Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Highlights!

It's almost time to say goodbye to 2011! But before we welcome 2012, let's talk about some of my favorite things of 2011 before we do have to say goodbye.

I was thinking of a quick run through of all the new movies and books I watched and read this year, before and after starting this blog. But there were quite a few low points and I really didn’t want to get into that. I thought it’d be more fun to stick with the books and movies that really stood out for me this year. Now, these are movies and books that were new to me, meaning the first time I watched and read anything mentioned below. Beware, there will be SPOILERS! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS AND MORE MAJOR SPOILERS! (Just wanted to make that clear.)

To begin, my favorite movies I watched this year:

Red – One of my favorite movies now. An action movie with retired CIA agents starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Karl Urban (Eomer!) and Mary-Louis Parker. It’s funny with some really good action scenes. The best part? Bruce Willis and Karl Urban kicking the crap out of each to Aerosmith’s, Back in the Saddle. THE BEST!

Boondock Saints – I remember my husband renting this a few years ago. I vaguely remember walking in on the basement scene and asking what the hell is going on in this movie?! After that I didn’t give this movie much thought. But when you troll the internet enough you learn that this movie has a pretty loyal cult following so I finally went to check it out on Netflix. Not bad. It’s not the greatest but its good cheesy, bloody (as in, lots of people get shot up, bloody) fun.

Thor – Ha, do you even have to ask why I like this movie so much?! Just Kidding! There’s more to it than just a shirtless Thor. My favorite part is the whole family dynamics between Odin, Thor and Loki. Good stuff there: sibling rivalry, seeking the approval from a powerful father, passing on the rule of Asgard to a son who may not be ready. The Earth stuff dragged and I wasn’t feeling anything between Thor and Jane. But the Asgard scenes make it worth it.

X-Men First Class – Well, I’ll just let my post from a few months ago explain my love for this movie.

Fright Night – Another movie I wrote about on this blog and enjoyed a lot.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Again, no need to repeat myself here why I liked this move, though I do have my issues with the director. Maybe one day I’ll go through each of the HP movies he’s directed and show you what my issues are. I'm going to miss having Harry Potter movies to look forward to. Excuse me, I think there's something in my eye...

Captain America – Another good one from Marvel this year. I’m disappointed I didn’t see this in the theaters. My husband found it streaming online and we watched a scene and thought, “WE NEED THIS MOVIE!”, so we bought it on DVD (see, if a movie is good, we will buy it!). It’s just good, wholesome, American fun! I really like Steve Rogers and his friend, Bucky. And Steve Roger’s attraction to Peggy Carter was really believable; probably because it wasn’t this instant love at first sight business that they tried to pull in Thor. It was a gradual attraction that was funny, full of tension and sweet. There’s also great action and Tommy Lee Jones being Tommy Lee Jones and he’s just awesome therefore this movie is awesome. The End.

Return of the Living Dead – This movie cracked me up! Oh my god, it’s so funny. I died with the juicy zombie bobbing and weaving, looking for brains. And that chick just dancing around naked and her friends just laughing and pointing, Hey, she's naked again! Hilarious!

Let Me In – This movie gave me chills. It has such a quiet, terror running through it. It’s frightening, yet sad.

And I’d like to give some honorable mentions to some TV shows, and while I haven’t talked about any yet on this blog, it’s still a form of storytelling and there have been some good ones I’ve watched this year:

Game of Thrones – Very faithful to the first book of the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. I’m looking forward to Season 2 but let me tell you, Season 3 is where it’s at! If the faithfulness to Book 1 is any indication of how this show plays out, Season 2 will be awesome but Season 3 will BLOW YOUR MIND. Red Wedding, NOOOOOOO!!!! (Look it up at your own risk)

Misfits – Honestly, I haven’t watched every episode but the ones I’ve seen have been funny, sad, thoughtful and just plain good. My husband told our neighbors about this show and they’re hooked too. And the latest episode on Hulu had us dying! So, so funny.

American Horror Story – My husband and I watched the first episode and were lukewarm about it. Then I found out he’d been watching the rest without me! And it got better! I haven’t seen all the episodes but between what I have seen and what I’ve been told about the parts I’ve missed, it’s weird and creepy and awesome.

And even though I said I’d stick to the highlights, these next 2 shows do have their high points but because I’m devoted to these 2 I have to talk about the low points too:

Dexter Season 6 – We’ve got some good stuff happening here:
  • Deb promoted to Lieutenant over Batista
  • Brian making an appearance!
  • Mos Def as Brother Sam
And we've got some not so good stuff:
  • Quinn turning into an unreliable douche because Deb wouldn’t marry him (wah wah wah, GROW UP)
  • Dexter making all kinds of bad decisions
  • The therapist putting it into Deb’s head that she may have more than just brotherly love for Dexter (GROSS!)
  • Bringing the Trinity Killer’s kid back for a pointless road trip for Dexter (and yes, it brought Brian back but bringing him into the picture could have been done differently and for more than one episode)
  • The Dooms Day Killer was kinda dull
  • The DDK's painting of Dexter as some demon... dumb.
Walking Dead Season 2.1 – The good:
  • Daryl
  • Merle returning (Even if it was a hallucination. But damn, the goose bumps I got when he told Daryl to shoot Rick in the face! If a hallucination can do that, just imagine what it'll be like when he really returns!)
  • Shane stepping up to make things interesting (shooting Otis, letting the zombies out of the barn for a good old fashioned game of Shoot the Zombies!)
  • Zombie Sophia in the barn!
The worst:
  • Lori Lori Lori (My husband: “Does she do anything?” You mean, other than her sitting around half ass-edly chopping carrots/hanging laundry and being a major Drama Queen? No.)
  • Andrea for shooting Daryl (My husband, again with his wonderful insight: “See, that’s what happens when women don’t follow directions.” Jerk. But in this case, he’s right (Don’t you dare tell him I said that!))
And now moving on to my favorite books that I read this year:

A Game of Thrones/A Clash of Kings/A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin My Nerd Out I wrote about partially explains why this was a highlight for me this year.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins My favorite of the entire trilogy. It was the only one that really triggered an emotional response from me.

Lost Horizon by James Hilton A soothing read yet sad.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson Made me realize I shouldn’t base my opinion of Stephenson solely on my two failed attempts at Quicksilver.

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman Lots of good gems throughout this collection of short stories.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski A frustrating read but makes you proud to stand up and announce you finished it!

Snuff by Terry Pratchett I really liked this book so here’s to more Discworld and Sam Vimes!

Drama An Actor’s Education by John Lithgow – A fun read and I’ll have a review up for it sometime in January. Full of insight not just for actors, but for any artist.

Some other highlights of the year:
  • I started watching Doctor Who a couple days ago and I'm liking it
  • Sons of Anarchy jealousy because they get to play in my old backyard of Northern CA but it's a good jealousy because this show is awesome and I really need to catch up!
  • The RIP Challenge
  • Hello!, Nanowrimo Winner here!
  • Storytime With Venessa!
  • And of course, starting this blog!
Even if nobody is reading or cares what I think, I love that I can express my joy and frustration here. It’s so much fun to write here and I’m looking forward to 2012 to see what else there is to love (and hate! Oh Yeah!).


  1. I agree with most of what you said about Dexter except that I liked Dooms Day.

  2. Dr Who! Yes!!!! It really is a show that just gets better and better and then better again, even when the cast changes they reel you in and make you love them. Glad you are watching it.

    Red was a fun film and I was impressed with Captain America. I didn't enjoy the X-Men movie as much mostly because I felt like it was yet another origin story and we already had that with the first X-Men movie. But that is just me being a crank about the movie, so ignore me.

    Very sweet of you to mention the RIP Challenge and I'm glad you had fun.

    House of Leaves is one of those "someday" books that is sitting on my shelf. I've never had the courage to soldier on through it.

    I'm determined to read Pratchett at some point this year.

  3. I'm about half way through season 2 of Doctor Who and yeah, I'm addicted. It didn't take me long to see what the fuss was about this show. I think it was episode 2 or 3 when Rose's mother asked the Doctor if Rose would be safe and he had no answer, just this conflicted look on his face... that's when it hit me this was a show to watch.

  4. All I can say is that you've got a lot of joyous and tear-filled moments to come. We have the last episode of this last season still to watch and we cannot bear to do so just because of the amount of time we'll have to wait for more Dr. Who.

  5. Oh yes, a friend was warning me about the end of season 4 and the guaranteed waterworks.