Here’s a short top 10 of my richest pop cultural experiences of 2011:
I loved that my son enjoyed the dazzling film directed by Martin Scorcese, Hugo, just as much as I did. A long time fan of Woody Allen, I adored Midnight in Paris and found it just as compelling and genuine as some of his early films. I saw it in a Brooklyn film house with other longtime Woody Allen fans and it was one of my most memorable cinematic experiences of the year. I laughed out loud with all the ladies of the hit movie Bridesmaids and am thrilled that women took over the screen once again. Another great film for and about women was The Help, a well-written version of a book that rocked the hearts of millions of readers. It was brought to life through the eyes of great actresses. Viola Davis must surely be up for the Academy Award when time rolls around.
I managed to catch Brief Encounter just before it left NYC, and I am so grateful that I did. It reminded me of how much I love New York City, theater and film. It was a great way to kick off 2011. Another Noel Coward play happened to come to town this year featuring one of my favorite actors, Alan Rickman: Seminar. The combination of Rickman and Theresa Rebeck was electrifying and it was one of my favorite nights on Broadway this year. Another drama that I enjoyed was Other Desert Cities, a play I caught early in its off-Broadway run at Lincoln Center starring Stockard Channing and Linda Lavin. Written by Jon Robin Baitz, who I am so glad has returned to the stage, it had such fresh dialogue and humor, and as the secrets unraveled throughout the show, I was almost falling off my seat. And The Normal Heart on Broadway was one of the most richest, fulfilling stories I have seen on stage in a long time, as well as powerful performances such as Ellen Barkin, who won a Tony for her performance. Other musicals that I enjoyed this year included Queen of the Mist by the Transport Group, The People in the Picture at the Roundabout Theater, and I finally got around to seeing the camp musical, Mamma Mia.
On the non-fiction front, I just finished Then Again by Diane Keaton and it’s fresh in my mind, but the book had me laughing and relating all the way through to the end. I also appreciated The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and have since tried to incorporate several of the lessons I learned in the book to be happier. In her book, I learned that we can all be happy by making small changes in our life. We are all unique and can do whatever works for us. And I’m certainly planning to start going to bed earlier in 2012! Like everyone else on this planet, I also laughed and cried along with Tina Fey reading Bossypants. Her strokes of brilliance resonated with me and shall remain etched in my mind. On the fiction side, Those Who Saved Us by Jenna Blum and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova stand out in my memory.
My Favorite TV Shows:
While I am anxiously awaiting the return of Mad Men, I have been enjoying Parenthood on NBC. Lauren Graham and Peter Krause together in one hour of programming delights me to no end, and I love the way the show carefully explores issues that I care about as a parent: special needs, aging parents, infertility issues, marital relationships and more. I also spent the year enjoying True Blood and Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO, Glee on Fox and Modern Family. I nearly broke down when Oprah went off the air, and I’ve been trying to get into her programming on OWN, but it hasn’t worked for me yet.
What were your favorite films, TV shows, plays or books of 2012?