Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: The Year in Review

I've done this every year for a few years. Just my picks, in no special order, of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the notable of the past 12 months.  It's been a really tough year, in many ways. It's nice to look back at some of the better stuff, even if it seems less than important, in the big picture sense.

The City With Most Heart

Boston. You expected me to say New York, right? Boston is and always has been a great city. They took a real blow in 2013. The rest of us just watched in sadness and horror. Violence can change a place, forever, and I'm sure Boston feels different to everyone who lives there, but no less great. If you rooted for anyone else to win the World Series in 2013, I'd like to know what it feels like to have no soul.

Best DVD release of a movie you almost certainly missed at the theater

Cloud Atlas. Stunning, in every way. Released in October, 2012, if you blinked, you missed the five minutes it was in theaters. If you're lucky enough to find it playing at an art house theater, go. Just go. It's a thing of beauty, and really should be seen for the first time in a dark theater, on a big screen, with a sound system that does the gorgeous soundtrack justice. Most people won't ever get to see it on the big screen, though, so the DVD release will have to suffice. I saw it in a theater and immediately pre-ordered the DVD months before it was released - that's how much I loved it. The DVD lived in my player for something like two months.

If Ben Wishaw doesn't break your heart and make you fall a little bit in love with him, check your pulse.

Most Sincere Outpouring of Goodwill

Batkid.  I'm sorry - if this didn't make you stop and feel good about human beings for a couple of hours, there's something wrong with you. The sheer number of people who volunteered their time and energy to make a kid feel good for one day, with no payback except a feeling of satisfaction at a deed well done was moving as hell. Especially if you happened to be in San Francisco when this went down.

Best Job of "That's a Tough Act To Follow"

American Horror Story: Coven. I had my doubts they could top AHS: Asylum but, dammit, this is one crazy-ass, fun, rollercoaster of a ride. Witches. Voodoo. The undead. Jessica Lange making Samantha Stevens look like a novice. Kathy Bates, in her own sort of misery. Angela  Bassett kicking all kinds of ass and stealing every scene she's in. All the fun and suspense of AHS: Asylum, but none of the personal mindfuck. A relief. I didn't think it could be done, but they did it.

Best Job of "Second Verse, Better Than The First"

Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The first movie was fine. The second movie is a whole lot more than fine. Really engaging. I loved it. Let there be no doubt about it: Katniss is a rock star. 

Best Bit of "That's The Way You Do It" TV

Dallas - Who Killed J.R.? I'm not going to lie - I did figure it out before the big reveal, but it was still a gorgeous, juicy reveal, and I think most people were, indeed, surprised by it. This was a nice, little gift to fans of the original show, who sat at the edge of their seats for the other reveal (Who shot J.R.?)

Best Lecherous, Old Dude Who Is Making Better Movies at Nearly 80 Than He Did At 50

Woody Allen. Blue Jasmine. See it. Even if you hate Woody Allen movies. This is the movie he's never made, before. This is the one he should retire with. It is perfect in every way. Perfectly written. Perfectly cast. Perfectly acted. Perfectly heart-breaking.

Saddest Shit That Happened

Losing a friend. R.I.P., Heidi Moore.

Most Life-Altering, Booby-Trapped Genetic Jackpot