Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wrap It Up - 2013 Take Two

Lumping together all the best entertainment from the past 12 months really shows what a bounty of things there are to enjoy. It's not even possible to get to it all! We just do our best. 

Some more of my favorites for this year involved funny ladies raking in the dough at the box office, buzz worthy Netflix original TV, discovering new bands, as well as a beloved band and TV show reaching milestones.

Check it out why don't ya.

The Heat

Movies starring two fearless comedians who are also bad-ass aren't exactly being released all the time, but 2013 brought a hilarious treat that meets the above description - The Heat.

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are unstoppable in their own separate careers, and after uniting their individual magic it's clear they should be movie partners forever, just like Streep and Tucci or Tina and Amy.

We all know that Bullock has had a long illustrious career that only keeps getting better, so when it comes to McCarthy I still can't help but feel extra proud. Sookie finally made it out of Stars Hollow!


The Hanson brothers celebrated 21 years in the biz in 2013 - the boys had a new album, Anthem, and fitting to their celebratory year matching the legal drinking age in the U.S., released their own creatively punned beer, Mmmhops.

My friends and I traversed the Great Pacific Northwest in September for shows in both Portland and Seattle. There's nothing like being at a venue in the uber hip 'hood of Capital Hill in Seattle, doors open wide to the streets, with a jam packed crowd (including Danny Bonaduce - long story) boisterously singing "Mmmbop".

Truth is, what many people choose not to recognize, the bros have grown since those long haired kids in 1997 (back then I didn't even like them...sorry guys), and year after year they continue to deliver their own breed of fun old school inspired rock/pop.

These dudes are passionate and they can whip out some swoon worthy harmonies. Give 'em a chance - maybe another one of my songs of the summer, "Juliet", will do the trick.



Having grown up with the appreciation for both Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey in the classic drama, A Time To Kill, I always rooted for those two to break out of the doldrums of tepid romantic comedies back into more serious work. Odds are both could win Oscars this year for accomplishing just that feat.

No actor was part of as many strange, yet compelling dramas than McConaughey was in the last two years. Having not seen Dallas Buyers Club yet, the role which will likely win him that Academy Award, for me this year was all about Mud. 

The story follows two teenage boys who are each struggling with the idea of love - between their parents and with girls in general - in their own lives. Things become more complicated as they attempt to help a man on the run (McConaughey) meet up with the love of his life.

The grungy man living on an island look was perfect for McConaghey, but it;s also his compassionate interaction with the two younger actors that really sells the story.

It's a simple coming of age story mixed with a mysterious quasi-thriller that shouldn't be missed.

Ode To An Opening

If every TV series had a title sequences as well made as those on Aaron Sorkin shows, the world would be a better place. (Don't get me started on the grand opener to The West Wing - props W.G. Snuffy Walden.)

One reason I give The Newsroom such crap is that the best part of each episode is the opening credits, and this show produced two perfect versions! I was partial to the original, which honors the golden age of news, but this one sets the stage for the modern show it seems like Sorkin is attempting to create.

Quick cuts of a bustling city, explosions!, breaking news alerts, cameras moving into place, and all beautifully scored by Thomas Newman. That clip is a promise for one hell of a show. At times it delivers on the promise, but more often the stories crumble like a first time anchor who got stage fright.

Season 2 improved on the storytelling, and I keep coming back because of its potential. We'll see what 2014 will bring, but no matter what, the show will always have that perfect opener.

Red Is The New Black

One of the most talked about shows of the year was the Netflix original, Orange Is The New Black

I cranked through it rather quickly, and besides the fascination with Crazy Eyes and Yoga Jones (her heartbreaking backstory!), the greatest character had to be the hard as nails Russian cook.

Red layed down the law of the land, the inmates sometimes made her beauty products, and she was often given the queen-like pampered treatment by her lackies. It was just a power I simply appreciated.

The back stories for how all these ladies ended up in prison made for the most interesting parts of the show. Red's tale of mob dealings and not being excepted by those bitchy broads who went speed walking really spoke to me.

Her story is still somewhat mysterious, hopefully Season 2 will reveal more secrets.

Dr. Steven Brule

My brother continually finds some sort of ridiculous character to imitate. Being a master of voices, he has perfected nearly the entire cast of Family Guy, the main dudes from The Trailer Park Boys, and not to mention his spot on Jimmy Stewart.

This year it was all about one curly haired, handsomely dressed Doctor. No one really knows where Dr. Steven Brule got his accreditation, but it doesn't hinder his illuminating cable access show, Check It Out. 

He inspired my bro's Halloween costume and my family now talks with a little bit of a Brulian accent. Guaranteed my life has been extended by how much I laughed this year at the hands of Dr. Brule.


The band, not the sport, though I've been known to swing a racket every now and then.

Driving around with the windows down during the summer is my favorite way to listen to music. You can blast it and sing really loud with only the slight inconvenience of having people judge you while waiting at stoplights.

Tennis' album Young and Old was another set of tunes that made up my summer playlist for this year. The album was actually released in 2012, but I was a year late to the pick-up.

This husband and wife duo deliver a sound that is a combination of modern joyful pop with a tad of 1960's girl group doo-wop and jazzy keyboards, which is the perfect compliment for a sunny day. It's spirit lifting music!

Not one track should be skipped and finding an album that's enjoyable from start to finish grows more difficult each year.  If this sounds up your alley, than Tennis could be your new favorite. I know my 2013 entertainment would have been entirely different if I hadn't discovered them.


One simple movie with a powerful message continues to stick with me.

I dished about this over a month ago when I first saw it, but I couldn't ignore that Wadjda is a must see movie from this past year.

Back in October, there was talk about Malala Yousafzai possibly receiving the the Nobel Peace Prize. She didn't win, but it only made Wadjda, the tale of a strong willed young girl from Saudi Arabia who will do anything to buy her own bike, even more poignant.

Both girls want more out of life than what their countries allow, and hopefully those girls sacrifices, told through a movie or seen in reality, will lead to change.

Magpie and The Dandelion

Two years in a row the fans of The Avett Brothers were gifted with new albums. Such a quick turnaround could mean lower quality, but this band would never dream of doing such a thing.

When they release an album listeners are guaranteed to find The Avett version of toe tapping bluegrass and melodic folk inspired ballads. Plus, Joe Kwon is the coolest cello player since Yo-Yo-Ma.

20 Years

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny did a Reddit AMA! There were rumors they were dating! They were on the cover of Entertainment Weekly

Wait...what year is this?

Turns out I'm nearly two decades late on this whole X-Files thing, but I caught up on the show last year just in time to fan-girl out for the 20th Anniversary of the first episode.

Catching up on old shows sometimes feels lonely if no one else you know is watching it, but all the new publicity this year for the anniversary made me feel like I was a fan way back in 1993.

Scully and Mulder still got it.

How could I possibly sum up a year in two posts? Answer: I couldn't. There is so much more of 2013 to cover.

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