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Blog: Best/Worst of 2012

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It’s that time of year again – time for lists, with everyone and their mother chiming in with their opinions of what they liked and what they didn’t like during this past year.  So here’s mine!  It’s fun to reminisce and remember the good and the bad from the past year.  So without further ado, here is MY list for the best and worst of 2012 in entertainment.  Feel free to agree or disagree.  Either way, opinions are encouraged!

Best Movie: I saw a ton a great movies this year, so it’s really hard for me to choose just one.  So I won’t.  I’ll pick two.

#1a. The Hobbit.  My favorite movie series of all time is Lord of the Rings, so I had high expectations for The Hobbit and Peter Jackson did not disappoint.  Those critics who complained it was too long or too wordy or inconceivable that you could make three movies out of such a slim book…I disagree.  But I’m one of those who didn’t want the Lord of the Rings to ever end and didn’t mind the 30 minute denouement at the end of Return of the King. The sets are the same.  The costumes are the same.  The movie sets the stage for Lord of the Rings, so when my kids are old enough to watch these films, they can start with The Hobbit and watch all six movies in a row, the best – and longest – movie ever!

#1b. The Avengers.  I am a sucker for superhero movies, and this is the best one I’ve ever seen (Besides The Dark Knight).  Not only did you get Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor all together, but the story made sense and the script was intelligent and funny.  Joss Whedon did an awesome job putting it together, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the sequel.

Worst Movie: Rock of Ages.  Loved the stage musical when it rolled through Kansas City last year but the movie was terrible.  I turned it off halfway through.  I can’t stand actors lip syncing to a soundtrack and just had trouble caring about any of the characters.  Definitely not worth your time – unless you’re a huge Tom Cruise fan.  He owns his role but he doesn’t play a really nice person.

Best Book: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.  I would’ve said my book (The Walk-On, released this past March), but that’s too corny and self-serving and, well, kinda lame.  So instead I choose Unbroken.  It didn’t come out this year, but it’s the best book I read this year.  Absolutely riveting.  A true story of an Olympic miler who joined the Air Force as a bombardier, was shot down in the Pacific Ocean, survived weeks aboard a life raft with no food and sharks circling and Japanese Zero planes shooting at him, was captured and spent month in POW camps, tortured by one of the most evil Japanese commanders of all time, and survived!  If someone in Hollywood made this up, it would never sell because no one would believe it.  A great read!

Worst Book: Dora Goes To School.  It’s a fine book for kids, but my daughter makes me read it to her every. single. night.  I might have to hide it soon and hopes she forgets about it!  Out of sight, out of mind.

Best TV Show: I have a tie here again. 1a. Fringe.  I’m sad this is the last season but it’s fun to watch a show that is constantly pushing the limits of television and reinventing the hour-long drama.  The series started as a mystery of the week show with an amazing back story of two universes colliding, and now it’s an action/adventure story of rebels battling super intelligent beings who came here from the future.  Top notch drama.

1b. Parenthood.  Best real-life drama on television.  This year one of the main characters is battling breast cancer and I have to admit, I’ve had to reach for the hankie a few times.  Great acting, great story lines, and real life situations you can relate to in your own life.

Worst Show: Hawaii 5-0.  I say this as I watch every single episode, and I always feel guilty afterwards, like I just wasted an hour of my life.  The plotting and action is so unrealistic.  They stretch the laws of reality way too much and the drama is way too sappy.  Also, the product placement is so obvious (Let’s use the video phone feature on my Windows phone!  Let’s do this scene with the camera focused on the Ford logo on the back of the car.)  So I basically hate myself for loving a show that I want to hate but keep watching anyway.

Best Song:  Miracle by Third Day.  Never heard of Third Day?  Do yourself a favor and give them a listen.  Even if you don’t listen to Christian rock music, you can appreciate the musicality of this band.  And this song has such a great message, about a man about to kill himself when he finds God, and the power of music to bring people peace of mind.  A great song in these troubling times.

Worst Song: Gangum Style.  It’s amazing that a Korean rapper who’s never had a hit has become such a phenom in America.  A true rags-to-riches story.  But the song reminds me of the Macarena, a song you love when it first comes out because it’s so catchy but quickly gets old, a song you will hear at weddings for all eternity, a song that will always remind you of this time in your life, a song you can’t get out of your head as it annoys you to death.

Best Breakout Actor/Actress: For this year, I will go with Channing Tatum and Jennifer Lawrence.  No, I haven’t seen Magic Mike, and I’m sure Channing does a great job stripping in that movie (not that I’ll ever know), but I think his performance in 21 Jump Street was hilarious!  That guy has an amazing charisma about him that draws you in, and it’s hard to ignore his performance.  He won’t win any Oscars for his work this year, but he won my vote for his comedic chops.  Actress-wise, I loved Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games and think she is the next Meryl Streep.  As long as she stays off the Lindsay Lohan path, she will most likely end up as the actress of our generation.  She is very believable and plays characters you find yourself rooting on, plus I love her humility off the camera.

So there you go.  My personal picks for 2012.  Agree or disagree, that’s what they are for me.  So what does 2013 hold for us?  Many more hours of watching movies and TV shows, reading books and listening to music; a great way to escape when life gets too tough.  May the things you see and hear in the coming year continue to inspire you and bring you happiness.

You can contact Matt at matt.stewart@wdaftv4.com.

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