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The Highs and Lows of 2009
by Denise DuVernay

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Don't let the adorable fool you-- she can bring it.

Don't let the adorable fool you-- she can bring it.
Welcome to my last column of 2009! There were many highs and lows. Of the high points: being contacted by A&E Home Entertainment to give one of my readers the Monty Python's Flying Circus 16 Ton Megaset. I almost thought it was a joke until the day UPS delivered the box to my door. The winner of the contest was Peggy from Minneapolis, with her winning poem "The Fish-Slapping Dance." The entry with the second-highest votes was Kevin from Los Angeles, for his parody of "The Penis Song." Thanks so much to everyone who entered and voted! I hope to have more opportunities to give free stuff away in 2010.

Personally, two big events affected me in 2009. One, I was laid off from my full-time job as a technical writer in June. One doesn't realize how much they'll miss their cubicle until it's gone. Or rather, the cubicle remains, relatively untouched, down to my message of "Peace Out!" on my whiteboard (as I've been told by former coworkers), but I'm gone. The second event from 2009 was a much happier one: my BFF and I finished our book for The Simpsons in the Classroom: Embiggening the Learning Experience with the Wisdom of Springfield. It will come out in spring or summer, and you better believe I'll be telling you about it here. If you'd like to hear about it regularly, please see our Facebook page.

But really, I should be talking movies, and theatrically, 2009 had some highlights to speak of. For example, JULIE & JULIA. I had read Julie Powell's memoir and loved it, and although I'd never read Julia Child's, I loved the way Nora Ephron tied the two stories together. Plus, she did the amazing by directing Stanley Tucci so as to make him appealing. And the fact is, Amy Adams could spit on a cupcake, and I'd think it was the most delicious frosting
Oswalt shows he can do drama, too

Oswalt shows he can do drama, too
ever. She can do adorable (ENCHANTED) and she can do drama (SUNSHINE CLEANING), and even though when I read Julie & Julia I didn't picture Julie at all like Amy Adams, after the first five minutes of the movie, I couldn't imagine her any differently. (Hmmm . . . I may sense the desire to add an installment to my occasional "Girl Crush" series).

But to shift gears a bit, I'm no different from most people: seeing UP in the theater was a highlight for me this year. One of my resolutions for 2010 is to watch or re-watch all Pixar films because they seem to all be really, really good. But UP really had it all—action, adventure, heart, brightly colored balloons. I imagine that film will be an old friend to millions of kids—a friend that they will revisit at different points in their lives and seeing new things in it, like my Jane Eyre.

Other highlights: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, an alternate history that I wish had been the real one, STAR TREK, even with all the lens flare, was delightful. It was a fun story, plus how cool was it to see the relationships in their infancy? AWAY WE GO showed that Maya Rudolph has incredible acting chops, I wrote entire columns on how perfect BIG FAN and GOOD HAIR were, so I won't sing their praises again, except to say: Put them on your queue!

My biggest disappointment of late was THE HANGOVER. After all the buildup (in retrospect, mostly, if not all, was from guys, so maybe I should have tempered the praise), the movie had no chance. Plus, since I saw the unrated version on DVD, perhaps I saw bits that were supposed to be on the cutting room floor. And is it really a hangover when you're drugged? Perhaps I'm reading too much into the title of the movie. Another disappointment for me was PAPER HEART. And because I expected nearly nothing from it, the fact that it managed to disappoint me is certainly
I just like that this pic came fromLong Hair Cair Forum

I just like that this pic came from"Long Hair Cair Forum"
saying something. But that whole fake budding relationship thing just pissed me off. And the "interviews" with ordinary people about love was done, and done way better, in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY.

I have found that it's good to set goals, especially to keep up one's self-esteem after a layoff. So for me, when I wasn't writing about The Simpsons, this year has been all about tackling Lost. I'm halfway through Season 5, impressively close to the goal of watching the final season with the rest of the world. If you are not caught up and aren't as lucky as I am to have many hours of DVD storage, Lost Season 5 is out on DVD, and you have over a month to catch up with it (or re-watch it in attempts to figure out what the Hello Kitty is going on)--Lost comes back February 2. In the meantime, check out Jorge Garcia's blog. I guess he'll have to rename the blog after he, Nunu, and girlfriend, writer Bethany Shady move back to the mainland.

Speaking of television that's better than other television, Glee "Road to the Sectionals" comes out December 29. Music, dancing, Jane Lynch. It's got it all. And seriously, the singing was so good at sectionals I had chills. But even if you're not into characters busting into song during your TV shows, Glee is very watchable, as a friend of mine recently put it.

Majorly cool: In honor of its 20th anniversary (officially celebrated this past week on the 17th), The Simpsons 20th Season drops on DVD, skipping past seven years' worth.

That's all I got, dear readers. Thanks for spending 2009 with me, and I look forward to seeing you in 2010! Peace out.

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Every other Sunday

Semi-wholesome Midwestern girl and certified Geek Magnet offers her suggestions - often new, sometimes classic - for DVDs that are definitely queue-worthy.

Other Columns
Other columns by Denise DuVernay:

Goodbye, Du

Du Chats Movies With Comics Author Lonnie Millsap

Du Reviews ALPOCALYPSE by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Another Piece Praising BRIDESMAIDS

Friendship Films and DVD Picks for May 17

All Columns

Denise DuVernay
9 out of 10 librarians think Denise is a hoot. The 10th one couldn't corroborate because she was dead.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Denise DuVernay by clicking here.

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