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Broad City is my favorite comedy right now next to Archer and Veep. It is the most consistently funny, irreverent and well-paced show. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are an incredibly talented duo. Talking about Broad City on the internet doesn’t seem to be as frequent as it was last season when it was being posited and upheld as the anti-Girls, and it was something new and fresh to an ecosystem that’s always looking to grind their teeth into new and fresh things to suck out anything worth turning into free content and meaningless discourse. While the second season has surpassed the first in quality and laughs, it’s lost that new show smell and, like most sitcoms, the stakes aren’t high enough to encourage devout appointment viewing; so it’s now phased into a second mode as just a solid, consistent show with a cult following and a number of people who catch it later.

The most fascinating aspect of Broad City to me is something I didn’t even pay attention to at first. There’s understood freeness in the world created by this show, most visibly in Ilana. At the beginning of the series, Ilana was romantically involved with Franklin–played by Hannibal Burress–but he was never explicitly her boyfriend and throughout the series, Ilana dates and hooks up and flirts and is open about her sexuality in a positive and affirming way. Franklin comes out whenever the show feels like using him but he’s not postured as a traditional romantic lead. It’s a quietly wonderful thing and even better, it’s never openly dealt with. It’s all just understood that this is who Ilana is and there’s no need to rationalize or justify this behavior: it just is what it is.

Abbi serves a purpose as the proto-straight woman. She’s a class A fuck up in a recognizable way. You root for her to get a training class at the gym she works at, or to find a new apartment or to hook up with some new weird dude or even just to make it through an episode unscathed. It doesn’t really rely on narcissism or sourness as code for complex in a way that shows up in a Girls. These two just co-exist together and try to make each day a success in whatever way they choose to define it each episode. There’s freedom in defining success on your own terms.

Protests and activism is a messy affair. This is probably the biggest lesson I took out of the unrest in Ferguson and the actions spawned all over the country over the deaths of black people at the hands of police. Before, when you only read about it in school or watched documentaries on the civil rights movement, you could imagine that it was a unified call to arms by all black people in the country to fight for their rights; it’s only as you delve deeper that you uncover that things more or less unfolded with a similar messiness. Selma is a very-carefully directed, well-lit, strong film that really moves with determination. Every shot is treated with importance, and though not without its flaws, what the movie does right, it does very right.

Selma is a movie about the messiness in protest and the great weight of being looked at as a leader: whether you’re a leader of a race of people fighting for their rights or a leader of the country as a whole. Selma recounts the story of the events leading up to the march from Selma to Montgomery that culminated in President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The film, directed by Ava DuVernay, features Martin Luther King, Jr., Hosea Williams, James Bevel, Diane Nash and the SCLC’s plan to organize the march and their attempts to work with SNCC. It is a film focused on people who ascribe themselves as nothing more than that. They are humans who want to do what’s right but also are concerned with what’s in other people’s best interests.

David Oyelowo as MLK is weary. He’s a man who’s been doing marches, protests, getting arrested and called nigger for too many years and it’s taken a toll on him as a man and a toll on his family. His wife loves him but is now at a point where the constant fear of death for him and her family has worn her down; that and his own infidelities has strained their marriage and you feel that dark cloud around them throughout this movie.

This, along with the actual marching on the highway, was the most readily identifiable link between the events depicted in this movie and what has been taking place today. From Trayvon to Jordan Davis to Ferguson and so forth, people have been exhausted. They are exhausted from the marching, the screaming, the organizing, the fighting with police, the being talked down to by the media, the racist trolls on the internet and, more importantly, they’re exhausted from the constant prospect of death that lives in the recesses of their brains. To go through this throughout 2014 would take a mental toll on anyone, so the idea of doing all this in a much more hostile environment during King’s time would be punishing. In America’s need to turn its martyrs into superheroes we lose this understanding that King was a man with fear, with hopes and with frustrations.

In the same vein, Tom Wilkinson’s LBJ is boisterous and flustered with the job he has; it’s clear that, as any politician in that situation, he’s trying to do just enough for everyone in order to get through his term. He is any other president that wants to appease his constituents. King has serious requests that need to be met but Johnson has constituents to appease and an out-of-control war to deal with, that he doesn’t feel the same urgency as King. King is nuisance but Johnson is not malicious in his tactics to downplay his influence, instead he’s just insistent on being in control of every situation and sweeping things under the rug for later. It is only until he’s finally backing into a corner that he relents and gives his State of the Union address that announces the Voting Rights Act. Johnson is also a weary man with his own flaws and the supposed backlash over how he’s depicted comes off not as a corrective but as the petty grievances of a liberal think tank more interested in congratulating itself than evaluating history critically.

The articles and thinkpieces taking Selma and DuVernay for task for what is seen as an undermining of LBJ’s contribution to the fight for voting rights is littered with the typical whitewash of historical events as well as a need to make LBJ more admirable and heroic as opposed to what he actually was, which is a politician. The critiques lobbed at the movie have consisted of anger at the idea that LBJ was not 100% onboard with getting the Voting Rights Act done, upset over the idea that LBJ allowed the FBI to try and “break up the home” of MLK and Coretta and they’ve even gone so far as to assert that march from Selma to Montgomery was LBJ’s idea–as a way to put enough attention onto the issue in order to get the law passed.

The last assertion is easily the most offensive. Ignore the work of Diane Nash, James Bevel, SCLC and SNCC, it was all about LBJ and his quest to fight for human rights in order to make the world more of a wondrous melting pot. Aside from this being untrue, it’s implausible to perceive that a president would put it on MLK to rabble rouse and create a climate for him to pass more civil rights legislation. This involves a loss of control and a president cannot relent control to a leader and situation that could lead to any numerous things happening because it would be irresponsible.

There is plenty in the movie that may have been stretched. The nature of LBJ and J. Edgar Hoover’s relationship isn’t completely known, neither are the direct conversations between King and Johnson, but it’s a movie and movies tell a story that captures an essence of the time it’s telling. The idea that this movie of all movies is under heavy scrutiny is comical when we’re less than a month removed from a film about white ancient Egyptians and a couple years removed from a film about Abraham Lincoln that was sweeping, big and romanticized; yada yada-ing over the more uncomfortable aspects of his beliefs on Black Americans.

The biggest takeaway from all of this for me is that none of these complaints are really about keeping Selma honest, it’s about thinning the Oscar herd and also about who gets to tell history and how they tell it. Selma seemed to come out of nowhere to the Oscar conversation; full of contentiousness and elitist attitudes over what movies get to join the conversation and what movies don’t. Movies that are late to the party always cause problems because they come with intense momentum in a country focused on the new conversation and not what happened months ago. If a movie like Selma can be undermined it will be and, as you can see, it could be.

You can’t help but notice the other side of this coin too: in this backlash there is a thick sense of “what-about-me-ness” that fog up whatever valid complaints one could have about the film. LBJ seems to be the stand-ins for white liberals to air their grievances of “not all white people” and hoist him in an effort to get some sort of credit for their support of the movement. One wonders if DuVernay were a white male instead of a black woman, and the film had its requisite white interloper, would the film have gone down easier. Maybe that’s not it either; maybe the issue really does come down to how we view president’s that have been redeemed by history. Perhaps we only want to see Johnson and King as the God-like geniuses that time has turned them into, and in this feeling, perhaps we do want to give our leaders more credit then they need. As much as I like him, I shudder at the thought that 50 years from now when the story of Ferguson is being told, Obama will be given credit he didn’t deserve.

Men become Gods every day due to how we process history: without gray areas and without blemishes. History has always belonged to the winners because winners are the only ones we can respond to. Selma took that idea away from us, perhaps that was the real crime.

Short of studying Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice novel like a graduate student, you’re probably not going to be able to take it all in one viewing. That’s part of its charm though; it’s dense, thick, compressed and rarely lets up for air. Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation breathes a life and a smokey hangout vibe to an overwhelming text; this isn’t a movie that is committed to being coherent or plot focused or even sensical and that choice along with many other choices made by the actors in the film create a world that is such a vibrant and thrilling place.

Joaquin Phoenix plays Larry “Doc” Sportello, a private detective living in a California beach community: getting high, watching TV and dining on the finest pizzas. A visit from an old lover, Shasta (Katherine Waterston), gets Doc on a whirlwind of a case involving lowlifes, high authorities and everything in between, while also rekindling old feelings inside himself. Shasta’s current beau, rich real-estate tycoon Mickey Wolfmann, has a wife who may be plotting to commit him to a mental hospital. When Mickey and Shasta both disappear, Doc navigates through a haze of smoke and a seedy underworld to solve the case. Summing the movie up this way doesn’t begin to say anything about what this film is or what it’s even about because it’s about everything and nothing. Doc meanders and mumbles and smokes his way through ridiculous scenarios and fever dream-like machinations that are treated with the utmost gravitas and poise. Josh Brolin plays a surly, macho straight cop who loves frozen chocolate bananas and kicking Doc’s ass. Joanna Newsom plays a wafting, fairy-like hippie comrade who narrates the film like she just came over to eat your leftovers and tell you about her crazy night. Owen Wilson is so many things to this movie that it isn’t even right for me to talk about his character and Reese Witherspoon is like a grown up Tracy Flick who went back in time and became a DA with an affinity for getting her own buzz on when she’s not on the clock. 

What I can say for sure about the experience of watching this film is that it is a freewheeling story that drifts, wavers, blends and dissipates the way that the 60s did when the era of free love began to come to an end and the Charles Manson massacre sort of changed everything for certain kind of people in a specific generation. It is a film about conspiracies and the idea that everyone is in cahoots with one another and that you never really get to the bottom of anything and solve things, you just do your best to get your own piece of mind. It is also a film about the “one that got away” and how feelings sometimes never go away, they just hang around and sprout up at any given moment. This is a movie that is a complete mess; a sporadic, slapstick circus that you will likely not get a grip on the first time around. Instead the best thing to do is to let the movie wash over you and enjoy hanging out with its goofballs and miscreants: they’re always looking for a good time.

The best scene for me is the Ouija board scene: Doc and Shasta have kicked their weed habit and are desperate for any distraction. They end up playing with a Ouija board which leads them to a phone number. When they call the number they get an address and, In an extended one shot, Shasta and Doc are running in the rain only to discover that the address leads to an empty lot. It doesn’t matter though, they find cover and hold each in the doorway of the building next door; forgetting all about the stress of kicking their drug habit and the slow disintegration of their relationship.

This moment is the essence of the whole film: a pervading love that never really goes away even though the good times have past and change is all around. The film is packed with gags and jokes and cutting moments of twisted sentimentality that it all feels like an incoherent mess. It is an incoherent mess though, but that’s how things (relationships, eras, mysteries) really do tend to end; it’s only when the history is being written do we smoothen everything out and turn it into a story deemed worthy of telling.

This is the first Anderson film that I felt never really belonged to him; this feels like Pynchon through and through, which makes for a different feeling than most PTA films leave you with. At the same time, it seems like it took Pynchon to get PTA out of this new trajectory for his career that involved extremely serious yet puzzling exposes on subjects like capitalism and religion. Inherent Vice was a reminder that PTA is still fun but also still kind of a kook; a kook that made a film that doesn’t try to make sense of the ridiculousness of everything happening in it, we’d be wise to do the same.

Winter is the worst season. Everything is bleak, dark and cold and it brings out the worst feelings burrowed deep inside of you.

I’ve been sad a lot lately because of winter and because of loneliness and because of a deepening lack of fulfillment with my job and the poor life decisions I’ve been making. I’ve felt stuck because I’m not really sure what exactly would make me happy right now.

My writing is becoming stagnating because I’m not writing for me anymore, and writing for other people has gotten so arduous that I don’t even like writing at all right now. My actual job is relentless and everyday I come home and curl up into a ball and pray something happens that forces me not to go in the next day.

I go back home to see my parents at the end of the week and I’m not thrilled by that either. There’s nothing in my old hometown for me there either. I don’t really belong here or anywhere that I know of. Hell, I’m not even sure who I am anymore. My life has devolved into a mess of hangovers, laziness and bad decisions. I feel no control.

This is not a cry for help. I’m not interested in holding hands and talking it out. Kind words aren’t going to have much of an effect here. I understand that people have bigger problems– this is just a release. I’ve been trying to figure this life out for 24 years and I’m probably not gonna stumble on the answer tomorrow. Maybe someday things won’t be like this but for now this is what it is. Winter is here and I am a ball of sadness.

In the midst of nearly dying or wondering when I’m actually going to die, I never got around to talking about Yeezus. In what is Kanye’s latest cry for help album, Yeezus seems to be a testimony of a celebrity who’s self aware enough to recognize how stupid, meaningless and full of shit fame and status is, but also still egotistical and shallow enough to enjoy the perks. It’s organized chaos; it’s a record that purely baits people into hating it and him forever and it’s way better than it really has any right to be. so real quickly, let’s go ahead and go bobby boucher on this record and somebody please get me some fucking croissants.

1. Send It Up

The albums starts of with what is, I assume, a tape of potential theme music for Space Invaders and Galaga. All it really needs is a bunch of kids yelling like little assholes and the sound of miserable disdain coming from shitty 16 year old employees to fully capture the sound of an arcade. There’s a neat sample of “Sermon” in it, which is neat. It contains the lines “got this bitch shakin’ like Parkinson’s  “Indian hair no moccasins” “she got more niggas off than Cocharan” and “don’t judge em Joe Brown”, so you know… there’s that.

2. Black Skinhead

It kind of sounds like a pack of black vampire wolfs attacking a small town during a full moon on Halloween in musical form. Kanye does that thing where he pretends to be a revolutionary despite that being really hilariously ridiculous. Also I heard this song in the trailer for Wolf Of Wall Street so now all I can think of when I hear it is Leonardo DiCaprio throwing mimosas at shrubbery… also I really wanna throw mimosas at shrubbery.

3. I Am A God

This one sounds like Jack Nicholson murdering Shelly Duval and Danny Lloyd and making splash puddles in their blood (no mention of this interpretation of the film in Room 237 btw). There’s a lot of jamaican-rasta noisewords at the beginning that sounds like Dave Chappelle speaking spanish into a megaphone when he was rocking out with John Mayer, ?uestlove and Sanchez. I imagine when God came into the studio to record this he didn’t actually get a chance to hear the final product but just figured it’d be a song about rolling up, smoking a pound and fucking some angelic bitches up in heaven. Kanye really wants croissants.

4. New Slaves

If a xylophone could be possessed by the devil and then got a chance to make a song with Kanye this is the beat it would make. Frank does a good job making people go “was that Frank? Are you sure? Nah I don’t think so but I don’t know it was way too quick to tell.” Kanye would like you to know that he’ll take your money and spend it on Alexander Wang but he’s not gonna like it. That’ll show ’em Yeezus.

5. Hold My Liquor

This is exactly what drunk driving sounds like. These are the actual sounds that are taking place while a drunk driving event occurs: Bon Iver slurs, Chief Keef doing that Master P meets drunk Frankenstein sing-rap, horns, autotune whimpering and lots and lots of loud noises. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that before this record ends, Kanye will host a seance, sacrifice someone, eat their flesh and drink their blood to absorb their energy and become even more powerful than imaginable in order to appease the illuminati grand wizards. My guess is: it’ll probably by Cyhi Da Prynce. I mean, that’s his purpose right?

6. I’m in it

This sounds like a vampire orgy taking place in that blacklight club from the movie Belly (I realize this doesn’t narrow anything because the entire movie looks like it takes place in a blacklight club but bear with me). In fact, being perfectly honest, this whole album sounds like Belly if Belly had been about vampires fucking each other the whole time. There’s a Beenie Man sample to make the song feel like a cross between the Zion partyorgy sweatporn in The Matrix Revolutions and a juice party thrown by a black greek fraternity. Kanye needs a nightlight and so do I now. I’m not fluent in swaghili… that Rosetta Stone hasn’t come in the mail yet.

7. Blood On The Leaves

Best song on the album truthfully. It’s all power, what with that marching band from hell and Kanye in full on My Chemical Romance mode. The song contains a sample of “Strange Fruit”, the Nina Simone version, which is a song about the gruesome lynchings of blacks. Kanye uses it for another song about groupies who should get abortions but now with more C-Murder references. It also sounds like he’s either murdering a puppy at the end or mourning the groupies aborted fetus in a storage closet somewhere; it’s unsettling and kinda sounds like it could be used for those sad abused puppies commercials that come on at 4 am.

8. Guilt Trip

Kanye does that thing where he’s “singing” or, more accurately, just droning and making noises out of his mouth and autotuning them while playing Sonic 2 bonus stages in the background. Kid Cudi does that “emo kid turning his notebook poems into a song for his shitty band” thing for a second. There’s a lot of loud noises meant to scare small children and grown men who write on blogs that nobody reads here too which is always fun. I’m pretty sure the devil is asking for my soul in this song but I’m not all the way sure–either way just tell him I’m using it right now–and also Kanye does that thing where he sounds really bummed guys.

9. Send it Up

This kind of sounds like the scene in Blade where Blade shows up to that club with all those strobe lights and then makes eye contact and death stares Tywin Lannister, who’s sitting on the King’s throne in the center of the club. And yes I recognize that’s not a scene in the movie but that’s still what this song sounds like, I can’t think of another description for it. Kanye’s not into helping you get your friend into the club.

10. Bound 2

This is the light at the end of the tunnel. Like if this whole album was like being locked into a rave-meets death metal-meats acid house shed for 8 hours and then they opened the door to let you out and you find out it’s now the next day and you don’t know where you are and you can’t remember how you even got there or what your name is or where your underwear is or why you’re sucking on a lollipop or why you’re handcuffed to a fat guy in a bib and a diaper and why he’s sucking on the same lollipop as you or whatever, this would be the song for you. It’s Kanye’s love song but it’s not a “love song” love song; it’s like the equivalent of a guy who’s upset that he’s in love with someone and has feelings and shit like that. It’s the disheveled grimace of love songs. If nothing else, I’m glad that me and Yeezy both enjoy Martin references.

8.5/10

Someday we’ll all be dead. Nothing makes you think about this more than having a disease. I was born with sickle cell anemia and, while my flare-ups or “crisis” thankfully don’t happen often, when they do happen it’s always hard to deal with. I spent yesterday in the emergency room and have been spending today on the “hard stuff”–percocet–while taking naps and waiting for another Mad Men about existential crisis’s or whatever the hell to come on. I’m looking at this post and seeing all the grammatical errors I’m making and just thinking “fuck it who cares”. I’ve probably thought about my own death 5 times a minute which is 3 more than usual. I’m currently wondering how long it would take for my body to be found if I kicked it right now. My guess would be about a week, but I’m not confident.  The Miami heat won the nba title on Thursday and I’m pretty convinced that had something to do with why this is happening to me right now– seriously the red wedding of basketball games.

I realize I’m babbling but fuck it I paid for the domain so I’ll do what I feel. I’m hungry but I’m also tired. The meds just kicked in so I’m feeling a little better, also there’s an ice cream sandwich in the fridge that I should totally go eat. I don’t even remember why I chose to write this or when I started writing it. Whatever, it doesn’t really matter.

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Sean “Diddy” Combs and Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg have taken time out of their busy schedules of schilling overpriced vodka and movies about TV shows about “brahs being brahs man”, respectively, to join forces to tap into another market in desperate need of corporate takeover. This market concerns water, more specifically AQUAhydrate, a much more tantalizing word instead of drinking water. This isn’t exactly the first time water has been turned into another avenue made for crass commercialism and brand building in this wonderful land of magical capitalism, but the meeting of these two titans of marketing and mediocre rap skills is something to take note of. Naturally, it was Diddy who made a statement better than anything you’ll read in the shitty blog: “When I tasted this water, I fell in love with this water. It was that simple, I really do not like the taste of the majority of waters that are on the market. I am just looking for something that makes me feel good and tastes good.”

I too hate how water always tastes so watery, WHY OH WHY CAN’T IT TASTE GOOD?! At any rate, I’m sure the rap community is steady working hard to work rhymes about recovering from a night of Ciroc and strip clubs with some energy-boosting AQUAhydrate as we speak.

via (The AV Club)

Last night the 49ers and the Ravens played each other in a dramatic game that came down to the wire. In the end the Ravens prevailed, Ray Lewis retired on a high note, Joe Flacco will be the elite convo, Colin Kapernick will have his chance again and the game will be remembered was one of the all time greats. Whatever. Here’s a bunch of Beyonce gifs from last night.

 

There are people who love her and people who REALLY love her; there are also people who hate her and people who REALLY hate her. Both extremes are silly. However, I will say this: She’s the greatest PERFORMER of OUR generation (we can talk about “of all time” or “alive” later) and you got to give her her credit. She doesn’t have the range or the vocal chops of Whitney and others, she isn’t MJ or even James Brown, but she is electrifying. The most worthwhile negative opinion of her is that she doesn’t come off as human but instead as a brand, a robot or a cyborg. Fair enough, but in a world where we have twitter, instagram, facebook, tumblr, comment sections on websites, personal blogs and the aftermath of spending 8 years with a president we all “wanted to get a beer with”, let me be the first to say that being human is overrated and last night Beyonce proved why robots are still cooler.

Time keeps moving. It just keeps going–like a freight train headed for a deadly, explosive collision. 2012 was not my best year–most of it sucked actually–but that’s alright, most years aren’t my best years. In fact, out of all the years that ever were, most haven’t been favorable to me. At any rate, I have the time to delve into some shit to distract me from the ever approaching, crippling onset of severe depression that is real life. Let me not be the cynical asshole of the party for once, let’s delve into something much less gloomy.

I think the most revelatory moments for me this year involved realizing how much I miss my family and also how much I no longer feel too strongly about hip-hop music. It was a pretty seamless shift to be honest, listening to so much of any kind of music over and over would make anyone go crazy. Yeah, there’s a lot of variety and all types of unique artists out there but after awhile it all becomes of blur of noise over the same exact 808. So while I’m quick to state that Kendrick Lamar’s chilling portrait of Compton life Good Kid, m.A.A.d City is one of the best records made this year and one of the best rap records I’ve head in a long time, that’s not really saying much. I’ve listened to lots of rap records in the past few years and I don’t remember much about most of them–even the ones I liked. It’s not their fault, it’s the generation we live in. Music has become disposable… in all genres yes, but rap has been affected the most. So while Big Boi, Killer Mike, Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson had solid releases, it’s hard to fathom me remembering much about them a year-plus from now (Joey maybe).

On the whole, some of the best music I heard this year wasn’t from this year… and the stuff that was from this year are too sparse or obscure. As far as full albums go, it was a pretty average year. Jessie Ware, Fiona Apple, Kendrick Lamar (as mentioned above) and How To Dress Well made highly enjoyable music this year. On the R&B front, only 4 acts stick out in my mind as worth discussing–Frank Ocean, Miguel, Solange and D’angelo. Miguel had a strong return with his second album Kaleidoscope Dream; an album that continues to grow on me with each passing day. D’angelo gets a shout-out for the simple fact that his return to performing for fans and audiences was perfect–because it was on his own terms. He didn’t have to parade himself half-naked to a gaggle of people who only give a shit about one song of his; he went out there, brought the funk and catered to his own style. I’ll be forever jealous for never getting the chance to see it this year. Then we get to Frank Ocean and Solange, a pair I lump together because they both made two of the most buzzworthy releases in R&B. Truth be told, I will give Frankie his credit. Channel Orange was one of the best albums of the year. That being said, personally, it didn’t do much for me. I recognize it’s good, soulful, passionate and experimental enough to separate it from anything else released this year–it just didn’t affect me like it probably should’ve. Now if I were to pick my favorite R&B record this year, it would have to be the baby Knowles True EP. Before you start, I’m not trying to be a contrarian. I genuinely like Solange a lot and to compare her to her sister musically would be silly–inevitable–but silly. Beyonce’ will always be the Cheerleader Summa Cum Laude Prom Queen of music but Solange is like the black sheep sister who goes to that art school across the street, the one who got you into all your favorite obscure bands and movies that you’ll never convince to marry you because “that’s just not her style”. This just so happens to be my type of girl.

Movies were better this year than last, even the most mundane-seeming had its enjoyable moments (s/o to Premium Rush). Movies like The Avengers proved you can still have a fun, light-hearted superhero movie and it will be just as great as the super-serious new dark tone everyone wants to turn their comic book movies into. Speaking of which, despite the fact Christopher Nolan seemed to be exhausted after Inception and just went into auto-pilot and completely phoned it in with The Dark Knight Rises, once you chose to ignore its plot holes and decided against taking it as seriously as it begs you too, you find that it still makes for a grandiose yet fun movie. Tom Hardy as Bane will forever be the second best idea followed closely after Bane having that voice of his. Despite not getting to see The Masterduring its theatrical run, its divisiveness doesn’t surprise me. Paul Thomas Anderson has slowly but surely found himself turning into a new sort-of Stanley Kubrick, in the sense that they both made films in order to derive some sort of specific reaction–be it positive or negative. To me, I always figured The Master would be the Synecdoche, New York of this year. A movie too chaotic to just be discarded. It had to be dissected and deciphered by anyone who watched it, whether they hated it or not. Speaking of divisiveness, the two biggest harborer of critical commentary came at the end of the year. Zero Dark Thirty, while being a critic favorite, incited controversy about its subject matter (the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden) from both the conservative and liberal sides of the aisle–much the same way the director, Kathryn Bigelow, received the same type of controversy for The Hurt Locker. Then there’s Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western set during slavery. As you can imagine, the film has garnered its own share of animosity for its historical inaccuracy and it’s overall depiction of slavery. Basically, Quentin Tarantino is facing controversy for being Quentin Tarantino… you know, the same guy who did the exact same thing with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in Inglorious Basterds. This then leaves me thinking, since not much was really said about that movie but a lot is being said about this one, I can only assume one of three things is happening: 1) nobody’s ever heard of Quentin Tarantino 2) a bunch of people are too in their feelings about the idea of using slavery as a backdrop for a story about a black bounty hunter killing slave masters rather than it being some overblown history lesson or 3) the subject hits a little too close to home here in America. At any rate, the movie I enjoyed the most this year had to be Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s finest movie since The Royal Tenenbaums. From the intense attention to detail to the color scheme and the character studies of young love and adult insecurities, it was classic Anderson. Anderson’s schtick may have lost some of its luster, but he still knows how to put together a wonderfully ecstatic indie faux-fairy tale.

Television continue to ride its golden-era out, with some of the best seasons of some of the most unique shows. 30 rock, after having slump season after slump season, went all out for the first half of its shortened final season; proving to be just as irreverent, tightly constructed and hilarious as it’s always been. Community experienced controversy after controversy, with the departure of showrunner Dan Harmon and the eventual departure of Chevy Chase, but still managed to have another wonderful and imaginative season–a season that served as a fitting end to Harmon’s tenure. Meanwhile, Parks & Recreation continued to be the best show on NBC’s (mostly) stellar Thursday night block.  Louie C.K.’s boundary-pushing character expose continues to be art disguised as comedy. Louie has almost perfected the act of making its audience just as unsure about things as Louis C.K. himself seems in each episode, while also challenging the notion of success and, as always, the bitter fight between happiness and depression. Speaking of which, Mad Men produced one of its most divisive seasons after being gone for 2 years. I fell on the camp that loved this season, a season which took the characters to dark places–in both reality and within themselves. If one word could be applied to this season, it would be worth. The worth of your soul, the worth of a spouse and the worth of self were all regular questions implied in episode after episode. Maybe that’s why I like it so much, the question of worth makes a regular appearance in my life as well. Speaking of the worth of souls, Breaking Bad continued to be the best thing on television. With an 8 episode half-season, Breaking Bad packed in as much as it could before its eventual finale in 2013; at times it proved hit or miss but when it hit it hit hard, providing some of the best television seen this year–including the gut-wrenching end to “Dead Freight”. The resolution to Breaking Bad in 2013 already makes that year awesome in my book, but the prospect of no more new episodes is a bad omen for 2014.

2012, much like real life, was uneven and maybe in the long run won’t be much to remember. Eventually nostalgia will be kind to it–like it is to every year, no matter how shitty. For me, it will be the year I got pushed to my absolute limit and came out stronger… but still not strong enough. It was the year I needed the best in entertainment to take me away from the life I was living and make me happy to be alive. It didn’t always succeed but it had a pretty good batting average. Here’s to 2013, let’s hope it’s a good one.

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possible things said during this meeting of the titans:

GUY:

“I’M TELLING YOU MAN YOU SHOULD GROW ONE OF THESE BITCHIN’ GOATEES.”

I KNOW BLEACHED SPIKED HAIR IS OUT, BUT I’M BRINGING IT BACK. FULL THROTTLE.”

“JUST BETWEEN YOU AND ME, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING EITHER.

“YOU THINK YOU COULD SIGN MY DEGRASSI DVDS?”

 

DRAKE:

“Just between you and me, do you think a girl would like my meal?”

“Listen, I know what it feels like to get hammered by writers and bloggers too”

“You gon’ hype me up and make me sauté some mushrooms like that, nooooo….”

“You think you could sign my flame pattern sweater after this?” 

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