Thursday, December 31, 2009


The first and most critical function of a movie poster is, of course, to sell the movie. But selling the movie and subtly giving audiences clues as to what happens in it are two different things. A poster designer could, for example, make use of a blood-red background and have the stars' names over the word "in" over the name of the film, with all the traditional details in their traditional spot at the bottom. But unless a total lack of ideas were the game, why would you do that? It's better to dream up an image -- or a montage -- connecting audiences to the action of the film. It turns out that 2009 was an above-average year for movie posters; choosing the top 10 seems like a crime. Still, here are 10 thought to be the best of 2009 -- among the best, anyway. Let us know your picks in the comments section below.
Simple works! If you didn't know Meryl Streep was playing culinary icon Julia Child and didn't know Amy Adams was playing gastronomic blogger Julie Powell, you'd at least sense a seriously fun foodie thing going on. And you gotta love the dainty items out of focus behind Streep and Adams' adorably wicked finger tasting.
Precious' Job-like journey is encapsulated two ways here. The smudgy off-grey glow underscores the idea that her story is very little in the way of black or white. Second, the lack of details of the character's face -- or that of lead actress Gabourey Sidibe -- tells the viewer this is a Everywoman's story, yet a specific one.
This year's winner of the Sledgehammer Award goes to this poster, which gets to the meat of the matter, so to speak. Still, it's a smart image for the film, which pretty much bitch-slaps the hyper-industrialized system of American food production. Not to understand that from the image seems, well, udderly impossible.
Truth be told, even without the hint-hint-hint tag line at the bottom, the image of faceless souls shlepping through an airport gives this poster a sucker-punch of sense, plus a touch of ironic humor. It's pretty clever when you realize how the airplane is so much larger than the pathetic man -- presumably star George Clooney -- staring at it.
The composite-image poster for Quentin Tarantino's World War II riff, featuring Brad Pitt smack in the center, may be more familiar to audiences, but this high-concept piece completely nails it. How do you convey the film's fantastic elements with Tarantino's tribute to the spaghetti western? The surnames inscribed on the bat is one way, that's for sure.
Fear, beauty and sex; sensuousness at a distance; the complexities of love -- these are all themes Pedro Almodovar toys with again and again. This time, in the poster for 'Broken Embraces,' Almodovar's follow-up to 2006's 'Volver,' the sizzle of Penelope Cruz's lips and windblown hair make her character seem as irresistible as the actress herself.
4. UP
The poster for 'Up' is supremely wise not to communicate when or where the characters land. In fact, the whole point of the movie, one of the most emotionally arresting animation features in years, is that it's the ride up, up, up that matters, not just what happens at Paradise Falls.
Writer-director Diablo Cody may be keepin' on keepin' on in the name of girl power, but let's be totally blunt: this was Megan Fox's year, and this 'Jennifer's Body' teaser was a surefire way to pump up moviegoers' testosterone. The post-opening poster, picturing Fox looking like the devilish innocent she plays, was steamy -- but not nearly as mouth-droppingly good.
Like Steven Soderbergh's film itself, the poster for 'The Girlfriend Experience' is an obscured mystery. Yet while the dynamic between adult-film star Sasha Grey's character and the comic-booky pop-art of Roy Lichtenstein isn't too clear, the densely plotted, color-changing dots do dare you to peek behind them. This poster wins 2009's Stand Up and Take Notice honor.
All right, all right -- so this image for 'An Education' isn't high-concept and it doesn't revolutionize the movie-poster genre. But look at how tiny details echo Lone Scherfig's directing and Nick Hornby's screenplay. A young girl in love with a dashing older gent. However much they're one, they'll always see the world very, very differently. Together, yet apart. Or are they?


Want to relive some of the highlights of the movies released this year without rewatching them all? Kees van Dijkhuizen recently posted a montage of clips from films that hit theaters in 2009 and it’s bound to give you chills. The pacing is impeccable, the soundtrack riveting and the clip selection striking, especially considering the massive amount of material that must have been sorted through. Of course not every film of 2009 gets its time to shine in the seven-minute montage, but a massive amount is featured, including some of the greats and no-so-greats of the year. There are blockbusters like Star Trek, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Inglourious Basterds and even some lesser celebrated films like Phoebe in Wonderland, The Burning Plain, Sunshine Cleaning and Whip It.


1.Take a 10-30 minute walk every day, and while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate antidepressant. 2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. I like to take this 10 minutes (sadly sometime just 5) to think of everything that is going RIGHT and not wrong and to give thanks for what I do many people have it worse. 3. Buy a DVR and record your late night shows and get more sleep. 4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, “My purpose is to _______ today.” 5. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy. 6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2008. 7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives. 8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of six. There is so much wisdom to learn from people in their 60's, 70's, 80's --take some time to take it all in. As far as kids go...try to remember what it was like to find everything so exciting and so new. We can learn a lot from kids! 9. Dream more while you are awake. 10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants. Eat less food that is manufactured in plants! 11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. 12. Try to make at least 3 people smile each day. 13. Clean clutter from your house, your car, your desk, and let new and flowing energy into your life. 14. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, or issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment. 15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime. 16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card. 17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away. 18. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good. 19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. 20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. 21. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. 22. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present. 23. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you. 25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?” 26. Forgive everyone for everything. 27. What other people think of you is none of your business. 28. Ask, Believe, Receive. 29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 30. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch. 31. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful. 32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. 33. The best is yet to come. 34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up. 35. Do the right thing! 36. Call your family often.. (Or email them to death!) 37. Each night before you go to bed, complete the following statements: “I am thankful for _________________. Today I accomplished _______________. 38. Remember you are too blessed to be stressed. 39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride. 40. May your troubles be less, May your blessings be more, May nothing but happiness come through your door! It just doesn't happen though on it's own YOU NEED to stop thinking negative thoughts and focus on wishing good things in your lives and everyone around you!


Donald O’Connor was an American dancer, singer, and actor who came to fame in a series of movies in which he co-starred alternately with Gloria Jean, Peggy Ryan, and Francis the Talking Mule. Perhaps his most famous performance was as Gene Kelly's friend and colleague in Singin’ in the Rain (1952). In 1942 O'Connor joined Universal Pictures' troupe of talented teenagers. He received gradually larger roles in four of the studio's Gloria Jean musicals, and achieved stardom at 17 with Mister Big (1943), co-starring Gloria Jean and comic dancer Peggy Ryan. O'Connor and Ryan's energetic routines invited comparisons with M-G-M's pairing of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. In 1949, he was given the leading role in Francis, the whimsical story of a sad-sack soldier befriended by a talking mule. The film was a huge success, and a mixed blessing for O'Connor: the momentum of his musical career was constantly interrupted because the studio insisted on his making one "Francis" picture a year until 1955. However, his role as Cosmo the piano player in Singin' in the Rain would earn him the Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical.


BIRTHDAYS - 1972 - Joe McIntyre - an American singer-songwriter and actor. He is best known as the youngest member of the group, New Kids on the Block. 1959 - Val Kilmer - actor: The Island of Dr. Moreau, Heat, Batman Forever, Tombstone, The Doors, Gore Vidal’s Billy the Kid, Top Gun, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Top Secret! 1953 - James Remar - actor: The Quest, The Phantom, The Surgeon, Renaissance Man, Miracle on 34th Street [1994], Confessions of a Hit Man, Fatal Instinct, Drugstore Cowboy, Rent-A-Cop, The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Cotton Club, 48 Hrs., The Warriors 1951 - Barbara Carrera - actress: Dallas, Centennial, Sawbones, Point of Impact, Loverboy, Never Say Never Again, Lone Wolf McQuade, Masada, Condorman, Island of Dr. Moreau, Embryo; model 1948 - Donna Summer - Grammy Award-winning singer: Last Dance [1978], Hot Stuff [1979], He’s a Rebel [1983], Forgive Me [1984]; Love to Love You Baby, I Feel Love, Bad Girls, She Works Hard for the Money, On the Radio; No More Tears (Enough is Enough) [w/Barbra Streisand] 1943 - Ben Kingsley - Academy Award-winning actor: Gandhi [1982]; Schindler’s List, Sneakers, Joseph, Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Moses, Rules of Engagement 1943 - John Denver - songwriter: Leavin’ on a Jet Plane; singer: Take Me Home Country Roads, Sunshine on my Shoulders, Annie’s Song, Rocky Mountain High, Fly Away, Calypso, Thank God I’m a Country Boy; actor: Oh, God! series; killed Oct 12, 1997 [age 53] in crash of his home-built high-performance aircraft he was piloting over Monterey Bay, California 1941 - Sarah Miles - actress: Ryan’s Daughter, Dynasty, Queenie, Hope and Glory, Blow-Up, The Servant 1940 - Actor & Disney Legend Tim Considine - Spin Evans of Disney's Spin and Marty TV serial - is born in Los Angeles, California 1937 - Sir Anthony Hopkins - Academy Award-winning actor: Silence of the Lambs [1991]; Emmy for Best Actor: The Bunker [1981] and The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case [1976]; Howards End, The Remains of the Day, Amistad, The Mask of Zorro, Meet Joe Black, Mission: Impossible II, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Hannibal 1930 - Odetta (Holmes Felious Gordon) - blues/folk singer, musician, songwriter: Music, Give Me Your Hand, Got to Be Me; actress: The Medium, The Crucible, Sanctuary OTHER EVENTS - 2004 – The Who’s Roger Daltrey is made a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music and charity work. 2004 - Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper in the world, standing at a height of 1,670 feet (509 metres), officially opens. 2003 - announced that Beyonce's number 1 hit 'Crazy In Love' was the best selling mobile ringtone of the year. 'Fly On The Wings Of Love' by XTM was the second biggest ringtone and R. Kelly's 'Ignition' was third. 2001 - UK record chain HMV listed the best selling music products over Christmas: 'No Angel' by Dido was the best selling album, Kylie Minogue sold the most calendars, Kurt Cobain: 'Heavier Than Heaven' was the best selling book and D-12 T-Shirt was listed as the No.1 seller. 1999 – The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties. 1998 - Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and LeVar Burton star in Star Trek : Insurrection which starts screening in Australia. When the crew of the Enterprise learn of a Federation plot against the inhabitants of a unique planet, Capt. Picard begins an open rebellion. 1997 - In an attempt to nudge its Microsoft Network into a more competetive position (vs. America Online), Microsoft announced the purchase of Hotmail, the free Web-based e-mail service. 1996 - In the traditional New Year's Eve knighthood announcements of England's ruler Queen Elizabeth II, Paul McCartney is granted knighthood. Tom Jones was knighted in 2005, while Roger Daltrey (2004), and Eric Clapton and Ray Davies (2003) both received lesser "Commander" titles. 1995 – Barbra Streisand’s video of “Barbra – The Concert” is ranked the year’s top-selling music video by Chart Toppers. 1995 - Bill Watterson's comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes" ends syndication which started on November 18, 1985. 1993 - Barbra Streisand performed her first paid concert in 22 years at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, NV. 1992 – Czechoslovakia is dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. 1987 – Fatal Attraction starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close starts screening in Australia. A married man's one night stand comes back to haunt him when that lover begins to stalk him and his family. 1987 – Can’t Buy Me Love starring Patrick Dempsey and Amanda Peterson commences starring in Australia. Ronald Miller is tired of being a nerd, and makes a deal with one of the most popular girls in school to help him break into the "cool" clic. 1985 - Rock singer Rick Nelson, 45, and six other people were killed when fire broke out aboard a DC-3 that was taking the group to a New Year's Eve performance in Dallas. 1978 – San Francisco’s Winterland Theater closes its doors after a farewell performance by the Grateful Dead and the Blues Brothers. 1975 - Casablanca Records' single release party for Donna Summer's debut single, "Love To Love You Baby" features a life-size cake in the shape of the singer, flown in all the way from Los Angeles to New York. (It's Summer's 23rd birthday.) 1974 - Harry Chapin has a gold Number One hit with a song which hits close to home, "Cat's in the Cradle." The lyrics come from a poem composed by his wife, Sandy, all about a neglectful father who's away far too much and busy far too often to watch his kid grow-up 1974 - U.S. ban on private possession of gold lifted: The 41-year-old ban had allowed only industrial and numismatic purchases. 1970 - Smoking: The last day for cigarette commercials on U.S. TV. 1969 – BBC television broadcast the program Man of the Decade, who is … John Lennon! Rolling Stone names Lennon its man of the year, while Lennon himself admits to the New Musical Express that he’s considering leaving the Beatles. 1968 - Billboard magazine reports that this year, for the first time, US total music sales have topped one billion dollars. 1966 - The Monkees started a 7-week run at No.1 on the US singles charts with the Neil Diamond song 'I'm A Believer'. Also No.1 in the UK in 1967. 1964 - Donald Campbell has broken the world water speed record, becoming the first man to break the world land and water speed records in the same year. He reached an average speed of 276.33mph (444.71km/h) in his speedboat, Bluebird, this afternoon on Lake Dumbleyung in Perth, Western Australia. 1962 - Universal's feature 40 Pounds of Trouble, starring Tony Curtis and Suzanne Pleshette, is released. It is the first non-Disney motion picture to use Disneyland as a location! 1961 - The Beach Boys, formerly known as the Pendletons, make their onstage debut under their new name at a Ritchie Valens Memorial Concert in Long Beach, CA. They are paid $300 for the gig. 1960 - The risque (and soon to be hit) beach vacation movie, Where The Boys Are, premieres in New York City, starring Connie Francis. 1955 - General Motors became the first U.S. corporation to earn more than one billion dollars in a single year. The company’s annual report to stockholders listed a net income of $1,189,477,082 in revenues. 1955 - "Unchained Melody" is named the Number One top tune of 1955 based on Billboard's Honor Roll of Hits, a chart that takes into consideration dealer sales, disc jockey favorites and jukebox plays. 1946 - President Truman in a surprise proclamation terminated formally the period of hostilities in World War II as of noon today. 1937 - Walt Disney announces to the Disney family that Pinocchio would be the studio's second animated feature film 1929 - The Silly Symphony film The Skeleton Dance is shown as a sneak preview at Hollywood's Carthay Circle Theater. 1923 - In London, the BBC first broadcast the chimes of Big Ben.
Big Ben is the bell at the centre of this clip.
1923 - Singer Eddie Cantor opened in the lead role of Kid Boots. Broadway critics called the production, “A smash musical hit!” Eddie made several of the songs from that show into smash hits also, like, Alabamy Bound and If You Knew Susie. Three years later, If You Knew Susie became the title song for a movie starring Cantor. 1891 - New York's new Immigration Depot was opened at Ellis Island, to provide improved facilities for the massive numbers of arrivals. 1781 - The first modern bank in the U.S., the Bank of North America, was organized by Robert Morris and received its charter from the Confederation Congress. It began operating in Philadelphia. 1600 - Queen Elizabeth I of England granted a formal charter to the London merchants trading to the East Indies, hoping to break the Dutch monopoly of the spice trade.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year's eve, "Auld Lang Syne" is an old Scottish song that was first published by the poet Robert Burns in the 1796 edition of the book, Scots Musical Museum. Burns transcribed it (and made some refinements to the lyrics) after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area of Scotland, Burns's homeland. It is often remarked that "Auld Lang Syne" is one of the most popular songs that nobody knows the lyrics to. "Auld Lang Syne" literally translates as "old long since" and means "times gone by." The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness, "For auld lang syne, we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet." Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne, We'll take a cup o' kindness yet For auld lang syne We twa hae run aboot the braes And pou'd the gowans fine; we've wander'd mony a weary foot Sin' auld lang syne We two hae paidled i' the burn, Frae mornin' sun till dine; But seas between us braid hae roar'd Sin' auld lang syne And here's a hand, my trusty friend, And gie's a hand o' thine; We'll take a cup o' kindness yet For auld lang syne Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne, We'll take a cup o' kindness yet For auld lang syne


Johnny Depp
When the decade began, Johnny Depp was Hollywood's very own Saint Jude, patron saint of cinematic lost causes. For every middling hit on his oddball resume, there was a misfire. Then something happened. It's easy to look at 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and conclude that Depp had finally sold his soul. But anyone who's seen his lunatic turn as Capt. Jack Sparrow knows better. It's one of those without-a-net performances, so singular and subversive that it's hard to believe he got away with it. Depp received his first-ever Oscar nomination for Pirates. And just to show that it was no fluke, he was nominated again for his tear-jerking turn in 2004's Finding Neverland. Then, in 2008, he was nominated a third time for Sweeney Todd.
Looking back over the past decade — a span in which she's stepped away from Destiny's Child to become a megasuccessful solo artist, landed her first leading film roles, married the planet's biggest hip-hop star — Beyoncé, 28, cherishes one memory above all others: the night she sang the Etta James classic ''At Last'' at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., last January. ''I don't usually watch my performances, but I have looked at this one over and over,'' the 10-time Grammy winner tells EW. ''I just want to relive that moment. It was history and it was really magical.'' For millions of fans around the world, those words could describe practically any time Beyoncé enters the spotlight. She's the ultimate diva: a superhuman force of nature, casting powerful spells with her high notes and hip shakes.
J.K. Rowling
As 1999 came to a close, J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter were already household names — as long as those households contained literate children with a voracious appetite for fantasy fiction. In 2000, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — the fourth book in the British author's seven-book cycle — ignited a global pop phenomenon that got the attention of all readers, young and young at heart. By 2007, the planet was both eagerly anticipating and deeply dreading the release of the final Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. When it finally arrived, it became clear that Rowling had nailed one of the decade's greatest artistic achievements: finishing not just bloody well, but brilliantly.
Simon Cowell
As the most obnoxious, biting, and — let's face it — correct judge on the talent-show phenomenon American Idol, the British music exec has spent the last seven years dishing out analogies (''It sounded like cats jumping off the Empire State Building'') that are hilariously dead-on. And doing that — in front of tens of millions of Idol addicts — not only allowed him to sign future pop heavyweights (Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry) but also helped make him a mogul. But at heart, he'll always be our favorite unscripted truth-teller. \
Tina Fey
We want to live inside Tina Fey's brain. From her seven-year stint as Saturday Night Live's first female head writer to her creation of the reliably zany 30 Rock, the 39-year-old has graciously invited America into her uniquely loopy, ferociously smart, unapologetically female psyche. It's a place where high school movies are a blast (as in her script for 2004's Mean Girls), where ''bitch is the new black'' (her passionate defense of Hillary Clinton on a 2008 SNL), and where one deft comment can puncture a national campaign (Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin — including the phrase ''I can see Russia from my house,'' which Palin never uttered — redefined the 2008 vice presidential candidate).
Justin Timberlake
He began the decade as ''just'' a member of the hugely successful boy band *NSYNC and ends it as one of the most versatile and beloved entertainers in the world . ''I take my work very seriously,'' says the singer-actor, 28. ''I just don't take myself seriously at all.'' Few A-listers would have had the comedy cojones to put their ''D--- in a Box,'' as Timberlake famously did while hosting Saturday Night Live — and surely none would have been as hilarious doing it. But his pop-star day job is no joke to him, as evidenced by his two solo albums, 2002's Justified and 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds, the latter of which featured the groovesomely lubricious ''SexyBack.''
Peter Jackson
In the fall of 2001, Peter Jackson was a little-known director who'd persuaded New Line to entrust him with $300 million to do what was plainly impossible with Lord of the Rings: shoot three movies at once, please hardcore fans of a revered trilogy, bring a creature named Gollum to life, and make fantasy a contender at both the box office and the Oscars. He did it all.
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey has created a veritable Oprah-verse through her taste and branding. She recently announced plans to end her daytime talk show — after an extraordinary 25-year run — in 2011 and focus on her own network, appropriately titled OWN. Winfrey, 55, is long past needing a day job anyway. Her dominion now includes movies (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire), publishing (O: The Oprah Magazine), theater (The Color Purple musical), radio (Sirius XM’s Oprah Radio channel), politics (hello, President Obama!), and education (the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa).
Sarah Jessica Parker and the women of Sex and the City
In the 11 years since Carrie Bradshaw first donned that pink tutu, Sex and the City has gone from being the frothy cable show that made cosmos the cocktail of choice to one of the mightiest brands in entertainment history. Over the course of six celebrated seasons on HBO, followed by a blockbuster big-screen adaptation (whose sequel hits theaters May 2010), Sex and the City found the funny, the poignant, and the outrageous in the lives of four Manhattan heroines who talked freely about dreams, hopes, and especially sex. ''My feeling is, there was a voice that needed to be heard, and it was the single-girls-are-not-lepers voice,'' says Michael Patrick King, who exec-produced the series (originally created by Darren Star) and wrote and directed both movies.''
John Lasseter
Simply put, there has never been a filmmaking body in the history of Hollywood that has been as creatively and commercially successful as Pixar. This decade alone, the company's seven feature films have been nominated for 25 Oscars and have pulled in $4.1 billion worldwide. At the heart of it all is John Lasseter, Pixar's founding creative force and the chief creative officer for both Pixar and Disney animation. ''Every Pixar movie at one time was the worst motion picture ever made,'' Lasseter, 52, insists. His team's formula for getting it right ensures that's not how they end up.
Will Smith
When this decade began, Smith was coming off a rare box office disappointment, Wild Wild West, a film he chose over playing Neo in The Matrix. But instead of looking backward, Smith attacked virtually every genre he could find — with stunning results. First up: drama. His roles in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness earned him two Oscar nominations. Smith also made it okay for men to see romantic comedies by playing a dashing dating consultant in 2005's Hitch, which became the third-highest-grossing rom-com of the decade. Then he clobbered sci-fi in 2007's I Am Legend, a tense survivor story that soared at the box office solely because of Smith's mesmerizing performance — and his rapport with his character's beloved German shepherd.
J.J. Abrams
Putting his stamp on the century's first decade with defining entertainment like Alias, Lost, and Star Trek, Abrams, 43, has become a Hollywood power player with ''next Spielberg'' buzz thanks to an uncanny knack for blending capture-the-imagination ideas, emotionally riveting drama, and relatable, memorable characters. Not bad for someone who admits, as he approached the close of the '90s, ''I felt I had lost my way as a writer.'' Ten years later? ''I feel happily lost right now.''
Steve Jobs
The decade kicked off with him officially regaining control of the company he founded, and over the next 10 years, this visionary steered Apple through a veritable media revolution. He changed the way we consume music, TV, and movies and transformed the idea of a cell phone into a mobile fun house. Like no one else this decade, Steve Jobs, 54, got us all to think different.
Meryl Streep
Ask Meryl Streep, 60, to name her proudest professional moment of the past 10 years and she is adorably inept. ''Okay, let's locate ourselves. The 2000s. Okay. Let me think.'' How about when she became the most nominated actor in Oscar history? Or when she emerged as a hugely bankable star? Streep nods politely. It's clear that our greatest living actress simply doesn't do self-aggrandizement. ''I don't know,'' she says, finally. ''When I was 45, I should have been washed up. But I did The Bridges of Madison County. The studio wanted someone 35, but Clint Eastwood said, 'No, no, I want her.' That was a big deal.'' She smiles. ''I look back on my entire career and realize I've been dependent on the kindness of strangers and friends and mentors. That was my luck.'' And ours.
Jon Stewart
America's most trusted newscaster works in a Manhattan studio near the Hustler Club. Indeed, Jon Stewart's house of newsy satire, The Daily Show, is on the same block as Larry Flynt's emporium of naughty skin. ''We're kissing cousins,'' says Stewart, 47, ''which was also the name of a great pictorial Larry Flynt ran in 1988.'' Yes, the fake news anchor does sometimes play the role of quip-proffering comedy ''monkey'' — but who can forget how famously he declined it during his contentious 2004 appearance on CNN's Crossfire? When considering the foibles of his ''real'' news counterparts, the two-time Oscar host works up a genuine outrage that, during his decade-long stint at The Daily Show, has turned it into far more than just a ''Weekend Update''-style yukfest.