Monday, December 20, 2010

My Top 30 Pop Culture Moments of 2010: Part 1 (#30-#21)

2010 was a fairly good year for popular culture. I finally learned the secrets of LOST, got confused during Inception, complained a lot about remakes and 3D conversions, went all meta with Community, and finally decided I love Kanye West. These are just a small sampling of the things I loved about this year. What follows are my list of the 30 best pop culture moments in 2010. These are not a list of my favorite shows/movies/albums. They are simply my favorite snapshots that occurred in the world of entertainment and are the things I will always remember most. I'm breaking it down into 3 parts so you can expect Part 2 later this week.

30) Giggy on Watch What Happens Live on Halloween night
Giggy is a dog owned by one of the housewives from Bravo's Real Housewives series. Also on Bravo is a show called "Watch What Happens Live" hosted by Andy Cohen. On Halloween night this year, they decided to bring Giggy out in several costumes. It was amazing.

29) 2010 Emmys or Golden Globes?
Christina Hendricks usually makes headlines with every fashion runway she walks down. However, nothing will ever top the 2010 Emmys when she was being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest. In the middle of the interview, they decided to show off the Mad Men doll of her character and so of course the camera man zoomed into Seacrest's hand holding the doll. The angle just happened to be set-up so right behind the doll was what can only be described as a strategically placed zoom into a mountain of cleavage. It was my favorite "Am I really seeing this on TV" moment of the year that left me both shaking my head in shame but laughing hysterically at the same time. You could almost hear the high fiving that was going on in the directors booth at that moment. I sadly could no longer find the video on youtube but here is another interview that night to give you the idea.

28) Lucifer destroys the Gods
Supernatural has been one of my favorite shows for a few years now. Of all the episodes to choose from, I had to pick a moment from last season's amazing "Hammer of the Gods." In it, a bunch of pagan Gods meet to decide what to do about the pending Apocalypse (hear me out if you are not a fan). It's not all wings and halos though as they are all in human forms. The episode reaches a climax when Lucifer himself (Played by LOST's Mark Pellegrino) shows up and starts to lay waste to these collection of Gods. It was a surprising twist to see Gods actually get killed and it made it so much better due to the lovely amount of gore on screen.

27) Intermission Monologue
In March, I was lucky enough to go see A Behanding in Spokane, a pitch black comedy on Broadway featuring Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell. The play was pretty short and cut into two 45 min. halves so instead of having a real intermission, they had Sam Rockwell come out halfway and give a 10 minute monologue that was an amazing stream of conscious rambling that touched on everything from trained monkeys to his sympathy with school shooters (the gun men, not the victims). While the play itself had me laughing out loud for most of the short running time, nothing was quite as memorable as this random scene (which had pretty much nothing to do with the full story, other than to flesh out his small part as the worker at the hotel Walken is staying at).

26) Tossing Some Stones
The Pacific was one of the best war stories I've ever seen unfold in either film or TV. It had a wonderful mix of intense action scenes and quiet, character-building moments of the men away from the battlefield. One thing that I think the miniseries did best was to showcase the true terror that war really is. This was best summed up in an episode in the latter half of the series when the men are taking in the carnage that they are walking into post-battle. There are tons of bodies strewn about (from both sides) and as they sit in the midst of this hell and begin to talk about the meaning and importance of what they are doing, you see that right next to them is the corpse of a Japanese soldier who had the top half of this head blown clean off. Suddenly, one of the American soldiers begins throwing small pebbles into the man's hallowed out head. Due to an apparent rain storm that occurred after this soldier's death, each rock causes a soft little "blip" as it splashes the water inside his head. It's an extremely nauseating scene to get through but does a fantastic job of showing how being surrounded by the horribleness of war can make people desensitized to certain actions that would otherwise be considered absolutely inhumane and grotesque.

25) Stomach Ache
Boardwalk Empire was one of the best new shows on TV this year. It took a while however for me to officially get on board and consider myself a big fan. That all changed when one of the earlier episodes climaxed with Michael Shannon's very serious  Prohibition agent questioning a fatally wounded obese man about a recent homicide involving bootleggers. Seeing that the man is close to death, he gets him to the nearest doctor he can find, which turns out to be a dentist. He makes the dentist shoot the victim with drugs to make him lucid for a few more minutes so he can get some names out of him. The man turns out to be a hard person to question due to his attitude, so Shannon's character pulls the greatest trick I've ever seen a policeman pull to get someone to talk, and jams his entire hand into the mans gaping gunshot wound in his stomach. It was a very painful scene to watch, but also the one that solidified Boardwalk Empire as a show to keep an eye on.

24) Welcome to Atlanta
The Walking Dead was a mixed bag for me. I was a fan of the comic for the past couple years but would easily admit that dialog was not the comic's strong suit. I had high hopes that the series would correct this seeing as how it was being run by Frank Darabont. Turns out the show suffered from the same problem as the comic book. There were many times where I was left rolling my eyes or slapping my forehead in disbelief (sometimes both) at the words being spoken on screen. This is perfectly summed up in the awful opening bit of the 4th episode that featured the two sisters fishing on a boat while talking about their father. Luckily, for every bad line of dialog, there was usually a cool scene somewhere else in the episode to keep me interested in watching. My favorite part of the show's first season comes from the pilot episode. Rick Grimes finally makes it to Atlanta, which he had hoped would be a safety zone where he would possibly find his wife and son. What Rick actually walks into however (on horseback no less, thus making the scene extra epic) is a giant wasteland that has become overrun with zombies. The shock of how many he encounters, along with the quick devouring of his horse by said zombies, made for a very memorable scene. Sadly it showed a certain coolness the show wasn't able to reach again until the ending of the second to last episode when the crew made it to the CDC.

23) Natalie Portman's Morning Surprise
I was a big fan of Black Swan but going in, I didn't realize how dark the movie actually was. I should have known considering it was coming from Darren Aronofsky. The movie features lots of squirm-inducing scenes of body horror as Natalie Portman's body begins to break down (or does it?). However, the most uncomfortable to watch (and therefore my favorite) is when her character wakes up and decides to take her dance instructor's advice to become more like the black swan and delve into some self-pleasuring. What starts as an awkward attempt at pleasure quickly delves into an animalistic action, showcasing a part of her character that had previously been locked up inside her. However, she suddenly glances over near her bedroom door only to find her mother asleep in a chair in her room. Just one of the many powerful scenes in this fantastic movie.

22) The Miley Cyrus Show is Pretty Cool
SNL has been more miss than hit lately but every once in a while they do something perfect. The most recent example of this was newcomer Vanessa Bayer doing a sublime impersonation of Miley Cyrus hosting her own talk show. The skit goes for the absurd instead of the easy path but nails everything right on the head. I guess the only thing left is say is that "it's pretty cool!"

21) Twisted Vampire Sex
True Blood is a show that I dislike and love at the same time. They have a bad habit of killing off the most interesting characters, yet letting the absolute worst on TV (Tara!) live on and on. But the one thing I can't complain about on this show is the level of gore they are allowed to show. My favorite scene of the entire show so far (and something I doubt they can top) was from the end of an episode near the beginning of the season. Bill Compton and the vampire who created him (Lorena) are having one of their epic fight scenes. This of course ends with them having violent vampire sex. By violent I mean that they start off having sex in the usual missionary position and instead of the cliche scene of the man angrily turning the woman over, he instead simply grabs her head and spins it around, slowly breaking all the bones in her neck, while furiously pumping away at her body. The head (still alive because she is a vampire), then begins professing her love for the man who is currently doing this to her. That's how you end an episode! As you can see from this list (#26, #25, #21), it was a banner year for gore on HBO.

You're Welcome,

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