Now that I've had a few days to become acclimated to 2011 and ponder the year past, let us reflect on some highlights and lowlights of 2010:
Most Encouraging Development in Local Entertainment: Not much more than a year ago, what was once Movieplex 59 stood decrepit and vacant. Now, the theater has been renovated, with a 3D screen and new seating among the many improvements. The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is making improvements to its Cinema Series, recently receiving a grant from the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation's (NCCF) Fall Community Grants Program to fund the replacement of sound equipment contained in its 35mm movie projector.
Most Disappointing Development in Local Entertainment: The November closing of the White Inn bar. For several years, the lounge at the White Inn was hands-down my absolute favorite bar - it is quiet, free of amateurs and has a killer fireplace, among the local landmark's many charms. After changing hands several times throughout the year, the Inn was thankfully purchased and, under new management, is currently undergoing renovations. This will hopefully be a happy ending to this latest chapter in the drama-filled saga of the Inn. Of course, the never-ending drama is why I love it so.
Biggest Rising Star: Emma Stone. In 2010, we saw Carey Mulligan's career take off after her nomination for "An Education," leading to an invite to virtually every event with a red carpet in 2010 and landing the coveted role of Daisy in the latest remake of "The Great Gatsby." I predict the same thing will happen for Stone - she probably won't win the Golden Globe for her role in the surprisingly-great "Easy A," but the nomination alone will give her the kind of positive exposure she needs to ascend to the A-list. She's likeable, she's cute, seems to have more brain cells than your typical starlette and has the starring role in the new "Spiderman" - expect her to be everywhere in 2011.
Most Overrated Movie: "The Town" - Sorry, Ben Affleck, but the only reason critics were so psyched on your movie was out of sheer desperation during an end-of-summer movie dry-spell. If you find yourself browsing the shelves of recent releases and wondering, "Is 'The Town' really as awesome as everyone said it is?" let me give you a definitive "No." If I could do a better job on a heist than the criminals I'm watching, it's not a movie to write home about.
Biggest Cinematic Surprise: Not only did "The Social Network" fail to completely suck but was actually one of the most entertaining movies of the year AND is getting award nominations left and right. Surely, I was not alone in my initial assumption that a movie about Facebook would be worthless garbage. I do have one gripe about the onslaught of praise following the release of "The Social Network" - the campaign for Justin Timberlake (probably led by Justin Timberlake) to get an Oscar nod for his role as Napster founder and extreme narcissist Sean Parker. If anyone was a weak link, it was Timberlake; Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg is the one who deserves the most credit.
Most Enjoyable Animated Movie: "How to Train Your Dragon" - Sure, "Toy Story 3" is great and all, but "How to Train Your Dragon" did not get enough play. I dare you not to feel all warm and fuzzy after watching it, and perhaps consider domesticating a dragon of your own.
Most Visually Offensive Trend: It's a tie between onesies (or jumpsuits, call them what you will, they are all awful) and leggings and "jeggings" as pants. It can take many months or even years for trends to trickle down to good old Western New York and sadly, ladies were wearing leggings/"jeggings" as pants all over the local malls while doing their Christmas shopping. On an episode of "Conan," Conan O'Brien wore jeggings, to the collective dismay and delight of his guests the Kardashian sisters. If you haven't already seen it, look it up and use it as a test: if Conan O'Brien wore it better (and he probably did), you should not wear it. This brings me to my last superlative...
Most Triumphant in 2010: After being replaced as host on "The Tonight Show," most of us would probably skulk away shamefully. Not Conan - and his refusal to take his dismissal lying down made for some of the most entertaining moments on television in recent memory, winning him countless new fans and an opportunity to do it his way on "TBS." Shine on, you crazy ginger diamond.
It's time for a new season of "Jersey Shore," with the gang returning to Seaside Heights for a third season of GTLing, hair-pulling and fist-pumping. Angelina, a wet blanket personified, will not be missed this season. Instead, we have new castmate Deena Nicole Cortese who might give Snooki a run for her money. I saw these two headlines featured next to each other on the Huffington Post's Entertainment page: "New 'Jersey Shore' Star Deena Nicole: 'I've Hooked Up With Three Guys In One Night'" and "Snooki: I Wake Up In A Garbage Can Once A Month." That says it all. "Jersey Shore" is on at 10 p.m. tonight on MTV.
Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Oliver make an unlikely duo in "The Prince and the Showgirl," (1957) on Turner Classic Movies at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. The upcoming film "My Week With Marilyn" is based on the tumultuous production of "The Prince and the Showgirl," and stars Michelle Williams as Monroe. Emma Watson co-stars in her first role after "Harry Potter."
Season four of "Californication" premieres on Showtime at 9 p.m. on Sunday. David Duchovny is delightful on this show as a womanizing ne'er-do-well who occasionally, between partying and disappointing his longtime sweetheart and their daughter, manages to write books. Two new Showtime shows have series premieres on Sunday: "Episodes," starring Matt LeBlanc ("Friends"), at 9:30 p.m. and "Shameless," starring William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum, at 10 p.m.
In NBC's new show "The Cape," a cop (David Lyons) is framed for crimes he didn't commit and vows to make a vigilante comeback by adopting a superhero-ego. As a villainous billionaire, the show features James Frain, who "True Blood" fans will remember as Franklin, a very sick and twisted vampire who tortured Tara last season. "The Cape" will have a two-hour premiere on Sunday at 9 p.m.
For the brave, aquatic and possibly crazy, the annual Polar Bear Swim will be held at the Firemen's Club in Silver Creek on Sunday at 1 p.m. Your dip into icy-cold Lake Erie will be for a good cause and afterward, there will be live entertainment, fantasy Black Jack, a chili cook-off, a Chinese auction, raffles and refreshments. Call 934-4442 to learn more.
41 West will have live music this weekend, with Last Call from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Hot Daddy Rocks from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday. Sign up at the bar for couples bowling on Jan. 22.
The Fredonia Opera House has a weekend full of cinematic entertainment, with "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" Friday at 8 p.m. and "Hereafter" on Saturday at 8 p.m. If you can't make it, "Hereafter" will be shown again on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments and local happenings to firstname.lastname@example.org