Flashing pretty lights! The year in review.

To finish off a fun year, I’d like to share my favourite pop culture moments off the year. Since I go to see so many movies, concerts, musicals, and buy so many books and CDs, picking the favourites is a challenge but here, after much deliberation, is my Top 5 of everything this year!

Top 5 songs (in no particular order)

1. Shuffle – Bombay Bicycle Club (read my review of their album here).

2. Videogames – Lana Del Ray (read my review of this song here).

3. Rolling in the Deep – Adele.

4. Hello – Martin Solveig.

5. Jumped Up Kicks – Foster the People.
Top 5 TV shows (of the ones I managed to watch anyway!)
1. Eureka.
This fantastic show is set up in a quirky town where the people who work at a top secret scientific facility all live. It’s got great characters, humour and drama and a great sense of fun!
2. Community.
Another show packed full of quirky characters (sensing a theme?) all attending Greendale Community College which is not, let’s just say, an Ivy League school. It is deliciously imaginative, pushing the boundaries of what a sitcom can be and for that reason alone, I bow before it.
3. Warehouse 13.
Yep you guessed it – more quirkiness! You can tell now that I don’t do straight laced boring police procedurals. What I like to watch though is a show about  secret agents who guard a top secret warehouse full of artefacts, all of which possess some kind of malevolent force. It’s a mix of ongoing story lines and artefact-of-the-week searches, with characters who are goofy and yet not, all at once.
4. Miranda.
I have always loved  a well-written, extremely funny British sitcom since I first laid eyes on The Good Life and To the Manor Born, and this one is right up there with them. Once again, quirky characters abound, Miranda (Miranda Hart) talks directly to the camera when needed, and the situations are absurd and yet at the same time, all so believable. I laugh often and much.
5. Big Bang Theory.
Another sitcom but this one’s US in origin and features a bunch of nerdy scientist friends living and working together. Star of the show is undoubtedly Sheldon (Jim Parsons) but he wouldn’t be anywhere near as appealing without the rest of the cast who are funny, real, and oh yeah, quirky. Like they weren’t going to be if I was watching it!
Top 5 Movies (if the title is hyperlinked then there’s a fab review of the movie by yours truly).
Somehow I managed to see three Ryan Gosling movies this year and it’s not simply because he’s GORGEOUS (the abs alone are worth the price of admission if I wanted to sound totally shallow, and I don’t mind that I do). He’s also an amazing actor, and in this movie, which is one of the best romantic comedies to come out in years, he flexes some great acting muscle, along with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore. It had intelligence, wit and charm and tackled some all too real issues.
A standout. 
Woody Allen was back in top form in this movie which featured time travel (possibly), razor-edge smart comic interplay and a script packed full of more bon mots than a top class dictionary. It was also an engagingly sweet movie that you wanted to stay a part of for as long as possible. I came out of this with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

This is not the movie for everyone, I’ll admit. The drama unfolds at a very slow boil until it breaks out into furious but in context violence before settling back to a simmer. But it explores the underbelly world of crime and poverty in Los Angeles with dazzling mastery, and of course Ryan Gosling, as always was superb.
4. Beginners

Imagine finding out that your dad is gay only weeks after your mother has died, and then watching your father embrace his new life with an enthusiasm you can’t muster for your own life. This is what happens to Oliver (Ewan McGregor) who looks on as his father Hal lives life with a fervour that as they draw closer finally draws Oliver out of his shell. It’s a quirky indie movie but with lots of heart and soul.

5. The Help

What an inspiring movie. It tells the story of the awakening among African-American maids in the 1960s in Alabama when they slowly realised, thanks to interviews by the daughter of one of the rich families in town who chose to profile their lives and write about them, that they have rights. It was rich, deep, and beautifully filmed and acted. A joy to watch which gives you much to ponder.

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