Sunday, December 30, 2012

Listing: Round It Up, Take One

(2012 New Years At The Needle)

Entertainment consumption is a continual cycle. When we finish one movie or series, we are keeping our eyes out for something more. Sometimes this consumption comes with patterns.

At this exact time last year (according to my Netflix viewing history), right on the brink of 2012, I was eagerly getting obsessed with a critically acclaimed show from the 90's created by Aaron Sorkin. Twelve months later, not a lot has changed. Sorkin has reeled me in again just in time to kick off 2013 with some witty fast talking banter and long tracking shots.

I bounced from the exciting halls of a TV studio on Sports Night to the exciting halls of The White House on The West Wing. There were also many shows, movies and tunes in between that had me riveted throughout the year. 

In several installments, because one just isn't enough, I've picked everything that define, to me, 2012 in entertainment.  Lets get started!

First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar

These two sisters from Sweden get my vote for the best album of 2012.

With a tip of their hat to the folk and country roots of classic Americana tunes, The Lion's Roar is perfect from beginning to end, showcasing the duo's haunting voices and talent for writing beautiful ballads.


Connie Britton, coming off Friday Night Lights and American Horror Story, can do no wrong, so it's not a surprise that long before her new show debuted I was equally excited and prepared to defend it.

Even with my excitement, I was honestly shocked at how enjoyable Nashville turned out to be. Each week is packed with soapy drama, but most importantly, for a show set in the music industry, every episode introduces catchy songs sung by the talented cast. The show is even making me like Hayden Panettiere...who thought that was possible?

This is definitely the year that I am truly embracing this kind of country.

The Dark Knight Rises

The Christopher Nolan Batman saga went out in tremendous glory over the summer. With the film just released on DVD, the chilling trailer is once again playing on high rotation on TV, and it still sucks me in every time. There's a storm coming...

At one point I didn't enjoy Anne Hathaway, but somewhere between The Princess Diaries and a couple years ago I changed my mind. Her playing "Cat Woman" is one of my favorite things of the entire year. Taking into consideration that I'm still waiting to see Les Miserables.

The Avett Brothers - Pretty Girl From Michigan

The Carpenter, from said brothers, tops my list of most listened to albums over this year, but highlighting a favorite song seemed necessary.

Vibing on 60's pop/rock, this was the jam of many summer drives.

The Master

After being crazy and falling out of Hollywood for a couple years, Joaquin Pheonix is back, and it's thrilling.

Fittingly, he brings his alluring eyes into the cinema once again to play a lost guy, who's pretty well out of his mind while he discovers "The Cause" and befriends their leader (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman).

The Master is weird at times, but also magnetic and immensely beautiful to look at. The intense dynamic between Hoffman and Pheonix is unmatched by any other actors in the movies I have seen this year.

Rufus Wainwright - Out Of The Game

Straight up, any time Rufus has an album, listen to it. His outstanding voice is out of this world. There is also a great cameo by Helena Bonham Carter in this video. It made me nostalgic for the time when it seemed like artists released fun music videos everyday.

Rashida is also another stand out from the album.

All of AMC

The schedule of AMC programing felt like it took over my year.

Kicking off with the much delayed (but incredible) season five of Mad Men (Side Note: Golden Globe voters, what's wrong with you!), which lead into another magnificent season of Breaking Bad, and ended with The Walking Dead, which improves in storytelling every season.

Some may see these shows as depressing, and even I was once iffy about them myself. Eventually for TV fans it becomes hard to ignore all the buzz, which turns out to be warranted. The stories and characters are so entirely engrossing and you get sucked into being obsessed with what is going to happen. Most of the time, on these three shows, it is always shocking what unfolds.

New Girl

What started off as a show starring Zooey Deschanel with three guys, and an unbalanced first season, has become one of my must see favorite comedies.

Each of the four main characters (Deschanel plus, Jake Johnson, Lamorne Morris, and Max Greenfield)  are goofy and fun, and together they are involved in some of the most hysterical stories on TV.

Regina Spektor - How

Spektor is another class act that released a new album this year. Her piano playing is still fantastic, and on ballads like "How" we are reminded of the powerful, refined, and special voice that emits from such a cute as a button woman.

Seriously, she walked by me in a record store once, and is literally me cut in half.

We are just getting started! Stay tuned for more of the exciting music, movies, and TV that came out of 2012. I hope everyone is looking back and accumulating lots of lists.

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