Thursday, December 12, 2013

Best {Entertainment} of 2013

Apparently, I now blog only on Thursdays.

I have like forty seven Best of 2013 posts going in my head. I'm pretty damn bored with everyone but Daisy gone all day. She's boring. Read, play trains, push her on the swing, repeat. That's ALL she ever wants to do. Not that Warren was stimulating my mind, but at leas they'd play together and leave me alone to play on the computer.

So while I'm pushing her for the millionth time in the cold wet 'garden', I'm mentally preparing literally DOZENS of lists. You know I love a good list. There's my favorite movies, my favorite songs, and the Best of 2012, just to name a few.

The problem always...I can NOT pick a number one anything. Except book. But barely. Every time I pick one, I immediately change my mind and feel awful and change my mind. It's a curse, I swear to God. It's debilitating.  But I digress.

So let's just dive right in, shall we? I'm losing precious dinner-simmering-kids-not-killing-each-other-yet moments here.

Best Book of 2013:

Where'd You Go, Bernadette. Hands down. No, I haven't reviewed it here yet. I can't. I just can't do it. A lot of people (??) found this book to be hilarious. I found it to be completely, soul baringly (yes, that's a word), gut wrenchingly, exquisitely, harrowingly, TRUE.  Never before in all my years and years and YEARS (thanks so much Terri for instilling this love of reading in me- not a single day of my life goes by where I'm not ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for that) Never before have I ever encountered a fictional female character who I can SOOOOOOOO relate to.

I wept, many many MANY times while reading this book. If you haven't read it, or you're a heartless bitch who just DOESN'T understand the horror of having to interact with other human beings, we are no longer friends. This book...I don't know. It was just so fucking good. When she hits her knees and tells God she'll trade the rest of her miracles for her baby's life...oh my word.  Fuck that's good writing. It's just so good. SO GOOD.

And I think maybe it was supposed to have the opposite effect, but if I were rich, I'd do everything Bernadette does. Creepy old house? Personal assistant over the internet so I don't have to interact with regular people OR the assistant? YES PLEASE.

Man I loved that book. Wanna know the other part that really got to me? When whoever is writing about her, doing research or whatever, and he comments that she offered her design services at the school auction to build a treehouse and no one bid. NO ONE BID.

GAAAAAH. I'm crying even writing this. SO GOOD. Best Book of 2013, no contest. Not even sure it came out this year, but my rule for my pretend lists are that the 'best of' things are just things that I discovered this year.

Had I not read this masterpiece this year, a few other books might have had a fighting chance for Best Of status, namely The Silent Land (my lame review here, my favorite blogger's much better review here) and The Night Circus (once again, mine here, her much better one here) and of course, the Silo Saga.

Best Movie(s) of 2013:

This was slightly harder. I came up with a tie between Rush and Star Trek.

Although I guess if I had to chose, gun to the head, I'd go with Rush.

Star Trek was like, the movie for people who love movies.  And I really do love movies. Good plot, fun special effects, lots of explosions, excitement, tenderness, Chris Pine, it was fab.  It was everything you expect form a JJ Abrams movie. And I'm not even a Star Trek person, I have no idea about any of the stories or anything like that. Never seen the show, and the only other movie I've seen is the first JJ Abrams one. So if you haven't seen this because you're not a Star Trek nerd, don't worry about it. It's just a fantastic movie.

And Rush....Rush was so good. SO GOOD.  Obviously, I don't know anything about racing or even cars in general. And yes, Chris Hemsworth was basically playing Thor but without the costume. But it was just SO GOOD. The other guy was absolutely one hundred percent BRILLIANT. I was joking around with Angela that I'm probably the only girl in the entire world who watched that movie and had a thing for the Niki Lauder guy instead of Thor, but there you go. He was so smart, and clever, and honest about the fact that he was a dick because he wanted to win. I just really GOT him, you know? When he was like "I'm okay with the twenty percent risk, but not one single percent more" I just really got it. Really. I feel that way too.  I like definitive lines, clear cut answers, that sort of thing. You'd think I'd be better at math, right?

And anyway, really, has Ron Howard ever made a movie that wasn't stellar?

And really, let's throw World War Z in there for good measure.

Those fucking zombies were FAST, which I like so much more than the Walking Dead ones. In the Passage, the vampires are fast, so I expect my monsters to just be fast. And Mirelle Enos? Hello, I love her. I LOVE HER. I'd watch a movie where she sits in a chair and eats a sandwich. And I'm not the world's biggest Brad Pitt fan, but when he's in a good role, he really BRINGS it, you know? Hello, Twelve Monkeys. EW gave it a crap rating (they give ALL movies crap rating, unless it's some low budget indie thing that no one understands but everyone pretends to get and love) but honestly, there wasn't a single scene in the entire movie that I didn't love. And the part where they're all sneaking through the cdc type building in Wales? HOLY SHIT. And the part where he cuts that girl's arm off? HOT DAMN. Speaking of which, that girl was pretty rad. She stole every single scene she was in.

Songs I Couldn't Get Enough of in 2013:

Hmm. This year sort of sucked for me for music. They don't have pandora here, so I switched to spotify, which is totally awesome because you can listen to the exact song or album you want and save playlists and you basically never have to buy music from iTunes because it's ALL there, but it sucks because the radio function isn't anything to write home about. No matter what station I pick or how many thumbs up or down I give, I never can seem to get a station that's perfect. The Atlantic City one I have is almost good enough, but it keeps playing all these Cat Steven's songs!!! What?!?!

Anyway, so I didn't here much in the way of new music. We sort of just listen to the Killers, Mumford, and the Lumineers around the house, with Monsters and Men thrown in for good measure. I'd say, easily, that Monsters and Men has been my personal favorite album of the year, but it sort of feels like cheating because it was one of my faves last year too.

Sigh. Lists can be hard, no?

Anyway, one new (to me) song that I can't seem to get enough of this year was Wake Up by All Sons and Daughters. I first heard it after reading this post from Dear Baby and I was hooked. (As a side note, most of those suggestions are pretty good.)

My next played-it-a-lot song, I just found a few weeks ago. They used his song Oats in the Water at the end of a Walking Dead episode, (worth a click for the stills of Daryl) and I knew it was him from a few of Bridget's playlists, so I hunted around and then found this, the Wolves. So great.

One more great one, I went to see Elysium and they had this video game thing commercial on before the previews, and they used this song and I LOVED it.
Oh and one more, from the first season of Fringe, when Olivia is about to get busy with Uncle Miles from Revolution. (JJ Abrams really has a thing for using the same actors EVERYWHERE) and I think it's on the Parenthood soundtrack too, which I love. Although I've never actually watched the show. Shrug.
So there you go. Apparently, I only listen to 'new' songs if I hear them on tv first. And I'm okay with that.

Speaking of tv, I can't even start to put all the tv I've watched this year into proper lists. But for you, I'm gonna give it a go.

Best TV of 2013:
I mean, this was The Year Jennifer Watched Every Single TV Show Ever Invented. Or almost. I mean, I started with Dexter, then did Sons of Anarchy, Orange is the New Black, the phenomenal third season of the Killing, Under the Dome, Orphan Black, and finally now we're on Fringe. Plus my regular non binges of Game of Thones and Elementary and Walking Dead. Side note, having to watch TV in real time SUCKS.

I can't even pick the best one. I'll have to go with Fringe, but we're only halfway thru the final season and it might end up sucking. Although I can't imagine that. I love every single thing about this show, and it almost breaks my heart to say it...but I think it's slightly better than X Files. Which isn't even fair to say because OBVIOUSLY they pull a LOT from X Files. So it wouldn't be as awesome if X Files hadn't been so perfect, you know what I mean?

I really loved Sons until season four kinda jumped the shark and then Jax agreed to do Fifty Shades of Grey.  Or Gray? Unsure. In addition to that snafu, they don't have season five on Netflix, and I'm not interested enough to pay for it yet. If that gives you any clue as to how much I didn't like season four.

But seasons one two and three were primo entertainment.


Dexter.  OHHHHHHHHHH, Dexter. I started watching Dexter the day we moved in to this house. We didn't have cable or wifi, but I had 3G on my little phone, and Dexter was on netflix, so I dove in. I believe that season one and two of Dexter are basically twenty four of the best hours ever recorded on tv EVER. SO GOOD. And every single scene with Trinity BLEW MY MIND. But as it progressed, Rita really changed, which irked me and I was glad when she died, but I didn't really start to not love the show until the disaster that was season eight. First of all, why did Deb kill Laguerta? Why not just let Dexter do it? That just seemed silly. Then she was all coked out, plus that ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS Dr Vogel story (I'm sorry, WHAT THE FUCK?!?!) and then Just no. The ONLY thing I cared about was that Dexter NOT kill Angel. And he didn't. So that was nice. I thought the scenes where Deb died were amazingly well done. I especially liked how it happened off camera, Dexter walks in and Joey has to tell him what happened.  Usually on TV, we stay with the action, but in real life, in real hospitals, things happen when the visitors aren't there. I dunno, I just thought it was really well done.

I'm not even going to waste ink on the ending.

I thought Orange is the New Black was as good as everyone said it was going to be, but I don't really LOVE the actress who plays Piper. I do love the crazy Jesus lady who HELLO is actually in there because she shot up her abortion nurse AFTER SHE GOT AN ABORTION and Crazy Eyes and Tastee and Red (but I'm furious with her, duh) and Piper's roommate, who's name I cannot seem to remember. So if we could just focus on all of them for season two and leave Piper in the background, that would be great.

However, for the record, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and pick Orphan Black as my fave show of the year. Maybe. I loved the story (except for the tail part) and that girl playing ALL OF THE CLONES? HOLY SHIT. She can ACT. I was texting Angela while I watched the finale and MAN ALIVE, the hits just kept coming!!!  Alison basically killed her neighbor!!! Who wasn't even her handler!!! The Ukrainian killed their mama!!! Sarah (might have) killed the Ukrainian!!! Mrs S was involved in the cloning!!! The nerdy dreadlocked one has TB or something!!! They're all patented!!! Which is beyond ridiculous because how do you patent something that is so unbelievably illegal but still I love it!!!!

WOW.  Such a great show.

However, my favorite bit of TV for the year would be, hands down, the scenes in Walking Dead where Merle is back with our gang. His lines with Michone? So great. And oh my fucking God, when he's a zombie and Daryl has to put him down!?!?! GET OUT OF TOWN!!!! That was just such fucking badass writing ya'll!!! SO GOOD!!! I believe with all my heart that when this show finally calls it quits, I will be able to say, without any reservations, that Walking Dead was the Greatest Show Ever Written.

So yeah. There you go. The best entertainment of 2013.

Engelbrecht out.


  1. Wow...why do I not know this book Where'd You Go, Bernadette? Now I have to go get it! I think I must not watch much television...I've never watched one episode of ANY of the above mentioned shows. I pretty much watch ESPN. All the time. If I need something to fall asleep to...HGTV. Right to sleep. I think I have issues. Although, come to think of it...I have watched a few episodes of Reign and it's okay.

    Hey if you go to Prague and can pick up a know where to send it!

  2. I really, really need to read Where'd You Go, Bernadette? You may have convinced me to buy it instead of waiting for the library, which I virtually never do ;)

    1. And also, thanks for the book review shout outs!

  3. I know I'm sooo late to this post but I decided to stick around for a while after reading your review on The Husband's Secret. I LOVE FRINGE! Have you finished it yet? Peter and Walter are the best father/son on TV in the history of fathers and sons ever! I bawled like a baby after watching the finale :'( x