Friday, December 31, 2010

Cool Black's 2010 Entertainment Review

by Dankwa Brooks AKA Cool Black

As you can tell by this blog, I love media. Not just films, but television and music too. You might call me a MEDIAPHILE. I also love to read and watch the many “Best of the Year” lists that get published and shown this time of the year.

This year I decided to form my own list. The people who know me know that even though I’m not a critic, I’m a critical thinker and I have a critical eye. You might say “That makes you a critic”. Perhaps…I just don’t like the term. I also think a “critic” is someone who criticizes, but is not an artist beyond that. I'm an artist! 

Having said that, here is what I thought was the best media had to offer and at the end the almighty return of the Cool Black Awards. (For the record I used to have “awards” for the column I wrote in college.)

Disclaimer: While I tried to consume as much media as I could in 2010, honestly I did, I couldn’t consume everything so when you say “what about BLANK?”, I probably haven’t seen it, haven’t heard it or just didn’t like it…but feel free to ask :D

NOW! Let's review shall we?

Toy Story 3 is the rare second sequel that is just as good as the previous installments. Excellent triad of films.

Freedom Riders An excellent documentary about a movement in the civil rights era. (Read more of what I had to say about the film here )

Shutter Island I didn’t want to see this movie. Even though the director, Martin Scorsese is one of my favorite filmmakers and Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the best actors around, the trailer looked too weird for me. A friend of mine got me to go see it and I really liked it. In fact I thought it was very good and the only thing that didn’t make me think it was excellent was that it was toooo loooong. If they cut about 40 minutes of material out of this it would be excellent.

The Town I’ve seen a ton of heist flicks, but this one seemed interesting. The resulting film was great. It managed to take a different…take on the heist genre.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is not only one of the most action packed animated films I’ve seen, but the story was great and it had all of the all-stars, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash etc. as well as some kick ass villains.

Honorable Mention, An official recognition of merit (i.e. really enjoyed them)
From left to right.

The Karate Kid Another remake? I went to see it to see how they would screw it up. I was wrong, the movie was terrific! (Read more of what I had to say about the film here )

Takers Another cool different take on the heist film.

Night Catches Us A very nice movie with understated performances. Nothing flashy, just solid.
(Read more of what I had to say about the film here )

For Colored Girls Some excellent performances in Tyler Perry’s best film to date. (Read my full review here here )

Predators Really good sequel to the franchise. Gives great homage to the original.

There is only one new show I liked in 2010 and I’m saving it for the awards at the end.

Best Singles of 2010
(in no particular order)

1. B.M.F. (Blowing Money Fast) Rick Ross

2. Lil Freak Usher feat. Nicki Minaj

3. Whip My Hair Willow Smith

4. Un-thinkable (I'm Ready) Alicia Keys

5. Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home) Usher

6. Over Drake

7. Power Kanye West feat Dwele

8. Love the Way You Lie Eminem feat. Rihanna

9. F**k You Cee Lo Green

10. All I Do Is Win (feat. T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross) DJ Khaled

Best Albums of 2010

'Thank Me Later '
Really good album that grew on me. (Read my review here )

'Raymond v. Raymond'

Usher’s last album ‘Here I Stand’ was cool, but it couldn’t compare to the smash ‘Confessions’. This album doesn’t compare to that album either...but it comes close.

Raheem DeVaughn
'The Love & War MasterPeace'

Really good album. Raheem DeVaughn would be a bigger star if he wasn’t a “soul singer” and made more “radio mainstream” songs, but his fans appreciate him for what he is...the truth.

Nicki Minaj
'Pink Friday'

The album is more pop than hip-hop, but I still liked it. (Read my full review here )

And now! The moment you've all been waiting for...


Kanye West
'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'

The best album of 2010 is a masterpiece.  Read my “sort of” review and further explanation of why it is a “masterpiece” here

Of all the singles I listened to and loved over the year, Un-thinkable (I'm Ready) by Alicia Keys still holds the most resonance. The song off of her 2009 album The Element of Freedom (one her BEST albums by the way) was already one of my favorites before it started getting radio play in the spring 2010. (Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready) was number one on the US Billboard R&B chart for twelve consecutive weeks.) The song had great lyrics, great melody and most of all great emotion and vulnerability.

Didn’t want to see this show because it reminded me too much of a show I really liked last year ‘FlashForward’ that got cancelled. It looked like the same ol’ serialized conspiracy crap. I tuned in because of the fantastic Blair Underwood and it looked interesting. The pilot to me was all over the place and Blair Underwood didn’t seem to have as big a role as I thought. I tuned in the next week…and the week after that…and the week after that and BOY did it suck me in. Blair Underwood’s involvement did get bigger and more integral and the conspiracy stuff was well executed. You really can’t sustain a show like this without an effective lead and Jason Ritter was it. He was the perfect reluctant hero. He wasn’t "Jack Bauer" here to save the day. He was a hero because he had to be. Fantastic job by Jason Ritter.

 The best movie of the year is a tie. These two movies I thought were excellent.

The Social Network I’m going to join the bandwagon and cite as one of the best movies of the year. A cerebral and excellent film all the way around, story, acting, and direction.

Inception was a trip, a mind trip. I thought the movie was kind of out there for the first act, but by the end I was completely into the movie and I thought it was excellent. Just as cerebral and excellent as ‘The Social Network’, but with more suspense and action.


Before you give me the

face, let me say he IS NOT the "Person of the Year", he is "Pop Culture Person of the Year", there IS a difference. Now, allow me to give you some background and then my explanation.

Kevin Antoine Dodson (born June 27, 1986) is a former resident of the Lincoln Park housing project in Huntsville, Alabama, whose interview on local television became an Internet sensation.

Dodson was interviewed on July 28, 2010, by NBC affiliate WAFF-48 News after the attempted rape of his sister by an intruder in her bedroom, in the projects of Lincoln Park.

The video of the interview caught attention because of the passionate and flamboyant style of his delivery, speaking directly to the camera, in which he directly addressed the people of his neighborhood as well as the would-be rapist, and his use of street vernacular. The reactions were mixed. Some local viewers phoned the TV station to complain that interviews with people such as Dodson reflected poorly on the community, whereupon the station defended broadcasting the interview by stating that censoring such people is "far worse".

The video of Dodson's television interview went viral and then inspired several musical remixes, including a video by musical group The Gregory Brothers, known as the "Bed Intruder Song".

The song was a huge success and eventually reached number 89 on Billboard's Hot 100 list. The popularity of the song inspired many covers and remixes, including a punk rock version by a team formed by Hayley Williams of Paramore, Jordan Pundik of New Found Glory, and Ethan Luck of Relient K.

Dodson was interviewed for the Today Show on NBC on 26 August 2010 about his new found "Web superstardom". On the program, Dodson's YouTube video was called "one of the most watched online videos ever," with the hosts noting it had already been viewed more than 16 million times as of that date. Dodson has done radio shows in Australia, has fans in London and is now widely recognized in his hometown of Huntsville.

Dodson launched a website in which he asks for donations to assist his family in moving "out of the hood". The money, as well as money from sales of "Bed Intruder" on iTunes and merchandise such as T-shirts, will go to helping his family buy a new home and setting up a foundation for juvenile diabetes, a disease that has afflicted both his sister and his mother. In August 2010, Dodson noted the irony of having "a hit on iTunes, but we're still in the projects"; one month later, Us Weekly reported that Dodson had made enough money from the song to move his family out of the projects to a better house. In September 2010, the Gregory Brothers reported that they had sold more than 100,000 copies of The Bed Intruder Song on iTunes.

In October 2010, Dodson even gave a live performance of "Bed Intruder Song" with Michael Gregory of The Gregory Brothers at the 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards.

-info from Wikipedia

Now MY reason for picking him the Pop Culture Person of the Year.

Technically, popular culture (commonly known as pop culture) is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream. Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society. In my opinion Mr. Dodson fits this description.

As of today December 31, 2010 the "Bed Intruder Song" you saw above has 58,886,933 hits. That's 58 MILLION hits.

I saw the initial news video on Facebook and just shook my head. I TOTALLY agreed with the people that thought “interviews with people such as Dodson reflected poorly on the community”. I thought this guy became an Internet sensation for ALL the wrong reasons.

When I saw the video remix with the Gregory Brothers I just had to laugh out loud. It made a ridiculous video even more ridiculous. As you read above that video and subsequent song made Mr. Dodson even more famous. This video even spawned merchandise and parody.

It even spawned an unofficial…then official Halloween costume.



YES Mr. Dodson became famous for all the wrong reasons, but he has entered pop culture and while this time next year he will be a distant memory, 2010 has been a year he will never forget.

Oprah Winfrey

Yes Oprah is always tops on the lists, but not this one. She IS as she ALWAYS has been, making "gangsta moves" with her own network launching 1.1.11 (or January 1, 2011) OWN-The Oprah Winfrey Network.
She is also ending the talk show that made her rich and famous after 25 years. Hopefully this time next year we can all applaud the success of her new venture.


How can Jay-Z top Oprah? I guess he holds the most resonance to me and I wrote the list.

Since the release of his album 2009 album The Blueprint III (You can read my review here ) Jay-Z has been on a media blitz, including a memorable performance of his hit “Empire State of Mind” with Alicia Keys during the World Series (featuring the New York Yankees), being interviewed by Oprah for her magazine O Magazine, as well as a “hometown tour” with Eminem in New York and Detroit in September 2010.

The man has just making public moves in these last 18 months capping off the year with a best selling book. (Read more about that here )

He is mostly “Person of the Year” because of these two articles

2010 Hip Hop Cash Kings

Jay-Z's Empire 2010

I mean who really ever thought Jay-Z would be a success outside of music? Music is still his bread and butter, but he has become an astute business man as well. He hasn’t started his own network yet, but the way he is rolling, that may never be out of the question.

That’s it for the year 2010. I will probably publish an addendum for movies and albums when I watch more movies released in 2010 and more albums released in 2010, but for right now, this is it. Thank you for taking this review with me.

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