It’s the close of another year, and this means that best of lists and countdowns are popping up all over the place in media – on the internet, magazines, television, radio shows, and the like. So I decided to jump on the bandwagon and make my own list of the best of 2012 in entertainment – although it very quickly just turned into me bitching about shit. Imagine that. All the same, here it is … enjoy.
You should have known that I was going to rate best book first as I am a total book junkie. Yes, I like to read … A LOT. The book I am choosing is somewhat surprising for me because “thrillers” are not typically a genre I get behind. However, this book intrigued me and received rave reviews from multiple sources. Add me to those individuals praising Gillian Flynn and Gone Girl. I admit that Desi was a difficult character to buy into and his role almost bordered on the V.C. Andrews’ work that Amy Elliot Dunne alludes to. Beyond that, this book was brilliant and will keep the reader gripped to his or her seat, turning page after page until hours have passed without notice. There are so many lines that had me laughing out loud in their crude, unfiltered honesty and hilarity. For example, the book begins on the anniversary of Nick and Amy Dunne. Nick’s twin sister, Go (Margo) inquires about the traditional gift for fifth anniversaries, like paper for year one. When Nick informs his sister that that the expected gift is wood, and complains over the difficulty of finding a proper wooden gift, his twin offers: “I got it. Go home, fuck her brains out, then smack her with your penis and scream, ‘There’s some wood for you, bitch!’” Gone Girl is an amazingly captivating psychological portrait of a miserable, manipulative marital relationship. The writing is compelling and funny, and damn, I wish I had written so many of these lines. Read this book.
I also love music, and confess that I don’t own an MP3 player, but rather have over 800 compact discs. I know the refusal to purchase an i-pod seems very strange for a music lover, but I believe in buying whole albums because often the arrangement of the individual songs come together to tell one beautiful story. This is especially true for my favorite artist, Aimee Mann. Although Mann came out with a new CD in 2012, which of course I bought, the win isn’t hers. I am somewhat begrudgingly recognizing the band fun for their album Some Nights. I didn’t want to like fun because they seemed like total hipster douche-bags when their second studio album burst onto the scene in early 2012. I am always reluctant to like bands whose rise to popularity is largely driven by advertising, with their single “We are Young” featured in a Chevrolet commercial that first aired during the super bowl. I initially hated the single because suddenly my high school students were all wearing hipster bright sunglasses inside the school and singing about getting higher than the empire state. However, the song eventually stuck on me too when I heard it performed acoustically on XM radio. And then I gave a listen to the whole album and realized how anthemic singles such as “Some Nights” and “Carry On” are. The vocals and lyrics are brilliant, beautiful, catchy, and authentic rock n’ roll all at the same time. If you ignore the hipster sunglasses and just listen to the music, it’s undeniably damn good stuff.
Best Television Show
If you know me in real life or follow this blog closely, you probably know that I love Tina Fey and her 30 Rock character Liz Lemon. So, Tina Fey, I really, truly wanted to recognize you in this category for all of the years that you have brought me joy. [A brief aside: One time my brother was raving about the show Workaholics on Comedy Central and asked me if I had seen it. I said, “No. I watch 30 Rock.” He replied, “So, that means you can’t watch other shows?” When I nodded in affirmation, he yelled, “What the fuck? Are you a sixty-five year old lady? No. No. I can only watch Angela Lansbury and Murder She Wrote. Why are you so fucking weird?”] However, I think that 30 Rock has jumped the damn shark. Liz’s wedding? Really? She got married in her Princess Lea costume? That makes no sense because Liz knows that is bat shit crazy as she formerly wore the costume to get out of jury duty. Liz wouldn’t do that! Or, okay, I would never do that and the reason I had always loved Liz Lemon so much in the past is because I found her oddly relatable. I was Liz Lemon, but I can’t relate anymore. Therefore, I have moved on to fellow SNL alum Amy Poehler and bestow Parks and Recreation with the great honor of being my best in television for 2012. This honor really is owed more so to the brilliant Nick Offerman than Poehler, but the whole ensemble works skillfully together and has provided many laughs this past season. Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones, and the hilarious Aziz Ansari (whose 2012 comedy special Dangerously Delicious also had me cracking up) each contribute wonderfully to a truly terrific sitcom.
Best Music Competition
It’s a sad sign of the times when there’s about three quality sitcoms to choose from, but over a dozen singing competitions because the entertainment industry is too damn tired and lacking to come up with clever, creative, compelling programming. From those dozens of competitions, I choose The Voice, even though I yell at the screen almost every time I watch this program because I want Christina Aguilera to stop dressing like a god-damnstreet walker. I once loved American Idol, but when Simon Cowell left, I also stopped viewing this program. I recognize that Simon is now on the X Factor, but so is Britney Spears and people really just need to stop employing her because she will just waste her earnings on Uggs and cigarettes. She should not be celebrated anymore. She stopped being fascinating years ago, and was never talented. Further, I applaud the concept of The Voice – that you can be one ugly mother fucker, but if you can really sing, you can still make it to top three (see Nicholas David).
My choice for 2012’s best film is Argo. Confession: I didn’t even see Argo, but I’m going on faith here and bestowing this honor on Ben Affleck. Personally, I don’t understand the appeal of going to the movies. It’s too damn expensive, and I have a toddler and infant at home. I don’t see anything until I can rent it from the Redbox. So, when I finally do see Argo, I better be validated or I am coming after your ass Affleck – and I have some grudges from Reindeer Games, Jersey Girl, and Forces of Nature too. Of movies I actually did see this year, I can tell you that Jeff who Lives at Home sucked really bad and was a waste of my life. I was confused for a whole week afterwards, but not because the plot was so intricate and deeply meaningful. I just couldn’t understand how such a huge pile of shit was ever made and marketed, but then I remembered that most Americans are fans of Twilight. Sorry Twilight fans. No. Not really.
Let's hear it! What were your favorites in 2012? Who thrilled and who disappointed? Did you actually see Argo?