- Carv's Thinky Blog - https://christiancarvajal.com -

My Favorites of 2010

I'm cooking up a diatribe on the expression "TMI"--spoiler alert, it's not one of my favorites--but first, here are ten things I dug in 2010. I should warn you at least one of them is not family-friendly.

1.) Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky

Not only did Natalie Portman leave Annette Bening in her dust for Best Actress, she gives one of the best performances of the last five or ten years. I've actually seen it derided as mousy, when that was the nature of the character--at least until the movie's pulpily thrilling final act, when her Black Swan emerges at last. Aronofsky is now officially one of our most gifted directors, even if his tastes often run more nihilistic than mine do.

2.) Cee-Lo's...um...

Well, let's put it this way: The radio version of Cee-Lo's delightful kiss-off was called "Forget You," and it just wasn't the same. There are two versions of the extremely Not Safe for Work video, and I like 'em both. If you still haven't seen either video, the version with the lyrics is here [1], and the official "diner" version is here [2]. Of the content of the song, all I'll say is we've all felt that way at least once.

3.) Community

Why aren't more of you watching this meta-hilarious show? Did the paintball episode, "Modern Warfare [3]," not convince you? "Basic Rocket Science," the episode about the KFC space simulator, was great, too. By the way, speaking of sitcoms, Modern Family is really as good as they say.

4.) Antoine Dobson, "The Bed Intruder Song"

I loved Antoine when he was just that guy on the YouTubed news report [4]. Then, thanks to AutoTune the News, he became the lead vocalist on the catchiest song [5] of the year. (Yes, even catchier than Cee-Lo's.) Hide your kids, hide your wife!

5.) Exit Through the Gift Shop, directed by Banksy

Sorry, Joan Rivers, this was the documentary of the year...or was it? There are persistent rumors the whole movie is a hoax. But even if it is, that doesn't make it any less entertaining--perhaps even more so. Plus it'll make you think long and hard about the definition of art, and if you care about art at all, that's never a bad thing. It's available now on Netflix or at a video store near you.

6.) Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

Hands down, this was the page-turner of the year (sorry, Mockingjay). It's nonfiction, yes, but soapier than fiction, with more colorful characters and the fate of a nation hanging in the balance. There's not a person in that race you won't feel different about after reading it, and that goes double for the late, lamented Elizabeth Edwards. If you're addicted to either Glenn Beck or Rachel Maddow, this is an absolute must-read.

7.) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, directed by Edgar Wright

Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News [6] named it the best movie of the year, because he can. I can't...but it was the popcorn movie I loved most. (Sorry, Iron Man 2 and Tron: Legacy. You let me down.) This is my favorite Wright movie by far, and given that his previous features are Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, that's saying something. (I'm also a fan of his Simon Pegg TV series, Spaced.) Available on video now.

8.) Storm Chasers

It's my favorite show on TV, even when the producers try to break up the sausage-fest with a pointless meteorolgess (TM Christian Carvajal 2011). Heck, I don't even consider it a guilty pleasure anymore, I just love it. Y'know how much? It's as good as Top Chef Desserts was unwatchable. Yeah. That much.. Also, it's the least scripted reality show, because it's pretty hard to set call times for tornadoes. Reed Timmer, you magnificent tool.

9.) The Social Network, directed by David Fincher

Okay, this was my favorite movie of the year, not least because everyone in it including Justin Timberlake is amazing. I credit Aaron Sorkin, who's redeemed himself for my woeful devotion to and ultimate disappointment with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I've never been able to act in a Sorkin project before, but maybe that'll change this April [7], Katy Shockman. (Cough.) The Social Network hits DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday. (In the meantime, check out The Secret in Their Eyes, a terrific Argentine drama that hit American video last year.)

10.) A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

If you were at all amused by my attempts in Lightfall to write in odd formats and from a variety of first-person voices, then this is the novel for you. Not only was it my favorite new fiction of the year, it introduced me to Egan, a talent so undeniable I immediately went out and grabbed her previous novel, The Keep. Then it was so amazing I'll read everything she ever wrote. So congratulations, Jennifer Egan: You're my first new literary crush since the heyday of Haven Kimmel.