So, 2009, that sure was a year, all right. Anyway, even though most things released in 2009 that I'll encounter in some later year (just as most things I encountered in 2009 were released earlier), it's a convenient arbitrary dividing point. Comics related stuff later this week, let's see what we have on everything else I meant to talk about.
Movies, I only saw three new movies during the year. I think that's a new low. The movie-going experience just isn't worth it. CORALINE I talked about briefly before, in the context of how it compared to the original novel and the comic book adaptation. It fared poorly in the comparison, though I guess on its own I'd have to say it's an okay kids movie.
And I saw STAR TREK. Yeah, I know. Didn't pay for it, if that helps... Anyway, I'm not a huge Trek fan at the best of times (I did watch the original series as a kid, and liked it, but the last few times I tried found I couldn't sit through an episode. I liked a few of the original cast movies, and the middle seasons of Next Generation, everything else I only watched sporadically and at most just mildly entertained me). This movie didn't really have the spirit of those aspects of Trek that I liked. I'm not sure how i feel about the gimmick of how it tied in to the original series, and might have preferred they just did a clean start rather than that (though losing Nimoy would lose some of the better bits). On the other hand, unlike CORALINE, which I think I'd have liked a bit more if it wasn't based on something I was familiar with and had some fondness for, I think I'd have liked TREK a bit less if it had been a wholly original movie, as a number of the enjoyable moments are the odd bits where they echo the original, and Nimoy as Spock is always fun.
Which, oddly, makes the best new movie I saw in 2009 Sam Raimi's DRAG ME TO HELL. Wow, did not see that coming. Before Mr. Raimi starts working on his acceptance speech, let me remind you of how limited the sample set for this voter was. Overall I think the movie was just on the wrong side of good, with some mostly mediocre acting and a twist that pretty predictable, though exactly how it played out was a nice change from the normal. But it had a sense of fun, and was a nice throwback, however inferior, to Raimi's earlier movies.
Next, how about music. That'll be quick. Man, am I out of the loop when it comes to new music. All I got in this category are the two albums that Bob Dylan released in the year. CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART is a collection of Christmas standards. Yes, really. Nothing great, and a few of the songs are really way too sentimental for Dylan, but mostly listenable, and his versions of "The Christmas Song" and "Hark, Harold Angel Sings" are actually pretty good. His original album of the year was TOGETHER THROUGH LIFE, with most of the songs co-written with the Grateful Dead's Robert Hunter. I haven't really listened to it that much, but so far nothing really seems like something I'd include in a Dylan all-time best compilation, but "Forgetful Heart" and "Life is Hard" are pretty good.
Let's see, television. My favourite regular show right now is COMMUNITY. It's a pretty fresh sitcom with some decent characters and funny writing. I do find myself hoping that it doesn't really become a hit, and just gets two or three struggling years before cancellation. Not that I don't like it, but I look at what's become of shows like THE OFFICE, 30 ROCK, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and SCRUBS in their most recent years (I get around to watching them when I'm bored as new episodes show up on my DVR, but not with any sense of urgency or multiple times as I would have with better episodes of earlier seasons), and I wonder if it's even possible for a sitcom to maintain any level of quality for more than three or four years. I kind of shudder to think what ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT would be like if it was still running (I just rewatched the whole series over the last month, man that was good).
In non-sitcom viewing, I didn't really like anything I tried this year. I'm looking forward to CHUCK returning eventually, it ended on a pretty good run last season.
Other than that, I still get my news from Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, and the comedy take on the same from Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.