Friday, December 27, 2013

A Year In Review: 2013 (More Superlatives, Ahoy!)


Last year I decided to recap pop culture of 2012 (with nearly the exact same Lea Michele gif, to boot!) and post some superlatives from the year. As we are now on the verge of rounding out 2013 (IS ANYONE ELSE AS BLOWN AWAY AS I AM BY THIS FACT?), I thought that I would review some of the highlights in television, movies, and music from this past year, while looking forward to the year ahead.

Ready?

Set?

RECAP!


TELEVISION

Favorite Single Episode of a Television Show (Comedy): "Cooler," New Girl

Just like last year, this year's award for Favorite Single Episode of a Television Series (Comedy) is bestowed upon one of my favorite series at the moment: New Girl. While last year I celebrated my favorite episode of the series "Injured," this year's award is rightfully given to "Cooler," which contained one of the best TV kisses ever and also was an all-around stellar episode, ripe with comedic moments and that beautifully gasp-inducing ending.

"Cooler" deserves this award, truly. New Girl's second season was EXCELLENT: it was hilarious and heartfelt; there were moments of genuine gut-wrenching sorrow and character development by the truckload. Truly, I will never forgive the Emmy voters for shutting Jake Johnson and this entire season out of the awards because they deserved at least one for him and also one for the writing of this episode. Liz Meriwether mentioned in an interview that "Cooler" was the episode that really clicked for her in terms of the season's progression: she had gotten her characters back into the loft and was able to play with them and have a great idea of the trajectory that the back half of the season would take.

It's an episode that gave us "AY GIRL. WHAT YO NAME IS?" and "I meant something like that." So essentially, "Cooler" deserves this award.

Favorite Single Episode of a Television Show (Drama): Pilot, The Blacklist

For as problematic as the writing in this series has become (my biggest qualm is that the series attempts to be a "criminal of the week" series but never provides more answers than questions, leaving the audience not curious but just frustrated), the pilot of NBC's biggest scripted hit, The Blacklist, is pretty flawless. The series centers around a special division of the FBI and a new team member, Elizabeth Keen. Keen starts her job, ironically (or not so ironically) on the day that Raymond "Red" Reddington, the world's most wanted criminal, surrenders to the FBI voluntarily. He has a few demands, however, the chief of which is that he will only speak to Elizabeth Keen. Red then informs her and the rest of the FBI that he can help them catch the world's most dangerous criminal masterminds, so long as they are able to work with HIM. (In this series, it's often more like the FBI works FOR Red, but that's another tangent altogether.)

The Blacklist's pilot is powerful: it's engaging and chock full of great character introduction. Elizabeth Keen is FANTASTIC in the freshman series' first episode (she stabs someone IN THE NECK WITH A PEN), and viewers get a clear understanding of who she is as a person and what motivates her. Additionally, James Spader is absolutely flawless as Red, a man who we are wary of because we do not know what his true motivations are. This NBC series definitely kicked off in a great, engaging way. I do hope that the writing gets a little tighter and more concise in the coming episodes, but I look forward to how they develop and handle the plot and characters.


Best Television Show You’re Not Watching But Need To Be: The Crazy Ones.

Seriously why isn't the rest of my Twitter timeline actively watching this series with me?

My friend Deena and I (hello, dear!) are consistently the only two of my Twitter friends that live-tweet episodes of the series. As I explained in my fall TV pilot post, The Crazy Ones was the one fall pilot I was most looking forward to and hoped would not disappoint me. The show features Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Wolk, Hamish Linklater, and Amanda Setton as part of an advertising agency in Chicago. And the reason that I love the series is really three-fold: 1) This is a STELLAR cast that doesn't get enough recognition. While Robin Williams is hilarious in and of himself, and while Gellar plays neurotic and driven superbly, this is a show that's all about its ensemble. The series works best comedically and otherwise when this group of people are playing off one another. And what Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Wolk (who is absolutely fantastic), Hamish Linklater (who is probably my favorite character on the show) and Amanda Setton (who is GENIUS and dark and hilarious) bring to this series, they bring together. 2) This show has HEART. The group made Sydney a real-life snow globe. A REAL LIFE SNOW-GLOBE. What really impressed me about the pilot (and what I look for when I watch any comedy pilot) is the heart and soul that the show had. For as funny and witty as it is, this is a series about people who genuinely care for one another. It's about a father/daughter relationship. It's about real, genuine emotions. And I love it so.

But finally, the third reason I love The Crazy Ones is 3) This show is FUNNY. A comedy series about an advertising agency should be quick-paced, witty, snarky, and hilarious. And this is all of those things and more: the dialogue is rapid-fire, the jokes and one-liners are hilarious, and essentially everything about this show is perfect so stop reading this blog post and go marathon the first few episodes, would you?


Best Male Character: Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hollow

My favorite male character this year has long hair, a British accent, and more sass than you can shake a stick at (... okay, that last part didn't make much sense but you get the gist.) Sleepy Hollow has quickly become one of the most engrossing, exciting, and enthralling shows that I've watched. And that is, of course, thanks a lot to the character of Ichabod Crane (played by the devilishly handsome Brit Tom Mison). What makes Ichabod so wonderful, you ask? Is it the fact that he is an 18th century soldier who wakes to find himself in the 21st century? Is it his coat and long, Pantene-approved hair? Is it his snark and wit? Is it his chivalry and propriety? Is it his handsome face and his little smirks? Is it his heroism: his devotion to do good, at all costs, and to protect those he cares about? Is it his accent?

(It is all of the above.)

Ichabod Crane is a delightful character and an amazing hero. He's compassionate and sensitive, but he's complex. He's got anger and rage and despair bubbling just beneath his surface. Tom Mison has this impeccable way of playing this character, really. He consistently walks a line between composed and utterly undone. In an instant. Ichabod can go from sassy to terrifying. Because we forget, sometimes, that he was a soldier. And we forget, sometimes, that he was a husband and (spoiler alert if you haven't watched the entire season yet: recently found out he was a father). Mison rarely portrays Ichabod as someone to be pitied, but we often forget how much the character has lost until it smacks us in the face in one of his monologues.

If you're not yet watching Sleepy Hollow, I suggest that you do because it is a fantastic series and Tom Mison is utterly STELLAR as Ichabod Crane.

Best Female Character: Clara "Oswin" Oswald, Doctor Who

I'll never stop loving Clara "Oswin" Oswald.

This is a woman who clung to the outside of the TARDIS for THREE HUNDRED YEARS because she refused to let The Doctor send her away without saying goodbye first. I've been hearing complaints, especially in light of "The Time of the Doctor" about how agitated people are that Clara "fancied" The Doctor. She was in love with Eleven and I (call me #pathological) believe that he genuinely was in love with her. But... how is that different from any other companion, save Donna Noble? Every person who traveled with The Doctor was in love with him, from Rose Tyler to Amy Pond and everyone in between and beyond.

The reason that I love Clara is because being in love with Eleven never defined her. Not really. She and Martha shared some similarities, actually. They were both resilient. They both didn't accept their lives just as they were. While Martha walked away from The Doctor and the TARDIS and traveling space and time, Clara clung on because she REFUSED to accept things the way they were. Because she knew that her time with The Doctor wasn't over, but also because she knew SHE DESERVED A BETTER GOODBYE. This is Clara Oswald, the "impossible girl." She saved Akhaten. She saved The Doctor by entering into his own time stream. She is tough, but sensitive and delightfully witty and human. She's compassionate and kind, but unafraid to speak up.

She is a Disney princess in a companion's body, one who takes charge of her destiny and who refuses to be merely a damsel in distress. And I could not love her more for it.

Best Newly (re)Discovered Show: The Mindy Project

You know, I kind of hated The Mindy Project.

I watched the first three episodes of the show and was completely univested. I found Mindy Lahiri to be grating, self-centered, and annoying. So I stopped watching. Eventually, and probably because of Tumblr (let's just be honest), I picked the series back up somewhere along the mid- to end of season one. And I began to become invested. Now, as the series is on its second season, I am not only invested but also engrossed in the show. That's partially because of the Danny/Mindy romance, mind you, but a lot of the reason I have become interested in the series again is because it got BETTER. The Mindy Project started out with this character of Mindy Lahiri who was quite unlikable. But as it progressed, the writers and Mindy Kaling managed to back away from the qualities that made her annoying and gravitated toward those that made her endearing.

Now, 99% of the things that Mindy Lahiri says, I find myself thinking #gpoy toward. Kudos to you, show, for managing to be one of the few series that makes it back onto my good list after being booted off!


Show That Had So Much Potential This Year, But Lost It All: Community

*shakes head sadly*

*begins to play Adele's "Rolling in the Deep"*

We could have had it allllllllllll, rolling in the deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Since that is out of the way, let me just reiterate what I had stated in my season 5 wishlist post: this season of Community COULD have been something great. It wouldn't have been the same without Dan Harmon running the series, but the problems with season four were not related to Harmon, necessarily, but the writers. The division among the writers room caused such inconsistency in characters and stories that the season felt like it was written by five different people, each with different ideas about what the series should be. It was not written by one entity furthering one vision, which is what caused the show to suffer. It could have been something special, and while there were gems this season (the Jeff Winger speech in "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations" was A+, so thank you Basilone and Mebane), the senior year for most of these characters ended up falling quite flat.

Let's hope that since Harmon and McKenna are back at the helm, they can bring together the writers once more and land season five on my 2014 good list!

Most Annoying Character on Television (Female): Lily Aldrin, How I Met Your Mother

I used to love How I Met Your Mother.

I don't despise it now, but the final season (thus far, at least) is leaving me unfulfilled at best and downright agitated at worst. Every single character is annoying me on the series (from Barney and Robin's CONSTANT "maybe we shouldn't get married" discussion every other episode to Ted's inability to get over Robin and move on already) except for The Mother.

No one is grating my nerves this season more than Lily, however. (And maybe that's because she's essentially been drunk for most of the season or just because putting her in a confined space is really illuminating the qualities about her I find to be annoying.) But whatever the case, I'm ready for a break from Lily Aldrin.

BRING BACK THE MOTHER.

Most Annoying Character on Television (Male): Andy Bernard, The Office

Save for ONE redeemable/quotable line in the series finale of The Office, Andy Bernard was the worst and most annoying character on television this year (okay, granted, I haven't seen EVERY television series this year but he's pretty much up there). He quit his job, abandoned his girlfriend (who he tried SO HARD to win over in the first place) and became annoying, but not in the endearing way that someone like, say, Michael Scott was. Michael was flawed but lovable. Andy, by the end of the series, was anything BUT.

And that makes me sad, because I used to find him to be pretty delightful (hey, remember the guy who got his old acapella group on the phone to serenade Angela? WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT GUY?), but when the series ended, I was just glad to be rid of the Nard Dog.

Television Show(s) That Left Us Too Soon: Back in the Game; Go On; Ben and Kate

COME ON TV POWERS THAT BE. SERIOUSLY?

SERIOUSLY?

..... SERIOUSLY?


Show That Should Be Put Out of Its Misery (And Is): How I Met Your Mother

I think "disappointment" is the only word I can use to sum up my feelings toward the final season of How I Met Your Mother thus far. (I may come to eat those words later on, so feel free to taunt me if I do.) I knew that the storytelling structure of season nine would be problematic, and it HAS been. The series has already dragged, having been weighed down by the constant Barney/Robin irritating fights (every other episode finds them questioning whether or not they should get married and, mind you, this season takes place over the span of ONE weekend), the drunk!Lily aggravation, the lack of Marshall, and Ted being whiny, annoying, and still pining over Robin for more episodes than necessary.

The one saving grace of this season has been The Mother. But she hasn't been present as much as we'd hoped (or I had hoped) yet, so I don't retract any of my previous statements and would only like to add: please come back, Mother. Pretty pretty please.

Best Performance in a Television Series (Male): James Spader as Raymond "Red" Reddington, The Blacklist

There's a reason that James Spader is nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in The Blacklist. In short, he is completely and utterly brilliant.

Though I have some qualms with the way the series is written as a whole (it's a bit erratic with limited character growth or development, some suspensions of disbelief, and presents the audience with a plethora of unanswered questions), Spader utterly shines as Raymond "Red" Reddington, one of the most wanted criminals in the world. Spader plays Red so well: he's a character who is not entirely bad, but he's not entirely GOOD either. We're not sure whether we should root for his capture, or cheer when he (spoiler) flees the FBI at the end of the mid-season finale. He's sassy and snarky, but also cool and calculating. He loves and protects Elizabeth Keen. He's nearly always right. He thinks on his feet. He shows no mercy to those who betray him.

And James Spader plays every complex facet of this character with such intensity and such deliberateness that you feel completely entranced by him. Spader doesn't even have to do anything complex in order to make the audience feel something: he can merely smirk or lower his voice and the audience FEELS the seriousness of the moment and character.

Spader plays a "villain" but Red is a lot more than that, and I'm so grateful that he understands that, as an actor. And I'm so glad that he exists on this series.

Best Performance in a Television Series (Female): Nicole Beharie as Abbie Mills, Sleepy Hollow

How AMAZING is Nicole Beharie as Abbie Mills?

(I'll answer that for you: SO. AMAZING.)

As many of you already know, I accidentally fell in love with Sleepy Hollow, thinking that it would be a campy series that I hate-watched each week. I was utterly stunned to find myself completely invested in the series, partially thanks to Beharie's acting. And, since the pilot episode, she has ONLY gotten better. What's amazing is this: Abbie is the epitome of a strong, female character. She's the driving force of the series. She calls the shots. She's the one with the gun. She's got her weaknesses, but I think people often forget that "strong, female character" does not mean "invincible." She cries. She mourns. She has demons in her past and things in her present that terrify her. ("Sanctuary" is a prime example of this.)

And Beharie plays Abbie Mills with such grace and dignity and strength and vulnerability that I'm consistently blown away by her performances and I look forward to seeing how Abbie continues to be developed and grows as a character in the upcoming episodes. Kudos to you, Nicole Beharie, for helping bring to life such a refreshing and wonderful female character.



Best Series – Comedy: New Girl

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I will NEVER forgive the Emmy voters for shutting out New Girl's second season from its awards ceremony because the comedy's sophomore year was its best yet. There were moments where I genuinely could not stop laughing (the race to the spot in "Parking Spot," Winston in "Cooler," pretty much everything in "Elaine's Big Day," etc.) and episodes of genuine punch-in-the-gut heart ("Eggs," "Chicago"). There was the entire Nick/Jess arc that spanned the back half of the season, providing us with some astounding moments of tension (the end of "First Date," "Quick Hardening Caulk," etc.). Even Schmidt had a heart-wrenching story in "Tinfinity."

I will never understand why this series wasn't rewarded for all of its amazing work on season two, but you can bet that I will reward it here. Because it genuinely deserves all of the praise. It is hilarious and heartfelt and sweet and sentimental and inventive and exciting. New Girl is really everything that a comedy should be. It may not have as big of a cult-like following as Community and it'll probably never achieve the numbers that The Big Bang Theory does, but that doesn't mean that it isn't worthy of awards or recognition. I love Liz Meriwether, Dave Finkel, and Brett Baer for their consistent decision to take risks with their show, to be unafraid to make characters unlikable, and to dive headfirst into Nick/Jess and their relationship.

Basically, I love New Girl and this year it was my favorite comedy. (Sorry, Community. Better luck next year.)

Best Series – Drama: Sleepy Hollow

If you're not watching Sleepy Hollow yet, please do.

It's wacky. It's weird. It's creepy and scary. It's funny and witty. And it's downright amazing. It's this little rubber band ball of all of those traits, bouncing around. And yet, somehow, these writers manage - on a weekly basis - to make all of these elements work well together. This freshman series makes my cut, edging out the very few dramas actually in my queue because of this: it is a series that goes for broke, absolutely, and doesn't apologize for it. The worst thing, Alan Sepinwall once said, was for a series pilot to be forgettable. It's one thing for a pilot to be absolutely bonkers (he was referencing this series), because good or bad, at least it makes an impression on the viewer. But if a series is forgettable, if it doesn't take risks and figure out characters and stories, it risks being lost in the shuffle.

Sleepy Hollow is an absolutely delightful new series and I am truly glad that I gave it a chance. Its stories are unique and dramatic, but also comedic and refreshing. The characters are well-ordered: we know each of their wants and desires, what drives and motivates them, but there are still secrets that linger below the surface, encouraging us to continue to explore them and their traits. It is a great show and I truly am excited to see where it grows from here.

Actor I’ve Grown to Love A Lot More in 2013: Rick Hoffman, Suits

I was never Louis Litt's biggest fan, really. On Suits, he is a character who schemes and manipulates (as do the other lawyers) but, at the end of the day, never really seemed to have much of a moral conscience. He had no allegiances and would sway toward the "highest bidder." And as much as I tried to feel bad for Louis, I just couldn't. That is... until this season. Though the season began rocky for Louis (what with Harvey's anger and inability to trust him after what had gone down the year prior with Hardman) and his relationships within the firm. With the merger of Pearson Darby, Louis met his counterpart: a man named Nigel. The two went toe-to-toe and it was amusing, really, to see Louis being forced to deal with someone very much like himself. (I also cannot stress how much I enjoyed seeing more Louis/Rachel stories this season. MORE OF THOSE IN THE FUTURE, PLEASE.)

But Louis' arc with Nigel was actually really touching, especially because it involved Louis' attachment to Nigel's cat which, at the hands of most actors and characters, would seem insane and absurd. But you really feel for Louis, who was pretty isolated for most of the season, and you just want him to be happy. Because when Mike reconciles with Harvey, finally, he ditches Louis after Louis poured so much energy and effort into helping Mike out. But honestly, one of my favorite Louis moments occurs in this season because Harvey expresses PRIDE in him. He actually COMPLIMENTS Louis and you can see the tears well up in his eyes because that's really all he's wanted and it's just SO perfect. Rick Hoffman does such a brilliant job with Louis, and during season three I felt especially drawn to him and his stories which doesn't usually happen. So kudos!

Actress I’ve Grown to Love a Lot More in 2013: Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation

In an ensemble series with a plethora of females like Parks and Recreation, I usually find myself drawn to characters like Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins. I've always liked April Ludgate for her sarcasm and her wit and fact that she doesn't seem to care about what others think of her. But this season, I've found myself actually LOVING her as a character. Aubrey Plaza does such an amazing job in portraying this character who is supposed to hate everything about everything, except for her husband and dog. But April DOES care about people and her job, even though she pretends that she doesn't. We get to see this pretty amazing side of her, actually, this season. (In particular, in "London," we see exactly how much she cares for Leslie and goes out of her way to do something special for the person who always does everything for THEM.) I loved that she was able to connect with Donna, I love that she was the one to encourage Andy that he is smart and capable of being a success and running a non-profit (because let's be honest, we're all faking it until we make it, too). And I love that she's always there for Leslie and that Ron loves her so much.

I really and truly have come to love April this season thanks to Aubrey Plaza and her wonderfully nuanced portrayal of her. (Also her scenes with June Diane Raphael in "Doppelgangers" were the best and I loved them so much.)

Television Shows Everyone Really Hope Get Can-Can-Cancelled: Dads; Sean Saves the World

PLEASE, TELEVISION POWERS THAT BE.

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?


Television Show I Keep Meaning to Catch Up On: Trophy Wife

I watched the first few episodes of this delightful little series and honestly wasn't entirely sold. I thought it was chuckle-worthy, but it wasn't living up to the hype that others had tweeted. Now that it's nearly mid-season and I'm a good chunk of episodes behind on it (I think the last episode I watched was around Halloween), perhaps I'll take the time to catch up on Trophy Wife. I think my main problem was that I LIKED the series well enough, but I hadn't quite fallen in LOVE with it yet. And when there are as many television series out there as there are, if you're not on the "love" list, you get booted off my weekly watch schedule pretty quickly. Nevertheless, I hope the series impresses me further as I catch up because it does seem to be a fun show.

Television Show I Wanted to Like, But Didn’t Get There: The Michael J. Fox Show

I didn't detest this series (because let's be honest, it's not like it's Dads), but I also didn't love it. I also didn't even like it. I watched the pilot of the series and didn't chuckle at all. I watched the second episode and chuckled once. And while it tried to deliver "heart," I just felt like The Michael J. Fox Show was ultimately just trying TOO hard. Honestly, it's a very generic sitcom that - in the hands of anyone other than the beloved Michael J. Fox - would have been can-can-cancelled after its first few episodes. There's nothing unique or special about it apart from its star.

But, since NBC picked up the entire first season, the network better hope that it improves its ratings.

Television Show That Was Sacrificed Thanks to Television Scheduling: The Voice

You know, I was actually kind of getting bored with this series anyway. But since Sleepy Hollow AND How I Met Your Mother fall during the time The Voice airs, I sacrificed it this year. While I originally started watching the NBC singing competition because it was unique and much better than, say, American Idol, I found myself getting bored with it this past year. It'll likely get sacrificed again thanks to TV scheduling during the next season as well. Whoops.

Television Show I’m Most Anxious to Marathon in 2014: Arrested Development

I started my marthon of this series in 2013, and am currently on the second season thanks to borrowed DVDs from my friend Kate. I'm really excited to continue marathoning Arrest Development because a) I quite enjoy the series and b) NOW I WILL UNDERSTAND ALL OF THE REFERENCES YOU GUYS MAKE.

MOVIES

Best Movie Adaptation of a Book: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

As far as book-to-movie adaptations go, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is right up there as one of the best. The movie took very few (I believe only one or two) liberties in adding content that was not in the book to the movie. Otherwise, this adaptation proved that when you stick to the source material, you are much better off! The movie was brilliant: it was intense and dark, but also humorous and hopeful. The cast was astounding -- I fell in love completely with Jena Malone as Johanna Mason (my favorite character in the series) and Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair was just fantastic. And it goes without saying that Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence were terrific as well.

Basically, this movie was flawless and if it wasn't two and a half hours long, I'd probably go see it every weekend.

Best Movie I Saw in 2013: The Way, Way Back

I was really late in seeing The Way, Way Back and did so thanks to my friend Shawn. (Thank you, Shawn!) After viewing it though - and, you know, crying during the last fifteen or so minutes - I have to say that it makes the cut for the best movie I saw in 2013. (Don't let the fact that I only saw three movies released in 2013 undercut the significance of this, though.)

This film, written by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon (both of whom I adore completely) is a coming of age story that is so simplistic but completely poignant. In it, Duncan learns to become more confident. He learns to be HAPPY. And he learns that the adults in his life (and around him all summer) are making mistakes that affect him and he just won't settle for it anymore. Why should he pay the price for their stupidity? Why should he suffer because his mother is cowardly? He shouldn't and he doesn't. The few weeks spent at Water Wizz with Owen and the rest of the staff taught him who he was. They all taught him that life is more than just settling. That he should NEVER settle. That he is not a 3. That he is MORE than that. And that he matters.

Really, this movie is just so beautiful and wonderful and I'm going to probably watch it again next weekend, to be honest.

Actor I Wasn't Surprised to Find Myself Loving: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Great Gatsby

My roommate and I decided to have a movie night and since we are both English nerds, we settled on The Great Gatsby. It's a common misconception that this movie is a love story. It is not a love story. It is a tragedy and Jay Gatsby is the epitome of a tragic character. It's no surprise that Leonardo DiCaprio is utterly brilliant and wonderful at everything he does, but I was really interested to see exactly how he would do in this complex character's shoes.

Needless to say, he did not disappoint me. He played the smitten, delusional, hopeful millionaire with perfection and I honestly can't imagine anyone else having been in that role.

Actress I Wasn’t Surprised to Find Myself Loving: Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Perhaps it was the Oscar win, but Jennifer Lawrence seemed to have improved in her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen and taken the character to an entirely new level in 2013. I was insanely impressed with how nuanced she made Katniss, with how strong and yet fragile and beautiful she was in this movie. You could just see her unraveling (the scene where she finds out she has to go back into the arena, in particular, was a standout; the very end scene before the credits, etc.) and you truly felt for her character. I love Jennifer Lawrence to the moon and back because she seems like a fantastic person who would be my best friend. But I also think that she is so wonderfully talented and Catching Fire truly allowed her to shine as the heroine and lead. I cannot wait to see how she ups the ante in Mockingjay.

Best Movie of 2013 That I Won’t See Until 2014: Saving Mr. Banks

Tom Hanks.

Emma Thompson.

That's all.

(I really did want to see Saving Mr. Banks in 2013, but as you can tell by this short list, I see VERY few movies in theatres, so I will have to wait until 2014 to see the film based on Walt Disney's classic Mary Poppins. I'm really excited though because I love everything Hanks has ever done and Emma Thompson is my queen.)

Most Talked-About Movie of 2013 That I Have Not and Will Likely Not See: Gravity

I have no desire to see a film that makes me feel panicked and claustrophobic for two hours, no matter how great Sandra Bullock may be in it.

Sorry, y'all. That just ain't my speed.

Movie I Really Did Mean to See in 2013: About Time

Though it was misleadingly advertised as a romantic comedy, I've heard that About Time is a fantastic, heartbreaking story. Since it contains Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Nighy, it is BOUND to be fantastic. (Not to mention that it was created by the same people who created Love Actually and we all know how I feel about that film.) In summary, I'm disappointed that I haven't gotten the chance to see it yet, but am going to make an effort to see it in 2014!

Movie I Will Get Yelled At For Not Wanting to See: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

*ducks for cover*

I don't actually like the Lord of the Rings series. I fall asleep when I watch them. And even though I read The Hobbit when I was in seventh grade, I have no desire to see the movie version, nor its sequel. Even IF the dragon is voiced by the dreamy Benedict Cumberbatch.

*ducks again*

MUSIC

Singer I Just Wish Would Go Away (Male): Robin Thicke

EW.

Go.

Get out of here.

Nobody wants you. And I absolutely hate (with a fiery passion) the song "Blurred Lines." So don't even hum it or I will smack that smirk right off your pointy face.

Singer I Just Wish Would Go Away (Female): Miley Cyrus

You know, I kind of feel bad for Miley Cyrus in a way. She's so desperate to break free from the "Disney mold" and it shows. Everything she does reeks of desperation and it's actually pretty sad. I just wish the whole Miley Cyrus fad would go away and that she would stop trying to use the "shock and awe" tactic to get noticed. I think she's afraid that if she doesn't, she'll be ignored.

(I wish we could all just ignore you, Miley. I really do.)



Artist/Band I Was Surprised to Find Myself Enjoying As Much as I Did: Katy Perry

You know, I liked Katy Perry prior to 2013. But after listening to "PRISM" and seeing interviews with her on the red carpet and watching her performances, I have to say that I thoroughly LOVE Katy Perry. She's smart and sassy and witty. And she's talented. She's always had a really unique voice and I love the tracks on her new album because they showcase her range, not only vocally but also emotionally. She marches to the beat of her own drum, but not for the sake of fanfare like Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus. She doesn't do it because she's desperate for attention. She does it because it's who she is. She's unique and not afraid to demonstrate it. She also seems like a pretty great person, and the only qualm I have with her is her taste in men (Russell Brand and John Mayer, really?). Otherwise, I think she's fantastic.

Best Album: "Pure Heroine," Lorde

You know, Lorde really intrigues me. She's very young, has a mega-hit single already ("Royals") and debuted another ("Team"). She's a fresh face in an industry that tends to recycle hits from other artists over and over again. And "Pure Heroine" is actually the best album that I've listened to all year. (Runners up include "PRISM," "The Blessed Unrest," and "Last of the Great Pretenders.") It's got this youthful feel to it without feeling YOUNG. And I love Lorde's voice, truly.

Each track on the album has this sense of uniqueness. There are some great images throughout the tracks, fantastic beats and the entire album feels much more mature than I would anticipate the album of a 17-year old to be. You can tell that Lorde has already lived her life because in order to write songs this poignant, she NEEDS to have lived. I'm looking forward to seeing what else she does in this industry and I hope she continues to make great music.

That One Song That You Belted To Everyone and Didn’t Know Why: "Daylight," Maroon 5

I unashamedly belted this in my car for the better half of 2013. I don't even know why but I'm fairly certain that "Daylight" is just one of those singles that requires being belted. I love Maroon 5 and I truly adore this song, so I'll probably continue to belt it along with the radio in 2014.

That One Song That Was Annoyingly Catchy: "Wrecking Ball," Miley Cyrus

I hate myself so much for loving this song, guys.

I really and truly do.

The Song That Was Good… Until It Was Overplayed: "Summertime Sadness," Lana del Ray

You know what's really annoying? When "Summertime Sadness" continues to be played on the radio even when it's December. Granted, I live in Florida so perhaps the radio stations play it ironically. Nevertheless, this was a great song... until it was played nearly every hour on every station this summer. Then it went from precious to annoying very quickly.


That Song That Was Good… Even When It’s Overplayed: "Cups," Anna Kendrick

You know, I enjoyed Pitch Perfect. I didn't find it to be as flawless or endearing as many others, but I DO love Anna Kendrick and her radio rendition of "Cups" was so overplayed that you could turn on the radio and within five minutes, at least one station would be playing it (more likely multiple stations).

But the reason that this song was never annoying to me was due to one reason: it was short. It's a lot shorter than most radio singles which means by the time you're about to hit the point of "Oh, I wish this song would just end already," it's already over and you're spared having to spiral into rage over how often it is played throughout the day. So kudos to you, Anna Kendrick and "Cups": I didn't hate this song in 2013, even though I probably heard it a total of 1,500 times!

That Emotionally-Charged Song You Can’t Help But Sing in Your Car: "Just Give Me A Reason," Pink featuring Nate Ruess

I would have never pictured Pink and Nate Ruess teaming up together, but "Just Give Me A Reason" debuted this year and it was - and still is - a fantastic single. These two have very different styles and interesting voices (Pink's has always had this sort of gravel to it, while Nate's is obviously unique and more falsetto) but they compliment one another so well in this single. And, of course, you couldn't help but belt it in your car as well.

The Song You’ll Never Admit to Liking (But Secretly Know All The Words To): "Best Song Ever," One Direction

Come on, guys. Let's not even lie: we ALL know at least some of the words to a One Direction (any One Direction) song. It's okay. I unashamedly love "Best Song Ever" and if you ever find yourself driving in Orlando with me when this song comes on, I WILL dance and sing to it in my car. It's just a fact.


That One Song You Couldn’t Get Out of Your Head All Year: "I Knew You Were Trouble," Taylor Swift

I love T-Swift and I love "I Knew You Were Trouble" and I loved being able to see it performed live when the RED tour stopped in Orlando this year and I basically just love everything about this catchy, dub-step, amazing single.

So now that I've counted down my best and worst of 2013, it's time for YOU all to weigh in! What have been some of your favorite moments in television, movies, and music? Is there a series I should watch, movie I should see, or album I should download in 2014 that isn't on here?

Hit up the comments and let me know your thoughts! Have a great weekend. :)

1 comment:

  1. I agree with so much of this list (except your dramas. Never was interested in the Black List)! You share my feelings exactly on season 4 of Community. I love that show so much and I just wish season 4 never happened. I've always loved Mindy Project, and honestly I have not been disappointed in one single episode of New Girl. That show is just so well done. I am impressed every time I watch an episode with how well the writing and acting work together. I'm holding out hope that season 5 of Community restores the show to it's former title of my favorite show on television.

    ReplyDelete