Let’s Look Back! The Year in Review

Bryan Cranston.

Among the “most fascinating people of 2011,” according to respected journalist Barbara Walter’s annual list, were the Kardashians, Pippa Middleton, Donald Trump, Derek Jeter, Herman Cain, and Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Really? Now I know that President Obama revealed that he, Michelle, and their daughters enjoy watching ABC’s Modern Family, but that doesn’t make everyone on the show “fascinating.” To Walter’s credit, she picked Steve Jobs as her top choice, but mostly everyone else on the list is just tabloid fodder.

When Yahoo! did a survey I think they came up with more interesting choices. George Clooney, Johnny Depp, and Ryan Gosling came out on top as the New Year’s Eve dream dates for most of the women. Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry were the top choices for the guys. The survey also asked about celebrities they would avoid: not surprising Charlie Sheen and Snooki were the un-favorites. Not to be outdone with surveys, TiVo ranked the top TV moments and the Steelers incomplete pass at Super Bowl XLV took first place, followed by the eulogy of Charlie Sheen’s character in the fall premiere of Two and a Half Men.

Dianna Agron.

I like that the SAG Awards nominations list the members in the ensemble categories, because it recognizes that performances are a collaborative effort. In the TV drama ensemble category, SAG gave nods to Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Game of Thrones, and The Good Wife; TV comedy ensemble, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, The Office, Modern Family, and Glee; and for outstanding film casts, The Artist, Bridesmaids, The Descendants, Midnight in Paris, and The Help were worthy of the spotlight.

KCET gave their own nod to Gary Oldman and recently presented him with the Lumiere Award at a special screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a thrilling film getting well-deserved attention this awards season.

It seems everyone is coming out with lists this time of year — so why not us? I did a quick survey of the staff at The Tolucan Times to get a sense of what movies, TV shows, and celebrities our folks find fascinating. Since Greg Smith had just seen Young Adult, that was his choice for favorite recent movie. Naturally, the hot star Charlize Theron was his pick for the celebrity he would most want to hang out with on New Year’s Eve. And Greg says Glee’s stunning blonde Dianna Agron is the sexiest star on TV. Serg Escobar had some wild picks with Immortals as his favorite movie, plus Dexter and Breaking Bad as his top TV shows. Bryan Cranston he says is the best actor on TV.

The top TV dramas for Frank Barron are Fringe, NCIS: LA, and The Closer with Kyra Sedgwick. The former Malcolm in the Middle dad and three-time Emmy-winner for Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston is also an outstanding choice according to Frank. He says Cranston’s body of work (he had five major movies release this year) is the most impressive in Hollywood. “And he’s a super nice guy, who will have an even bigger 2012, with the films Rock of Ages, Total Recall, and Red Tails among his upcoming projects,” Frank reports. Of course I agree with my husband Frank, especially with praise for Bryan. As for my top ten list for the new TV shows debuting this fall on the broadcast networks (in no particular order): Grimm, Last Man Standing, Hart of Dixie, Revenge, New Girl, 2 Broke Girls, Suburgatory, Pan Am, Once Upon a Time, and Terra Nova. Please notice that they are all scripted series, not to be confused with the “scripted” reality programs that have become tantamount to train wrecks for networks in search of ratings without substance. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

The ladies in the office say they still swoon over George Clooney, whether in The Descendants or The Ides of March, the heartthrob’s two big movies this year. “He’s the closest thing we have to Cary Grant,” says Alicia Apaghian. She also has a crush on Alec Baldwin, and picked his NBC show 30 Rock as the top TV comedy. Lynn Matevosian’s favorite movie is The Help, favorite TV show is Glee, and hottest hunk is The Ides of March’s Ryan Gosling. Although Lynn mentioned it would be nice to ring in the New Year with Gosling, her first choice is always to celebrate with her mother.

Sarah Rustam certainly agrees with Clooney being the most fascinating movie star, but her favorite TV show is House, and The Tree of Life with Brad Pitt is her choice for best movie. The original Swedish-film Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is publisher Mardi Rustam’s choice for one of the most outstanding films he saw this year. Also outstanding was Meryl Streep’s performance in The Iron Lady. And he agrees with Sarah that George Clooney is great “and deserves an Oscar this year.”

Happy New Year to all!