Brent Bozell

It was a year in which the dominant cultural story was the sad but eerily almost-predictable drug-addled death of Michael Jackson. But there were a few good moments sprinkled in with the outrageous and the tawdry in 2009. My choices for cultural winners and losers this year:

Going Rogue by Sarah Palin FREE

Winner: Farrah Fawcett. Unlike Jackson, she fought and ultimately lost her battle with cancer with extraordinary grace, faith and dignity.

Winner: "Up." The elite and the people agree that Pixar films are sublimely entertaining. The eight-minute montage near the beginning of this film sweetly chronicling a loving marriage moved millions to tears from coast to coast.

In fact, animated movies continued to earn massive box-office receipts. "Up" drew almost $300 million, "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" came very close to $200 million, and the offbeat "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" grossed more than $120 million.

Loser: Michael Moore. His latest mockumentary, "Capitalism: A Love Story," grossed a miserable $14 million in theaters. (By contrast, his 2004 hit "Fahrenheit 9/11" grossed almost $24 million -- in its first weekend.) His Warhol moment is over.

Loser: "Bruno." Sacha Baron Cohen tried to satirize the backwardness of Americans once again, this time in the role of a gay Austrian blond Beatle fashion reporter. But this character was so unbelievably stupid and self-absorbed that the film set the cause of sexual "liberation" backward by a decade or two. The lowest point is a scene where a focus group watches as "Bruno" displays a long, drawn-out shot of a penis twirling around like a pinwheel, which then points at the camera and "speaks."

Winner: MTV's "16 and Pregnant." It was a stunning turnabout for MTV: finally, a reality show about sex and its consequences with a message parents could embrace. Crews filmed teenaged girls and their boyfriends trying to make decisions about unexpected pregnancies. The most moving story centered on giving a baby up for adoption.

Loser: MTV's "Jersey Shore." This was a much more typical MTV product: putting eight loud stereotyped Italian "Guidos" and "Guidettes" in a summer beach house. But what really rankled viewers was MTV's Internet exploitation of a female cast member getting punched in the face in a bar. Faced with bad publicity, MTV caved and dropped the footage from its Dec. 17 episode.

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Brent Bozell's column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.
©Creators Syndicate