‘Mad Men’ and military jackets all A&E favorites

By Staff Report

With 2010 winding down, the Arts & Entertainment section deliberated on some of our… With 2010 winding down, the Arts & Entertainment section deliberated on some of our favorites from the year. Here we bring you our favorite TV show, CD, movie, book and fashion trend.

Best TV Show: Tie between “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Men”

Needless to say, it’s been a good year for AMC: In 2010, the network slowly but surely supplanted HBO as the capital of quality television. Leading the charge was the stellar fourth season of “Mad Men,” in which Don Draper struggles to regain control of his fragmented personal life, and new series “The Walking Dead,” a “Lost”-like drama with relatable characters and FCC-trying gore. Although the former plumbs the dark depths of a “sophisticated” life, and the latter, the transparent horrors of a survivalist one, both shows occupy television’s upper echelon of quality. Other networks, watch and learn.

Best CD: Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Second-for-second, track-for-track, is there any album fresher or more exhilarating than Kanye West’s triumphant return to hip-hop, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? To borrow a popular tagline, there’s something for everyone: the gleefully demented “Monster” for hardcore hip-hop fans; the pulsing “Power” for arena-rock aficionados; “Dark Fantasy” and “All of the Lights” for the classically inclined. Despise, our dislike of or ability to merely tolerate his personality, Yeezy’s music is indisputably irresistible. Naturally, he realizes as much: “My presence is a present / Kiss my ass,” he commands in “Monster.”

Best Movie: “Inception”

Taking the “maybe it was all a dream” cliché to a completely different level, the Christopher Nolan film was one of the most innovative plot lines we’ve seen in a while. With beautiful cinematography — complemented by gorgeous actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt — the movie deftly explores the inner workings of the mind. With a deceptively simple start that layers on complexity until the viewer is caught up in the labyrinth of the dream world, the film kept us thinking without being overly confusing. For its creativity and unnerving story line, “Inception” stuck in our minds as the best movie of 2010.

Best Book: “How Did You Get This Number” by Sloane Crosley

Sloane Crosley’s second book “How Did You Get This Number” is every ounce as witty and entertaining as her debut “I Was Told There’d Be Cake” and twice as gorgeously written. We could love her for her titles alone, but the memoirist’s essays of the everywoman Manhattan resident are brilliant. Some pieces are pure observational wit; others manage to be heartbreaking yet hilarious all at once. Think David Sedaris, but as a thirty-something woman with spatial awareness challenges instead of OCD. Crosley’s adventures run the gamut from roommate drama to amateur Portuguese clown troupes and Alaskan weddings to being banned from the entire city of Paris. We highly recommend curling up with this book during winter break.

Best Fashion Trend: Military meets Girly

This year there were a bevy of super-cute looks that were en vogue, but our favorite was the structured-meets-feminine look of military jackets cut for women — particularly when paired with a flirty lace top. The look gives that commanding presence without the bulky and overly-masculine shoulder pad trend of the ’80s. And with the addition of a frilly dress or top, it makes a perfect addition to any wardrobe, making the wearer look fashionable for work or play.