It took a while to get going, but I knew I'd get there eventually... this blog started in 2005, and at the end of the year, I did The 100 Coolest Things of 2005, all in one single post. Right after 2006 ended, I broke up the list into ten installments, then the next year, did 2007's list, onto 2008's list, then 2009's list, and now here we are, the sixth time I've looked upon the previous year and gave you what I believe to be my favorite things of 2010.
What means "cool", asks you? Just simply, its cool. Its fun. Be it a song, a movie, a TV show... something I really liked. Maybe its a place to eat, one that I visited over and over during the year. And sometimes its a person or a couple or a group... someone who had an impact, someone that I just adore or cherish or love dearly. And its things that I discovered in 2010... thusly, as much as we love Steven and Calah Ray, they won't make this list, because they were in the Top Ten Coolest Things of 2009... and though they continue to be cool, they make way for new things, people and stuff. There is even a few books and movies that came out prior to 2010, but I discovered them (or in one case, "re"discovered them) and thusly, here they are.
Well, let's get going, shall we? Without further ado, here are the 100 Coolest Things of 2010
100... Alabama Wins the National Title
Okay, okay... yes I rib the Tide Nation, because yes, they've won multiple titles, and whether they can legitimately claim 13 national titles (which I think is a stretch) or they actually won their 7th or 8th title (more likely, methinks), the fact remains, that in this modern day and age, winning a national title in college football is a huge, huge thing.
And they did it by beating none other than the college powerhouse known as The University of Texas by a closer-than-the-score-indicates score of 37-21. Their star QB, Colt McCoy, went down early... but I think they would have prevailed anyway. Because the difference in a team like Texas, and Alabama, at least in the 2009 season, is that Texas has a star player--McCoy. Alabama had Ingram... and Jones... and McElroy... and a host of others that, even in the loss of one, would keep the team going. And lest we forget, the game was really, really good.
99... Queen Latifah Gets Her Man
I'll be honest... like The Lovely Steph Leann, I like the movies I like. That means simply, sometimes a stupid movie is something I find hilarious (see "Employee of the Month" or "Deuce Bigalo: Male Gigolo") and supposedly incredible films are snooze-inducing or terrible (see "The English Patient"... or better yet, don't). And sometimes a lame movie is where I find the most enjoyment.
And that brings us to "Just Wright", starring Queen Latifah and rapper Common. This was ridiculed in the press, its got a less than 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and let's face it, the movie was badly acted and poorly written. And yet, I found myself enjoying the heck out of it.
Here's part of what I wrote on June 10th, 2010:
Anyway, the final reason I liked this film is simply... its clean. Very, very little language (a few "damns" and I think one "bull****"), no violence at all, other than aggressive play on the basketball court, and as far as sexual situations, there's one single scene where you know Leslie and Scott did the deed, but its the next morning and they are lying in bed looking at each other, completely covered by sheets. I can deem this movie completely Emmy Turnbow Safe. Its a good first date movie.
By no means spend $20 on this film, unless you are in fact on a date. At best, catch a matinee, wait for the $1 theater, or get the DVD or watch it online this summer when it will probably come out. For now, The Lovely Steph Leann will be stocking up on Common CDs.
98... The Miz Claims the Title
Hey, I'm a wrasslin' fan, and I admit it. I ain't scurred.
What's also interesting is watching the evolution of The Miz in the WWE... he started more of a joke, and looking like it was possible he'd never be more than a jobber or a C-lister. But over the last year, in large part due to a huge push, but also due to his committment and ability, The Miz has hit the big time, and is one of the headliners now.
And this year, he won the WWE Championship by cashing in his Money in the Bank Briefcase, beating a worn down and exhausted Randy Orton, right after Randy Orton has successfully defended the title against Wade Barrett of The Nexus, and after he won, he yelled out of one of my favorite catchphrases...
"I'M THE MIZ.... AAANNNDDD IIIIII'M AWESOOOOOMMMEEEE!!!!""
Hey, I'm a wrasslin' fan, and I admit it. I ain't scurred.
97... Lotso Huggin' Bear Comes Home
The Lovely Steph Leann went out of town on business, which took her to the coast and ended up with her at a Disney Store. And she came back with a random surprise.
How awesome is this?
96... SMU Pays Their Players
To celebrate 30 years, ESPN has been showcasing what they call "30 for 30"... that would be 30 documentaries, each made by a different noted director, each with their own creative control, and each telling a sports story that sometimes is famous--and sometimes is not.
To me, the "30 for 30" has been amazing over the last year, be it the controversial games from The U of Miami in the 80s or the "where were you when" aura of OJ's White Bronco... but in my mind, the best was saved for last. "Pony Exce$$" tells the fabled story of Southern Methodist University Mustangs football which, back in the early 80s, was a national powerhouse, including posting a 45-5-1 record from 1980 to 84.
Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Craig James joined Charles Waggoner to form "The Pony Express", leading SMU to a share of the national title in 1981. All was not on the up-n-up, however, in Mustang land, as it was revealed in 1986 that for a few years previous, players were being paid from an under the table slush fund, allegations that were put on SMU after they were already on probation.
The NCAA had the power to use "the death penalty", which means barring a school from fielding a football team for a determined amount of time. They had never used it... until they used it on Southern Methodist. It devastated the school and the community, and SMU essentially never recovered. In fact, it took over 20 years for the school to reach a bowl game again--a win over Nevada in The Hawai'i Bowl--and it only had a single winning season in that span up until their bowl season.
Another fallout from the decision is the thought that the NCAA will likely never use "the death penalty" again on a school because of the catastrophic effects of the decision.
All of this can be learned in "Pony Exce$$", a fascinating documentary completely worth the two hours it takes to watch it. Look it up, DVR it, and enjoy the step back into college football history.
95... Big Al Makes An Appearance
So The Lovely Steph Leann and I are at The Magic Kingdom late last year, and are enjoying the Magic Hours, that is, late night in the park. We are walking past Liberty Square into Frontierland, and headed to Pirates over in Adventureland, so we take that little cut through to get back there, and also to use the restroom.
No, Roll Tiders, not that elephant from Tuscaloosa. Its actually none other than my favorite Country Bear from the Jamboree of the same name. And in all the trips I've ever been to Disney World, I've never, ever seen Big Al. And in all the trips The Lovely Steph Leann has been to Disney World, which is about a half-dozen more than me, she has never seen Big Al.
I race over and say, "Hey Big Al!" He turns around, waves and gives me a hug. I text The Lovely Steph Leann and say "GET OUT HERE". I try and stall, and ask the friendly Cast Member if she will take my picture with Big Al. Of course she agrees, so I get my picture taken. Finally, I spot The Lovely Steph Leann emerging from The Lovely Ladies Room, and she's looking around for me. I call out, "The Lovely Steph Leann! Over here!" She turns and sees me, does a "there you are" wave with her hands, and starts ambling over.
"Hurry!" I yell at her, and she looks confused... and then she sees Big Al. Her face brightens, she says, "Oh! It's Big Al!" She races over, and we both get our picture with Big Al. He waves, we smile, the camera snaps and Big Al is on his way.
And it left me with a memory that was one of the coolest things of the year.
94... Hurricane Rhett Falls in Love
I gotta be careful where I tread... "The Other Guys" is a funny movie. It's not in my Top Ten of the Year, nor is it the funniest movie I saw in 2010. Its not nearly the best movie I saw, nor is it a movie that I own. But according to Hurricane Rhett, it doesn't get much funnier than Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg teaming up as mismatched cops (I know, new concept, right?!) trying to catch some bad guys.
Really, the plot is not all that important... what is important is that this movie has a literally a murder's row of people I love to see in a movie... The Rock, who I have a man crush on... Samuel L. Jackson... Michael Keaton... Rob Riggle... and an incredibly priceless cameo by Derek Jeter.
This was also the film that helped me figure out what it is about Will Ferrell that everyone enjoys... he makes everyone better. He makes everyone funnier than he is. I think back to "Anchorman", and though Ron Burghandy is funny, Brick Tamblin, Champ Kind and Brian Fantana are funnier, feeding off of Ferrell. In "Old School", Frank the Tank is funny, but Bernard and the Frat guys are funnier. And taking "Talladega Nights", yes, Ricky Bobby is great. But Reese Bobby is better, Jean Girard is snarkier and Cal Naughton? Cal is priceless. Oh, and Assistant Susan is smokin' hot. Just sayin.
And in "The Other Guys", Det. Allan Gamble is funny. But feeding off of Ferrell, Det. Hoitz (Wahlberg) is funnier, as are Danson and Highsmith and Rob Riggle's Det. Martin is absolutely hysterical, as is Damon Wayans Jr's Det. Fosse...
What was my point again? Well, whatever. Anyway, The Lovely Steph Leann and I saw this movie with Hurrican Rhett and his wife Amarylis By Morning (up from san antone), and THAT is the best way to see a movie... with friends that like and laugh at the same kind of movie you do. We probably would have enjoyed it well enough, but perhaps not as much as we did with the Barnetts in tow.
So the 94th coolest thing of 2010 is not "The Other Guys", its watching "The Other Guys" with good friends.
93... Jamie Makes a Post
"Happy Harper Stories" is a blog that I check out about once a week or so, written by a young lady who goes to Valleydale
I've shared this on the blog already, and linked to her blog while I posted by own on a very similar subject, which you can read it--"Sex Love God and Gifts"--by clicking here and can also read the first paragraph of her post.
Just wanted to mention it again before it gets lost in her blog and in mine, like so many excellent posts do in blogs that are updated a few times a week.
92... Amy Adams (whom I'm in love with) Goes to Ireland
To clear up a misconception, just because a movie has Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, in it does not make it a good movie. Sometimes she can be in crap, just like anyone else. I watched a movie called "The Last Run" starring Fred Savage, aka Kevin Arnold, and though it said "Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with" as one of the main credits, she was only featured minimally. And, not that this has anything to do with her screen time or lack thereof, the movie was one of the worst films I've ever seen in my entire life. I mean, bad. Like, bad bad. Not so bad its good, but so bad its bad bad.
To be real honest, "Psycho Beach Party" and "Cruel Intentions 2" weren't much better, and perhaps it was "Junebug" that gave her the chance to make better movie choices... either way, like any Hollywood star, even amongst tons of success, there are those "paycheck movies" (see, Cage, Nicolas, post-Leaving Las Vegas), and the movie at #92, "Leap Year", is probably in that catagory for Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with.
"Leap Year" simply tells the story of Anna Brady, a socialite who is itching to be hitching to her boyfriend Jeremy... when he has a "surprise for her", and it turns out to be something like earrings and not a ring-ring, Anna is sad. When Jeremy goes to Ireland, Anna decides that she is going to find him, partaking of an old Irish tradition that states on a Leap Year day, February 29th, a woman may propose to a man.
But on her way to Dublin, she gets derailed in the Irish countryside by bad weather, she meets a guy she can't stand that agrees to take her to Dublin and... well, let's be honest, we aren't watching "Schindler's List" here, we all know where this is going... okay, to be fair, we knew where "Schindler's List" was going to, but thats not my point. My point is, this isn't a movie you over-analyze. I could tell you that Anna ends up dumping Jeremy for the Irish guy at the end, and I would not be spoiling this film for you, because you know this the moment the new guy takes the stage.
I must say, though, another star of this film besides Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, and Matthew Goode is probably none other than the Irish Countryside. The views are spectacular, the scenery is marvelous and the cameras always make sure you see a field blowing in the wind, or the cliffs with the water crashing against them, or so on and so forth.
Its a fun movie that you don't have to think about... you just let yourself have a good time with it, and if you are like me, just stare at Amy Adams when she's onscreen. Cause she's beautiful. And I'm in love with her.
91... RDJ Wears the Suit (again)
There have been been few turnarounds in Hollywood that have been as huge, as monumental and as successful at the career of Robert Downey Junior. He's gone from prison, drug use and a life spiraling into an overdose that was directing him onto a list with Heath Ledger or Brittany Murphy in the gone-too-soon department... into one amazing actor who is finally making some good choices. Okay, okay, "The Soloist" notwithstanding... there's "Sherlock Holmes", there's "Due Date", there's "Tropic Thunder"... and of course, there's Iron Man.
Iron Man 2. And I thought it was just splendid, if I do say so myself. Here's what I wrote about it in June after seeing it:
...I was thrilled. The opening sequence, the introduction to The Stark Expo, Whiplash [Mickey Rourke] shows up and lashing his whips, bad accent and hair and all, Sam Rockwell being awesome like he always is, Iron Man fighting, and don't think I didn't notice the similarities between Stark's dad's plans for a futuristic community and Disney's old Epcot plan... in fact, there's a song over the ending credits called "Tomorrow Today", and it was written by the famed Sherman Brothers, the same guys who wrote "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" for the Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World, amongest other great Disney classics.
Speaking of the ending credits, stay til the very end. Its worth it.
And there is our first ten...
Coming up... Bosses go undercover... Helen Mirren gets violent... and later, my night eating Lebenese...
Next: The 90th to 81st Coolest Things of 2010