Monday, December 12, 2011


2011  wasn't necessarily a great year for music, and this is usually the hardest list for me to compile every year anyway.  I always have too much to choose from and trying to rank things is hard, or I'm not sure what came out when and have to do a lot of Googling to make sure I get it right.  

This time I had a hard time even thinking of 10 albums that I enjoyed all the way through.  I usually just do a top five, but there were about seven that were contenders so I decided to make it a nice round ten and include some that I didn't necessarily love, or have a chance to fall in love with yet, but still admired enough to recommend.  So, here it is (more or less in order) my  Top 10 Albums of 2011 and Top 20 Singles.  The singles were SUPER hard since I hate most music on the radio and most of what I listen to came out before the year 2000 so there is a lot of repetition.  Enjoy, comment, and PLEASE if you have suggestions of some other good music, give them!!

21_ Adele (An artistic leap forward from her promising debut.  Producer Rick Rubin helped her find her voice in more ways than one.  She dug deeper with her songwriting and pushed herself vocally and the results are remarkable.  Easily the album of the year.  Key Tracks: Someone Like You/Turning Tables/Set Fire to the Rain)


Betty Wright: The Movie _ Betty Wright & The Roots (A welcome return from the R&B legend!  The Roots are the perfect match for the diva to pay tribute to the past and bring real soul music to the new generation.  A class act.  Key Tracks: Surrender/In The Middle of the Game/You and Me, Leroy)

Betty Wright: The Movie

Torches _ Foster The People (A sublime debut from the funky California Alt-Rockers.  The songs are so catchy you can easily miss how sobering the topics are.  Teen mass murder anyone? Key Tracks: 'Helena Beat'/ 'Life on the Nickel'/ 'Call It What You Want')


Born This Way_ Lady Gaga (Gaga lets out her inner rock Grrrl and continues to intrigue.  Say what you will about the Madonna sound-alike title track and even the not quite right, but danceable follow up 'Judas', but you can't deny the pop-rock euphoria of 'You and I' and 'Edge of Glory'.  Some of the best cuts on here so far haven't been released as singles and there are a plenty.  Key Tracks: Schiebe/Americano/Marry the Night)

Born This Way [+Digital Booklet]

Katla_ Ida Maria (Before the election got too ridiculous for me and I stopped listening to NPR non-stop I was introduced to Ida Maria being interviewed when her album was being released.  The sassy, fun personality she displayed in the interview is evident on Katla which bubbles with wit and manages to be sexy and catchy without feeling false.  Key Tracks: Cherry Red/ I Eat Boys Like You For Breakfast/ Bad Karma)

Katla [+Digital Booklet]

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two_ The Beastie Boys (This is classic Beasties and just the way I like them.  Rapping about random stuff to hard hip-hop beats and just being cool ass white boys.  It doesn't hurt having Nas and Santigold dropping by either.  Key Track: Don't Play No Game That I Can Win/Make Some Noise)

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two [Explicit]

Angles_ The Strokes (A return to form from my favorite scraggly New Yorkers.  After their last album that started with a bang and then whimped out, I was glad to have my Strokes back. Key Tracks: Call Me Back/Under the Cover of Darkness/Gratisfaction)


El Camino_ The Black Keys (This album kinda just came out and I'm still learning it and falling in love with it, but it's The Black Keys so I'm sure I won't regret including it on this list. Key Tracks: Money Maker /Run Right Back/Lonely Boy)

El Camino [+Digital Booklet]

Watch The Throne_ Jay-Z & Kanye West (This was one of the most anticipated albums of the year and, though it's not perfect, Jay and Kanye are at their lyrical best.  I don't always enjoy Kanye and it says something that I can get through this whole album without cringing, excessive use of the "N" word notwithstanding.  Key Tracks: Otis/Lift Off/No Church in the Wild)

Watch The Throne (Deluxe Edition) [Explicit]

Camp_ Childish Gambino (For someone who could be described as a cross between Drake and Kanye, two rappers I don't always enjoy, I manage to like this fresh debut from Childish Gambino.   The renaissance artist A.K.A. Donald Glover, a writer and also one of the stars of NBC's Community, keeps it real in a different way than most rappers; he raps about how not being a street hustler made him a hip-hop outsider.  Hopefully on his next album he'll drop the chip on his shoulder that's keeping his freak flag from flying as high as it could.  Key Tracks: All The Shine/Hold You Down)

Camp [Explicit]


Lioness: Hidden Treasures (International Version) [Explicit]          Love After War

Lioness: Hidden Treasures_ Amy Winehouse (Amy, Amy, Amy, gone too soon and this album is a reminder of what might've been with it's mis-mash of demos, early recordings and unreleased tracks, it's not really a new album so I didn't include it, but it is one of my favorites from this year.)

Love After War _ Robin Thicke (I was actually listening to this while I was writing this blog and enjoyed it all the way through, but it missed the deadline to be on the list.)

Top Singles  (In no particular order)

1. Rolling in the Deep_ Adele
2. Run the World_ Beyonce
3. Otis_ Jay-Z & Kanye West
4. Barbara Streisand _ Duck Sauce
5. Pumped Up Kicks_ Foster The People
6. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie_ Red Hot Chilipeppers
7. Superbass_ Nicki Minaj
8. Shake It Out_ Florence + The Machine
9. Paradise_ Coldplay
10. Promises_ Incubus
11. Helena Beat_ Foster the People
12. Someone Like You_ Adele
13. Six Foot, Seven Foot_ Lil' Wayne
14. You and I_ Lady Gaga
15. Make Some Noise_ The Beastie Boys
16. Lonely Boy_ The Black Keys
17. Under the Cover of Darkness_ The Strokes
18. Surrender_ Betty Wright & The Roots
19. Two Against One_ Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi feat. Jack White
20. 25/8_ Mary J. Blige

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I saw two films over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that resonated with me as a filmmaker and cinephile so I’ve chosen to write about them together.  Both films pay tribute to the early days of film with a contemporary twist.  

The first, Martin Scorcese’s Hugo, tells the story of Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) an orphan living in a Parisian train station in the 1930’s.  He lives clandestinely in the station’s clock tower, keeping the authorities none the wiser by regularly winding the clocks in the absence of his guardian uncle who has gone M.I.A.  He is also devoted to restoring an automaton he was working on with his late father (Jude Law) before he died.  So, in addition to filching croissants and milk from the station shops, he has also been swiping gears and other parts from the station’s toy shop run by a grumpy old man (Ben Kingsley).  After confiscating Hugo’s notebook full of sketches and forcing him to demonstrate his mechanical skills, the old man negotiates a deal to have him work in the shop to get the notebook back.  Once Hugo joins forces with the shop owner’s goddaughter (Chloe Grace Moretz), a voracious reader and budding adventurist, they discover that the automaton holds a hidden secret and that’s when the real story is revealed. 
I was initially intrigued about this film because of what I knew about the source material (the children’s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret) and the fact that Scorsese, known for creating vivid portraits of gangsters, outcasts and sociopaths was behind a 3-D kid’s flick.  I have too much respect for Marty to ever think that he had sold out just to get a big check, but I was curious to see what he would do in this uncharted territory.  (Seriously, the closest he’d ever come to a children’s movie was Kundun.)  However, once I was drawn in to Hugo I realized why his involvement, and even the 3-D, made sense.  The plot twist in the third act reveals a real treat for cineastes especially.  It’s clear from the care with which Scorcese treats his subject that he relished the chance to tell this story.  He understands the importance of introducing it to a new generation of filmmakers and dream creators, and the use of 3-D is an appropriate way to pay homage to the spirit of the film. 
It also makes the film more watchable for kids, for whom I think the pacing might be a bit slow, especially if they’re under the age of ten and they haven’t read the books, but for kids at heart (like moi) it was a fantastic treat.  I didn’t see the 3-D version because I usually don’t enjoy the format to say the least, but in this instance it would actually enhance the story and I’m looking forward to seeing it again with the rented glasses.  Even without it though, the magical atmosphere Scorsese creates with the train station and the snowy Parisian landscapes is a wonder to behold.  The colorful supporting characters, including Sacha Baron Cohen as the villainous station security guard, only add to the whimsy and charm of this sumptuous visual treat.   

The Artist, by the French writer/director Michel Hazanavicius, is a similar wonder.  First of all, any film graced with leads as charming and gorgeous as Jean DuJardin (my new crush) and Berenice Bejo would have to be pretty awful to not at least be worth watching.  The story starts in 1927 Hollywood, where George Valentin (DuJardin) is one of the biggest silent film stars in the world when an unknown actress and fan inadvertently makes headlines with him by innocently interrupting a paparazzi frenzy at his premiere.  There is immediate chemistry between the two, but he is unhappily married and she is whisked away to do “talkies” once her name is on everyone’s lips.  Soon Peppy Miller (Bejo) is a star in her own right thanks to the popularity of her work in sound.  At the same time Valentin’s popularity is waning as silents are going out of fashion. 

The film itself is silent (with a few cleverly placed sound sequences) and in black & white lovingly paying homage to the beloved but antiquated art form while at the same time documenting its inevitable demise.  The story, however, speaks to the resilience of film itself and its ability to evolve with the times, a process that we are experiencing in present day.  The film is uplifting, not only because it’s an inspiring tale of learning to swallow your pride and having the courage to change, but because it gives us hope that movies will once again survive the obstacles of newer, more convenient, alternatives and continue to take us to new and exciting places.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Therapist: BLoOpeRs!

I haven't been able to blog because I was apparently in "New Blogger" mode and it wouldn't allow me too, so now I'm back in effect.  Here's a blooper reel from "The Therapist".  Catch up on our You Tube page. Season finale coming this week!!

Monday, August 29, 2011


The MTV Video Music Awards used to be THE awards show to watch.  You could count on crazy outfits, wacky antics and indelible musical performances that would be etched in pop culture forever.  Maybe to some people, the new generation perhaps, it still is that, but years of the same contrived antics and recycled outfits and young artists trying too hard have made me much more cynical.   That said, I like to give credit where credit is due and leave myself open to the possibility that someone can surprise me. 
Last year Florence + The Machine’s rousing performance of “Dog Days are Over” came out of nowhere and made everyone stand up and cheer.  This year, unfortunately, I can’t say that I was particularly impressed by anything, but there were still a few highlights that made me smile.
Let’s just start with the most anticipated performance of the night which was the incomparable Lady Gaga.  I wondered why she was opening instead of them building anticipation for it all night, but as soon as I saw her looking like Ralph Macchio in The Outsiders I knew she had something elaborate up her sleeve.  The spoken intro was a bit too long, but it explained her theatrical/ performance art antics and props to her for staying in character all night (even though she got mixed up with the pronouns later in the show).  The “You and I” performance itself was typical Gaga, raw live vocals, wacky unhinged piano playing and a guest appearance by Queen guitarist Brian May that made Dave Grohl smile.  For some reason she’s a dancing fool and always feels the need to throw a section of choreography into every performance whether it’s needed or not, (this time it wasn’t) but all in all, it’s a memorable addition to the Gaga canon of performance art and was easily the most exciting performance of the night.
First runner up was Beyonce who set herself up as the anti-Gaga.  For all the over-the-top innovation Gaga provides, B (refuse to spell it Bey, B-E-Y spells BAY!!!) served you good old fashioned stage performance.  The glittery tuxedo with the baby bump covering cummerbund were reminiscent of a 1950’s nightclub singer.  Even the song itself “Love on Top” felt like a throwback to a time before MTV even existed when G-rated love songs ruled the charts.  But then she put a feminist twist on it showing off her pregnant stomach at the finish, once again proving that she can, in fact, do it all.
As for her husband, Jay-Z, who beamed adoringly from the audience, his performance of “Otis” with Kanye West was kind of over before I realized it was happening.  I’m a fan of stripped down performance, but the problem with doing stripped down on a show this big is that it has to really be special for it to work (see: Bon Jovi doing “Living on a Prayer/ Wanted Dead or Alive”).  For all the energy Jay and Kanye brought out with them, they probably could’ve used the unnecessary dancers from the Gaga performance to add a layer of excitement to it.  They basically came off like they were just sitting in the audience in jeans and asked to perform and the last minute.  Not their best.
Also going for stripped down was Adele, with an intimate set for “Someone Like You.”  I love Adele and that is probably my favorite track on 21, but as over played as “Rolling in the Deep” is I was hoping she would do that song or something more upbeat and exciting.  She sang well, but wasn’t in her best voice (I couldn’t tell if was from nerves or emotion).  Let’s hope at the Grammys, where she is sure to be a multiple nominee, she can come up with a fun medley or something and not end up being this generation’s Nora Jones.   The “Rolling in the Deep” video won a bunch of technical awards as well which was really generous because, let’s face it, it’s a great song, but the video is essentially her singing to a couple hundred glasses of water in an empty house.
Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo and Nayer (Is that her name?) performed their hit single “Tonight.”  It was nice to see Pitbull get a spot on the big show since he’s been keeping butts shaking on the dancefloor for most of the past decade, and the performance was fun.  Still not sure who Nayer is, and why she actually got a “featuring” credit for a contribution that could have been made just as effectively by a computer, but whatever. Get your money girl.  (Next time though buy an outfit that doesn’t look like you got it from Apollonia in the 80’s). 
There were also two tribute performances last night that came off very differently.  First, there was Britney looking healthy and happy for the most part even though she refuses to spend money on good hair (fake or otherwise), who was given the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award.  It’s no secret that I’m not her biggest fan and I think her contribution to pop music and popular culture are WAY overblown, but she has been through a lot and managed to maintain some semblance of sanity and is still around recording music which is more than I can say for a lot of wannabe pop stars. 

Despite the fact that she hasn’t had a video worth discussing (ever?) in ten years, I didn’t have a problem with her receiving the award.  For all of her haters and naysayers she still has legions of fans and if MTV wants to congratulate her (or themselves for creating the hype surrounding her in the first place), that’s their prerogative (see what I did there?).  I actually felt bad for Brit, because the whole tribute was hijacked by the two other divas involved.  Gaga, who presented the award in “character” as Joe Calderone, did most of the speaking (and Spears looked a little scared) and then Brit was further dissed by having to introduce Beyonce, which was worse than having Kanye come out and interrupt and say that B deserved it more.  (Although if he had he would’ve been right…Again.  No offense Taylor).  The little girls dancing to her hits was cute though and only slightly inappropriate (who puts a nine year-old in a red cat suit? Oh yeah, the network that brings us Jersey Shore and Teen Mom.  Never mind.)
The other tribute for the late Amy Winehouse was thankfully more tastefully done.  Russell Brand was funny and sincere in his speech remembering his friend.  The clip of her singing with Tony Bennett was touching and apropos, focusing on her talent and Bruno Mars’s heartfelt rendition of “Valerie” was a winner.  It would’ve been nice to see Adele (who looked like she was on the verge of tears) be apart of the tribute as well, but I guess that too will probably be saved for the Grammys. 
That was pretty much it, not the most memorable show ever, but not the worst ever either.  There were several things that left me scratching my head after the show was over.  Like if MTV celebrated its 30th Anniversary this year why wasn’t that mentioned on the show?  Who is Tyler the Creator and what was the point of the “future” Beastie Boys?  What was that Chris Brown, lip-synching, crouching tiger/ flying pop star performance about? Was it some kind of tribute to the 90’s or something? Also, was Kevin Hart the host or not?  Why do Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez look like two ninth grade besties who just realized they’re lesbians?  And don’t even get me started on Cloris Leachman being DTF.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011


First off, let me just come out and say that I didn’t read the best-selling novel that The Help is based on.   I’m not sure if the film does it justice, or how much it sticks to, or deviates from, the source material, so my impression of the story is just from watching the film.   I do know that the writer /director of the film (Tate Taylor) and the author of the novel (Kathryn Stockett) are very good friends who have known each other for quite some time, so my guess is that the film sticks as closely to the book as possible.

         At the film’s center we have Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone), a young, educated, white female returning home from college and ready to make a difference in the world.   She returns to her home of Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960’s with the intention of landing a position as a journalist for the local paper, which she does.  Unfortunately, much to her chagrin, it’s for a domestic maintenance column in which she has to advise women on how to solve household dilemmas involving, mending, cooking and stain removal, none of which she has any amount of experience.   

        Skeeter, like her gaggle of childhood friends, was raised by a black maid who handled the domestic duties in her household.   Upon her return she learns that her beloved Constantine (Cicely Tyson) has mysteriously left her post and moved up north with her family.  To get help with the column she enlists the assistance of a friend’s maid, Abilene (Viola Davis), but soon after they begin Skeeter realizes she wants to tell a different story.  She wants to write about what it’s like for a black maid working in a white household in the Jim Crow era south.
            As a black person, I wanted to take issue with the fact that this story, about a specifically black experience, was written by a white person (in both incarnations), but the author of the novel, to my knowledge, had first hand experience being raised by a black maid herself.   Also, it was presented in the film as if she was basically retelling the stories that had been told to her, so I wasn’t as bothered by that as I might’ve been.   Not that there weren’t a few choice bits of dialogue that made me cringe, particularly one of the maid’s ruminations on Crisco and fried chicken.   Another thing that was initially troubling was Abilene’s especially close relationships with the children in her care.  For some reason watching her tell a young white child that she was smart and important felt redundant and misplaced, but once the detached relationship with the child’s mother and Abilene’s own personal pain is revealed, it all makes sense.  (Too bad they nearly ruined it with the child exclaiming “You’re my real mama Aibi.”)   

If I had to have one major complaint about the film though, it would be the whole Chicken Soup for the Soul vibe of it.  It didn’t avoid some of the horror that black people experienced at that time in history, but I never felt like I wasn’t watching a movie, that is to say that something about it just never rang true for me.   This could be attributed to the director’s inexperience, or maybe it was the almost complete absence of any men that factored into the plot at all.   It could not, however, be attributed to the performances.  While I was not as moved by the three leads (Stone, Davis and Octavia Spencer) as I might’ve hoped (Davis, though always a pleasure to watch, was more heartbreaking in a few minutes of Doubt),  I thoroughly enjoyed Sissy Spacek and Allison Janney’s sassy matriarchs,  Jessica Chastain’s loopy outcast and even Bryce Dallas Howard’s cunning and devious villainess.
 As hard as the filmmakers and people involved try to convince us otherwise, The Help is definitely a film for women.   The men in the film barely register in one way or another and the character arcs of the three primary characters are decidedly feminist.  None of this is necessarily an issue, because it will surely resonate on some level with its target audience, and it was one of the more laudable themes in the film.   What is less certain is whether or not the film will leave a real impression after you’ve left the theater.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Teaser Trailer: ANDY's CD's

Here is a short film that I'm assistant directing.  Please like our Facebook page for this!! It's gonna be hilarious!


Here's the trailer for a new web series that I'm in.  So excited for everyone to see it.  I will let everyone know when the episodes start airing!!

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Sunday, July 31, 2011


What do you do when your boss is a total prick? The type of guy that makes you feel valuable only to make you work harder, but never promotes you.  The type of guy that’s a total screw-up, drug addict that makes you do his dirty work.   A sexy temptress that’s constantly trying to sleep with you against your will……Well maybe that last one isn’t so horrible, but that’s what our three leads in Horrible Bosses have to deal with.  Their solution: kill them.
            What starts out as a hypothetical joke, turns into a full-fledged premeditated murder scheme, although the perpetrators are far from cold-blooded hit man material, so initially they decide to hire a consultant in the form of one Mutherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx).   With his advice they set out on a Strangers on a Train-esque mission to kill each other’s bosses, but of course if it were that easy there wouldn’t be a movie.
As someone who has seen many ups and downs in her film career, Jennifer Aniston might want to take note that workplace comedies seem to fare the best for her.   While Horrible Bosses doesn’t give her a chance to show off her emotional range like she did in The Good Girl, it does give her more of a chance to flex her comedic “flair” than she got in Office Space.  Also, unlike the majority of her forgettable romantic comedies, she actually gets to do something a little different.  Here, as the man-eater boss of Charlie Day, she’s oversexed, conniving and potty-mouthed.  Thank God!  Kevin Spacey tortures Jason Bateman with snarky aplomb as the slave-driving Mr. Harken, Colin Firth is also great as the d-bag thorn in Jason Sudeikis’s side, but the true stars of the film are the lead group of friends that plan to kill these a-holes.
            Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) really shines as the lovelorn Dale, actually making it believable that he’s uncomfortable with his hot boss constantly coming on to him.  His inventive performance is comedic gold.  Jason Bateman, the current king of the dry one-liner, is perfectly cast as the (mostly) sensible, Prius driving, Nick, and Jason Sudeikis finally gets a lead role worthy of his comedic chops honed on years of SNL.   I am not a fan of sequels, but if these three were to team up again to say, go to a wedding, ship an important package, or even deliver dry cleaning, my ticket is as good as bought.  For anyone who currently, or has ever, worked in a dead-end, soul sucking job, this is the film for you.  


Often films are billed one way, but are really something quite different when you see them.  Often this is for the worst.  Something that seems really scary is actually too foolish to be taken seriously, or something that looks hilarious in the previews fails to deliver one belly laugh in the theater.   Every once in a while though, a film will come along that is a pleasant surprise.  That was the case with Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer. 
What I expected from the trailers, was a straight forward romantic comedy, but it turned out to be an artful drama about love and mortality.   In the film, Hal (Plummer) comes out of the closet in his seventies after losing his wife of four decades.  Finally, he decides to live the life he always wanted and to really enjoy what was left of his golden years and we soon learn it’s not a very long time.  This section of his life is all seen in flashback as his son Oliver (McGregor) is picking up the pieces after his father’s death and trying to figure out love on his own terms.  He meets the luminous Anna (Melanie Laurent) at a costume party and they begin a complicated love affair that they both seem to be excited and frightened by.   They both have trepidation and emotional damage, but that’s what connects them.   He’s a mopey artist doing album covers for rock bands and she’s a free spirited, bi-coastal actress with daddy issues.  There’s also an adorable pooch whose own thoughts provide an off-beat comedic relief.
Plummer’s engaging patriarch is lovable, stubborn and honest in his new found life.  He joins gay social clubs, goes to pride marches and even gets himself a younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic).  He doesn’t try to impart wisdom on his son so much as to lead by joie de vivre.  McGregor’s Oliver is touching as he slowly learns to take chances in his own life and allows himself to be vulnerable.  Laurent rounds out the ensemble with an emotionally open and engaging performance.  I hope to see more of her in the future.  
Beginners is a charming slice of life that doesn’t try to answer too many questions and the questions it asks are thought provoking and apropos to our evolving cultural climate.   Should we even risk being in love if it will just end in despair?  Or is it better to simply be loved than to be in love?  


In the riveting short film Change, directed by Melissa Osborne and Jeff McCutcheon, we are brought into the world of Jamie (Sean McClam), a black teenager in Los Angeles struggling with his sexuality.   The film documents a 24 hour period from November 4, to November 5, 2008, when the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president and the passing of California’s controversial Proposition 8 was impending.  For Jamie, who is black and gay, it’s a very important day.   The film opens in a history class where he and his classmates give speeches about who they would vote for in the election if they were eligible (since they are in high school and under 18) and some creative extras give wonderful off the cuff speeches, one girl even does an impromptu rap.  After class we see Jamie with a group of his friends who want to tag the home of a gay student (Jesse James Rice) in their class in anticipation of Prop 8 passing, but he persuades them to put it off until after the election thinking that it wouldn't pass.  
The authenticity of the film was punctuated by the documentary shooting style and the partially improvised script.   The film screened at Outfest where I was able to not only attend a Q &A with one of the directors (Osborne) afterwards, but actually speak to her personally about the film.  She said that the day was so ironic to her because she has a black mother and a gay brother, (she looked by all accounts to be white and had what sounded like an English accent) so the mixed emotions experienced by her family was what compelled her to tell the story.  I was personally glad that someone had addressed the issue.  At the time, I remembered being astounded that in a country where we could elect a president that was a product of a union that was illegal in most states at the time of his birth, we would still be too prejudiced to understand how big a step backwards this was.  
The film did an excellent job of showing the dichotomy within the black community regarding race and sexuality and how someone like Jamie gets caught in the crossfire and is marginalized within his own community.   At one point in the film Jamie’s dad tells him, “Change takes time, don’t take it for granted,” and succinctly sums up the theme of the film.  Alongside the numerous shorts and features about sex and sexual identity it was nice to see something that really asked provocative questions about where we are as a society.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

TOP 10 FILMS of 2010:

  1. The Social Network - The overly verbose script can feel overwhelming, but the execution and performances are superb.
  2. Blue Valentine – Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are heartbreaking and Cianfrance, makes this divorce tale feel like a love story.
  3. Kick-Ass – The most fun, inventive and entertaining movie of the year.  Hilarious, heart-felt and (oh shit, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it) …..kick-ass!!
  4. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – The 2nd most fun, inventive and entertaining movie of the year.  Or maybe it’s a tie! Loved it!
  5. Shutter Island – A nice old school psychological thriller.  Well paced and well acted.  After The Departed, it looks like Marty’s officially got his mojo back.
  6. The Kids Are All Right – Modern Family: The movie, and that’s a compliment of the highest order.  Great script, great acting.  Bening might finally get her Oscar.
  7. I Love You, Phillip Morris -A hilarious and twisted true story of two men in love, brought to vivid life by Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.  I couldn’t imagine any other actor gamely diving face first into the material like Carrey and he nails it. 
  8. Inception – I have dubbed this film “Subconscious Island”, but it could also be called “Matrix Island” as well.  After SI the storyline (trippy is it real / is it not visuals, femme fatale wife, Leo) felt really familiar, but the set pieces were gorgeous and Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are always welcome.
  9. Black Swan – The tightly wound ballerina is perfect casting for an actress as tightly wound as Natalie Portman.  Thank the slimy Vincent Cassel and a luminous Mila Kunis for giving this Swan wings.
  10. Zombieland – Yes, Jesse Eisenberg did a commendable job in The Social Network speed reading through Aaron Sorkin’s taught script at the pace of a coked-up lab rat and it was wonderful, but it was here that he gave us, nerdy, flirty, funny and zombie killing bad ass.  And Woody Harrelson hasn’t had this much fun in too long.

TOP 20 SINGLES: (In no particular order)

  1. Bottoms Up_ Trey Songs f/ Nicki Minaj
  2. Hello Good Morning_ Dirty Money f/ T.I. (Remix f/ Rick Ross & Nicki Minaj)
  3. Baby_ Justin Bieber f/ Ludacris
  4. Ain’t No Son _ Court Yard Hounds
  5. Animal _ Neon Trees
  6. Fancy_ Drake f/ T.I.
  7. Acapella _ Kelis
  8. Rolling in the Deep_ Adele
  9. Telephone_ Lady Gaga f/ Beyonce
  10.  Dog Days are Over_ Florence + The Machine
  11.  Whip My Hair_ Willow Smith
  12.  My Chick Bad_ Ludacris f/ Nicki Minaj
  13.  OMG _ Usher f/ Will. I. Am.
  14.  F*ck You_ Cee-Lo Green
  15.  Billionaire_ Travie McCoy f/ Bruno Marz
  16.  Freak_ Estelle
  17.  We No Speak Americano_ Yolanda Be Cool vs. DCup
  18.  Your Love_ Nicki Minaj
  19.  Tighten Up_ The Black Keys
  20.  Monster _ Kanye West f/ Jay-Z & Nicki Minaj


  1. Lungs_ Florence + The Machine
  2. Pink Friday_ Nicki Minaj
  3. Night Work_ Scissor Sisters
  4. Court Yard Hounds_ Court Yard Hounds
  5. Flesh Tone_ Kelis


Janet on American Idol (Again/Nothing/Nasty) _ Miss Jackson is still serving you bitches.  All hail.

En Vogue @ LA Pride_ Talk about still serving it! This was the pleasant surprise of the year.  Did not expect them to still sound and look so amazing and put on one hell of a free show.

Kelis @ LA Pride_ This performance was fun and quick just like Pride.  Too bad her actual concert couldn’t top it.

Florence + The Machine on the VMAs _ After all the lackluster performances of the year’s biggest hits, out of nowhere something lovely emerged and made everyone take notice.  If you saw this performance, then you saw a star being born before your eyes. 

Betty White on SNL _ Thanks to Facebook, the legend and only surviving Golden Girl took her place on the comedy throne she had too long eluded.  Wizard of ASS!!!


Mila Kunis in Black Swan _ After making you fall in love with her in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I’m glad she got this scene stealing role that is likely to get her an Oscar nomination.   Next let’s hope someone gives her a starring role where she can really shine.

Halle Berry in Frankie & Alice_ So the film is a little hokey and feels like a 70's TV movie in the vein of Sybil or Three Faces of Eve, but those were award winning roles and this should at least net Berry a nomination for her virtuoso multi-character performance. 

Andrew Garfield in The Social Network_ A wonderful breakout role.  The heart of the social network.  

Jim Carrey in I Love You, Phillip Morris _ This gay, genius, con-man feels like the role Danny Kaye was born to play.  And since he isn't around there's no better replacement.

Tessa Thompson in For Colored Girls _ This was a film where the fine performances across the board elevated it from a typical Tyler Perry tear jerker, but Thompson's sexy, vulnerable turn was a standout. 

Melissa Leo in The Fighter_ After her knock-out performance in Frozen River Leo is back with another one-two punch as Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg's tough-cookie Mama.

Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right _ A relaxed slow burn of pure acting.  There's never a moment  where you don't believe every word she says. 

Jeremy Renner in The Town  _ I love Christian Bale and I understand why his performance in The Figher is so lauded, but when viewed alongside the soulful and ferocious Renner it comes off as a bit hammy.  This is real, no frills, acting. Bravo!

Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine _ Gosling has a rare quality in an actor where he can make me fall in love with him again every time I watch him on screen.  This is no exception.  I felt like it was February 14th and I was the only person in the theater. 


Nina Dobrev on The Vampire Diaries_  The inventive writing went to new heights in the second season when Dobrev took on the dual role of the placid Elena and the fiery Katherine.  Both the writers and the actress enjoy every delicious minute of it.

Ian Somerhalder on The Vampire Diaries_ All the best lines. All the best cheekbones. He's such a bastard, but you can't help but love him. 

 Ty Burrell & Eric Stonestreet on Modern Family_ It's hard to pick standouts on a show like this, but the never-not-funny Burrell and Emmy winner Stonestreet certainly never disappoint. 
Gwenyth Paltrow on Glee_ She may be Country Strong, but on her irreverent guest spot she was Pop Sweet.  The normally blah Oscar winner showed off her fun side and her silky pipes and made it look effortless.


Nicki Minaj & Bruno Mars _ If one of them didn't have something to do with your song.  You didn't have a hit this year.

Mila Kunis_ The newly single beauty brought grace and wit to Black Swan and now I can't wait to see what she does next.

Justin Bieber_ Say what you want about his teeny bopper image, but this singing, dancing, multi-instrumentalist will probably be playing the 2040 Superbowl...and you won't.

Tom Hardy_ Another suave and sexy Brit. Thank God!

Andrew Garfield_ If he brings as much soul and sensitivity to the new Spiderman as he did to The Social Network people might start wondering "Tobey who?"


  1. Mila Kunis
  2. Nina Dobrev
  3. Rooney Mara
  4. Sofia Vergara
  5. Courtney Cox
  1. Daniel Criss
  2. Chord Overstreet
  3. Taylor Kinney
  4.  Cam Gigandet
  5. Tom Hardy