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Random Thoughts: Taylor Swift and Feminism

Here’s something that has been bugging me a bit recently, the idea that Taylor Swift is anti-feminist or that her songs present femininity in a negative light and she’s doing more harm than good.

It’s usually what you hear before they say that she doesn’t write her own music (first problem with that, she does actually write her own songs, secondly a lot of others don’t) and that she dates a lot of guys (because attempts at actual relationships are somehow worse than musicians that have gone on record to say they’ve slept with hundreds of girls).

Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the goal of feminism to be empowered to do whatever you want? To establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment? To control your own life and make it into a success in a male dominated society?

Taylor Swift isn’t hurting feminism, the only thing being detrimental to feminism is your own backwards ass interpretation of feminism.

-Z

Coming Attractions: Jersey Boys

So my domain and site got renewed, and considering the sheer amount of money I didn’t have when it decided to automatically bill my credit card, I figured its time to get back into the habit of writing for this site. But what? I’m short on time lately so there’s no photos to be taken, a problem which will hopefully be rectified come September when I’m in school for photography.  So that leaves my other passion, films. My lack of time prevents me from going to see new films when they’re released so I figured I’d dust off this old hat of giving my thoughts and predictions of movies based off their trailers. And until I can think of a much less generic title but better than One Shots, come to me for my thoughts on Coming Attractions.

So if you’ll indulge me I can get back to my job of harshly criticizing the things that bring joy to millions of people.

Coming Attractions: Jersey Boys

  • This movie came out of nowhere. I have not heard one mention of it until I saw the movie poster for it at a theatre just prior to its release.
  • The last The Musical The Movie I saw was Rock of Ages, the adaption of the mediocre play that had me looking back fondly at the play thinking “What in gods name happened??”
  • The fourth wall breaking was a staple of the plays narrative, with each of the four members representing a season and giving their opinions on what was happening. Techniques on the stage don’t always translate well to screen, so the jury’s out on whether this will work or make it look amateurish.
  • The music is solid, which is pretty much all you can ask for in a film like this.
  • Having said that, Frankie Valli seems…off. Like there’s something ever so slightly wrong with his voice.
  • Christopher Walken is cast brilliantly, his character Gyp DeCarlo is a tough guy and comedic foil.
  • Clint Eastwood tends to produce consistently good films so I have hope for this film being decent. Personally I do find them a little dry sometimes but the music should more than make up for it.

Verdict: Cautiously Optimistic.

- Z

 

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-IMAX-PosterMy god.

Okay, you know me, I’m critical of everything, even stuff I really like. I do this because I live by the belief that nothing can get better without first coming to terms with it own flaws. This is why you’ll see me spend an article talking about the problems of a film before ending it on the note that I loved the movie. So understand just how goddamn good that Captain America: The Winter Soldier has to be to have me to be lost for words and unable to come up with an criticism for it. I left the movie shaking with excitement, and spent the next hour talking to my friend Sasha about just how awesome the film is.

I’m serious this is the best Marvel film ever and that’s from a studio that has done nothing but produce home runs with every film they have made.  It takes the Marvel movies to a whole new level, and a brilliant mid-movie shakeup that changes the whole dynamic of the Marvel film and left me staring at the film in awe at the complexity and brilliance of the twist. Taking Captain America and dropping him in a Jason Bourne-style spy thriller was a stroke of utter brilliance, because the moral Captain America works as a kind of reverse virus in the amoral world he finds himself in.

Some time after Avengers, Captain America is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and is struggling with the new world that he has to live in. S.H.I.E.L.D. has gone all Homeland Security on the world in the wake of Loki’s invasion (New York gets invaded and the government imposes harsh actions in the name of peace, I wonder what that could be referring to…) After a mission to reclaim a hijacked tanker Black Widow embarks on a secret mission that momentarily puts Captain America in danger and puts him at odds with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. The information that Black Widow recovers soon makes Nick Fury the target of a mysterious figure known as the Winter Soldier. After refusing to divulge information to the mysterious Adam Pierce, a S.H.I.E.L.D director, him and Black Widow find themselves on the end of a burn notice and forced into hiding to try and unravel the mystery of the information they received.

If I did have to find one complaint its that The Winter Soldier doesn’t have enough screen time in his own movie. I was hoping for a character with a bit of complexity…or any sort of personality at all. Then again he is supposed to be a brainwashed assassin so he plays the part well, but Sebastian Stan comes off looking like a bit of a hobo/mental patient rather than the most terrifying assassin in history. Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye was missed but his unexplained absence wasn’t a . Chris Evans continues to be the best choice for Captain America, completely showing that his past as the douchebag Johnny Storm in the horrible Fantastic Four movies was a fluke. Scarlett Johansson and Samual L. Jackson brings new energy and depth to Black Widow and Nick Fury. But the MVP of the show is Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson aka the Falcon who not only sports one of the most impressive pieces of technology since the Iron Man suit, is the perfect companion to Captain America as a modern day addition to his Howling Commandos.

Special mention goes to Robert Redford who gets the chance to show himself to a brand new audience, and he nails his role considering his casting originally seemed to be an Easter Egg/joke to film buffs like me. Another fun easter egg was George St. Pierre as Batroc, the man who hijacks the tanker in the beginning of the film and it’s just utterly utterly nerd cool to see Captain America fight freaking George St. Pierre.

I left the theatre shaking with excitement and I can’t remember the last time I ever felt that way after a movie. The Winter Soldier is damn good, and raises the bar of all Marvel films, something that is unbelievable when you consider all their movies seem to out do the previous film. It left me extremely excited for their upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

- Z

Super Bowl XLVIII

I’m told by people that pay attention to these things that Super Bowl…um “Exliveee?” was on today. I’m also told that Denver was the favourite and they responded to that momentum going in by getting decimated, 44 to 8. And this is the best way to summarize feelings about that.

- Z

 

 

 

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Frozen

So I made a mistake when making my top five movies of 2013, a glaring omission that I will rectify here.

5. Prisoners
4. Iron Man 3
3. The Great Gatsby
2. Frozen
1. Spring Breakers

See while Wolf of Wall Street is great the more I think about it the more I realize there were too many holes in the structure of the film to be in my top five, given how I tend to judge movies. Top ten most certainly, but not top five. And conversely the more I think about Walt Disney’s Frozen, based off of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen and in production since Walt Disney was alive, the more I realize how great it was.

Going into it I had heard that it was Beauty and the Beast levels of good, something I took with mountainous grains of salt (because Beauty and the Beast was perfect, sublime from start to finish) but damned if it doesn’t come close. It’s good, easily the best Disney musical since Mulan and best animated Disney film since Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The film isn’t without its flaws however. There’s a village of trolls who are just unnecessary and could be cut or replaced with a bog-standard mystic person, some of the songs don’t pack that great of a punch and it feels like we’re missing some somewhere. But all of these are relative minor gripes, though had they been fixed I may have seriously considered calling it Beauty and the Beast levels of excellence.

Oddly enough something that it reminds me of is Spring Breakers and before you roll your eyes at that let me explain. Both of these films drew people in suspecting them to be a lot less then what they actually were, only for the rug to be pulled out from under the feet of spectators and be presented with something revolutionary. Spring Breakers appeared to be a meaningless college road trip movie with a cavalcade of post Disney starlets trying to be “serious” and instead turned out to be a mind blowing critical analysis of the existential emptiness of the Generation Y promised lifestyle. Frozen in advertisements looked to be a generic family comedy with an annoying supporting character getting an unnecessary amount of time and wooden princesses that would translate into a cash cow for the Disney Princess line. What we got however was not only an amazing film, but a much needed evolutionary step in the Disney Animated features.

The film is a love story, but a love story between two sisters. After being born with magical powers, one night Elsa and Anna go play in the ballroom and Elsa end up nearly killing Anna with her powers. From there on in Elsa becomes scared of what she can do and becomes extremely repressed at the behest of her parents. But, because this is a Disney movie the parents end up conveniently dead and Elsa inherits the throne, cutting off contact with the outside world. This leaves Anna all alone and confused that her best friend, her sister, is no longer at her side and she doesn’t know why because the spell to heal her removes all memory of Elsa magic powers. Eventually the castle opens up and Anna falls in love with Prince Han, because this is a Disney movie and qed there is love at first sight. Elsa’s coronation goes badly when Anna asks to get married and Elsa refuses. The emotional turmoil gets to Elsa and her powers go off uncontrollably, covering the entire kingdom in an endless winter. Elsa to runs off and Anna to follow after her with the aid of the character Kristoff, and we watch to find out if Anna can mend the sororal love.

And here’s where I start to go into details about the movie that people may get mad about. Some spoilers ahead.

Frozen is ultimately a coming of age story that is also a love story. When the main narrative of the film starts the two girls are stuck in the same places they were when there parents died, with Anna caught in a naive childhood. Anna is relatively immature and stuck in a fantasy world of true love at first sight. Countless other Disney films have the heroine falling in love at first sight and this film shows us just what such romantic recklessness would cost when it turns out Han only pretended to like Anna so he could take control of the kingdom after eventually offing her. It deconstructs one of the very pillars of Disney films by showing that love at first sight just doesn’t happen and can be reckless. Anna eventually grows out of this childhood state by saving her sister and ending her quest for true love at first sight.

In Elsa case, however, she is forever stuck in puberty. Some people will hate me for “dirtying” a Disney movie but its true. Elsa is afraid of what is going on in her body, so she represses it, cutting herself off from the world and becoming isolated from everyone including her sister. Instead of living with herself she is caught up in the notion of being a good girl that doesn’t show anything personal to anyone. She’s not a human being to the public, she is an archaic idea and the prospect of straying from that oath for fear of what will happen terrifies her. Elsa only begins to feel better about herself when she embraces her body and lets herself be who she is rather than penning up all her powers (all while singing “Let it Go”, the greatest Disney song in years). It shows that accepting and enjoying your body is a perfectly healthy thing to do and that its wrong to deny and hide yourself. It’s not dirty, its not sexualization, it’s not the focus of the movie, it’s just what it is – part of the coming of age narrative. Elsa is a complex character, the kind of heroine I’ve wanted from a Disney film ever since I started looking at films critically.

Frozen works, and is amazing – I’ve barely done it justice. It’s up for two Academy Awards and if there’s any sanity in the world it will win both. It’s not perfect but it’s the closest we’ve gotten in a long time and I advise it to anyone who likes Disney films.

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The Meh of 2013

And now for my unique categories, the Meh of 2013. “Meh” as you may know came from the Simpsons where it’s short indifference basically summed up the feelings of a generation about everything, the 90′s basically being a decade of apathy and nihilism.

TV Show: Agents of Shield
You know the best word I can use to describe this? Meandering. You know this is just a holding pattern until the next Marvel movie. The movies themselves escaped basically being a holding pattern until the next Avengers movie but this one went belly up. I’ve heard people compare it to the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, which itself was pretty much meandering around until they could do a crossover with Doctor Who. I don’t care about any of these people, I know Joss Weadon is better than this. Maybe it will pick up and I’ll start caring but this was a dud.

Video Game: God of War: Ascension.
Remember when God of War was the best new IP around? Remember when God of War II was hailed as a a great swansong of the PS2 era? Remember when it was bursting with creativity? I do, and now we’re left with God of War: Ascension trying to milk more money out of this dead franchise. They killed Zeus in the last game and you don’t top that by scraping the barrel with something like the furies. I saw they just go for broke and make an Egyptian God of War where you beat up Anubis and Osiris et al.

Music: Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke
Why is this song so freaking popular, why does everyone care about Miley Cyrus dancing to this, why did this song ever get allowed to be published, why didn’t anyone bludgeon Robin Thicke when he went on record to say that it was so fun to demean women, WHY IS THERE A FREAKING GOAT IN THIS MUSIC VIDEO??

Movies:
5. The Purge
4. World War Z
3. Pacific Rim
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
1. Man of Steel

I agonized over whether or not to go with Man of Steel or Desolation of Smaug, but in the end I went with another DC failure. Desolation of Smaug was probably never going to be the best, as the second part of the movie it suffers from no real beginning and no real end. Man of Steel was suppose to herald the coming of the DC Cinematic Universe, was suppose to create this great rival to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead we got an “ok” movie, that underperformed at the box office (just barely scraping by Thor: The Dark World, the weakest of the Marvel Cinematic franchises.

Person: Shia LeBouef
It’s hard to even get angry or hate this unwelcome stain on American cinema anymore.

Moment: Prince George
More anachronistic fascination with the descendants of some arbitrary German hemophiliac combined with the over sensationalism of the American mainstream media. I’m sorry, I don’t see any interest in the fact that some women gave birth when she isn’t related to me.

Wait, I’m a descendant of Clan Cunningham which has ties to the Scottish Royal family who are the ancestors of the current royal family, and as a result Kate Middleton and Prince George.

Oh.

- Z

86th Academy Awards: Predictions

86th_Academy_Awards_posterIt’s Oscar season which means its the time when I and everyone else makes educated guesses at who deserves golden idols representing the archaic selection process that a few old white men use in Hollywood to determine a “good” movie. Now I must admit my track record on predictions aren’t stellar, mostly because I tend to go on such ideas like “who actually deserves to win” but like everyone else this spells easy topic to talk about so lets get underway.

(n.b. I’m not going to do all, Best Foreign Film, Best Documentary – Feature, Best Documentary – Short Subject, Best Live Action Short Film, Best Animated Short Film, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing are outside my interests/anything I have seen so any choice in those would legit be picking something at random.

Also while they’re listed, I will bet my life that The Lone Ranger doesn’t win any award.)

Best Visual Effects:
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness
Iron Man 3, while a great film, did not have any wow moments in terms of visual effects, nor did Desolation of Smaug. Gravity on the other hand was one gigantic “wow” moment, attempting to create a CGI art film merged with a blockbuster. I’m not about to say they pulled that one off but its beautiful and beautiful in the way of CGI art.

Best Film Editing
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
12 Years a Slave
This is an award that, lets be honest, nobody cares about unless you have actually won it. As such I’m giving it to the token artsy film, but this is one time when I will admit that I could very well be wrong because none of these wowed me with their editing except Gravity.

Best Costume Design
American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
12 Years a Slave
I asked my friend who studied flapper culture to see if the portrayal of the roaring 20s was anything like depicted in the movie, minus the omnipresent Jay-Z. And to a bit of my surprise, she said they got it spot on.

Baz Luhrman got something right. Huh.

The opulence and decadence of high class merged with the modern day clubbing scene was pretty much spot on. This may have very well been what the 20s looked like. I have a feeling it will be an American Hustle year, but my hopes is that it goes to the Great Gatsby.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger
Oh, oh please let it be Bad Grandpa just so we can live in a world where Jackass has won an Academy Award. This has the chance to be Three 6 Mafia winning best song levels of awesome.

Best Cinematography
The Grandmaster
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Prisoners
I think Prisoners was one of the best films of last year, and for good reason. The film was masterfully paced and made me feel like I was in the movie, a spectator that was forced to watch what was happening on screen and unable to do anything,

Best Production Design
American Hustle
Gravity
The Great Gatsby
Her
12 Years a Slave
Another shot in the dark. The Great Gatsby for aformentioned reasons, Gravity because its the token art film this year, or American Hustle because I have this feeling its going to be an American Hustle year.

Best Original Song
“Alone, Yet Not Alone” from Alone Yet Not Alone – Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel
“Happy” from Despicable Me 2 – Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from Frozen – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song” from Her – Karen Orzolek and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – U2
Not only one of the best songs of last year, one of the best Disney songs since the Disney Renaissance. A song that perfectly captures the inner struggle that Elsa has had to deal with by repressing her lifestyle, powers and love between her and her sister.

Best Animated Feature
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises
I am honestly torn between this. As nice as it would be to see Hayao Miyazaki get the recognition he deserves on his final film, The Wind Rises wasn’t the best he’s done. Frozen however was the best Disney film released since the Disney Renaissance, and honestly deserves to be in the Best Picture category.

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
While I have yet to read any of these, I’ve heard that 12 Years a Slave is the best adaptation. So lets go with this.

Best Writing – Original Screenplay
American Hustle – Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club – Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
Her – Spike Jonze
Nebraska – Bob Nelson
Like I said, I have this feeling that it’s going to be an American Hustle year.

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine as Ginger
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle as Rosalyn Rosenfeld
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave as Patsey
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County as Barbara Weston-Fordham
June Squibb – Nebraska as Kate Grant
The industry loves Jennifer Lawrence for all the right reasons and she was the best part of American Hustle. She stands to break a record by being the youngest actress to get two Academy Awards, and the first actress to win back to back Oscars since Katherine Hepburn in the 70s.

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips as Abduwali Muse
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle as Agent Richard “Richie” DiMaso
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave as Edwin Epps
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street as Donnie Azoff
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon
I sure as hell don’t want to see a world where Jonah Hill or Bradley Cooper have won the best actor. Jared Leto and Michael Fassbender while good actors didn’t deliver their best. Barkhad Adbi however had an amazing turn in Captain Philips.

Best Actress
Amy Adams – American Hustle as Sydney Prosser
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine as Jeanette “Jasmine” Francis
Sandra Bullock – Gravity as Dr. Ryan Stone
Judi Dench – Philomena as Philomena Lee
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County as Violet Weston
While Meryl Streep’s performance was pretty much the standard Oscar pap, I hope they see through that. Granted this years line up wasn’t the best I’ve seen, so I’m going with my American Hustle prediction. Judi Dench is also a strong possibility.

Best Actor
Christian Bale – American Hustle as Irving Rosenfeld
Bruce Dern – Nebraska as Woody Grant
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street as Jordan Belfort
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave as Solomon Northup
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club as Ron Woodroof
While I wouldn’t say this was his best role, Leonardo DiCaprio has had an excellent run as of late, portraying rich opulent-types from Django Unchained, to The Great Gatsby and now Wolf of Wall Street. He’s been long overdue for an Oscar so I feel like this is his year.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
I know I’ve been picking American Hustle mostly but I dont think the directing was especially interesting. Steve McQueen did a good job with 12 Years a Slave, largely avoiding making it 2 Hours a Guilt Trip. That and he would be the first African American director to win an Academy Award and they seem as of late to be going for new records and achievements.

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Like I’ve been saying I just can’t shake the feeling that this will be a American Hustle year. I can’t out my finger on it outside of a vague “It’s Oscar pap”. Captain Philips, Philomena, Nebraska, Her, Dallas Buyers Club just don’t check all the marks on the Oscar clipboard, Gravity was CGI with no meaning, Wolf of Wall Street portrayed debauchery too openly and wasn’t focused enough. 12 Years a Slave is the sort of thing that the Academy loves, but I think it was released to close to Django Unchained to be taken without comparison. All that really leaves is American Hustle.

- Z

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The Worst of 2013

And now for the fun one.

TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
Oh how the mighty hath fallen. What was once without a doubt one of the funniest and imaginative TV Shows on the air has now turned into a pale parody of itself. The third season seems so long ago, it was certainly the last time the TV Show was ever great. The whole thing came crashing down around season for when the character of Priyaa was introduced and everything got dreadful. In season five there was moments of brilliance shining through and the characters occasionally developed in interesting ways but that isn’t even present anymore. I still watch it but I can’t remember the last time there was ever a moment where I laughed and sincerely meant it.

Video Game: Ride to Hell: Retribution
Somebody once describe this as the video game equivalent of Plan 9 from Outer Space and that is the most apt description I can think of. It is so bad it is great to play, a colossal failure on every conceivable level.

Music: Artpop by Lady Gaga
Usually there’s one or two gems on Lady Gaga’s album amongst her usual line up but really, all of this was just screaming. Nothing interesting, nothing good, just a slew of generic Lady Gaga stuff. It came it went and that was the end of the story. Poker Face and Just Dance defined Lady Gaga, Bad Romance and Monster cemented her legacy, and Born This Way was one of the most progressive pop songs ever released. Artpop and the rest of the album was just….an album.

Movie:

5. World War Z
4. The Hangover Part 3
3. Carrie
2. After Earth
1. The Lone Ranger

Johnny Depp wears a silly hat and tries to pass him off as Native American. In 2013 we couldn’t get a Native American actor to play one of the most iconic Native American roles. Neither of those should have been allowed to happen. The film was a colossal train wreck that spat on the legacy of the Lone Ranger and went into the project thinking it was better than the source material in every way shape and form. This was meant to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean (given the fact Johnny Depp is trying to make the Jack Sparrow lightning strike twice) and instead stood as a shining example of everything that’s wrong with modern adaptations.

Person: Barack Obama
Quick how do you respond to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Do you:
A) Continue on with your work, modestly accepting that this does not mean your work is over;
B) Use the prestige that comes along with this to address more issues; or
C) Kill more than a serial killer with flying death machines in countries you’re not even at war with (they’re bombing Yemen now?) and violate human rights with the NSA?

Still better than Romney at any rate though.

Moment: Continued refusal of Living Wages.
I could go with a tragedy but I try to be a humour site. There’s nothing worst than the fact that America denies a living wage to its fast food workers, claiming that this is just a job that you have in high school and that if you’re working there you shouldn’t be having a family because if you are its your fault your poor. it’s not like America was founded on the principal of Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And nothing more headbanging then seeing companies like McDonalds saying that employees should work there full time, get a second job and apply for food stamps as a way to make due. Because you know, all that talking is lowering employee moral and giving McDonalds and Walmart a bad image.

Well that’s it for the worst of 2013. Next time, the “Meh” of 2013. Or my expanding of the top 5 movies, haven’t decided yet.

- Z

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Top 6 of 2013

Because I occasionally pretend to be something of a reviewer I figured it would be best to start 2014 off like all other reviewers and spend the first month of 2014 eyes firmly glued on the past year. Keep in mind this is centered to stuff I have actually watched and while it may be true that Blue is the Warmest Colour, Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black may be amazing, not having seen them disqualified me from actually commenting on them.

Unlike last year I’ll attempt to streamline all three parts (Top, Bottom and “Meh”) into six categories reflective of stuff I’ve actually paid attention to. That being said; Movie, Video Game, TV Show, Song, Moment, Person, are this years categories. I couldn’t tell you a book that’s come out this year unfortunately as I’ve been working my way through the backlog of books to read I’ve accumulated since University and I don’t think you need me to tell you 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is good.

Top TV Show of 2014: Doctor Who
Ignoring the debacle of the Time of the Doctor, where the creators decided to shoehorn every single loose thread with the care of a wrecking crew, Doctor Who had a consistent delivery of A+ material this year. From the Eleventh Doctor struggling to deal with the loss of his beloved companions Amy and Rory, to the genuine mystery of Clara Oswald to the shocking reveal and nailbiting cliffhanger in The Name of the Doctor. Every episode was well made, the characters engaging, and showing that after 50 years the show can still be one of the most original programs on Television.

Top Song of 2013: Sweeter than Fiction by Taylor Swift
Pure self indulgence, but I’m allowed one of those on these lists. It certainly was my favourite song of the year. But if this upsets you, I dunno, print this out, cross that out and write Get Lucky by Daft Punk

Top Video Game of 2013: Bioshock Infinite
Before I had actually gotten to any game play this game had me sucked right in. Set in some Coney Island-esque steam punk utopia of Columbia, the world is sublime from the minute you step into it, and that’s a word I can rarely use in video games. It’s good and in someways better than the original Bioshock. Not a lot of ways mind you but some – Columbia is a lot less claustrophobic than Rapture and I can actually make sense of the plot. In Rapture you couldn’t go outside which was a bit of a missed opportunity for a swimming aspect. In Infinite, to can fly around on the Skyhook that seamlessly blends game play and travel, giving you moments of a cross between Prince of Persia and Bioshock. That and it manages to do something that a lot of games fail to do when re-imagining a game, that is wallow in he previous games accomplishments. Infinite takes a tried and true formula and uses it as a jumping off point to explore new and interesting territory.

Top Movie of 2013:
Because I tend to give more attention to film than I do to this other stuff, I actually have a top 5 which I may flesh out into a whole post. Until then:

5. Prisoners
4. Iron Man 3
3. The Great Gatsby
2. Wolf of Wall Street
1. Spring Breakers

If you had told me that I would call a film with Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens a masterpiece and one of the greatest films of the year I’d have assumed you were joking. But it truly is in every sense of the word a masterpiece, a stunning look at the emptiness in the MTV beach party lifestyle that has been promised to the Generation Y children. Identifying the party lifestyle as a meaningless facade of colours and drugs and the existential emptiness that comes with living this lifestyle, Spring Breakers is what I would call a defining movie of my generation.

Top Person of 2013: Pope Francis I
The Pope took a selfie. Don’t know how to build on that one. I remember some of my misguided University friends bitching and groaning about how Francis would be just another repressive, anti-birth control, anti-homosexual, old guy and you do not know how pleasing it is to see them proven wrong. Okay, okay so he’s not perfect, he does oppose gay marriage amongst other things but he maintains the belief that they deserve to be treated with love and respect and that we have no right to judge them for their actions. I hope that the idiots at the Westborough Baptist Church take him as an example. I hope for a day where I can see universal rights to gay people and while it would be nice to see that all happen to once, I know its going to take time. But Francis is a watershed Pope and I hope that his teachings lead a lot of people on the road to acceptance of others.

Top Moment of 2013: Miley Cyrus
Oh why the hell not?

Everything Miley Cyrus did this year was pure gold, and while I’m not a fan of her in any way shape or form it was always funny to see the media freak out about her, given the fact that this is exactly what she wanted to happen. It’s like 2013 was one long troll to the media by Miley Cyrus, the question of what will she do next always being on their mind. No I don’t think she’s “out of control”, she clearly knows what she’s doing and that’s messing with the minds of the media to make herself a more marketable star. Until she starts passing out from drugs like Britney Spears (at which point I will admit she’s gone to far) but until then it’s hilarious to see just what line she will cross next.

Well thats it for the Top 6 of 2013. Next time, the Worst.

- Z

2014

We all change.

From day to day we are not the same person we were before. Experiences and people all change and form us. New friends give us new reasons to be happy, new experiences give us the chance to evolve, new actions open up new horizons for us to conquer. As much as we hate it though the negative too plays its part, disasters and betrayals give us perspective, change us in ways we don’t always wish for but change us all the same. I wonder often what would have happened if I had stayed with my friends from high school and if my high school girlfriend and I had never fallen apart. I wonder what would have happened if I had stuck with my dream of studying history, if the girl I had loved all throughout University had returned my feelings. I wonder what would have happened if the girl I fell in love with the moment I saw her and I had had a storybook ending. All of these are thing I experienced and then lived over and over again in my mind, unable to escape from them because I thought they were bad endings. Forever I thought these had changed me for the worse, but I was wrong. It just changed me, neither for better or for worse it was just change. I thought they had turned me into a different person and that this person was somehow a darker shell of what I used to be. But I would be a different person if all these things that I thought had changed me for the worse had had happy endings, had I had a long and successful relationship with my exs, had I studied something more “useful”than Liberal Arts

We experience these thing they’re over and they all just fade away like breath on a mirror and whats left is the moment where you are the person that your past has shaped you too..

In 10 minutes he’s a coming, the man I will be in 2014. I will not forget one moment of all the things that have changed me and made me who I am at this moment. But soon I will be a different person, armed with the knowledge that the past things Ive experienced aren’t bad things, they were just factors that changed me and that I would have changed regardless.