somehow while vainly trying to fill the Oprah-shaped void in our souls. What, oh what are we going to do without sensational “exposés” into dangerous teenager habits like rainbow parties and totally real memoirs by recovering drug addicts?

5. Martin Scorsese Saves 3-D (and possibly, the World? I wouldn’t put it past him) [Happy; Proud Despite Never Having Ever Met Martin]

Scorsese’s foray into the world of 3-D has proved extremely Scorseseful with gushing accolades pouring in for the immersive richness of Hugo.  I’d written off 3-D as a flash in the pan. What film apart from Avatar really and truly used the medium to its fullest?  Trust Scorsese to single-handedly resuscitate it, and now I can’t wait for March 2012, when Hugo releases in India. If only Delhi would hurry up and get an IMAX screen by then.  

4. AMPAS Goes Back to Tried and Tested Formula (thank god) [Relief; Mildly Amusing]

Anne Hathaway/James Franco’s ecstasy/marijuana-fuelled Oscar-hosting gig earlier this year involving a perplexing number of wardrobe changes, unfunny jokes and incredibly poor comic timing, received a predictably lukewarm response. The Committee for the Organising of Academy Awards Ceremony (or whatever they call themselves) was doing that “let’s appeal to the younger generation” thing, and then belatedly realized that young people also have a perfectly normal and well-developed sense of humour. So they did the sensible thing and got Billy Crystal to come back for the 2012 Oscars.  For those keeping score, it now stands at Billy Crystal-10, Eddie Murphy-0.

3. The Road Goes Ever On And Leads to a Cinema Hall in December 2012 [Happy; Oxytocin-Inducing]

F I N A L L Y. After much heartache, awful bad luck and incessant whinging on my part, the date is set for the release of The Hobbit (Part 1). The trailer released a week ago, and by Elbereth, it looks smashing. That sombre dwarf song blew my mind, and Thorin Oakenshield? What a dreamboat.  And from what I gathered from the trailer, the film will also cover the hitherto unpublished story about Galadriel and Gandalf’s forbidden fling in the Second Age (alluded to in The Lay of the Bridges of Lothlórien County).

2. The Silver Screen is a Cruel, Cruel Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia [Sad; Horrible; Miserable; I h8 NBC]

Community is (was?) by far one of the coolest and most interesting TV shows to ever be made. It never pandered, never took itself too seriously, it never underestimated its audience and constantly pushed its boundaries. Which is why it is unsurprising that it got cancelled mid-season.  Just to reiterate: this is the show that dedicated three incredible episodes to paintball, had an episode about Dungeons & Dragons that had people (me) in tears, that had a tribute episode for Pulp Fiction that actually turned out to be a tribute to My Dinner with Andre, an entire episode dedicated to mocking Glee (with a generous sprinkling of Kings of Leon jokes), and just to keep us on our toes, had a foosball show-down in animé.   This show, that ought to have got its richly deserved six-seasons-and-a-movie got cancelled, while the odious Rules of Engagement gets renewed repeatedly.

There is no justice in the world.

1. Ryan Gosling [Happy; Hubba-hubba]

Three movies (all of which required him to be smokin’ and/or have that aura of quiet intensity) in 2011 and three MORE releasing in 2012?  Looks like it is going to be a very, very happy new year after all.

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