Best of 2012

As it’s the last day of 2012, I think it’s appropriate to end the year with my “best of” posting. 2012 was full of great experiences for me, and many of these experiences were linked to the wonderful world of pop culture (I’m not sure it’s that’s kind of lame, but I really don’t care). So, here’s my list of the top pop culture happenings of 2012!

Homeland

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I think it’s very possible that “Homeland” is the smartest show on TV. Every character is complex and interesting, something that probably contributed to my inability to walk away from marathon viewings of the show. Carrie is a leading female who doesn’t fall into stereotypes and is great at her job, while still struggling to fight her neurotic tendencies. Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, and Mandy Patinkin are all fantastic, giving their characters depth that isn’t often seen in so many characters on one show. I’ll probably be spending most of 2013 coming up with new theories as I wait for the premiere of season 3.

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

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In my group of family and friends, it’s very possible that I have become the #1 promoter of this book. I love to read, and this is one of the most exciting and unpredictable stories I’ve read in a very long time. After reading this book, I also read Flynn’s two previous novels, but it’s safe to say that Gone Girl is her shining achievement. Sit down with this book with you have lots of time to read and think, and delve into the Crazytown that Gillian Flynn has so deliciously written.

Parks and Recreation

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“Parks and Recreation” is my favorite show on TV these days, and one I think is consistently under-appreciated by critics and voters. Leslie Knope is one of the most endearing women on TV, and the show portrays a great balance of hilarity and sweetness that should attract a wide viewing audience. Both the end of season four and beginning of season five have consistently delivered great moments, especially in Vice President Joe Biden’s cameo appearance early in season five. All I can hope is that with the end of “30 Rock” and “The Office” this year, Amy Poehler and the rest of the Parks gang will finally get the recognition they deserve.

Red, Taylor Swift

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Taylor is known for her consistently well-received albums and incredibly high sales, and this is just another in her series of successes. Taylor turns to more of a pop sound on her fourth album while still delivering the stories of love and loss that have endeared her to audiences. Red features the song “All Too Well,” a song that has become my favorite of hers because of its emotional depth that pulls you into another infamous Taylor Swift heartbreak. Other highlights from the album include new single “I Knew You Were Trouble.,” girl power anthem “22,” and sweet duet with Ed Sheeran “Everything Has Changed.”

The Hunger Games

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As a big fan of the book series, I thought Gary Ross’s adaptation of the first book in The Hunger Games series was a beautiful portrayal of the gritty District 12 and the darkness of this revolutionary world in which young people fight to the death for public amusement. Suzanne Collin’s novels are filled with social commentary, and the film portrays this dysfunctional society with honesty. Jennifer Lawrence delivers another great performance as heroine Katniss Everdeen, a girl who falls far from the weak and awkward Bella Swans that sometimes take over the pop culture universe. I can’t wait to see the next installment in the series when Catching Fire opens November 22, 2013.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Perks was another great adaptation of a young adult novel that delves into the true world of teenagers without filling the screen with archetypical characters. Logan Lerman is a fantastic Charlie, a character I’ve always found incredibly endearing when reading the novel. Lerman expertly portrayed Charlie’s kindness and innocence without making him seem like a pushover. I also look forward to seeing more from Ezra Miller, who delivers a standout performance as closeted Patrick who struggles with being gay in a society that isn’t always accepting. Without a doubt, Perks is one of the must-see movies of 2012.

Some Nights, fun.

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Don’t deny it: at some point in 2012, you belted out a fun. song in the shower, pretending you were singing to a sold out crowd. The multi-Grammy-nominated album “Some Nights” has been a huge success, both because of its fresh, fun sound and the many catchy songs it features. The singles “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” have been tremendous hits, hopefully signaling what we have to look forward to from fun.
21 Jump Street

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Everyone knows it was a big year for Channing Tatum. Of the movies he released this year, though, 21 Jump Street was undoubtedly my favorite. Tatum and Jonah Hill are a great comedic duo, and this adaptation of the 1980s TV show worked well in developing a new audience. The end of the movie leaves it very open for a sequel, so hopefully we have more to see from these two in the future.

Girls

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I watched the first season of “Girls” in an unintentional five hour marathon, but somehow that seems appropriate for this type of show. The four leading females of show represent facets of our personalities that we sometimes don’t like to recognize, but this only makes the show funnier when we can see how easily it is to relate. I’m SO EXCITED for the premiere of season two in just 13 days, when I’m sure Hannah and her gang will be involved in all kinds of new shenanigans. Whatever they are, I’ll be watching. After all, all adventurous women do. 🙂
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

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I started reading The Fault in Our Stars on a flight home from California to Kentucky, which was probably a bad idea as I don’t enjoy crying in public. However, John Green has such a brilliant writing style that it’s difficult to put his books down, so sometimes you just have to suffer for the cause. Going into the story, you know that protagonist Hazel has terminal cancer, so you don’t exactly expect a happy ending. However, the true beauty of the book is the incredibly compelling characters of Hazel and Augustus, and how their relationship develops as two young people who are faced with tragedy. John Green writes teenagers that you feel like you know, people who are nerdy and awkward and insecure and undeniably real. The Fault in Our Stars is undoubtedly one of the best books of 2012.

+, Ed Sheeran

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2012 was a great year for British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, who went from relatively unknown to a Grammy-nominated performer. Sheeran toured the US and beyond with Snow Patrol, played the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics, recorded a duet with superstar Taylor Swift, and developed a friendship with One Direction that kept fans wondering when to expect a musical collaboration. Sheeran will spend the beginning of 2013 on a solo tour before beginning a worldwide tour opening for Taylor Swift, both of which I will be attending. Sheeran is a fresh musical talent who I hope will have a last career in the music industry.

The Amazing Spiderman

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The chemistry between stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone is undeniable, and just one of the many reasons to see the newest film in the Spiderman chronicle. Garfield is a more interesting and endearing Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire, and Emma Stone steals the show as loveable Gwen Stacy. The story in The Amazing Spiderman is more interesting than the last incarnation of the series as we see Peter in his earliest days as Spiderman. Look forward to the film’s sequel in 2014 which will bring in a bigger cast and features Shailene Woodley as new love interest Mary Jane Watson.

Silver Linings Playbook

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After finishing the novel days before seeing the film, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the changes made to the story for the film didn’t hurt the story, but made the novel and film two very likeable but different representations. I’ve never been a major Bradley Cooper fan, but loved his performance as troubled Pat who struggles to maintain a normal life after time spent in a psychiatric hospital. Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic (as always) as Tiffany, a young woman trying to overcome the tragedy of losing her husband. The film also features great performances by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver as Pat’s parents. The movie is at times both sad and hysterically funny, and one of the must-see movies of the year.

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