Archive for December, 2012

MY TOP MOVIES OF 2012

December 27, 2012

I didn’t see as many movies as I have in previous years, although that mostly means I saw less bad ones. Here’s the cream of the crop…

10.  “ARGO” – I didn’t love this as much as many of my friends, because I felt the “everything that could go wrong, almost did” of the final moments was overly manipulative, but I did enjoy the tense setup and the Seventies feel of the movie, thanks to evocative production design and cinematography (and mustaches… don’t forget mustaches!).

9.  “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK” – One of the most overlooked movie stories of the year was the lack of successful romantic comedies. This was the best one by far.

8.  “TED” – How could this movie be the biggest surprise of the year when Seth McFarlane has been making us laugh for years?

7.  “ZERO DARK THIRTY” – An exciting, engrossing film that shows the strike on Bin Laden was even more courageous because the government didn’t know for sure he was there.

6.  “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES” – While I prefer my Batman movies to have a little more Batman in them, this was still a fitting end to what is sure to stand as my favorite movie trilogy.

5.  “FRANKENWEENIE” – Loved the shout-outs to old monster movies, but mostly I liked it because Sparky the dog was so cute.

4.  “FLIGHT” – Even more than the tense emergency landing scene, the plight of Whip Whitaker trying (or not) to overcome his addictions has stayed with me since I saw the film.

3.  “JACK REACHER” – I’m a big fan of the Lee Child source novels, so it was a huge relief to see Tom Cruise pull off a believable portrayal of my favorite righter of wrongs. But more than that, the film was the kind of action movie laced with humor and mystery that we don’t see enough anymore.

2.  “LINCOLN” – My pick for Best Picture and needless to say Best Actor. Like “Zero Dark Thirty,” you knew how the story ended (in this case, with the passing of the 13th Amendment)  and yet it was still thrilling.

1.  “THE AVENGERS” – The most fun movie of the year. Writer/director Joss Whedon made the challenge of blending the six stars look easy. The final battle set a standard for superhero action that will be hard to top. Your move, DC!

My Top Songs Of 2012

December 27, 2012

After a few years where country music dominated my listening hours, pop music came back this year and took all but one spot on my yearly top 10.

10. Of course, that’s because I don’t consider TAYLOR SWIFT country anymore. Taylor rocked out on “Red” with songs like “State Of Grace” and the title cut, but my favorite was a character study called “THE LUCKY ONE.”

9. You might not know it, but year after year, RICK SPRINGFIELD puts out albums full of great rock and roll. His latest, “Songs For The End Of The World,” is highlighted by “OUR SHIP’S SINKING.”

8. The “Now” series makes it easy to collect pop music’s most popular singles. One of my friends buys the English version of the series, “Now That’s What I Call Music.” While many of the songs have typical house music oriented arrangements, I usually find a few future pop classics that haven’t been released in the U.S.yet. This year, my discoveries included Little Mix’s “Cannonball,” Jessie J’s “Domino” and this song that’s just breaking in the States, “PICKING UP THE PIECES” by PALOMA FAITH.

7. How could I not love a song called “SPRINGSTEEN”? While there’s not a lot about Bruce in it, this country smash by ERIC CHURCH was melodic and nostalgic.

6. Here’s a song I missed out on until I heard it thanks to my job as a researcher on “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2013,” where KARMIN will be performing their Top 20 hit, “BROKENHEARTED.”

5. “American Idol” alumni brought us some great music this year. I loved Phillip Phillips coronation song, “Home,” and Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away,” but the original was still the best, as KELLY CLARKSON dominated the airwaves with “STRONGER.”

4. Another one of my “Now That’s What I Call Music” discoveries, this artist is finally getting some attention in America thanks to his hit, “The A Team,” and an upcoming tour with Taylor Swift. But wait until you hear “LEGO HOUSE” by ED SHEERAN!.

3. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN wrote it to commemorate the closing of Giants Stadium, but to me this song came to symbolize the tough times people have faced this year, but still fought on. “Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you’ve got, bring on your WRECKING BALL!”

2. The spirit of Motown lives in the English girl group STOOSHE’s “BLACK HEART.”

1. It was one of the most popular and most played songs of the year, yet I never got tired of it. Who didn’t sing along with this in the car? The catchiest chorus of the year came from CARLY RAE JEPSEN’s “CALL ME MAYBE.”