Best Non-2010 Pop Culture I Found in 2010

Hola amigos! Welcome to another edition of A Main Nerd, your favorite source for potentially-polarizing and largely ramblicious opinions on all things pop culture!  Originally I was going to do a post on my top five movies of the past year, but I have decided to wait until I see True Grit.  From what I’ve heard, it has the potential to rank highly on that list.  So for now, I’ve decided to comment on the best pop culture I found out about this year – sometimes years behind the curve.

Movies

I saw a lot of movies this year.  So there were a lot of contenders for this category.  Donnie Darko very nearly took this spot, but I’m gonna have to give it to Kill Bill.

Now, I don’t claim that this movie (I’m considering the two of them to be a single unit) is perfect.  I definitely think Volume 1 is the stronger, more entertaining of the two.  That being said, Volume 2 had the training scenes with Master Pai Mei, the fight with Elle, and the confrontation with Bill.  I certainly understand when people say the end is anti-climactic – and compared to the House of Blue Leaves sequence, it kind of is – but I think it’s perfect because emotionally it is both more satisfying and more necessary.  Anyway, I think this movie is smart, funny, bad-ass, and somehow also has an emotional core that allows you to relate to and care about most of the characters – even the villains.  I can’t believe I waited so long to see this.

Television

As many movies as I saw this past year, I saw infinitely more television.  Like, for each movie I watched, I watched at least one season of TV.  I am unashamedly addicted to television, and I hope that never changes.  So with this much TV being watched, narrowing down a top pick was… daunting to say the least.  I mean, this was the year I started watching Community, True Blood, Psych, possibly Mad Men (I don’t remember if it was late ’09 or early ’10), and Airbender, among others.  So, for the sake of my sanity, I’ve decided to break up this category into two subsets: Live Action, and Animated.

Live Action: Arrested Development

I saw part of this show when it was on.  Like, half of the episode where Charlize Theron leaves.  And I totally didn’t get the appeal.  I – like the rest of the world – simply wasn’t ready for the unadulterated brilliance of this show.  I love the running gags (especially “Mista Eff,” “FOR BRITISH EYES ONLY!!” and when the Charlie Brown music plays every time George Michael is sad.  Not to mention the chicken impressions.), I love the completely moronic and immoral characters, I love the meta references, and I love Ron Howard.  It’s pure gold, and I’m so glad I got to finally experience it for myself.

Animated: Cowboy Bebop

I’ve already blogged about how much I love this series.  I love the western-in-space premise.  I love the noir elements.  I love the “big plot” (which only consists of about five episodes), and I love the stand-alone episodes.  Which is not normal for an arc-heavy guy like me.  I love the characters.  Ironically, though animated they are more fleshed out than most live-action characters.  They’re flawed, but they’re real.  They’re heroic, but they make big mistakes.  They rarely get along but they’re family.  This show is virtually perfect in my eyes, and I do not regret buying the whole series with my Christmas money.

Music

I love music – a lot – but I’m not really one of those people that “can’t live without it.”  I certainly was, especially during my angsty teenage years, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve really learned the value of silence.  And of becoming more selective of the music I do listen to.  In theory anyway.

I guess my point is that I don’t have a lot of music.  I’ve never filled up my 20 GB iPod, I’m shamed to say.  And I’ve made even less of an effort to hunt for new music – at least until I started this blog.  So there were fewer candidates in this section.  The winner?  Without a doubt, the award goes to Janelle Monae.  I’m obsessed with her.

I love that she is so weird.  Her albums are one long story about an android in the future who falls in love with a human, is hunted by bounty hunters, and who becomes the prophesied savior of robotic kind.  Seriously.  I love her crazy hair, her tuxedo, and her sweet dance moves.  I love that she really truly believes that music can save a life.  And I love her music.  Do yourself a favor and listen to her.

Books

I wish I read more.  So much more.  I recently found a list of speculative fiction, and I think I’m going to make it my mission to read them all.  That being said, I read quite a bit this year, especially this summer.  I started the Sword of Truth series (then bailed six books in because it was pretentious, preachy, and lacking in subtlety).  I read some great Christian literature, including some by CS Lewis and John Piper.  I read some silly zombie books and started the Interview With a Vampire series.  But ultimately my favorite book I read this year was The Hunger Games. A story of a future America devastated by war and transformed into twelve districts run by a wealthy and cruel capital, 24 teenagers from across the districts are chosen to compete in a reality TV fight to the death, designed to remind the districts that the capital is boss.  The protagonist is a strong, resourceful, jaded and deeply scarred girl named Katniss, who is among the most BAMF main characters I’ve ever read.  I love the idea and the execution, so much that I read the first book in about 5 hours.  I will probably go read number two after I post this.

Comics

It was a solid year in comics.  Some decent events, some great new properties blowing up, and just generally solid direction for most of what I’m reading.  Without a doubt my favorite new comic has been Morning Glories, but this year I also discovered The Unwritten.  I’ve already written a fairly incoherent post about it, so I won’t go into too much detail, but allow me to say this: it has me intrigued.  Like a lot.  It has managed to creep me out, keep me guessing, and vastly entertain me.  An essay on the nature of story, and so much more, I highly recommend this series for any fan of great classic fiction (and/or comics).

 

Aaaaaand that’s it for that.  I’m looking forward to this year in pop culture, pretty much across the board.  Hopefully I’ll be here to vomit my opinions of it into the aether.

Coming soon: My top five movies of 2010, and – I’m really excited about this – a series of posts by guest authors.  I haven’t gotten all the details ironed out, but expect to see some of my good friends sharing their thoughts here, and maybe, maybe, seeing mine on some other blogs.  I’ll let you know as soon as I do.


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