Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Point V2: Vol. 4 - Happy 2012

Happy New Year to all the readers of the Procrastinator's Point. I'm here once again to write about what in pop-culture has caused my procrastination habits.  I can tell you after the holidays that the X-box will be the biggest cause of my procrastination in the first quarter of 2012. I received Skyrim and am hooked. Also, I have L.A. Noire (the complete edition-4 discs!) to start after I'm done with Skyrim.  Then, in March, Mass Effect 3 is released...so I'll be playing X-box until the good movies start coming out in 2012.  But before I tell you about my most anticipated films for next year, let's have a pop-culture review of 2011.


The Procrastinator's Point's Year in Review - 2011
First off, you might notice a new design to the Point, I decided it needed a little more pizzazz.  So, I tinkered with the design. However, it isn't quite where I'd like it and I'm having trouble with the mobile phone design, so let me know how I can improve it for the future. Back to the Best of 2011 list.

Normally, I focus on the pop culture aspects of my procrastination, but I'm an adult so occasionally I watch the news and enjoy sports.

Here is my top 5 news stories of 2011

  1. Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Jong-il, and Osama bin Laden are all dead.  Normally, I don't condone celebrating the death of a human being. Luckily after the crimes against humanity that these guys committed, I wouldn't consider them human. Good riddance.
  2. The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The fact that I know who these people are is a testament of how much coverage this wedding got.  It still remains that I could care less about these people and think that the founding father's of our country would be rolling over in their graves if they knew that the American media followed a story about British Royalty for like 8 months after they gave their lives in a revolution to separate us from British rule.
  3. Dr. Conrad Murray's trial and Casey Anthony's trial - These two trials stole the media spotlight throughout the summer. As everyone knows, Murray was found guilty and somehow Anthony was not guilty.
  4. Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami - Another tragedy (just like the Anthony trial verdict). This one captured the world's attention as they feared a nuclear meltdown of their power plants after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake ravaged Japan and caused a tsunami to flood their country.
  5. Occupy Movement - Homeless people got a bunch of hippies to hang out? I don't fully understand this movement...I also don't understand Bieber fever.
I know I should have mentioned Lindsay Lohan's lawsuits, Steve Jobs or Amy Whinehouse's death, Charlie Sheen's meltdown, Kutcher and Schwarzenegger's infidelity issues, celebrity cell phone hacking, Kris and Kim's 72 days of marital bliss, Bieber's paternity test, or Beyonce's baby bump.
 

Next up on my review of 2011...SPORTS

  1. For me, the Steelers v. Packers Superbowl match-up was something that as a fan of NFL, I wanted to see for a long time.  These two franchises (along with the Cowboys, Patriots, and Niners) are most dominating Superbowl contenders in NFL history. It was an epic match-up with a horrible ending (stupid Packers)...and it also ended my time as a Steelers' fan and my time being able to wear my team's gear while watching them in a Superbowl. In 2011, I gave in and supported my local team...the Vikings. So long Superbowl dreams...
  2. The Miami Heat's dream team was upset by the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals. Dirk Nowitzki, the German Moses, lead the Mavericks to the trophy. And the city of Cleveland celebrated with a collective Nelson style HA HA at the expense of Lebron James.
  3. Penn State Scandal - for a few weeks, that's all we heard about. Not very sporting at all.
  4. NBA and NFL lockouts - at one point, the state of Minnesota had only the Twins and the Wild to worry about losing seasons with.  Thank goodness the Vikings came through.
  5. Tim Tebow - either you love him or hate him, but most likely you imitate him. Tebowing has become a verb and the newest sensation across the nation.
Outstanding New TV Shows - 2011 edition
 

10) The Voice - a nice change from the American Idol format when Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and Christina Aguilera judged the initial contestants by hearing their voice only and not having image involved.  From there, they created teams to go head to head against the other judges. Normally, I don't watch singing competitions, but the chemistry of the judges is so enjoyable with this show and the contestants are actually good singers. No William Hung in these auditions. 
9) Franklin and Bash - Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and the kid from Roadtrip (Breckin Meyer) are two immature lawyers with a knack for winning cases with outrageous antics. Another show that surprised me. I'm not a fan of courtroom dramas, but this show took that formula and twisted it with a sitcom.  And these two work for the guy from a Clockwork Orange (Malcolm McDowell) that's a plus.
8) Man Up - Dan Fogler and friends play three guys who play video games and haven't really become manly men like their father's were.  When I first heard the premise of the show, I wasn't interested except I like Fogler's comedy.  But after watching this sitcom, I'm hooked. The character's are great, especially Grant (Henry Simmons) who is Fogler's ex-wife's new boyfriend. The pilot episode when he screams BARACUDA is enough to get you to watch the next episode.
7) Terra Nova - Future looks bad, so a family goes back in time to the dinosaur era and starts a colony.  That's the concept in a nutshell. I hated the pilot, but my wife enjoyed it. The weeks after the pilot were episodic adventures for the family on-screen. I kept watching. It got more interesting week by week. Now, I'm hooked and have to say that this show had one of the best season finales that I've ever seen. It was like watching a movie. If the entire season was like the second half of this season, this show would be number one on this list.
6) Alphas - Another summer show that pleasantly surprised me.  I thought it was going to resemble Heroes, and it doesn't.  In fact, it shows the issues each of these characters has due to their enhanced abilities. You can't be a superhuman without a few flaws. Great show that got better as the season progressed.
5) Once Upon a Time - What if fairy-tales existed in reality? That's the concept this show follows as the the wicked queen put a spell on her realm and made each character forgot who they were in their fairy tale life and now they all live mundane lives in Storybrooke, Maine. Sounds cheesy? It's not. So far, it has been a well crafted story with some CGI that needs some works. If they keep the writing at this level, I won't care about the CGI.
4) New Girl - Zooey Deschanel's character Jess suffered a bad break-up and moves in with three strange male roommates. Threes Company for a new generation? Perhaps. But this show is fun and one of my guilty pleasures. The characters on this show have really good chemistry and Deschanel is hilarious cute how naive she is. And Schmidt (Max Greenfield) plays the goofy douchebag roommate to perfection.
3) Person of Interest - Big Brother is watching you...not really, they don't care. But Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel are watching. Emerson created software that uses every bit of data from cameras and cell phones and digital mumbo-jumbo to find terrorists, but it also predicts random violent crimes. The government only wants info on terrorists and won't do anything to protect the other victims. So, Emerson gets a SSN and knows that the person will be involved...but whether they are the victim or perpetrator is up to Caviezel to find out. Great show. You never know what is coming.
2) Being Human - Vampire, Werewolf, and a Ghost are all roommates trying to get through life being as normal as possible. You know, that same old rehashed story we've heard a thousand times...or maybe this was the first time. Being normal for these roommates is not as easy as you think. This is a show that I accidentally stumbled upon...the same way I was hooked on Burn Notice.  The show started after a WWE program and I kept watching and watching until I realized that I was really liking that show. I set up a DVR recording of missed episodes and was addicted to it after that.
1) Happy Endings - This is Friends updated for today's world. Six friends living in Chicago. One couple is married. Another couple was supposed to get married, but they didn't. And, the other two are not your typical gay man and a floozy bimbo with a heart of gold...that's not right, we'll just call her Penny. The show was a mid-season replacement last spring and knocked Cougar Town off the fall schedule. If you haven't watched it, go do so.  It is the best sitcom on network television right now.


And now the lists that you've all been waiting for...

MOVIES - 2011


       MY BEST OF...
The Best Movies of 2011 - I should point out that I haven't seen every movie I wanted in 2011. I'm missing Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Real Steel, Warrior, Drive, Attack the Block...among others.  Also, I don't watch artsy flicks or boring dramas. 

10) Scream 4 - A fourth movie that actually didn't suck and brought new life into the franchise...I'm as shocked as you to see this movie on this list. But, it proved me wrong.
9) Captain America - Steve Rodgers' origin story as he defeats Hydra and the Red Skull during WWII.  I couldn't decide between this and Thor for the list since they were both satisfying adaptations, but Captain America didn't reminded me of Crocodile Dundee with super powers like Thor did. Plus, Kat Denning's annoying character knocked Thor out of the top 10 all together.
8) Winnie the Pooh - Perhaps I'm getting old, but I saw more kids movies this year than I have in twenty-some years. However, this movie was nostalgic and resembled the old Pooh shows that I grew up with.  You couldn't help but laugh at that befuddled bear's adventure with all of his friends.
7) Super 8 - This movie brought back the old-school kid's adventure film (like Goonies) and combined it with classic monster movie style. The child actors (Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Elle Fanning, Ryan Lee) are what make this film great. They make you believe that this train accident and crisis that ensues actually are happening. The monster and adult actors are all forgettable, but those kids and the film they create will stick with you. Also, watch the kids' movie (THE CASE) during the credits for an extra laugh.
6) The Source Code - Another surprise for me...I saw the commercials and wasn't interested, but my wife has a crush on Jake Gyllenhaal so we went to it.  Gyllenhaal is transported into a strange man's body for eight minutes to find clues to a Chicago commuter train bombing. After eight minutes, he goes boom.  It's a surprisingly good action packed thriller.
5) X-men: First Class - Sure they took liberties with the source material, but honestly, I didn't care. This was an X-Men movie to be proud of. Fassbender as Magneto was great casting.
4) Limitless - I never thought that I'd watch this movie based on the trailer. I did watch it and now it's number four on my list. Bradley Cooper takes a drug that allows him to access his brain like never before and become uber smart. Craziness ensues. Watch this movie or read the novel that it is based on (I haven't read it, but I assume it is better). Limitless is an outstanding story.
3) The Muppets - My most anticipated movie of 2011 did not disappoint. Nostalgic feelings overwhelmed me as I watched my favorite characters on screen with my daughter right there with me. The new songs weren't as powerful as the Rainbow Connection or Movin' Right Along, but they were still well-written. The Man or Muppet song was great. Singing chickens awesome...and the cameos...well they were there too. This movie lived up to the hype.
2) Rise of the Planet of the Apes - After Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes in 2001, I hoped this franchise was done. It wasn't, and thank goodness for that. Andy Serkis motion-capture portrayal of Caesar, the ape who James Franco raises, is a Oscar caliber performance. The film and performance of Serkis makes you feel geniune concern for those damn dirty apes.
1) Bridesmaids - I never laughed so hard...even at Pineapple Express, Superbad, or the Hangover.  Melissa McCarthy stole the show as her character, Megan, took a crap in a sink. Kristen Wiig showed us that she is force to be reckoned with after co-scripting this gem.  Jon Hamm's brief appearance as a extreme douchebag is great too. I love comedy and this year was lacking in that genre...nothing stood out, but this film was hilarious. Also, it was heartwarming and cute as well. If you watch any comedy from 2011, make sure it is this one.

       MY MOST DISAPPOINTING MOVIES
I don't do a worst films list because I don't rush out to watch films that I think will be bad...like Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill or that ensemble cast film New Year's Eve or the Zookeeper or Bucky Larson.  However, many films disappoint me...these are my top five....again, I haven't seen all the movies that will probably disappoint me (e.g. Hangover 2 and Cowboys and Aliens).
5) Bad Teacher - Jason Segal, Justin Timberlake, and Cameron Diaz in a movie with a great plot idea of a teacher who doesn't care. But, the jokes weren't there and I didn't care at all about this movie.
4) Green Lantern - If the Green Lantern would have stayed in space in the CGI environment doing training and fighting baddies there...that movie would have been great. However, they made the Green Lantern something he is not...a crybaby who ran (flew) back to Earth to whine about who-knows-what and then use his powers to attempt to get some booty.  Dumb.
3)  The Smurfs - Okay, so I didn't expect much from this movie, but I thought it would be more fun for the kids and less aimed at trying to do humor geared for adults. Shrek did a good job at hiding the adult humor in the jokes...the Smurfs did not.
2) Your Highness - Franco and McBride reunite in a medieval times for a bunch of inappropriate jokes. McBride wears a minotaur's penis as a necklace for the last third of the movie...that should tell you right there not to watch this flick.
1) Sucker Punch - The trailer for this Zack Snyder special effects laden movie showed an action pack film with attractive girls kicking butt against dragons and using swords, machine guns, and all kinds of weapons. It showed genres of films mashed-up into an action-packed hour and a half.  Instead, we get the story of how strippers are lobotomized into doing their job...okay that may not be the story...but it seemed like Snyder may have been using his film to show the horrors of that counter culture. However, Jon Hamm's brief appearance is the silver lining to this film...but do not watch it for that.


Well kids...this last list is for you.

MY DAUGHTER'S FAVORITE KID MOVIES

5) Rio
4) Kung Fu Panda 2
3) The Muppets
2) Gnomeo and Juliet
1)  Winnie the Pooh

That's it for 2011....I'll get you the most anticipated list for 2012 in the next few days. Check back here daily for updates so you can be the first to tune in next time for more of these zany adventures of the one and only self-proclaimed semi-professional procrastinator that doubles as an entertainment guru...or as my mom continues to call me...that damn lazy couch potato.