Trojan Tub Entertainment

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of Arts & Entertainment 2011

My personal best, that is. I claim no comprehensive knowledge of all that went on in the world of the arts and entertainment in 2011 (I didn’t even make it to London or New York!). I fact, my list doesn’t have to do exclusively with works that appeared in 2011. This is simply my own list of works of art that I especially enjoyed this past year.

Regular readers of High Concepts will find many items on the list familiar, as I tend to blog on things I really enjoy. But there’s one or two items I haven’t mentioned yet.

So here goes: my personal favorites for 2011! Let me know some of yours when you're done reading...

Most Enjoyable Day in the Presence of Awesome Beauty

Every day with my wife…and our family’s tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica last January

Most Interesting Archaeological Phenomenon

The Church of San Clemente in Rome, with its layers of churches underground, including, at the very bottom, a pagan shrine to Mithras. That’s Christianity 1, Mithraism 0.

Most Compelling Reads

Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset…if you haven’t read Trollope’s Barchester series, pour yourself a glass of port, throw another log on the fire, and get comfortable.

Graham Greene, Brighton Rock…a chilling portrait of a damned soul wrestling with God and with himself.

Flannery O’Connor, “The Enduring Chill” (short story)…another story of a damned soul wrestling with God and with himself, only funnier.

Evelyn Waugh, “Love in the Slump” (short story), among other stories in Charles Ryder’s Schooldays and Other Stories, damned souls going out of their way not to wrestle with much of anything at all, even funnier

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (audio book read by Frank Muller)… listened to while driving through Pennsylvania on a brilliant October day

David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture…I am not a libertarian, but I found much to be sympathetic with in Mamet’s cranky critique of liberalism

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs…reading now, will blog on it soon

Favorite Movies

True Grit (Cohen Brothers version)
No Country For Old Men
Of Gods and Men

Movies, Honorable Mention:

The Dark Knight (a superhero movie explicitly taking up the specter of nihilism)
The Dish (extremely funny Australians)
The Efficiency Expert (a sleeper Anthony Hopkins film from 1992...even more extremely funny Australians)
Tree of Life
I enjoyed Harry Potter 7, Part 1 much more than Part 2

Favorite Documentary

Father Robert Barron’s Catholicism (the excerpts I’ve seen have sold me!)

New Favorite Comedian

Brian Regan

Favorite Television Shows

Foyle’s War
Lark Rise to Candleford

Favorite Live Theater

The productions of Henry V and The Tempest put on by the company of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia.

Most Sublime Athletic Performance

Barcelona's dismantling of Manchester United in last May's Champions' League Final at Wembley. 

Favorite “Football” Team

Tottenham Hotspur

Favorite Music

Any number of “early music” (Renaissance) songs I downloaded from iTunes

John Rutter’s Cambridge Singers’ Christmas Album is a winner

Happy New Year 2012!

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