Thursday, December 29, 2011

IN AND OUT 2011: Entertainment

In: Everything Old (ideas, that is)

Of the top 10 movies of 2011, eight were sequels and two were based on superheroes who were invented in 1962 and 1941, respectively. And the big family movie of the holiday season featured ancient Muppets (who, granted, never really went away, thank God). Apparently, original ideas are out.

But nostalgia is in! This may be because in a tough economy and with so much unrest in the world, we look back to the things that gave us comfort in our youth — you know, things like the first four “Fast and the Furious” movies. It’s the next best thing to curling up with a blowup doll shaped like Vin Diesel. Blowup dolls are in.

Even the new ideas are old, with TV shows like “Mad Men,” “Pan Am” and “Boardwalk Empire” taking us back to a simpler time, when men were men, and women were stewardesses, and a guy who looked like Steve Buscemi could attract flappers. And in music, top artists include Lady Gaga, who musicologists believe may have stepped out of a time-traveling Delorean straight from 1984, and Adele, who sounds like she just opened for Ella Fitzgerald in Berlin in 1960. (Ella Fitzgerald is still in.)

Musicians who are actually old are also in, judging from the excitement over pending tours by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and even the reunited Beach Boys, who will be performing the entire tour in white tank-top undershirts, too-short swim trunks and black socks with sandals. Sandals are in.

The most original idea of the year, meanwhile, comes in the form of “The Artist,” the Oscar-buzzy black-and-white silent movie set in the 1920s. We can only hope that means silent films are in, because that would greatly improve the next Adam Sandler movie. Adam Sandler is out.

Out: Everything Old (media, that is)

Ironically, even though no one’s had an original idea in years, we’re determined to consume all these old concepts on media that looks like it was beamed here from the planet Zarcon.
That means watching movies in movie theaters is out, watching TV on those boxy old sets that could trap you for days if one fell on top of you is out, and reading things on paper is especially out. If you’re reading this on paper right now, we can only hope it’s as you lay it down on the bottom of your cat box, you silly old coot.

Those seeking not to be out have gone in to their local electronics retailer and purchased an iPad, a Kindle and a 3-D hi-def TV with the relative thickness of a Saltine. DVDs are out, and so are CDs, so the in crowd is streaming its movies and music from “The Cloud,” which is likely to become the name of a Steven King novel you read on your Kindle within the next year. The Cloud is in. (It’s just Netflix that’s out.)

There is one exception to this trend, that being vinyl records, which are in among audiophiles, hipsters and stoners alike. Sometimes all three of those are the same person. You know who you are.

TOMORROW: Ins and Outs in Sports

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