This movie was not what I was expecting, but it was much better. It was really sweet and moving, but still very funny.
Runner Up: Black Swan – I’m pretty sure I saw this in January, and therefore it counts. Beautifully creepy film, even though the black/white and mirror symbolism were a little heavy handed. I love that the ending was kind of open, though I like to believe that she died, having finally given the performance of her life.
TV Show: American Horror Story
We were turned on to this show by friends around Halloween. We got caught up and then continued watching weekly. It was sufficiently creepy and didn’t shy away from anything. As many mysteries as it introduced, it solved (unlike some shows, cough cough Lost…). I have no clue if or how they’ll be able to continue it for another season, but even if only this one season ever exists, I think it’s enough.
Runner Up: Work of Art – You can read my thoughts about this show here, but basically I think it’s one of the realest reality shows on TV, despite the poorly explained challenges, and in the end the judges made the right decision about who should win this season. I especially love the thoughtful critiques, and how the guest judges are artists known for whatever style/medium they are working with that week.
Book: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
I’d almost forgotten I read this book in 2011, but I read it in January, so it does count. I never wrote a review about it, but it is a beautiful book with a sort of unbelievable story, and the bad guy gets it in the end. I wish it had turned out differently with Jacob and Orito, but that’s the way the story goes…
Runner Up: The Help – I was probably the last woman in America to read this book, but it was very cute. My main problem with it was the way it ended – I know life doesn’t wrap up neatly, but I think we were owed more of a conclusion than the open ending that there was. I still want to see the movie, though.
Album: Tally Hall, Good & Evil
After many delays and setbacks, Tally Hall’s second album was finally released, and it is amazing. Seriously, amazing. Listen to it all the way through, and when you reach “Fate of the Stars” you will see how perfect it is. We saw them live for the third time, as part of their Good & Evil tour, and the show was great. I’m not sure what the future holds for Tally Hall, but I hope whether they are together or working on their own projects, they continue creating fabulous things.
Runner Up: They Might Be Giants, Join Us – It’s a good album. Really good. But… it had the misfortune of being released within weeks of Good & Evil, which won first place in my heart and MP3 player. And the wacko fans when we saw them live did not earn them any extra points.
Honorable Mention: Cynic, Carbon-Based Anatomy – Beautiful album, but it’s just a 5-track LP. They were awesome live, too.
Restaurant: Garces Trading Company
For the third year in a row, my favorite restaurant is a Jose Garces joint. GTC is probably the least formal of the Garces Restaurant Group restaurants, but I think it may be my favorite. We went to celebrate my birthday, and it was such a perfect evening. And did I mention… the cheese plate?
Runner Up: Chelsea Prime – Our second ever visit to this restaurant was on GG’s birthday, and it once again did not disappoint. We each cleaned our respective plates. Not to mention, the service is amazing, and there’s a nice view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Vacation: Atlantic City
This wins by default, as it was the only non-work-related overnight trip I took this year, but it was a great kind of last-minute trip (well, nothing is last minute for me, but I got this LivingSocial coupon and we just decided to go for GG’s b-day). Everything worked out great and we had a nice time, despite the questionable view from our hotel room.