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Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Films of 2014

I've come to realize that I absolutely hate doing year-end movie lists at the very end of the year. While I do watch an unnecessary amount of films, I tend to really finish watching all of the "good" films as the Academy Awards draw near. That's a good solid two months of film watching, and films worth putting on lists like these, that I miss out on the first time around. One of my favorite films of 2013 was Nebraska (currently streaming on Netflix *wink wink*). I didn't have a chance to watch the film in 2013, so I left it off of my initial list. I am confident that I will do the same this year, especially considering I need to see films like Whiplash, Birdman, and Boyhood. I'll post my "true" best of 2014 list some time in late February or early March, but for now, here is my list of the Top 10 Films of 2014.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Way Too Early 2015 Starting Pitcher Rankings

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
2) Felix Hernandez (SEA)
3) David Price (DET)
4) Chris Sale (CWS)
5) Max Scherzer (???)
6) Corey Kluber (CLE)
7) Madison Bumgarner (SF)
8) Jose Fernandez (MIA)
9) Adam Wainwright (STL)
10) Yu Darvish (TEX)

An Everyman's Movie Review: Foxcatcher

When I first saw the trailer of Foxcatcher I was instantly hooked. After Moneyball, I was in on director Bennett Miller, I was in on Steve Carell doing his best to win an Oscar, I was in on Channing Tatum trying to expand his range, and I was in on a stylish, creepy movie about a creepy fucking dude. I was so excited about this film, that I ranked it as my #2 most anticipated film of this fall season. In that column I wrote, "I actually can't imagine a scenario where Foxcatcher is bad 'per se' but I can envision a scenario where the film is just not as good as I am hyping it up to be."

As it turns out, Foxcatcher is bad. I mean really bad. It's not Troll 2 or Saving Christmas bad, but it is not a good movie. I could take a movie with great performances that's not very engaging or a movie in which I am self-aware enough to know that I don't like it because my expectations were set way too high (because at least then I can re-watch the film), but neither is the case with Foxcatcher. The film's main problem (among many) is that there is no conflict. For the vast majority of this movie, these characters just exist. They're there, and that's it. I could actually take that if Bennett Miller was properly setting mood and tone to help the audience feel uncomfortable surrounding a creepy situation, but that doesn't happen either. What's most infuriating about the story that's been chosen to be told is that natural conflict should arise. The whole reason this story deserves to be made into a movie is rife with conflict, yet that barely shines through.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The 10 Best Singles of 2014

I think this year in mainstream pop culture will be remembered for two things: that it was absolutely dominated by females artists (at least seemingly more than normal), and that it was a really bad year for music. Now don't get me wrong, the two are not mutually exclusive. It is absolutely NOT the case that because there was more mainstream female artists with popular songs that that was the reason music this past year has been bad. I think that's just coincidental (especially considering Adele and Lorde is going to dominate my half-end year in review). But the fact remains, the past 12 months have not been very good, especially at the top. There was no clear but #1 song of the year, and even creating a top 5 was difficult. But with all of that being said, there still was some quality nuggets among the garbage that are worth talking about and worth listening to over and over again. Here are those nuggets and my list of The 10 Best Singles of 2014:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The 14 Best TV Shows of 2014

Television programs and programming is in a weird place right now. The Golden Age of Television is long gone (although its official death came when Breaking Bad ended last year) and in its wake we're seeing a huge crop of quality TV shows from a variety of different sources. Yet despite the gross number of quality programming, there isn't a show like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad anymore. Hell, there isn't even a Lost anymore. You'd think with more traditional and non-traditional service providers cropping up that at least one of them would give us The Next Big Thing, but it hasn't happened yet. Instead, what we're left with is a shit ton of really-good-but-not-Holy-Shit-amazing shows. While the "Top 14 of 14" sounds like a gimmick, it's sort of not. There's just that much good television shows to talk about that I need to expand my list beyond a Top 10, but I had a difficult time going past 14. So without further ado, here is my list of The 14 Best TV Shows of 2014: