It’s just a few short hours until the year comes to an end, so — along with pretty much everybody else in the world of blogging — I thought I’d take a look back on the past year of entertainment and my blog. I’m picking my favorites and least favorites, but I’m not getting too fancy with any awards ceremonies or anything like that. You want that, check out Fogs’ Movie Reviews’ Major Awards. The man has put himself through some inhuman suffering to be able to review not just the best but also the worst of the year, and if someone sits through both Jack and Jill and Big Mommas, he deserves some reward for his pain.
Me, I’m just keeping it simple with this one post. A little talk about the blog, a little talk about movies and TV.
The blog’s only been running for a few months, with my first real post being on September 9th. This was my review of The Adjustment Bureau, and it seems I had a more favorable take on it than a lot of folks, but that’s all right. Like I said at the time, I’m kind of a sucker for Phillip K. Dick adaptations. I’ve reviewed a total of 68 movies since starting the blog, some of those being under the Christmas Cinema, Favorite Films, or Halloween Haunters categories. I’ve had 104 total posts, counting this one, not too shabby for four months. I’m right at 2800 page views as of this writing, and over a thousand of those came in this last month, so things are gradually picking up.
The highlights of the year:
Most Popular Post: Devil’s Advocate: Adam West’s Batman. I knew it’d get some attention, and it did. It’s tied with Avatar as my most-commented post to date at 16, and it has 91 views compared to Avatar‘s 28 (which says something about peoples’ commenting habits as well, but I’m not entirely sure what.) Avatar was, however, responsible for my first spike in traffic, with 57 total page views for the site that day and around 40 the next. That stood until two weeks ago, when I got 75 page views for the day, with 60 in a single hour. I never was able to figure out why, so I still consider the Avatar day the single biggest. But since I’m now averaging around 50 views a day, it probably wouldn’t have stood long in any case. Onward and upward from here!
Most Inexplicably Popular Post: Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice. Nobody’s commented on this one at all, and yet it’s right up there with Batman in terms of views. And it’s really bringing in the search engine traffic. I’m not going to go through and tally everything up for an exact count, but it looks like the search terms for it outweigh most of those for other topics. And most of it is apparently people searching for Magee. I have no explanation for it, but I’m not going to complain.
Apparently a big trafficker in page hits.
Personal Favorite Post: I don’t know if I’d be able to pick one if I didn’t have just a few months’ worth here, but right now, it’s not too hard. While I had tremendous fun talking like a pirate for September 19th’s review of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, or just cheerfully cheesing out on Raiders of the Living Dead, the post I’m most proud of is Favorite Films: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and it’s been one of my more popular ones as well.
Favorite Film of 2011: I saw a modest number of films in the theatre this year, and a few of 2011’s films after they hit home video. But I focused mainly on those of personal interest to me, so there’s not exactly a lot of Oscar Bait in my repertoire here. I got a kick out of Thor, and I loved Captain America: The First Avenger. But I have to go with The Muppets as my favorite film of 2011. It was pure fun, it was true to the spirit of the franchise, and it’s a pretty well-done movie on top of it all.
Least Favorite Film of 2011: I’m pretty discriminating when it comes to spending my theatre dollars, so I didn’t really see any of this year’s terrible films. I have seen some stinkers in the theatre in the past — 300 and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle come to mind (of the two, I laughed more at 300) — but this year the worst film I saw in the theatre was Green Lantern (before I started blogging). And I actually liked it, it’s just that it was flawed and could have been much better. It had been a toss-up between it and Captain America for my most-anticipated film of 2011, so for it to have just been “OK” was a disappointment.
Most Regretted Omission of 2011: What did I want to see that I haven’t gotten around to yet? A few things, ranging from some of the aforementioned Oscar Bait, to films in some of my favorite genres. Though it’s not out of the theatres yet, and probably won’t be until February, I’m going to have to go with The Adventures of Tintin. It’s sounded interesting and has been getting fairly favorable reviews, so I’m hoping to check it out fairly soon.
Most Anticipated Film of 2012: There are a lot of sci-fi and superhero flicks coming down the pipe in 2012. I’m intrigued by The Hunger Games, and both The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers are ranking very high on my expectations. The Amazing Spider-Man, however, I’m maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism about. Pixar’s Brave looks like it could be one of their best yet. But for my most anticipated film, I’m going to have to be anticipating it all the way until December 26th; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey looks like it’ll be every bit as good as the The Lord of the Rings was.
Favorite Retro Film: The bread-and-butter of this blog is the films that are out of the theatres, so what’s the best of the ones I reviewed this year? I only handed out 5 stars to a few films (not counting my Favorite Films posts), and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Halloween, and Boyz N the Hood are all recommended, though the latter only if you’re looking for something that’s deep rather than entertaining. But my favorite of the bunch is Tough Guys, an often-overlooked 80s film with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. It’s a fantastic overlooked film, and if you haven’t seen it, check out my also-overlooked review of it.
Least Favorite Retro Film: I only handed out a few 1 star reviews as well, and while objectively I know that Plan 9 From Outer Space is the most poorly crafted film of the bunch, I was able to enjoy it in a “so bad it’s good” sort of way. What I couldn’t enjoy in any fashion, the one that was most painful to watch, was A Christmas Too Many. This movie is simply dire. I laughed once, which as I said was more than I laughed at Jingle All the Way, but at least that had a protagonist I could care a little bit about. A Christmas Too Many is void of any redeeming value.
Favorite TV Show: Here I have a slight conundrum in that my favorite show of the year is one I haven’t actually covered on the blog yet. The third season of Fringe concluded before I started blogging, and the fourth season hasn’t concluded yet, so it’s not ready for a Post-Mortem report. But it’s possibly the best science-fiction show in years, with some interesting (and freaky) premises that are actually thought out intelligently. And the actors are brilliant. John Noble shows amazing depth as the two different versions of Walter, but I can’t overlook Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham, especially when factoring in the third season episodes when she was possessed by the ghost of William Bell. As a living character, Bell was played by Leonard Nimoy, but when he possessed Olivia, it was all Anna Torv’s acting. It is nothing short of amazing — and slightly terrifying — how convincing an attractive blond woman was at imitating the voice and mannerisms of Nimoy. You’d almost think she really was possessed.
Least Favorite TV Show: This comes, of course, with the caveat that I had to actually try to watch it. So no Jersey Shore here, folks. My worst viewing experience came from Grimm, which had a good high concept in the premise of a cop who tracks down fairy-tale villains, but was lacking in the execution in just about every way imaginable. The dialogue is corny, the acting is wooden, everything is overwrought with attempts at drama, and the special effects are thoroughly unconvincing. I watched three episodes and gave up. I think NBC’s still trying to push it pretty hard, but I don’t see it lasting beyond the season.
That’s it for the “best and worst” of this year; I would add albums and books to the mix, but I didn’t really cover enough of either this year. So that was 2011 for me. Thanks for reading and commenting on my posts for the last few months. Here’s hoping for a good 2012. Happy New Year!