Archives for posts with tag: Top Ten

I saw 114 different films in theatres in 2014, and that means that I had a lot to pick from. I did a lot of soul searching and I can safely say these are my top ten and bottom five films of the year, feel free to let me know your thoughts

First let’s start with my Top Ten

10. The Homesman
Seen 11/30/2014 with Dayle Decker

I had a very difficult time deciding on my top ten films this year. 2014 had no shortage of great films and as you can see I saw a healthy amount of them. While my top three films were very easy to identify, after that point I found I had to deeply examine each film I saw to see if it was worthy of being put up on the list. This rigorous process is how “The Homesman” just squeaked in at number ten. The acting in the film was phenomenal, as was the story, the editing, the sound, without question “The Homesman” is a well made movie. Unfortunately, it’s just not very interesting, it moves at a very deliberate pace, and large portions of it are dedicated to watching the protagonists slowly and silently cross the untamed wilderness of the old west. Despite all of this I still found myself enjoying everything that happened up on the screen, though it wasn’t until after the film had ended that I realized the profound effect it had on me. Sitting in my chair watching the credits roll, I heard the group of people behind me start to complain about what had happened in the film, how it was boring, and that Hilary Swank’s action near the end of the film didn’t hue in line with her character for the rest of the film. In that moment hearing these cretins miss the entire point of the film I began to weep uncontrollably. I just couldn’t help myself, I felt like the entire story had been for nothing and in that moment I was overcome with emotion on behalf of her character. The fact that the film had such an emotional effect on me is why I call “The Homesman” the tenth best film of the year in my opinion.

9. Top Five
Seen 12/27/2014 with Dayle Decker

I feel like I always end up with a film on my list from the last few days of the year, forcing me to pause and consider if it only made it onto my list because it is fresh in my mind. With “Top Five” though, the truth was easy to find, especially when you consider that since seeing it last Saturday, I have gone onto see four more films. “Top Five” makes it onto the list because as I was watching it, I knew that it would be one of those movies that I would always be suckered into watching if I stumble across it whilst flipping through the channels. It probably helps that it was a very well written film championing one of my favorite methods of storytelling, two people just walking around and talking. “Top Five” was so enjoyable to me that I know it will be something I will be watching with my parents as soon as the possibility arises and thus I have put an embargo on quoting the film so as not to ruin anything for them when that day comes.

8. Labor Day
Seen 2/15/2014

I tend to avoid other top ten lists before constructing my own, but since I raved about this film when it was named one of the worst films of 2014 by a few publications people felt it was necessary to bring that to my attention. Still I want to stick by my first instinct that this was the first film I saw this year that I knew would be a contender for my top ten. While the story may have been a bit cliché, the raw emotion that I felt for the characters on the screen still stays with me and even now as I write about the film again ten months later I am reminded of pain which I felt for Kate Winslet when she admitted to Josh Brolin why her husband had left her. This is a film I want to share with so many people and I hope that the negative buzz it received doesn’t turn people off to viewing it. In the interest of full disclosure this is the first movie I saw in the theatre completely alone, and that life changing experience of having the room completely to myself may have had an effect for this film being as enjoyable to me as it was.

7. The Drop
Seen 9/29/2014

Speaking of films in which I was the only audience member, my seventh best film this year also has the honor of falling into that category. I was initially wary of seeing this film, the final swan song of the deceased James Gandolfini, because of how much of a disappointment I found last year’s film “Enough Said.” While this was a much better film in general, and another great performance by Gandolfini, the true shining star for me was Tom Hardy. Before seeing “The Drop” I really only knew Mr. Hardy from his time behind a mask as Bane, but watching him in this film gave me a deep respect for the man as an actor. In addition to fantastic performances by the entire cast and a truly compelling story, one of the strongest aspects of “The Drop” was the setting. You just felt the weight that this world put upon the actors in every single shot. The amount of immersion present in this film helped to enhance the entire experience and when they finally reveal the truth that has been just outside your reach all film it hits you as an audience member just as hard as it hits the characters in the film.

6. Begin Again
Seen 7/23/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

I saw a lot of movies that featured Kiera Knightley this year. In addition to this, “The Imitation Game,” and “Laggies,” I also for the first time experienced the magic that is “Bend It Like Beckham.” This exposure to Kiera’s work made me realize just what a phenomenal actor she is. I never really thought of her as anything more than Elizabeth Swann from Pirates and that girl who that guy is in love with in “Love Actually.” I originally wanted to see “Begin Again” just for Mark Ruffalo, but it was his performance coupled with the work of Ms. Knightley that elevated this film to have a spot on my top ten. Additional kudos must be given for Mark and Kiera not winding up romantically entangled, I’m a huge fan of a love story not being a requirement for an enjoyable film.

5. Hercules
Seen 7/24/2014 with Kevin Thibault and Sejohn Serowik

It wasn’t until just now that I realized I saw my number five and number six films of the year back to back. Perhaps there was something going extremely well that week and it made those movies that much more memorable and enjoyable, but in truth it’s probably just a huge coincidence that things shook out that way. “Hercules” is one of two films made this year that tried to tell us a brand new story featuring the Greek alternative to Jesus, while the first was mired in mythology, this second film decided to ground itself in realism. This new take on “Hercules” is probably why I rank the film highly on my list of the best films of 2014. From the very beginning we as an audience learn that Hercules isn’t just a man, but a legend propagated by a group of several heroes with the titular character acting as the figurehead. The way that the film found a way to ground all of the fantastical stories of Hercules in truth was one of the coolest parts of the feature. The second best bit is that the film basically features as a remake of “The Avenger’s” set in ancient Greece

4. Chef
Seen 5/25/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

When I walked out of the theatre after seeing “Chef” I told my mother and sister that it was the best film I seen so far this year, and for a long time I thought it was a shoo-in for number one film of 2014. The reason is that the film just made you feel good, the story was uplifting, the cast was obviously having a good time, the script was super contemporary, and somehow the film was able to seamlessly weave social media into the narrative. In addition to all of that the food presented looked amazing, and reminded me just how good a “food movie” can be. It was also really nice to see John Favreau work on a small scale again, sure “Iron Man” was an amazing film, but Favreau really knows how to deal with the relationships between people in his films and “Chef” showcased that in spades.

3. Life of Crime
Seen 8/30/2014 with Dayle Decker

I loved “Life of Crime” absolutely loved it. I loved it so much that when I saw it at Wal-Mart I bought two copies without even thinking about it, and then almost went back and bought a third copy on Blu-Ray a few days later. Then two days after buying two copies of the film I ended up attending a taping of “Doug Loves Movies” and to my surprise the director, Dan Schechter, was one of the guests. My love of “Life of Crime” is so great that I tracked down a copy of the book it’s based on, Elmore Leonard’s “The Switch” and read it in a day. Seriously though, “Life of Crime” is very well shot and acted film. It also in my mind is one of the most faithful book adaptations I’ve ever seen. Every single word in the original text finds its way to the screen, while still allowing for the director the leeway to make the film his own. I was fortunate to get to see this film when I came across it playing at a small independent theatre while on my way back from visiting friends in Maine. Chances are you didn’t get a chance to see it when it was in theatres, but do yourself a favor and find a copy of this great film and simply enjoy it.

2. Whiplash
Seen 11/16/2014 with Dayle Decker

“Whiplash” almost didn’t make it onto my top ten, so the fact that it eventually wound up in the runner up spot seems almost surreal to me. The fact is that from the very first time I saw the trailer for the film, I knew that I would do whatever was necessary to see the film on the big screen. Discounting that fact that I am a huge fan of Miles Teller, and the fact that J.K. Simmons flat out impressed the hell out of me in two minutes, it was when you heard that line “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘Good Job,’” I knew I was going to see the film. The truth is that I always liked the teachers who were hard asses, the ones that wouldn’t settle. When I walked into my history class sophomore year in college and the first words out of the professor’s mouths were “You are going to hate me,” I immediately knew that I was going to do anything but. That teacher pushed me for one of the first times in my college career, which later made me take for fun a 300 level course on the American Revolution for FUN, and has had a lasting effect on the person I am in the world. Granted Professor Cohen was nowhere near as tough as J.K. Simmons was in this film, but my own desire to have someone in my life who actually pushes me, instead of just blowing smoke up my ass, really made the film hit close to home for me, and completely understand why Miles Teller would allow himself to be treated like that. In addition to all of those reasons why the film resonated with me, the soundtrack for this film was amazing, though if you aren’t a fan of Jazz Drumming, “Whiplash” probably isn’t going to be for you.

1. John Wick
Seen 10/25/2014 with Dayle Decker, Seen 10/27/2014, and Seen 12/23/2014 with Sejohn Serowik

“John Wick” is a perfect movie. I don’t usually say that about a film, I’m hyper critical and even if I love a movie there is usually something small that I can cite as a problem, that I can overlook. “John Wick” has none of that, and trust me I’ve tried to find something, that’s why I’ve seen it three times at the cinema this year. Fortunately, I have been thwarted in all attempts to find a flaw. The plot is so tightly woven, that there isn’t a single moment on the screen wasted, no plot threads are left dangling, the world is constructed quickly, efficiently, and with enough respect for the audience that you completely commit to the proceedings. When a friend who also saw the film told me it had a flimsy plot, I proceeded to explain that while it may be viewable as a flimsy premise the plot is a piece of true beauty. I don’t want to say anything about the film, because it truly is a film that needs to be seen without knowing anything about it beforehand. Just trust me that you want to see “John Wick” and go out and see it.

And now for my Bottom Five

5. Neighbors
Seen 4/23/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

“Neighbors” was a terrible film, for a comedy it only got one laugh from me, and that was during the (SPOILERS) Robert De Niro theme party (END SPOILERS). The best part of seeing “Neighbors” though was that it was a test screening and as I was leaving one of the moderators asked me for my opinion, I politely told her that she wouldn’t want it, then when she pressed me for it, I proceeded to deconstruct the film for eleven minutes. Afterwards, my Mother approached the woman and said in that matter of fact tone she has “He told you, you didn’t want his opinion.” Seriously, “Neighbors” is an unfunny boorish comedy, if you have to see a Seth Rogen movie from 2014 then seek out “The Interview,” now that was a good comedy.

4. Gone Girl
Seen 10/6/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

I’ve had a lot of conversations with strangers while waiting for shows to start in the tail end of the year, and it seems like the only movie anybody has seen since “Guardians of the Galaxy” is “Gone Girl.” Which pisses me off , because there were so many good films that came out in the tail end of 2014, yet people seemed to think they stopped at Gillian Flynn’s adaptation of her novel. That is not why I hate “Gone Girl” though, the reason why I hate “Gone Girl” is because it is supposed to be a mystery, and I’m supposed to be dealing with an internal struggle of whether I should side with Nick or Amy. Fact of the matter is there was not a single moment during the film when I doubted Nick’s innocence, which means that the whole fun of the mystery was lost on me. The problem doesn’t stop there though, “Gone Girl” is also about 45 minutes longer than it needs to be. Seriously I did not like “Gone Girl.”

3. Jersey Boys
Seen 6/29/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

Boring, “Jersey Boys,” a lavish musical about a band that I absolutely love and would love to learn more about was boring. That’s about it, I can’t think of a single moment in the film when I was happy I was watching it. I kept hoping that something would happen and guess what it doesn’t. The biggest trespass committed against me during “Jersey Boys” is that arguably the entire film is Frankie Valle’s story, and we hear from the other members of the Four Seasons, but never from him. That was what kept me going, this idea that I am hearing Valle’s story from his band member’s where arguably he is just a supporting character. Then with five minutes left before the credits, Frankie, speaks directly to the audience. A beautiful narrative device is destroyed and the film is left as a two hour waste of time.

2. Dear White People
Seen 10/29/2014 with Dayle Decker

All of these people are giving Justin Simien praise for his film, must not have seen it, because “Dear White People” is a mess. When the film doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, how am I as an audience member possibly supposed to interpret it. The worst part of “Dear White People” is that there are some moments of real beauty present in the film, but they are so few and far between that they come across as dumb luck, instead of an actual representation of talent. The moment that really stuck with me was the film major’s teacher giving her crap for her article comparing the gremlins from “Gremlins” to the encroachment of black people into a predominantly white suburb. This is a belief that has been championed since the film came out in 1984, yet the film teacher seems to have never come across it before in his experiences, because he is very dismissive of the idea, when he should as a teacher be upset that his student is basically just plagiarizing a popular idea without adding anything new to it. A film is allowed to build a world, and probably should if you want it to be an enjoyable distraction, yet when the world being built just makes characters stupid for the sake of plot, that’s not doing anybody any favors. The praise Simien has received will probably mean he gets to make another film, and I hope that he is able to focus in on presenting a cohesive story instead of a mish-mashed collage of ideas and ideals.

1. The Skeleton Twins
Seen 9/27/2014 with Dayle Decker

This is another film that was just a straight up mess, the only reason why is ranks as my worst movie of the year over “Dear White People” is because it didn’t even have to courtesy to maintain a sense of continuity for the characters let alone the plot. I’m still asking myself three months after seeing “The Skeleton Twins” how old the characters are supposed to be. Based on some of the comments made in the script it would be believable that they were in their late twenties or early thirties, but both of the actors portraying them are in their forties. Now I fully believe that age doesn’t have to play a factor when casting, but if you are going to cast someone that much older than the script cites, either adjust the script to make it believable or make sure that the actors can be believable in the roles they have been cast as. Worst of all is that I didn’t believe them as siblings, and since that is kind of the crux of the film, it just ruins the entire experience. I know a lot of people liked it and it got high praise from critics, but they must have seen a different film than I did, because “The Skeleton Twins” I saw was a complete piece of garbage.

There you have it the films that I though were the best and absolute worst film of 2014 in my estimation. If you agree or disagree again please feel free to let me know, because the only thing better than watching movies is talking about movies

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This list was made three weeks ago after I watched the season finale of American Dad and came to the realization that it was going to be the last new episode to ever air on Fox. It seemed like a good time to go back through all the episodes of a show that I care deeply about and list my top ten favorites. I have spent the last three weeks trying to list them in order of preference, but it was just too difficult and I have decided to present them here in the order in which they first aired on Fox. I hope you enjoy my choices and if you have any ideas of your own about the best episodes or complaints about the ones I chose feel free to post them in the comments and I will gladly continue the discussion with you.

As a note, I could have easily listed on here any and all of the Christmas Episodes, but that would have been a cop out right? Still the fact that this show is able to consistently produce amazing Christmas Episodes is something to be honored. Maybe next time I’ll put them in order of best to worst, at least if not next time then at least as soon as Christmas time rolls around.

 

 

Bullocks to Stan

This was the episode that made me realize how truly special American Dad was as a show. While every episode before it had at least one moment that made me praise the latest offering from Seth Macfarlane, “Bullocks to Stan” was the first time everything that American Dad brought to the table was successfully on display and working towards a single goal. The best part of the episode is the Meta joke about Klaus doing DVD commentary for his day to day life coming back during the final fight in a way that obscures us hearing “the funniest joke of the episode.” Both giving a proper send up of DVD commentary tracks and cementing the claim that it is in fact the best joke of the episode.

Finances with Wolves

Every member of the Smith household has a storyline in Finances with Wolves. That’s six distinct plotlines in just twenty-two minutes of television. I can’t think of another television show that ever did something as ambition and it is made even better by the fact that it succeeds on all fronts. Even if it wasn’t so successful in its ambitions Finances with Wolves would be up for consideration just for the simple fact that this is the episode where Klaus escapes his fishy fate and winds up back in a human body. It also features one of my favorite uses of music. Klaus celebrates his new found humanity, as the front man of an Earth, Wind, and Fire cover band, to the song “September,” then the scene fades from the montage  to Stan singing the chorus of the song and wondering how it got stuck in his head.

Tears of a Clooney

Is it wrong to like an episode purely because it acknowledges the passage of time? I ask because that’s primarily why this episode has stuck with me as a great half hour of television. The fact that Stan’s efforts to help Francine break George Clooney’s heart take place over the course of a year is a fine example of great storytelling, especially when too often in the realm of animated sitcoms, events have a tendency to happen conveniently fast. Since the writers decided to treat operation: Tears of a Clooney like it was happening  within the confines of the real world, showing just how much time,  planning, and manpower would be required to pull off a mission of such scale, everything seems that much more plausible thus increasing  the enjoyment factor of the proceedings.

The B-story is also exceptional in the fact that it too contains a fully realized narrative when it could have easily been marginalized to provide more breathing room for Francine’s quest for vengeance, again deviating from the norm in terms of animated television. Not to mention the fact that Roger’s attempts at using orphans as slave labor in his backyard vineyard and Haley’s brush with a terminal disease are the places where the writers find room to inject jokes into an otherwise serious episode.

Everything comes to a beautiful conclusion when the episode delivers its message about not dwelling on past missed chances and instead being thankful for that which you have. It’s also nice how the events are bookended by Francine’s birthday.

Stanny Slickers II: The Legend of Ollie’s Gold

It would be easy to say that this episode is on the list purely because of how good the Schoolhouse Rock parody is. While that is definitely the high point of the episode for me, the fact that it is surrounded by so much greatness, is the reason why when I want to hear about the great man that is Oliver North. I watch the entire episode instead of just going on YouTube. The episode is chock full of dark, funny, and smart jokes.  Beginning with little Matty on the scene of a horrific traffic accident, moving through the great visual joke of the EMT describing his date to a co-worker before asking about his Dad’s funeral, then there all the tropes about documentary filmmaking, “here’s looking at you gold,” a chilling look at a future without Stan, an invitation to breakfast with a geologist, and a fireman with a plan to get the gold for himself, once “these white folks go to bed.” “Stanny Slickers” is a fine example of American Dad correctly firing on all cylinders, with the added benefit of it being one of the few times Stan is overwhelmingly right in the face of his family’s doubts. 

The One That Got Away

Otherwise known as the one where Roger finally becomes accountable for the consequences of his actions. Maybe this episode means so much to me because I somehow missed watching it when it first aired and didn’t see it until my first rewatch of the series on Netflix back in 2011. Even if that is the case, this is one of those episodes that I keep coming back to when I need something to help me kill some time when I’m doing my laundry. The episode is such a departure from the norm of American Dad episodes, in that it primarily focuses on just one plot and that Roger is the main character rather than existing just to complicate things for another member of the family. The narrative is also handled amazingly well with the parallel telling of Roger’s involvement in ruining Sydney Huffman’s life in the first act and then the viewer getting to experience the same events from Sydney’s perspective in act two. 

Though only seen briefly the focus the rest of the episode is on the Smith family becoming addicted to “the four toned succubus” that is the game Simon and being saved by Klaus in a move that takes him somewhere unknown where he becomes King. 

Add into the mix John DiMaggio as a hit man who brings his kids to work, and uses passwords requiring letters and numbers. Plus one of sweetest and dumbest love interest characters ever to grace the small screen and you’re left you with one of the funniest and most touching episodes of American Dad.  

Don’t just take my word for it though here’s the last exchange between Roger (as Roger) and Judy 

Roger: You know, I don’t have any genitals?

Judy: That’s okay, I have both. 

See truly a moving story.

Escape from Pearl Bailey

Debbie! Yes, Steve’s on again off again, overweight, goth girlfriend of plot convenience is presented at her most developed in this episode. This is great considering how big a fan I am of Lizzie Caplan after her time on the failed CBS show, “The Class” and how well the episode treats a teenage relationship. The episode also presents a very good revenge story that feels inspired by Kill Bill and features Steve donning a Hopi Indian revenge mask as he subjects the tormentors of his girlfriend to Buffalo Diarrhea, Reverse Liposuction, and Herpes. Then it seamlessly  transitions into a parody of “The Warriors” where the  cracks created between Steve, Snot, Toshi, and Barry,  because of Steve’s relationship, are healed because the  friends are forced to work together, against the threat of mob violence. The homages just keep on coming with the ending being a direct retelling of the end of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” This episode is just so full of plot and here I was thinking it could be placed on the list for being the first and only time that Principal Brian Lewis’ daughter is acknowledged. 

An Incident at Owl Creek

Poop in the pool has been a staple of comedy ever since a baby Ruth was dropped into the country club swimming pool back in “Caddyshack.” The fact that this episode’s foundation is built upon such a heavily tapped well, and still is worthy enough to be in my top ten episodes of the show should be  indicative of how good a show American Dad is. The episode starts out with the well established “Stanism” of wanting to keep up appearances. Then it traffics in one of my favorite things about American Dad by bringing back Buckle, the mountain man from “An Apocalypse to Remember,” as a new neighbor throwing a pool party. Stan is so worried about his family embarrassing him that when he turns out to be the one that drops the ball, it’s a poetic scene. The way that Stan is then forced to run away from his problems because his pool dookie goes viral is made even funnier when we spend an extended sequence with a man who thought he recognized Stan at the Barber Shop. The man with a seemingly unhealthy relationship with his cat ultimately winds up dead, punctuated with the most chilling line from Stan in “You had to remember.”  From there Stan realizes he can’t run from his problems and decides that the only way to solve his conundrum is to force universally liked President Obama to also drop a deuce in a pool, thus making the act acceptable. The shift in plot to that of a heist movie  is handled remarkably well, and if you don’t shed a  tear when Klaus is shot by the secret service for  attempting to give Obama a diarrhetic pill then you  plain just don’t have a heart. The end reveal that the whole ordeal was an “extended dream sequence” is made perfectly acceptable when Stan listens to the advice of Dream Obama and still ends up pinching the fateful loaf, thus securing Barack Obama’s place on Stan’s list of people who’ve lied to him in his extended fantasy sequences. Overall, not a bad first showing for Barack on American Dad in the post Bush years.

100 A.D.

The ninety-seventh episode of the series is a great celebration of ONE HUNDRED episodes of American Dad. I’m sorry I had to mention that, but its part of what makes the episode that much more enjoyable. It somehow makes all of the satire about celebrating the 100th episode more gratifying and lends a deeper air of importance to the fact that they will be killing 100 characters over the course of the episode.  The actual story is the latest volume in the ever continuing Jeff/Haley romance and even though it could have coasted on the death counter or the celebration aspect of the episode they instead decided to tell a great story as well. It wasn’t until I rewatched all the episodes in 2011 that I realized just how big a part of the world of American Dad Jeff Fisher actually is, and the marriage between him and Haley just feels like the natural progression of that story. Of course Stan would disagree and when he offers up the money he intended to give Haley as reward money to anyone who can stop their pending nuptials the episode truly gets going, it enters into laugh out loud territory. Not only is the episode which features Jeff finally getting one over on Stan, but it feels like a reward for all the fans considering just how many one off characters they collected together from over the years to kill in the bus crash, that nets 97 of the deaths. One of those marked for Death is Bret, Stan’s satanic best friend from episode 45: “Dope and Faith.” Maybe it’s because my roommate and I had just watched the episode the night before on syndication (prompting me to believe the episode had somehow done it on purpose) but that moment was made even funnier when he explained who he was despite everyone in the room being acutely aware of his identity. Even if I hadn’t just watched it. I would have known who he was, so hopefully that was a feeling for most of the AD fan base and not just an isolated incident for me.

License to Till

Even though I’ve never seen it, I am almost eternally thankful for “She’s All that.” I know that the story of turning a person from rags to riches is as old as “Pygmalion,” but there are times when it feels like the Freddie Prince Jr. / Rachel Leigh Cook film indicated to creators that the age old story would  play for the modern audience. If all of that is true, then that is why we have this episode of American Dad.  Klaus betting Roger that he can’t make Steve popular is the origin of some of the funniest vignettes in the entire run of American Dad. Plus this episode not only introduces Reshma, who is one of the funniest one off characters the show has ever had “When these come in they’re all yours,” but also brings back another one off character, John Cho’s, Vince Chung, and gives him one of my personal favorite monologues when he tells Steve he thought they would be such great friends and that would result in Vince sharing his darkest secret with him. The moment is made even better by confirming the audience’s worst fears when it reveals that if we want to know his secret we just have to visit “www.VinceWasMolested.com.” The episode also features Stan misinterpreting Francine’s wish to be surprised, to mean scared and their escalating war to outdo one another starts simple with “Peabo Bryson on the Damn Stereo” and ends with the death of the midget assassin. Plus, you also have the most stereotypical representation of Judaism in Snot’s farmer Uncle Solomon, H. Jon Benjamin, as a talking cabbage, and the song “My Dick” by Mickey Avalon.

 

Lost in Space

As  I referenced in my explanation of “100 A.D,” had I not just finished  watching the entire series for a second time before  this episode aired I probably wouldn’t have been as excited about an episode that was all about Jeff as I  was. Luckily FOX decided to promote it as the 150th episode of American Dad, despite it being the 151st, so I’m sure that plenty of people ended up tuning in anyway. The best part about this episode is the fact that even if you had never watched an episode of American Dad before, you would probably find something about it entertaining. It’s just such a great episode in every possible way. Guest stars include Sean Hayes, Sinbad, Michael McKean, and Paget Brewster. The music is exceptional and includes the ever popular “The Majestic” in one of the best animated sequences the show has ever produced. The episode also features some great character development by giving an explanation for just how deeply Jeff actually loves Haley and also adds some more information about a young Roger.  However, what really elevates the episode for me is  not just how many original character designs they used  to represent the slaves onboard the spaceship, but  also how they worked hard to make sure that each  member of Roger’s species looked unique. It would have been easy for them to just present them all looking exactly like Roger, but the care put into making them all individuals was truly appreciated. Of course all of that wouldn’t mean much if the story wasn’t as great as it is. The creators of American Dad really outdid themselves with Lost in Space and the fact that they can still continue to improve on it is a huge reason why it is my favorite animated show on television.

Well today is the last day of 2011 and a lot of things have happened but instead of focusing on that stuff… I’m going to take the time to tell you my top ten movies from the year 2011. Here they are ENJOY!

10. Shark Night 3D:

This movie will not win any awards. In a few years it will be one of the casualties of the second wave of 3D. Still this movie which I wrestled with adding to the list has completely earned itself the spot of number ten on the list. The reason is simple the major villain of the film. I could not stop laughing when it was revealed as to what was the driving force behind all of the things that happened to the poor sons of bitches who thought it would be a good idea to go up to their friend’s lake house for spring break. Seriously my sister had to slap me in the theatre in order to calm me down, IT was that good. Not only was the heinous origin of the evil hilarious it was also completely believable which really made Shark Night 3D a memorable experience. Even after all of that the best part of the film came after the credits. Usually my desire to see the name of everybody who worked on a film is only rewarded by a blue screen reminding me of the films rating. At the end of the credits for Shark Night 3D it was something that just made me sit in the theatre with my mouth open in shock and awe. Something that is still referenced in my home to this day. If you need to know what it is then go out and watch Shark Night 3D, you will be glad you did.

9. Crazy, Stupid, Love

I figure every list needs a sappy romantic comedy on it doesn’t it. Well even if that’s not true this film earned its place amongst my top ten for the year. There was something different about this movie, something pure and real that just made it stand out against the rest. I walked out of this movie, just really happy. I enjoyed it not sure why, but it was just a good movie and definitely worth a viewing.

8. Fright Night:

While it could be argued that this movie is on the list because of how it respected and incorporated the source material, or simply because of the performance of David Tennant post Doctor Who. The real reason why I have included Fright Night here is that this is the movie that 3D was made for. Initially I was upset that I could only see it in 3D at the local cinema. In the end I completely understood why. There is this scene that would just lose any and all of its punch if it weren’t viewed in 3D. Unfortunately since I believe 3D is a fad that will soon die out again, this scene will never again be experienced the way it was clearly filmed to be experienced, except by those that own a 3D Television, and this will be unable to rise into the echelon of respect that it truly deserves. The scene even in just 2D is a turning point in the film, when we realize this isn’t our parent’s Fright Night this shit is the real deal.

7. A Good Old Fashioned Orgy:

Of all the movies on my list I think this is the only “independent” one. I use the quotes because the cast is a bunch of people you will easily recognize from television shows, yet the film itself was only given a limited release. In addition the fact that it even played at a Rhode Island theater at all was a huge surprise as usually limited releases pass us over in favor of Boston. This film was so unknown that when I went to buy my tickets the chuckle-head behind the counter thought I was joking and didn’t even know that a film by that name was playing at his theatre. In the end it was only my sister and I present at the showing. Still this film is definitely one I would recommend to the masses to seek out and watch. The one true reason why this movie is on my list is not that I went out and bought it the day it came out, its not that the writing was good, or that the cast really shined. No, the real reason it sticks with me as a great film is that *Spoilers* (seriously like the only one in the whole thing I promise, highlight if you want to read) in the end they actually end up having the orgy. Everybody and I mean everybody who knew about this movie figured that it wasn’t going to happen in the end and then there it was right on screen. A Good Old Fashioned Orgy. For breaking mine and probably every body else’s expectation this film has earned its spot on my list.

6. 30 Minutes or Less:

 Initially I’m not sure why I wanted to see this film. I think the fact that it was this poor schmuck who gets wrapped up in the scheme of two idiots. There was something relatable and different about the premise, plus it had Danny McBride in it. When I finally did get out and see the film I was literally blown away by what they had done. One of my favorite films of all time is Hot Fuzz and this film managed to somehow capture a little bit of that same magic. 30 Seconds or Less while advertised as a comedy, was really more of an action flick. Sure there were some laughs but where the film really shined was in its many cars chases, shoot-outs, and showdowns.

5. Fast Five:

This film is really only going to get your motor running if you’ve seen the other films in the series, except for maybe Tokyo Drift, which I am convinced takes place in some kind of alternate dimension separate from the rest of the films but I digress. On a serious note, the Fast and the Furious series is easily one of the best series of the modern cinematic age. While at a glance they look like they are just being made for the paycheck, if you take the time to sit down and watch them you can see that they have a very well thought out structure and story arc. The final scene of this movie made me so incredibly happy and I am anxiously awaiting the release or the sixth film. If you don’t want to take the time to watch the others or don’t buy into my whole spiel about these actually being a great series of films, all I have to say is its Vin Diesel v. Dwayne Johnson. 

4. A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas:

It had been joked for a while that they were going to do a Christmas movie next. When Kal Penn became a member of Obama’s White House staff all hope was lost in it ever coming to fruition. However, somehow, someway this movie now exists and in addition to being on par with the other two films in the series, it also stands out as and uniquely realistic Christmas movie as well… Claymation aside. Now all they need to make good on is the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead inspired spin-off film Rosenberg and Goldstein go to Hot Dog Heaven and all will be right in the world.

3. Horrible Bosses:

Charlie Day. That should sum it up nicely. He is a wonder in everything he does. He was the bright spot in the film Going the Distance and in a movie filled with big name stars he somehow managed to stand out again.

2. Take Me Home Tonight:

The reason I am such a big fan of this song is for how it was featured in the Atom and his Package song Punk Rock Academy. I loved its usage and then I went out found the original and loved that even more. Going to this film (fully acknowledging the bias) I figured I was going to love it just because of the title. What I got instead was what I think we can easily call the first true eighties period piece. Somehow this movie, which going in I figured as your basic run of the mill comedy, perfectly encapsulated the world that was the eighties. From the start when the first chords of Video Killed the Radio Star come over the speakers (A personal favorite moment of mine since it is the first track off Pure 80’s IMHO the seminal 80’s compilation CD) to the end when we are treated to the Atomic Tom cover of Don’t You Want Me you are magically transported away to the decade of decadence, only rather than play up the ridiculousness of the era they examine it under an eye of realism. Bonus points go to Take Me Home Tonight because of the music video for the Atomic Tom song which has to be seen to appreciate and look at that I just happened to include link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RULH8dxZZ0

1. Midnight in Paris:

Hands down my favorite movie of 2011. Seriously I had no idea going into this film how amazing it was going to be. Too write anything else about this film would ruin the magic of the movie. If you are reading this and haven’t seen the movie. Do not watch a trailer! Do not read a review! Do not pass GO and collect $200 dollars! Just go and watch it Trust Me you’ll be glad you did.

Well there you have it my choices for the top ten movies of 2011. Let me know what you think and if you have your own top ten then feel free to share them I’d love to hear y’alls opinions.

Oh and before I go Honorable mentions must go to:

X-Men: First Class

Our Idiot Brother

Arthur

Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star

&

Spy Kids: All The Time in the World

 

Happy New Year and God Bless Us Everyone!