Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ending 2009 On A Hot Note

Alittle bit of heat to warm up the last day of 2009...

inspired by my imaginary friend... i know she's gonna smile when she reads this...

Happy 2010 everyone.



Monday, December 28, 2009

The Reality Shock 2009 In Review Pt. 3: Television

Concluding My Best And Worst of The Year...

Television In 2009:

Best Television Series of 2009:
Durham County. Not many are aware of the existence of the 12 episodes of earth shattering amazement that is the Canadian series Durham County, one of the best kept secrets of the great white north, I say best kept because it aired here in the states on the Ion Network, but so little people are aware of that network's existence it kind of still counts as a hidden gem. Durham County is the mental thriller that all mental thrillers wish they could be, it tells the story of two men, who though very different, are the exact same person, their personalities, their manor of doing things, they took different paths, but yet, they turned out exactly the same. One, Mike Sweeney, a hard edged cop from Toronto who moves back to his home town of Durham County Ontario after his wife whom he thought was going to die fully recovers from a very powerful strain of breast cancer, Mike is cold, distant, and at times is prone to insane fits of rage and anger, which often lead to violence, Mike is also lethally protective of his family, specially his daughter Sadie, who wants to be a cop just like her father, even makes little doll to stage murder scenes so she can solve them with her father. The other is Ray Prager, the typical hometown boy, he was ment to go off to play professional hockey, but do to an injury inflicted by Mike in their teens, that is never really clearly explained, Ray is no longer able to play professional hockey, and when not running his local successful plumbing and home supply store, plays local rec hockey with his son, Ray Jr. or is hosting some sort of benefit for a local charity with his wife Tracy. Ray has everything you could ever want, a lot of money, a beautiful wife, a brilliant and talented son, a successful business and the love and admiration of all the people in the town of Durham County. None of which are aware that under that facade, Ray Prager is completely insane and just as prone to violence and anger as Mike is, which is why so many believe that Mike is wrong when he starts to accuse Ray of a series of rapes and murders that happen around town, almost all of which connect back to Ray, and Ray's ritual of what he would do in his teenage years when he would either personally, or with his friends rape girls in an abandoned farm house that Ray used to live in. In truth, Ray is simply mimicking a french man that he witnessed murder and rape two young girls in the opening of the first episode. Its a mindblowing series that tells the story of Ray and Mike, and their seemingly eternal Kane and Able like story, which gets even darker in the second half with the introduction of Dr. Penn Verity who is, in a sense, a black widow spider that has everyone involved in her web, and manipulates them all to do as she sees fit, its an amazing series thats current episode count ends with a shocker that'll leave you chilled for hours, and like me wishing they'd finish filming series three so you can watch it sooner then next fall.

Runner-Ups: “Fringe”, “House M.D”, “Skins”

Best New Series of 2009:
Glee. Its ver6y common in television to have an incredibly pilot or first few episodes, and then it all fall apart into some ungodly mess of bovine waist that just begs you to put it out of its misery, a lot of people thought this about the new series Glee. They assumed the offbeat dramatic comedy about the drama and inner workings of a high school Glee Club would fall short afew episodes in and just be swept under the rug, after all musical tv shows that don't involve a singing competition tend to fall flat and fall fast, most would sight early 1990s “Cop Rock” as one good example of this fact, or the recent horrorshow that was UK's Britannia High. And though Glee kind of follows the same basic concept of its retarded cousin from the other side of the pond, they are completely different programs, with nothing other then the musical aspect of both shows connecting each other. Glee tells the story of Will Shoester, a former Glee Club member who has grown up and become a teacher, teaching at the very school he used to sing at, William McKinley High School in Lima Ohio, Will is in a one sided marriage where he lets his delusional and spoiled wife Terry walk all over him because he feels depressed and as if his life is going no where. One day, Will decides after looking at the trophies and remembering his glory days, to restart the high school's glee club, after forming his group made up of various oddballs and misfits, as well as afew football players and cheerleaders, he sets about teaching them about life through music, and preparation for them to compete on a state and later national level. The whole while avoiding the trouble caused by those who wish to end what Will is doing, his wife Terry who feels he shouldn't have anything that is his, or that makes him happy for she feels he will leave her if he discovers he can be happy, and the hilariously military like and very unsettling cheerleading director Sue Sylvester, who for no reason other then they take away a small amount of her insanely high budget. And along the way, you discover love, false pregnancies, teenage pregnancies, break ups and the regular drama that just swarms around this group of misfits who regardless of where they all stand socially, all come together in song. Its a brilliantly hilarious and insanely entertaining series, and if you haven't given Glee a listen, or a watch, I suggest you do both, you'll be glad you did. Almost as glad as I am to give this breath of fresh air the respect and love it deserves.

Runner-Ups: “V”, “The Misfits”, “10 Things I Hate About You”

Best Drama Series of 2009:
Sons of Anarchy. For those that haven't seen it, Sons of Anarchy is the story of the Teller-Morrow family of Charming, as well as the other members of the local Sons of Anarchy charter, their families, various Charming townspeople, and the various rivals and associates who undermine or support SAMCRO's legal and illegal enterprises. Sons of Anarchy follows the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle gang most closely, but also heavily features a number of ally and rival gangs such as the Mayans, 1-9ers, Nords, True IRA and a white separatist group called the League of American Nationalists. The family drama is loosely based on Shakespeare's Hamlet; indeed, star Ron Perlman has said, "I'm sure they’re going to stick to the structure of Hamlet all the way to the end" of the series. Clay is based on the role of King Claudius and Gemma as a Gertrude figure. Jax stands in for Prince Hamlet himself. Jax's reflective questioning of the SOA culture, brought on by the birth of his son, references Hamlet's melancholy over the death of the king. Additionally, Jax "communicates" with his dead father by way of his late father's unpublished journal/manuscript; Hamlet, of course, literally communicates with the ghost of his father. The drama and characterizations are also enhanced by drawing on Macbeth, another Shakespeare tragedy. Katey Sagal's Gertrude-like Gemma resembles Lady Macbeth because—while it is never entirely clear from Hamlet how complicit Queen Gertrude is in the murder of Hamlet's father—it is obvious that Gemma has willingly participated in the cover-up of the death and may even have encouraged Clay in his treachery. Creator Sutter has said of the Shakespeare element, "I don't want to overplay that but it's there. It was Jax's father who started the club, so he's the ghost in the action. You wonder what he would have made of the way it turned out. It's not a version of Hamlet but it's definitely influenced by it. This show is one of those ones thats just so addictive to watch that when you start, you can't stop, obviously that makes for a great drama, but more so its just so incredibly well written and acted, I've been a long time fan of both Ron Pearlman and Katie Segal, and I love how the two of them play off each other and you feel the believability in their characters, and yet, you kind of hope they'd have been cast in the soon to be american version of the brilliant Outrageous Fortune... but that aside, this series is just so great, and is growing greater as it progresses.

Runner-Ups: “Underbelly”, “Satisfaction”, “Outrageous Fortune” / ”Cast Offs” (tie)

Best Comedy Series of 2009:
10 Things I Hate About You. When I first heard about this series, I, like most of my generation cried out in complete and utter disdain at the idea, though its common for movies to become tv series, it wasn't common for such an iconic and generation defining film to be adapted as such, to teenagers of the 1990s 10 Things I Hate About You is seen as hallowed ground, let me explain, the general idea before we knew anything more then it was being made, was essentially the kind of outcry that would happen if say, The Breakfast Club or one of the other cult defining films of the 1980s were made into a series (zip it, that horrible Ferris Beauler series doesn't count), and though I, like the rest of my generation waited and watched the pilot for hopes of seeing a trainwreck that we could take to the internet and shoot it down like an Iraqi jet in the no fly zone, but I must tell you, what we got, was not what we were expecting, not by a long shot. See the people who set out to make this series knew it would be an uphill fight, you don't traverse the holy lands with out respect and fear of what may happen to you if you make the wrong move, but I must say, what they did, was nothing short of excellent. They reworked a lot of the characters and the general plot just abit, but not in ways that make it impossible to enjoy, or unable to not focus on correcting it in your mind till you just can't take it anymore, but like, nice subtle ways that make for the story to fit the concept of the show more, but all the key elements are there, Bianca and Chastity's power struggle, though their roles are now reversed, Kat and Patrick's taming of the shrew style romance is intact, and infact actually a lot better done then it was in the film its a lot more natural and a lot more fitting of the characters, Cam and Joey are both still trying to win Bianca's affections, and ofcourse, Kat and Bianca's dad, who is played by the same man that played him in the film, is actually a lot more insane with his over protective parenting, but when you adapt a show from a two hour defining generation film to a sitcom, you need to alter and change things to fit, so that kinda makes sense. Plus the detail at which they went to make sure the actors not only look like their film counterparts, but play their roles to a tee. I postulated that it was possible Lesley Shaw, the girl now playing Kat might have actually out done Julia Stiles at her signature role, the rest of the cast is the same way, the girl playing Chastity you have to keep reminding yourself isn't Gabriel Union, just someone thats an almost perfect clone. The only real downside to this quirky and at times side splittingly funny series, is that its only 30 minutes long, I was hoping by season 2 or so they'd have expanded to an hour, to tell more story, and not have to rush, though its not that bad rushed, its that “oh no its over already” kind of rush, so if you haven't had a look at this lovely little hidden gem of a series, go check it out, you'll laugh. Plus the lines are hilarious, the one where Kat makes fun of Twilight is still hilarious to this very day.

Runner-Ups: “Weeds”, “Drop Dead Diva” / “Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia” (tie), “Being Erica”

Best Sci Fi Series of 2009:
Torchwood. I had a lot of trouble picking a best sci fi series this year, there were so many good ones the world over, and though many assumed I would give this award to Fringe, which everyone knows I just adore, and I was considering, but then after watching this year's third series of Torchwood called “Children Of Earth”, which not only shook up the entire cast and and changed everything, but it did it while finally stepping out of the shadow of its parent series Doctor Who and becoming a series all its own, which I feel is the most important thing for it to do to keep itself alive. I have been overly critical of Torchwood over the years, calling the first series shock television done for shock value, and the second progressively better but still somewhat lacking, but finally, finally this offshoot series has become one of its own, with series three, telling the tale of how they have to save the world's children from a group of aliens that use human children as a drug, and have come to earth demanding a portion of the world's preteen age youth, and threatening us with destruction if we refuse. Now sure, the idea of the doomsday from the sky plot has been done time and time again, but this just was so well written and acted and literally shook the entire series to its core, killing off one of its remaining characters and leaving the other two in shambles, its just brilliant and the shake up that was needed to fix the things that were wrong with the series, it was excellently written and acted out, and unlike a lot of these “event” style series, you did not see the twists coming, and I just love that. So much so that as I stated, I had a lot of trouble picking a series that would be the best, and though Torchwood just barely makes it out on top, consider this a four way tie, because honestly, this was a great year for Sci Fi. Now I just gotta wait for next year when Survivors and Doctor Who come back... stupid waiting.

Runner-Ups: “Fringe”, “The Misfits”, “V”

Best Animated Series of 2009:
The Simpsons. Its a rarity when a television show reaches 20 years, and more so its a rarity when a show that does reach that milestone is still as entertaining as it was at the beginning, and though its true there were many years where the simpsons kind of dragged along almost painfully, which is true with any show thats long running (Family Guy I'm looking right at you with that comment), in the end, The Simpsons picked back up and became the powerhouse of comedy that we all fell in love with it for, and is still one of the most recognized television shows of all time, spawning slang, catch phrases, and even a cult who believe in the teachings of everyone's favorite christian Ned Flanders as well as many essays on how Homer Simpson is infact a sage of wisdom beyond compare, you can not deny the impact that The Simpsons have had on both American culture and the world around us, and that is why I am honoring them, for being a part of my life, and the life of millions of others the world over, for 20 years with no sign of stopping at this point. And also because even though they have reached this milestone, they haven't slacked off with what brought them to the dance, even making jokes about how old they are, referencing the untouched on missing people and things from past years, its almost as if their gift to the viewers is reading what they say, and making jokes out of it, like when they gave comic book guy a name several years ago just to rile the fans up, but this time not to annoy or poke fun at. Fox has been promoting the fact that this year is going to be a rather large party for the show, with a giant 3D in HD special in January on the day the show actually premiered, which infact they are keeping the story of under wraps, so its gonna be something great. So if you haven't seen in awhile, or have been avoiding, or just like to laugh, seriously give them some love.

Runner-Ups: “The Venture Brothers”, “Moral Oral”, “Robot Chicken”

Best Concept 2009:
Durham County. As I stated in my earlier praise of this fine canadian series, Durham County isn't your normal cat and mouse style police thriller. It allows for itself to morph and change as the weaver of the web changes and the characters all change as well. In the first series they adapt to Ray and all he does to manipulate everyone else, and in the second series they all adjust to Pen and her completely different brand of manipulation, its a brilliant contrast and an excellent way of showing just how you can make a show endure with out giving away the entire concept just to change the storyline, it doesnt' feel forced as some characters move to the front and others move to the back, and you generally feel pain and see the pain in all of them as others get hurt or die, its really some amazing work thats just so unheard of in television right now, and truly the best concept this year.

Stand Out Character of 2009:
Ray Prager from Durham County. This show is clearly my big winner this year, racking up three awards, something no show before it as ever done, not even the brilliant Fringe or Heroes when it wasn't a lackluster hobbling on two broken legs mess, could do that. The great mental thriller from the great white north, is totally deserving of such honors, and among the reasons for that, is the show's main protagonist, the brutally insane and remorseless Ray Prager, who on the outside always seemed like that cool guy that everyone wanted to be friends with and all the girls wanted to date, but no one except Mike Sweeney, the life long friend who in so many ways is his exact double, knew and saw the hints and signs of Ray's true nature. And when life got to much for Ray, dealing with jealousy of men paying attention to his wife, jealousy of the fact his son Ray Jr. had an incredible talent that would get him out of Durham County and become a great and respected writer, and the added stress of Mike, the only one that really knew what he was, returning to their hometown, and all the fear that comes along with that, when Ray finally gave in to those dark voices and urges down inside that he kept to himself, his mind didn't just twist, it snapped completely in half. Ray is the tragic story of what really happens to that guy who grows up and never really leaves the town they're from, those guys who act like they never wanted to leave in the first place, they just wanted to stay there and build a life and become someone, his failures and his past of misdeeds were just to much for him to handle and when it all caved in around him, his reaction was swift, brutally violent and totally insane, he reverted back to his teenage self, a cold, angry, respectless rapist who would do anything to get what he wanted and to protect his public image in the process. After Ray is locked away for his murders and rapes, is truly when he becomes the brilliant character he is ment to be, after a jailhouse suicide attempt that left him burned and disfigured in the face, Ray becomes even more dangerous then ever, though he's more of a puppet master then a murderer this time, and really thats what makes him so very very dangerous, and my stand out character of 2009.

Worst Series of 2009:
The Jay Leno Show. This really is no surprise, this show is just so damn horrible that I really need to question what exactly is going on at NBC when they thought this was a good choice. Honestly, I see no logical reasoning as to way someone would have believed this show to be a good idea and a good investment of time. It just goes to show that NBC really is in need of new management and a very big kick in the backside to get themselves back to the top of the network market. Its bad enough that their regular programing is starting to circle the drain with sure fire ratings gettters like Heroes, The Office, 30 Rock, and the like all dipping in ratings this year, and new shows not preforming well, or even being canceled before they air, its obvious something is wrong, and one of the major things that is wrong is this program. Honestly, what is the point of Jay Leno retiring from the tonight show to do a 10pm five days a week show that is basically the tonight show? There is a reason that Jay's ratings in his last few years of hosting the tonight show were in the toilet, its because he isn't really funny. Its painfully obvious to anyone except the executives at NBC. Plus, they don't seem to care that having this show, literally KILLS their late night viewership, whats the point of staying awake till 11:30 to see a monologue and afew guests promoting their stuff if you seen it 90 minutes earlier with someone else? It doesn't make any sense at all, plus when you add in the fact that Jay's been ripping off other comedians, most noted being Howard Stern as of late, it makes you wonder just how long we'll need to suffer though this horrible horrible show.

Runner-Ups: “NCIS”, “Three Rivers”, “Flashforwad”

Worst Dramatic Series of 2009:
Melrose Place. I have no idea why someone over at The CW, the network that thought dropping everything except their teenage aimed dramatic programing was a good idea (yes I'm still bitter about reaper), thought “hey, lets remake Melrose Place, after all, we got moderately tolerable ratings with the remake of Beverley Hills 90210, after all, one spawned the other..”, I also have no idea why other people agreed with this person, or why none of them were burned at the stake in the town square. Really, this show was shlock the first time around, and its shlock still, except now, its not 1990s shlock, its that horrible “lets just toss tons of pretty women and guys with great abs that look good with out shirts on at people with out worrying about the story at all.” version of shlock, atleast the 1990s version had a plot, kind of, sometimes, ok that one time, but anyway my point remains, this crap is dreck and honestly, anyone with a brain would know this just by watching 5 minutes of it. Yeah in its time, shows of this nature were seen as high end drama, but that era was the 1980s and it involved big hair, shoulder pads and people getting tossed in fountains and swearing at each other while no one questions why one person in all of Texas is British. All shows of this nature are now are excuses to put people that couldn't make it on a soap opera on camera for teenage girls to stare at, and though yes, there are shows that do that for men too, just accept the fact that fanservice and fanservice, and if you are going to do it, then just make sure atleast its got a plot or some kind, not just “twentysomething pretty rich people behaving horribly to each other” thats just idiotic. I mean honestly, watch the first two seasons of Gossip Girl, you know, before it started to just fall apart like it has as of late if you want an example of how to do this sort of show right in the modern era.

Runner-Ups: “Three Rivers”, “The Mentalist”, “Mercy”

Worst Comedy Series of 2009:
Cougar Town. Ok wow, this is the new series by the guy that created scrubs? How is that possible? Scrubs is funny and mildly unsettling at times, but mostly it brings the funny, how exactly can a person that makes the brilliance of comedy with one show, all of a sudden flop with another, seriously, this is like Seth McFarlane but without the animation here. Cougar Town is really nothing more then a really thin plot that revolves around the comedy of attractive middle aged women living in the suburbs, and the hilarity that is their lives as they go about their busyness. They used the FCC friendly term of “cougar” meaning attractive older woman that seeks out younger men (and women.. roar) because apparently you can't use the word “milf” on network television, well except that one time Glee used it, but anyway, this show is really not all that funny, or all that entertaining or really all that interesting, its like a sitcom version of Desperate Housewives, but with less funny and entertainment factor, and thats saying something because honestly, there isn't a lot of either in Desperate Housewives to begin with, its mostly sad and almost fail. Either way I really don't understand how this show is even on the air, other then maybe they needed some filler, sure, its Courtney Cox from Friends in a new sitcom, but you know what? You're not taking one thing into account, Friends really wasn't all that funny of a show, sure it had afew moments of hilarity in its 10 years, but honestly, not that funny, so just because someone that used to be on something funny is on a new show, doesn't always mean it'll be enough funny to keep people watching. Honestly, its time to put this cat back in its cage, its just to painful to sit through.

Runner-Ups: “Red Dwarf” (seriously, Series 9 was so rubbish), “Two And A Half Men”, “Hank”

Worst Sci Fi Series of 2009:
Vampire Diaries. Ok we get it, its 2009, Vampires are in again, we get it. We totally get it, even if for some reason, other then Tru Blood, every other vampire series or movie or whatever out there is heavy latent with empires that may or may not sparkle, but still we get it, 2009 is the year of the fangs and cape set. Most people aren't aware that this show, The Vampire Diaries actually started life as a pilot for a tv series based on the books turned movies turned tween girl masturbatory fodder turned ruiner of the San Diego ComiCon, Twilight. It was ment to be a show that filled in the history and such that happens before and between the books, and after the movie versions of the books were done, it was to take the series in its own direction guided by the writer/creator of the books and tell the farther stories of Bella, her paisty beau Edward, his empire friends who sparkle in the daylight, and Jacob and his pack of shirtless werewolves with great abs, and how they all grow up and i'd assume sort of have an Archie and Reggie competing for Betty and Veronica's attentions like in archie comics thing but about Bella. But stuff fell through, people wanted more money then they should, and others started getting egocentric and it all just sort of fell apart, so what to do? Simple, The CW took their craptastic scrit for a pilot, altered it just enough to be different but the same, tossed in afew elements from other vampire movies, and abit of Vampires The Masquerade for filling in cracks, sort of like vampire spackle, and they created this pile of bovine excrement, which means they didn't waist money developing a series, they also have something to fill their thrusday night line up, you know, because they canceled Reaper just to spite me, and more so then that, they get to rape this whole vampire craze thats going on with all the tweens these days, which basically proves a point I've been trying to make for years, if you write a lackluster, substandard program, and you market it to those tweens who skip home and scribble in their diaries about how maybe that boy they like is a vampire, you will rake in the cash, as depressing as that is, because honestly this show is a bomb if I ever saw one, but, because of whats hot in the streets and fresh to death in the boondocks right now being vampires, I see this horrible show lasting for afew more years. Oh well, we can't win them all I guess.

Runner-Ups: “The Listener”, “Outer Space Astronautics”, “Heroes” (so so very sad to admit this one)

Worst Animated Series of 2009:
The Goode Family. In theory this show wasn't supposed to be that bad, its made by Mike Judge, the underated creator of such classics as Beavis and Butthead and King Of The Hill, which in itself became an american institution, which to this day is often spoofed or homaged in some form or another through animation, but for some reason, The Goode Family, just didn't live up to that reputation of its creator, a series about a family who do nothing but good deeds, even if they are misguided and simple minded in their ideal of this, just did not seem to grab people, plus with very little promotion or mention at all from the network, as well as a dead air timeslot, it made it hard for a show this, different, to make it on the air, and it leaves a lot of people wondering why infact it ever came to pass. The characters are dumbed down copies of the Hill family, but like, if they were hippies to raised their kids to be hippies, it was really a scary sight to behold, and though i'm sad to see Mike Judge fail, I am however glad this show is off the air, it wasn't really all that interesting and it wasn't really worthy of being on the air, even in the summer season when almost no one is watching. I should state though, that this year was kind of a weird year for animation, I wanted to hate The Cleveland Show, but I just can't seem to, because it gets funnier as it goes, and yet, I feel I almost should have given this to Family Guy, because, honestly, other then that dead on perfect Disney spoof and the Robot Chicken joke in the first episode of the season, its just been kinda hit or miss so far, but, we'll get to Something Something Something Dark Side later on this year, so maybe by then Family Guy will have picked up and become funny again. So until then, and hoping it does, I'm sticking with The Goode Family as my worst animation series of the year.

Runner-Ups: “Assy McGee”, “American Dad”, “Family Guy” (so very sad to admit this one too)

Worst Television Series with potential to become good viewing:
Eastwick. Had this show been able to progress, and grow, and more so, if the FCC wasn't all retentive about witchcraft and dark arts in television, this show could have become something great, taking its story from the old movie The Witches of Eastwick, and following a story thats a mix of that, practical magic and just alittle harry potter, you know, for the kiddies who's parents don't know they're up at 10pm perving at the almost all female cast, because remember parents, 10 year olds can like cougars too, specially if they do magic, or are called Splooshy, anyway Eastwick had a pretty good shot at becoming a great show, not just one forgotten by the wayside that no one will remember in a year or two, but sadly, as is the case with many shows like it, the network had and still has no faith in the series, and felt that maybe an hour long dramedy about magic and the sexy people that use it, might not fit so well with its normal weeknight shlock that consists of cop shows, shows about small suburban coul de sacs where everyone behaves badly, and more cop shows, I guess there just isn't a place in the world for a show like this, which really sucks, because it was so very good.

TV Shows that shouldn't have been canceled/ended:
Reaper, Eastwick, Defying Gravity, Monk, Cast Offs, Demons, Trailer Park Boys, Robin Hood, Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, My Name Is Earl, Numbers, The Middleman, Ashes To Ashes, Life On Mars (US version), Jurassic Fight Club, Dollhouse, Terminator The Sarah Conner Chronicles, MADtv, Swingtown, The Starter Wife, Saving Grace (ends summer 2010, but still counts cuz announcement happened in summer 2009), The Riches, King Of The Hill, Harper's Island (even thought it was a self contained one then done series, still counts!), and I guess thats it, wow I guess there weren't a lot of shows that shouldn't have gotten canceled this year, kind of says a lot eh?

Entrainment Deaths in 2009:
Vic Chesnutt, Giulio Bosetti, Tim Hart, Mick Cocks, Michael Currie, Marianne Stone, Joan Brosnan Walsh, Brittany Murphy, Arnold Stang, Donald Pickering, Connie Hines, Alaina Reed Hall (Olivia on Sesame Street), Roy E. Disney, Vladimir Turchinsky, Oral Roberts, Conard Fowkes (Dark Shadows), Dan Barton, Moyra Fraser, Val Avery, Charles Davis, Francisco Piquer Chanza, Kenny Dino, Gene Barry, Goldie Semple, Mark Ritts (Lester The Rat on the show Beckman's World), Bina Rai, Garfield Morgan, Jack Rose, Liam Clancy, Eddie Fatu (professional wrestler Umaga, real life cousin of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Bryan O'Byrne, Richard Todd, Maggie Jones, Éva Szörényi, Paul Naschy, Ahmet Ulucay, Lee Pelty, David Aaron Clark, Tony Kendall, Kōichi Saitō, Al Alberts, Jacques Baratier, Irving Tripp, Warren Vanders, Beatrice Gray, Chan Hung Lit, Ken Ober, Bea Arthur, Billy Mays, Karl Malden, Henry Gibson, Gale Storm, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, David Carradine, Captain Lou Albano, Marilyn Chambers, Michael Jackson, Mollie Sugden (Mrs. Slocomb on Are You Being Served?”), Molly Bee, Natasha Richardson, Patrick Swayze, Patrick McGoohan, Rosanna Schiaffino (the pre-sophia loren defintion of “italian beauty”), Walter Cronkite (the greatest news man to have ever lived), Ed McMahon, and many many more, 2009 was a horribly bad year for deaths, so many it was almost scary.

The End.

The Reality Shock 2009 In Review Pt. 2: Movies

Continuing My Best And Worst....

Movies In 2009:

Best Movie of 2009:
Lymelife. This is a sort of quirky little overlooked dramedy, based loosely on the lives of its writers and directors, brothers Derick Martini and Steven Martini, Set in late-1970s Syosset, Long Island, Lymelife follows two families who crumble when tangled relationships, real estate problems and Lyme disease converge in the heart of suburbia. Fifteen-year-old Scott Bartlett is a gentle boy, radically different from his blustery father Mickey and tightly wired mother Brenda. An outbreak of Lyme disease, as well as the accompanying paranoia, hits their suburban community hard. When the Bartletts' neighbor Charlie Bragg is diagnosed with the illness, Brenda calms her fears by duct-taping Scott's cuffs shut. Despite the onset of this mysterious ailment, the two families are quite busy. Since Charlie is unable to work, his wife Melissa must keep the income flowing herself. She is hired by Mickey, who is the developer of an enormous subdivision, and though this gesture is a friendly favour, it is also patently motivated by lust. Mickey's history of philandering is one of the many things upsetting his wife Brenda, who yearns for the comfort of their old neighborhood in Queens. And growing up amid this marital cocktail is Scott, who has been in love with the Braggs' daughter Adrianna for all of his young life. The news both good and bad is that she is starting to return his interest. Things really heat up when Jimmy, Scott's older brother, comes home on leave from the Army. Jimmy shares many of his father's personality traits, and his confrontations with Mickey trigger events that permanently alter both families. This film might not really seem like a lot to some of you, but it really is a powerful powerful film, it speaks with a voice that not everyone is gonna hear at first, and might take afew watchthroughs to hear, but either way, its there. It also has some incredible preformances by Emma Roberts, afew of the Culkin children, Tim Hutton and amazingly enough Alex Baldwin too. Its well worth a watch if you let this one pass under your radar.

Runner-Ups: “Watchmen”, “Up”, “The Hurt Locker”

Best Dramatic Movie of 2009:
Precious. In 1987, obese, illiterate 16-year-old Claireece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) lives in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem with her dysfunctional family; she has been raped and impregnated twice by her father, Carl, and suffers constant physical, mental and sexual abuse from her unemployed mother, Mary (Mo'Nique). The family resides in a Section 8 tenement and subsists on welfare. Her first child, known only as "Mongo" (short for "Mongoloid"), has Down Syndrome and is being cared for by Precious' grandmother. After Precious becomes pregnant for the second time, she is suspended from school. Her junior high school principal, Mrs. Lichtenstein (Nealla Gordon) arranges to have her attend an alternative school, which she hopes can help Precious change her life's direction. Precious fights to find a way out of her traumatic daily existence through imagination and fantasy. While she is being raped by her father, she looks at the ceiling and imagines herself in a music video shoot; in the video, she is the superstar and the focus of attention. While looking in photo albums, she imagines the pictures talking to her. When she looks in the mirror, she sees a pretty, white, thin, blonde girl. In her mind there is another world, one in which, unlike her real one, she is loved and appreciated. Inspired by her new teacher Miss Rain (Paula Patton), Precious begins learning to read. She gives birth to her second child and names him Abdul. After Precious' mother deliberately drops three-day-old Abdul and hits Precious, Precious fights back long enough to get her son and flees her home permanently. She finds new confidence with the help of her teacher, Miss Rain, and begins raising her son in a half-way house while she continues to improve academically. However, her mother comes back into her life to inform Precious that her father has died of AIDS. Later, Precious finds out that she is HIV positive, but Abdul is not. The film ends with Precious still resolved to improve for herself and for her children. She severs ties with her family and makes plans to complete a General Educational Development test. This is one of those films where you look at it on the surface, and all you see is just some attempt at “positive African American entertainment” and like with most movies that try this route, you normally would just roll your eyes and let it happen, with out putting to much stock into it and the trite message its trying to out out, kind of the same way you would with a modern Christmas movie. But trust me, if you sleep on this one, you will be sorry, it is a hidden gem if there ever was one, its just so amazingly good, and you find yourself compelled to watch and see what happens as the cast plays out the story, its so captivating and entrancing that by the end, you're left with a lot of questions and a lot of wanting more.

Runner-Ups: “The Hurt Locker”, “Notorious”, “The Soloist”

Best Comedy Movie of 2009:
Julie & Julia. In the year 2002, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is a young writer trapped in a rather unpleasant job at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's call center, where she answers telephone calls from victims of the September 11 attacks, as well as members of the general public calling to complain about the LMDC's controversial plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center. To enliven her dreary life, she attempts to cook every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was published in 1961, and writes a blog to document her progress. Woven into her story is the story of Julia Child's time in Paris, in the 1950s, in which she discovers the art of French cooking. The plot structure carefully highlights similarities in the challenges encountered by both Julie and Julia. Both women get much support from their husbands, although at one point Powell's husband is fed up with her excessive devotion to her hobby and leaves her briefly for a few days. Eventually, Julie's blog is highlighted in a story published in the New York Times, after which her project finally begins to receive the attention of journalists, literary agents, and publishers. After Julia's book is initially rejected by Houghton Mifflin, it is eventually accepted and published by Alfred A. Knopf. This film is great in the fact that it shows how two people, sometimes inspired by the other, can live what is basically the same life be it a country, and decades apart. The book is infact the common connection point, it tells of Julia's life as she discovered her love of cooking and herself and came about creating the book, as well as Julie's life as she discovers the exact same things as she cooks her way through the book. As you go, you discover many things about each of them and their lives, including the fact Julia Child had abit of a potty mouth and a dirty mind, which is honestly something I wished I could have never known about her, and you also find that Julie Powell still to this day dresses like Julia did on tv whenever she cooks, and are given an answer to why Julia ended up in Boston in the 1960s and how she ended up on television. Sure some might find this remotely silly or boring, but there is something to be said about subtle and meaningful comedies these days, when they are often overshadowed by gag and one liner based goofball comedy that really isn't good for more then a week or so comedy wise. Plus the true stand out of this film is Meryl Streep, who I wasn't even really aware could do comedy, she plays Julia Child to an excellent approximation, not overplaying the voice or the sometimes goofy nature of her like so many do, she plays her with just enough of the flighty loveable uncomfortableness that we all know and love of Julia, and mixes in just enough classic British comedy character Hyacinth Buckett for the voice to make it also a send up to her, a character ment to spoof Julia in many ways. Its truly something to see if you haven't yet, you'll actually enjoy it.

Runner-Ups: “Adventureland”, “Zombieland”, “Black Dynamite”

Best Horror Movie of 2009:
Drag Me To Hell. In 1969 Pasadena, California, a young Spanish couple rush to the mansion of wealthy medium Shaun San Dena (Flor de Maria Chahua). Their son had stolen a necklace from a wagon of gypsies three days prior, and has been complaining about seeing and hearing monsters. San Dena tries to help the boy in a seance, but she and the boy's parents are attacked by an unseen force. The boy is grabbed by demons and pulled into Hell in front of San Dena.
In 2009 Los Angeles, California, bank loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) hopes to be promoted to assistant manager over her co-worker Stu Rubin (Reggie Lee). Her boss, Jim Jacks (David Paymer), advises her to demonstrate that she can make tough decisions to get this job. Christine is constantly thwarted by Stu, who attempts to portray Christine as incompetent to Mr. Jacks. Christine is visited at the bank by an elderly gypsy woman named Sylvia Ganush (Lorna Raver) who asks for a third extension on her overdue mortgage payment. To prove herself to Mr. Jacks, Christine denies Ganush the extension. Ganush resorts to begging for help and complains bitterly about being humiliated when Christine calls for security. Security guards escort Ganush out with Mr. Jacks complimenting Christine on how she handled the situation. Upon leaving the bank, Christine is attacked in her car by Ganush. After a violent struggle, Ganush removes a button from Christine's coat and uses it to place a curse on her. Later, Christine's boyfriend, Clay Dalton (Justin Long), tries to comfort her. They pass a fortune teller's store, where they meet the fortune teller Rham Jas (Dileep Rao), who tells Christine that she is being haunted by an evil spirit. Alone at home, Christine is attacked by the spirit, causing minor injuries, and has dreams about Mrs. Ganush attacking her in bed. At work the next day, she has a projectile nosebleed, soaking a horrified Mr. Jacks in blood. Fleeing work, Christine tries to find Ganush at the home of her granddaughter Ilenka Ganush (Bojana Novakovic). Christine learns that Ganush died the previous night, and Ilenka is in the process of holding a memorial service for her. Christine returns to Rham Jas, who explains that the spirit haunting her is a powerful demon called the Lamia that will torment her for three days before taking her to Hell. Rham Jas suggests a sacrifice to appease the demon, which leads to Christine killing her pet kitten. At a dinner party with Clay and his parents, Christine is still tormented by the Lamia, which frightens the Daltons. Further attacks from Ganush persist, which lead to Christine and Clay deciding to pay $10,000 to enlist the help of the powerful medium Shaun San Dena (Adriana Barraza). San Dena prepares a séance, to trap the Lamia's spirit in a goat and kill it, vanquishing the spirit. This plan fails as the Lamia attacks Rham Jas and Christine, the Lamia vowing that it will not rest until it takes Christine's soul to Hell. San Dena banishes the Lamia from the seance, but dies in the process. Rham Jas then tells Christine that the only way to get rid of the curse is to give the cursed item to someone as a gift, thereby passing the curse on to that person. Christine seals the button from her coat in an envelope but during a car journey with Clay she mixes it up, accidentally, with an envelope containing a 1929 Standing Liberty Quarter coin which she presented to Clay since he is a coin collector. Trying to find a recipient, Christine eventually decides to give the button to Ganush. Christine drives to the cemetery where Ganush is buried and digs up her grave. In a torrential downpour, Christine jams the envelope in Ganush's mouth. The next day, Christine goes to Los Angeles Union Station to meet Clay, where they plan to spend a weekend in Santa Barbara. As the train approaches, Clay shows her the button, saying she had dropped it in his car. Christine then realizes she mixed up envelopes in the car the night before. Horrified, Christine falls on the train tracks as a train barrels towards her. Before the train hits her, demonic hands rise from a fiery hole in the ground. Clay watches in horror as she is dragged beneath the train, to Hell. This is one of those films that is just classic Sam Rami, its dark and twisted when it needs to be, and its light and funny when needs be as well, its kind of a mix of his Spiderman movies and his Evil Dead films, though more toward the early evil dead films, before they became horror comedy, but still, it proves that Sam Rami still knows his way around a set drenched in fake blood, which is great because right now, horror needs a new face, it needs a new director to take the reigns of it and lead it somewhere new, somewhere bold and somewhere different, sure the remake slashers are proving to be so much better then we all thought they would be, but still, we need a new captain on this ship, and as many have believed for years, Sam Rami could infact be it.

Runner-Ups: “The Last House On The Left (2009)”, “The Final Destination”, “The Left Bank”

Best Sci Fi Movie of 2009:
District 9. In 1982, a large alien spaceship stops above Johannesburg, South Africa. Reports suggest that the ship became stranded after a command module separated from the ship and dropped to Earth, nowhere to be found. An exploratory team discovers a group of one million unhealthy and leaderless members of an arthropod-like extraterrestrial species who are given asylum on Earth. Some of these aliens engage in criminal and destructive activities, which lead to demands from the human population for more control. As a result, the aliens – derogatorily referred to as "prawns" – are confined to a government camp inside Johannesburg, called District 9. The camp is secured and, even with a massive police presence, soon turns into a slum. In the first decade of the 21st century, Multinational United (MNU) is placed in charge of policing and relocating the now 1.8 million aliens to District 10, a new camp 240 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg. They use a private military corporation, headed by Koobus Venter, to enforce the relocation effort with impunity. Wikus van de Merwe, a MNU field operative, leads the relocation with the serving of eviction notices on August 9, 2010. During the eviction Wikus confiscates alien weaponry and "aborts" their eggs with the use of flamethrowers. As this continues, some nearby aliens are shown distilling a mysterious liquid into a small canister. One of the aliens (designated "Christopher Johnson") resists. While raiding Christopher's shack, Wikus discovers and removes the container, accidentally spraying some of the liquid onto his face and his left forearm is injured by one of the aliens. Consequently Wikus feels sick and see his fingernails loosen; that night he falls ill and is taken to a hospital, where his left forearm is revealed to have mutated into an alien appendage. He is immediately taken into MNU custody. After discovering that Wikus can now operate alien weaponry due to his mutating DNA (the weapons being unresponsive to humans), they force him to test various energy weapons, including against a live alien target. The scientists then intend to vivisect him before he fully transforms, but a panicked Wikus overpowers his captors and escapes. Now a fugitive, Wikus takes refuge in District 9 and returns to Christopher's shack. Noticing Wikus' arm, Christopher reveals that the canister contains a fluid that he gathered over 20 years by scavenging, and that would allow him to reactivate the dormant mothership and take his people off the planet. After revealing the lost command module hidden under his shack, Christopher agrees to help reverse Wikus' genetic transformation if Wikus retrieves the canister from MNU. Wikus agrees and tries to buy weapons from the local Nigerian gang. Their leader, the paralyzed warlord Obesandjo, seizes Wikus, seeking to gain his ability to operate alien weapons. Wikus finds an alien firearm and kills some of Obesandjo's men before stealing a cache of weapons and escaping. Wikus and Christopher break into the MNU offices and retrieve the canister fleeing back to District 9. Christopher, having just seen that MNU is performing medical experiments on his fellow aliens, informs Wikus that he will seek help for the other members of his species before curing Wikus, which would take three years. In a fit of rage, Wikus knocks Christopher unconscious and powers up the command module. Soon after takeoff, one of the craft's engines is shot off by an MNU missile battery and it quickly crashes nearby. MNU forces enter District 9 taking Wikus and Christopher prisoners, but Obesandjo's gang ambushes them. During an intense fire fight the Nigerian gang captures Wikus. From the downed command module, Christopher's son activates the mothership and an alien mechanized battle suit which frees Wikus. Wikus pilots the suit and rescues Christopher. Promising Wikus that he will return to reverse his transformation, Christopher activates a tractor beam in the mothership, which lifts the stricken command module towards it. Heavily wounded and in a much more advanced state of his mutation, Wikus crawls out of the wrecked battle suit to be confronted by Koobus. Just as he tries to kill Wikus, several aliens appear who tear him apart. The mothership begins to leave and Johannesburg's residents celebrate its departure. A series of interviews and news broadcasts are shown. The aliens are successfully moved to District 10, said to have a population of 2.5 million and growing. MNU's illegal experiments on aliens are exposed. Those interviewed theorize about Wikus' fate and hypothesize that Christopher Johnson might return for the refugees or declare war on humanity. Wikus' wife reveals that, having found a small metal flower on her doorstep, she has hope that her husband is still alive. In a scrapyard, an alien with a bandaged left arm crafts a flower out of metal. This is one of those films that if you aren't paying attention, or you aren't up for a film that starts slowly, you will not actually get into it, or understand it, but if you do, you will be glad you did, because this film is so damn amazing and just so great to watch, the CGI is incredible, and honestly, it makes you start to wonder exactly, if or when first contact happens with another race from the stars, will we actually treat them as the prawns are treated in the film, because more then likely, won't be all E.T and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and the like, chances are, it'll be something a lot like this film. It really makes you think.

Runner-Ups: “The Forth Kind”, “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen”, “2012”

Best Animation Movie of 2009:
Up. Carl Fredricksen, a shy and quiet young boy, meets an energetic and outgoing tomboy named Ellie, discovering they share the same interest in exploration as their hero, the famed explorer Charles F. Muntz. Ellie tells Carl of her desire to move her clubhouse to Paradise Falls in South America, and makes Carl promise to help. Carl and Ellie wed and grow old together in the old house where they first met while making a living as a toy balloon vendor and a zookeeper respectively. Unable to have children, they repeatedly try to save up for the trip to Paradise Falls, but other financial obligations arise. Just as they're finally about to take their trip, Ellie passes away, leaving Carl a lonely and bitter old man with nothing to live for and missing his wife terribly. As the years pass, the city grows around Carl's house with construction as Carl refuses to move. After a tussle with a construction worker over Carl's broken mailbox, the court orders Carl to move into a retirement home. Carl comes up with a scheme to keep his promise to Ellie, and uses his old professional supplies to create a makeshift airship using tens of thousands of helium balloons that lift his house off its foundations. Russell, a Wilderness Explorer trying to earn his final merit badge for "Assisting the Elderly", has stowed away on the porch after being sent on a snipe hunt by Carl the day before. After a storm throws them around for a while, they find themselves landing on a great plateau across a large ravine facing Paradise Falls. With their body weight providing ballast allowing Carl and Russell to pull the floating house, the two begin to walk around the ravine, hoping to reach the falls while there's still enough helium in the balloons to keep the house afloat. As they walk towards Paradise Falls, Russell finds a colorful tropical flightless bird, which he names Kevin, not realizing that the bird is actually female. They later run into a dog named Dug wearing a translating collar that lets him speak. They discover Dug's owner is the elderly Charles Muntz himself, who returned to South America in his immense dirigible several decades earlier in a quest to find and bring back a large species of bird to restore his reputation, tarnished by accusations of fraud. Muntz invites Carl and Russell into his dirigible and Carl is initially thrilled to meet his hero. However, when Carl realizes that Muntz is after Kevin and will kill without a moment's thought in order to capture her alive, he takes steps to save the bird and escape with Russell. Thanks to Kevin and Dug they flee the dirigible and escape Muntz's pack of vicious dogs, led by Alpha, but Kevin is injured during the escape. As Carl and Russell assist the injured Kevin to her chicks, Muntz and his dogs arrive in his airship, led by a tracking device in Dug's collar, and sets a fire under Carl's house, forcing Carl to choose his house over Kevin. Muntz and his dogs quickly capture the bird and fly off. Though Carl successfully gets the house on the ground overlooking Paradise Falls per Ellie's wish, he has lost Russell's favor. Carl, settling down in his house, finds Ellie's childhood scrapbook and discovers her mementos of her life with Carl after they were married, and a final note from her thanking Carl for her adventure of marriage with him and an encouragement for him to go on his own. Invigorated by Ellie's last wish, he goes outside to find Russell, only to find him suspended from balloons to give chase to Muntz. Carl lightens the weight of his house by dumping his furniture and other possessions, allowing him to chase after Muntz in his house with Dug by his side. Russell enters the airship through a window, but is captured by the dogs. He is tied up on a chair and left to fall to the earth from the dirigible's access ramp. Carl saves him however, but keeps him tied up in the house for his own safety. Carl and Dug board the ship and are able to lure the guard dogs away from Kevin to free her. Carl and Muntz duel face to face and fight (Muntz with a sword, Carl with his cane), while Dug is able to wrest control of the dogs and the dirigible from Alpha. Russell frees himself but clings to a lifeline as he finds the house in a literal dogfight with biplanes piloted by Muntz's dogs. When Carl shouts for help, Russell distracts the pilots and regains control of the house to rescue his friends, who are now on top of the airship. In pursuit, Muntz shoots out some of the balloons, causing the house to land and slide off the airship. Carl manages to trick Muntz inside the house while saving Russell, Dug, and Kevin. Muntz accidentally lets go of the rope and plummets towards the earth below, while Carl's house drifts off into the clouds — a loss Carl gracefully accepts as being for the best. Carl takes Muntz's dirigible and returns Kevin to her chicks, then flies Russell and Dug back to the city. When Russell's father misses his son's Senior Explorer ceremony, Carl fulfills that role himself to proudly present Russell with his final badge, the grape soda cap badge that Ellie presented to Carl when they first met. Afterward, Carl, reinvigorated in both spirit and body from his adventure, becomes a cheerfully active community volunteer with a strong father-like relationship with Russell and the other Wilderness Explorers. Whilst Carl now resides in Muntz's airship, his old house has landed exactly where Ellie envisioned it — overlooking Paradise Falls. The last speaking scene before the credits shows Carl and Russell eating ice cream seated in front of Fenton's, a real-life ice cream parlor in Oakland, California. This is one of those films that just makes you glad you watched it, its funny, its cute, its got enough action and realism that it'll keep just about everyone happy. If you haven't actually seen the film you really gotta, its so very very worth it.

Runner-Ups: “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs”, “Monsters Vs. Aliens”, “Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs”

Best Action Movie of 2009:
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. It is revealed that thousands of years ago there was a race of ancient Transformers who scoured the universe looking for energon sources. Known as the Dynasty of Primes, they used machines called Sun Harvesters to drain stars of their energy in order to convert it to energon and power Cybertron's AllSpark. The Primes agreed that life-bearing worlds would be spared, but in 17,000 BC, one brother, thereafter dubbed "The Fallen", constructed a Sun Harvester on Earth. The remaining brothers thus sacrificed their bodies in order to hide the Matrix of Leadership—the key that activates the Sun Harvester—from The Fallen, who swore to seek revenge upon Earth.
In the present day, two years after the events of the previous film, Optimus Prime is seen leading NEST, a military organization consisting of human troops and his own team of Autobots (including newcomers Arcee, Chromia, Elita One, Sideswipe, Jolt, and the twins Skids and Mudflap) aimed at killing the remaining Decepticons on Earth. While on a mission in Shanghai, Optimus and his team destroy Decepticons Sideways and Demolishor, being given a warning by the latter that "The Fallen will rise again". Back in the United States, Sam Witwicky finds a splinter of the destroyed AllSpark, and upon contact the splinter fills his mind with Cybertronian symbols. Deeming it dangerous, Sam gives the AllSpark splinter to his girlfriend Mikaela Banes for safe keeping, and leaves her and Bumblebee behind to go off to college. Upon arrival, Sam meets his college roommate Leo Spitz, who runs an alien conspiracy website, and Alice, a co-ed who makes sexual advances on him. Back home, Decepticon Wheelie tries to steal the shard, only to be captured by Mikaela. After having a mental breakdown, uncontrollably writing in Cybertronian language, Sam calls Mikaela, who immediately leaves to get to him. Decepticon Soundwave hacks into a US satellite and learns the locations of the dead Decepticon leader Megatron and another piece of the AllSpark. The Decepticons retrieve the shard and use it to resurrect Megatron, who flies into space and is reunited with Starscream and his master, The Fallen in the Nemesis. The Fallen instructs Megatron and Starscream to capture Sam in order to discover the location of the Matrix of Leadership. With Sam's outbreaks worsening, Mikaela arrives at campus just as Alice—revealed to be a Decepticon Pretender—attacks Sam. Mikaela, Sam, and his roommate Leo drive off, destroying Alice, but are seized by the Decepticon Grindor. The Decepticon known as "The Doctor" prepares to remove Sam's brain, but Optimus and Bumblebee turn up and rescue him. In an ensuing fight, Optimus engages Megatron, Grindor and Starscream. Optimus manages to kill Grindor and rip off Starscream's arm, but during a momentary distraction while searching for Sam, he was blindsided then impaled and blasted through the chest by Megatron and dies. Megatron and Starscream depart as the Autobot team arrives to rescue Sam, unable to save Optimus. After Prime's death, The Fallen is freed from his captivity and Megatron orders a full-scale assault on the planet. The Fallen speaks to the world and demands they surrender Sam to the Decepticons or they will continue their attack. Sam, Mikaela, Leo, Bumblebee, the twins and Wheelie regroup, and Leo suggests his online rival "Robo-Warrior" may be of assistance. "Robo-Warrior" is revealed to be former Sector 7 agent Simmons, who informs the group that the symbols should be readable for a Decepticon. Mikaela then releases Wheelie, who can't read the language, but identifying it as that of the Primes, directs the group to a Decepticon seeker named Jetfire. They then find Jetfire at the F. Udvar-Hazy Center and reactivate him via the shard of the AllSpark. After teleporting the group to Egypt, Jetfire explains that only a Prime can kill The Fallen, and translates the symbols, which contain a riddle that sets the location of the Matrix of Leadership somewhere in the surrounding desert. By following the clues, the group arrive at the tomb where they ultimately find the Matrix, but it crumbles to dust in Sam's hands. Believing the Matrix can still revive Optimus, Sam collects the dust and instructs Simmons to call Major William Lennox to bring the other Autobots and Optimus' body. The military arrives with the Autobots, but so do the Decepticons, and a battle arises. During the fight, Decepticon Devastator is formed and unearths the Sun Harvester from inside one of the pyramids before being destroyed by the US military with the help of agent Simmons. Jetfire arrives and destroys Mixmaster, but is mortally wounded by Scorponok. The Air Force carpet bomb the Decepticons, but Megatron breaks through the offensive and kills Sam. In a vision, Sam meets with the other Primes, who tell him that the Matrix of Leadership is not found but earned, which Sam has done. They acknowledge Sam's devotion to Optimus, the last descendent of the Primes, and instruct Sam to merge the Matrix with Optimus' spark before bringing him back to life. The Matrix is reassembled from the dust, and Sam uses it to revive Optimus. The Fallen arrives and overpowers the Autobot team before stealing the Matrix and activating the Sun Harvester unearthed by the Decepticon Devastator. In his final moments, Jetfire volunteers his parts and spark to Optimus. With enhanced capabilities, Optimus destroys the Sun Harvester and takes on Megatron and The Fallen, killing the latter. Sam then finally reciprocates Mikaela's love as Megatron and Starscream retreat and vow that their fight is not finished. The film ends with Optimus sending a message into space saying that the humans and Transformers both share a common past. During the end credits, Sam returns to college. Yeah this one was a no brainer for me as the best action film of the year, and though yes, I gave it a very favorable review, and was very over critical of its abnormalities and oddities to the plot of the film series as well as the general nitpickery that comes along with everything that is being a transformers fan for my whole life, but on the whole, the movie was a good solid middle series, the first movie was so blockbuster it was almost impossible to follow up on a level that either was equal or better than it. And taking that into account the film did very well, plus it had Wheelie, the first incarnation of the character that wasn't generally panned by fans, and also, really, anything that allows John Turturro to be funny is almost instant gold. I should state also at this point, the three runners up are actually a three way tie for second place, it was a very very close race over all.

Runner-Ups: “2012”, “Watchmen”, “Star Trek”

Best Foreign Movie of 2009:
The Left Bank (Belguim). A quiet Belgian horror film, “Linkeroever”, which translates to mean “Left Bank,” is the story of Marie, a professional runner who has just qualified for the European Championships. Played by the cute Eline Kuppens, Marie meets Bobby (Matthias Schoenaerts), the head of the archery guild. Bobby lives on the elusive left bank of Antwerp in a creepy apartment building which has a dark history going all the way back to the Medieval period. Fleeing her overprotective mother, Marie moves in with Bobby. Things are ideal at first, as they learn to share a fancy apartment and have hot floor sex, but events take an immediate turn for the uncomfortable when Marie comes down with an unexplainable illness that her doctor attributes to her rigorous running schedule and she can't compete in the European Championships as planned. There are also other symptoms to her illness that cannot be explained, such as the onset of her surreal dreams that border on nightmares. There also turns out to be a dark side to Bobby, as his temper at times gets out of hand. The neighbors in the building are aloof and unfriendly and Marie's condition becomes progressively worse as she begins to discover that things in the Left Bank are beyond normal. "Linkeroever" plays as a dramatic horror film. Events that in any other genre would add up to perfectly banal relationship tensions and melodrama, instead lead to surprising and sometimes supernatural conclusions. Marie reacts to strange noises in the apartment building and creepy interactions with neighbors in a level headed manner. She is shaken, but Eline Kuppens doesn't overplay the fear and unease that Marie begins to feel as she uncovers the mystery of the Left Bank. This is the kind of horror film that proves the truth in a statement made by J.J Abbrams, in reference to his film Cloverfield, “Monster Movies Stop Being Scary Once You See The Monster”, and movies of this nature, the whole unseen terror of it, is the clear proof that if nothing else, the unknown and unseen is way more scary then anything that could ever be seen infront of you. This movie screws with your head and has you completely flipped upside down and turned around scared and confused by the end when it all makes sense. Totally brilliant.

Runner-Ups: The Class” (France), “Revanche” (Austria), “Departures” (Japan), “The Baader Meinhof Complex” (Germany)

Best Concept In A Movie That Failed:
My Life in Ruins. Now before I get into the plot of this, let me state at first that I personally LOVED this movie, however, from a monetary standpoint this film failed at the box office. Now, here is the plot: Georgia (Nia Vardalos) is a Greek American tour guide who is leading a tour around Greece with an assorted group of misfit tourists who would rather buy a T-shirt than learn about history and culture. In a clash of personalities and cultures, everything seems to go wrong, until one day when older traveller Irv Gordon (Richard Dreyfuss), shows her how to have fun, and to take a good look at the last person she would ever expect to find love with: her Greek bus driver (Alexis Georgoulis). Now, you would think that with some big name people, including the star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, who many believe with the right movie, could propel to super stardom. Now, the question is, why did this film fail? Well its simple, very little promotion and marketing, In hindsight and logic, the only thing that made this movie fail, was the fact no one new it came out, there was no real promotion, no adds on tv, radio or print, nothing at all, how can a film do well if no one knows its out there to be seen? Its sad really because the film was great and just so so enjoyable.

Worst Movie Movie of 2009:
Stoic. Well isn't this a surprise, me hating an Uwe Boll movie, to the point I am enraged at just the idea that people allow him to make films. Stoic is his 2009 offering to the “art house” genre, because lets face it, what are you gonna do with yourself when you have raped, killed and then re-raped action, drama, sci fi and comedy? You set your beady germanian eyes art house, the place most of hollywood and its international siblings are scared to tread. And though to some Art House is hallowed ground, Uwe Boll manages to do what he always does to film, he urinates all over the genre while singing in the guise of a Bavarian drinking song, or maybe even a German sea shanty, about how he doesn't care that no one watches his movies, or that no one likes him as a person, and how he hates Micheal Bay. Here is the plot of the film as explained by Boll himself; According to Boll, Stoic centers on a true incident which occurred in Siegburg prison in 2006 where three prisoners raped, tortured and ultimately forced their cellmate to commit suicide over a period of ten hours in a series of events that began with a poker bet involving the consumption of a tube of toothpaste. Yeah doesn't that just sound like the most appealing idea for a film ever? I mean how can that not? How can anyone ever doubt the wonder and magic and brilliance of Uwe Boll when he makes films like this? Its almost impossible to do so, its almost impossible to actually picture a world where this film does not make Uwe Boll more money then Micheal Bay makes on a Transformer movie... oh wait, no its not, because Boll's movies fail epicly and no one likes him or his idea of movies, this is the man that honestly thought ripping off the lord of the rings with “an all star cast” that included Ray Liota as a wizard and Burt Reynolds as the king was a brilliant idea. He's seriously got something missing in the logic center of his brain, and honestly needs to stop, he's insulting film and the film community by opening his mouth and letting german cow excrement come out of it, as well as pasting said excrement on film and calling it a movie. Please, for the love of all that some in the world deem as holy, Uwe Boll, just stop.

Runner-Ups: “The Battle For Terra”, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, “Dragonball Evolution”

Worst Dramatic Movie of 2009:
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. The sequel to the 2005 girly teen flick reassembles the original sisterhood, including America Ferrera, now the group’s biggest star thanks to Ugly Betty. Once again, each member of the quartet learns some life lessons in a separate story, the four of them keeping in touch by passing on the pair of jeans that inexplicably fits them all. High-schoolers in the first film, they are now college students, and Sanaa Hamri’s movie allows them some grown-up problems: a torn condom leaves Tibby, the film-making goth played by Amber Tamblyn, worried that she might be pregnant. Elsewhere, though, we enter the world of a Bunty comic strip: Ferrera’s character, the stage-struck Carmen, lands a part in a classy production of The Winter’s Tale, falls in love with her dreamy co-star and has to fend off a jealous rival. What the four tales have in common is monotonous pacing and vacuum-packed schmaltz. Seriously this film is boring as hell and so heavy handed it makes me wanna scream, I understand its aimed at woman, and thats fine, I have no issue at all with that, infact a lot of good dramas are what are deemed “chick flick”, but for some reason, this just fails so short of hitting the mark, so short its just so very sad and painful to watch.

Runner-Ups: “Last Chance Harvey”, “The Life Before Her Eyes”, “”Flash Of Genius”

Worst Comedy Movie of 2009:
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard. In a desperate attempt to save his rapidly failing used car dealership, Ben Selleck hires a crack team of "car mercenaries" to ramp up sales during the Fourth of July weekend. Led by the fast-talking, foul-mouthed, self-assured Don "The Goods" Ready, the group has three days to sell over 200 cars. But as Don undertakes his newest mission, and quickly falls for the boss's daughter Ivy, he realizes he'll have to trust more than his cars and his crafty skills in deceit to make a success out of the daunting weekend. This film is just horrible, from start to finish this pile of bovine excrement is just so painful to watch, and to sit through, its just, not a joy at all from start to finish, Jeremy Piven is just so horrible in this, as horrible as everything else he does, I honestly do not understand how he gets work, or why people seem to think that the asian guy that was in this, and in The Hangover is somehow an “in” comedian, he's an annoying little ponce of a man who really needs to be sent to an island to die somewhere out of the way, where he can never make another film or horrible tv show ever again. I hate him and his smug face with the fire of a thousand suns, I honestly do. As for this film, the idea is idiotic, if this was made in the 1980s, it would have made DC Cab look like an oscar winner, and trust me if you have ever seen the film DC Cab, you will understand why that burn is just so awesome, you will also learn to pity foo's and rock a mohawk, but thats a whole other matter all together, but anyway, this film is just completely idiotic, how it was able to circle the drain for as long as it did in theaters over the summer, I have no real idea, or inclination, how it was ever able to even make it past direct to video status, or even really make it to greenlight status in the first place. It makes me fear for the future of hollywood, it really does.

Runner-Ups: “All About Steve”, “Night At The Museum 2”, “Miss March”

Worst Horror Movie of 2009:
Dance Flick. From the Wayans brothers, the people who brought you Scary Movie and White Chicks, comes a spoof of every dance movie you’ve ever seen, from Fame to High School Musical. It has a story line of sorts: a young black street dancer, Thomas Uncle (Damon Wayans Jr), meets a cute young Julia Stiles-type white girl called Megan White (Shoshana Bush). They bicker, boogie and join up for the big dance battle. Yet this spoof soon runs out of steam. The comedy is rooted in predictable slapstick and surreal dance routines. The film mocks but never matches the musical energy of its targets and its lyrical send-ups are devoid of wit. The parody of the song Fame is a clunky out-of-the-closet anthem to being gay. This comedy is so bad it will make you want to tear out your eyeballs and use them as ear plugs. Now yes, I admit, this movie was pretty scary, but, it just fell short of the mark it was aiming for, which was ofcourse, to make you so horrified you never wanna sleep with the lights off again in fear of the making of another film in this spoof series that seems to have over saturated the market as of late. This was trying to be a horror movie in the vain of those thrillers that you don't realize are horror films, but it just ended up a big mess, a big painful mess of a horror film... shame really. Whats even more of a shame, I was gonna give this award to Saw 6, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, so instead I chose this horrorshow.

Runner-Ups: “The Collector”, “Jennifer's Body”, “Orphan”

Worst Sci Fi Movie of 2009:
Terminator Salvation. In 2003, Doctor Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter) of Cyberdyne Systems convinces death row inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) to sign his body over for medical research following his execution by lethal injection. One year later, the Skynet system is activated, perceives humans as a threat to its own existence, and eradicates much of humanity in the event known as Judgment Day. In 2018, John Connor (Christian Bale) leads an attack by the Resistance on a Skynet base. John discovers human prisoners and plans for the development of a new type of Terminator incorporating living tissue, but is the only apparent survivor of the attack after the base is destroyed in a nuclear explosion. However, Marcus emerges from the wreckage of the base and proceeds on foot to Los Angeles.
John returns to Resistance headquarters located aboard a nuclear submarine and tells General Ashdown (Michael Ironside), the current leader, of his discovery. Meanwhile, the Resistance has discovered a radio frequency believed to be capable of shutting down Skynet machines. They plan to launch an offensive against the Skynet base in San Francisco in four days, in response to an intercepted "kill list" indicating that Skynet plans to kill the Resistance's command staff in four days' time. John learns that his own name is second on the list, following Kyle Reese. The Resistance leaders are unaware of Kyle's importance to Skynet, but John knows that it is because Kyle will later become his father. John meets with his officer Barnes (Common) and wife Kate (Bryce Dallas Howard) and sends radio broadcasts to Resistance members and surviving civilians around the world. Arriving in the ruins of Los Angeles, Marcus is saved from a T-600 Terminator by Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and his mute companion Star (Jadagrace Berry). Kyle relates to Marcus the events of Judgment Day and the ensuing war between humans and machines. Hearing John's radio broadcast, the three leave Los Angeles in search of the Resistance. They survive an attack by machines, but Kyle, Star, and several other humans are taken prisoner, while a pair of Resistance A-10s are shot down. Marcus locates downed pilot Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) and they make their way to John's base, but Marcus is wounded by a magnetic land mine. Attempting to save his life, the Resistance fighters discover that he is in fact a cyborg with human organs, a mechanical endoskeleton, circuitry, and a partially artificial cerebral cortex. Marcus believes himself to be human, demanding to be released so that he can save Kyle from Skynet, but John believes that Marcus has come to kill him and orders his destruction. However, Blair releases him and helps him to escape from the base. During the resulting pursuit Marcus saves John's life from Skynet hydrobots, and the two form an alliance—Marcus will enter Skynet's headquarters and attempt to disable its defenses so that John can rescue Kyle. John demands that Ashdown delay the attack so that he can rescue Kyle and the other prisoners, but Ashdown refuses and relieves John of his command. However, John's soldiers remain loyal to him and obey his command not to attack the Skynet base. Meanwhile, Marcus enters the base and interfaces with the computer, disabling the perimeter defenses and allowing John to infiltrate the cell block and release the human prisoners. The Resistance's disabling signal is revealed to be a ruse, and the command submarine with the Resistance leaders aboard is destroyed. Marcus discovers that he was created by Skynet and has unwittingly fulfilled his programmed mission to lure John into the base to be killed. He tears out the hardware linking him to Skynet and assists John in battling a T-800 model 101 Terminator. John is mortally wounded during the fight, but succeeds in destroying the Skynet base by rigging several Terminator hydrogen fuel cells to an explosive, detonating them as he, Marcus, Kyle, and Star are airlifted out. Kate attempts to save John's life, but his heart is too damaged. Marcus offers his own heart for transplant, sacrificing himself to save John. Recovering, John radios to the other Resistance fighters that though this battle has been won, the war is far from over. Now look, I'm sorry but this film is just so horrible, its boring, its badly written and very choppy, there are so many things wrong with this film, the confusing plot that never explains much, the very concept thats ment to hint at the idea that this was where Camron from the terminator tv series was created, with the whole perfectly mimicking human emotion and all that thing. Its just.. painful, seriously not even Moon Bloodgood, who normally makes everything awesome by the simple fact she's Moon Bloodgood, couldn't save this film. Plus, if you take a really good look at those terminator bikes, they're Thrust from Transformers: Beast Machines, and those transport ships were the troop carriers from the Transformers Armada video game, thus allowing the “feud” between director McG and everyone's favorite target of abuse Micheal Bay, to continue. Oh and also, Christian Bale is done working with the cast professionally.

Runner-Ups: “Push”, “Knowing”, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

Worst Animated Movie of 2009:
A Christmas Carol. Now look, I'm a huge fan of Charles Dickens' classic tale of old world Santa, The Grim Reaper and that weirdo first spirit teach cranky old Ebeneezer Scrooge the true meaning of Christmas, and that its ok to trust random wondering pre-teen London street urchins to get you a giant goose out of the kindness of their hearts. But for some reason, what Disney has done with it is just criminal, its a mix of the real story, over acting my Jim Carey, who seems to be pretty focused on either over acting or picking horrible roles as of late, as well as just embarrassingly bad sight gags done for comedy, the E.T homage and the repeated hanging ice formations to the crotch region seen in the previews is pretty much the vain of said visual jokes. Ironically this film would have been a lot better if they had actually made it live action and gave it better casting, this film MIGHT have worked, I'm not saying it would have been a masterwork or some kind of triumph, but it would have been atleast watchable at best, not this horrible attempt at “disnization” of a classic story that anyone can do because of public domain rights. Disney's made a billion out of ripping public domain that way, but seriously, this is just painful to watch, it does to “holiday classics” what the next film does to action films...

Runner-Ups: “The Battle For Terra”, “Coraline”, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”

Worst Action Movie of 2009:
X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In 1845 Canada, young James Howlett sees his father killed by groundskeeper Thomas Logan. The trauma activates the boy's mutation: bone claws protrude from James' hands, and he kills Logan. With his dying breath, Logan tells James that he is James' actual father. James flees with Victor Creed, the abused son of Thomas Logan who is thus James' brother. They spend the next century as soldiers in the American army, fighting in the American Civil War, both World Wars and the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, James kills a superior officer after he tries to stop Victor from raping a local villager. Despite his objections to Victor's actions, James defends his brother, and the two are sentenced to execution by a firing squad, which they survive. Major William Stryker approaches them, now in military custody, and offers them membership in Team X, a group of mutants including marksman Agent Zero, mercenary Wade Wilson, teleporter John Wraith, invincible Fred Dukes and electrokinetic Chris Bradley. They join the team, but the group's questionable actions and disregard for human life cause James to leave. Six years later, James, now going by the name Logan, lives in Canada with his girlfriend, Kayla Silverfox. Colonel Stryker locates Logan and warns him that someone is killing members of the team, as both Wilson and Bradley are dead. Shortly afterward, Victor murders Kayla and brutally beats Logan. Stryker offers Logan a way to beat Victor; Logan undergoes an operation to reinforce his skeleton with adamantium, a virtually indestructible metal. Before the procedure, Logan asks for new dog tags inscribed with "Wolverine"-- based on a story that Kayla told him. Once the procedure is complete, Stryker orders Logan's memory erased, but Logan overhears and fights his way out, pursued by Zero. Logan hides in the barn of an elderly couple who take him in for the night. The next day Zero murders the couple and attacks Logan with two humvees and a helicopter. In revenge, Logan fights back and kills Zero and his soldiers. Logan locates Wraith and Dukes and asks them about the location of Stryker's new laboratory, referred to as "The Island." Dukes, now severely obese, explains that Stryker performs experiments on mutants, and that Victor is capturing new subjects for him. One of them, Remy LeBeau ("Gambit"), escaped and knows the location of The Island. Wraith and Logan locate Gambit in New Orleans, and ask for the Island's location, but Gambit suspects Logan was sent to recapture him and attacks him. Meanwhile, Victor kills Wraith, and takes a sample of his blood for Stryker. Logan attacks Victor and, with his enhanced claws, almost kills him. However, Gambit interrupts the fight, allowing Victor to escape. Logan and Gambit continue their scuffle, in which Logan subdues Gambit. Convinced of Logan's intentions, Gambit takes him to Stryker's facility on Three Mile Island. Logan learns that Kayla is alive and conspired with Stryker in exchange for her abducted sister's safety, not yet realizing that she genuinely loved Logan. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Logan leaves, enraging Victor at being denied the chance to fight Logan that he wanted. When Victor demands the adamantium bonding promised for his service, Stryker refuses on the basis that Victor would not survive the procedure. Victor attempts to kill Kayla when she tries to persuade him Stryker has betrayed them both, but Logan hears her screams and returns. Logan defeats Victor in a brutal fight, and nearly kills him but stops when Kayla reminds him of his humanity. Instead, Logan knocks Victor unconscious, then helps Kayla free the imprisoned mutants. Stryker activates Weapon XI, a "mutant killer" super-soldier with the abilities of other mutants, which Stryker refers to as "The Deadpool." Logan holds Weapon XI off while the escaped mutants flee. The mutants escape through the facility's tunnels, guided by a young blinded Scott Summers who is following a voice in his head. The party is greeted by Professor Charles Xavier, who offers them shelter at his school. Kayla, shot in the stomach and mortally wounded from Stryker's guards, decides to stay. Logan lures Weapon XI to fight on top of one of the plant's cooling towers, where he is almost killed until Victor aids him. They battle Weapon XI and decapitate him. Victor departs, vowing to finish what they have started, and Logan is saved from the collapsing tower by Gambit. As Logan carries Kayla to safety, Stryker shoots Logan in the forehead with adamantium bullets, rendering him unconscious. He points the gun at Kayla but she uses her power of persuasion, telling him to walk until his feet bleed and then keep walking, before dying from her wounds. Gambit returns, but the damage to Logan's brain causes him not to remember anything. As the police arrive, Gambit tries convincing Logan to come with him, but he declines, wanting to go his own way. Look, this is no real surprise to anyone, this film was a pile of crap and it shows that you should NEVER let Hugh Jackman control a character who he plays if he's NEVER actually read up on the role first and understanding that you have to work to in a sense pander to the fanbase when you play an ironic role like Wolverine, you can't just make it up as you go and act like there no problem with it, it just becomes horribly painful to watch when it reaches that point, it really does.

Runner-Ups: “Crank: High Voltage”, “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li”, “Fast And Furious”

Actor That Needs To Retire:
Steve Martin. Seriously, its time, call it quits now, before things just get worse, because they won't get better, it'll just become more painful on all of us. Worse then Chevy Chase painful.

Runner-Ups: Eddie Murphey, Steve Harvey, David Hasslehoff.

The Reality Shock 2009 In Review Pt. 1: Music

Breaking this up into three parts to save space and the like...  Here is Part One....

Music In 2009:

Best Album of 2009:
Routes To Riches by Mama's Gun. As I'm sure a lot of you readers know, I seriously love me some retro pop, anyone that remembers me raving about bands like The Magic Numbers, The Black Angels and Apple Bay will know, there is just something so cool about when artists come out and bring back a certain flavor or feel that in this day of pop singles that last a week on the charts after they made it to number one, then fall off the radar and when the charts are dominated by look alike and sound alike cookie cutter singers who no one can really tell apart, its refreshing when a person or a group takes us back in time to a day when music was smoother, well written, and more so, completely original, not all sampled and reworked lyrics from other songs. Mama's Gun, a band from the UK who take their name from a recent Eryka Badu album that was mindblowingly good as well, do an excellent job of taking us through the last 40 years or so musically with respect and homage paid, but also while blazing new ground as they go, like any true artist would. As you listen to their album, you hear a lot of different styles and influences, but most importantly, no copies, its sort of like traveling through time from about 1964 or so with The Beatles and takes you all over the musical spectrum from pop to rock to blues to soul and funk, all the way through 1984 when soul music ended with the death of Marvin Gaye, its just so brilliant and well done. Its hard to pick just one song that stands out more then others really, its a disc you can't help but listen too all the way through, then listen too again, and one more time after that all in one setting. It was always said to me when an album's only as good as its listening power, and if thats true, then this album's a powerplant of joy and emotion, that is good enough to make even the most hardened most genre-centric music lover walk away enjoying it. Seriously if you haven't given it a listen, you have too. And if you want some preview tracks, have a listen to “Pots Of Gold”, “Rico” and “Chasing Down Shadows” some brilliant tracks off it.

Runner-Ups: “Next Level” by Ayumi Hamasaki, “Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics” by India.Aire, “We Are the Same” by The Tragically Hip

Best New Artist of 2009:
Asher Roth. Some people can argue that abstract rappers aren't exactly “true” rap artists, and that they lack the same grit and desire that “regular” rappers have, but in all honesty, that statement is completely iditoic. Rappers, by definition are preforming artists, oh sure, most people are aware of the fact that these so called “gangsta” rappers are really all just made up personalities with fake backstories and made up “struggles” to begin with, which always makes me laugh when people come along and trash someone like Asher, an upper middle class white kid from a small town who just happens to be able to flow like a river when he picks up a microphone, which is what makes his album “Asleep In The Bread Aisle” such a joy to listen too. Its refreshing and unique, and unlike most white rappers, he doesn't fall into the tired old “lets compare him to Eminem” hole that plagues anyone that of the cracker variety who happens to wish to get into the business of droppin poetry over beats. I'll admit when I first heard Asher, I was abit confused who he was supposed to be, I figured he'd be one of those many rappers that shows up with a single or a guest on someone's track and you never hear from them, but I was pleased when I did finally hear his debut and how much more mature it was then I was expecting. I am left hoping that he continues and expands even more then he has already, it would be great to see him grow and become one of those rappers that people that can see beyond the whole drug and gun talk of the more radio friendly rappers will enjoy for years to come.

Runner-Ups: Julien-K, Kid Cudi, Melanie Fiona

Best Single of 2009:
“House On A Hill” by Mama's Gun. Yeah I know, normally I try not to give best album and best single to the same band, but as it was pointed out to me while going over my choices with afew people, if its deserving, then its deserving, regardless. And I gotta say, I agree. “House On A Hill” is the opening track on “Route To Riches” the debut album by Mama's Gun, and its just so amazing, to quote a friend who I played it for, its the closest we'll find to an old school Jackson Five treasure in modern music. Its upbeat, its catchy, its pop, but not pop to the point its annoyingly so, its got flavors of soul and funk and that great late 1960s to the 1970s not exactly bubblegum feel to it, but still enough to make you get up and dance or crank it up and act like you're in a 1990s Smashmouth video too. The lyrics are catchy and meaningful at the same time, its a love song that speaks to the basic groove that you can't help but dance too when you hear it. Have a listen to it, and you'll find yourself driving around listening to it up loud in the car or dancing around your house to it, I love infectious songs like this, totally do.

Runner-Ups: “Battlefield” by Jordan Sparks, “Throw Up Your Arms” by Kate Klim, “Beautiful Resistance” by Mystic

Breakthrough Artist of 2009:
Aloan. Now, a lot of you know I will go on for hours in praise of this swedish fusion band, its a rare feat when you can combine jazz, trip hop, blues, soul and hip hop together in a live instrument band and it actually work, and after afew years of bumping to the surface and trying to get noticed, working hard and trying to impress with their unique style, trying to get noticed in the same circles as bands like The Roots, Black Star, and the rest of the Soulquarians click, who also use live instruments and blend styles like they do, and more so, after dropping the brilliant “Better In Springtime” two years ago, Aloan have finally returned and with their new album “Pretty Freaks”, I am glad to say, have finally possibly broken through the glass ceiling and might actually be on their way to a career that will be as rich and fruitful as they deserve. They work hard on their unique sound, and it shows in the lyrics and song quality, each album gets better and better for them, and I find it a joy to watch their career as it grows and hopefully will continue to grow. So if you haven't seen or heard or are finally tired of hearing me go on and on about how you need to listen to Aloan, seriously, give it a listen you will not be let down, not one bit, you'll love it as much as I do, I almost guarantee it.

Runner-Ups: Mystic, Soulfege, Casey Desmond

Come Back Of the Year:
Mary J. Blige. There aren't many artists who have the staying power and ability to morph as divine Ms. Mary J does, there aren't many artists who can change their style and content from song to song on an album and keep people's attention the whole way through, while continuing to be the distinctive artist that crosses so many genres and delights both young and old alike, there is not one person I know spanning from my grandparents age group to my teenage cousins and everyone in between, that doesn't like atleast one Mary J. Blige song. And with her recent album “Stronger with Each Tear”, Mary proves that even if afew of her albums fail to make the impact and monster chart topping hits that we're all used to from her, it doesn't take away from her being able to actually bring all that she is to album, and making it just pure bliss in soul form. Mary is what I love in music really, a survivor, a fighter, and smart enough to know how to speak to her listeners in musical form in a way that makes them think she is always and will always talk to them, when you listen to an album of Mary's you feel loved, you feel cared for, you feel sad, and you feel as if you matter, and thats why, even though its only been about three years time sense her last album, I gave her come back of the year, because I feel she deserves it, and deserves a lot more respect then she gets in music. And I hope you all agree.

Runner-Ups: Fastball, The Verve Pipe, Alice In Chains

Artist That Should Be Signed To A Major Label:
Hideyo Blackmoon. Its not so uncommon these days for an artist to be avant-garde and rather unorthodox in their persona they allow the world to see and use to express their music, this comes out a lot more often with electricia, trip hop and drum and bass artists, given their rather unconventional and strange culture, and its rather broad and ever expanding horizons. Hideyo Blackmoon is one of the few artists who has the courage to jump from the many different sounds of electric music and still know where her wheelhouse in the field is. Add to this her completely out there, even by asian electronica standards, DJ shows, that jump between club with a live DJ, to underground Toyko style rave, old world Asian and Indian traditional dance festival, complete with geisha and desi and other old world images that have been co-opped by modern society the world over, its seriously like a drug trip with out taking anything, and its totally brilliant in that respect. Hideyo I feel is one of those artists who could go on to be a face in her field, kind of like Mody or Bjork were for the longest time, she has the personality, she has the looks, she has the individuality, and she makes just incredible music, its light and fluffy, its dark and moody, its smooth and sexy, and its angry and full of fire when it needs to be, she is a master of her field and I feel that should be rewarded. If you haven't had a listen to her amazing debut album, you really should have a look at it, its an interesting and fun ride for your ears.

Runner-Ups: Casey Desmond, Hugh Dillon, Aloan

Artist We Need To Hear More From:
Hugh Dillon. I first found Hugh Dillon as the lead role of Mike Sweeney on the canadian thriller series Durham County, a series many of you read my review of not long ago, and you will be reading abit more about down in the television section of this, Hugh is also a member of the cast of the tv series Flashpoint where he plays a police sniper but I don't really care to much for that. In my investigation into Hugh and his career, I discovered he used to play in various different rock and blues bands, and later discovered that he was to release his own solo album called “Works Well with Others”, which he did not long ago, its a mix of rock, blues, and enough pop to keep the non-lovers of blues rock happy. Its a great disc to listen too, and shows a side of Hugh I never expected to see, it was a delightfully surprising. I would love to see him continue his music, as well as his acting, for he is a master of both. If you haven't seen or heard him yet, do yourself a favor and actually do it, its very enjoyable and a fun ride, seriously check him out if you go the time.

Runner-Ups: Mira Craig, Casey Desmond, Mystic

Funniest Band Name:
Rainbow Brite And The Psychedelic Pinwheel Explosion. The idea of an all girl rock band is nothing new, but when you have an all girl rock band that plays everything from old school rock to doom metal and a small amount of rap metal mixed in there for fun, thats something kind of new and different. Such is the case with Braintree Massachusetts' own Rainbow Brite and The Psychedelic Pinwheel Explosion, taking their name from the moderately iconic and memorable 1980s doll line, and, well I'm not sure where the psychedelic pinwheel comes from, but I'd like to see one, you know, for research reasons. They're an interesting band, with their lead singer dressed all bright and colorful, with rainbow colored hair and looking like a mix of a club kid and Punky Brewster when she was a kid, you know before she grew up and had to have her boobs reduced cuz glomer put that spell on her when she killed him with negligence and mistreatment, she's not exactly the kind of person you would expect to sing as she does, her voice is rather pleasant and enjoyable to listen too and can carry many styles with out faltering, a lot of singers can't do that, so when does its pretty impressive. The band themselves play up their out there persona by doing small bits of comedy between songs, or leading into songs, which I always enjoy, its great when a band can bring you into their world and kind of make you feel like you're one of them by sharing their stories and journey and jokes with you, it makes it extra a'special for the audience. Hopefully big things are in their future, which is probably gonna be as bright as a rainbow.

Runner-Ups: Wrestling is Fake, Kiera Knightly's 32 A Cup Bra (last year's winner), Rage of The Snuffleupagus, Jarred Jeweler and The DeBeers, Rooster Cogburn and Paraplegic Cops, Soundwave And The Cassetticons, Solomon Grundy and The Days Of The Week, Glenn Close Is A Handsome Woman, Sarah Palin and the Bridge To Nowhere, The Verne Troyer Electric Music Parade, Count Von Count and Countess Von Backwards Traveling Roadside Show, Massey Ferguson and the John Deers, Queen Bee and The Kung Fu Honeys Featuring Doleomite and DJ Petey Wheatstraw, No One Goes To Hooters For Wings, P.Diddy's Former Names, BattlePenis, The Cougar Club, Stevie Wonder's Electro Fantastic Imagination Machine, Roman Polanski's Pedophile Support Group, Jackie Paper Puffs The Magic Dragon, Muppet Mafia, Ugly and Desperate Housewives, The Snack Bar, Fat Albert's Diabetic Amputated Leg, Fred Flintstone Beats His Wife, Harvey Birdman And The Galaxy Trio, German Pornstars Always Have S*** In Their Teeth, The Crooked Sip, Asian Girls Are The Hotness, Josh Grobin Is A Douchebag, Edward Cullen Must Die, The Trash Heap featuring King Gorg, R. Kelly Peed On Me, Tony Stark's Drunken Adventure Of The Mind, The Hot Mess.

Worst Album of 2009:
Working on a Dream by Bruce Springsteen. Ok this one seriously hurt to do, but ethics come first over fandom regardless of who it is. With that said, let me state to those of you who don't know, I am a massive Bruce Springsteen fan, from his early years to his height of fame, to his later years of making music for himself, he's an old folkie who inspired this neo soul blues rock folkie to do what he does. Now with that said and done, I can not, for the life of me, understand why Bruce would follow up last year's “Magic” and 2007's “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions” which was honestly the most brilliant folk album I've heard in almost 10 years, with this mismatched and unbalanced and frankly feeling like its a compilation of B-Sides with one great song tacked on the very end. It just doesn't make any sense to me. Bruce is better then this, he's better then songs as bland as "Queen of the Supermarket" and “Good Eye” that just don't seem right as official album tracks, instead of maybe B-Sides. It almost feels as if the whole disc was made out of odds and ends simply so the record label could make more money off the incredibly brilliant single “The Wrestler” from the excellent movie of the same name. And though I understand the need to keep a person as important to music as Bruce out there and on the radio, I just wish they'd maybe not pushed this album out just for that one single, it kind of tarnishes it slightly. But thats just my thought on it, I could be wrong.

Runner-Ups: “The Fame Monster” by Lady Gaga, “I Dreamed A Dream” by Susan Boyle, “Graffiti” by Chris Brown

Worst Single of 2009:
“Poker Face” by Lady Gaga. Seriously, I do not get the appeal of this song, or of her, or this weird fixation at the moment for everyone from Christopher Walken to Marley Matlin cover this song. Its annoying, its not really all that catchy, but yet it seems to get played EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING, seriously, this is worse then the Hootie and the Blowfish epidemic of the mid 1990s, or the Boy Band Outbreak in the early 2000s, it truly is. I mean honestly, when Kanye West craptaculars up your song in concert cuz he all of a sudden thinks he can sing, then you need to take that hint and stop. As for Lady Butterface herself, I keep stating this, she is just the living embodiment of taking the brown acid, which by the way I sort of think she is on, because damn, how else do you explain trying to steal Bjork's gig as delightfully random and completely insane popster? But again, as i've said many times, the difference is, Bjork is awesome at what she does, whatever it is she's doing in her head comes out completely awesome in the real world, like, when she walks up to you and says “I sometimes fold myself into a hamper and use my feet to tickle my ears till I giggle..” then walks away, you are left with the awe and wonder that is Bjork. When Lady Gaga walks up to you and spills out any of her jibbity style oinkery from her wordhole, you're left feeling dirty and confused on if she just asked you for club bathroom sex. Seriously, its time for this weirdo to go back to whatever X and Acid Rave she came from and leave music to people that know how to do it. Also, I'm so sick of this song. Seriously.

Artist that needs to turn off the mic:
Honestly, this year there are so many who were embarrassingly bad I can't pick just afew. But if I had to pick one, I'd have to say its seriously time for U2 to call it and end. Plus, I seriously hate Bono, like really really hate him.