Smugglivus: Thea’s Best of the Rest 2009 (TV, Movies, etc)

Seeing as Ana and I met through LOST boards (we are ridiculous geeks), it should come as no shocker that both of us are huge couch potatoes. Television, movies, sports, you name it. So, given our advance stage of couch potato-ness, we have decided to enumerate our favorites of 2009!

We invite you to sit back, pop open a cold one, and enjoy. Here are my picks for The Best of the Rest 2008 (check out Ana’s HERE).

The Best of the Rest: TELEVISION

**A warning–if you’re currently catching up or haven’t seen a show, be prepared to be spoiled. We’re only talking about episodes that have already aired, but if you don’t wanna know, you’d best look away!**

Well, as Ana has usurped the first post, this may seem a bit redundant. But whatever. Here we go! I’m counting back from 10 to my absolute favorite TV moments of 2009.

10. Castle (ABC) – The Delicious Sexual Tension

This show is a book nerd and scifi geek’s dream – first, you get the charming, delightful, hot Nathan Fillion in a primetime starring role (complete with witty quips, silly humor, and general adorableness). Add to that the fact that he plays a bestselling thriller author named Richard Castle that knows his mystery tropes, who currently works as a “consultant” with the NYPD in a completely implausible plot-twist, and you’ve got a party. His new source of inspiration, Detective Kate Beckett – beautiful, confident, damaged and deadly – makes for a wonderful leading lady. And the CHEMISTRY between these two! It’s hot stuff. This is a silly show, but it’s so much fun. If you’re not watching it yet – what the hell is stopping you!? It’s all about Castle.

9. V (ABC) – The Pilot

After the craptastic, LOST-wannabe disappointment that was FlashForward, I was pleasantly surprised by ABC’s V – a remake of the 1980s series about invading aliens, called Visitors, who charm and manipulate us poor earthlings for their own nefarious ends. Of course, as V stars Elizabeth Mitchell (aka Thea’s Biggest Girl Crush Since Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully), I was predisposed to like this show – but it genuinely is a strong new entry from ABC. The pilot had surprisingly GOOD special effects, expert plotting, and has so much potential for growth. Add to that Firefly alumni Morena “Inara” Baccarine and Alan “Wash” Tudyk as Vs, and I’m a happy camper. Also, Morris Chestnut branching out into mainstream TV is ALWAYS a welcome thing (I’m a huge fan of Morris Chestnut). Heck, even Scott Wolf (who is freaking me out with his resemblance to Michael J. Fox as he grows older) who usually annoys me is winsome in this new scifi-thriller. Even though the last two episodes faltered a bit, I still have very high hopes for this series, and cannot wait for its return in 2010.

8. Modern Family (ABC) – Dysfunctionally Wonderful

I got Ana to start watching this show, and OF COURSE she loved it. It’s certainly the best, funniest new show of 2009 about a real modern family – an older rich man and his hot, much younger, Colombian wife (and her son); a gay couple with their adopted Vietnamese baby; a yuppie couple and their three very different children. I mean, just check out the clip:

7. House (Fox) – The Looney Bin

I have to agree with Ana re:House – I started watching this show when it first came out and loved it. But, come season 4-ish, I stopped watching. The dissolution of the original team of Cameron, Foreman and Chase and the increasingly formulaic nature of the show (with House NEVER suffering really any consequences for his actions) bugged me. I’d still watch the show occasionally, but it was demoted from my Season Pass on my DVR. But…then came this season. House *finally* has to get clean – and he finally realizes that he is NOT ok. The pilot, with House in the Looney Bin, was one of the FINEST episodes I have ever seen. I loved it, and I love that House is still working through his issues, and that he is staying clean. (I’m so not happy about Cameron leaving and the return of Thirteen *gags* but nothing’s perfect)

6. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX) – “Oh my God, was that piss?!”/”Like, little Green Ghouls, man!”/”Kitten Mittons”/”Dear Chase Utley”/”Salt the snail!”

Oh God, Sunny. Sunny, Sunny, Sunny. How much do I love thee? Let me count the ways…Almost EVERY episode this season was a winner. Every Thursday, I look forward to being simultaneously entertained and repulsed by these Philly assholes – and I mean that as an endearment. I love this show. I. LOVE. THIS. SHOW. And here are my favorite clips:

Kitten Mittens

Charlie and the Pear

Dear Chase Utley

Charlie’s Profile

Gail the Snail

5. Glee (Fox) – “Defying Gravity”

I am an official, proud Gleek. Glee is the best new show of 2009, combining sweet tunes, High School tropes, and breaking down barriers between “cool” and “loser” like nobody’s business. Smart, touching, hilarious, this show has it all. My personal favorite song has to be Kurt’s rendition of “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, so I’ll leave you with that clip.

Defying Gravity

The fall finale, “Sectionals,” was all kinds of awesome – and I am scared of what Sue will do when she comes back after the mid-season break!

4. The Office (NBC) – Niagara

One of the things I love the most about The Office is how the show GROWS. The characters adapt, they change, they move on – and in this case, after five seasons of angst and pining for Jim and Pam, finally, FINALLY they tie the knot. This is one of the best pairings on TV. Jim and Pam rule the effing universe. The entire wedding episode, “Niagara,” was one of the finest hours of television this year.

3. Battlestar Galactica (SciFi) – The End

BSG, what am I ever going to do without you? On the one hand, I can appreciate and respect RDM’s decision to tell a definitive story with a beginning, middle and – most importantly, especially for TV shows – an END with BSG. But I am a selfish, selfish girl and I want more. I want more Kara and Lee and Adama and Roslin and Six and Baltar! But even selfish ol’ me has to admit, the sendoff for the show was brilliant, and I think perfect in every way (I know many fans were disgruntled with the series finale, but I loved it and wouldn’t change a thing). It makes my heart hurt to know that the show is done with…but god, what a ride it was. Farewell BSG. You will be missed.

2. LOST (ABC) – The Death (and resurrection) of John Locke

GASP! LOST doesn’t take the top spot on my list! It’s a close call, but even though Lost may have lost out to another show, it’s still my favorite currently running TV series (albeit only for one more season). I wasn’t pleased with the nuclear bomb/reset timeline thing that seems to be going on, but I loved the futility and pain of John Locke’s storyline, culminating in his murder by good ol’ Benry, and his resurrection as Not!Locke on the island. OMG HE KILLS JACOB! I cannot wait to see what the final season has in store for us. I mean, have you seen the trailers? The poster that has EVERYONE on it?! And how about this new official art – squint to find spoilers…

Please, please, please, Darlton, be good.

1. Dexter (Showtime) – The Finale

I discovered the joys of Dexter earlier this year (finally!), and I have never been happier. A twisted show with a vigilante-type serial killer as its protagonist, Dexter is dark and messed up and wonderful. And holy shit, season 4 was another awesome one. John Lithgow’s Trinity was terrifying, and Dexter is forced to come to grips with a LOT of tough decisions – what it means to be a husband, father, employee, friend, brother, and still keep his “Dark Passenger” in check with routine murder. Dex crosses some big lines in this season (his first murder of an innocent man – inadvertent, but it still happened), and that finale left me in shock. I saw it coming, but I didn’t, you know?? Holy hell. What will happen next season!?!?! What does this mean for Dexter in the future? I cannot wait. Absofreakinglutely BRILLIANT.

The Best of the Rest: MOVIES:

Aaaaaaand, here are my top 10 movie picks of 2009…

10. Inglourious Basterds

Ok, as a film I think it wasn’t exactly the best. A draggy plot and the ridiculous casting choice of Eli Roth as a main character really bothered me. BUT, then there was Hans. Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa is THE reason to watch this movie – comical and terrifying, Hans steals the show.

Quentin Tarantino is still an over-exuberant director with camera ADD and a tendency to rely on way too much dialogue, but I cannot find anything wrong with his period setting and his direction of Waltz. Absolutely brilliant stuff.

9. Watchmen

Yes, this wasn’t a perfect film, and yes, I had major issue with the movie adaptation’s ending and its significant deviation from the book. BUT, I think Zach Snyder did a freaking fantastic job adapting such a dense, iconic graphic novel into film form – probably the best job anyone could have done with Watchmen. And oh sweet jesus, were the casting choices for Rorschach, The Comedian, Silk Spectre I, and Nite Owl fabulous!

Especially Eddie Dean and Rorscach – the sociopaths rule in this film. Definitely worth purchasing the bluray directors cut, without a doubt.

8. Zombieland

Ah, the virtues of the Double Tap. The importance of checking the bathroom before pulling your pants down. The essential need for A G.D. TWINKIE! This, and so much more, were lessons I learned from the hilarious Zombieland. Emma Stone is gorgeous and awesome, as usual, as is Abigail Breslin, and Woody Harrelson is made of win. The Bill Murray cameo had me in tears. Even the shitty Michael Cera kid, Jesse Elsenberg, was solidly hilarious!

7. Drag Me to Hell

Hey, good Raimi is back! Yeah, Drag Me to Hell is a bit familiar, taking Raimi’s tried and true hit techniques and plot points from the Evil Dead films, but it was so much fun. And I’m happy to see that he actually IS capable of making a good movie (I had my doubts since Spiderman 2). Drag Me To Hell is horror-comedy at its finest, and Alison Lohman is again fantastic – an excellent successor to Bruce Campbell’s Ash. Love that ending, too!

6. Up

I don’t think Pixar is capable of making anything less than a spectacular film – and Up is another winner. I cried, I laughed, I fell in love with Carl and Russell. The animation is breathtaking, per Pixar’s usual. It’s not Wall-E, but Up definitely wins a spot in my heart.

5. The Cove

One of the most important films I have ever seen, The Cove made me physically ill in the theater. I cried my eyes out with the final footage, and with Ric O’Barry’s triumphant, defiant stand against the systematic slaughter of thousands of dolphins each year in the small village of Taiji. This is a film EVERYONE should watch, and should take to heart.

4. The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow is a director with an eye for action and male characterizations – her iconic action flick, Point Break has been a staple in my family since it first came out (seriously, know most of the film by heart). So, when I heard she had a new film coming out this year with The Hurt Locker, I was stoked. Then, all the rave reviews began to flow in – and I immediately ran out to see the movie. And…wow. Jeremy Renner’s performance as a special unit bomb diffuser in Iraq is frakking beautiful. This is an adrenaline rush of a film, but it’s also just a damn fine movie. Kudos, Ms. Bigelow.

3. District 9

Neil Blomkamp’s film debut, presented by Peter Jackson, is even better than I hoped. It’s a science fiction film with heart – a parable for apartheid, using alien “Prawns.” Beautifully executed in its sort of docu-drama style, with special effects that are jaw-dropping cool, this is a film worth buying and watching again and again.

2. Star Trek

For a very long time, I thought Star Trek would take top billing as my favorite film of 2009. JJ Abrams finally proved to me that he is actually capable of making a Good Movie with this reinvented Star Trek. I loved this film. The casting, with Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock, is spot on, the character nuances are perfect. Even more impressive, however, is how the film appeals to both oldskool Trekkies (like myself), and newbies alike (such as the boyfriend, who hated Star Trek by his own admission, and ended up loving the movie). Smart plotting, humor, excellent special effects…Star Trek is amazing.

1. Avatar

And here’s the film that unseated Star Trek as my favorite film of 2009. Watching Avatar in the theater made me feel the way I did when I was a wide-eyed kid watching Star Wars and Lord of the Rings for the first time. Avatar is a film that redefines the genre – it is Epic with a capital “E.” The technology, first off, is mind blowing. James Cameron wins big with this Science Fantasy film that plays on genre tropes and blends familiar story elements with a technology unlike any we’ve seen before on the screen. This is a beautiful film visually, and also it is impeccably acted. Zoe Saldana goes balls out with her role as the Na’vi warrior woman, and Sam Worthington is brilliant as Jake Sully, the marine who comes to Pandora to fill his scientist brother’s shoes.

Avatar makes you remember why you fell in love with movies in the first place, and for a scifi/fantasy geek like myself, it’s pure heaven. If this doesn’t get nominated for a zillion awards, I’ll eat my hat. Avatar deserves it.

Notable Mentions: I watched a lot of good films this year, and here are a few more that deserve special mention! The terrifying Paranormal Activity is the real deal, and will have you waking up at 2am, scared for your soul. I also loved Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (yeah it was flawed and missing the OOMF that my favorite HP book deserved, but whatever, screw you, I still liked it!). Disaster porn 2012 was spectacular in terms of special effects and pure movie FUN. Animated feature Coraline deviates from Gaiman’s book, but still is a wonderful film. And finally, comedies I Love You Man and The Hangover were good fun.

I should also mention a few films that I totally am behind on – I really want to see Nine, Up In the Air, The Road, Moon, and Precious – and it’s entirely possible any of these films may have made my top 10 list had I seen them before writing this. But I haven’t so…oh well!

And that’s it for me, folks! How about you? Any favorite TV Moments and/or Films for 2009? I’m all ears!

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  • Danielle
    January 2, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    See Nine and the Road, bring tissues for Precious, Up in the Air is more of a rental in my opinion, haven’t seen Moon.

    And OMG Avatar knocked my flipping socks off!

  • Marie
    January 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I thought for sure (or I missed it!) that ‘The big Bang Theory) would be in. I totally love that show! I am still morning the loss of ‘Pushing Daisies’ though…

  • Julia Rachel Barrett
    January 2, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    My sister would say ‘Lost’ but I have to say ‘BSG’. How I miss that show! I’ve gone through withdrawals since the final scene. I want more Sharons! I’m way behind on movies but I did manage to see Avatar and I think I agree with you – it’s number one.

  • orannia
    January 2, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    We’re halfway through the first season of Glee here and I love it! The next season of House is coming – I can’t wait! – and I agrew tih you about Avatar (which I saw on Wednesday). As for BSG, I didn’t like the ending; it felt…unfinished.

    Add to that Firefly alumni Morena “Inara” Baccarine and Alan “Wash” Tudyk as Vs…

    Oh! THANK YOU! It’s been bugging me who played Diana in V (we saw the pilot here last month). I knew I knew the voice….

  • Kay
    January 3, 2010 at 2:30 am

    My two favorite movies for 2009 are the same as yours, too; which is surprising, since Star Trek had always bored me before. It definitely made me look at it in a different way! As for Avatar, I have no other word than Wow! That movie was all kinds of awesome. We’re already going back to watch it a second time tomorrow!

  • Diana Peterfreund
    January 3, 2010 at 8:20 am

    You were a KID when you saw Lord of the Rings? Yikes.

  • Veronica F.
    January 3, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    I really love watching Gossip Girl;Chuck & Blair say the best lines–XOXO!

  • KMont
    January 4, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I almost bought District 9 on DVD but, and this is so funny to me now, another customer in line saw it in my hand and HAd to warn me about how awful the movie was. I put it back. Thought maybe I’d rent it first to make sure it was worth buying. But you and Ana both like it! So now I wish I’d bought the darn thing.

    I agree on most of your other choices, some I haven’t seen. Definitely am getting Zombieland!

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