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Of the Year: 2010

I decided to do something for the first time: Recap my favorites of random categories from 2010. Mostly arts & entertainment, but I also stuck restaurant in there as a category just because, why not? Who’s gonna stop me? I’d like for this to become a tradition because, well, that gives me an easy article to write every year. I set out some ground rules first, though: I limited myself to no more than five total choices per category, though I didn’t necessarily have to fill that many slots. That means one Favorite and four Honorable Mentions max per category. Why? Because I make the rules here, pal! And what I say, goes! Also, if there's more than one Honorable Mention, they're in alphabetical order. Let’s get started:

Movie of the Year:

Toy Story 3

I’m rather embarrassed at how few movies I saw in the theater in 2010. Toy Story 3 was quite simply my very favorite movie of the year. The only movie to earn a 4-star rating in 2010. Read my full review or, better yet, just get the darned thing and have a Toy Story marathon--imagine watching all three in a row! Now I wanna do that...

Honorable Mention:

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

The only other movie in 2010 that really, really stuck with me, and grew better in my estimation as time went on. Harry Knowles has a fantastic critique of it (it was his favorite film on 2010).

TV Show of the Year:


By far the highlight of my television-watching experience in 2010. Community is an ensemble cast show that is absolutely merciless in its comedy, shrewdly eschewing the smarm and schmaltz that creeps into other shows like Friends and How I Met Your Mother. It skewers innumerable tropes from TV and movies while simultaneously celebrating them, and it does it all without degenerating into a pointless comedy parody show (*cough* Family Guy *cough*). These characters, while they take dips into the comically absurd, all feel like real people and, by God, somehow you really care about them even when they’re being completely unsympathetic. The first season got steadily better, and 2010 saw us halfway through the 2nd season with just as many laughs (Betty white hissing, “That’s why you fail!” while strangling Joel McHale, Ken Jeong doing an excellent Gollum, Chevy Chase forcing a crying Donald Glover to jump on a trampoline... good times).

Honorable Mention:


Now in its 3rd season, Castle, though at times bordering on formulaic, is one of those classic star-crossed, romantic-tension comedies, buoyed by an absolutely fearless and joyful performance by Nathan Fillion as the title character. It’s not a gritty crime drama, and it’s often patently absurd, but the chemistry and the sheer level of fun make Castle something Carrie & I look forward to every week.

Album of the Year:

This was such a good year for music! So many amazing musicians (and so many people I know personally) put out albums. Two of them rose to the top while I was thinking about writing this article, but every few days I would find that they had switched the #1 and #2 positions. Then a few days later they’d switch again. And again. I’m confident that even if I were to now settle on one of them, a few days now the other one would again be #1 in my mind. So in an unprecedented move, 2010 has a two-way tie for best album!

I'm Not Hollow
by Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount

Unapologetic Art Rap
by Open Mike Eagle

An absolute gem of a folk/rock/kickass album, there is not a single song that doesn’t work, which is a rarity in any album. They’re all friggin’ fantastic.

One of the single greatest rap albums put out in the past decade, Open Mike Eagle is a revelation: smart, funny, smooth, easy, challenging, and damnably catchy. Standout tracks have humor with satirical bite to them, but Mike Eagle’s easy (but not lazy) flow has an intimacy that makes you feel like you’re having an intelligent conversation with one of your closest friends.

Honorable Mentions:

Get Wasted and How To Be Mean
by Palmdale

Two EPs that add up to a full album when played together, these are the catchiest pop/rock masterpieces since, well, Kay Hanley’s previous album. She’s brilliant at writing melodies and hooks, even though her lyrics are basically non-sensible.

Mr. Brown
by Locust Street Taxi

Fun, silly, and howling jazz/rock/reggae-ish good times from the gang at Locust Street Taxi. This album was professionally produced (by the titular Mr. Brown) and has an edge and polish that stands it apart from their previous recordings. This album is a real frikkin’ album!

Three Ninjas is Smarter Than A Lettuce

Full of balls-to-the-wall, soul-baring lyrics, fascinating and unorthodox sampling, and LMAO funtimes, this is an album that doesn’t dare do anything halfway. You’ve never heard anything quite like it, I assure you.

Musician of the Year:

Three Ninjas

If you only got to see one musician perform live in 2010, I really, really hope you got to catch a full Three Ninjas set. The man was on fire in 2010, his stage presence growing enormously as the year progressed into a lovingly bombastic firebrand of self-deprecating arrogance and hilarity. Try to catch a show that features Natural HyPe Man as well; the two are a duo of epic proportions.

Honorable Mentions:

The Jesus Rehab

Saw them quite a few times as well. A straight-up rock band, these guys are just as entertaining when they’re a full band as they are when they’re just an acoustic duo. It’s nice to have a music act around that can, you know, rock while still being able to actually perform well and play their instruments skillfully.

Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount

I lost track of how many times I saw them... When these guys get their groove on there’s no force in the ‘verse that can top them. They’ll have your head bobbing and toe tapping and any other number of cliches. But you’ll be too engrossed to care about whether you’re a cliche or not. Interestingly, this is one of the most fun bands to actually watch play their instruments. The skill and verve that run through their hands (especially that handsome bass player) is astonishing.

Marian Call

Saw her twice in 2010 as well. Marian Call is a geek icon who just happens to be an incredibly talented jazz vocalist and songwriter who is witty and charming, and, well, frankly rather easy on the eyes. She had a very ambition 2010 in which she did a self-promoted, fan-funded tour of EVERY SINGLE STATE in the USA. Oh, and a metric tonne of Canada as well. I got to see her in an intimate venue when she passed through Tacoma, and then again in a venue with some 250 people in the audience when she came back through Seattle--and played with Molly Lewis and Jason Finn. Yeah. Her song “Dark Dark Eyes” makes me get a li’l teary each time I hear her sing it.

Open Mike Eagle

I saw him twice in 2010! Open is a good name for Mike Eagle, because his performance style is so open and inviting that you find yourself drawn into the stories his words paint, and you just want to nod your head and agree with everything he’s saying: “Yeah, this guy’s right!” Incredibly infectious and entertaining.

Video Game of the Year:

Super Mario Galaxy 2

A sequel that manages to extend the original but manages to be better in basically every way. I love, love, love, love the combination of Galaxy 1’s level design and New Super Mario Bros.’s overworld map. Absolutely brilliant; it’s one of those games that I will NOT be able to stop playing until I complete it in its entirety.

Honorable Mention:

Cave Story

A real treat of a retro-styled, side-scrolling platform game that feels just like it could have come out in the first year of the SNES. It’s an absolute blast to play, and with several different endings to find, I’ve actually played through it three times now, and am working on a 4th.

Book of the Year:

Scott Pilgrim: The Entire Series

An epic of early-20s angst, video games, music, and pop culture. With kung-fu fighting. Given the breathing room of a six-volume story rather than the less-than-two-hours running time of a movie, the books have time to really delve into these characters and develop them, giving a real humanity to the cartoon wackiness that invariably ensues.


Website of the Year:


An absolutely brilliant website. Any musician can upload their songs, and anyone else is able to download them in pretty much any audio format they’d like, and the artist can charge as little or as much as they’d like. There’s even an option to let the customers name their own price. And it’s 100% FREE FOR THE ARTISTS, and DOES NOT TAKE A CUT OF THE PROFITS. I have no idea how this is a sustainable business model for them, but EVERY MUSICIAN SHOULD PUT STUFF ON HERE.

Webcomic of the Year:


A weekly webcomic by Warren Ellis? I’m in! FreakAngels is a very British post-apocalypse story, one in which the post-apocalyptic world is pretty messed up, yeah, but people seem to be able to eek out a relaxed and somewhat comfortable life for themselves. It probably helps that the folks of Whitchapel (the setting for this story) are protected by a group of godlike super-powered people. It probably doesn’t help Whitechapel, though, that these super-powered people are basically a bunch of squabbling drama queens… A thoroughly enjoyable read. And it’s weekly. And free! Though you can of course buy the books if you want. I’m sure Warren Ellis wouldn’t stop you.

Restaurant of the Year:

The Red Hot

A great little bar that specializes in Hot Dogs and local brews. I absolutely adore the way they use that fake nacho cheeze stuff. Y’know, the bright orange goop! This is a great place we went to quite a lot because the hot dogs and sides are inexpensive, and the beer is good and plentiful. I recommend the Hillside Strangler (hot dog with tomato slices, bacon strips, and nacho cheese) with a Frito Pie.

Honorable Mention:

Taqueria El Guadalajara

Literally around the corner from Red Hot, El Guadalajara has some of the best margaritas around, a bar (with occasional Latin Polka/Pop karaoke) upstairs, and very good El Toro-style Mexican food.

So that's my listo. Agree or disagree, it shant change my mind. SHANT!

What do you think about this list, Ocean Shores Pirate?

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