Monday, December 31

Favourite Things 2012

Every time I do these posts I feel like I should change the title, or stop with the Sound of Music pictures, but I have to say as much as I think about it, I am quite fond of both.

How was your year, entertainment wise, that is? Mine hasn't been too terrible, definitely better than last year, at least; I've watched a bit of TV, seen quite a few films and listened to a lot of new (ish) music. So let's get started, shall we?


This was actually a lot more difficult than it usually is. Generally, I don't watch a lot of television, but if anything for me this has been the year of the American Comedy and the BBC's original programming.

There was no way I couldn't begin with The Hour. After an excellent, if not slightly complicated, first series, The Hour returned with a second series this Autumn which was above and beyond what I had come to expect from the show.

The Hour is a BBC drama series set in the 1950's, which follows a group of journalists working on the fictional BBC news show 'The Hour'. The first programme of it's kind on UK television, the show and it's dedicated team uncover dangerous conspiracies and plots.

A lot more fast-paced than one might expect, I personally found the original series, although enjoyable, a little too complicated. The second series, however, struck the perfect balance between character plots and intrigue, with some impeccable acting from the cast (including Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, Anna Chancellor and Peter Capaldi).

(more after the cut)

Community is a US comedy, which follows a group of students attending Greendale Community College, who form a study group to pass their Spanish class
Community is an odd little programme. Described as a 'meta cult comedy' (it's so 'meta' that I had to google what that even meant), the general consensus is that either you get it, or you don't. Not in a patronising 'clearly you don't get it' way, but in a 'million and one references each second, sometimes referencing previous references' way; sometimes it's just tiring. Which is why it took me three seasons to know if I actually liked it or not, turns out I do, but my goodness it took some perseverance! I'll be honest I found it hard work, had I not won the first series on DVD I probably wouldn't be discussing it here. I'm not doing a great job of selling it here, but I do promise that it is worth it for the paintball and pillow-fort episodes (yes, that is plural).

I think if there is any television programme that has generated buzz, controversy, anything this year it has been Girls
Girls follows four friends in their early twenties living in New York.
I'm going to be honest, I don't think Lena Dunham is the so-described 'voice of our generation'; I'm not really that into her films and I'm not excited for her book, I do however like Girls, a lot. I think it's no-doubt an honest portrayal of Dunham's life and the world she knows, and I also think it's really funny. I love Dunham's fearlessness in how she writes for herself (nudity and all) and I love how relatable so many aspects of the character's personalities are. But of course, more than anything, I love Shoshana. Possibly the least realistic character (for me, do people like this exist?), Shoshana is like a caricature of a Sex and the City fan, with her velour tracksuits, her coach bag and her dating rules books. I completely adore her.

Honourable Mentions
  • Parks and Recreation: I very nearly wrote about Parks and Rec again, that's how much I love this show. I will not rest until everyone loves Leslie Knope as much as I do. BBC Four recently bought the UK rights to series one and two, and it will be screened in the spring. Make sure you stick through series one (it gets into its stride in series 2), you will thoroughly rewarded.
  • Veep/ The Thick of It: Not really interchangeable, but both Armando Iannuci gems. Veep aired it's first series this year, whilst The Thick Of It aired it's last. Both have the same hand-held camera style of political satire, but of course only one has Malcolm Tucker.
  • Sherlock: Sherlock is a difficult one for me, probably my favourite programme on tv at the moment. The problem is that it's on so little that instead of missing it, I just get annoyed by it. There's no doubt that it's excellent, I'd just like it on a more scheduled basis.
  • Breaking Bad: Another difficult one for me. Breaking Bad is good, very good. It is also quite dark and depressing (I found). So as much as I may enjoy it, I had to stop watching for a while, as it got a bit much interspersing each episode with something a little more lighthearted.
This wasn't difficult at all. My most played artists of the entire year; If I had a favourite song this year, you could probably put money on it being one of these two (unless it was by Solange).

If you don't, every now and again, think that you may know the lyrics to 212 we probably won't get on. The first time I heard 212 was on Annie Mac's Friday show when she interviewed Caitlin Moran. If the combination of those two ladies didn't already make it a perfect show, this song came on and blew it out of the water. Even being played (read: bleeped) on BBC Radio, this nsfw language laced song is probably the best song of the year. Not to be mistaken as a run-of the-mill one hit wonder Azealia followed the release of 212 with four-track EP 1991 and my most played album this year, Fantasea.

(contains explicit language)

The only review that I've read of Born To Die described it as "not having a single upbeat track" and called it "melancholy", of course it's true, but who knew that melancholia could be so delightful. The thing I love most about Lana Del Rey's music is that each song tells a story, usually of someone who is seeking happiness and you just don't get that anymore.  So many songs today are in the moment, about nothing at all or about being in a club. Sometimes it's just nice to hear a story as the music plays, regardless of how melancholy.

Honourable Mentions
  • Childish Gambino: Better known as Donald Glover from the US comedy Community, Childish Gambino was my fourth most played artist this year (Emeli Sande being third). The only reason he didn't make the main list is that I haven't listened to him quite as much as I have the other two. If, however, at any point this summer you asked me who I was listening to, the answer was usually him.
  • Emeli Sande: I don't really know anyone who doesn't love Emeli at this point, which is a pretty great achievement seeing as she was the voice of the Olympics; it's a wonder we aren't sick of her (Jessie J didn't fare quite so well). I don't love all of her songs, but the ones I do, I love. Her voice sort-of soars doesn't it? She's a bit good.

I don't think I remember the last film I watched that was this fun. This film explains why I stopped watching Glee,  the writers seem to want to be snarky, fun and silly, whilst also trying to save an outcast teenager with every episode. It's like they can't strike the balance between the two. The reason why I love this film, is because it doesn't really try, it doesn't try too hard. It may mention how geeky it is to want to join an a cappella group at college (because it kind of is), but it also shows how much fun it can actually be. After watching this film I wanted to find an awesome group of people who could riff No Diggity by Blackstreet and who knew all the words to Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus, don't they just sound like awesome people you want to know?

I actually went into this film expecting not to enjoy it. The quotes from the original book of the same name pop up on Tumblr from time-to-time, always so heartfelt and young-adulty (granted I have never read the book), it makes me start to wonder if anyone wasn't a 'misfit' or outcast at high-school. That being said I absolutely loved this film; I wasn't quite convinced by Emma Watson's acting (I never really am), but not even she ruined it. My favourite part of the film had to be Ezra Miller's character, Patrick. I haven't seen any of Ezra Miller's films (particularly not his seminal film 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'), but since watching this I will watch absolutely any of his films that follow. As with Logan Lerman (who plays main character Charlie), he played his character with such devastating sincerity that I couldn't help but believe every word he said.

Honourable Mentions
  • Beyond Clueless: Not quite a film just yet, but I really wanted to mention this. I love teen films. I've loved teen films since watching Clueless with my cousin when I was 10, and I still love them. I even did my final MA exhibition on the social impact of teen films, that's how much I love this genre. Which is why I'm so excited about this project. If you're equally intrigued make sure you visit the project page on Kickstarter.
  • Bachelorette: Yes, I still love this film. It's still one of my favourites of the year. The only reason it's not in the main list is because I think I may have already gushed too much in my review
  • 21 Jump Street: It's been a good year for the teen film, and a not too terrible one for Channing Tatum either. This film is still hilarious, I could explain every single joke five minutes before it happens and I'd still find it hilarious. It's just a good film.

And as they say, that's all folks! 

Today, before the year is over, I'm off to see The Hobbit. Whether it's the best or worst film of 2012 it's too late late to make this list and I'm sure I'll be too lazy to add it to the film list! 

Speaking of, I've had such a fun time editing my film list all year and I can't wait to start all over again in 2013! It's been great to have a visual of the films that I choose to watch. I think I may try for a few more documentaries and perhaps fewer terrible romantic comedies (particularly those made in 2010)! It has definitely showed me that I need to branch out and take more risks with the films I take time to watch. I also want to try to watch more than one of the films generating Oscar buzz (even Silver Linings Playbook, which I'm incredibly reluctant to watch), if not simply so I know what they're talking about on the night!

What have you enjoyed most this year? Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to hearing/seeing in 2013?


1 comment:

  1. I really need to start watching Girls; I've had it recommended to me so many times, by so many people - everyone seems to love it!

    Happy New Year!!
    Terri-Jane xx


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