Top Ten Entertainment Moments of 2013

The year was 2013 and madness ensued. Here’s yet another meaningless top ten countdown, where someone will bitch about how I didn’t include HBO’s “Enlightened” being cancelled.

 10. The Rise of the Mini-Series

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To start off the countdown, I’d like to take a moment to recognize a phenomenon that has captivated audiences in 2013: the mini-series. Unlike any year before, these productions have combined the high production value of films with the periodic elements of a television show. Most notably is FX’s American Horror Story: Coven, the third installment to Ryan Murphy’s anthology series, which follows the struggle between the witches and voodoos in New Orleans. Another popular mini-series this year was BBC’s Top of the Lake, starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss as a detective who uncovers the disappearance of a twelve-year-old pregnant girl. The story unfolds with strong cultural ties to the New Zealand landscape. BBC’s other masterpiece this year was Parade’s End, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a conservative aristocrat who falls in love with a progressive suffragette. So do yourself a favor and watch a mini-series! It’ll be worth your time.

 

9. North West

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At number nine is the baby of the year – and we’re not talking about the future heir to the English throne – we’re talking about North West. On June 15th, reality star Kim Kardashian gave birth to a baby boy, who, along with boyfriend and rapper Kanye West, named North West. As a nation, we gasped, thinking of this kid’s first day of Kindergarten as a confused schoolteacher takes attendance and calls out a compass direction, rather than a name. This was also a big year for Kimye as a couple. From Kanye’s music video for “Bound 2” was parodied by James Franco and Seth Rogan, to his public fight with Jimmy Kimmel, to his record smashing CD release of Yeezus, tabloids have been stocked with juicy stories about Hollywood’s newest power couple.

 

8. Lorde releases “Pure Heroine” 

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At number eight comes a young girl from down under – New Zealand to be exact. In the midst of the Royal Baby craze, she reminded us that, “We’ll never be royal.” This girl’s name is Lorde and her album, “Pure Heroine” hit shelves September 27 to critical raves and a whopping four Grammy nominations.

 

7. Jennifer Lawrence wins Oscar, trips

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Moving on to number seven, we take a trip back to February’s Academy Awards, where America’s budding sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence took a trip of own. On her way up to the stage to accept her award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, Lawrence stumbled up the steps – but still managed to make it look like a Chanel ad. The Girl on Fire has had a full year, starring in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the upcoming David O’Russell flick American Hustle, where another Oscar could be in store for Lawrence.

 

6. Deaths of James Gandolfini and Cory Monteith

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For number six, we take a somber moment to remember two great men gone too soon. In June, news broke that Sopranos front man James Gandolfini had died of a heart attack. Gandolfini had just wrapped up filming of a recently released film Enough Said alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, which has gained a lot of critical attention. Then in July, we learned the passing of Glee star Cory Monteith. The show postponed the start of their fifth season in order to properly pay tribute to Monteith’s legacy in an episode entitled “The Quarterback.” At the 2013 Emmy Awards held in September, Edie Falco and Jane Lynch paid tribute for their respective co-stars in a tearful in memoriam.

 

5. Sandra Bullock Brings The Heat and is Suspended in Gravity

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Number four on our countdown goes to Sandra Bullock, whose films this year brought audiences to tears of laughter and desolation. First, in her summer blockbuster, The Heat, Bullock stars as a ridged, by the books FBI agent from Manhattan, who is tasked to work with a Boston cop, played by Melissa McCarthy, to take down the nation’s most notorious drug dealer. Then in October, Bullock captivated audiences as Dr. Ryan Stone in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. Bullock’s character goes through a range of emotions in the ultimate “stranger in a strange land” film. The only thing in the way of Bullock’s second Oscar is Cate Blanchette in Blue Jasmine, but my vote’s for the lonely astronaut.

 

4. “Rains of Castamere”

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Have you heard someone say “Spoiler Alert!” at all during the past year? If so, chances are pretty good that that someone was about to talk about Game of Throne’s “Rains of Castamere” – which comes in at number three on our countdown. In one of the bloodiest hours in the history of television, the HBO fantasy drama unexpectedly killed off a slew of protagonists, as jaws dropped around the globe. Like clockwork, fans took to the Internet to vent their concerns, leading to dozens of viral “reaction” videos to the episode’s infamous moment, now known as “The Red Wedding.” Basically, if you haven’t started watching television’s most expensive drama, you should probably make that your New Year’s Resolution.

 

3. Miley Twerks at the VMAs

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She’s still just being Miley. At number two on our countdown comes Disney star turned provocative twerk-er. In August, Miley Cyrus performed a rendition of “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke, and proceeded to do the “Twerk Seen Round the World.” Was it a publicity stunt? Probably. Did it work? Definitely. Before the year was up, Miley had hosted SNL, performed a head-scratching rendition of “Wrecking Balls” at the AMA’s, and released a relatively successful album, Bangerz, all while sporting her now iconic short hair-do. Say what you will, but she’s just being Miley.

 

2. Breaking Bad Finale

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At number five, America said goodbye to its favorite meth cook – Walter Hartwell White. AMC wrapped up the fifth and final season of Breaking Bad on September 29th, as audiences packed auditoriums and movie theaters around the nation to view the shocking conclusion to one of the greatest television dramas of all time. To honor the show’s legacy, the Emmy’s awarded Anna Gunn with Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama, and the Outstanding Drama award went to the cast and crew of Breaking Bad.

 

1. Netflix Produces Original Content

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For my number one moment in entertainment for the 2013 year, I log onto my Netflix account to view their new, original content. Racking up an impressive fourteen Emmy nominations and one win, the online streaming site has become a television network in its own capacity. From reviving fan-favorite Arrested Development, to the political drama House of Cards, Netflix is doing everything right. Over the summer, Netflix added yet another outstanding show, Orange is the New Black, which has demolished all notions and prejudices America has had about female correctional facilities. At $8.99 a month, Netflix is more than just entertainment – it’s an experience.

Do you agree with my top ten? Let me know in the comment section. Be civilized, people.

Netflix Pick: SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED

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The 2012 crop of films was epic and unlike any year before. From the historical pictures like Lincoln and Argo, to the beautiful literature adaptations like Life of Pi and The Hunger Games, the industry made its great deal of profits. However, one film stayed below the commercialized radar. For my Netflix Pick, I have decided to deviate from television for a moment to spread the word of the most amazing film of 2012: Safety Not Guaranteed. However, the majority of the actors from this film come from a strong television background, so I’m kind of staying with my theme.

The film stars Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza as the highly intelligent but highly unmotivated Darius, who works as an intern at an alternative-style Seattle magazine.

The demanding magazine editor Bridget, played by 24’s Mary Lynn Rajskub, leads an ordinary pitch meeting where staff writer Jeff, played by New Girl’s Jack Johnson, suggests investigating a classified ad, in which the author is looking for a partner to travel back in time with, noting, “Safety Not Guaranteed.” Bridget agrees to the story and Jeff picks two interns to travel with him to Ocean View, WA. Darius and Arnau, the nerdy Indian medical student, accompany Jeff and strategize a plan to find the ad’s author.

After Jeff reveals to his interns that he intends to rekindle a romance with his high school girlfriend, Darius takes it upon herself to get the story. However, when she finally meets the ad’s author, a seemingly deranged grocery store employee, Kenneth, played by The League’s Mark Duplass, she becomes close to him.

Through his quirky training sessions with her, Darius tells Kenneth that she wants to go back in time to stop herself from asking her mom to stop at a gas station for chocolate milk, because this led to an incident where she was robbed and killed at the gas station’s mini-mart. Over the next few days, Kenneth eventually becomes comfortable enough to reveal to Darius that he intends to go back in time to stop a drunk driver from crashing into his girlfriend’s living room and killing her.

This movie is really about time. Jeff wishes to go back to his high school girlfriend and badgers the sexually inert Arnau to live a little while he’s young.

Darius’s mission takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that Kenneth’s old girlfriend, Belinda, is still alive. She goes to interview her and the charming housewife, played by Veronica Mars and Heroes star Kristen Bell, tells Darius that Kenneth had never been the same after he drunkenly drove his car into a house. In a twist right out of the pages of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the truth we thought was about an unnamed driver was really about Kenneth.

And to complicate matters more, Kenneth discovers that Darius’ original intentions for seeking him out were to write a story on him for her magazine and that she was not genuinely responding to his ad.

I will not spoil the movie’s ending, but I promise that it will leave you speechless.

Apart from the witty humor and terrific acting, the beautiful cinematography of Ocean View’s coast truly captures a place where time is virtually non-existent. This aids in giving the characters the necessary time to develop together and create a genuine, lasting bond.

I recommend this film to those who enjoyed such comedies as Dan in Real Life, Lars and the Real Girl, and Silver Linings Playbook.