Year in Review 2014

Previously Published

 

Animated Movies.

In last year’s review, I wrote about the lack of great animated movies.  Last year, the top animated movie on my list was the direct to DVD DC film Flashpoint.  And number two was Disney’s Frozen.  After that, there was nothing special about the animated films.  I had hoped that the movie world would do better in 2014.

Man, did they ever do better.

I am so amazed at the list of animated films from this year.  I have a list of eight films that are excellent, and several of these would be ranked higher than either of the top two from last year.  In fact, several of these animated films will (most likely) find their way onto the list for the top films of the year.

That does not mean that all of the animated movies were hits this year.  Rio 2, Planes: Fire and Rescue, Legends of Oz… were not winners.

But there were plenty of fantastic films.  Here are my top eight.

#8  The Book of Life

#7 Boxtrolls

#6 Penguins of Madagascar

#5 Batman: Assault on Arkham

#4 Mr. Peabody and Sherman

When this first came out, I gave it five stars.  I probably overestimated this film, but I was caught up in the nostalgia of the moment.  I used to love the cartoons featuring Mr. Peabody.  And this new feature was very well done.  I was entertained.  It may not have been able to maintain a five star rating, it was still excellent.  And it is good enough for number four.

#3 The Lego Movie

One of the first animated films of the year and The Lego Movie was original, creative, touching and just all around awesome.  The Lego Movie had an ending that you were not going to see coming.  A film like htis wound up on number 3 on this list.  That speaks even more for the top two movies.

#2 How to Train Your Dragon 2

The sequel to the surprise hit took this series to a new high.  How to Train Your Dragon 2 was such an amazing movie.  Emotional, amazing characters, beautifully drawn.  This was one of those rare animated movies because the main character Hiccup was allowed to grow up.  Most animated characters are frozen in time.  Hiccup grew into a young man.  And this was his journey to adulthood.  It was a special movie.

#1 Big Hero 6

And this year’s number one animated movie was a property loosely based on a Marvel comic.  Big Hero 6 was such a fun time, that even a little predictability in the plot did not detour my enjoyment.  Baymax and Hero’s relationship was unlike any other relationship of the year, and Baymax is clearly a breakout character for Disney.  Full of excitement, humor and adventure, Big Hero 6 even had awesome Marvel Easter Eggs.  Torpedo.  Sleepwalker.  I mean… awesome.  Plus, there was a Stan Lee cameo.  Add it all up, and you have one of the best movies of 2014, and certainly the top animated movie of the year.

So, Hollywood… let’s see if you can top 2014 in animation.  I challenge you to improve in 2015.  Can you do it?  I hope.

Big Year for EYG Hall of Famer Weird Al Yankovic

Mandatory Fun came out this year.  That was the newest Weird Al Yankovic album (and perhaps his final album in this format).  Weird Al came out with a great idea to promote the album.

8 videos in 8 days.

Starting the day prior to the album’s release, Weird Al released the first video from the new record, “Tacky” the parody of “Happy.”

Then, he went ahead and released the next video the following day.  And then another.  And another.

Eight straight days of videos by Weird Al, all produced by different groups.  Each one had a different feel.  It was awesome.

This help make Mandatory Fun Weird Al’s first ever #1 record on the Billboard chart.

This was after Al appeared as Sir Isaac Newton in the YouTube series, Epic Rap Battles of History.  And it truly was epic.

2014 was a great one for Weird Al.  Here’s hoping that 2015 keeps up that trend.

Reality Television

Ok, so … this is not my most favorite category.  Even though the explosion of reality television shows no signs of stopping, I simply do not enjoy the brand.  However, there are a few shows that have catered to my tastes.  You won’t be seeing any The Voice or Dancing With the Stars on this list, but you won’t see any travesty such as The Kardashians or whatever the show with Honey Boo-Boo is called.

I have five shows that I am including on the “reality” television list for 2014.

#5 Monday Night Wars (WWE Network)

Yeah, this cheats a little.  It is more of a documentary series than a reality series, but it is really done well.  It is a fascinating look into the battle between WWE and the WCW from the late 1990s.  The WWE called this time frame “The Attitude Era” and the WCW was being dominated by the NWO.  Each episode focuses on something different (Bret Hart and his troubles, Mick Foley, The NWO, etc) and it truly caught the excitement of the time.

#4 Comic Book Men (AMC)

Kevin Smith and his crew from Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, a comic book store in New Jersey.  The group of geeks debate questions from comics as well as look to haggle over the neatest collectables anywhere.  This is on too late to see regularly, but thankfully, Netflix has episodes to watch.

#3 Finding Bigfoot (Animal Planet)

AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Yes, the foursome do pretty much the same thing every week.  Yes, the show is repetitive.  However, it is still fun.  And one of these days…maybe Bobo will stumble across a sasquatch.  That would be awesome.

#2 The Talking Dead (AMC)

Again, kind of cheating.  This is not as much of a reality show as it is a recap show, but it is my list and I can cheat if I want to.  Chris Hardwick from The Nerdist is the host of this show that airs immediately after each new episode of The Walking Dead is shown and they have celebrities and cast members comment on what they have seen.  The guests have ranged from CM Punk to Marilyn Manson and you never know what you may see.

and #1 is as big of a shock to me as to anyone.

Legend’s House (WWE Network)

I had no intention of ever watching this.  I could only see how it could go wrong.  However, I found myself watching one episode with a friend one night, and I could not believe it.  It was funny!  I mean…really funny.  Not funny like the WWE sometimes thinks they are, but legitimately, laugh out loud, funny.  It starred multiple former WWE superstars (Roddy Piper, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Tony Atlas, Gene Okerland, Jimmy Hart, Pat Patterson, Hillbilly Jim, and Howard Finkel) placed in different, weird situations.  That sounds horrible, right?  That’s what I thought too.  But it was great.  These wrestlers were witty.  They were irritated with each other. They were real.  That last one was a real surprise.  The season finale of this show where the superstars sit around a dinner table and tell the others the worst thing that happened to them was amazing television.  I had tears in my eyes.  Jimmy Hart’s confession (and Hacksaw’s subsequent reaction to) about his daughter’s death was as powerful as any scripted television program you will find.  Pat Patterson’s revelation of his sexual orientation was done well too (although it was one of the worst kept secrets anywhere.)

Congrats to the WWE Network for putting together a reality show with fake personas who showed more emotion than you would ever expect.

 

What else is the Internet for…but to create Internet Memes?

And clearly, there were two that were the top memes of 2014.

One came after Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it was the Hail Hydra meme that even we here at EYG have joined in with.

And, of course, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…another one that I, personally, participated in.  As did countless celebrities as well as men, women and children across the country.

icebucket

Horror Movies

Horror

2014 has been a very bad year for horror movies.  As I am compiling my lists, some of the ones that I have placed on the good list were really not that good.  But they were better than some of the truly bad ones that came out this year.  Several of the truly bad ones will also find their way onto the worst movies list later this month.

Now, I have not yet seen The Babadook, which by all accounts, could be one of the best horror movies is years.  It currently has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Wow.  Still, it was not come anywhere near where I can see it, but I am looking forward to seeing it.

Otherwise, the horror movie genre is just plagued by the same formulaic stories, cardboard characters and jump scares everywhere.

And my list does not even include Leprechaun: Origins starring WWE wrestler Hornswaggle.  I am sure it would be near the top of any terrible list.

Here they are.

Best Horror Movies of 2014 (so far)

#5 Paranormal Activity:  The Marked Ones.  See this is how bad this list is.  When I saw this, my overall feelings were summarized by this:  “It isn’t as bad as the last one.”  Hardly a rave review.

#4 The Purge: Anarchy.  Another sequel that was not terrible.  Not terrible… that is the qualifications for the 2014 Best Horror Film list.

#3 Tusk.  Kevin Smith’s dark dark dark film that is as much of a dark comedy as it is a horror movie was another that I wasn’t sure belonged in this category.  It is more uncomfortable than anything else.

#2 Oculus.  This one was pretty decent.  A WWE film, Oculus did spend some time on character development, though I think it missed its opportunity to really turn into a mind warping film by taking some easy choices.

#1 As Above So Below.  This was the best horror film of a weak year, but this was a real surprise.  The trailers of this movie looked so terrible, but the film itself was very enjoyable.

Now, the worst horror movies of 2014.  There are seven listed.

#7 The Quiet Ones.  I had to look back to see what this film was about.  It was not terrible, but pretty forgettable.

#6 Dracula Untold.  Dull and boring retelling of the origin of Dracula.

#5 Annabelle.  The prequel of the really good movie, The Conjuring, Annabelle was dull as can be and downright stupid.

#4 The Pyramid.  My most recently reviewed movie, this felt more like a Scooby-Doo mystery gone wrong.

#3 Ouija.  Making a horror movie without, you know, anything that is scary.  Easily the most boring horror movie of the year.

#2 Deliver Us From Evil.  It is hard for me to believe that this is not the worst horror movie of the year.  Jim Morrison’s favorite film comes in second behind….

#1 I, Frankenstein.  This one is in contention for worst overall movie of the year, so it has to top this list as well.  Just terrible, terrible, terrible.

So there you have it.  The few best and the many horrible horror films of the year.  Hopefully, The Babadooks will be great and have all kinds of success and Hollywood will take notice.

Or maybe it will be terrible and overrated and Hollywood will just keep cranking out the garbage.  BY seeing some of the trailers for upcoming horror films such as The Woman in Black 2, Insidious Chapter 3 and Alone, I am afraid the garbage crank is the way they will go.

We lost many greats in the world of comedy, movies, music, television and sports in 2014.  Rest in peace to all of you and thank you so much for the laughs and the memories!

2014RIP

Have to add one today.  RIP Joe Cocker

TV

Top Television Programs of 2014

We are in a renaissance of television!  Whether you watch the tv show on the broadcast networks, on basic cable, on premium cable networks, on DVR, on Netflix or any other manner, the best television is happening right now.

I have had plenty of years where I would have struggled to fill a list of ten television shows.  I am about to present the Top 24 shows of 2014.  And there are plenty of shows that I do not watch that many would consider within this list.  I did not watch Breaking Bad, despite this being its final season.  I was thinking about catching up on Netflix but I have not found the time.  There is Arrow, which is extremely popular among the Geek world.  Modern Family is an Emmy winner every year.  I used to watch Revenge, but not any longer.  Entertainment Weekly just had their list of top ten shows which included Transparent (Amazon), Rectify (SundanceTV), Please Like Me (Pivot), Louie (FX), Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central), Mad Men (AMC), Game of Thrones (HBO), The Good Wife (CBS) and Hannibal (NBC) that did not make my list.

All this is to say that we are in a Golden Age right now.  So many awesome shows.

So here are the Top 24 shows in my opinion from 2014.

#24 Penny Dreadful (Showtime)

I have not seen the entire season of this show, but the early episodes were extremely dark and graphic.  The world of literature came alive in Victorian England.  The Monster’s death early in this season was one of the biggest shockers on any show.

#23 Under the Dome (CBS)

This second season of Under the Dome was very inconsistent.  There were times when I thought the show’s pacing was just terrible.  It would go from one episode to another and things would be happening too fast.  I stuck it out, and the season improved near the end.  Still, this one slipped from last season and needs to improve to maintain my viewing in an increasingly overloaded television landscape.

#22 Gotham (FOX)

I have found Gotham inconsistent so far this season, after debuting with a lot of hype.  Some episodes (such as Penguin’s Umbrella) were amazing and others were poor.  The dialogue has room to grow, but the casting of the show is excellent.  Gordan, Harvey Bullock, Oswald Cobblepot are three perfect characters and the strongest part of this show.

#21 Grimm (NBC)

I enjoy Grimm on Friday night, but there are some problems with the show.  This season had a new Grimm (Trubel) and they took the Grimm powers away from Nick.  Both of those seem to be corrected now as the show moves forward.

#20 Flash (CW)

The new super hero show has started well.  Barry Allen is very likeable.  The special effects look good.  The show does seem to focus on the “villain of the week” thing too much, but hopefully, it will continue to improve.

#19 Blacklist (NBC)

So still awesome, I have had this show slip a bit since last year (where it was at #5).  James Spader is still amazing, but the show’s mysteries feel like they have gotten old, and the whole Berlin saga was nowhere near as dramatic as it could have been.  However, the exploding Alan Alda was amazing.

#18 24: Live Another Day (FOX)

Jack Bauer is back and better than ever.  And now he is out saving London.  This “limited series” was full of classic 24 moments and plenty of characters yelling “dammit!”  Copy that.

#17 Once Upon A Time (ABC)

This show has been up and down as well, but it gets credit for a great hero (Emma) and one of my favorite characters anywhere (Mr. Gold).  This season’s Frozen story arc has been solid, but the Wicked Witch last year was even better.

#16 Orphan Black (BBC)

Just an awesome show that is down the list probably because of the lack of new episodes.  Tatiana Maslany is a revelation in the title role(s).

#15 How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)

This one was a recent watch.  I caught up viewing this and found myself engaged with the characters and the twists and turns.  Viola Davis is fantastic.  This one is hot, and could be much higher next year.

#14 Gracepoint (FOX)

Another limited series (10 episodes) that follows the investigation of the murder of a young boy.  With some elements of Twin Peaks and Picket Fences, this was a very interesting show for me.  The ratings are low, but the quality is high.

#13 Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Consistently funny with characters who I have grown to love.  There have been a few missteps along the way, but this is still the best sitcom on television.

#12 Whose Line Is It Anyway? (CW)

This show can be as funny as ever.  They did seem to rely on guest stars too much.  On the episodes without the guest stars, the shows have been perfect.  They need more hoedowns, that is for sure.

#11 True Detectives (Showtime)

This is how good I think TV has been.  One of the best shows of last season does not make the top ten.  Matthew McConaughey has been on fire the last few years, and he shows remarkable chemistry with Woody Harrelson.

TOP TEN

#10 Fargo (FX)

The remake of this movie into a mini-series was a risk, but the show was brilliant.  Amazing performances from Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman did not overshadow the performances of Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks.  Fargo reminded me very much of Twin Peaks and I am looking forward to another story.

#9 Sherlock (BBC)

Yes there are only three episodes in each season, but these hour and a half episodes are like mini movies.  And the second episode this season  (The Sign of Three) was one of the best episodes of any show.

#8 Bates Motel (A & E)

This show has gotten better.  The development of young Norman Bates into a psychotic killer is a sad thing, because we really like him.  The performances of Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore are Emmy worthy.  And Norman’s brother Dylan has become the heart of the show.

#7 American Horror Story (FX)

I had not been a huge fan of Coven, but it was still good.  However, Freak Show has been outstanding.  Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars is one of the top characters of the year.  Elsa’s performance of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” in the series debut was one of the highlights.  I also loved Twisty.  Nothing wrong with a killer clown.

#6 Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

The first Netflix program on this list is the women’s prison show that has one of the top ensemble casts around.  This season the show became more of an ensemble show, though there is still plenty of story for Piper.  Orange is shocking on its typical days.

#5 Castle (ABC)

Castle slipped a little this year when, in the season finale, they make it look like Rick Castle has been involved in a fiery car crash on his way to the wedding.  That was a misstep making the fans, who had waited for Castle and Beckett’s wedding for multiple seasons, wait even longer.  However, the show runners did not make them wait long as the duo got married early in season seven.

#4 House of Cards (Netflix)

This is just awesome.  I absolutely love this series with its political drama.  Kevin Spacey is perfect as the slimy Francis Underwood.  He does so many rotten things,but I just do not want to see him get caught.  Robin Wright is Emmy worthy as Francis’s wife.  The moment when Francis tosses Zoe in front of the train may be the biggest WTF moment of the year.  Binge watch this one if you haven’t seen it yet.

#3 Scandal (ABC)

Another political behind the scenes show, this time with a female lead.  Olivia Pope is a gladiator.  I have to say though that I do not like her with President Fitzgerald Grant.  I find him to be a waste.  I like Jake so much more.  And the episode where Silas broke down after his husband had been killed… that is just heartbreaking.  Scandal is consistently good, each and every week.

#2 The Walking Dead (AMC)

This has been the number one show for the last several years, and this year it slips to number two.  There were dramatic moments such as when Carol shot Lizzie, the death of Beth, and the continued development of the characters.  The words “look at the flowers” will forever be tainted now.  The Walking Dead continues to make this world feel deadly dangerous as they continue to kill characters the world loves.  After a highly emotional winter finale, I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Walking Dead back on top next year.

and #1

Agents of SHIELD (ABC)

Last year, this show was at #7, and I wrote about the show struggling early, finding its footing.  Then, Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out in cinemas, Hydra was revealed to have infiltrated SHIELD, and the show took off.  From that moment until now, Agents of SHIELD is easily the best show on tv.  It is must see.  The addition of Bobbi Morse (aka Mockingbird) has only upped the ante.  And the reveal that Ward was Hydra has turned a white bread and boring character into one of the most compelling psychotic characters on television.  I mean, Ward has killed his brother and his parents, all the while having some weird connection to Skye.  Oh, and by the way, Skye’s father is here and he is Kyle MacLachlan, and he could be an Inhuman.  The Kree is here.  And it even has given us plenty of nightmare juice (with the brain surgery of Coulson).  Agents of SHIELD is a lynchpin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel’s Agent of SHIELD will give a break for Marvel’s Agent Carter.  If it can match this show, that would give Marvel two awesome shows.  I can’t wait.

More Television

Best Actor in a shortened season: 

3.  Martin Freeman (Fargo)

2.  Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock)

  1.  Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)

These are the kings of the shortened seasons.  House of Cards being the longest of the three shows. (Heck, Sherlock only has 3 episodes).  Still, there is no denying that these are some powerhouse performances.

Best Actor in a regular run season:

3.  Nathan Fillion (Castle)

2.  Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory)

  1.  James Spader (Blacklist)

It is getting harder and harder to find a full season of any television program.  The shortened seasons have become the norm as seven of my top ten shows are shortened seasons.  James Spader is still mesmerizing to watch as Red Reddington, despite not having the best material this season.

Best Actress in shortened season:

3.  Melissa McBride (The Walking Dead)

2.  Jessica Lange (American Horror Story)

  1.  Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

Tatiana Maslany is just masterful on Orphan Black.  She plays several characters and she does it so well that you forget that these are characters played by the same actress.  Jessica Lange is classy as hell playing some of the meanest and nastiest characters on AHS.  And Melissa McBride had an amazing year as Carol, with one of the most compelling moments of the series as Lizzie was told to watch the flowers.

Best Actress in regular run series:

3.  Ming-Na Wen (Agents of SHIELD)

2.  Stana Katic (Castle)

  1.  Kerry Washington (Scandal)

We got three kick-ass women here.  Olivia Pope, Kate Beckett and Melinda May.  Now there would be a trio to have on your side.

Best Late Night ShowThe Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  I technically have not watched this, and I was tempted to give this to The Colbert Report in its final season (and that episode with President Obama doing the Word…I mean the Decree, outstanding), but Jimmy Fallon has most of the buzz and many great moments.  And I have seen several highlights on the web.  Jimmy Fallon has found his niche.

Best Daytime Show:  General Hospital.  This has been consistently strong all year long.  And then it has weeks of just out of this world energy and amazing acting.  The week of Carly and Franco’s non-wedding, which umbrellaed into Michael finding out that his adopted father Sonny had murdered his biological father AJ…well, that week (or two) of soap opera is about as good as the medium can get.

Best Animated Series:  Another year where I am struggling to find any animated television show to mention.  I do not watch any of the current shows on television, and I am not a huge fan of the Avengers Assemble.  That is probably it, after a weak crop.

Best Death:

Sam Keating (How to Get Away With Murder)

Vee (Orange is the New Black)

Jerry Grant (Scandal)

Beth (The Walking Dead)

Zoe (House of Cards)

Best Death of the Year:  Lizzie (The Walking Dead)

It was a great year for deaths, I guess.  And I actually could see #2 & 1 flipping spots.  Zoe’s toss in front of the train was such a shock that I simply did not see coming.  However, it was just outshone by the sad and beautiful work by Melissa McBride putting down the completely crazy child on The Walking Dead.

Looking forward to the most:  Marvel’s Agent Carter.  Marvel track record says this is gonna be awesome.  So do the clips that I have seen so far.  The eight episode mini-series that will be shown during Agents of SHIELD’s break is a brilliant idea, taking the popular character from Captain America: The First Avenger and expanding it.  Should be all kinds of fun.

Show that fell flat:  Sleepy Hollow.  I really liked this show, but there was just something that kept me from continuing to watch it.  I had to catch the episodes on Hulu, and it just got tougher and tougher to make sure I watched.  Until I juts did not watch any longer.

Best Show I do not watch:  Veep.  Sounds like something I would really like.  Maybe some day.

Podcast of the Year:  Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling, for one particular interview.  Colt had his close friend CM Punk on his podcast and had Punk tell his story of why he left the WWE.  He hadn’t spoken about it since he left in January.  And the Thanksgiving special “broke the Internet.”

Best Couple:

The Underwoods (House of Cards)

Frank and Claire Underwood are the definition of a power couple and Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are amazing in this roles.  Castle’s newly married pair are always fun and enjoyable.  I so much prefer Olivia with Jake, which leads to my next category….

Worst Couple

  1. Olivia and Fitz (Scandal)  I so hate these two together.  I do not see what anyone sees in them.  I think Fitz is a grad A jerk.  His excuse about being the President is just lame.  He is a cheater.  He is not a good guy.  Olivia deserves much better.

Midseason Finale Shake Up from Agents of SHIELD!!!!

So…what happened on the midwinter finale of the show I listed as number one for the year?  Hm, let’s see….

SPOILERS ABOUND AHEAD….

BE WARNED

LAST CHANCE

Here we go…

There has been much speculation that with the blue alien that helped save Coulson and Skye, and we found out for sure last week that the alien was Kree.  And there has been a lot of speculation that the alien city that the agents kept talking about was Attilan.  And there has been a lot of speculation that, with Inhumans on the Marvel Cinematic Universe future movie list, that Agents of SHIELD would be used to help bring these characters to the forefront of the MCU.

Boy howdy, was that true!

Last night, we learned that Skye was indeed an Inhuman (by her mother side), and that her real name is Daisy.  That means something to Marvel fans, as there is a character by the name of Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, who is a member of SHIELD is the comics.  Moreso, Daisy Johnson is the daughter of super villain Mister Hyde.  Last night, Kyle MacLachlan confirmed on the show that his character’s name is “Cal”…which made everyone perk up.  Mister Hyde in Marvel is named Calvin Zabo.

So everything was falling into place.

And then Marvel hit us over the head with it.

The season’s macguffin, the Obelisk, wound up in the hidden city, opened up, showed crystals coming out, and released a mist.  Yes the word “Terrigen” was not mentioned, but that is absolutely what we saw.

And as the Terrigen Mist surrounded Skye (aka Daisy) and Raina, they were coated in a hard cocoon of sort.  This is the transformation.  When an Inhuman comes of age, they are given the choice to be exposed to the Terrigen mist.  If they are exposed, they gain the powers that they were destined to gain.  In Skye’s case, she gained the power of Quake.

Now, Quake in the comics is not an Inhuman.  This feels like Marvel’s end run around the “Mutant” problem (FOX owning the rights to the term mutants for the X-Men movies).  I have a feeling that Inhuman will become the MCU’s version of mutants.

Back to the show, Raina seemed to be changed into some kind of cat creature.  (Tigra, perhaps?) Unfortunately, Trip, who was also in the room with the ladies, was not so lucky and wound up dead.

Then, in the post credits scene, we see a blind “inhuman” talking to someone on the phone.  This is most likely Reader.  And he told the person on the phone that there was another one awakening.

Agents of SHIELD has been a chameleon over the last season and a half, changing appearance as to what the MCU needs.  Now it looks like it is meant to help create buzz for Inhumans.  And buzz it did.

wwe

The world of professional wrestling for 2014

Wrestler of the (half) Year

Daniel Bryan:  Unfortunately, Daniel Bryan, who had an amazing first half of 2014, went down to injury in June and hasn’t returned since.  The problem was that the WWE really went downhill after that.  So to say that part of that was the absence of the one time American Dragon would not be too out of line.  I have missed Bryan, and the match quality has suffered.  Hopefully Bryan can get himself back before too long in 2015.  Runner Ups:  John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Dolph Ziggler

Tag Team of the Year:  The Usos.  Jimmy and Jey had a very strong year, finally breaking through the WWE glass ceiling and becoming one of the more popular acts on the shows.  They have been consistently entertaining and have had great matches.  Runner Ups:  Gold and Stardust, The Wyatt Family, Miz and Mizdow.

Moment of the Year:  Daniel Bryan Occupy Raw.  Daniel Bryan got screwed over at the Royal Rumble, not even being included.  That started off a minor revolt in the audience of WWE.  They wanted Bryan to get what he deserved.  CM Punk had left, and the Wrestlemania plans had to be changed.  And Bryan, bringing the fans into the ring to “Occupy Raw” to get what Bryan really wanted.  It was an epic moment.  Runner Ups:  Sting arrives at Survivor Series, Daniel Bryan wins WWE World Championship, The Undertaker’s Streak ends.

Woman of the Year:  AJ Lee.  She was the top diva all year long.  She was a crazy chick, who took some time off to get married.  She is still the best female wrestler in WWE, although her days may be numbered.  AJ is awesome.  Runner Ups:  Paige, Charlotte, Lana

Feud of the Year:  Shield vs. Evolution.  The current faction against one of the top factions from the past.  They had a couple of classic matches early in the year.  Unfortunately, that was going to be the end for the Shield as they were broken up soon after.  Runner Ups:  Daniel Bryan vs. Authority, Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose.

Breakout Star of the Year:  Seth Rollins.  Mr. Money in the Bank has been a focal point of the WWE programming for the last half of 2014.  He is one of the top performers in the company.  He is The Future, and he can have great matches with everyone.  Runner Ups:  Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, Rusev

Mike Man of the Year:  Paul Heyman.  Easy.  Going away.  Heyman had to carry several feuds by himself on the microphone because his client (the reigning, defending WWE World Champion) Brock Lesnar was absent much of the year.  When RAW was in Chicago and the crowd was ready to revolt without CM Punk, the WWE sent Paul Heyman out to cut a promo.  And Paul masterfully handled that Chicago crowd.  There is no one even close to Paul Heyman.

Biggest Waste of Talent:  Cesaro.  I don’t understand this.  At Wrestlemania 30 this year, Cesaro won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and the crowd was so ready to get behind him as a top level face.  But the WWE instead put him with Paul Heyman, leaving him a heel.  And then they spent much of the year burying him.  The WWE has a performer in a rabbit suit get more time on screen than Cesaro.  Vince McMahon said on Steve Austin’s podcast that Cesaro was missing something.  Yeah Vince, it is called the support of the office.  This is one of the top stars in your company, if you let him be.

The Daniel Bryan Shining Through the Crap Award:  Damien Sandow.  Daniel Bryan had been given so many crappy gimmicks and storylines to work, and yet he made them all work and the crowd loved him all the more.  So he gets a memorial award in his honor.  And no one fits in this more than Damien Sandow (now called Mizdow).  He came out week after week in stupid costumes and acting other other wrestlers.  Then he became the Miz’s stunt double, imitating everything Miz did.  Sounds like a huge fail right?  Except Mizdow approached it with such passion that the crowd ate it up.  It is the most ridiculous thing ever, but Mizdow is making gold out of the turds.  I think even the WWE is going to have to sit up and take notice.

Best Show:  NXT.  RAW has not been good.  I haven’t watched Smackdown much.  NXT is consistently great with great wrestling and great young talents.  This gives me hope for the WWE future.

Top Ten matches of the year.  Honestly, I had trouble finding ten matches for this list.  I was not impressed with the match quality this year.  Limited Bryan.  No Punk. What do you expect.

#10 Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks.  The best diva match of the year.  It was from NXT Takeover R Evolution.  You may see a pattern.

#9 Shield vs. the Wyatt Family @ Elimination Chamber.  Two great factions.  The fans were involved.  Awesome match.

#8 Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn @ NXT Arrival.  Cesaro is amazing.  Their 2 out of 3 match last year was one of the best matches of the year.  This one wasn’t quite as good, but their chemistry was fantastic.

#7 Team Cena vs. Team Authority @ Survivor Series.  The main reason is that Dolph Ziggler overcame a 3 on 1 disadvantage to win this match.  Sting showed up too.  But Ziggler was the real star.

#6 Daniel Bryan vs. HHH @ Wrestlemania 30.  The first match of Daniel Bryan’s Wrestlemania that got him into the main event.  HHH put him over clean.  That may have been the biggest news of all.

#5 Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper @ TLC.  This was an Intercontinental title match and it was a brutal ladder match that stole the show.  Dolph is ready to shine.

#4 Daniel Bryan vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton @ Wrestlemania 30.  Daniel Bryan’s WWE World title vicotry.  Batista tapped out.  One of the greatest moments of the year and Daniel Bryan’s Wrestlemania moment.

#3 Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt @ Royal Rumble.  Daniel Bryan third match on this list and this is his best.  He brought out the best in Bray Wyatt as well.

#2 Shield vs. Evolution @ Extreme Rules.  The first match between these two factions and they were amazing.

#1 Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville @ NXT Takeover: R Evolution.  One more NXT match.  Sami Zayn defeated Adrian Neville to finally earn the NXT Championship that he chased for so long.  This match was fantastic, and was a wrestling match.  Both men did a great job with the high spots and also telling the story of the match.  Both men have bright futures in the main roster when they finally get called up.

Villains!!!!

If you have been a regular visitor to the WYG, you know that I am a big fan of the villains.  I am a big believer that if you want to have a hero, you have got to have a well thought out, villain that makes sense.  That doesn’t always happen.  Many times the villains do not reach the level of the hero.  That is a problem.  So here are the top ten villains of 2014.

#10 Snow Queen (Once Upon a Time)

Once Upon a Time had a bit of resurgence this year with a Frozen-themed series of episodes, using the myth that Frozen was based upon as inspiration.  And even better, they cast the magnificent Elizabeth Mitchell (once LOST’s Juliette) in the role.  Mitchell brought layers to the villain through every moment and she transcended the story at the end.

#9 Vee (Orange is the New Black)

Lorraine Toussaint arrived in the prison oranges when Orange is the New Black returned for season two on Netflix and she immediately started messing with everyone.  She manipulated and she cajoled.  She messed with the other inmates heads to get what she wanted…power.  And she wound up paying karma in the end.  I really wanted her to get what was coming to her, and that tells you how good a villain she was.

#8 Red Skull (Marvel Comics)

The Red Skull returned to Marvel Comics a few years ago and took the brain of the deceased Charles Xavier.  With this, The Red Skull became a master mentalist and began spreading his hatred across the Marvel Universe.  One of Marvel Comics’ big events, Axis, featured the fallout of Red Skull.

#7 Twisty (American Horror Story:  Freak Show)

TV Guide gave Twisty the Clown a “Jeers” in their latest issue, and I couldn’t agree less.  They indicated that he was just too scary when they said “…he’ll live on in our nightmares forever.  Not cool, Ryan Murphy.  Not cool!”  It seems odd that a show called American Horror Story is being chastised for having a villain too scary.  I loved Twisty, and see him as the new generation’s Pennywise.

#6 President Snow (Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1)

Donald Sutherland has done a great job creating President Snow on the big screen.  His creepy, slimy persona is a perfect foil for our hero Katniss Everdine.  And he has a definite chance to make this list again next year as he faces his comeuppance.

#5 HYDRA (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Ward (Agents of SHIELD)

Marvel Studios threw their cinematic universe into a tizzy when it revealed in Captain America: Winter Soldier that the evil agency known as Hydra had been infiltrating SHIELD for years.  And we also found out that our own Agent Ward was a member of Hydra (along with plenty of others as well…we’re looking at you, Gary Shandeling!)  #HailHydra became on of the biggest Internet memes out there.  Agents of SHIELD was forever changed (and in a really good way.)

Hail Hydra!

#4 Oswald Cobblepot (Gotham)

One of the best things about the new Batman-prequel show Gotham is the young version of the Penguin.  Oswald Cobblepot, played by Robin Lord Taylor, is an amazing find.  Gotham has been up and down this year, but Cobblepot is always fantastic.

#3 The Winter Soldier (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

One of my favorite moments of the year occurred in a movie theater while I was watching the new Cap movie.  When The Winter Soldier was revealed to be Bucky Barnes, Cap’s old friend and partner who had been presumed dead during World War II, a theater goer gasped.  I, of course, already knew that Bucky was the Winter Soldier from the comic books, but it made me smile that they were able to surprise some people who had not known that truth.  Sebastian Stan should be back in the MCU at some point, and may wind up less villainous.

#2 Pappa Pope (Scandal)

I really hate this guy.  However, he is unbelievable as Olivia Pope’s secret agent daddy.  Poppa Poe is not only a secret agent, he instructs the secret agents and runs the program that turns them into vicious assassins.  And he does it without batting an eye.  He is so far ahead of anyone else on Scandal it almost makes you pity the heroes.  Of course, you can also see where Olivia gets it from.

#1 Lorne Malvo (Fargo)

Billy Bob Thornton came to television this past year in FX’s Fargo, the remake of the popular movie.  He was chilling as Lorne Malvo, the hitman who rode into town and turned it upside down.  The way he could switch gears and fool people with his guile was both amazing and creepy.  There are real people like Lorne Malvo and that is what is the most fearsome thing of all.

Oh, and as a special addendum to the list of villains, I need to add these people.  On General Hospital, there is a group of seemingly impossible to kill characters that Luke Spencer (the real one) has dubbed the League of Doom.  They get a special notice for the list of villains this year.

LOD

Top 6 Movie cameos of 2014

The movie cameo is one of the most fun part of some movies.  The chance to see one of our favorite actors/actresses/characters appear like an Easter Egg gives us happy giggle thoughts.  Here are the top cameos of the year.

And, of course, if you haven’t seen any of these yet…. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

#6 Tom Hiddelston (Muppets Most Wanted)

There were plenty of cameos in the newest Muppet movie but Hiddelston was the best one.  Short and quick, it made everyone remember why we loved him as Loki.

#5 James Franco (The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

James Franco appears in a video that Caeser discovers in the attic of the old house where he lived before and it is a beautiful scene that really helps to humanize the ape.

#4 Howard the Duck and Cosmo (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Howard the Duck and Cosmo were both found within the Collector’s “museum” along with many other neat cameos (but apparently not Beta Ray Bill!)  Howard also made quite an impact in the post credit scene.  Many people were upset that the post credit scene was used to show our old feathered fowl, but I thought it fit the spirit of the Guardians of the Galaxy perfectly.

#3 Doc Brown (Million Ways to Die in the West)

This was the ONLY thing good about A Million Ways to Die in the West, and this cameo was spoiled by the advertising.  This could have been an epic cameo if not for the spoiler.  It was good to see Doc Brown once again.

#2 Hugh Jackman (Night at the Museum:  The Secret of the Tomb)

I laughed extremely hard at Hugh Jackman (or as Lancelot put it “Huge Ackman”) during his appearance as Hugh Jackman playing King Arthur in a stage presentation of Camelot in Night at the Museum: The Secret of the Tomb.  When Jackman struck his “Wolverine” in response to Lancelot’s challenges, I thought I might wet myself.

#1 Stan Lee (Big Hero 6, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Winter Soldier)

The King of the Marvel cameo struck three times this year, with his surprise inclusion in the animated Big Hero 6, playing Fred’s father.  We see him at first in a portrait of the family, and then in Big Hero 6’s post credit scene.  His other two appearances were just as awesome.  Stan Lee has been on this list since I started doing these year in review and he shows no signs of letting up.

The rumor was that James Gunn wanted Stan’s cameo in GotG to be inside the Collector’s museum, where the generalissmo would flip the bird to the team entering.  They decided since Star Lord does the same thing earlier (in the lineup) that Stan should just stick to the “old pervert” as Rocket said.

I missed one. Robert Downey Jr. was remarkably funny in Chef.

2014 saw some great tv music again.  Especially in unlikely places.  Last year, there was The Name Game on American Horror Story.  This year it is David Bowie’s Life on Mars, performed in a German actress by Jessica Lange.

And “Gods and Monsters” again performed by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange)…living like Jim Morrison.

 

Marvel Comics Top Ten Comics of the Year

Yes, I do not read other comics besides Marvel Comics, so my list will be exclusively from the House of Ideas.  Anyone out there who wants to add a list of our new EYG Hall of Fame member DC Comics, please feel free.  As for my list:

#10  Moon Knight.

#9 Nova.  Nova was number one last year.  It has been down a bit lately, though I still enjoy Sam Alexander.

#8 Daredevil.  Daredevil moved to San Francisco after Matt Murdock took the stand and told the world that he was truly Daredevil.

#7 All-New X-Men.  This is another one that has slipped a bit, but continues to be solid performer.  They had a Shi’ar trial of Jean Grey this year, plus went off to see Miles Morales.

#6 Thor.  This is new, but so far very intriguing.

#5 Miles Morales, The Ultimate Spider-man

Miles Morales and the Ultimate Universe survived Galactus and continues to thrive (for now.)  The Ultimate Spider-man is one of Marvel’s most consistently entertaining titles.

#4 Original Sin.  The top event series of the year.  This was more interesting than Axis.  And I was excited to find out which Marvel character offed the Watcher.  Brutal at times, Original Sin paid off in the end.

#3 Ms. Marvel.  The newest namesake of Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan.  Kamala has quickly become a fan favorite and she had one of the best team ups with Wolverine this year.

#2 New Warriors.  This is a sad number two because Marvel has ended this series at #12.  I really found this book exciting, funny, well written and full of potential.  I hope the New Warriors will return someday soon.

#1 The Amazing Spider-Man

Was there any doubt?  After a long 30 issues of a “Superior” title, the Amazing Spider-man, the real Peter Parker, returned to reclaim his life, reputation and image.  And now, Spidey has to deal with countless alternate reality versions of himself in Spider-verse.  It has been a fun ride having the real Peter back.  Here’s to many more years of fun.

More from comics…

Hero of the year:  The Amazing Spider-Man

New Character of the year:  the new Ms. Marvel

Gimmick of the year:  The Death of Wolverine

Writer:  Jonathan Hickman

Artist:  Humberto Ramos

Storyline of the year:  Goblin Nation

Death of the Year:  (Tie) Wolverine and the Watcher

Issue of the year: Superior Spider-man #31

Favorite Scene of the Year:

This happens in Superior Spider-man#31 when the Green Goblin realizes the truth…

Superior-Spider-Man-31-Spoilers-Amazing-Peter-Parker-2099-7

 

cropped-glasses.jpg

Top Geek Moments of the Year

#15 WWE Network launches.  There had been plenty of rumors and false starts before, but this was when it started, and for just $9.99 a month.  The success of the project is still up in the air and not what the WWE wanted, but it cannot be argued that this is a great value for wrestling fans.

#14 Monty Python reunites for the “last” time.  The EYG Hall of Fame troupe reunited earlier this year to have some special events, including one broadcast live across the planet.  It was reverent, funny and touching.  Monty Python may be finished performing together, but they will live forever.

#13 NPH to host the Oscars.  If there is one host with the most, it is Neil Patrick Harris.  He has hosted the Emmys.  He has hosted the Tonys (several times).  But this year, it was announced that NPH will be hosting the Academy Awards.  And fanboys everywhere celebrate.

#12 iPhone 6 released.  Apple continued its winning streak with the release of a couple of new smart phones.  And the public ate them up.

#11 Daniel Bryan wins the WWE World Championship at Wrestlemania 30.  The biggest show of the year saw the culmination of the greatest underdog story ever.  Daniel Bryan (who some say was only involved in this main event because of CM Punk’s departure) was able to get Dave Batista to tap out and become the champion.  His title reign was cut short because of injury, but he will always have the moment.

#10 Stephen Colbert chosen to replace Letterman, ends the Report.  When David Letterman announced his retirement from his late night show, there was a lot of speculation about who may replace him.  CBS looked to Comedy Central to the Colbert Report.  Stephen Colbert, who on the Colbert Report, is a character based on Conservative pundits (like you may see on FOX News).  According to sources, Stephen will be himself on Late Show.

#9 Watcher killed.  In Marvel Comics crossover event, Original Sin, Uatu the Watcher was killed.  The series then looked to solve the mystery of who pulled the trigger.  Turns out that it was the original Nick Fury who did the deed, and, in the end, was transformed into a Watcher-like presence on the moon.

#8 SHIELD is HYDRA.  In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was revealed in Captain America: Winter Soldier that the terrorist organization Hydra, that was believed to have been destroyed in World War II, had actually infiltrated SHIELD and had grown inside the spy organization for decades.  The revelation in Cap 2 sent shockwaves through Agents of SHIELD as well as the entire MCU.

#7 Weird Al Yankovic has a number one album on Billboard and releases 8 videos in 8 days.  Weird Al released his newest studio album, Mandatory Fun, and, in a way to promote it, he released eight videos from the album, one a day, on the internet.  It was a brilliant strategy as Mandatory Fun became Weird Al’s first #1 album on the Billboard charts.

#6 Guardians of the Galaxy becomes biggest movie of the year.  Over $770 million dollars world wide.  Can you believe it?  A movie with a talking raccoon and a walking tree is the biggest movie of the year.  Marvel Studios is on quite a roll, but the fact that it was an amazing movie helps.  Congrats to James Gunn and the cast.  Now, Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1 may eventually pass GotG, but that does not take away from this achievement.

#5 Marvel and DC announce their slate of movies.  DC released their list of future movies including Justice League, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Suicide Squad.  Not to be outdone, Marvel released their list which included Inhumans, Dr. Strange, Avengers Infinity War Part 1 and 2, Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok. Amazing.

#4 Marvel Comics find some diversity.  Some claim that it is a gimmick.  A Publicity stunt.  And it may be.  However, so far, both have been interesting.  The African American Sam Wilson (formerly the Falcon) has become the new Captain America, and Thor has now become a female.  Add to this the new Muslim Ms. Marvel and Marvel Comics is really looking to show the world the diversity of their characters.

#3 Star Wars cast revealed and teaser trailer launched.  There had been very little Star Wars news, and then they released a photo of the cast that sent the Internet into a tizzy.  And then, later in the year, the Star Wars teaser trailer became the most viewed trailer of the year.  This just means that the world is excited about a new Star Wars.

#2 Robin Williams.  The death of the iconic comedian and actor was one of the worst news items of the year.  It was a terrible tragic event that came out of nowhere.  Ironically, the send off that Williams’s character Teddy Rosoevelt (from Night at the Museum) received at the end of the sequel was a tender goodbye to the great star.  RIP.

#1 The Sony hacks.  So much has come from this.  A group of hackers broke into emails from Sony in protest of the Interview, a movie about James Franco and Seth Rogen going to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jung-un.  There was so much revealed in the hacks, things such as Spider-man movie information (Marvel wanted Spidey back for Civil War), Ghostbusters 3 (Sony thought about suing Bill Murray for his comments), among many other things.

Worst of all though, was the threats made that said that there would be 9/11 style attacks on theaters if The Interview was released.  Theaters bailed on Sony forcing the company to cancel the planned Christmas release.  President Obama criticized the company.  North Korea denied any involvement.

We have not yet seen the end of these Sony leaks and what may come out from them.

Update to the Interview… reportedly Sony has okayed a Christmas release for The Interview in limited theaters after all.

https://deadline.com/2014/12/interview-release-back-on-christmas-so…

John Carter

This year there is a tie for the prestigious John Carter Memorial Award.  This is given out to the biggest “flop” of the year.  Flop can be defined in several ways.  Many films flop because they fail to make money.  Some flop because of critical panning.  Some flop because they were just horrid.

According to Wikipedia:

In the motion picture industry, a box office bomb or flop is a film that is viewed as highly unsuccessful or unprofitable during its theatrical run, sometimes preceding hype regarding its cost, production, or marketing efforts.

So who has received this EYG Award in the past.  Well, this is the third year of this award and so far, the award has gone to the award’s namesake (2012) and The Lone Ranger (2013).

However, in 2014, two flops join this assembled list.  They are a follows:

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Expendables 3

A Million Ways was Seth McFarlane’s follow up to the surprise monster hit Ted, so there were a lot of high expectations for the western.  A Million Ways failed to live up to any of these expectations… in a tremendous manner.  Plus, it was just a bad movie.

Expendables 3 was not as bad of a film as A Million Ways, but it truly underperformed at the box office.  The Expendables 3 focused its attention on a group of younger characters, pushing the reason why everyone was there (seeing the old 80s actions stars team up) out of the equation.  Plus, the PG-13 rating hurt the feel of this movie.

“Congratulations” to this year’s “WINNERS”.

Best Sci Fi

This was a tough category.

Mainly because there were a lot of films that could have fallen into the category that I had to consider.  In the end, there were a group that I decided to not include.  These include Guardians of the Galaxy, Godzilla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Mockingjay Part 1, Interstellar.  All of these could be considered Sci-fi, but I eliminated all of them for one reason or another.  (Most of these will be seen again somewhere.)  The main reason was I wanted to stick to two each.  So that leaves me with the following:

Best Sci-Fi movies of 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

Snowpiercer

Worst Sci-Fi Movie of 2014

Transcendence

Lucy

Edge of Tomorrow (sometimes referred to as Live.Die. Repeat) was the biggest surprise of the year.  It looked so bad in the trailers, and it turned out so good.  Snowpiercer was a near perfect film with an amazing performance from Cap himself, Chris Evans.

Both Lucy and Transcendence were huge disappointments.  Neither one took their intriguing story set ups to effective places.

Honestly, there were many more “EH” sci-fi films than great ones or bad ones.  Earth to Echo, The Giver, Maze Runner, Divergent were all films that had some good moments to them, but none of them really stood out.

Disappointment

A disappointing movie may not necessarily mean that the movie is a bad one.  In fact, there have been several movies over the years in which I liked but the movie was just not as good as it could have been.

I have continued the trend of naming these year end awards by dubbing this one the “Spider-Man 3 Disappointment of the Year”.  I couldn’t think of a greater movie to represent disappointment than Spidey 3, which was coming off the heels of the best Spider-Man movie ever.

So, here are the top ten, biggest disappointments of 2014.

#10 Hercules.  The Rock’s film about the demigod was ok, but it could have been so much better.  I liked the set up with Herc, having real world solutions for his feats of strength, but there just wasn’t enough of a kick for it.

#9 A Most Wanted Man.  As one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s final films (the final one with him as a lead), this was such a disappointment.  It did not show the talents of the man effectively and the story was deadly dull.

#8 The Giver.  I saw this on premiere night and it may have suffered from the news of Robin Williams’s death.  Or it just may not have been very good.  Either way, a classic book deserves more than what it got.

#7 Rio 2.  I really liked the original Rio but the sequel was just more of the same.  In a year where animated movies being awesome was the norm, this one was just a placeholder.

#6 Noah.  Russell Crowe in the lead role and some great animation made this a potentially great film.  Giant rock creatures that had come form angels….not so much.

#5 This is Where I Leave You.  I look at the fantastic cast and wonder how this could not hit a home run.  At best, this was a duck snort single (keeping with the baseball metaphors).

#4 Monuments Men. Another great cast. The story was easy to follow and understand.  The characters were likeable.  And yet, there was just something that made this film disappointing.  It was too bad.

#3 Lucy.  This may have convinced Marvel Studios not to go ahead with the solo Black Widow film.  Lucy was a mess, and after looking forward to it, that was the definition of disappointing.

#2 Interstellar.  Some of you will disagree with me.  I would expect that this might even end up on several “Best Movies” lists.  And I really enjoyed the first part of Interstellar.  However, the final act just dove into a realm where the rest of the movie had not gone.  The sci-fi finale just dis a disservice to the rest of the film.

#1 Amazing Spider-Man 2.  Here is a good example of a film that I liked, but is still a disappointment.  After that opening night viewing, I knew that I was disappointed, though I convinced myself that it was not as bad as I thought.  I still think the sequence with Gwen’s death was done very well.  However, too many villains are shoehorned into the story.  Electro was Batman and Robin-esque bad.  ASM 2 has Sony reconsidering what to do with the rights, perhaps entering into some sharing agreement with Marvel Studios.  If that is truly the case, then maybe this is not a disappointing movie after all.  Maybe it is a necessary evil.

Gomer

The Gomer will now be given out to the biggest surprises of the year past. These are movies that I did not expect to enjoy, or even movies that I thought I would hate.  Whether it was because of a terrible trailer, a previous film that was no good or a certain actor, surprises are always awesome.  I love it when I go into a film thinking that this will be a waste of time and I actually end up having a good time.

So, 2014’s Gomer Award goes to….

Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise.

Edge of Tomorrow (which has been re-dubbed “Live. Die. Repeat” on the blue ray) was an amazing movie, and the biggest, most pleasant surprise of the calendar year.  The trailers for this film looked just horrendous.  It looked like another Oblivion meets Elysium.  Whoever green lit those trailers should be fired immediately, because they hurt the film’s business.  Thankfully, word of mouth did help out.  Edge of Tomorrow was funny, exciting and thrilling…and the biggest surprise of the year.

Runner Ups

Night at the Museum:  The Secret of the Tomb

Walk Among the Tombstones

As Above So Below

Horrible Bosses 2

I had trepidation about all of these films, but I really liked them all.  Night at the Museum featured a very emotional (though admittedly unintentional) scene involving Robin Williams working for it.  That goodbye scene with Williams’ Teddy Roosevelt character was one of my favorite scenes of the year.  Walk Among the Tombstones looked like just another Liam Neeson movie, but it actually took many different steps.  That was great to see.  As Above So Below was my favorite horror movie of the year after a trailer that looked just terrible.  Any though I liked Horrible Bosses 1, I had a real bad feeling about 2.  Thankfully, I did enjoy myself with in.

 

And one more on this list as well.  Another one of the runner ups fro the prestigious Gomer is The Drop starring Tom Hardy.  I had zero expectations for this film and it will wind up on the best film of the year list.  (where?  hm…you’ll have to wait)

The EYG Star of the Year- 2014 Edition.

staroftheyear

These are the top six performers/entities/people who we consider the top of the top in the geek culture for the past year.

#6 Stephen Colbert.

Stephen has been a great late night host for many years as the host of The Colbert Report, Comedy Central’s faux FOX News show.  However, this year, Colbert stepped out from behind the conservative curtain and accepted the position as replacement for the retiring David Letterman on the CBS show, The Late Show.  Stephen Colbert has been playing a character named Stephen Colbert for many years (dating back to a correspondent on The Daily Show) that it will be fascinating to see if Stephen Colbert can succeed as Stephen Colbert.  And how long before he has Poppa Bear (Bill O’Reilly) on the Late Show?

#5 Jimmy Fallon.

Jimmy Fallon took over for Jay Leno this year and really made the Tonight Show his own.  He brought such fun to the stage as Lip synch challenges with celebrities, evolution of dancing skits, singing of all flavors among others.  And he has all the great stars who are willing to do these silly things with him.  The barbershop quartet with Justin Timberlake singing Bringing Sexy Back was hilarious.  The Tonight Show is in good hands.

#4 Michael Keaton.

A return of sorts, as the star of one of the best movies of the year returns to his roots.  Birdman brings the former Batman back to the front of the movie world in a film that feels very biopic-y.  Keaton did leave a huge super hero movie series, just like the character he played in Birdman did.  However, the Broadway play he is working to put together is astonishingly funny, and Keaton has to be a favorite for an Oscar.

#3 Weird Al Yankovic

His first number one record (Mandatory Fun), eight videos released on the Internet in eight days.  Weird Al has had one of the greatest years of his long and illustrious career.  And now that he is not tied down to a record deal, perhaps we will be hearing more from the king of weird moving forward.

#2 Martin Freeman

This year alone he has been Bilbo Baggins, Dr. John Watson and Lester Nygaard.  That is the final Hobbit movie, the ongoing BBC tv show Sherlock and FX miniseries Fargo.  Freeman has shown his versatility in his differing roles as well as his acting chops.  Last year, his Sherlock mate Benedict Cumberbatch made this list (well deserved) and now Freeman joined him.  I can’t wait to see what he tackles next.

#1 Marvel Studios

They really have us in the palm of their hands.  Kevin Fiege and the rest of the talented people over at Marvel showed us again why they are such masters.  They put out a film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier that completely revamped their cinematic universe.  Their TV show, Agents of SHIELD started slow, but built amazing momentum after the Captain America movie.  They made over 750 million worldwide on a virtually unknown property The Guardians of the Galaxy.  They brought movie journalists together to announce their Phase 3 series of movies which included Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, The Inhumans and Avengers Infinity War Part 1 & 2.  They annoounced that Cap 3 would be Civil War and that Robert Downey Jr would be in it.  They announced Chadwick Boseman for Black Panther, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange.  They continue work on the Netflix series Daredevil while casting Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.  They release a teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron that was only surpassed in views by the new Star Wars one.  They continue to rock ComicCon in Hall H.  Agent Carter will debut in early 2015.  They have a plan and everything is related.  They have us in the palm of their hands.  And not only do they have us, but they keep putting out quality products.  Marvel Studios is the studio that everyone wants to be.  They have to be number one.

Music

Movie Music

Music is a vital part of the movie going experience.  These are the five top songs from this year’s movies.

#5 Everything is Awesome (Lego Movie) performed by Shawn Patterson, Tegan and Sara

#4 Agony (Into the Woods) performed by Chris Pine & Billy Magnussen

#3 Immortals (Big Hero 6) performed by Fall Out Boy

#2 Interrogation Song (Muppets Most Wanted) performed by the Muppets and Ty Burrell

#1… Ok, I know this is cheating, but number one this year is a whole album.  The Awesome Mix Tape Vol 1 was a huge importance in Guardians of the Galaxy, and the songs on this Mix Tape really set the tone for the film.  Each one is truly awesome, and so… the Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1 gets the number one spot.

Kid Actor

There were several movies this year that gave prominent roles to young kids.  This is always a danger as if you have a young child actor who cannot act, and you place hm/her in a major role in your movie… your movie will suck.  Fortunately,. there are excellent kid actors out there and there were several who filled their roles admirably.

Our winner of the Child Actor of the Year Award goes to….

Emjay Anthony from Chef.

Emjay had a major role in the excellent film Chef and without his skill and talent, Chef would not have been anywhere near as good of a film as it was.

Not only did he have a major role, but he was in a movie that also had Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt,and Sofia Vergara.

However, most of his most important scenes in Chef were played against his on-screen father, Jon Favreau.  The connection between these two truly made this film.  Young Emjay played the unintentional rejection of his father with such soul and subtlety, he brought layers to the film.  The expressions the boy showed were better than many adult actors.  He felt natural.  He felt real. He was full of charm and that translated to the screen.  Emjay Anthony is one of the main reasons why Chef will find its way into the top ten movies of the year for me. (tease for later)

This actor has a bright future ahead of him.  If I were Marvel Studios, I would be looking at this kid to play my new Nova.  Emjay could absolutely carry off Sam Alexander.

Runner ups:  and we have several because there were some really good performances from young kids this year.

Jaeden Liebenhen (St. Vincent)

Rohan Chand (Bad Words)

Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood)

Daniel Huttelstone (Into the Woods)

Quvenzhare Wallis (Annie)

Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar)

Ed Oxenbould (Alexander and the…Day)

Liebenhen was a powerhouse acting with Bill Murray in St. Vincent. I really enjoyed the young Indian Rohan Chand with Jason Bateman in Bad Words.  He was very funny in that.  Ellar Coltrane is not a child actor any more.  When he started Boyhood, he was a child actor, but now he is a young adult.  Filming over a time span of 12 years would do that to you.  Wallis and Huddelstone both had to sing as well as act, Wallis being one of the best things about Annie.  Mackenzie Foy grew up during Interstellar and became Jessica Chastain.  Oxenbould was the lead star in Alexander and the movie title that goes on forever.  And he did a very good job

director

Best Director of the Year!

#6 Wes Anderson (Grand Budapest Hotel)

#5 David Fincher (Gone Girl)

#4 The Russo Brothers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

#3 James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy)

#2 Richard Linkletter (Boyhood)

#1 A.G. Inarritu (Birdman)

 

Best Supporting Actor and Actress 2014

There are some wonderful supporting actors during films this year, but I suspect that there are some who should be on this list that I will not have…mainly because I have yet to see their films.  JK Simmons from Whiplash( who it sounds like might have the Oscar lead at this moment), Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo from Foxcatcher, Josh Brolin from Inherent Vice, Tom Wilkerson from Selma to name a few of the actors.  On the actress side there is Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year, the different actresses from Foxcatcher among others.

So here is my current list of Supporting Actors & Actresses.

Best Supporting Actor

# 7 The combined voice talents of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as Rocket and Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy)

#6 Sam Mackie as Sam Wilson, the Falcon (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

#5 Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask (X-Men: Days of Future Past)

#4 Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody (Godzilla)

#3 Zach Galifianakis as Jake (Birdman)

#2 Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Supporting Actress

#7 Scarlett Johannson as Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

#6 Rene Russo as Nina Romina (Nightcrawler)

#5 Laura Dern as Bobbi (Wild)

#4 Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke (The Imitation Game)

#3 Eva Green as Ava (Sin City:A Dame to Kill For)

#2 Tilda Swanson as Mason (Snowpiercer)

and the #1 Supporting Actor and Actress for 2014 both come from the same movie:  Birdman.

They are Edward Norton and Emma Stone

Batman and Robin

Here are the Batman & Robins… the worst awards of the movie season.

Worst Actor in a Film: (TIE)  Kellan Lutz (Legend of Hercules), Nicolas Cage (Left Behind)

Worst Actress in a Film:  Olivia Cook (Ouija)

Worst Special Effects in a Big Budget Film:  The Pyramid (for the Jackal headed God/Monster)

Worst Animated Film: Cars:  Fire and Rescue

Worst sequel of the year: (TIE):  Transformers: Age of Extinctions, A Haunted House 2

Worst Elvis Imitator:  The Identical

Worst Movie that I haven’t Seen:  Let’s Be Cops

If Only We were as Good as Sharnado Disaster Movie:  Into the Storm

Why didn’t we just make Ted 2A Million Ways to Die in the West

Even Jim Morrison hates this MovieDeliver Us From Evil

Worst Comic Book Based MovieI, Frankenstein

Best Scene in a Bad MovieThe Death of Gwen Stacy (Amazing Spider-man 2)

Worst Trailer for an Awesome FilmEdge of Tomorrow

Best Trailer for a terrible film Transformers: Age of Extinction

Buzz Kill of the year Kim Jong-un (North Korea mad about The Interview)

 

 

Best Actresses of 2014

Here is the list of my favorite seven lead actresses in movies this year.  Just like the supporting categories, there are some movies that I have not yet seen, like for example Cake starring Jennifer Aniston.  She has gotten a lot of Oscar buzz and might have been on this list if I had seen Cake, but it has not yet been in a theater near me.

Here are my list:

#7 Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Though Zoe is really more of a supporting actress in the Guardians, she was as close to a lead actress in the GotG and I wanted this movie represented.  Zoe does a really fine job with her character and her interactions with Chris Pine is solid.

#6 Kristen Wiig (The Skeleton Twins)

Kristen Wiig, known from her work on SNL, was outstanding in The Skeleton Twins, anything but a happy-go-lucky comedy.  Wiig’s lip-synching of Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now is a highlight of the film.

#5 Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow)

Emily Blunt showed that she could be the kick ass action star with her turn as Rita in Edge of Tomorrow.  She had great chemistry with Tom Cruise and she proved her worth.  She also appeared this year in Into the Woods as the Baker’s Wife, a role that helped with this list, but Rita was the main drive for her position.

#4 Amy Adams (Big Eyes)

Amy Adams was one of the best parts of Big Eyes, playing Margaret Keane, a woman whose painting were being passed off as her husband’s work.  Adams played this woman similar to an abused wife.  Margaret Keane was a real person and Adams did a great job.

#3 Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and X-Men: Days of Future Past)

Jennifer Lawrence has become a mainstay of this list.  She was here last year with not only the last Hunger Games, but also American Hustle.  This year, she returned as Mystique in X-Men: Days of Future Past and her penultimate performance as Katniss Everding.  Lawrence is quickly becoming one of the best actresses in movies today.

#2 Felicity Jones (Theory of Everything)

Felicity Jones held her own in the film Theory of Everything with her scene partner Eddie Redmayne.  Jones played Jane Hawking, the wife of Stephen Hawking.  While many people have been talking up Redmayne (with good reason), Felicity Jones is as important to the film as he is.  The relationship between the Hawkings are the main emphasis of the movie and she does a wonderful job.  It was a much better performance than her turn as Felicia in Amazing Spider-man 2, earlier this year.

#1 Rosemund Pike (Gone Girl)

Rosemund Pike was fantastic in Gone Girl as the not so dead Amy Dunne.  About midway through the movie, we find out that Nick did not kill Amy as was thought.  Instead, she faked her death.  We then got to look at how much of a sociopath Amy Dunne had really been.  And Rosemund Pike thrived as the psychotic wife.  She was unbelievably compelling and her performance was special.  The best of the year.

 

Best Actors of 2014

Our next category is Best Actor.  And for this one, we have ten.  As I said earlier, this list does not include several movies such as Selma, Foxcatcher, Whiplash because these films have yet to be shown in my area.  I am looking forward to them, but 2014 does not look to be the year for seeing these.

Top ten lead actors are as follows:

#10 Tom Hardy (The Drop)

One of the biggest surprise performances of the year is Tom Hardy’s work in The Drop.  He really caught me off-guard with how compelling he was, and this movie was excellent.  This was the final movie featuring James Gandolfini, but Tom Hardy stole the show.  He completely became this character.  I never once thought about Tom Hardy.  All I saw was Bob.  Excellent.

#9 Ralph Fiennes (Grand Budapest Hotel)

Ralph Fiennes was a hoot in Grand Budapest Hotel, and he was the focal point of the entire movie.  Without him, this would not have been anywhere near as successful as it was.  Great character and great humorous performance.

#8 Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Chris Pratt was the perfect choice to play Star-Lord.  And because of the role, Chris Pratt is going to become a huge star.  He did a fantastic job as our rogue leader of the Guardians, who just wants to dance.  Pratt is an original performer and sets the perfect tone for this film.

#7 Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier & Snowpiercer)

Everyone knows how much I love Chris Evans as Steve Rogers.  I think he is perfect casting, and he was great in Winter Soldier.  But he was absolutely brilliant in Snowpiercer.  This science fiction movie was a huge star turn for Evans and he showed us an entire range of emotion.  Evans keeps talking about retiring from acting to focus on directing, and if that were the case, that would be a terrible loss for the acting world. Can’t wait to see him in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.

#6 James McAvoy (X-Men: Days of Future Past)

Young Professor Xavier had lost his vision.  He had lost his legs.  He was drinking.  He was lost.  And James McAvoy was amazing as the disgruntled psychic.  It took future Wolverine to convince him to join them.  McAvoy showed such range that I believed this man was lost.  I am excited to keep seeing this man work his mental mojo.

#5 Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)

This was probably Benedict’s best performance in a movie to date.  His role as Alan Turing, brilliant codebreaker from World War II and closet homosexual, provided Cumberbatch with awesome material, and he did not disappoint.  He elevated an average movie through his performance.

#4 Andy Serkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

The master of stop motion capture, Andy Serkis returned to Caeser, the top ape of them all, in The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  Serkis has been amazing over the years, but he was the star of this movie.  And the fact that he has not received an Oscar nomination is criminal.  He is awesome and everyone knows it.  When someone needs help in stop mo-cap, they call Serkis.  Rise was an excellent film.

#3 Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Jake Gyllenhaal completely became this sociopathic Louis Bloom, a sleazy man trying to tape the terrible accidents for the news.  Gyllenhaal was absolutely stunning, disappearing into the role.  And this is another example of a performance that has elevated the movie to a different level.  Nightcrawler would not have been as compelling as it was without him.

#2 Eddie Redmayne (Theory of Everything)

And speaking of transformative performances, Eddie Redmayne did things that I was not sure a human body could do.  He was 100% convincing.  If I didn’t know better, I would say that he actually had ALS.  If this movie were a little more compelling, he would be a shoe in for the Academy Award.  The one drawback was that The Theory of Everything was not an incredible movie.  It was an incredible performance, but it was another example of a brilliant performance elevating a somewhat average film.  Words really cannot express how great he was.

#1 Michael Keaton (Birdman)

Michael Keaton does an unbelievable job in Birdman.  He is immediately compelling.  He plays the broken down old star of a super hero film like he had experience.  Of course, he did, as he left the Tim Burton Batman series after the second film.  Riggen was setting up a Broadway show, but he was also hearing voices of Birdman himself. Or was he?  Keaton played it with great subtlety and emotion.  He may be the favorite for an Academy Award, and he deserves it.

Up next: the list full of vitriol.  The worst of the worst.

The Top 20 Worst Films of 2014.

I saw more movies this year than any other year prior, so the number of Worst Films raised this year as well..

I am breaking a rule this year for my DISHONORABLE MENTION because they are Let’s Be Cops and Blended.  I did not see either film. Now, it is probably not fair to put these two films on a list of the worst movies of the year when I have not seen them (tough), but, in the case of Let’s Be Cops, two friends of mine did see it and they indicated that it was terrible (big surprise.)  I could tell by the trailers of both of these movies that I wanted no part of them.  Certainly, both of them would be entrenched on the list if I had seen them.  So they get dishonorable mention.

So here are the Top (or Bottom depending on how you look at it) 20 films of 2014.

#20 (TIE) Expendables 3 and 300: Rise of an Empire.  Ok, I know this makes it 21, but I could not decide which one of these sad sequels to leave off the list, so I broke down and put hem both here.  I liked the original 300, and parts of the previous Expendables, so these films were disappointments.

#19 Mom’s Night Out.  An unfunny comedy with Patricia Heaton as one of several moms who needed time away from their families.  It also had a definitive Christian theme that got in the way more than it helped.  Not family fun.

#18 Brick Mansions.  This was one of Paul Walker’s last films, and it is really sad.  A dumb action adventure with monstrous plot holes and people doing stupid things.  Paul Walker deserved better.

#17 Dumb and Dumber To.  A sequel long in the making, should have stayed in the producer’s fantasy.  Minimum laughs and too many poop, pee, fart jokes.  Dumb and Dumber To did not look to raise the level of comedy up.  Instead, it looked to drag the rest of us down.

#16 Into the Storm.  Sharknado without the sharks.  Boring, cardboard cut-out characters being placed in silly danger.  Why should I care if these worthless characters die in the storm?  I was actually rooting for some to go.

#15 Dr. Cabbie.  Stretching the level of believability to new levels.  An Indian med students practicing medicine in Canada out of the back of a cab?  Not even Raj from the Big Bang Theory could save this stinker.

#14 Annabelle.  The first of several horror movies to make this list, Annabelle was a poor “prequel” to The Conjuring.  There was little horror, not even much to be scared about.

#13 The Pyramid.  Another failed horror movie.  This one had some of the worst special effects of the year (yeah, I am looking at you, Anubis!)

#12 Need for Speed.  This goes to show you that just because someone is awesome on a television show (Aaron Paul on Breaking Bad), doesn’t mean he can do the same thing on the big screen.  Of course, it could also be the fact that the movie was deadly dull as well.

#11 A Million Ways to Die in the West.  I was really surprised when this film slipped from the top ten, because I was sure that it was going to be there.  The neat cameo by Doc Brown won out over the non-Elvis and this was #11 instead of…

#10 The Identical.  Don’t call him Elvis.  This is some weird, Elseworld tale if Elvis’s identical twin lived and also became a great singer.  Oh, and their names are not Elvis.  Or Presley.  Just horrible.

#9 Transformers: Age of Extinction.  I had thought that maybe the Dinobots might make this one better.  How wrong could I be?  Of course, the Dinobots (though they never actually were called that) didn’t show up until very late in the seemingly ENDLESS film.  And the product placement… just obscene.  This is the worst of the Transformers movies.

#8 Ouija.  Another terrible horror movie that was just not scary.  This one brings the evil creature using the Parker Brothers game Ouija.  No fear and stupid people. Sounds like a great time at the theater.

#7 Deliver Us From Evil.  The worst horror movie of the year, this one has some strange fixation with Jim Morrison songs.  There are laughable dialogue and even a solid actor (Eric Bana) can save this film.

#6 America.  What would happen if George Washington was shot and killed in the Revolutionary War?  What would happen to America?  The promos to this film asked that question, but it was never answered.  It wasn’t even a topic.  Instead, it was a right wing hatchet job from  Dinesh D’Souza.  Insulting, partisan, and borderline racist.

#5 A Haunted House 2.  I just watched this on Netflix.  I don’t know why I did.  I certainly knew that I wouldn’t like it.  I hated the first one.  I just felt the need to see this.  It might have been a little funnier than the first one.  Not saying much.

#4 The Legend of Hercules.  One of the earliest films of the year,  It was such a terrible film that it has stuck with me all year long.  The acting, the dialogue, the special effects…all of it was terrible.  The Rock’s Hercules was not great, but by comparison, it was like Citizen Kane.  The Legend of Hercules was all around a horrible movie.

#3 Persecuted.  A preacher who has an important ministry, both on tv and across the nation, will not join up with a senator’s crusade to reform religion.  Because of that, the preacher is framed for murder and goes out on the run.  Of course, when I think of persecution, the first group I think about is white, Christian men.

#2   I, Frankenstein.  Aaron Eckhart had some slight scars on his face, but he was to be seen as a monster here.  Well, the only monster involved here is the script.  I thought this one might earn the infamous #1 spot this year, but one film was worse…

#1 Left Behind.  Nicolas Cage.  He was a good actor once.  Here he played a pilot who, in the middle of his flight, has to deal with the fact that the Rapture has occurred.  Several people disappeared (including all kids) into thin air.  These were the good, God-fearing people.  The rest of the bad people and the heathens were left on earth.  Including our main stars. Hm, what does that say?  This was a remake of a Kirk Cameron tv movie so the overall badness should not be a surprise.

Why couldn’t the Rapture have happened before I saw this movie?  I had no knowledge of this film at all when I went to see it.  I knew as the previews were starting and I saw Kirk Cameron Saves Christmas, and a trailer for some movie degrading evolution that I had made a mistake.  Left Behind is the worst movie of the year.

The Top 25 Movies of the Year

Here is the list of the best movies of the year, in my opinion.  There are several films that could have made this list that I have yet to see.  I guess those will have to wait for 2015.

Twenty-five movies is a new high for the year end list, but 2014 was a great year in films.

And I still have some honorary mentions.  Jon Stewart’s directorial debut in Rosewater, the animated Batman: Assault on Arkham, the top horror movie As Above So Below, the surprising LiamNeeson film A Walk Among the Tombstone, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s awesome performance in The Imitation Game.

Top 25

#25.  Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.  This film did a nice job of setting up what is sure to be a higher listed film next year.  Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful as Katniss and President Snow is just creepy enough.  Good things in the future I am sure.

#24 Lone Survivor.  This was one from early in the year, and it was a very solid film, also based on a true story.  This is the movie with the ultimate spoiler in the title.  🙂  And a very good performance from Mark Wahlberg.

#23 Boyhood.  A lot of people had this higher on their lists.  I enjoyed it too, but not quite as much as others.  I do believe the production of this was a marvel, considering everything that Richard Linkletter went through to get it made.

#22 The Drop.  One of the surprises of the year.  Tom Hardy is magnificent in this film, and we see the final performance of James Gandolfini.

#21 St. Vincent.  A great role for Bill Murray and a different role for Melissa McCarthy.  Both are very welcomed.  There was also a fantastic performance from the young actor Jaeden Lieberher.

#20  Mr. Peabody and Sherman.  I would say that I overrated this when it first came out, although I still loved the movie.  The nostalgia hit me pretty hard at the debut of this classic.  It was a great year for animation, considering how poor last year was.

#19 Gone Girl.  A movie that does an amazing 180 in the middle.  At first, you wonder whether or not Ben Affleck killed Rosamund Pike.  Then, suddenly you know…and you are amazed at the sociopaths that are on the screen.  The perfect example of deserving one another?  Pike should get an Oscar for her role.

#18 John Wick.  Keanu Reeves is back finally with a strong movie.  John wick was exciting, dramatic and very funny.  The looks the bad guys would get just at the idea that John Wick was coming after them…priceless.

#17 The Hobbit:  Battle of the Five Armies.  The final trip to Middle Earth was extremely well done, and a solid conclusion to a film series that probably should have been two movies instead of three.  Still, the Smaug battle at the beginning was one of my favorite battle scenes of the year.

#16 Bad Words.  Very funny, and very raunchy.  Jason Bateman embraces his naughty side in this revenge tale against the culture of the spelling bee.

#15 Nightcrawler.  Another film that might be higher on other lists.  Not that I didn’t love this one, because I did.  I thought it was fabulous.  Jake Gyllenhaal is transformative in his performance, just fully becoming the sociopathic Louis Bloom.  One of the best performances of his career.

#14 The Lego Movie.  When I saw this one early in the year, I was expecting this to be the best animated movie of the year.  Little did I know this would only reach number 3 on that list.  The Lego Movie had great heart, including a remarkably touching scene with Will Farrell.  Creative and enjoyable… everything is definitely awesome.

#13 How to Train Your Dragon 2.  One step above the Lego Movie for me was the sequel that saw Hiccup grow to a young man while the relationship between him and Toothless be pushed to the limit and still come through.  Where some animated movies keep their characters frozen in place and time, How to Train… advances them into the future.

#12 Nebraska.  This was a holdover from 2013, but I had not been able to see it until the early part of 2014.  And I loved it.  Bruce Dern was awesome in the lead role, and certainly deserved that Oscar nomination he got last year.  If you haven’t seen Nebrask yet, check it out on Netflix.  It is that good.

#11 Snowpiercer.  Another one to stream online if you haven’t seen it.  Chris Evans is unbelievable in this sci-fi epic taht takes place aboard a train.  This one was nearly a top ten film, as I considered moving it to the #10 slot, but I didn’t.

#10 Godzilla.  Yes there were some problems with Godzilla.  Some of the human characters were weak, and I would have loved more Bryan Cranston.  Some people complained about the lack of Godzilla and fights early, but I liked that.  It felt like a slow build.  And that payoff…the fight at the end was astonishing.   Let’s not forget how bad Godzilla could have been (I’m looking at you Matthew Broderick)

#9 Grand Budapest Hotel.  Wes Anderson’s latest film is hilarious, contains a great performance by Ralph Fiennes, and has many of Anderson’s typical entourage of talent.  Smart and funny.  What a concept.

#8 Big Hero 6.  Disney’s adaption of a Marvel property found its way to the top of my animation list, and into the overall top 10.  Baymax is a breakout character and his relationship with Hiro was what the entire film was based upon.  Plus there was the first ever Stan Lee animated cameo.

#7 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  The second film in the story of Caeser took new steps in amazing ways.  Andy Serkis continued to exhibit his mastery over the character of Caeser and this continued to be full of action, emotion and excitement.  I can’t wait for what is next.

#6 Edge of Tomorrow.  The biggest surprise of the year was this Tom Cruise film that had a trailer that made it look terrible.  I dreaded watching this film, but it was awesome.  It was brilliantly executed, was very funny and the gimmick was perfectly carried out.  If you missed this film, see it when you can.  You will not regret it.

#5 X-Men: Days of Future Past.  The X-Men brand has officially been fixed.  After the travesties that were X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins; Wolverine, the series rebooted in sense with X-Men: First Class.  This took that even further.  Who would ever think we would see both young and old Professor Xs looking into each other’s eyes.  Everything was linked together with Wolverine, and now we have a new X-Men continuity.  Uncanny.  And that Quicksilver scene…one of the best of the year…bar none.

#4 Chef.  I loved this father-son story starring Jon Faveau and the fantastic young Emjay Anthony.  It was life affirming watching these two characters bond again on a trip back from Florida, selling great food along the way.  You could almost taste the food.  Add great cameos from Robert Downey Jr, Dustin Hoffman and Oliver Platt and you have a true winner.

#3 Birdman.  Michael Keaton is officially back.  This movie is amazing to watch. The way they make it look like this is one continuous shot is movie magic at its finest.  But there is so much more than just the gimmick involved.  You had unbelievable performances from not only Keaton, but also Emma Stone, Edward Norton, and Zach Galifianakis as well.  This is a great movie.

So…now we reach the #1 movie of the year.  If you have been paying attention, you will see that I have skipped the number two spot.  That is because I could not decide between two movies for the top spot.  So, because this is my list and I can do it if I want, I decided that I would have a 1A and a !B instead of choosing.  Cheating?  Maybe, but who cares really?

1A. Captain America: Winter Soldier

1B.  Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Studios’ two releases this year were both unbelievably amazing.  Both were more than just super hero movies.  Captain America was like a 1970 spy thriller (including a role from Robert Redford) that was tense and full of action.  And some of those fight scenes with Cap and Bucky were as well done as you are going to see.  Meanwhile, GotG was redefining the space opera, taking the best parts of Star Wars and Star Trek and sprinkling a good helping of Avengers with it.  Who would have thought that Marvel could take a movie about a talking tree and raccoon and make it a worldwide hit.  770 million worldwide, and GotG 2 is set up to be a massive hit.  And, of course, Cap 3 is going to be Civil War.

Marvel is just hitting on all cylinders right now.  Both of these films were so full of fun and humor and action and a good time.   Yet, they are anything but the same thing.  Marvel has been very diverse in the type of movie they are making, and that shows.  People keep asking about the life span of comic book movies, but I say that as long as they keep giving us quality, they will never run out.  And these two movies are as good as it gets.

The time for looking back is through.  Now, let’s look ahead of us.  So much greatness to come…

2015

 

Year in Review-2012

Previously Published

It is that time of the year once again.

It is time to look back over the year that was and to list the best and the worst in the world of TV, movies, comic books, pro wrestling, and more.

Of course, if everything goes away after Dec. 21st, then none of this matters.  (Thanks a lot Mayans).

I will be making my lists of the best and worst of 2012.  I will only be including movies that I watch on the list of movies.  (That means That’s My Boy will not appear.).

I will be doing the best and worst movies after the Christmas season.  There are a few movies that I need to see before compiling the list.  So to start off, I will begin with the list for the Best Comic Books of the Year.

Now, I am a Marvel fan, so most of this list is Marvel Comics.  I have nothing against DC or any independent book out there, but I just do not read much else.  So here we go…

#6  Avengers vs. X-Men

The limited series that Marvel based the entire summer on matched its top two super hero teams against each other and brought about the return of the Phoenix force.  The series may have been a tad long, but I looked forward to each issue.  Some people disliked it.  I was not one of those.

#5 The Walking Dead

The one comic on the list that I have not collected is the one that has spawned a huge phenomenon.  The Walking Dead deserves to be on any list of the best of the year.  So I made an exception and placed it here.

#4 Amazing Spider-Man

The series will end next week with issue #700 and, apparently, with the changing of the guard.  But Amazing Spider-man has been great all year long, consistent and enjoyable, thanks mainly to Dan Slott.  I hope Superior Spider-Man is as enjoyable.

#3 Captain Marvel

The rebranding of Ms. Marvel also caused some to complain, but I liked it.  And the series itself has been original and enjoyable from the first issue.  The art has been hit and miss for me, but the continuing adventures of Carol Danvers has placed her front and center in the Marvel Universe, right where she belongs.

#2 Daredevil

Last year, Daredevil was the number one super hero of the year last year according to my lists, and the main reason was because his solo title continues to be fun, light-hearted, enjoyable and the way super hero titles should be.  Mark Waid has done wonders for the formerly depressed Man Without Fear.

And #1…

Hawkeye

No really.

This has been a revelation of a comic book.  At first, the art seemed too simplistic, but it fit the series perfectly.  And so much about this series was perfect.  The series tells the story of Clint Barton and his life when he is not being Hawkeye, member of the Avengers.  In fact, the comic features Clint out of costume.  It deals with creating a life beyond the Avengers for our favorite archer and builds up his relationships that are away from the team.  It’s brilliant.  Matt Fraction has found an amazing hit with Hawkeye, and the public seems to agree, making Hawkeye one of the surprise hits of the year.  Issue number one is already on its third printing and each story becomes more interesting.  The art makes the book different and it flows perfectly.  Marvel has a definite hit on their hands with Hawkeye.  The number one comic of 2012.

Top 5 Television Characters of the Year (OK…six actually)

#5 Captain Hook (Once Upon a Time)

Nothing better than a classic villain to spice things up in Storybrooke.  And since in season two, the Evil Queen has not been as evil and Mr. Gold has been tamed by the Beauty, then our brand new villain to join in the fun takes the prize.  And he is…Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).  In search of the crocodile that took his hand, Captain Hook conspired with Cora, the Queen of Hearts to find his way to Storybrooke, and sparks flew with Emma.  Hook is prepared to rock the second half of the season when Once Upon a Time returns on January 6

#4 Rick Castle & Kate Beckett (Caskett)  from Castle

Finally!  After years of teasing and tantalizing…Rick Castle and Kate Beckett have finally hooked up, and Castle has never been better.  Though they have continued to keep their relationship secret (though people keep finding out), they have really shown how much they care about each other.  They have an emotional connection and a real life romance.  They have shown no signs of falling victim to the “Moonlighting curse”.  If Moonlighting had been this well written at the time, it could have survived as well.  Worry not, Caskett Fans, the show is in good hands.

#3 Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock & Elementary)

Two actors.  One character.  Two different takes on a classic detective.  Sherlock Holmes is alive and well on television.  Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller have donned the eccentricities of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic character and both have brought new life to the role.

#2  Amy Farrah Fowler (The Big Bang Theory)

Amy is one of the most original characters on television, and her relationship with Dr. Sheldon Cooper never fails to bring the laughs.  The episode where Amy pretended to be sick in order to have Sheldon pay attention to her (“The Fish Guts Displacement”) was hilarious.  “Momma needs a bath.”   Amy has brought the goods to the Big Bang Theory, and I hope she stays for years to come.  Mayim Bialik was nominated for an Emmy for the role this past year.  It was well deserved.

and #1 character on television in 2012 was…

Daryl Dixon of the Walking Dead

Who else?  Daryl is one of the best reasons to watch the Walking Dead.  In what could have been a one-note stereotypical role, Daryl Dixon has become the show’s breakout anti-hero.  One minute Daryl is shooting zombies in the head with his trust crossbow and the next he is feeding Rick’s new baby while Rick is busy talking to his dead wife on the phone.  Daryl is believable in both situations.  He has shown consistently that he has the best interest of the group in mind and that he cares about each one, no matter how strange it may be.  And with his reunion with his brother Merle in the mid-season finale, Daryl should continue to be one of the top characters on the small screen.

 

Top Ten Television Programs of 2012

TV

#10  Finding Bigfoot

Yes each episode is the same.  Yes, the “facts” that they claim are silly and impossible to justify.  But there is just something fun about watching Matt, Cliff, Ranae and Bobo wandering about in the woods, whooping, calling, knocking searching for the Squatches.  I always imagine the bigfoots in a cave somewhere laughing their hairy butts off as Bobo howls through the night.  Even still, I have enjoyed every episode.  I think the inclusion of “skeptic” Ranae really helps balance out the other three.

#9 Comic Book Men

I watched Comic Book Men last season and I was not that impressed.  The crew of the Secret Stash were entertaining enough, but the show just seemed to drag.  Then this year, they changed the format to a half hour show instead of an hour and it helped the AMC show tremendously.  And the episode guest starring Stan Lee was great.

#8 Elementary

Sherlock Holmes is huge once again.  This take on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle detective is a big hit for CBS.  And it creates quite the different dynamic with Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Dr. Watson (Lucy Liu).

#7 Homeland

I am not quite as enamored over Homeland as all the other critics are, but I have to admit that it is good television. Though I cannot see it regularly (I do not have Showtime), the tense action is worth the effort.

#6 Once Upon a Time

I’ll admit I was not overly fond of the Emma and Snow are trapped in Fairy Tale Land plot, but it provided some good scenes. (Though I really wanted to smack Mulan several times).  But the best part of the season has been the character development.  From Regina, Mr. Gold, Charming, Ruby, Henry, Hook, Dr. Frankenstein… there were just great character moments.

#5 Sherlock

Too short of a season.  I want more than three episodes.  Especially with the finale of the second season…where Shelock looked like he had killed himself because of Moriarty’s influence.  Benedict Cumberbatch is fabulous as Sherlock and Bilbo Baggins himself, Martin Freeman, as Dr. Watson is perfect casting.  And the news that Sherlock’s new season will be pushed back to 2014.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

#4 The Big Bang Theory

CBS’s smash hit has been one of the highest rated shows on the air.  And it is just a hoot.  Every week, Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, Howard, Penny, Amy, and Bernadette provide laugh after laugh…and there are way too many moments to which I relate.

#3 Castle

Last years number one continues to be strong.  This season Rick and Kate have entered a relationship and it is an intelligent and fun, real-life relationship.  And it boasted one of the best episodes of the year with “Probable Cause” that saw the return of the 3XK.  TV doesn’t get that good too often.

#2 American Horror Story

I love this show.  The end of last season with the death of the Harmon family was amazing, but this season at the Asylum has been even better.  With craziness everywhere (Bloody Face, ex-Nazi scientists, Satanically possessed Nuns, crazy Santa, Aliens, monsters in the woods), the show still features brilliant performances, in particular from Jessica Lange as Sister Jude.  The show has legitimate scary images, and is also very funny.  It is a great hour of television every Wednesday.

And #1 show in 2012 is…

The Walking Dead

Season three in the Zombie Apocalypse has really found its balance.  After a season two that started slow on the farm, the show has been gangbusters ever since zombie Sophie stumbled out of Herschel’s barn.  And season three has just been amazing each and every week.  Characters we love dying everywhere, showing that the world of the zombie apocalypse is not an easy place to live.  The death of Lori during childbirth was as moving as you’ll find.  I mean, Lori is a character that I had disliked for awhile now…but the entire set up was so perfectly done that I was upset when she died.  And having Carl make sure that she didn’t turn… just heartbreaking.

Plus the additions of the Governor and Michonne have brought some much needed new blood.  And they are both really messed up characters…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And there are great moment after moment on the show.  Rick splitting the convict’s head with the machete, Herschel being bitten and having his leg chopped off by Rick, the return of Merle, the Michonne-Governor showdown over his zombie daughter Penny, Glenn going all bad ass and fighting walkers while being tied to a chair, Rick on the phone with his dead wife, Carl and his ascension to bad ass status… and I could go on.

The show looks great, is unbelievably exciting, and literally, you do not know who will survive.  It is epic television and definitely the best show of the year.

I can’t believe that I have forgotten Grimm.  That is definitely one of the top ten shows of the year.  I’ll sneak it into #6a just behind Once Upon a Time.  Grimm is awesome, and I think Monroe should have made that list of top TV characters as well.

Sorry to forget about you, Nick.  It won’t happen again.

wwe

Top 10 Professional Wrestlers of 2012

  1. Jeff Hardy
  2. Damien Sandow
  3. Bully Ray
  4. Big Show
  5. Austin Aries
  6. John Cena
  7. Sheamus
  8. Dolph Ziggler
  9. Daniel Bryan
  10. CM Punk

CM Punk has been WWE Champion the entire year and he is one of the best performers in the company.  He was a face for the first part of the year and then he embraced the hate and became the company’s top heel.  Daniel Bryan had a fantastic year, even after the 18-second loss to Sheamus at Wrestlemania.  That loss could have destroyed any other wrestler, but Bryan actually got stronger from it.  He may be the most over performer in the company (even more than Cena.)  YES YES YES!  Dolph Ziggler could be number one next year.  His time is on the way and his new love connection with AJ Lee will only make him better.  I think his future is as a face though, and I would not be surprised if he turned before 2013 ends.  Sheamus has been excellent in the ring all year, though his character is perhaps the biggest bully on the roster.  That is how many faces are booked in the WWE though.  Cena is still the face of the company, despite having what would have to be considered a down year by his standards.  Having him lose more helps his character in the long run, making things less predictable.  A heel turn would still be the biggest thing in wrestling if it were ever to happen.

 

Top Ten Television episodes of 2012

#10  “The Fish Guts Displacement”  The Big Bang Theory

Howard is pushed into a fishing trip with Bernadette’s father and Amy pretend to be sick so Sheldon would take care of her.

#9 “The Doctor”  Once Upon a Time

We discover the true identity of Dr. Whale and …I never saw it coming.  That is always a good trait.

#8 “Mockingbird Lane”

The rebooted Munsters pilot starring Jerry O’Connell that was too expensive for NBC, but was very enjoyable.  I wish NBC would have given the green light to this show.

#7 “Judge, Jury, Executioner” The Walking Dead

The season two episode where Dale spends the whole time trying to be the conscious of the group, arguing over the plan to kill their young prisoner, only to wind up as Walker chow.  I didn’t see that coming either.

#6 La Llorona  Grimm

A great ghost story on one of the most improved shows on tv.  Nick and Hank race to try to save innocent kids from the woman of the lake.

#5 “The Origins of Monstrosity”  American Horror Story: Asylum

We find out the backstory of Bloody Face as well as the debate between nature and nurture is debated in the only way that American Horror Story can.  We also find out that Nutmeg makes everything better.

#4 “The Reichenbach Fall” Sherlock

The third episode of the second season was filled with twists and tension and just an amazing ending.  Any time Sherlock and Moriarty can go at it, then you have some great tv.

#3 “Dark Cousin”  American Horror Story: Asylum

The arrival of the Angel of Death!  Who will accept the kiss from her?  And Lana escapes from Bloody Face, but that does not mean there will be good things for her.

#2  “Made to Suffer”  The Walking Dead

The midseason finale of the Walking Dead was just off the charts, with the battle between the Governor and Michonne, the  rescue of Glenn and Maggie, the reunion between the Dixon boys, and the tensions between the Briarcliff crew and the Prison gang explode.  I can’t wait until February.

#1 TIE

“Killer Within”  The Walking Dead… and

“Probable Cause” Castle.

I just could not decide which one was the best hour of television this year so… I decided to let them both be top. Killer Within featured the death of T-Dog and Lori and the birth of Lori’s baby.  And Castle is framed for murder by 3XK, and everyone believes he is guilty, except for Beckett.

Both of these episodes really featured characters over plot.  The emotional aspects of both really stood out and made me care even more for the characters involved.

 

Top Ten Matches of the Year.

And yes,it will be all WWE matches, as I do not watch much TNA or RoH.  Nothing against those two companies.  I am aware of the things they do.  I just do not watch their matches.

So…on to the list.

#10 Dolph Ziggler wins the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Money in the Bank.

#9 Big Shot defeats Sheamus to win the World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in the Cell.

#8 Sheamus defeats Daniel Bryan to retain the World Heavyweight Championship in a 2 out of 3 falls match at Extreme Rules

#7 CM Punk and John Cena end in a draw at Night of Champions.  Cena becomes the first ever Money in the Bank winner to fail to win the title.

#6 CM Punk defeated Daniel Bryan in a No Disqualification match at Money in the Bank

#5 Two CM Punk vs Chris Jericho matches  Punk wins Wrestlemania 28 match and match at Extreme Rules

#4 The Shield defeated Ryback and Team Hell No in a Tables Ladders and Chairs match at TLC.

#3 John Cena defeated Brock Lesnar in an Extreme Rules Match at Extreme Rules

#2 The Undertaker defeated HHH in a Hell in a Cell Match called the “End of an Era” Match at Wrestlemania 28

#1 CM Punk defeated Daniel Bryan at Over the Limit.

Most people would put the Taker-HHH match ahead of Punk-Bryan, but to me, that match was the best of the year.  It was exciting, technically sound, and had a creative ending.

So CM Punk appeared in four (or five if you count the two Jericho matches as two instead of one) of the top ten matches, and Daniel Bryan also appeared in four.  Unfortunately for Daniel Bryan, he lost all four of the matches.

Other WWE awards for the year

Tag Team of the Year:  Team Hell No.  They have reinvigorated the tag team division.

Worst Tag Team:  The Great Khali and Hornswoggle.  Are you serious, bro?

Catchphrase of the year:  Yes! Yes! Yes!  No matter what the WWE wants you to think, “Feed Me More” is not bigger than the Yes chant.

Diva of the Year: Eve Torres.  Not a lot of competition for this one.  Too bad Karma is gone.  And Beth Phoenix.  Eve is good, but there is not much to go with her.

PPV of the Year:  Extreme Rules.  Just a fantastic night of wrestling. Sheamus vs. Bryan.  Punk vs. Jericho.  Cena vs. Lesnar.

Worst PPV of the Year:  Hell in the Cell.  Ryback in the main event?  Sorry, not interested.

Online Show of the Year:  Are You Serious?  Road Dogg and Josh Matthews showing the worst clips in wrestling history?  What’s not to love.  And Puppet H as well.  Sorry Zack Ryder, but this is the real true Internet sensation.

Commentator of the Year:  JBL.  I am really glad he returned to the announce booth.  The commentary truly picked up when JBL came back.

Comeback of the Year:  Jerry Lawler.  That’s an easy one.  Lawler was dead.  And now he’s back doing commentary.  Amazing.

Worst Wrestler of the Year:  Great Khali.  He can’t move at all.  And yet he appears on tv.

Worst Face/Heel turn:  The Miz.  Sorry Miz, I love you, but so far your turn as a face has been horrible.  I hope things pick up for you in 2013.

Best Face/Heel Turn:  CM Punk.  Obviously.  He is the Best in the World.  And that clotheline and GTS on the Rock announced his intentions completely.   Runner up:  The Big Show, who has been great since he turned heel.  If not for Punk, this would have been his award.

Most Overrated:  Ryback.  I really don’t like this guy.  He is boring.  Which means he’ll get pushed to the moon.

Next serious stud:  Antonio Cesaro.  This guy is awesome.  I see big things in his future.

Best DVD: CM Punk Best in the World

Best Skit/vignette:  Anger Management with Daniel Bryan and Kane.  This was absolute GOLD.

Manager of the Year:  Paul Heyman… I guess he is more of an associate…but he is a perfect fit with CM Punk.

Next NXT star:  Bray Wyatt.  He could be even greater than the Shield members.  Can’t wait for him to arrive.

Best Feud:  Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk. Two top ten matches of the year, plus a fantastic match on RAW and a great one of Smackdown.  What more do you need?

 glasses

Top 15 Geek Moments of 2012

Last year I had written the top 15 moments in its own thread and counted them down, however, I believe it fits into this thread neatly, so…here they are.

#15  Twilight ends.

Ihave never been a fan of the vampire/werewolf love triangle, emo-hit, but it would be foolish to argue that it was not a pop culture sensation.  And the Twilight series ended this year with the Part Two of Breaking Dawn.  Whether we’ve actually seen the last of Bella-Edward-Jacob is a whole other question…

#14  The Rock wins at Wrestlemania 28

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returned to where he got his start, the WWE ring, and, after a year of promtion, had a match with WWE face John Cena.  The two of them ran with their rivalry on Twitter and Facebook, and it culminated in a main event at the grandest stage of them all as over 70,000 people in Miami cheered them on.  And the Rock stood victorious.  And then he went back to making movies.

#13 Justice League movie announced

After the amazing success of the Avengers, the announcement was made this year that DC would be following suit with a long rumored Justice League movie.  Exactly who will be included is still up in the air, but a release date of 2015, sometime in the summer.  Hm…we’ll see.

#12 Jon Stewart & Bill O’Reilly:  Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium

Late night talk show host Jon Stewart and FOX News No-Spinner Bill O’Reilly had a debate, streamed live onto the Internet, and it was entertaining.  The debated about politics, about Obama and Romney, about who was taller…and if you were wondering, Stewart wiped the floor with O’Reilly…all in good natured fun.

#11  James Bond takes the Queen skydiving at the London Olympics

007 himself, Daniel Craig, and the Queen of England filmed a vignette to play during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics… an vignette that ended with the Queen jumping out of an airplane and supposedly parachuting into the opening ceremonies.  It showed how much fun the Queen actually has with life, and it was one of the highlights of the overdone opening ceremonies.

#10 Hunger Games

The huge novel became the years first huge hit at the box office as the Hunger Games translated well on the big screen.  The Hunger Games made $155 million in its opening weekend, the biggest total ever for a movie released outside of the summer season, and ended with a total of 686 million worldwide.  And this movie series is just getting started.

#9 Neil Armstrong dies

The first man to step on the moon died this year at the age of 82.  Neil Armstrong was an inspiration to an entire generation who wondered what it might be like past the stars.  For those who gazed at the night sky and thought about what could be, Armstrong was more than just another astronaut.  He reached iconic stature.

#8 Amazing Spider-man #700

This hasn’t even happened yet, but the buzz around this issue has been massive.  When Dan Slott started dropping hints that something huge was going to happen in 700 and that he might have to go into hiding afterwards, he did not know how prophetic he was being.  The speculation that Peter Parker would no longer be Spider-man has been confirmed and now the fans are bracing themselves for the Superior Spider-Man, whomever that may be.

#7 The World Does Not End

Ha!  In your face, Mayans! December 21, 2012 was listed as the end of the Mayan calendar, and because of that, there was speculation that the Mayans believed that the world would end on that date.  There were lots of posts on Facebook and Twitter on the subject, but in the end, the day passed like all other days.  Now, we have to prepare for the next apocalypse…

#6 Marvel NOW

In response to DC’s New 52, Marvel started its own initiative this year, with a restart of multiple titles with all new creative teams.  Though not a continuity reboot like DC’s New 52, Marvel NOW featured a shake up of characters and creators.  Brian Michael Bendis left the Avengers and took over the All-New X-Men.  Rick Remender created Uncanny Avengers and brought back the Red Skull (in a specifically gruesome manner).  Following the X-Men vs. Avengers limited series, Marvel NOW has been a hit and miss, but the comic world is definitely talking Marvel.

#5 Walking Dead a ratings monster

The return of the Walking Dead in October of this year was a ratings bonanza.  The AMC hit had 10.9 million viewers at 9 p.m. and 15.2 million when factoring in the encore. It was up 50 percent compared to the Season 2 premiere.  The Walking Dead was consistently beating network shows.  The series has been renewed for a fourth season.

#4 Dark Knight Rises and a tragic day

The opening of the final installment of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy was always going to be huge, but the nation was shaken to its core when a nutjob entered a theater in Aurora, Colorado that was playing one of the midnight showings of the film and opened fire.  The tragic event scared some, but the American public ventured to the movie anyway, helping the Dark Knight Rises make $160 million that weekend.

#3 Barack Obama is re-elected President of the United States

I have always claimed that Barack Obama was our nation’s first Geek President.  I have heard him make comments about Jor-El (in reference to the comparison between himself and Superman) among other things.  And when he defeated Republican Mitt Romney in a close election (though not close in Electoral College votes), President Obama became the first Geek President to be re-elected.

#2 Marvel’s Avengers breaks records

$207 million dollars for its opening weekend.  Over 1.5 billion for its worldwide total.  The Avengers was an undeniable smash, cementing Joss Whedon as King of the Geek Gods.  The movie was also fantastic.  It was exactly how a comic book movie of such a huge scope should be made.  Whedon announced this year that he would sign on for the sequel making Geeks everywhere cheer.  Have at thee!  Avengers Assemble!

#1 Disney buys Star Wars…announces new trilogy

Who would have believed that the Avengers wouldn’t top this list.  Well, when this little news tidbit came along, the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes got pushed to #2.  George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney for four billion dollars and the announcement of Star Wars 7 to be released in 2015 sent fanboys everywhere spinning.  Disney now owns Marvel, Star Wars, the Muppets, Pixar as well as their own creations.  Soon Disney will own everything that I love.  And I won’t mind a bit.

More television for 2012

Best ActorBenedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock).  Things are just starting to happen for our new Sherlock Holmes, including roles in the Hobbit and in Star Trek Into the Darkness.  We’ll remember where we first met him.

Best ActressJessica Lange (Sister Jude, American Horror Story: Asylum) Lange brings the goods every week and she is extremely compelling this season as the cruel nun who has had the tables turned on her.  She went from cruel sadist to heroine.  Redemption?  I doubt it.

Best Late Night ShowThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Still the best.  Despite Colbert, Letterman, Kimmel and Fallon, Jon Stewart continues to be the best.  There is a reason he takes home the Emmy every year.

Best Daytime ShowGeneral Hospital.  What a difference a year makes.  Last year at this time, GH was ready to be cancelled.  Now it is one of the best shows on TV.  Old favorites returned, exciting storylines, and a movement away from mob violence every week have made GH so much better.

Best Couple:  Rick Castle and Kate Beckett.  This is an easy one.  They make a great pair and the show is better for it.

Biggest DropRevenge.  This season has found this show lackluster and confusing.  I had Revenge in the top ten last year as a guilty pleasure.  This season I have not been watching it.  I hope Emily Thorne can right the boat.

Best DeathLori Grimes.  How do you redeem a character that nobody likes?  Kill her, and kill her in the most dramatic and heart wrenching manner so people will forget how she turned on Rick when he revealed that he killed Shane…after she basically told Rick that he had to “do something” about Shane.

Best Animated SeriesAvengers:  Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.  I just caught up with this on Netflix.  There is just so much Marvel goodness here, including guest star Spider-man.  And Galactus.  And the Kree.  And Red Hulk…as a villain.  Too bad this has been cancelled so it can be replaced by a different Avengers series that is closer to the movie.

Worst TV News of the YearGlenn Mazzara, the showrunner of The Walking Dead, who was the driving force behind the improvements of the zombie show, is leaving the show because he and AMC have “different visions for the show.”  Are you kidding me?  Mazzara has been in charge of the best stretch of the show…ever.  This is bad news.

Looking forward to most:  ABC’s new SHIELD show produced by Joss Whedon, starring Agent Coulson.  It has a spot on the fall 2013 schedule.  Just a lot of good here.

The Save Agent Coulson AwardAgent Coulson.  He lives!

Most Improved Show of the Year:  Grimm.  I was close to stopping watching Grimm.  After one particularly bad episode last year, I was close.  The next episode was fantastic and saved me as a viewer.  Then it kept getting better each week.

Best Election Night MeltdownKarl Rove refuses to believe that Ohio has been won by President Obama, and continues to argue, even after other FOX anchors were accepting the fact.  Poor Karl.

Show that fell flat666 Park Avenue. Too bad.  Terry O’Quinn deserved better.  The high concept never developed, and ABC cancelled the show.  Now, ABC announced that they are not even showing the remaining episodes.

Best Show that I don’t watch:  Boardwalk Empire.  Pay tv channels.  Hm… Steve Buscemi looks great in this.

 

Worst Movies of the Year

Remember, this only includes those movies in which I saw.  I am sure that “That’s My Boy” would be near the top, if not at the top, if I had seen it, but I did not.  Also, reminder, the star ratings I gave do not matter when I am compiling these lists. 

Dis-Honorable Mention:  Lockout, The Dictator, Ted, 21 Jump Street, Chernobyl Diaries, Savages, Alex Cross, Act of Valor, John Carter

#10 The Watch:  Terribly unfunny movie with Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade as a neighborhood watch investigating an alien invasion.  Idiots on alert.

#9  Battleship:  Ugh.  A Transformers wannabe without the Transformers plot…and that should tell you something.  This started with one of the worst opening scenes of the year ( a soccer game).  And they actually got a scene that was basically like playing the board game.

#8  Taken 2:  A major disappointment, because I so enjoyed Taken.  But Liam Neeson did everything the same, and there were really stupid people involved.  And there will certainly be a Taken 3, since this mess made millions of dollars.

#7  Paranormal Activity 4:  Another sequel that has worn out its welcome.  PA 4 was not scary, which of course is the worst thing a horror movie could be.  In fact, it was unintentionally funny.  Too bad PA 4 was so funny, because it stole some of the gusto of Haunted House coming out next month (and a definite candidate for next year’s list).  Paranormal Activity 4 just did not have anything going for it.

#6  The Apparition:  Another horror movie.  Honestly, I don’t remember much about it.  It had Sebastian Shaw in it.  I hope he does better next year as Winter Soldier.  Very forgettable.

#5  Red Dawn:  Ah Thor, I hope you have better script choices now that you are a big star.  Chris Hemsworth was the only thing good in this retread/remake.  North Koreans are invading?  Why worry… because they can’t even take care of this small group of kids.

#4 Contraband:  Mark Wahlberg starred in this movie filled with stupid bad guys.  And a stupid plot.  But at least Kate Beckinsale is hot.

#3 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance:  When a comic book movie is this high on my list, you know it is terrible.  I usually give the comic book movies every benefit of the doubt, but this one makes the original Ghost Rider look like Citizen Kane.  I certainly hope this is the last time Nic Cage tries to take on Ghost Rider.  It’s getting embarrassing.

#2 Underworld:  Awakenings:  This was going to be number one.  It had been number one on my list until late in the year.  Hey, it’s Kate Beckinsale again!  Two of the top four worst movies of the year.  Not even Taylor Kitsch can say that.  She’s still hot though.    I saw this in 3D too.  The 3D was almost nonexistent.  This was just terrible.  I started wishing I hadn’t gone to this 5 minutes in.  I was bored by the exposition at the beginning and it went downhill after that.  Terrible.  And the only reason it wasn’t number one on this list was because of…

#1 The Collection:  Another horror movie…this one one of the slasher variety…and easily the worst movie of the year.  From the producers of Saw, The Collection was a pointless butchering of disposable characters by a serial killer with absolutely no personality.  Nothing redeeming about this movie at all.  Just the worst.

Top 12 Movies of the Year

There were so many great movies this year that I just could not narrow my list to only ten, so I expanded it to twelve.  It’s my list, I can do that.

Honorable MentionThe Artist, Wreck-It Ralph, Safety Not Guaranteed, Amazing Spider-Man, Tinker Tailor Solder Spy,

#12 The Life of Pi:  This was a surprise to me.  I did not expect to like this as much as I did, but I was engrossed from the first moments.  A beautiful story and a beautiful film.

#11  7 Psychopaths:  Funny, intelligent, creative.  Filled with great performances like Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson.

#10  Django Unchained:  The most recent of the films on this list.  Quentin Tarantino’s brilliant western starring Jamie Foxx as a freed slave out to save his wife.  Christopher Waltz is amazing as the bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz.

#9  Hunger Games:  A great start to a movie series.  Hunger Games made $150 million in its opening weekend and it was well worth it.

#8  ParaNorman:  The top animated movie of the year.  Norman has to deal with a group of zombies coming back from the dead.  ParaNorman was very funny, with a lot of hidden humor that the parents would enjoy as much as the kids.  Beautiful animation.

#7  Moonrise Kingdom:  The coming of age story of two young kids whose oddball families drove them to run away and be together.  Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Edward Norton led a great ensemble cast.  Wes Anderson created a quirky and heartfelt film.

#6  Looper:  Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis starred in the time travel classic.  Levitt has to face himself as an older man (Willis) and he was supposed to kill him.  A mind bending movie.

#5  Lincoln:  Some amazing performances carried this movie.  Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field could walk away with Oscars from this movie.  A historical account of the last days of the Civil War.

#4  Skyfall:  One of the best James Bond movies of all time.  Daniel Craig recovered from the weak Quantum of Solace to feature one of the most personal Bond films ever.

#3  Argo:  Ben Affleck’s historic drama that told the “true” story of a rescue of Iranian hostages in the late 70s.  Argo is tense and exciting, particularly in the airport scene near the end.  Great performances from Alan Arkin and John Goodman as well as Affleck.

#2 Cabin in the Woods:  Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard created a horror movie that redefined the genre.  A horror movie that played with every trait of the horror movie…turning it on its ear.  One of the funniest movies of the year and a movie that you had to go into without spoilers.  Figuring out what was happening as you went along was one of the best parts of Cabin in the Woods.

#1 Marvel’s The Avengers:  What a year Josh Whedon had.  Involved in the top two movies on this list, and the director of a movie that made over 1.5 billion dollars worldwide.  And a movie that just rocked.  Avengers was what all other comic book movies should aspire to be.  Marvel worked towards this by putting out multiple movies leading up to this…and the pay off was just tremendous.  One of my favorite movies of all time, and certainly the best comic book movie ever.  Everyone involved were amazing, and yet, no one dominated over the others.  That is quite an accomplishment with a cast the size of the Avengers.  Whedon certainly struck gold here.

Best Actor in a movie

#10 Jared Gilman (Moonrise Kingdom) the young actor was the heart of this movie.  Without his performance, this movie would have flopped.

#9 Matthew McConoughey (Killer Joe) One of the year’s most depraved performances.  I can never look at a KFC drumstick the same way again.

#8 Ben Affleck (Argo)  Affleck’s performance was at center stage in this dramatic rescue film.  He was solid as both the star and the director.

#7 Dana DeHaan (Chronicle) One of the bright new stars of the year.  DeHaan portrayed a young and troubled teen who gained telekinesis, and turned to the dark side. A classic villain origin.

#6 Daniel Craig (Skyfall)  Returning to James Bond, Craig pulls off one of the best, most personal Bond movie ever.

#5 Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) An early of the year performance as a great spy who had to come out of retirement to find the leak inside MI6.  Much better performance than in Dark Knight Rises.

#4 Avengers (Marvel’s The Avengers) I couldn’t decide who to list, so I decided to link them all together. Robert Downey Jr., Mark Rufffalo, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth in particular need to be mentioned.  Each man did a bravissimo job on their character.

#3 Jean Dujardian (The Artist) I actually saw this movie in this calendar year, so it goes on this list.  And his performance was Oscar worthy (and winning, I believe.)

#2 Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Premium Rush, Lincoln, Dark Knight Rises, Looper) He had the best overall year as he appeared in several great films.  My personal favorite is Looper, but Premium Rush is under-appreciated. His John Blake was a huge part of DKR.

#1 Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)  An amazing performance.  Day-Lewis became Lincoln. I don’t know how I can put it any more succinctly.   There is something wrong if he does not win an Oscar for this role.

Best Actresses

#9 Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables Sings like a bird!

#8  Juno Temple (Killer Joe) She played a 13 year old who went through all kinds of adult situations.  It was uncomfortable and disturbing.  She does a great job opposite Matthew McConoughey.

#7  Kara Hayward (Moonrise Kingdom) Like her co-star Jared Gilman, the movie rested on the believability of this young pair.  And they delivered big time.

#6 Charlize Theron (Prometheus) Theron does a great job in this sci-fi epic from this past year.  She wasl also the Evil Queen.  It was a good year for her.

#5 Kristen Connolly (Cabin in the Woods)  Dana survives to the end.  She even had the puppeteers rooting for her…at least for a short while.  She unleashed all kinds of Hell on them and the entire world.

#4 Emily Blunt (Looper) Her part in the film was kept pretty hush hush, but she plays a very pivotal role.  And she does it very well.

#3 Scarlett Johansson (Marvel’s The Avengers) The Black Widow kicked some major butt in this movie.  Joss Whedon always loved his female characters.  The scene where Widow is tied to the chair is one of the top scenes in the movie.

#2 Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) This movie was going to succeed or fail on the back of Katniss.  And Lawrence hit it out of the park.  She made that character come to life from the page.  And now she has years worth of sequels to look forward to.

#1 Berenice Bejo (The Aritst)  Again, this could have been on last years list, but I didn’t see it until January, so it belongs with 2013.  And her performance…without words…was outstanding.

Best Supporting Actor

And there were a lot of these performances this year.  This was probably the hardest list to narrow down.  Honorable mention should go to Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton (Moonrise Kingdom), Bradley Whitford and Fran Kranz (Cabin in the Woods), John Goodman (Argo & Flight), Denis Leary (Amazing Spider-Man), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Thomas Hayden Church (Killer Joe), Paul Dano (Looper), and Sam Rockwell (7 Psychopaths)

#10 Pierce Gagnon (Looper) The little kid is just astonishingly creepy and heartbreakingly tragic at the same time.  This child took a good movie and made it special.

#9 Michael Fassbender (Prometheus) David, the robot, is more than just a robot.  Fassbender played him with such cold emotion… that it was hard to believe that he wasn’t human after all.  Fassbender was the standout of that film.

#8 Richard Jenkins (Cabin in the Woods) One of the puppeteers behind the scenes, Jenkins showed so much humanity and humor that it was sad to see him killed…kind of.

#7 Alan Arkin (Argo)  The movie producer who was going to make a “fake hit”.  Arkin and John Goodman made the Hollywood part of Argo well worth the trip.  I expect him to be nominated for an Oscar for this role.

#6 Tom Cruise (Rock Of Ages) Not a good movie, but Cruise stood out His Axl Rose type character was quite a departure for Cruise, but he did it brilliantly.  And he can sing.  Who knew?

#5 Christopher Walken (7 Psychopaths) Christopher Walken is iconic.  And he is just remarkably funny in thi smovie as a dog napper that takes things too far.

#4 Josh Brolin (Men in Black 3) Definitely the best part of this movie.  Josh Brolin played a young Tommy Lee Jones PERFECTLY.  It was as if Tommy Lee had been de-aged for the role.  An amazing performance.

#3 Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained) Jackson is fantastic as the black servant to Leonardo DiCaprio.  He is funny with each line, but he also is a manipulator and a betrayer of his own race.  One of Jackson’s best performances ever.

#2 Andy Serkis (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) Gollum returned in the Hobbit, a prequel of sorts to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Gollum absolutely stole the movie.  Gollum and Bilbo’s interactions were the most memorable section of the movie.  What is in his pocket, indeed!

#1  Christopher Waltz (Django Unchained)  I realized that his performance was my favorite one in Django Unchained after he was killed and my attention began to waiver.  Dr. King Schultz was someone who I would have liked to know.

Best Supporting Actresses

#8  Gina Gershon (Killer Joe) She was on the other end of that KFC chicken leg.  Finger Lickin’ good?

#7 Frances McDormand (Moonrise Kingdom) The other part of the unhappy couple with Bill Murray, McDormand shows great range in the quirky character.

#6 Emma Stone (Amazing Spider-Man)  Gwen Stacy is Peter Parker’s love interest this time around, and she had amazing chemistry with Andrew Garfield.  Will Gwen have a tragic future?  We’ll see.

#5 Anne Hathaway (Dark Knight Rises) Selina Kyle (never the Catwoman) was one of the top parts of the Dark Knight Rises for me.  I would love to have had more of her and Batman and less of Bane and the rest.

#4 Helen Hunt (Sessions) A daring role, in which she plays a sex surrogate and she spends a great deal of time nude.  She was clearly unfazed by it.  Another possible Oscar contender.

#3 Judi Dench (Skyfall) M is as vital to this story as ever before, and her end is done with a great deal of respect and honor.

#2 Salma Hayek (Savages)  A terrible movie, but Salma was brilliant as the villainous Elena.  She dominated every scene and brought a tremendous credibility to a film that desperately needed it.  Her character was multi-dimensional among one dimensional ones.  A truly impressive performance.

#1 Sally Field (Lincoln)  Breathtaking.  Astonishing.  Astounding.  Her Mary Todd Lincoln was raw and emotional and downright crazy with grief over the loss of her son.  And she showed it.  Sally Field should be the favorite for the Oscar this year with this role because you just don’t see much better.

Best Villains of the Year

#5  Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) from Premium Rush

#4  Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) from Lawless

#3 Loki (Tom Hiddelson) from Marvel’s The Avengers

#2 King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph

#1 Silva (Javier Bardem) from Skyfall

Bardem was brilliant as the creepy Silva in Skyfall, and finished atop this list strongly.  King Candy was very impressive to me, as I compared him to Lotso.  Loki makes this list again, as the villain of the biggest movie of the year.

Best Animated Movie of the Year

# 6 Dark Knight Returns Part One:  Direct to video DC goodness.  Adapts the classic Frank Miller mini sereis

#5 Rise of the Guardians:  Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Jack Frost…

#4 Frankenweenie:  Tim Burton’s personal story of a boy and his undead dog.

#3 Doom:  Another DC direct to video movie.  This one features the Justice League.

#2 Wreck-It Ralph.  One of the bigger surprises as I was not looking froward to it, but I was completely entertained.

#1 ParaNorman.  Funny, Smart, Beautifully animated.  And zombies.

Not the best year for animation in the theater as even a few of these movies were average.  I found it tough to fill out htis list.

Best Cameos of the Year

#7 Tom Waits (7 Psychopaths) and his rabbits.  Waits played crazy really well.

#6  Johnny Depp (21 Jump Street) This was about the best part of this movie for me.  One of the original cast members of the tv show.

#5 Jonah Hill (Django Unchained)  Those KKK masks just are so hard to see out of…LOL

#4 Stan Lee (Amazing Spider-man) Stan’s cameo in Spider-man trumps his cameo in Avengers.  His librarian in ASM is a funny moment.

#3 LOST (This is 40) It was good to see clips of LOST once again…Jack, Sayid, John…I miss you so.

#2 Don Johnson (Django Unchained)  “Big Daddy” was one of the funnier parts of Tarantino’s latest flick.

#1 Sigourney Weaver (Cabin in the Woods) Someone with horror movie cred had to be behind the puppeteers.  And she was.

There were no cameos this year that matched Hugh Jackman’s X-Men First Class one from last year.  That is a classic.

Horror Movie of the Year

  1. The Possession
  2. Sinister
  3. Cabin in the Woods

If you were surprised by #1, you haven’t been paying attention.  Sinister and The Possession were decent films, amidst the crap that was the rest of the horror movies this year.

Top Songs

  1. Wanted Dead or Alive (Tom Cruise) from Rock of Ages.  One of the top moments in an otherwise average film.  Cruise does a remarkable job singing this.
  2. Django (Randy Roberts) from Django Unchained  The theme from Tarantino’s spaghetti western was actually from the previous Django movie.  Created a great mood immediately.

#2 I Dreamed a Dream (Anne Hathaway) from Les Miserables.  Best song in this musical. Hathaway blows it away.

#1 Skyfall (Adele) New Bond theme fits the movie perfectly.  And Adele does wonders.

Biggest Disappointments

The Dark Knight Rises.  I liked it, but it just did not reach what i was hoping for as a film.  Nowhere near as good as the Dark Knight, and as a finale, it felt as if it fell short.  Still a decent movie when compared to…

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter  I loved the book.  The movie failed in every way to bring the book to life.  They took the tongue out of the cheek  (where the book had it firmly planted) and cut it off, tossing it across the room.

Biggest Surprise

The Campaign.  A movie that I found extremely funny, and a perfect take off during a presidential campaign season.  I am not a huge fan of Will Farrell, but he worked in this film.  Laugh out loud funny.

Worst Actor

Maybe worst actor is unfair.  Let’s say, least successful.  Taylor Kitsch starred in three awful movies this year with Battleship, Savages and John Carter.  His days as a star of films may be over.

Worst Actress

Kate Beckinsale.  She starred in two of the top four worst movies of the year from my list, but…you know…at least she’s hot.

 

 

2015 Year in Review

Previously Published

Collider Video to YouTube to Screen Junkies Plus.  To look at my choices for the top three online video movie reviewers.

These are the guys who I listen to when I am looking for opinions on the latest movies.  Although I don’t always agree with their opinions, I respect what they say and how they say it.

#3 Chris Stuckmann. 

I enjoy Chris Stuckmann’s work quite a bit.  He is very professional and clearly knows his movies.  He speaks with clarity and confidence.

#2 The Schmoes Knows

Mark Ellis and Kristian Harloff are extremely entertaining and fun.  I also enjoyed their podcast on Thursdays while it was on.  Both are extremely funny and quick witted.  I always like to watch the Collider Movie Talk show when one or both are on.  I would give them both 5 out of 5 Schmoes.

#1 Jeremy Jahns

Jeremy Jahns is the YouTube movie reviewer that I like the best.  His videos are always entertaining, and, honestly, his opinion on movies are usually very close to mine.  I have heard him say things in his video that I had in my head after watching a movie or in my reviews of those movies.  I have even used his word “awesometacular” in my normal life.

Top Streaming Services of 2015

#5 Amazon Prime

Amazon has had some success in 2015 with their streaming service (particularly with the Emmy winning Transparent starring Jeffrey Tambor).  I have yet to become a member of Amazon Prime, but I love the shopping website so it may not be too long for me to subscribe.

#4 Screen Junkies Plus

The newest on this list, Screen Junkies Plus took all of my favorite shows from YouTube and all of my favorite critics from YouTube and made a bunch of original shows for streaming.  Screen Junkies Movie Fights has become must viewing every week and the new TV Fights has picked things right up.  Time will tell if there is enough content to warrant this channel, but, for now, it feels at the “height of their powers.” -(thanks Hal Rudnick)

#3 WWE Network

You can’t beat the savings if you are a wrestling fan of the WWE Network.  For just $9.99 a month, you have access to all of the Pay Per Views, past and present, original series, and specials.  There can be no denying that the world of professional wrestling is currently in a down turn, but the WWE Network remains a viable option for fans.

#2 Hulu

Hulu is the best option for those of us who cannot watch everything on television when it actually airs.  Now, I do not have the Tivo, so I spend several hours a week on Hulu.  In a typical week, I will watch Flash, Gotham, Castle, Heroes Reborn, Grimm, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, General Hospital on Hulu, as well as every one in awhile, Jimmy Fallon or other late night shows.  Though there are some television holes in their coverage (FX, CBS shows, AMC etc), Hulu helps me keep up to date.

#1 Netflix.

Well…duh.  Netflix has become an iconic site.  The streaming site has tons of classic movies, television shows and documentaries available for streaming, but the key to Netflix’s success is clearly its original programming.  House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Marco Polo among others has created the term “binge watching.”  Netflix is at the start of the pop culture and leads the way.

To those we lost…

In Memorandum

deaths2015

add to the In Memorandum for 2015…Harry Morgan

Another loss to add to this list is Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotter fame.  Meadowlark could do things on a basketball court that you just shouldn’t be able to do.

And yet another loss.  Lemmy from Motorhead.

 

2015 Meme of the Year

This was my favorite Twitter meme of this year… it was “Make a Mochrie”

colin21

Add Colin Mochrie from Whose Line Is It Anyway to any picture and it instantly made it better.

 

Villains!!!!

You can’t have a great hero without an awesome villain.  And this list of 10 (ok…11) villains are the tops of the year.

#10 (Tie) Valentine (Kingsmen) and Penguin (Gotham)

Samuel L. Jackson was awesome Kingsmen early in this year, taking what looked to be nothing more than a stereotypical character and made it a fully fleshed out entertaining character.

Oswalt Cobblepot has embraced the name Penguin.  He has taken control of the Gotham criminal world after killing Fish Mooney.  However, the new season has not been kind to Penguin as his mother was killed before his eyes.  Penguin is still the most developed and interesting character in Gotham (though Ed Nygma might be on the way soon)

#9 Agent Ward (Agents of SHIELD)

When Agent Ward debuted as a member of SHIELD, most people responded with a deafening yawn.  However, when it was revealed that Grant Ward was working or Hydra, and was really a sociopath, this character really came to life.  Ward has taken the serious step into villain land and the chances of redemption is completely gone.  And that is great.

#8 Deckard Shaw (Furious 7)

Deckard Shaw was the proverbial Energizer Bunny in the latest Fast and the Furious film.  Shaw was everywhere.  However, he brought the violence in his desire to revenge his brother.  And Jason Statham was perfect for this role.

#7 Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Voiced by the amazing James Spader, Ultron began as an attempt to shield the earth from extraterrestrial dangers…a suit of armor around the world is what Tony Stark called it.  However, that suit of armor went horribly wrong.  We may not have seen enough of Ultron Prime in the Avengers, but there is no denying the impact the killer robot had on the MCU.

#6 Reverse Flash- Harrison Wells  (The Flash)

Harrison Wells was the brains behind Star Labs and a mentor of Barry Allen, aka The Flash.  Little did anyone know that Wells was a speedster from the future who had returned in time and had killed Barry’s mother.  Stranded, Wells created the Flash in an attempt to get himself back to the future.  He didn’t quite make it.

#5 God Doom (Marvel Secret Wars)

Even the horrid version of Dr. Doom from the Fantastic Four movie could prevent God Doom from being everything.  God Doom saved the universe from destruction and created Battleworld, placing himself as God.  In Marvel continuity, Doom is still god (because of delays of Secret Wars release dates)  We know that God falls… but we have yet to see how that might have happened.

#4 Indominus Rex (Jurassic World)

Indominus Rex was a killing machine, genetically produced as the key feature of the amusement park Jurassic World.  And, of course, the massive dinosaur escaped its cage and ransacked through the park.  The special effects of Jurassic World provided us with the amazing combination of T-Rex and Velocipators and led to the highest grossing film of the year (so far).

#3 Kylo Ren (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

I said that Jurassic World was the highest grossing film of the year so far because this one will probably take that crown away.  The return of the Star Wars franchise, led by the villainous Kylo Ren, is as anticipated as any film this year.  And Kylo Ren, who has only been seen in the trailers, is mysterious and engaging.  Is he Luke Skywalker as the rumors have indicated?  Who knows.  There is just over a couple of weeks until we find out.

#2 Kilgrave (Jessica Jones)

Kilgrave was one of the most horrible, most rotten villains of the year.  His mind control abilities were really explored in Jessica Jones on Netflix and the metaphor for the loss of power was clear.  And Kilgrave could have been a one note villain, but with the brilliant performance by David Tennant, you even started to feel for Kilgrave.  Kilgrave almost became #1 on this list, but he was just one slight step behind his Netflix companion villain…

#1 Wilson Fisk (Daredevil)

Wilson Fisk was the best part of Netflix’s Daredevil.  Played to perfection by Vincent D’Onofrio, Fisk was like a massive child, containing his anger over his tragic past and trying to find love himself.  Of course, he also wanted the power in Hell’s Kitchen and that power brought him into conflict with Daredevil.  That confrontation was amazing.  The scene when Fisk decapitated his enemy with his car door was astonishing in its violence and its beauty.  Wilson Fisk challenges Loki as the best villain in all of the MCU.  Hopefully, we will see Fisk again sometime in the future.

Best Sci Fi

This was not the greatest year for science fiction, so there is more on the worst side than the best side.  Having said that, there were two standout sci-fi films that will wind up tied for the prestigious Spock for 2015.

Best Sci-Fi (tie)

The Martian

Ex Machina

Some might argue that The Martian was sci-fi, but since we are not yet capable of landing a man on Mars, I think it fits.  The Martian was near a 5 star movie with great performances, a lot of surprising humor and brilliant cinematography.  Ex Machina was an early year favorite that dealt with a more earth based science fiction.  The characters were the key to both of these films and focusing just on the sci-fi genre, there were none better.

The Worst is an easy choice.

Some runners up would include:  Pixels, The Fantastic Four, Chappie, Last Witch Hunter

But the worst sci fi movie of the year (and one that might be in the running for worst film of the year…stay tuned) and the film that is awarded the infamous Mirror Spock Award for 2015 is…

Jupiter Ascending.

Jupiter Ascending was such a train wreck, and not in the good way.  I nearly fell asleep in the theater while I watched this.  There was a great cast, but no one does a good job.  Eddie Redmayne gave such a stinker of a performance that some believed that he might have cost himself the Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of Steven Hawking (he didn’t).  One of the worst films of the year.

Now…of course, there is a little sci-fi film coming out next week that might have taken the Spock had it come out a little sooner, but that was scheduling.  Sorry Star Wars.  Maybe next time.

Disappointment

I just came from Ron Howard’s new film, In the Heart of the Sea, and this year-end category came to mind.

The thing is… this was a weird year for this film.  I was really looking forward to In the Heart of the Sea.  I would say that it was one of my most anticipated films of 2015.  Then, they moved it from March to December, making one think that it was hoping to be considered for Oscar contention.

So I had high expectations.  But hen I started to hear the reviews.  They were mostly low.  Its percent of Rotten Tomatoes was under 60% and the movie reviewers on YouTube all kind of poo-pooed this.  So I lowered my expectations considerably, as I went into the film just hoping that they were wrong.  What I saw was a flawed movie that I ended up enjoying somewhat.  I was not that disappointed because it was better than I thought it was going to be after seeing the reviews.  Yet, with as much anticipation that I had for this earlier this year (especially after seeing that breathtaking trailer), it really does deserve to be on this list,if not win the award.

But this award can be given to a movie that I liked.  I was just hoping for more…expecting more.  So it was a disappointment.  I am a bit perplexed.  But decisions must be made… so here are the biggest disappointments of the year.

Pitch Perfect 2, Minions 2, Sicario, Spectre, Pan

and the winner of the Spider-man 3 Biggest Disappointment of the Year Award for 2015 is…

In the Heart of the Sea. 

Sorry Ron, but my lowered expectations do not excuse that you did not knock this one out of the park.  The other films on the list were all disappointing to a less extent and a couple of them will show up again on the flop list, but In the Heart of the Sea just could have been so epic.  It belongs at the top of this list for 2015.

2015: The Year of the Spy Movie.

There were several movies focused upon the spy genre in 2015, probably more than any recent year.  And several of them were just tremendous.  So here is the list of the spy movies in order according to EYG.

#7 Barely Lethal.  Terrible.  Easily the worst of the year.

#6 Man from UNCLE.  This was ok.  Good chemistry among its lead actors, but connecting it to an old 60s TV show did not make much sense.

#5 Spectre.  I was pretty disappointed with the new James Bond movie.  It was still watchable though.

#4 Bridge of Spies.  The most realistic film (based on a true story), it was a Steven Spielberg- Tom Hanks film.  That alone made it pretty decent.

#3 Spy.  Melissa McCarthy turned out a really excellent spy movie that was both surprising and funny.  McCarthy broke out of her typical mold of character for this one and it turned out really great.

#2 Kingsman: The Secret Service.  A great film.  It was fun from the beginning to the head-exploding end.  It was not afraid to go places that other films wouldn’t go.  The church slaughter scene to Freebird is one of the year’s best scenes.

and #1… spy movie of the year is:

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Tom Cruise has another great hit that was remarkably exciting and fun.  The scene of him hanging on the outside of the airplane, which seemed like the big action scene, takes place in the film’s first 10 minutes.  And it only gets better after that.  MI: Rogue Nation tops the bill for top spy movie of the year.

Best and Worst Trailer of the Year

Best Trailer

  1. In the Heart of the Sea
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  3. Batman v Superman teaser trailer
  4. Captain America: Civil War
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Worst Trailer

  1. Chipmunks: Road Chip
  2. Aloha
  3. Chappie

The World of WWE

wwe

If we are being honest, this was not the best year for the WWE.  A rash of injuries, predictable storylines and stale creative plans have caused ratings to slump for the last part of the year. However, there have still been some real great moments.  And we are here to identify those.

Wrestler of the Year:  John Cena.  This one is a little hard to say, but no one has had a better year than John Cena.  With his “United States Championship Open Challenge” on RAW, Cena has been consistently in the best match on the show and he will appear in several of the top ten matches of the year.  Plus, when Cena took time off at the end of the year, RAW’s rating dropped significantly.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.  Cena was also great in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck.  A great year for John Cena.  Runner-Up:  Seth Rollins, The New Day, Brock Lesnar

Tag Team of the Year: The New Day.  No contest.  The New Day combination of Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods was consistently the most entertaining part of RAW.  Each and every week, the New Day found new ways to up the ante.  How many wrestlers could get over a trombone?  The New Day is the hottest, most over group the WWE has seen in years.  And the New Day is clearly having fun.

Moment of the Year:  Diva’s Revolution.  The arrival of Charlotte, Becki Lynch, Sasha Banks to RAW to start the so called Diva’s Revolution was an incredible moment.  Sure, the follow through of the “Diva’s Revolution” was not very good… but this moment was money.  Runner up:  Seth Rollins’ cash in, Dudley’s return to WWE, Cesaro’s top rope cartwheel

Woman of the Year: Charlotte.  The top female performer of 2015 will be one of the top stars for the next several years.  Charlotte is the current Diva’s Champion and the best is yet ahead of her.  Runners Up:  Sasha Banks, Paige, Nikki Bella, Bayley

Feud of the Year:  John Cena vs. Kevin Owens.  This three match series provided three mat classics.  These two really brought out the best in each other and Kevin Owens exploded on the scene in WWE after a short stint in NXT.  Cena-Owens feud over the US Championship was compelling.  Runners Up:  Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, Roman Reigns vs. The Authority, Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt.

Breakout Star of the Year:  New Day.  The tag team of the year became so huge that they were suddenly all over RAW.  There was one episode where they were involved in like five sections.  And all because there were three men who were having fun.  Runners Up:  Kevin Owens, Sasha Banks, Cesaro

Mike Man of the Year:  Paul Heyman.  Yes, Heyman again.  There is no one better on the microphone than Heyman.  Paul had to sell the Undertaker-Lesnar match each week by himself.  He is easily the best.  If only every one else could watch Heyman and do what he does.  Runners Up:  New Day.

Biggest Waste of Talent:  Daniel Bryan.  Well, this is a questionable one.  The WWE has not cleared Bryan to resume his career despite Bryan having a doctor outside of the WWE saying that he is healthy and good to go.  Maybe this is a case of the WWE protecting its talent.  But if Bryan is able to perform, isn’t it wasteful to not let him do it?  Runners Up:  Cesaro, Neville, Damian Sandow, Stardust.

Daniel Bryan Shining through the crap award:  Neville.  Neville should be a huge star because he can do things that no one can do.  And despite being used much like a talented jobber for much of the year, Neville has looked amazing.  It would not take long to make this man a top star…and that is something the WWE needs.  Runners Up:  New Day, Cesaro, Bra Wyatt.

Best Show: NXT.  For a second year in a row, NXT is the best tv show in WWE.  RAW is too boring or full of filler and Smackdown has become more of a RAW review.  NXT is hot, and stars are wanting to go to NXT.  The sky is the limit for this show.

Worst timing:  Cesaro injured.  Yes, Cesaro had an opportunity to take that step to the next level… but then he had a torn rotator cuff and he went on the shelf for months.  I hope he gets healthy and winds up where he should be, at the top of the card.

Best PPV/Special:  NXT Takeover: Brooklyn.  The NXT Takeover specials on the WWE Network are amazing shows that allow their performers to perform and have a crowd that is engaged.  This had a great match between Bayley and Sasha Banks that was so full of emotion, a ladder match with Finn Balor and Kevin Owens, and The Vaudvillains winning the NXT Tag Team Titles.  This happened on the weekend of SummerSlam and NXT continues to shine.  Runners Up: Wrestlemania 31, Elimination Chamber, NXT Takeover: Rival.

Matches of the Year

#10.  Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks,  NXT Women’s Championship, NXT Takeover: Unstoppable, May 20

#9.  Kevin Owens vs.  Finn Balor,   NXT Championship, The Beast in the East, July 4

#8.  John Cena vs. Sami Zayn, US Open Challenge, RAW, May 4

#7.  Bayley vs. Sasha Banks,  NXT Women’s Championship, NXT: Brooklyn August 22

#6.  New Day vs. Lucha Dragons vs. The Usos  Ladder Match, WWE Tag Team Championship,  TLC  December 13

#5.  John Cena vs. Cesaro, United States Open Challenge, RAW June 29

#4.  Kevin Owens vs. John Cena, US Championship, Elimination Chamber, May 31

#3.  John Cena vs. Cesaro II, United States Open Challenge, RAW, July 6

#2.  Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins, WWE World Championship, Royal Rumble, January 25

#1.  Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, Iron Man Match, NXT Women’s Championship, NXT Women’s Championship, NXT Takeover: Respect

This match had so much emotion and had such an amazing atmosphere.  Bayley and Sasha showed how amazing they were as performers.  Both young ladies have huge futures.

By the way… John Cena was in five of the top ten matches of the year.  Then #11 may have been Cena vs. Neville on RAW which was amazing as well.  And he had two other matches with Kevin Owens that nearly matched that first one.  Congrats to the Wrestler of the Year on a truly magnificent year.

Kick Ass Female

2015 was the year of the kick ass female.  There were more female protagonists than we have had in a long time, and they were more than just the damsel in distress.  In fact, many of these characters caused the distress.

#10 Miss Piggy (The Muppets).  Having to put up with the biggest break up of the year, Miss Piggy became the star of her own late night talk show and always found the time to set trends and product placements (Piggy water anyone?)  Here’s hoping that 2016 is when Piggy finds her way back to her froggy.

#9 Daisy Johnson (Agents of SHIELD).  Daisy started the year known as Skye, but she ended it adopting her real name and she continues to explore her new life as an inhuman inside SHIELD.  The character is based on the comic book heroine Quake, and Daisy has more in her future as the Secret Avengers are coming.

#8 Sarah Manning (Orphan Black).  The amazing Tatiana Maslany brings a special kick assery to Orphan Black as she is playing much of the cast roster herself.  There might be an argument that could be made that Maslany’s most kick ass character is actually Helena, but that is really splitting DNA.  Sarah is the head of them all and so makes our list.

#7 Analise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder).  How does Analise do it?  How does she continually keep those balls in the air while still being a powerhouse defense attorney and a teacher at a law school?  Easy, she manipulates and lies and morphs into whatever she needs.  She is a wholly unlikable character whom you just can’t help but root for.

#6 Melinda May (Agents of SHIELD).  “The Cavalry”, as she was known, continues to be the coolest, most capable agent SHIELD has.  Even when her ex-husband is turning into Inhuman monsters, May does not let anything shake her outer exterior.  However, we all know the price that she pays inside.  We found out the heartbreaking reason behind the Cavalry nickname this year and Melinda May is still in our hearts.

#5 Thor (Marvel Comics).  There was all kind of controversy when Marvel Comics unleashed the new female Thor.  And yet, the comics themselves were fantastic.  Then, this year, we discovered who it was who snatched Mjolnir from the surface of the moon.  It was Jane Foster, who was still slowly dying from cancer.  This great twist kept our favorite Norse God in the forefront of Marvel Comics.

#4 Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road).  When you are the star of the latest Mad Max movie and your name is not Mad max, you know that you are doing something right.  Charlize Theron brought the fury to Fury Road and had people forgetting about Tom Hardy.

#3 Carol Peletier (The Walking Dead).  Carol has become one of the top characters of the zombie-survival show.  Who would have thought that a few years ago when Carol was a sad and depressed housewife of an abusive husband.  However, after the death of her daughter, Carol has become the most fearful of the group, always willing to do what has to be done to ensure their survival.  Look out Morgan.

#2 Jessica Jones (Netflix).  When Netflix announced the series of Marvel characters they were giving their own series, everyone was excited about Luke Cage or Daredevil or Iron Fist.  And everyone was wondering exactly who Jessica Jones was.  Well, no one was wondering any longer.  Perhaps the most well developed female character of the year, Jessica Jones dealt with the danger of Kilgrave while an original heroine.  She drank.  She slept around.  She was mouthy.  She did not suffer fools.  She was violent.  And Jessica Jones the series was all the better for it.

#1 Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).  If you would have said tome that I was doing a list of kick ass females of 2015 and Jessica Jones would not be number one, I would have laughed at you.  And then I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and all bets were off.  Rey is the most kick ass female of the year, and would ahve to be considered one of the most kick ass characters, regardless of sex, of the year.   She has tapped into the Force, she battled Kylo Ren, she handled a staff and a lightsaber and even used the Jedi Mind Trick.  Played by the fresh faced Daisy Ridley, Rey is perfectly set up to be the main protagonist for the Star Wars franchise moving forward.  And I, for one, am extremely happy.

John Carter

There was some serious competition for the John Carter Memorial Award this year.

There was so much competition that Fantastic Four (Fant4stic) is not even in the finalists for the award.

Wow.

There are several films looking to join the company of films that have received this infamous award from EYG.  The past receivers included John Carter (2012), Lone Ranger (2013) and A Million Ways to Die in the West and Expendable 3 (2104).  There were two “winners” last year. This year we will need to split the award three ways.

Taking into consideration that a flop is more than just failure at the box office (though that is a major factor as well), we have several runner ups.  We Are your Friends starring Zac Efron had a horrible box office take,but expectations were pretty low for that film.  No one saw that as being a huge hit.  Jupiter Ascending moved from the summer into January for a reason.  It was so bad that people thought it might cost Eddie Redmayne his Oscar.  Tomorrowland lost a ton of money for the studio after a horrible ad campaign that confused everyone.  And the aforementioned Fantastic Four.

So here are the three movies that tied for the biggest flops of 2015 according to EYG.

Jem and the Holograms

Pan

Rock the Casbah

Jem started week one on 2.413 screens and made $1.37 million.  Week two, it had 2,417 screens and made $387, 925 and then Universal stopped reporting its box office performance.  The is an epic fail.

Pan was a large budget film with very little return on its investment.  It had a budget of $150 million and opened to $15 million.

And Rock the Casbah, according to an article in Business Insiders:

“The film also holds the No. 5 spot for the worst wide opening (2,000-2,499 theaters) since 1982 on Box Office Mojo.”

2015 was really the year of the flop and the fact that Fantastic Four, a movie in August I was preparing to give this award to, was passed by three separate films (and honestly, We Are Your Friends would be ahead of it too), is a remarkable thing.  It has been such a strange year since we also have two films break the Avengers’ opening weekend record (Jurassic World and Star wars: The Force Awakens) that it was just the weaker films that no one cares about.

Lets hope that there is not four winners of the John Carter Memorial Award next year.

TV

Television Shows

There has been an amazing reinvention of how people watch television programs over the last few years.  More and more people are watching online, with DVRs and with other devices.  Shows are appearing on Netflix, Amazon, cable networks, streaming services, among many others.  The days of ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX are gone.

A second trend we are seeing is the specialty shows.  Shows that are anywhere from 8 episodes long to 15 episodes.  The days of 23 episode seasons are slowly coming to an end.  Because of this, we have made a decision.  Instead of listing the top television programs, we have split them into two categories.  Category One:  Shows where they have a “full” season.  Category Two:  Shows that are “shortened” seasons.

“Full” season shows- Top Ten

#10. Grimm (NBC).  Grimm has had its ups and downs this year, but it still has strong characters and one of my personal favorites in Monroe.

#9.  Once Upon a Time (ABC).  OUAT has also been up and down this season.  Its use of Frozen characters was interesting, but its use of Camelot characters were not as successful.  Dark Swan seems to be pretty cliche by now, but the great love story between Emma Swan and Captain Hook helps bring this show strength.

#8.  Flash (CW).  The Flash really picked up speed this past year (forgive the pun).  They have great villains in Zoom, Reverse Flash, Gorilla Grodd.. but it does tend to deal with the metahuman of the week too much.

#7.  Gotham (FOX).  Gotham has really made some improvements this year.  Last year, Gotham tried to cram too much (too many characters, too many storylines) into individual episodes.  This year the show has been so much better. It has come close to becoming too campy, but it has carefully avoided those problems.  If Gotham continues to make these kind of improvements, then the show will be very safe.

#6.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS).  The show has really been anchoring itself to the strength of the relationship between Sheldon and Amy.  Sheldon Cooper has made as many strides as a character this last year as he has in all of the previous years.  And that is a good thing.

#5.  Scandal (ABC).  Scandal has slipped some over the last year.  I hated the kidnapped Olivia storyline and I was not fond about the story that followed.  I have never liked President Fitz.  I even wrote a blog post stating that Fitz is the worst fictionalized president ever.  And yet, Scandal still knows how to do a great episode.

#4.  Whose Line is it Anyway? (CW).  Still extremely funny.  As long as Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles are on this show, it will be worth watching.

#3.  Castle (ABC).  The show is feeling its age.  It is in its eighth season, and it feels like they may be coming to an end soon.  Having said this, this is still one of the first shows I watch on Hulu.  Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic are still great as a couple and the show still is humorous.

#2.  The Muppets (ABC).  I know some people are not fond of this version of the Muppets, but I find it extremely funny.  And the episode where the Swedish Chef did karaoke rapping was just mind boggling.

#1.  Agents of SHIELD (ABC).  Last year’s overall #1 is this year’s “full” season #1.  SHIELD has the most consistent episodes with the most entertaining characters.  Phil Coulson is one of the best characters on television and his portrayer, Clark Gregg, has as much charisma as you will find.  The show also has great stories involving Inhumans including Lash, visited an extraterrestrial planet (EGO?), and fought with the traitor Grant Ward and Hydra.  The midseason finale prepared to change the status quo around once again.

Shortened Season Television Shows

Top Ten

#10.  House of Cards (Netflix) Streaming 13 episodes with the great Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.  House of Cards season three was not as strong as seasons one and two, but there is always fun to be had with President Frank Underwood.

#9.  Agent Carter (ABC).  A shortened 8 episode season during the break of Agents of SHIELD, Peggy Carter became one of Marvel’s top cinematic agents.  The pairing of Agent Carter and Jarvis was inspired and brought great humor and excitement.

#8.  Orphan Black (BBC).  Tatiana Maslany is unbelievable as the series of clones.  It is amazing how different these characters are despite being played by the same actress.  There are many times where I forget that these are the same actress.  Tatiana Maslany received an Emmy nomination this year and it was long overdue.

#7.  How to Get Away With Murder (ABC).  This would have been a little higher on the list but the second season has been a little disjointed.  Season one was truly amazing.  No matter what season you are watching, Viola Davis is a revelation.  The character of Connor is another breakout character on this show.

#6.  Orange is the New Black (Netflix).  Season three of OITNB really made strides to improve from the iffy season two.  The season finale of OITNB wa one of the best episodes of the year.

#5. Fargo (FX).  I just binge watched this season’s episodes and I loved it.  The fact that this second season of the anthology series has been successful (unlike that of True Detective) shows how great this show is.  They even brought in a UFO.  Great actors and actresses get involved in quality like this.

#4.  Jessica Jones (Netflix).  This is the most surprising addition to this list.  Who would have thought that Jessica Jones, a b-type character of the Marvel Universe, would have been a brilliant series?  And yet, it was.  Kilgrave was an amazing villain and his power allowed the creators of the series a chance to explore topics that no super hero show have explored before.  It was real and gritty and rough.  And it was great.

#3.  Bates Motel (A & E).  This show just keeps getting better and better as Norman Bates continues his trip toward madness.  You cheer for Norman, but you know it is a hopeless situation.  And yet, you cheer anyway.

#2. The Walking Dead (AMC).  One of the most consistent shows every year.  You never know who may die.  There is a definite tension on this show.  The “death” of Glenn may have hit the show with a bit, but most of the time, when someone dies on the show, they die.  There have been several times when I thought that maybe even Rick would die.  No other show has that feel to it.

#1 Daredevil (Netflix).  This is the over all number one show for 2015.  Daredevil was just brilliant.  Everything about it was amazing, especially the performance of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk.  The action was hard nosed and violent.  The fight scenes were movie quality

 

Honorable mention:  American Horror Story, Heroes Reborn, Fear the Walking Dead, Under the Dome, Mr. Robot

One more honorable mention was ABC’s Secrets and Lies which I enjoyed quite a bit.

 Best Television Shows I do not watch

There are only so many hours in a day and I cannot watch everything.  Because of that, there are several great shows that the world may love that does not fit on my list.  These are some of those.

Scorpion (CBS)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Better Call Saul (A & E)

Empire (FOX)

Last Man on Earth (FOX)

Quantico (ABC)

Silicon Valley (HBO)

Television Awards

Best Actor in a Shortened SeasonVincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil).  The Netflix series was amazing, but the key to the success was its villain.  Vincent D’Onofrio was breathtaking as the criminal mastermind Wilson Fisk.  He could be considered the MCU’s best villain.  Runners-up:  Charlie Cox, Kevin Spacy, Freddie Highmore

Best Actor in a Full SeasonJim Parsons (Big Bang Theory).  This was one of the surprises as I sat down to do this, but Sheldon Cooper has developed more this past year than any character on tv and the amazing performance of Jim Parsons is one of the reasons.  Runners-up:  Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, Grant Gustin

Best Actress in a Shortened SeasonKrysten Ritter (Jessica Jones).  Jessica Jones was a revelation on Netflix and Krysten Ritter played one of the most well developed and three dimensional characters on television.  Jessica Jones was yet another hit on the streaming site.  Runners-up:  Robin Wright, Viola Davis, Vera Farmiga, Tatiana Maslany

Best Actress in a Full SeasonKerry Washington (Scandal).  Yes I was not a fan of much of the storyline that featured the kidnapping of Olivia Pope, but you could not argue that Kerry Washington was great showing the tortured side of the gladiator.  Runners-up:  Ming-Na Wen, Stana Katic, Mayim Bialik, Chloe Bennet

Best Late Night Show:  The Tonight Show.  Jimmy Fallon is still the trend in late night.  His games such as lip sync battle has even become a television show of its own.  Runners Up:  The Daily Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live. 

Best Animated SeriesGuardians of the Galaxy.  Based after the great Marvel Studios movie of the same name, Marvel animation has a hit on its hands with the new GotG.  Runner Up:  The Simpsons

Show that fell FlatTrue Detective.  Season two of the HBO series was anxiously awaited after the fantastic season one, but the sophomore season was deadly dull and never found its footing.  Runners-up:  Fear the Walking Dead, Into the Badlands

Podcast of the YearHollywood Babble-On. Starring Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, this podcast talks about movies and other geeky things.  And the king of the podcasts Kevin Smith continues to entertain.  Runner up:  The Stone Cold Podcast, Fatman on Batman, The Schmoes Knows

Best CoupleJessica Jones and Luke Cage (Jessica Jones).  I loved the pairing of these heroes and I cannot wait to see this relationship continue.  They were the best couple of a great year.  Runners Up: Glenn and Maggie, Castle and Beckett, Sheldon and Amy, Connor and Oliver, Frank and Claire Underwood, Emma and Hook

Worst CoupleOlivia Pope and Fitzgerald Grant (Scandal).  This pairing is what they built Scandal around, but it is anything but a pairing to root for.  In fact, when Fitz started a war to keep Olivia safe, the relationship went from unlikable to treasonous.  Absolutely terrible.  Runners up:  Daisy and Lincoln, Kermit the Frog and Denise

Best Death:  Rebecca (How to Get Away With Murder).  This one was a surprise.  After being a major player in season one, Rebecca is murdered in the season finale, and her death led to much of the second season troubles.  Runners-Up:  Deanne, Ward, Hook, Harrison

Worst Death: Glann (Walking Dead).  Understand, I am happy that Glenn is not dead.  However, the bait and switch pulled by the show is not a good idea.  Making it look like Glenn was devoured by Walkers only to reveal that he was underneath is a cheap move.   Runners-up:  Hiro

Looking forward to mostX-Files returns to FOX.  Yes, I cannot wait for the six episode event of the X-Files.  Mulder and Sculley return in January and I am so excited.

The Top 15 of 2015…. the biggest geek moments of the year….

cropped-glasses.jpg

#15.  True Detective Season Two fails.  After a hugely successful season one, the HBO series was one of the most anticipated show for the new year, and a great cast didn’t hurt either.  The problem?  The show just did not bring the excitement, the drama the intelligent story telling that the first season brought.  Many people fought their way through the season with hopes that the next week would be the week where the story finally got better, but it was not to be.

#14 Jon Snow dies.

I am not a viewer of Game of Thrones, but even I understand that this death is a huge one.  Jon Snow was one of the main characters of the HBO series and his death marks a major shift in direction for the series.  There have been some questions raised recently that bring into doubt that he is actually dead (like someone else on this list), but this does follow the books.  If Jon Snow is dead, then the show should be commended for keeping its fans on their collective toes.

#13.  Netflix has two huge hits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Marvel Television had two huge successes on the streaming service this year with the debut of Daredevil and Jessica Jones.  Fans across the globe binge watched both high quality series and debated which one was better.  Both series were able to take their time and develop characters (especially their two individual villains- Wilson Fisk and Kilgrave) and tell the story like they were telling a 13 hour long movie.  These successes have led to the announcement of a Daredevil Season Two coming next year featuring the Punisher and Elektra.  And we hope to see more of Jessica Jones in the upcoming Luke Cage series… all leading to the Defenders!

#12.  The Fantastic Four film bombs on an epic scale.  The movie itself was terrible, but that was not the major story.  There have been other comic book movies that did not come out like we had hoped.  No, it was the behind the scenes drama surrounding Fant4stic that truly was more interesting than the film.  FOX tried to hide the film from the public, not allowing any critics to see it.  But the biggest thing was the director, Josh Trank, tweeted that this was not the film that he had wanted.  That led to a massively disappointing debut weekend that sent FF into obscurity and, perhaps, sending it right back into the waiting arms of Marvel Studios.  Maybe one day some one will do a documentary on the “making of the Fant4stic.”  That would be a huge success.

#11.  David Letterman and Jon Stewart leave their late night shows.  2015 saw the end of two of the greats in late night television.  David Letterman retired from the Late Show and Jon Stewart left his seat on the Daily Show.  Both of these late night comedy icons had their programs passed to successors (Stephen Colbert took over for David while Trevor Noah took the reigns from Stewart).  Late night will never be the same again.

#10.  “Killed them all, of course.”  HBO’s documentary series called The Jinx made television history and became a true crime first as infamous reputed killer Robert Durst, who has been suspected as the killer of his wife back in the 1980s and his friend in 2001, appeared as the subject of the series.  The finale made all kinds of noise as “Bob” seemingly confessed to the crimes accidentally, not suspecting that his microphone was “live” after a unexpected interview by documentary director Andrew Jarecki.  It was the most jaw dropping moment of the year and it was all real.  Durst was arrested the day before the series finale aired on HBO and he is being extradited to California for trial.

#9.  Secret Wars destroys the Marvel Universe.  Or at least, temporarily.  Marvel’s big blockbuster event for 2015 was a new version of Secret Wars, where the Marvel Universe was destroyed.  Events taking place in the pages of the Avengers led to the event, but the one and only Dr. Doom prevent everything from being destroyed.  Of course, Dr. Doom set himself up as a God over the new land known as “Battleworld” but what do you really expect?  It is Dr. Doom.  It was clear that the Marvel comic universe was not going to be destroyed forever and the publisher rebooted all of its series in October.  Still, Secret Wars was must read story telling.

#8. Caitlyn Jenner.  One time athlete Bruce Jenner completed his journey in 2015 that he started on E! Entertaiment’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  In April of this year, Bruce Jenner revealed his identity as a trans gender woman and asked the world to call her Caitlyn.  In September of this year, the former athlete made the switch permanent with a gender altering operation.  Appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair, Caitlyn Jenner became a poster child for the transgender community and helped bring about the subject for discussion across the country.

#7.  Atticus Finch, racist.  Controversy was stirred up earlier this year as the second novel by Harper Lee, author of the beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird, was scheduled to be released and took the classic character Atticus Finch and made him a member of the KKK.  The public was outraged that a man who was shown as such a beacon of civil rights as Atticus Finch could become a southern racist.  The publication of the novel Go Set a Watchman did not help matters as many critics bashed the book as inferior to Mockingbird in every way.  The novel, originally written by Lee in the 1950s but only now published, was released in the summer and set a record for the highest adult novel one day sales at Barnes and Noble.

#6.  Adele hits it big with 25.  Adele’s newest album, featuring her hit song “Hello”, was released on November 20th and immediately became a world wide success.  The album sold 3.38 million copies in the United States alone.  The album debuted at number one on the album chart in more than 25 markets.  In an article in The Independent written by Andy Gill, 25was described as saving the music industry, which was seeing dwindling profits with downloading and streaming as the popular methods of music consumption.”

#5.  Glenn “dies” on the Walking Dead.  Yeah, not so much.  Glenn appeared to have fallen from a dumpster and into a pack of Walkers at the end of season 6, episode three entitled “Thank You.”  But there were clues that he had not really bit the big one, including not appearing on the Talking Dead couch that follows the show.  There were theories across the Internet, but the show kept the fans guessing as they did not reveal that Glenn had actually escaped until episode six where we see that Glenn is able to crawl out from beneath Nicholas’s body (which is what we see being devoured).  It certainly had fans debating Glenn’s fate.

#4. Jurassic World passes Avengers as biggest opening weekend ever.  (At least for now).  Jurassic World surprised everyone with its amazing opening weekend.  No pundits expected Jurassic World to come anywhere near close to the 207 million dollar opening of Marvel’s Avengers, but it surpassed it by about a million dollars.  It was a huge success for the dinosaur sequel/reboot.  Jurassic World also found that it had quite the legs as the film stuck around through the entire summer, ending with around 1.7 billion in worldwide box office receipts.

#3. Donald Trump runs for President of the United States.  I wish I were kidding.  Trump declared his candidacy for POTUS causing Jon Stewart to joke about reconsidering his leaving.  However, the joke may be on us as Donald Trump is currently leading the GOP pack.  Trump has used his over-the-top personality and his “I’ll say anything” demeanor to put the nation in a trance and shake up the politics as usual community.  Now, if we can just make sure that he doesn’t actually win.

#2.  Spider-man comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  In a shocking deal, Marvel and Sony agreed to allow the character of Spider-man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while still allowing Sony to produce stand alone Spider-man movies.  It was unbelievable, but after the e-mail hacks and the loss of expectations of Amazing Spider-man 2, Sony saw the writing on the wall and decided to listen to what the fans wanted.  The deal will allow Spider-man to appear in MCU films (starting next year with Captain America: Civil War).  The role of Peter Parker (despite some fan desire to see Miles Morales instead) was won by young actor Tom Holland.  The lack of excitement for Spidey in films immediately was thrown out the window as the chance to see Spidey with Iron Man and Cap took over.

And #1….

Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives.  The seventh film in the Star Wars series debuted this December to critical and monetary success.  The Force Awakens made 248 million dollars in its opening weekend, destroying the record set earlier in the year by Jurassic World.  There are some who believe that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a chance to pass Avatar’s all time record of 2.8 billion.  The fans came out in droves and the film created a wave of excitement and nostalgia like no film in recent memory.  Plus, it was really good too, introducing the world to new characters such as Rey and Finn as well as bringing back old favorites like Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia.  JJ Abrams directed the newest episode and placed himself square in Geek Culture upper echelon of directors currently working.  Star Wars is everywhere and it is easily the top Geek moment of 2015.

Gomer

The official Gomer for the Surprise of the Year is…

The Gift

The trailer made this film look like a typical stalker film.  However, it was way more than that.  It was a psychological thriller, one of the best psychological thrillers of the year.  Add a mind bending performance from Joel Edgerton and solid work from Jason Bateman (playing against type) and you have a serious surprise at the movie theater.

runners up:  The Duff  I never thought that I would enjoy this one, but it was very funny and way more entertaining than it ever should have been.

and Paddington.

This was an early year film, and I thought it was going to be horrendous.  However, Paddington was a total shock.  It was a remarkably fun and thoroughly entertaining movie.

Stan Lee

This year, we officially name this year end award after “The Man” himself.  Stan Lee has spent the last 10 years or so making cameo appearances in comic book movies.  Part of the fun of the newest Marvel movie is watching for Stan Lee.  No one deserves the honor more.

So… without further adieu… here is the top five cameos of 2015 (By the way…#1 may be considered a spoiler yet…so you are warned)

#5.  50 Cent from Spy.  The rapper makes a short, yet important cameo in the Melissa McCarthy movie, lending out his personal helicopter for the ending deus ex machina.

#4.  Mark Hamill from Kingsmen: The Secret Service.  The appearance of Mark Hamill at the beginning of Kingsmen told us that this movie was going to be all kinds of awesome.  And it was.

#3.  Stan Lee from Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Yes, Stan Lee does not win the award that he has been named after.  I am not sure that that is irony, but it sure feels like it.  Stan had a great two scene cameo in AoU, and even got to mutter his classic catchphrase, “excelsior.”

#2.  Anthony Mackie from Ant Man.  The appearance of the Falcon was one of the best moments in a list of great moments in marvel’s latest hit film.  The fight between Falcon and Ant man set a great tone for the movie, but Mackie returned at the end to help direct Ant man toward Civil War.

#1.  John Cena from Daddy’s Home.

This was a total surprise and it returned to a joke that was made way back in “Trainwreck” earlier this year.  John Cena’s character was referred to as “Mark Wahlberg” and John Cena said that “Mark Wahlberg is like 150 pounds! I’m 250 lean – I look like Mark Wahlberg *ate* Mark Wahlberg!”

I was extremely impressed with the sudden appearance of John Cena, and I have been pretty impressed with Cena this year as well.  He was also one of the better parts of “Sisters” with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and he was awesome in “Trainwreck” as Amy Schumer’s closeted boyfriend.  Plus, we named Cena wrestler of the year here at EYG.

Who would have thought?

Kid Actor

This year’s top child actor is starring on a film that I have yet to see.  I know that might be a bit of a cheat, but all I have heard is great things about this performance.  It has been so good that there are even some out there who think this young actor has a chance to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards.

So with that, I have to give the “I See Kid Actor” Award for 2015 to …

Jacob Tremblay for his work in “The Room”

I am really looking forward to the opportunity to watch this film.  Congrats, Jacob.

Top 5 Movie Songs

Music

#5  We Belong, Pitch Perfect 2

#4 Phenomenal, Southpaw

#3 Don’t Look Down, Danny Collins

#2 One Kind of Love, Love & War

#1 See You Again, Furious 7

Batman and Robin

Here are the worst of the worst.  Earning the infamous Batman and Robin Award for Rottenness.  They are the Batman & Robins.

Ironically, two of the three worst actor/actresses I am giving are Academy Award nominees.  So, in many times, it is not the actor, but the role.

Worst Actor:  Eddie Redmayne (Jupiter Ascending).  This is the worst performance you could imagine.  People thought that this role in Jupiter Ascending might have cost Redmayne his Oscar for the Theory of Everything.  It didn’t, but just the thought was amazing.

Worst Actresses (tie):  Reese Witherspoon & Sofia Vergara (Hot Pursuit). This pairing was just horrible.  Witherspoon was just coming off a great performance and an Oscar nomination for Wild, but she was completely ridiculous here.  Hot Pursuit was one of the worst of the year, and these two ladies did not elevate the material.

Worst Special Effects:  Last Witch Hunter.  The special effects of this film were very poor, and that is a shame in this new world.  When even poor movies look great, there is no excuse to have the special effects that look like this.

Worst Sequel:  Transporter Refueled.  (runner up:  Paul Blart 2).  This was so bad.  I wanted to include Paul Blart 2 because it was awful, but Transporter Refueled was just epically bad.

Worst Movie I Haven’t Seen:  Jem and the Holograms.  I just did not make it to Jem, and that was a good thing.  It was not in the theaters very long since it had such a dismal box office and there were several films out that weekend.  I prioritized and that meant..no Jem.

Worst Comic Book Movie:  Fantastic Four… or Fan4stic, as they had on early posters.  FF was the huge disaster of a film.  Even the director of the film knew it.  A great cast that was completely wasted.  And they did a worse job on Dr. Doom than the previous FF movies had done.

Best Scene in a bad movieJulia Roberts cries over her murdered daughter, The Secret in Their Eyes.  This came early in the film, and the rest of The Secret in Their Eyes was horrendous.  However, Julia Roberts really brought it with this scene.

Worst Trailer for Awesome movie:  Paddington.  The trailers for Paddington made it look so dull and childish.  That could not have been more wrong.  Paddington was fantastic and I never would have believed that because of those trailers.

Best trailer for a terrible film:  Fantastic Four.  The trailers almost fooled us.  They really looked pretty good.  Of course, several shots from the trailer did not make the final film, and I wonder if they would have left it in, would it have been better?

I’m Walkin’:  Magic Mike XXL:  First time I walked out of a movie was this past year… and it was Magic Mike XXL. I had not seen the original Magic Mike but I heard lots of good things about it.  Magic Mike XXL had nothing good about it.  And I left after about an hour.  Horror

This year was a slow one when it came to horror, as there were not very many really good ones and not really that many huge flops.  There were mostly middle ground movies.  Films such as Crimson Peak, Krampus, The Woman in Black 2, Insidious Chapter 3, The Lazerus Effect, Sinister II… all were in the same general range.  Nothing good, nothing bad.  Just basically unremarkable.

There are a few that I personally would not consider a horror movie that some might.  For example, I would not consider Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse a horror movie.  It is more of a Monster Squad type humor filled action/adventure.  I am also not considering The Visit a horror movie, though it may share some traits in common.  I would consider that a thriller.

So here are the best and worst.

Starting with the worst.

# 2. Poltergeist.  Not a good remake and one that really did not need remaking.  Just Hollywood reaching into its history for ideas again.  Inconsistent tone hurt this film as it felt like there were times that they wanted to play this for jokes.

# 1.  The Gallows.  Before the final 20 minutes of the Gallows, I thought it was going to compete for the worst movie of the year, but the ending was able to pull the grade up some.  This had a definite Scooby Doo feel to it though, as it felt like the gang was ready to catch and unmask the Hangman.

Now:  I did not see the newest Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and from what I heard, that was a terrible movie.  But since I did not see it, I cannot comment.

The Best of the Year.

#2.  Unfriended.  This was a surprise as these kids were on their computers and the spirit of an old friend came back to seek her revenge.  This was an original idea and was pretty entertaining, bringing horror into the age of texting and Tweeting and Facebooking.

#1.  It Follows.  This was a no brainer.  Easily the best horror movie of the year, It Follows was a creepy ride from the first moment of the film.  It also was able to use its monster as a metaphor for sexually transmitted disease.  Really creepy and a serious scare.

Expendables

New this year… it is the Expendables Award for Acting Excellence.  Because, there are performers who have starred in the (currently) three movies of the Expendables that usually phone in their performances.  They do the same old things in their films and can do them blindfolded.  I believe it is worth the time to recognize those members of the Expendables casts that do something different..something special… something original…and do it well.

We have three recipients for the Expendable Award for Acting Excellence for 2015.  They are :

Best Expendable Actor in a Motion Picture:

Arnold Schwarzenegger for Maggie.

This is the basis for the award.  Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a father whose daughter has been infected by a disease that is turning her into a zombie and he struggles for the right thing to do.  The film is heartbreaking and Arnold gives one of his better performances of his career.  It certainly had him stepping outside of his comfort zone.

The former Governor of California should be commended for joining a movie about zombies that does not require him to be blasting through them with guns or chopping off heads.

Harrison Ford in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens does not have the emotional punch if Harrison Ford does not return to the role of Han Solo.  The film also would not be as effective in passing the torch to the next generation of Star Wars characters such as Finn, Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe etc. had Han Solo not been there to tie the future Star wars to that of the past to make it the now.  Ford was the key character in allowing that to happen.

And Harrison Ford really brought it to the film.  We have seen Ford not interested in films before.  One could argue that he phoned in his performance in the last Indian Jones movie.  Some have claimed many of his recent performances have been basically playing himself.  But in Star Wars, from the moment that he stepped on the Millennium Falcon, he was Han Solo.  He was the smuggler, scoundrel, hero that we all remembered, and he played those thirty years of baggage well.  Ford deserves a lot of props for the success of The Force Awakens.

Best Expendable Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture:

Silvester Stallone for Creed

Who thought Silvester Stallone was capable of this level of performance again?

Returning to the familiar ground of Rocky Balboa is one thing, but returning as Rocky in the background…as a trainer for the son of Apollo Creed, well that is a different thing.  Yet, Stallone was one of the best parts of Creed.

Creed was not directed by Stallone, and this looks like Stallone had the opportunity to just sit back and work on his acting.  And he knocked it so far out of the park that it is possible that Sylvester Stallone could receive an Academy Award nomination for his performance.  If anyone would have said that after Expendables 3 or Grudge Match or Bullet to the Head, Stallone would have a chance for an Oscar, I would have laughed in their face.

Yet, here he is.  And it would be very deserving if he were nominated.  In fact, I am rooting for him.

One more underdog story for Rocky.

EYG Star of the Year

staroftheyear

#4.  Adele.  Adele saved music in 2015 with her massively successful album 25.

#3. Chris Pratt.  Star of the (now) 2nd most successful film of the year in Jurassic World.

#2. Jennifer Lawrence.  Jennifer Lawrence seems to be in this list every year, and this year is no exception.  She appeared in the final Hunger Games film this year, with Mockingjay Part 2 and she had an Oscar contender with Joy, where she is wonderful.

#1 EYG Star of the Year is…

JJ Abrams

JJ Abrams has done what everyone on the planet had hoped he would do.  And that was to recreate Star Wars and save the franchise and set it on course for a new generation.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens does exactly that.  Using great new characters and familiar characters from the past, JJ created an amalgam that pleased most everyone.  Box office proves it too, as Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become the fastest film to reach $1 billion dollars (in just 12 says) worldwide.  That was without even opening in China yet.  The Force Awakens is a pop culture juggernaut and it has a chance to surpass the box office king Avatar as biggest film ever.  I wouldn’t vote against it.  Thank you JJ for bringing us what we had wanted.

Supporting Actors and Actresses in Motion Pictures

Supporting Actors

#5.  Michael Rylance (Bridge of Spies)

#4.  Michael Douglas (Ant Man)

#3.  Paul Dano (Love and Mercy)

#2.  Christian Bale (The Big Short)

#1.  Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Stallone was just amazing in the movie Creed.  He fell back into his role of Rocky (the most iconic role Stallone has ever had) like he never left it, and without the need to be directing or leading the film, Stallone really made the film special.

Supporting Actress

#5.  Elizabeth Banks (Love and Mercy)

#4.  Olivia Cooke ( Me & Earl & the Dying Girl)

#3.  Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)

#2.  Helen Mirren (Trumbo)

and #1.  Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)

The best Sci-fi movie of the year featured one of the best supporting performances you will ever see.  Alicia Vikander brought more life to the role of a robot than most actresses bring to real life characters.  She was one of the best parts of the film.

director

The EYG Director of the Year

#5.  Ridley Scott (The Martian).  Ridley Scott had had several failures in a row before hitting out of the park with The Martian.  It is good to have him back.  The Martian was one of the best films of the year and the direction was superb.

#4.  Adam McKay (The Big Short).  I truly enjoyed the way The Big Short was put together, with the celeb cameos to explain things and the way characters would break the 4th wall. Adam McKay really put that all together with some great performances.

#3.  George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road).  The 70 year old George Miller came up with something special this year with his mostly real effects of Mad Max.  While everyone is using CGI, George Miller did something old school.

#2.  JJ Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).  JJ Abrams did what we all wanted.  Make Star Wars relevant again.  Not just relevant, but also enjoyable.  He blended the past and the future together seamlessly and created what could be the biggest film of all time.

And the DeMille goes to….

#1.  Tom McCarthy (Spotlight).  McCarthy created a near perfect film.  Not only was Spotlight brilliant, it took a subject matter that was difficult and horrified us.  We saw how journalists went about investigating their reports and we were engulfed in the story.  Plus, he got a great performance out of everyone in that ensemble cast.  He may be a leading candidate for an Oscar this year.

The Liz

“The Liz” EYG Award for Best Actress of the 2015.

Here are the runners up:

#5.  Amy Schumer (Trainwreck)  Amy Schumer went from television to the big screen in an extremely entertaining film that she wrote and starred in.  It was funny and it had a great relationship at its base.  Plus, John Cena was really solid.

#4.  Melissa McCarthy (Spy).  Another comedienne.  It was a good year for funny females.  Mccarthy was outstanding in the role as a office worker who winds up having to go into the field.  She was really funny and played a better character than she had been playing before.

#3.  Jennifer Lawrence (Joy).  Lawrence’s performance was definitely the best thing about Joy, which, as a movie, was only an okay film.  Whatever success Joy has is because of Jennifer Lawrence’s layered performance.

#2.  Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).  One of the best new characters in Star Wars was played beautifully by the fresh faced Daisy Ridley.  She is going to be such a huge star, and she was one of my favorite parts of this film.

and 2015 “The Liz” goes to….

#1.  Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Charlize Theron is really the main character in Mad Max:  Fury Road.  She showed that she could carry an action movie, and this was one of the best action movies of the year.  Furiosa was also one of the more compelling characters in a film that did not have a great story behind it.  Charlize Theron is the actress of the year.

Strangelove

The Strangelove Award for Best Actor will be given from now on in honor of our own EYG Hall of Famer Peter Sellers, who was playing several characters in that great comedy.  So here are the runners-up for 2015…

#5.  Will Smith (Concussion).  Will Smith does a great job in a movie that brings the NFL under scrutiny for the concussions being suffered by their players.  Will Smith does a really great job playing the doctor behind the discovery of the problem.  “Tell the truth…”

#4.  Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight).  The Spotlight movie is a great ensemble cast, but Mark Ruffalo really stood out at one of the main reasons the movie was go great.  Ruffalo was wonderful as a member of these journalists from the Boston Globe that was so important in uncovering this horrible secret that wasn’t that secret.

#3.  Sir Ian McKellen (Mr. Holmes).  Seeing Sir Ian McKellen play an older Sherlock Holmes nearing the end of his life was amazing.  But we also got to see McKellen playing Holmes near the end of his final case.  And it was a mystery.  Mr. Holmes was one of the most underrated film of the year, and McKellen was brilliant.

#2.  Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs).  This was the film that got Steve Jobs right, and Fassbender was Oscar worthy in his portrayal.  He showed us the weirdness of the real Steve Jobs and showed how human the man actually was.  Fassbender was amazing.

and “The Strangelove” winner for 2015 is…

#1.  Bryan Cranston (Trumbo).

Bryan Cranston has a great oeuvre of work, but this was the first time that he is the lead actor in a feature film.  And he so embodied the real life person of Dalton Trumbo, the movie writer who was blacklisted during the Communist fear of the 1940s.  The film looked at the problems of prejudice and hatred and fear of what is different.  Cranston was really perfect in this role.  You really wanted to support him and you love it when he succeeds.

Ok, the time is here. 

The Top 20 Worst Films of 2015!

First, some qualifiers:

Of course, only films that I have seen in the calendar year of 2015 can make this list. So such classics as Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension or Jem and the Holograms will not appear on the worst list because I did not see them.  They probably would have made it if I had.

Second, I have a special dishonorable mention.  I walked out of Magic Mike XXL this year and I gave it one of the lowest scores of any film this year.  And yet, it will also not appear on this list.  I decided that because I did not stick in the film until the end, I could not legitimately include it on my list.  It was possible, however slightly, that the end of the film would have improved Magic Mike XXL’s score.  For example, I was sure that Daddy’s Home, the new comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Whalberg was heading for this list, but an entertaining and surprising third act really changed my mind.  Magic Mike XXL did not get that chance, so it is officially off the list.

And the final qualifier is this:  the ratings I give  a movie during the year will not be specifically followed.  A film that got one star may be listed higher on this list than one that earned 0.8 star.  It is just the subjective manner of this type of list.  Of course, this is my list and, in such, the opinions listed here are mine and mind only.

So… here is the Top 20 worst films of the year.

There were a lot of bad films in 2015.  This year had some really great films, but it had more than its share of stinkers.

Dishonorable mention (The films that did not quite stink it up enough to make the top 20):  Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water, Fant4stic, Inherent Vice, Pixels (yeah, I know, that surprises me too), Pan

#20. The Gunman.  Starring Sean Penn, the story of a sniper who had to go into hiding after a successful assassination.  What was really killed here was my interest level.

#19.  The Gallows.  The worst of the horror movies this year makes the list at nineteen.  This was another example of a decent ending to a movie saving it from being considered near the top of this list.  It still makes it, however.

#18.  Secret In Their Eyes.  It boasts a great cast.  There are even a few solid scenes.  However, the story is just stupid and the double twist ending spoiled any good will it may have picked up along the way.

#17.  Seventh Son.  Jeff Bridges.  Julianne Moore. Alicia Vikander.  You would think that this could not fail.  But it had been delayed several times for a reason.  It was terrible.

#16.  Aloha.  Another film with a great cast, but a stupid story.  Emma Stone as Allison Ng?  It was convoluted and dull.  And it featured one of the most annoying trailers of the year.  I was glad to say aloha to Aloha.

#15.  The Last Witch Hunter.  The continuing saga in trying to find Vin Diesel a franchise that does not include cars.  Some of the worst Special Effects are found in this film.  Keep trying Vin.

#14.  The Loft.  Another film that had been delayed (pushed into January, which is never a good sign) An inane murder mystery with a group of characters that were so unlikable that I would have loved to see all of them go away.  This was one that I had some high hopes for, but they were dashed very quickly.  There was some women hatred going on in this one.

#13.  Paul Blart 2.  I kind of enjoyed the first movie of this series for the quirky and light hearted romp it was.  This one too it too far, sending Paul Blart to Vegas.  What followed was a typical Kevin James unfunny movie with a predictable finish.

#12.  Mortdecai.  Johnny Depp?  What were you thinking?

#11.  The Boy Next Door.  Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful woman.  That is about what this re imagining of Fatal Attraction has going for it.  Story?  Nah. Acting?  Come on….

And now… we shall start to Top Ten…

#10.  Point Break.  The remake that was so unnecessary.  They slapped the name of Point Break on it though it really had little to do with it.  It was basically the X Games movie weaved together with some exposition.  Not what you want to see.

#9.  Vacation.  Another remake (although this may be more of a sequel) that was just not funny.  There were plenty of offensive parts, but offensive parts can still be funny. These weren’t.  Chris Hemsworth was the best part of this steaming pile.

#8.  50 Shades of Grey.  This is so poorly written and it was boring.  You would go into the film hoping for, at least, some good sex scenes.  Nope.  The S & M scenes were not sexy or a turn on.  Such a miss.

#7.  Jupiter Ascending.  An attempt to create a new sci-fi property that had been delayed from the previous summer.  It went into January.  Horrible.  I nearly fell asleep a couple of times.

#6.  Hitman Agent 47.  Just a large video game, with action that was as ridiculous as you would think.  I was ready for this movie to be over 20 minutes into it.

#5.  Barely Lethal.  This was a small independent film and it was a terrible spy movie.  Not many people saw it.  It was bad.

#4.  We Are Your Friends.  Some interesting music.  No story.  No characters worth anything.  Zac Efron failed epically in this film.

#3.  Unfinished Business.  Another comedy that was not funny.  Vince Vaughn must have been working on his dramatic chops for season two of True Detectives because he just was not funny.  Seriously stupid and predictable and terrible.

#2.  Hot Pursuit.  People were laughing in this theater when I watched Hot Pursuit and it made me question the intelligence of the people around me.  This was so bad and almost became the worst film of the year.  Reese Witherspoon was right off a great performance in Wild only to come here and have absolutely no charisma with Sofia Vergara.  And it was not funny…no matter what the laughter in that theater said.

and the worst movie of the year…

#1.  Transporter Refueled.  I saw this on the same day as I saw We Are Your Friends.  There is a double feature for you.  This had no story.  No excitement.  No villains worth anything.  The trailers were horrid.  This was the fourth film in the series and hopefully it will be the last.

And now…here it is.

The Top 25 movies of 2015.

Again, just like the Worst films of the year, these are my subjective opinions and only mine.  It will only include movies that I have seen in the calendar year of 2015.  That means that The Revenant, which I have not yet seen (even though it is going to be considered for Oscars) will not appear on this list.

There are also a couple of films that most people had on their 2014 lists, but I had not seen them until January of 2015, so they are here on this list.

Again, the ratings that I give throughout the year really does not go into consideration for this list.  I will have some 5 star movies that are lower than some that I did not give 5 stars to.  That is just the way of the beast.  Deal with it.

Starting off with a long list of Honorable MentionLove & Mercy, The Visit, Peanuts: The Movie, The Walk, It Follows, Paper Towns, Black Mass, Unfriended, Selma, The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, Danny Collins, Pawn Sacrifice, Maggie

You would think that with that many honorable mentions that I would think that 2015 was a great year for movies, but I do not think so. I think there were way too many movies that were middle of the road/meh movies.  Honestly, I hope for a stronger 2016.

However, when the movies got it right, there were some real gems (not Jem) this year.

#25.  Goosebumps.  I found htis very entertaining and one of the bigger surprises of the year.  I was pretty sure this one was going to be really bad, and yet, Jack Black and the group of Goosebump monsters brought some definite nostalgia to the theater.

#24.  Trainwreck.  The film starring Amy Schumer was funny, and contaioned a great performance by John Cena.  Amy Schumer has a bright future in the film industry ahead of her.  This was a rom-com that really kind of flipped the genre on its ear.

#23.  Dope.  This was another surprise this year.  Dope was a coming of age story of a group of young geeks who try everything they can (including selling dope) to get to college.  Great music and great humorous moments.

#22.  Spy.  A film that brought Melissa McCarthy back to the forefront of comedy.  She was floundering a bit with her films and then Spy came along and changed the narrative enough to really become a huge hit.  And it was very funny in the year of the spy movie.

#21.  Mockingjack Part 2.  The conclusion to the Hunger Games series was very satisfying, but I found it pretty depressing in many ways.  I had not read the book series so I was not prepared for the carnage that would follow the attack on the capital.  Jennifer Lawrence was great as always.

#20. Mad Max: Fury Road.  I debated about this one, because I did not love the Mad Max movies as much as others, though I know it was a great film. It was beautifully shot and the practical effects were astounding.  The story was just a little thin.  Still, it made the top 20.

#19.  Paddington.  I so loved this movie.  It was early in the year and I expected nothing out of it and it was just so good.  Everything about Paddington was great.  After the controversy of Colin Firth leaving the film, I did not have high hopes and this turned out wonderfully.

#18.  Ex Machina.  One of the best sci-fi movies of the year, Ex Machina showed more humanity with its non humans than a lot of movies.  Alicia Vikander hit it huge in this film and Oscar Isaac continues to be one of our best actors.

#17.  Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Another early year hit, full of over-the-top moments that were both shocking and hilarious.  The scene at the church to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird has to be one of the best scenes in movies this year.  Taron Egerton has a huge career ahead of him.

#16.  The Gift.  The winner of the Gomer for the biggest surprise of the year, The Gift looked to be just another crazy, stalker type move, but it was so much more than that.  Written and directed by star Joel Edgerton, The Gift was one of he best psychological thrillers of the year.

#15.  Me & Earl & the Dying Girl.  I loved this movie.  When it first came out, I gave it five stars.  That might have been a little over rate, but it was completely original and emotional, with a great group of interesting characters dealing with important life-altering choices.  Still one of the best coming of age stories out there.

#14.  Creed.  Another one that I thought might wind up higher on this list, but in the final figuring, was lower.  A great performance by Michael B. Jordan and a brilliant supporting performance by Sly Stallone made this next installment in the Rocky franchise its own animal.  Ryan Coogler directed this and now is going to direct Marvel’s Black Panther.

#13.  Trumbo.  I really enjoyed this period piece.  The story of the Hollywood writers who had been blackballed as Communists during the 1940s and one man who was able to fight back by still writing movies under a variety of aliases.  Dalton Trumbo was a real life warrior, brought to the screen brilliantly by Bryan Cranston.

#12.  Steve Jobs.  I loved this movie and Michael Fassbender was amazing as the Apple head.  The film was not a strict bio pic, as it focused on several different product launches and the behind the scenes drama that happened.  It was brilliantly told and fully entertaining.

#11.  The Martian.  Ridley Scott is back.  He created an amazing sci-fi story about an astronaut stranded on Mars and the attempt to rescue him.  The movie is so effective that it felt like a true story.  Matt Damon has amazing dialogue and is very funny as he struggles to survive using science.

#10.  Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.  Tom Cruise was epic in this film, hanging on the side of airplanes and riding motorcycles at insane angles.  This was the best spy movie of the year of the spy.  The Mission Impossible franchise seems to keep getting better with each film.

#9.  The Big Short.  Another five star film that wound up a little lower than I had planned (even as of two days ago, I had this as high as #6).  I loved the way this was put together with the celebrity cameos to explain concepts and the breaking of the fourth wall.  It was a great ensemble cast as well with Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt among others.

#8.  The Hateful Eight.  The newest film on the list is the newest Quentin Tarantino classic.  Amazing dialogue that carries a scene between unbelievably compelling characters.  And of course, Tarantino gore as well.  The nearly three hour run time seemed to fly by.

#7.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  It is possible that this film will become the biggest film of all time.  It has already flown past $1 billion dollars worldwide.  It also brought the Star Wars universe back to where it should be after the travesties of the prequels.  SWTFA makes it feel like Star Wars again.  It is one of the most surreal experiences of the year.

#6.  Ant Man.  Marvel’s undersized hero proved to be a box office star.  Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas in a comic book movie?  What a great world we live in.  Ant Man was a really fun, smaller (excuse the pun) story that still felt like it had consequences.  The fight with Falcon was pure gold as was the ending sequence in Ant Man’s daughter room.  That final fight scene with Yellowjacket was one of the best third acts of the year.  It had everything.

#5.  Spotlight.  The great ensemble cast brought to life the story of a group of Boston Globe reporters who broke the story about Catholic priests abusing young children and how much the Catholic Church knew about it.  It was uncomfortable.  It was real.  It was compelling.  It may be a leading candidate for the Academy Award.

#4.  Mr. Holmes.  I so loved this movie with Sir Ian McKellen taking up the iconic role of Sherlock Holmes late in his life.  There was another mystery to solve, and it was one that Mr. Holmes couldn’t remember.  This film tells the sometimes difficult story of getting older and how life has to change.  There was also a great performance from the young actor, Milo Parker (who might have gotten the “I See Child Actors” Award if not for the special performance of Justin Trembley.

#3.  Whiplash.  This one was the hold over from last year.  I did not see it until mid January so it qualified for this list.  And my goodness, did JK Simmons deserve that Oscar, or what?  Miles Teller was every bit as good as the acting partner of JK.  The final drumming scene was as intense as you can get.

#2.  Avengers: Age of Ultron.  A lot of people have bad mouthed this film and that was not fair.  I still loved it.  I thought Ultron was great as a villain.  I thought there was a great emotional moment in the film.  And the Avengers were acting as heroes, saving people.

and the #1 film of 2015…

#1 Inside Out.  Pixar’s brilliance shined through this year with an animated movie that told an amazing story of a young girl and the emotions that live in her head, causing her to feel what she feels.  The story was emotional.  The animation continued Pixar’s magic.  It was funny, and it had, quite legitimately, the most emotional moment of the year. Every time I saw it, tears came from my eyes.  Inside Out is a masterpiece and it was as creative as it was beautiful.  The settings inside the little girl’s head was wonderfully laid out.  I had a feeling this would be the number one film when I first saw it, and nothing else was able to provide as brilliant of a time at the theater as Inside Out did.

2013-Year in Review

Previously Published

 

 

First up, 15 Top Television Shows of 2013

(As always, these are my opinions…anyone who would like to question my choices are welcome to comment…but no insult is intended)

#15 The Killing.  The Killing returned to AMC after nearly receiving the axe and provided a much more interesting season three than season two.  And it learned from its failed first mystery and did not stretch out the story too long.

#14 Hostages.  This CBS show is one of the new, shorter season series where an FBI agent tries to get the President’s doctor to kill the president on the operating table.  Strong performances from Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette help minimize some serious plotholes and silly situations.  This might have been better as a shorter mini-series than 13 episodes.

#13 Under the Dome.  Speaking of mini-series, the adaption of Stephen King’s novel was a mini-series that wasn’t.  Fans were outraged when Under the Dome ended with a cliffhanger.  Many fans were unaware that the series was no longer a mini-series and had been renewed by CBS for a second season.  Under the Dome had some very good moments, but the characters were not very complex.

#12 Sleepy Hallow.  This was one I just came into late.  Catching up on the season on Hulu, I enjoyed the new take on the classic tale of the Legend of Sleepy Hallow.  Yes, there are several contrivances on this show, but the thoroughly entertaining Ichabod Crane and his partner Lt. Abbie Mills are a hoot, and Crane’s fish-out-of-water character is very funny.

#11 Grimm.  This show just continues to improve, as our heroic Grimm, Nick, continues to compile his own Scooby gang (much like the slayer, Buffy did.)

#10 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  This show did not even miss a beat when Jon Stewart took several months off to direct a movie.  John Oliver stepped in and handled the hosting gig admirably.  However, few do this as well as Stewart, whose combination of humor, sharp wit and satire is unapologetic to anyone unfortunate to find themselves in the DS crosshairs.

#9 Once Upon a Time.  Much of the third season of Once Upon a Time felt a little off.  With most of the main characters traveling to Wonderland to try to save Henry from the ever young Peter Pan, the show seemed to be spinning its wheels a bit.  And then the story began to wind up, and there were tons of amazing pay offs (Pan is Rumple’s father… Rumple is caught in Pandora’s Box… Pan rips out Henry’s heart).  With the show returning to Storybrook, the second half of the season promises to be excellent.

#8 The Big Bang Theory.  Few shows are consistently as funny as the Big Bang Theory, although there have been a couple of clunkers this season.  However, the episode where Wolowitz sings a song to Bernadette who has been quarantined, is one of the best in the series.

Love this so much.

#7 Agents of SHIELD.  This show started with a lot of hype and never quite lived up to it.  But it has been improving each week as we get to know the characters and they develop relationships with each other.  And the mystery of what truly happened to Agent Coulson is compelling.  Tahiti is indeed a magic place.

#6 Whose Line is it Anyway.  The CW did a great thing.  It brought back one of my favorite television programs of all time.  Drew Carey was replaced with Aisha Tyler, but Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie returned as the kings of improvization.  There were too many “guest stars” on the show and there was a noticeable lack of hoedowns, but Whose Line was once again a can’t miss laugh riot.

#5 Blacklist.  The new NBC Monday night show starring James Spader was just a fantastic romp.  As soon as wanted criminal Raymond “Red” Reddington marched himself into FBI headquarters and surrendered himself, this show has been firing on all cylinders.  The most recent two-part episode was as intense as network tv gets.  James Spader could be up for another Emmy after this sensational show.

#4 Bates Motel.  A surprise from A & E.  The re-imagining of the story of Norman Bates was way better than it had any right to be.  But the performances of its two main leads, Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore, really set this series apart from the others.  Plus, LOST’s Carleton Cuse is at the helm.  Bates Motel is a combination of Twin Peaks and LOST, with some teen drama tossed in.  Farmiga deserves an Emmy nomination for her performance as the eventually doomed Norma Bates.

#3 American Horror Story.  Whether it be Asylum or Coven, Ryan Murphy creates the most original and continually disturbing program on television.  If it is cruel nun Sister Jude in a dream sequence singing The Name Game or Emmy winner James Cromwell taking a ride into a cremation oven to a group of witches resurrecting the dead and fighting over control of a coven, AHS is as good as TV gets.  Jessica Lange is brilliant in every role that she has played and this season’s addition of Kathy Bates is inspired.  I can’t wait to see what the next warped idea comes out of Ryan Murphy’s mind will be.

#2 Castle.  Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have successfully avoided the “Moonlighting Curse”.  Some thought that maybe when Rick and Kate consummated their relationship, the duo would lose steam.  That has not happened.  The writing of this show is consistently clever and funny, and the two main actors continue to have mad chemistry, while Rick and Kate continue to build a believable and fun to watch relationship.  When Castle proposed to Beckett last season, there was no way she was accepting.  And then she did.  And the show took another turn.  The pairing of Fillion and Katic is gold, and continues to pay off richly in this show.

and…for a second year in a row, the #1 show….

The Walking Dead.

The end of season three was thrilling and season four has really dived into character unlike any past season.  But it is anything but slow.  And the mid-season finale where… Herschel is beheaded and the Governor dies and baby Judith disappears (perhaps Zombie chow) and the prison is destroyed and… well, it was just epic.  Few shows do cliffhangers better than The Walking Dead.  And Daryl Dixon proved what a badass he is by taking on (and beating) a tank! With the midseason finale in the books, I can’t wait to see what happens in February.  If it continues it’s excellent, perhaps The Walking Dead will make it a three-peat in 2014.

 

 

 

Villains!

It is well known that I have been a fan of the villain for many years.  It is easy to state that a great hero is never going to reach his true destiny unless he/she has a classic villain to oppose.

And these are the ten top villains from 2013:

#10  Muse (Barkhad Abdi) from Captain Phillips.  It takes a true actor to be stride for stride with Tom Hanks.  And as brilliant as Hanks was in Captain Phillips (the last half hour may have been Hanks’ best work to date), fresh faced Barkhad Abdi was right there with him.  Captain Phillips is nowhere near the classic it is without the Somali pirate.

#9 Bloody Face, American Horror Story: Asylum.  Whether it was the 1960’s version (Zachary Quinto) or the present day version (Dylan McDermott), Bloody Face tormented the people of American Horror Story: Asylum.  Killing people and wearing their skin as a mask is creepy enough.  But when the killer is also a psychological terror, well…

#8 Thanos.  Marvel Comics’ fall crossover event featured the return of Thanos in search of his son.  Infinity saw the heroes from the Avengers take off planet earth to head out into space after a race of entities known as the Builders.  This opened the planet up for Thanos.  Sure he wound up failing, but it was good to see the big ol’ chaos agent and death worshiper again.

#7 Peter Pan, Once Upon a Time.  The twist?  Our heroes (and villains actually) from Storybrook had to try to save Henry by following him across the dimensions.  Which dimension did he wind up in?  Neverland.  And in Neverland, Pan is everything.  Taking the beloved childhood character and warping it for Once Upon a Time is not new, but this was more than that.  Pan was then revealed to be Rumpelstiltskin’s father.  Whoa!  And now, Pan is in Storybrook in control of Henry’s body.  What is next?

#6 Ultron.  The villainous robot was in a massive Marvel crossover series, entitled Age of Ultron, where the Marvel timeline was broken.  And even more cool… Joss Whedon announced that Ultron would be the villain in the next Avengers movie, and it would be entitled Avengers: Age of Ultron.  And then, Ultron will be played by James Spader.  I never would have connected Spader to Ultron, but as soon as I heard the casting news, I thought to myself…perfect.  Ultron looks to be ready to be a mainstay on this list in the next few years.

#5 The Mandarin from Iron Man 3.  I know plenty of people who were mad about this twist.  The fact that Sir Ben Kingsley was playing the Mandarin was beloved news, but then the film came out, and those people who knew of the Mandarin was filled with hate.  Even I wondered a moment.  But in reflection, it was a great twist that caught people off guard, and Iron Man 3 made like 1.2 billion dollars.  It has to be considered a success.  And the word is that Trevor (the name of the “Mandarin”) is returning for a Marvel short.  maybe there is a real Mandarin out there that was one of the pissed viewers.  Hm…

#4  Raymond “Red” Reddington, Blacklist.  Red is not really the villain, and yet he is.  Red is one of the protagonists of the new NBC series Blacklist, but he is an unapologetic criminal who is remaining with his law breaking ways.  He just happens to also give tips to the FBI.  Reddington has been clearly playing both ends and he has a secret about him.  Could he be the father of FBI agent Elizabeth Keen?  He told her no in the last episode when she asked…but of course, he is a liar.  Played by the fantastic James Spader, Reddington is the most three dimensional characters on this list.  And that is fabulous when a villain can be that well developed.

#3 Khan, Star Trek Into Darkness  Benedict Cumberbatch was not playing Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness.  That’s what the show runners said about the mysterious character.  But, much like Raymond Reddington… they lie.  Cumberbatch was indeed playing an updated version of Khan Noonien Singh, originally played by Ricardo Montalbán.  And Cumberbatch does a great job bringing the evil to the new Star Trek film.  Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!

#2 The Governor, The Walking Dead.  The arrival of the villainous Governor, a staple of the comic, to AMC’s The Walking Dead sent the fans into a frenzy.  And the character did not disappoint.  We were not introduced to the already demented version in the comics.  Instead, we got to witness his fall.  And how he lost his eye (hi Michonne).  And his slow decent into madness.  And then this season, we got to see him try to find himself again.  He almost did it.  But he couldn’t, and wound up chopping off Herschel’s head.  Sadly (ok…not so sadly) the Governor met his end at the hands of Rick, Michoone and the woman the Governor had been with.  As they said on the Talking Dead, “Goodbye Governor, burn in Hell”.  What better sentiment for a villain?

and the #1 villain of the year…

“SAY MY NAME”

Loki!!!!

“SAY MY NAME”

LOKI!!!

Tom Hiddleston came to San Diego Comic Con this year, dressed in his alter ego’s outfit, and completely controlled the people of Hall H.  He had no clips.  He had nothing more than his presence.

And Loki ruled them all.

Add to the fact that Loki is easily the best thing in the Thor 2 sequel, and that he is the number one villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe… and don’t tell me that the next Thor movie won’t have Loki front and center (my bet is on the title of the film being Thor;  The Rise of Loki)  Hiddleston is indeed as charismatic a figure as Loki should be, and Marvel struck cinematic gold with the actor.  Loki is heads and shoulders above any other villain in 2013.

SAY HIS NAME!

 

More Television…

Best Actor: James Spader, Blacklist.  One of the main reasons why this show is as compelling has it has been is James Spader as Raymond Reddington.  Without him, Blacklist would be just another failed NBC show.  With him, huge hit.

Best ActressVera Farmiga, Bates Motel  The mother of Norman Bates showed to be more than just a stuffed corpse in a rocking chair.  Norma was a major reason to watch this A & E Show.

Best Late Night ShowThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Yes, this is a repeat winner.  Jon Stewart is fantastic, but this year, we found a new, fresh face.  John Oliver took over for Stewart while he was out directing a movie, and The Daily Show rolled right along.  It may have lost the Emmy for the first time in a decade (to the well deserving Colbert Report) but the Daily Show is still king.

Best Daytime ShowGeneral Hospital.  This show is a consistent hoot.  This year saw all kinds of returning favorites, from Robert Scorpio to Robin to Faison.  Plus, the League of Doom (Jerry Jax, Faison, Dr. Olbrecht, Helena Cassadine etc) became a thing…(Thanks Luke).  Great stories and fun characters.  GH is rockin’ again. (Heather Webber coming out of her grave is my newest favorite moment of the year.)

Best Couple:  Glen and Maggie, The Walking Dead.  I almost went with Castle and Beckett again, but the lovebirds from the zombie apocalypse were great this season.  And I truly thought there would be a tragic separation with Glen.  I was preparing, but they survived.

Best DeathHerschel Greene.  For a second year in a row, a death on the Walking Dead takes the top honor.  There was little more that was as shocking as watching the Governor cut off the beloved Herschel’s head.  That horror showed how much these characters mean to the viewers.

Best Animated Series: None.  I have not been impressed with any animated series this year.  Maybe next year.

Looking forward to most:  The second half of the season of the Walking Dead.  What could be next for our survivors?  Is Baby Judith really dead?  Where’s Carol?  Can Daryl Dixon keep being awesome?  We’ll find out in February.

Show that fell flat; Once Upon A Time in Wonderland.  It sounded like a good idea.  But I just couldn’t get into it.  It didn’t help that the show runners wanted me to see Sayid from LOST as a villain (Jafar, no less).  I couldn’t do it.

Best Show that I didn’t watch:  Breaking Bad.  I heard it was great.  I had friends who loved it.  Maybe Netflix.

 

 

Best Thing Ever:  Neil Patrick Harris and his Tony opening song.  Brilliant!

 

The World of WWE…

Wrestler of the Year

  1. Daniel Bryan
  2. John Cena
  3. CM Punk

Bryan had the best year of anyone.  The crowds are completely behind him, and the YES YES YES chants are deafening.  Now if the WWE would just get out of the way and push him.  Cena won the main event at Wrestlemania and then became World Champ.  I am not a huge fan, but you can’t argue with his success.  CM Punk turned face and continued to be the Best in the World.

Tag Team of the Year

  1. The SHIELD
  2. The Rhodes Brothers
  3. The Usos

The Shield dominated all year long.  These three are as good as it gets and they have a huge future.  Goldust and Cody Rhodes had a great comeback and a strong storyline to boot.  The Usos have good chemistry with the crowd and could be an awesome team.

Match of the Year will be named after this Sunday and the TLC PPV…

Most Boring Wrestler of the Year

  1. Ryback
  2. The Great Khali
  3. The Miz

Best Talker

  1. CM Punk
  2. Paul Heyman
  3. The Rock

Best Heel

  1. CM Punk  (He was great before the face turn)
  2. Alberto Del Rio
  3. Antonio Cesaro

Most Underused Performer

  1. Dolph Ziggler
  2. Zack Ryder
  3. Antonio Cesaro

Best Diva

  1. AJ Lee
  2. Natalya
  3. Kaitlyn

Best Commentator

  1. JBL

 

 

Comic Books of the Year.

To be fair, I mostly (almost exclusively) read Marvel, so my list will trend that way.  I take nothing away from DC or the countless other companies out there, but I have wanted to MAKE MINE MARVEL for as long as I can remember.  So here we go:

  1. Thor God of Thunder. An excellent story, specifically the Godbomb storyline.  It carried Thor through time and space and multiple versions of himself, and was tense and exciting and beautifully drawn.  Jason Aaron wrote a compelling series that worked with Esad Ribic’s art.  Then, it was followed up with Malaketh.  The God of Thunder has brought Thor to the forefront of the Marvel Universe.
  2. Cataclysm.  I have never been a fan of the Ultimate Universe (outside of the new Ultimate Spider-man) so, after the events of The Age of Ultron, when Marvel 616’s Galactus wound up in the Ultimate Universe, I sat up and took notice.  This limited series has been very good so far, and my hope that this brings about the consumption of the Ultimate Universe makes me a happy camper.
  3. Wolverine & The X-Men.  I have really enjoyed this series because this series felt more like a school and less like an army.  I liked that because Marvel tends to focus too much on the militaristic (or governmental) aspect of super heroes.  The tale of the Hellfire Saga.  And this is easily the most entertaining Wolverine is.  I like Quentin Quire.  And the staff of the Jean Grey School is exceptional.  It was also a big part of the Battle of the Atom crossover event, which was one of the better crossovers Marvel had this year.
  4. Daredevil.  This has been outstanding all year long.  In fact, it has been outstanding since Mark Waid took over the reigns.  Waid has brought back the humor and the light-heartedness of DD while keeping the drama.  In fact, Daredevil #28 may be the best single issue of any comic this year.
  5. Superior Spider-man Team-Up.  I almost moved this above the Superior Spider-man in the rankings because I believe that Otto has been written more consistently in this series than he has in his own.  Plus, the capturing of the Sinister Six and transformation into the Superior Six took some real gusto.
  6. The All-New X-Men.  This has been my favorite X book for awhile now.  And as the focal point of the Battle of the Atom, the All-New X-Men has been an great read each issue.  I am not as fond of the idea of the original X-Men heading off to join up with Cyclops and his rogue team of Uncanny X-Men, but I am willing to give it a chance.  There has been great characterization and surprises galore in this as Brian Michael Bendis has shown his ability in the world of mutants.
  7. Superior Spider-Man.  It pains me to put this here, but it has been an enjoyable comic.  It is not a Spider-man comic… but the tale of Otto Octavius taking control of Peter Parker’s body has been one well written story.  Mind you, I am ready to get rid of Otto, because he is hard to like as a character, no matter how well written it is.  And there have been some hints that maybe things are happening.  Please, please, please…
  8. Avengers Arena.  When this idea was originally introduced, it was clearly a rip off of the Hunger Games (and Battle Royale), but that did not make me dislike it.  In fact, the hook really grabbed me.  There were characters who I cared about that I didn’t want to see die, but each death had a reason, and each one told the story.  This really became more than just a copy of the Hunger Games.  This became one of the best comics of the year.
  9. Marvel Knights Spider-man.  This is so high on the list because of how desperate I am for Peter Parker.  I am a huge Spider-man fan and I have missed him so much since Doc Ock took over Peter’s body.  This series tells an untold Parker  story with fabulous art.  99 of Peter’s worst enemies in one series?  Yes, please.  It is the most original and different Spider-man story I have read in a long time.  Now if we could just get Peter back into his own head.
  10. Nova.  One of the freshest new series on the market, Nova does many things right.  I truly enjoy the characterization of Sam Alexander, the latest Nova, with his humor and his struggles with his secret identity and his joining of the New Warriors (a book I am really looking forward to in 2014).  Nova feels like a different book and I love reading it each month.

Top of Form

 

I said that I would wait until after TLC to name my matches of the year in the world of Pro Wrestling.  As it turned out, that was completely unnecessary.  Nothing on that show was anywhere near this list.  However, an honorable mention should go to the match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton the next night on RAW.  The finish was the only thing that kept it out of the top ten, even though the finish did a great job building what it was supposed to do.

Anyway, here are the ten top matches in the WWE for 2013.

  1. Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho, RAW, July 15th
  2. Daniel Bryan vs.Seth Rollins, RAW June 10
  3. Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. the Shield, Battleground
  4. The Shield loses for the first time vs. Daniel Bryan, Kane & Randy Orton, Smackdown, June
  5. Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk, WWE Payback
  6. Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn, NXT, August 21.  This was a 2/3 falls match and it showed not only how awesome Sami Zayn (the former El Generico) is, but also what a brute Antonio Cesaro is.  The ending sequence in this match was just astonishing, and I had to watch it several times to actually believe what I saw Cesaro do.  Pretty good for a match nobody saw.
  7. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena, SummerSlam.  Daniel Bryan’s rise to the top of the WWE ended with a running knee into John Cena’s face.  Cena, who was leaving for surgery on his elbow, was pinned cleanly in the middle of the ring by the top wrestler of the year.  It’s too bad that Randy Orton and HHH spoiled the moment.
  8. CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar, SummerSlam.  This was truly brutal.  The beast Brock Lesnar against the Best CM Punk  And Lesnar and Punk battled for over 20 minutes in a classic big man vs. little man war.  Brock won but Punk came out looking like the star that he is.
  9. CM Punk vs. The Undertaker, Wrestlemania, April 7th.  I don’t care what the WWE says, this was the true match of the night at Wrestlemania.  Punk to Taker to the limit and it seemed like the streak could conceivably come to an end.  It didn’t, but Punk looked like he belonged.
  10. CM Punk vs. John Cena, RAW, February 25.  CM Punk was involved in the top three matches this year, but he lost all three.  This was the best match of the year, with the right to go to Wrestlemania on the line.  Cena finally got the big win over the heel Punk, but it took everything he had.  Cena and Punk have amazing chemistry and every time they wrestle, there is magic.  This one was no exception.

 

Top Geek Moments of the Year

#10  Benedict Cumberbatch is actually Khan.

Despite the denials by Cumberbatch himself, when Star Trek Into Darkness came out, the villain turned out not to be John Donovan, but was Khan.  Many did not like this twist, and some Trekkies were up in arms over it, but I loved it.  And Star Trek Into Darkness was one of my favorite movies of the year.  And Benedict Cumberbatch continued to become a huge star in the movies.

#9  The new Doctor is…

Peter Capaldi.  Every time there is a new Doctor Who, the world goes nuts.  And replacing Matt Smith would be tough.  But Capaldi is up for the battle.

#8 Ultron is announced as villain in next Avengers.

Joss Whedon walked on the stage at the San Diego Comic Con at the end of Marvel’s presentation to make one announcement.  That announcement sent the Geek World into a tizzy.  The villain of the next Avengers movie would be the killer robot, Ultron.  He showed a video where an Iron Man mask is hammered into Ultron, which lead to speculation that Ultron would be coming from Jarvis.  I can’t wait to see it.

#7  John Oliver covers for Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

With Jon Stewart off to the Middle East to direct his first movie, the British stand up comedian took the main seat.  He may have been an unorthodox choice, but he was fantastic.  Funny, witty …and a great accent, John Oliver showed he was ready for more than just a correspondent job.  And he got one…getting an HBO talk show all his own.  This was another case of the Daily Show making a star.

#6  Netflix announces Marvel Shows

Netflix announced an agreement with Marvel to create four new short term tv programs, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and then the four characters would be used together in a mini-series called The Defenders.  So basically, it is like the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One, only on television.  Awesome news.

#5  Couslon Lives…

We learned this prior to the year, but seeing Agent Coulson alive and well on ABC’s new show, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD was a great moment (as was his line… “Don’t touch Lola”…referring to his car).  Coulson’s resurrection has been one of the best storylines on the show, as the Tahiti (is a magical place) will surely pay off big time.  And Agents of SHIELD will only get better.

#4  The Mandarin is…

Probably nothing (with the exception of the #2 moment) riled up the Geek Nation as much as the reveal that Sir Ben Kingsley was playing … an actor playing the role of the Mandarin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  There was much hatred over the twist, but many people who had no emotional connection to the Mandarin thought it was great and surprising.  No doubt, marvel took a real risk, but it showed their dedication to telling great stories.  Admittedly, it did bother me at first, but upon second viewing, I enjoyed it.  And there are rumors that Kingsley is not done yet with the character of Trevor.  Maybe there is a real Mandarin after all…

#3 Catching Fire and Frozen set box office records

Over Thanksgiving this year, the world did more than eat.  They went to the movies.  Both the Hunger Games sequel and the newest Disney movie set new records for box office money.  Over the five day holiday weekend, Catching Fire made $110 million while Frozen earned $93 million.  Huge business for both movies.

#2 Batman will be in the next Superman movie and will be played by…

Ben Affleck.  If there was one thing that really sent the Geek Nation over the edge, it was the announcement that the former Daredevil, Ben Affleck would be the next Bruce Wayne in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel.  This blew the other controversies ( Mandarin, Superman breaking Zod’s neck etc) right out of the water.  This was so wild that many celebrities (including Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith) took to Twitter to voice their support for the casting.  Meanwhile, there was some angry fans.  Still, Affleck was excellent in Argo, (though he was just horrid in Runner Runner this year) and he certainly has the chin to play Batman.  Time will tell who was right.

and #1 Geek moment of the year…

Say My Name!

Tom Hiddleston’s appearance at Comic Con in San Diego as Loki created an incredible buzz, and showed just how much the fans of Marvel’s cinematic universe loved Loki.  In just a few minutes, Hiddleston had the entire Hall H in the palm of his hand.  He had them in total control… much like sheep.  It was an amazing thing.  And Hiddleston was the standout of one of the best movies of the year, Thor: The Dark World.

Here is the arrival of Loki in SDCC…

Stand back you mewling quim!

Marvelous!

Name Game, from American Horror Story:  Asylum

2013 Animated Movies of the Year

2013 was not the best year for animated movies, with most of the movies ranging from meh to downright bad.  In fact, the list of five films that I have compiled contains two direct-to-DVD films.  Why has the year provided us with such an average lot of animated movies to choose from?  That’s hard to say.  Several of the films had animated shorts at the beginning that were better than the main feature.  Maybe there is just a deft of good ideas.  Maybe the animation from the past is just too hard to live up to.  But for whatever reason, the films are just not up to snuff.  I hope this changes as animation has been a staple for decades.

However, the look of the animation has been excellent, even in the lower level films.  It just seems that the story is lacking.  Hopefully 2014 will bring a better list.

With that finished, let’s look at the top five animated films of the year:

#5  Epic. 

A good example of an average film making the top five.  Epic was anything but.  Still, it beat out The Croods, Monsters University and Turbo for this spot.  This is the story of a miniature world existing within our own.  A beautifully animated film, the rest is basic.

#4  Despicable Me 2

The sequel that actually I liked better than the original.  Despicable Me 2 featured an interesting love story (though predictable) and the strong voice work from Steve Carell.  And the Minions certainly stole the show.

#3 The Dark Knight Returns Part Two

The first direct-to-DVD entry on our list features the second part of the adaption of one of the greatest comic mini-series of all time.  The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller redefined Batman, as well as a genre.  And this faithful adaption does it justice.  Michael Emerson as the Joker was an inspired choice for voice work as well.

#2 Frozen

Disney provided us with the best feature film animated movie of the year with Frozen.  Despite the world loving it, I was just a bit underwhelmed by the latest from Disney.  Yes, it was enjoyable, and the animation was brilliant and Olaf the Snowman was very funny, but there were parts that were too predictable and the songs were at best average.  Still, I give Frozen high marks for attempting to take the typical Disney formula and morph it a bit.  It just didn’t quite take it far enough.  Certainly a fun time at the theater for the whole family.

and #1

Flashpoint Paradox

The second direct-to-DVD movie is the best animated film of the year.  The adaption of the DC Comics “Flashpoint” story tells the tale of the Flash accidentally changing the future with his speed powers.  The dark future with the warped heroes is something DC Comics does extremely well, and this is no exception.  DC Animation has been solid for years.  Too bad their live action films do not reach this level.

What I wouldn’t give for animated movies of The Tick and Groo the Wanderer.  I think the time would be right for both of these iconic heroes to shine.  Somebody….

 

2013 EYG Star of the Year

This list includes the biggest of the big.  The most successful stars of the year.

# 6 Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey lost a bunch of weight for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, showing himself to be more of an actor than anyone thought.  Add to this his fantastic performance in Mud and his supporting role in The Wolf of WalStreet, McConaughey has had an unbelievable year.  Bets description I saw online about McCaonaughey’s year was that he went from being “Burt Reynolds to Paul Newman.”

#5 Chris Hemsworth

We at EYG love Hemsworth from his role as the Norse God of Thunder and Avenger Thor, of course.  But this year, Hemsworth proved himself a star with his role in Ron Howard’s Rush.  Then, of course, he returned to Thor.  Anxious to see what is next for Hemsworth.

#4  Tina Fey & Amy Poehler

Who knew these two women could take hosting gigs away from Neil Patrick Harris.  Seriously, Amy & Tina were a hoot at the Golden Globes, and then continued their bits at the Emmys.  The news that the pair will be returning to host the Golden Globes again this year is welcome news indeed.

#3 Netflix.

This may be a bit of a cheat, but Netflix has changed the direction of television this year with their original series.  Arrested Development, House of Cards, Orange is the new Black… and then announcing an agreement with Marvel to create four new Marvel shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist) to be followed by a Defenders mini series.  Netflix is now the go to place for the best shows.

#2 Benedict Cumberbatch

He was Khan.  He is Sherlock Holmes.  He was Smaug.  He was easily the best part of the movie about Julian Assange, The Fifth Estate.  And there are continuing rumors about Benedict involved either in Star Wars or with Marvel.  Cumberbatch is as hot as you get.

#1 Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence may be the best young actress in Hollywood today.  She was perfect in Catching Fire, the sequel to the Hunger Games.  She received her first Academy Award for her performance in Silver Lining Playbook.  And she will most likely receive another nomination for her amazingly chaotic performance in American Hustle.  She also has returned to the role of Mystique in next year’s mutant spectacular X-Men:  Days of Future Past.  She is gorgeous and talented.  And she is the star of the year.

 

Top Ten Movie Cameos of 2013

Every year, one of the staples of movies are the unexpected arrival of famous people in roles that we did not anticipate.  The familiar face showing up as an Easter Egg can be a wonderful moment.  Sometimes it can be the only wonderful moment in a film (as several of this year’s cameos are).  So here are the ten best cameos of 2013.

And of course….SPOILERS!!!!

#10  Robert DeNiro in American Hustle.

Though he may not be going too far out on a line for this one, the arrival of DeNiro as a mobster from Florida in an uncredited role in American Hustle was a cool moment in the film.  He lent credibility to the scene.  It was short and sweet, and was right in DeNiro’s wheelhouse.

#9 El Cameleon from Machete Kills.

One of the few good moments from this clunker has to be the four actors who gave life to the hitman with the disguise ability known as El Chameleon.  Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, and Walter Goggins do a fine job sharing this role.  Honorable mention goes to Mel Gibson as the film’s villain.

#8 Pierce Brosnan from The World’s End

#7 Celebrities from This is the End.

This includes a long list such as Emma Watson (pictured above), Michael Cera, The Backstreet Boys, Paul Rudd, Aziz Ansari, Channing Tatum, and Rihanna.  Tatum’s is one of the more surprising, and Cera’s is one of the funniest.

#6 Stone Cold Steve Austin, Grown Ups 2

This was the only thing I liked about this movie…and Steve’s performance earned the film its 1/2 star rating.  I hope someone thanked him.

#5 Anchorman 2 Cameos

Another one of the few good spots in an otherwise bad movie, the series of cameos from Anchorman 2’s ending fight scene really made for an interesting turn.  Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Will Smith, Jim Carrey (hope it wasn’t too violent for him), Kanye West, Vince Vaughn, Kirsten Dunst, Sacha Baron Cohen, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and John C. Reilly.

#4 Stan Lee, Iron Man 3 & Thor; The Dark World

Whether he be dusting armor or handing his shoe in the looney bin, Stan Lee’s cameos in the Marvel movies have a standing spot on this list every year.

#3 Nathan Fillion, Percy Jackson:  Sea of Monsters

Another top moment in a bad movie… Nathan Fillion playing Greek God Hermes.  Fillion showed how charismatic and funny he truly is in the short time he was on screen.  I would have loved to see more Hermes and less Percy.

#2 Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen, The Wolverine

The awesome moment in the post credits scene in The Wolverine that will help usher in next summer’s huge X-Men event.  Professor X and Magneto together!  Charles Xavier is not dead!  They are coming for help from Logan!  This was a fabulous moment…only to be outdone by…

#1  Chris Evans as Loki being Captain America, Thor the Dark World

After freeing his brother from his prison, Thor is subjected to Loki’s wit…and shape shifting ability.  Loki shifts into Captain America…and Chris Evans makes a surprise cameo, doing a brilliant job of playing Loki playing Cap.

 

Movies:  Best Supporting Actress

We shall begin our look at the best and worst in films this past year with a look at the supporting actress category.   Unlike some of the other categories that we will look at, I have only listed five supporting actresses in this list.

#5 Mary-Louise Parker, Red 2

She was a hoot in this role, and was one of the best parts of Red 2.  She also appeared in RIPD (but that one was not as memorable).

#4 Gwyneth Paltrow, Iron Man 3

Pepper Pots finally got something more to do than just have witty repartee with Tony Stark.  Pepper even went as far as to kick some butt in Iron Man 3.  Gwyneth continued to be blazing hot…excuse the Extremis fueled pun there.

#3 Toni Collette, The Way, Way Back

Toni Collette was outstanding in the under appreciated The Way, Way Back.  She was a mom who was in a bad relationship, but who was hoping for the best.

#2 Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

A brutal performance in one of the year’s most depressing films.  12 Years a Slave pulled no punches, and Lupita’s performance was shocking and full of emotion.

#1  Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Jennifer Lawrence had a great year, and her turn as the wife of Christian Bale in American Hustle was comedic gold.  She played crazy as well as anyone.

 

Movies:  Supporting Actor

Now this category was the one that I had the hardest time with because there were just so many great supporting performances by actors this year.  I did not even include Bradley Cooper from American Hustle or Daniel Brühl from Rush.  Both of them received Golden Globe nominations in this category.  And it was well deserved too.  Matthew McConaughey was special in the Wolf of Wall Street.  Benedict Cumberbatch was great as Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness.  Zachary Quinto as Spock in the same movie was great as well.  Don Cheadle had a bunch to do in Iron Man 3 as Rhodey.  And Nathan Fillion’s turn with Shakespeare in Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing was a highlight.

But with all those great performances, these 8 were head and shoulders above the others.

#8 Dwayne Johnson, Pain & Gain

This was the Rock’s best performance ever.  He was hilarious in this role, and saved the movie.  His character was the most interesting in the based on true events tale, Pain & Gain.

#7  Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave.

Another brutal role from 12 Years A Slave.  Michael Fassbender embodied the evil of Edwin Epps, a real life slaver who was as nasty as they came.  Fassbender helped make 12 Years a Slave extremely difficult to watch.

#6 Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks

Tom Hanks is Walt Disney.  If you look closely, Hanks brings some traits to Uncle Walt that you may not have expected.  And his performance opposite Emma Thompson helped the medicine go down.

#5 Tom Hiddleston, Thor: The Dark World

Loki really stole the show.  Thor: The Dark World really was electric when the Trickster God was on screen.  And his reaction to the death of the All-Mother was heart breaking.  Hiddleston is gold for Marvel.

#4 Sam Rockwell, The Way, Way Back

Sam Rockwell is always underrated as an actor.  And one of his best performances ever was in this year’s comedy/drama The Way, Way Back.  His tenderness and friendship with Duncan showed an unexpected side to the fun-loving Owen.

#3 Harrison Ford, 42

Playing Branch Rickey, Harrison Ford was just perfect.  His powerhouse performance set the tone for the biopic on Jackie Robinson’s arrival in major league baseball.  This was early in the year, but we at EYG have not forgotten how great Harrison Ford was.

#2 Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Fresh face, Abdi created a compelling character in the Somali pirate leader Muse.  His face showed emotions and confusion as well as any experienced actor.  And he provided Tom Hanks with a great foil.

#1 Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Leto is brilliant in Dallas Buyers Club as the AIDS infected transvestite who befriends the hard to friend Ron Woodroof.  In fact, the best part of the movie was the relationship between Ron and Rayon.

 

Surprises & Busts

Every year there are movies that I go to that I think will be dull or boring or stupid, but they turn out to be highly entertaining.  Conversely, every year there are movie that I go to with high expectations that under perform.  Here are the list of positive and negative surprises for 2013

Positive Surprises

  1. Bad Grandpa.  Starring Johnny Knoxville, I went to this not expecting much.  I have never been a fan of the Jackass MTV show, so when I found the movie to be funny and reasonably entertaining, I was surprised.  I especially enjoyed the real people looks the actors received.
  2. The Call.  Starring Halle Berry.  The first hour of The Call was as good as any movie this year.  Unfortunately the last half hour really slipped, but that first hour of tension and drama is enough to get this movie on the surprise list.
  3. Warm Bodies.  A zombie love story?  This had Twilight written all over it.  However, this was sweet and funny and had a relationship that blew Bella and Edward right out of the twinkling sunlight.  This was a huge surprise to me.
  4. We’re the Millers.  I went to this with low expectations and something strange happened.  I laughed through the whole movie.  Yes, it has some raunchy parts, and yes, the story is predictable as can be.  But We’re the Millers is just funny.  And funny trumps everything else.  And this was the biggest surprise of the year.

Negative surprises

There weren’t as many as there may have been.  With the Internet, when a movie is bad, word gets out.

  1. Man of Steel. Not a bad movie, but it was so much less than it could have been.  The entire ending sequence was overlong and out of character.  Why DC has to have all brooding super hero movies is beyond me.
  2. Insidious Chapter 2.  I enjoyed the original to a degree.  This one was very disappointing.  Dull and repetitive, Insidious Chapter 2 does not make me look forward to Chapter three.
  3. After Earth.  I like Will Smith.  But seeing him in this travesty is just wrong.  There were some strong sci fi movies this year, but After Earth was not one of them.

Busts of the Year:  The John Carter Memorial Award

John Carter

This is a list of films that fell flat.  Could we define this as the John Carter Award?

  1. Paranoia. This was going to be the worst opening (until #2 came along) making only 3.5 million in over 2000 theaters.  It was the worst debut for any movie of Harrison Ford’s career.
  2. The Fifth Estate.  This was the worst opening weekend in terms of money of the year.  The Fifth Estate (which was not a good movie, but it was far from the worst either) starring Benedict Cumberbatch made 1.7 million in over 1700 theaters.  It was an epic failure in terms of money.
  3. The Lone Ranger.  This was easily #1.  The budget for this was in excess of 220 million, and it did not make 90 in the states.  Rumors swirled that it lost Disney 190 million dollars.  Wow.  The Lone Ranger was not a terrible movie, as I liked it more than most.  I just wish they would have decided on a type of movie and stuck with it.  It tried to be too many different types of movies (comedy, action, paranormal, western, new Pirates etc).  And they should have focused on The Lone Ranger instead of Tonto.  Sure Johnny Depp was a bigger star than Armie Hammer, but the public did not know who the Lone Ranger was.  Banking on Depp was an error in judgment.  Not that Disney couldn’t afford a bust now and then.  Heck, Iron Man 3 made 1.2 Billion…and Frozen will be another worldwide hit.

 

Movies:  Best Actresses of 2013

There were many great performances for the actresses this year, but these six really stood out to me.

#6  Jennifer Lawrence, Catching Fire

Jennifer Lawrence really has been great, and she has already been all over this Year in Review section here on EYG.  She was named Star of the Year as well as ranked #1 Supporting Actress of the Year for American Hustle.  Add her name to this list for her second go-around as Katniss in Catching Fire.  She was fantastic, and I can’t wait for Mockingjay.

#5  Vera Farmiga, The Conjuring

The Conjuring was one of the top horror movies of the year (more on that later) and one of the big reasons was the performance by Vera Farmiga.  She played paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren, and she really brings it.  She has been doing stellar work on Bates Motel, so her scare chops have been exercised this year.

#4 Judi Dench, Philomena

Dame Judi Dench stepped out of her Skyfall death and into a tender comedy telling the true story of one woman’s search for the son she gave away when she was young.  Dench brings so much life to her role, but she is able to make you love this character.  You feel right along with her as the truth is revealed.  And you marvel at how amazing this woman was.  That is thanks to Dench.

#3 Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

She could easily have been a horrible woman.  But Emma Thompson’s turn as P.L. Travers, the author and creator of Mary Poppins, took her from a cantankerous British battle axe, to a woman who was wounded as a youth and who was clinging to her creation because of what Mary Poppins and the Bankses meant to her.  The layered performance was exceptional, as was her chemistry with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks).

#2 Amy Adams, American Hustle

Whoa.  Amy Adams turned on the sex charm in this film.  Her outfits were just jaw dropping.  Oh…and she was great in the role as well.  She wasn’t a good person.  But her relationship with Christian Bale carried the film.  And, man does she look good in those outfits.

#1 Sandra Bullock, Gravity

One of the best performances of any year, Sandra Bullock really struggled to shoot Gravity. For most of the film, Sandra was alone without any co-stars.  She said that she suffered from depression during the shoot.  But everything was worth it as she created one of the most beautiful roles of all time.

 

Movies:  Best Actor of 2013

These six actors were the best of the best this year.

#6 Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.

He was a free man.  And then he was abducted, and sold into slavery in pre-Civil War America.  Chiwetel Ejiofor brought the goods in the seriously depressing film.  He should be up for an Academy Award early next year.

#5 Hugh Jackman, Prisoners

Just how far would YOU go to find your daughter?  Hugh Jackman went really far.  And made everyone watching uncomfortable.  But he showcased his pain and fear unlike he had ever done before.  The rage was palpable.  And it was great.

#4 Asa Butterfield, Ender’s Game

One of the reasons why Ender’s Game worked for me was watching the soulful performance of young Asa Butterfield.  Without him, the movie would not have been as solid as it was.  Adapted from the classic book, Ender’s Game proved that its young star was just getting his best started.

#3 Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club and Mud

This was the year that Matthew McConaughey became more than just a pretty face.  He was fantastic in Mud, and then he went full method, losing 40 pounds, to play an AIDS patient who refuses to bow to the medical community.  It was compelling.

#2 Michael B. Jordan, Fruitville Station

A breakout performance by the young Michael B. Jordan.  Fruitville Station telling the true story of a young African American who was killed by police at Fruitville Station on New Year’s Eve.  Jordan was tugging at my heart strings the entire time.  I literally had tears in my eyes at the end…and I knew what was going to happen.  It was just brilliant, and I hope Academy voters do not forget the early in the year film.

#1 Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips

The last 30 minutes or so of Captain Phillips was as good as Tom Hanks has ever been.  How about that for a statement.  Hanks, a two-time Oscar winner, could not have been better.  Captain Phillips was a thrill ride, and Hanks captained the film perfectly.  This was one of Tom Hanks’s best roles.

 

Best and Worst Horror Movies of 2013

Horror

Best

  1. The Purge
  2. World War Z
  3. The Conjuring

Worst

  1. You’re Next
  2. Evil Dead
  3. Insidious Chapter 2

This was not the best year for the horror genre.  The Conjuring was an awesome surprise.  World War Z was much better than I expected.  The Evil Dead remake made me want to puke.  The Insidious sequel was bad.  It was one of the worst movies of the year (hint… for the upcoming worst film list).

Best and Worst Sci-Fi movies of 2013

Best Sci Fi

There are many movies that could have been considered sci-fi, but I did not allow super heroes like Iron Man, Thor or Superman to be considered in the sci-fi category.  No zombies either.  I debated about RIPD, but in the end, I left it off the list as well.

So here are the Best Sci-fi films...

#4 Elysium

#3 Oblivion

#2 Ender’s Game

#1 Star Trek Into Darkness

Worst Sci-Fi

#4.  Pacific Rim

#3 Riddick

#2 After Earth

#1 The Host

Star Trek Into Darkness was one of my favorite movies this year.  We’ll have to see where it winds up at on the final list.  Ender’s game was driven by a great performance by Asa Butterfield.  Oblivion and Elysium had big name stars (Tom Cruise and Matt Damon) in average sci fi films.  The Host was epically bad…and it had to be to beat out the horrid After Earth.  Riddick and Pacific Rim were not terrible… but they weren’t good either.

 

Top 15 Worst Movies of 2013

Every year there are movies that are just bad.  Whether they are unfunny or boring or too long or childish, there are many movies that are just not worth the price of admission.  I have promised myself that I will not walk out of a movie, no matter how bad it is because I need to review the film.  And a good review needs to see not only the beginning, but also the end.  And I have kept my promise, though I came close once this year.

And as always, this can only include the movies that I have actually seen.  There are some terrible movies that I have not seen, but they cannot make my list.

Here are some bad films from 2013 that did not make the final cut.  Consider these your dishonorable mentions:  You’re Next, Gangster Squad, Evil Dead, Broken City, Closed Circuit, Paranoia, Hangover Part III.

#15  Anchorman 2

I went into this with some hope that, despite my best instincts, I might enjoy this.  I was wrong.  I am really surprised that this film has such a high Rotten Tomato score (74%).  I believe enough people are looking at this with a longing for the original.  I did not have that problem.

#14 Insidious Chapter Two

It was a bad year for horror, but the worst of the worst is the sequel to the watchable Insidious.  Completely forgettable, Insidious Ch. 2 does not make me look forward to the eventual Chapter Three.

#13 Escape from Planet Earth.

2013 was not a stellar year for animation either, but this one, with the voice talent of Brendan Frasier was the worst of the bunch.  Predictable and dull, Escape maybe could be of interest to the youngest viewers, though I would think most of them would be more intelligent than this.

#12 RIPD

Ryan Reynolds has had a downward spiral in his career since Green Lantern.  This blatant rip off of Men in Black had nothing positive about it.  Major plot holes were throughout, and Jeff Bridges played one of the main characters like Yosemite Sam.  And that isn’t as cool as it sounds.

#11 A Good Day to Die Hard

How the mighty have fallen.  The original Die Hard movie is one of my favorite movies of all-time.  The subsequent sequels have had its good and bad moments, but as a whole, they were generally entertaining.  Not this one, however.  John McClane heads to Russia to see his son.  And it was painfully bad as well as being remarkably loud.  This was so bad that it made me wish for one more Die Hard movie so the franchise didn’t go out on this clunker.

and now…the Top Ten….

#10 Hansel & Gretel

This had a promising idea, but the follow through was terrible.  Jeremy Renner starred as Hansel, but he was anything but Hawkeye.  Dialogue that was laughable, and not in a good way, limited action and a one-dimensional villain played by Famke Janssen.  Not a good movie.

#9  The Counselor

Great cast.  Terrible script.  Dull and brooding, The Counselor was a hot mess.  It was depressing and confusing.  Not even Michael Fassbender and Javier Bardem could make this watchable.

#8 Machete Kills

An intentional B movie that takes the level of badness as its status.  I was bored throughout, to the point that I nearly dozed off a few times.  There was no emotional depth to any character and there was no concern for any of them.

#7 The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Not much magic in this movie starring Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi.  Two Vegas style magicians who have trouble coming into the new world of magic (led by Jim Carrey).  I disliked the two magicians immediately as youths.  The film lost me right there, and it never got me back.  I waited for the end of the film so I could disappear.

#6 The Host

The worst sci-fi movie of the year, The Host is the newest book series from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer to be made into a movie.  And this one made me wish I was watching Twilight.  What does that tell you?

#5  Runner Runner

Ben Affleck plays a Batman-like villain instead of Batman (as he will in the future) stealing money from Justin Timberlake and feeding people to alligators.  There are no characters here worth rooting for, which I continue to wonder why Hollywood keeps making these.  I sure hope Affleck as Bruce Wayne doesn’t wind up like this.

#4 Getaway

It is amazing that this horrible movie starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez only is at #4 on the year end list.  That speaks to how bad #s 3-1 are.  Getaway was at 2% on Rotten Tomatoes.  2%?  I mean, when almost everyone hated the movie, what are the odds that it is bad.  Hawke phoned this one in (he must have needed a house payment or something) and Gomez, who did better acting with Justin Bieber.  #4?  Man…

#3 A Haunted House

I saw this one on Netflix because I knew this one was not going to be one that I wanted to see in the theater.  I was so right.  I did not laugh once.  There was nothing funny in this parody of Paranormal Activity.  The worst news is that there is a sequel coming out in January 2014.  I guess it could be a contender for #1 NEXT YEAR.

#2 Grown Ups 2

I typically don’t go to Adam Sandler movies because I really don’t like them.  But I gave Grown Ups 2 a chance.  And it was terrible.  In fact, I almost left the theater in the middle, breaking my main movie review rule.  But I stuck it out till the end.  And after the film was over, if you had told me that this would be #2 and not #1, I would have called you a fool.  I even considered unseating Batman and Robin as my all time least favorite movie.  It didn’t quite reach that level of horridness, but it was pretty close.

and the worst movie of 2013

#1 Movie 43

Another one that I saw on Netflix, and this one HAS officially passed Batman And Robin as the worst movie I have ever seen.  I mean… Hugh Jackman had testicles on his neck.

And why would so many great stars want to participate in this abortion of a movie?  Halle Berry, Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Uma Thurman, Gerard Butler etc.  Oscar winners and nominees.  Why?

Oh…and Batman and Robin make an appearance in this travesty as well.  Nice to know that they can remain in the #1 slot.  Now Batman and Robin are #1 and #2 on the worst movie ever list.

And since it is the worst movie I have ever seen, Movie 43 is clearly the worst movie of 2013.

 

 

A fond farewell to these wonderful people who left us in 2013.  And to all those who may not have found their way onto this collage, rest in peace.

2013rip

 

And finally… here is the list of the Top 15 Movies of 2013.

The rule continues to be…the only films that qualify for my list are films that I have seen.  There are some films that have really good word of mouth (a good example would be the Robert Redford film, All is Lost) that I have yet to see.  They will not be on this list.

Interestingly enough, this is the third year that I have been doing this list.  The first year I did the top ten.  Last year, I expanded to top 12.  This year it is 15.  I don’t know if that means that the film world is doing better, or if I am just seeing more movies.

So, without further adieu, here are the honorable mentions:  The Wolverine, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Flashpoint: Paradox, Prisoners, Ender’s Game, 12 Years a Slave

Top 15

#15 The Conjuring.

This was my favorite horror movie of the year.  It was surprisingly entertaining.  A bit of a change up on the haunted house genre of horror movies, it is “based” on a true story.  Vera Farmiga does a great job in the film.  There are some real awesomely scary scenes and it does it without blood and gore or jump out scares.  I appreciated that as much as anything since that is how horror tends to go nowadays.

#14 Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon’s love letter to Shakespeare.  Much Ado was stylish, shot beautifully in black and white, with a great cast of old Whedon favorites.  Yes it was challenging to follow at times, but, hey…it’s Shakespeare.  What do you expect?  And it contained one of my favorite lines of the year. Nathan Fillion saying “Naughty Varlet.”  I laugh every time.

#13 Warm Bodies

One of the early films of the year that really surprised me.  I thought the love story between the zombie and the human could have been silly, but it warmed my heart.  I loved every minute of this film, and I found the narration to be hilarious.

#12 The Way, Way Back

A coming of age tale of a young boy who finds employment over a summer vacation at a water park where he meets Sam Rockwell.  Rockwell always gives understated performances, and this was one of his best.  Steve Carell also played against type as the boyfriend of the boy’s mother.  A very enjoyable time at the movies.

#11 Saving Mr. Banks

The Disney story of how Disney made the movie, Mary Poppins.  The success of this film is mainly based upon the work of its two main actors, Emma Thompson as PL Travers and Tom hanks as Walt Disney.  Add to it some truly wonderful scenes full of sentimentality and some real developed characters, and Saving Mr. Banks is a definite winner.

and, into the Top 10 we go….

#10 Fruitville Station.

Michael B. Jordan’s breakout performance occurred in this true story.  The film started with dramatic, real life footage of the tragedy in the subway station on New Year’s Eve, and the film only gets more powerful after that.  Jordan does a brilliant job of showing this young man as more than just a troublemaker.  He had his problems, but he tried to struggle through.  This is heartbreaking and poignant.

#9 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The middle film in the series always has some issues.  Basically, the film’s ending is a little less than satisfying.  But that was the only criticism I had of this film.  Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic again as Katniss, and this film has only stoked my anticipation for the two-part Mockingjay finale.

#8 Rush

I had no intentions of seeing this movie.  I had seen the trailer for months, and I had no interest.  I am not a fan of auto racing and I did not want to see this film, even with Chris Hemsworth in the lead role.  Even with Ron Howard manning the director’s chair.  Then, I saw it.  And it was amazing.  I was glued throughout the film.  Not being an auto racing fan did not stop me from enjoying this.  In fact, it may have help me.  A great character piece on one of the great rivalries in sports.And I believe sincerely that Chris Hemsworth is a star.

#7 Mud

Unlike Rush, the trailers for Mud helped excite me to this film.  I was engaged by the scenes, and the strong performances by the young boys at the heart of the film.  Tye Sheridan was very impressive in his role, and might be the young actor of the year.  Matthew McConaughey started his year out with a bang in his portrayal of the drifter known as Mud.

#6 Iron Man 3

Marvel sent the Geek community into a spin when they pulled a twist with Iron Man baddie, the Mandarin, played by Sir Ben Kingsley.  After letting the twist sit, I was able to appreciate it.  I know people who could not, and that spoiled the film for them.  Iron Man 3 was as much about Tony Stark as it was Iron Man.  And Robert Downey Jr. showed again how much of a Marvel MVP he is.  1.2 billion dollars later, iron Man 3 was the most successful movie of the year.

#5 Gravity

Sandra Bullock brought it in this film.  She and George Clooney were, basically, the only actors in this film.  The film was beautifully shot, and was full of tension and drama.  You wondered if anyone would be able to get back home.  When Gravity first was advertised, I wondered how they could sustain a movie with this storyline.  They showed me.  I had my breath held most of the film.

#4 42

The biopic featuring Jackie Robinson’s first year as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers really took on some heavy material.  And it did not shy away from showing the ugliness of the fans, the other players, his own teammates toward Jackie, simply because of the color of his skin.  It showed what a true hero, not only Jackie Robinson, but also Branch Rickey (played brilliantly by Harrison Ford), was.

#3 Thor:  The Dark World

This continued Marvel Studio’s string of awesomely entertaining films.  The sequel to Thor, The Dark World had something for everyone.  And Tom Hiddleston’s Loki stole the show.  Exciting.  Funny.  Thrilling.  Dramatic.  Twists and turns.  This film is another huge hit for Marvel.  Bring on the Winter Soldier!

#2 Star Trek Into Darkness

I came out of the new Star Trek movie with the same rush of adrenaline that I felt after coming out of the Avengers.  I can’t offer more of a compliment than that.  I loved the new Star Trek movie, and I scoff at those who have nitpicked parts about it.  This made me happy.  And I loved the mirrored story connection to Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan.  Some people complained about this, and some complained about plot and some complained about Khan… I say, Star Trek Into Darkness was the second best movie of the year.  And it was the best until I saw….

The number one movie of the year….

#1 Captain Phillips

I did not believe that I was going to love this movie as much as I did.  And yet, I was engulfed in the film from the minute it started.  Tom Hanks was brilliant.  Young Bankhad Abdi was a powerhouse co-star as Muse.  And I was totally thrilled.  I sat forward in my chair, as if being physically closer to the screen might make the story get to me sooner.  I loved this movie.  I have said that I think the last 30 minutes or so contained the finest performance of Tom Hanks’ career.  This has so much going for it that it was clearly the best movie of 2013.

So there you have it.  The final farewell to 2013.  On a personal note, 2013 was one of my personal favorite years of my life.  I had a lot of positive things happen to me this year, and I can only hope that 2014 will be just as great.

I would wish everyone a Happy New Year, and every positive thought and prayer for 2014.

 

 

Year End Review-2011

Previously Posted

There are just a few more days remaining of 2011, and I would be remiss if I did not do a year in review as all of the other web sites are doing.  I would lose my internet membership card.  So here is the thread for 2011,

Over the next several days, I’ll be adding lists to the thread of my choices for the top this or top that of 2011.  I considered doing an award type post… and I almost had Westley and Nigel Grimm from the Brothers Geek host it, but in the end, I chose for this format.  (Westley and Nigel will just have to get over it.)

We will start with my list for the Top Ten Best and Worst Movies of 2011.  Now I did not see every movie released this year like some critics out there, and my list will not include many of the “high brow” films that “big-time” critics include.  My list is for the typical person,,, the geek, if you will.

And as I said, I did not see every film so some horrendous movies such as Jack and Jill, My Idiot Brother, The Smurfs, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Zookeeper, Shark Night 3D, Chipwrecked, The Chaperone, Dream House, The Sitter, or Bucky Larson will not be included.  These are movies that, even with my huge increase in movie attendance, did not inspire me to see them at all and I am sure that if I had to sit through them, they would have found their way onto the crap list.

I supposed I should make a comment about the star ratings that I give the film during my normal reviews.  That rating will not necessarily be what I look at for these lists.  It is really an arbitrary rating that doesn’t mean that much.  And those star ratings can raise or lower over time (ex Apollo 18).

Anyway, let’s start off with the Worst Movies of 2011, because I just got done talking about some horrible (presumably) films.  I have two special additions.  Two movies that I had to cut from the list to reach ten.  Call them the Dishonorable Mention.

Dishonorable Mention:  The Thing and Bad Teacher.

#10 Green Hornet  This could have been great, but the Seth Rogan vehicle was a real mess and one of the biggest disappointments of the year.

#9 Conan  The new Conan movie was… well, there was nothing to it.  Another movie full of promise, but ending in disappointment.

#8  Green Lantern  Bad year for Green things.  Ryan Reynolds’s super hero movie was terrible… from the first shot of the laughable bad guy to the ridiculous heel turn of Sinestro in the movie credits.  DC should just stick to animated movies.

#7 3 Musketeers  Pretty stupid of a film, but at least it was stupid fun.

#6 Hangover II  Another huge disappointment.  When you take the exact script from the first movie and just change location, and add lots of penises, the film will suffer.  This was surprisingly unfunny.

#5 Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark  Horror movie that really was a pain to watch.  Why don’t these people use their heads?

#4 Sucker Punch  I felt like I was sucker punched after watching this dream infused mess.

#3 The Darkest Hour  in 3D, if you want to call it 3D.  Was it bad that I was cheering when the unlikable characters were killed by the invisible energy aliens?

#2 The Creature  At least there was a lot of nudity involved.

#1 Immortals  Worst movie of the year.  I almost walked out on it several times.  It looked good… but that was about all I could say about it.

Top Ten Best Movies of the Year

Okay, let’s put the crap aside and see what was good about 2011 at the cinema.

#10  Winnie the Pooh.  I actually only saw this on DVD, but I was truly enchanted by the story.  I thought this was way funnier than most of the movies this year.

#9 50/50  Seth Rogan appears in this list as well.  But this time it is about a fantastic comedy/drama about a man and his battle with cancer.

#8 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two  The satisfactory conclusion to the Harry Potter series was worth the wait.

#7 Rise of the Planet of the Apes  A surprising movie with a lot of tension and suspense.  A real gem this summer.

#6 Super 8  JJ Abrams’s great monster movie that focused on a group of young children making a movie.  The train crash scene at the beginning was just astounding, and the kid actors were as good as any adults could have been.

#5 X-Men:  First Class  A movie that I had dreaded since it was announced as images of X-Men Origin: Wolverine floated around in my head.  However, this mutant spy thriller was way better than I had ever expected it to be and should have resurrected the series.

#4 Thor  Some critics did not like this movie.  And to them I say…. HAVE AT THEE!  Thor was a great comic book movie and kicked off the summer in grand fashion.

#3 Drive  This was ultra-violent, but Ryan Gosling’s performance as the unnamed driver was just spot on.

#2 The Muppets  A wondrous and nostalgic trip into the hearts and minds of a young person who remembers watching the Muppet Show.

and #1 Captain America:  The First Avenger Everything worked for this.  I was afraid of a couple different things.  I worried about the casting of Chris Evans as Cap.  But he was fantastic as the Sentinel of Liberty.  And I had worried about the rumored Cap joins the USO bit of the film, but it turned out to be one of my favorite sections of the movie.  Hugo Weaving was amazing as the Red Skull and everything worked so well.  Captain America is my second favorite Marvel character (behind Spidey) and to see him with a successful film makes me very happy.

So there is the year in movies.  What will be our next list?

We are not ready to leave the world of films just yet as there are several other categories that I would like to include… starting with the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

And Meryl Streep will be nowhere to be found (nothing personal Meryl, if you’re reading this… EYG!)

Best Actor

#5 Chris Evans (Captain America:The First Avenger).  I was worried about this one, but Evans just knocked it out of the park.  I had no problem forgetting that he was the Human Torch and now I see him and I think… Cap!

#4 Joel Courtney (Super 8)  One of the reasons this movie worked so well was the young actors involved.  And I believe that this was Courtney’s first film.  Congrats young man.

#3 Michael Fessbender (X-Men: First Class)  Playing the soon to be Magneto is daunting, but Fessbender was wonderful in the role, bringing a humanity to Erik.  We understood why he does what he does when we see what Erik went through.

#2 Joseph Gordon-Levitt  (50/50)  This was a great performance, balancing the humor and the pain, and doing it in such an entertaining manner.

#1 Ryan Gosling  (Drive) I was so impressed with Gosling’s subtle performance as the nameless driver… the nuances that he brought with a minimal amount of dialogue.  A masterful performance.

Best Actresses

#5 Charlize Theron (Young Adult) I didn’t really enjoy this film much but Theorn’s job as the lead, extremely unlikable, character was well done.

#4 Amy Adams (The Muppets)  Amy played the happy-go-lucky Mary very well and she did not have her scenes upstaged by anyone.  She also sang.  And she had some surprising depth to the character as well.

#3 Helen Mirren (The Debt)  Mirren was wonderful as the older woman remembering the terrible case from her youth.  She showed why she is such a master of the craft.

#2 Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)  Rooney Mara had a tough job.  She had to follow Noomi Rapace from the Swedish version of the movie.  And Mara provided an amazing performance, making the character of Lisbeth her own.

#1 Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn) She was the best part of this movie, easily.  Williams became Marilyn Monroe and showed just how hard it was to be her.  Just a transcending performance.

Best Supporting Actor

#5 Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows)  Fry played Shelock’s brother, Mycroft, and he was a hoot.

#4 Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn) Thor’s director showed he still had some acting chops with his portrayal of Sir Lawrence Olivier.

#3 John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) Seeing Lithgow was when I knew this movie was more than just another Planet of the Apes film.  He brought life to the story.

#2 Tom Hiddleson (Thor) Hiddleson was perfect in his role as Loki, Thor’s evil half-brother.  Every time he was on the screen, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  I am very happy to hear that Hiddleson would be returning for next summer’s Avengers.

#1 Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) Caeser was the entire emphasis behind the movie, and Andy’s work as the primate was what provided the character with such a haunting and moving feeling.  Without Serkis, Caeser would not be what he was… an amazing performance, again, done mostly with facial expressions.

Best Supporting Actress

#5 Gabourey Sidibe (Tower Heist) The former star of Precious stole every scene she appeared within Tower Heist.  I would have liked to have seen more of her.

#4 Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2) Emma has been consistently one of the best parts of the film series and she does a great job in the finale.

#3 Chloe Cgengery (Paranormal Activity 3) The young Katie does a great job throughout this prequel.  The young girl has a bright future ahead of her.

#2 Ellie Fanning (Super 8) She really showed some acting ability in this movie, which so depended on the kids to carry it.  Her scenes where her character was acting were amazing.

#1 Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses) Who knew that Jennifer Aniston could be so great being nasty.  She seemed to embrace the slutty, wicked, sexual harasser with so much gusto.  She was the best of the horrible bosses.

Movie Music

I am sure that the Oscars will mess this award up, so I guess I’ll have to set them straight.

#5  Gathering Stories by Jonsi (We Bought A Zoo)  Intriguing song with a neat melody.

#4  Immigrant Song by Karen O (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) the reimagining of the Led Zepplyn classic really set the Dragon Tattoo off with a powerful kick.

#3 Pictures in My Head by the Muppets (The Muppets)  The sweet song sung mainly by Kermit that had Kermit wishing for the past.

Tied for #1  Man or Muppet by Jason Segel and Walter (The Muppets) and The Star Spangled Man (Captain America: The First Avenger)  I have not been able to choose between these two songs, so I decided… why choose.  They are both fantastic.  Man or Muppet is the whole basis behind the story of the Muppets and the Star Spangled Man really builds the character of Steve Rogers into the heroic Captain America.

Next two categories for the Year in Review are still from Movies…

Best Cameo and Best Animated Movie

Best Cameo

#5 Mickey Rooney (The Muppets)  Just nice to know that Mickey is still alive.

#4 Stan Lee (Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger)  Too bad Stan couldn’t be in X-Men: First Class and make this a trifecta this year.

#3 Jack Black (The Muppets)  How can he stop Animal from drumming?  Jack Black is very funny as the kidnapping victim and guest host of the Muppet telethon.

#2 Neil Patrick Harris (A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas) NPH is the best part of this movie, with his portrayal of NPH, but addled on drugs and not gay and a downright dirtbag.  Method acting?  This would have been the number one cameo of the year had it not been for the following one…

#1 Hugh Jackman (X-Men: First Class)  Maybe the greatest cameo of all time.  I laughed like crazy when Wolverine dropped the f-bomb to Xavier and Erik.  Never saw it coming, and it was one of the best moments of a film that was really good.

Best Animated Movies of 2011

#5 Rio  This just beat out Arthur Christmas (which gets an honorable mention).  Jesse Eisenberg provided the voice of the lead macaw.

#4 Rango  with the voice talent of Johnny Depp and a great villainous snake, Rattlesnake Jake

#3 Puss in Boots  The prequel to the Shrek series starring everyone’s favorite feline, Puss.  Puss’s origin is told with Antonio Banderas returning as the voice of Puss.

#2 Kung Fu Panda 2 A very strong sequel with Jack Black returning to voice Po, the Dragon Warrior.  Add Gary Oldman as Lord Shen, the peacock and the sequel comes out very strong.

#1 Winnie the Pooh  which, if you had read the top ten movies of the year, I included this one in that list… which should have tipped this off to you.  It’s like at the Oscars last year when Toy Story 3 was nominated in the Best Animated Movie category and was the only animated movie nominated in the Best Picture category.  Um… will it win Best Animated Picture?  Duh!  This is like that.

Here’s a chance to go back and look at what I decided was the Top 15 Geek moments of 2011.

http://embraceyourgeekness.ning.com/forum/topics/top-15-geek-moment…

Moving along to Television now… the top ten television programs of 2011 in my opinion… (By the way,Breaking Bad, which the critics and the Emmys love soooooooooooooooooooo much, is not on my list since I do not watch it.  Sorry)

Top Ten Television Programs of 2011

#10 Grimm.  This one has been up and down.  It still has some possibilities.

#9 Colbert Report  Always funny with the parody of the news programs like FOX might broadcast.

#8 The Daily Show.  Jon Stewart is always funny, and I am entertained every episode.

#7 Desperate Housewives  A strong new season, the final season, has brought an enjoyment back to Wisteria Lane.

#6 The Big Bang Theory.  I have just recently discovered this little gem from CBS.  I am not sure why it took me this long to start watching it.

#5 Revenge.  The top guilty pleasure of the new season.  Emily Thorne is out to take care of the Graysons.

#4 Once Upon A Time The great new show from writers of LOST that features the story of fairy tale creatures cast with an evil curse to make them forget their lives.  But Emma has come to fix the world.

#3 Walking Dead  AMC’s great zombie show took a further step into character development this season.  Some thought it was slow, but I appreciated the attempt.

#2 Castle  I love Castle, and putting it at number two is a surprise.  I love Nathan Filloon and this show is funny, exciting and has a lot of mysteries.  Great characters.

#1 American Horror Story.  A great new show.  A show with a beginning, middle and end.  A story where the entire main cast died.  Except Jessica Lange, of course.  She’s just raising the Anti-Christ.

 

Continuing with television:

Best Actor:  Nathan Filloon (Castle)  Filloon has been so consistent in his role as Richard Castle.  He is witty, dramatic, and fun.  His chemistry with Stana Katic is off the chart, and Castle has developed over the years.  His relationship with his mother and his daughter are the best on-screen relationships on television.  This is all because of Nathan Filloon.

Best Actress:  Jessica Lange (American Horror Story)  Lange was amazing every time she was shown on this great television show.  Constance knew what she wanted and she went and got it.  She was shown to be anything but sweet.  In fact, she was responsible for multiple murders.  But the death of her children tore at her, and her determination to raise her grandson (the Anti-Christ) was eerie.

Best episode:  Cops and Robbers (Castle)  Rick Castle is at the bank when he notices something with his writer’s eye.  He calls Beckett and says that he believes the bank was about to be robbed.  And it was.  And a hostage situation began.  But like all Castle episodes, there was more than what met the eye.

Best Character:  Daryl Dixon  The development of Daryl this year has been the strongest part of the Walking Dead.  And things will only get better.

Worst storyline:  Dexter.  Did Dexter’s sister really fall in love with him?

Television show that I have not seen, but I want to:  Homeland.  This sounds like 24… only more.

Best Reality ShowWWE Tough Enough.  Thanks mainly to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.  The young kids on the show were not up to the challenge.  The last ten minutes of each episode really showed how charismatic and down to earth Stone Cold was.

Worst Reality Show:  Most of the rest.

In the world of sports entertainment… aka professional wrestling…and once again… these are my choices for the following awards.  I suppose that this will be mostly/if not completely a WWE award list since I rarely watch TNA.

Wrestler of the Year:  CM Punk

Tag Team of the Year:  Air Boom (Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne)

Feud of the Year:  Randy Orton vs. Christian

Pay Per View of the Year:  Money in the Bank

Face of the Year:  Randy Orton

Heel of the Year:  Mark Henry

Promo of the Year:  CM Punk’s shoot promo

Comeback of the Year:  The Rock

Diva of the Year:  Beth Phoenix

Most Improved Wrestler of the Year:  Zack Ryder

and…

Matches of the Year

#10 The Royal Rumble Match.  40 participants in this year’s bout instead of the normal 30 made this the “largest Royal Rumble of all time.”  This was won by Alberto Del Rio.

#9 RAW Elimination Chamber Match.  John Cena defeated Sheamus, Randy Orton, CM Punk, R-Truth and John Morrison.  Morrison did some unbelievable Spider-man-like moves.

#8 Miz vs. John Morrison (RAW)  The falls count anywhere match on the first RAW of the year was spectacular and was won by WWE Champion the Miz.  It seemed like it was the start of big things for Morrison.  However, that was not to be.

#7 Christian vs. Randy Orton (SummerSlam) The No-Dq match was outstanding, even though Christian lost his World Championship back to Randy Orton.

#6 Smackdown Elimination Chamber This match did not sound like it would be as solid, but it was outstanding.  Edge retained his World Championship against Rey Mysterio, Drew McIntyre, Kane, Big Show and Wade Barrett.

#5  Smackdown Ladder Match (Money in the Bank) Daniel Bryan surprised the wrestling world by becoming the Smackdown money in the bank winner in an exciting Ladder Match.

#4 Randy Orton vs. Christian (Over the Limit) Another great match between these two performers.  This was when they were still both faces.

#3 Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio (Extreme Rules)  Christian won this ladder match and won his first ever World Championship as his friend Edge looked on.  I specifically ordered this PPV on my computer to see Christian win… and his victory made things really happy for me… at least for the two days (5 storyline) that he held it.

#2 Undertaker vs. HHH (Wrestlemania 27) This was the best match on the biggest show of the year between two classic veterans.  When HHH tombstoned Undertaker, I actually thought the streak was over.  However, in the end, Undertaker went to 19-0 at Wrestlemania.

#1 CM Punk vs. John Cena (Money in the Bank) Held in Chicago (Punk’s hometown) and with the threat of Punk winning, letting his contract expire and walking out as Champion.  The crowd was 100% behind their hometown hero and Punk wound up getting the win.  He left through the crowd with the WWE title.  Though he would be back a few weeks later, this moment was as memorable as any ever.  He blew the kiss to Vince McMahon and took off into the Chicago night.  The 30+ minute match was the match of the year.

Biggest Television Deaths of the Year

#5  Sheriff Graham (Once Upon a Time) The sheriff was killed off by the Mayor just as he began to remember his other life as the Huntsman.  She killed him by grinding his heart to dust in her hand.  Tough way to go.

#4 Sophia (Walking Dead) Her death was considerably better than the storyline of her disappearance.  Her disappearance was the worst part of the season two episodes, and her transformation into a zombie and subsequent bullet int he head may have been the best part of the season.

#3 Daniel Grayson (Revenge)  At least, we believe he is dead as he was killed in the first minutes of the season, and then we went back in time to discover how it occurred.

#2 Otis (Walking Dead) Otis was not a regular character, but his death by zombie was major because of how it happened.  Being chased by Walkers, Shane shot Otis in the leg and left him as zombie bait so he could escape.  Otis’s death led to an even more nasty Shane.

#1 The Harmons (American Horror Story) Ben, Vivien and Violet all died throughout the year, which, strangely enough, turned out to be a happy ending for the family.

Top Super Heroes of the Year

#10 Animal Man Buddy Baker has been re-imagined in the DC 52 reboot and has become one of the creepier comics of the year.  Animal Man makes our list of top heroes.

#9 Thor the Norse God of Thunder and the star of the first Marvel movie of the summer

#8 Steve Rogers. The former Captain America accepted the President of the US’s appointment to replace Norman Osborne as the executive in charge of super humans.  Plus, he was in the top super hero movie of the year.

# 7 Superman.  Rebooted and with a new outfit and attitude, Superman is not the Kryptonian of old.

#6 Batgirl.  Barbara Gordon was rebooted into the Batgirl costume and out of her wheelchairwhen DC relaunched their DC universe.

#5 Flash  Barry Allen returned to the DC Universe and his return led to the huge reboot after “Flashpoint”

#4 Batman Batman had another top year, with his new series being some of the best in the new 52 reboot and starring in the top video game of the year.

#3 Spider-man.  Peter Parker lives in the real Marvel Universe and thanks to a new creative team, Spider-man is fun again.  A huge battle called Spider-Island, a new dream job as a scientist/researcher, and plenty of women troubles with a new girlfriend and an old girlfriend.  Plus, Spider-man is in every team in the Marvel Universe… and I’m not really kidding.  Even in Spidey’s new FF uniform.

#2 Spider-man (Miles Morales) The new Ultimate Spider-man, who took over when Peter Parker died, became a national story as he is part African-American, part Hispanic.

#1 Daredevil.  Matt Murdock was the top return of the year.  After being dumped on for years, Matt Murdock, Daredevil became an Avenger, and the new issues of his series were some of the best of the year.

Year End Review

Each year, EYG puts together several lists of the top Geeky items from that year.  Each year there are many different categories.  These categories range from Top 25 Movies of the Year to Best Horror Movie to Best Wrestling Match.  It spans the world of movies, television, pro wrestling, YouTube, News etc.

Since moving to Word Press, EYG will be starting the Year End Review in December, reviewing the year of 2016. However, we will be adding the past years’ reviews under this category.  These have been previously posted at our former website and I have rescued them from that site.