Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Best Pop Culture Favorites As According to Moi

With some inspiration from Stephen King, I asked myself this question -- Did I have a great year pop culturally speaking? I would have to say yes; and this years list includes only things I enjoyed in 2014 and that is fine. Here is a list of 15 things that made me squee with fandom. Please remember -- I am more interested in entertaining myself than in a OMG this is a great moment/statement. So let us get this ride started.

15: The book Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This was the little book that could if you are a dystopian reader. This book was highly underrated. It is a trilogy and this is the first book. Please look beyond the unfortunately inevitable comparison to The Hunger Games. Here is the book description: On desolate Mars, the protagonist, Darrow, is caught in a class system that thrives on oppression and secrecy. He is a Red, the lowest member of society, born to toil in the bowels of the planet in service to the sovereign Golds. When Darrow suffers a devastating loss and betrayal he becomes a revolutionary, taking on a dangerous role in an attempt to bring about social justice. Questions of fate, duality, and loyalty, evolve in a cruel test of war between the sons and daughters of the ruling elite. By turns brutal and heartfelt, Red Rising is nonstop action with surprising twists and unforgettable characters

14: Scarlett Johansson being a bad ass in the movies Lucy and Captain American: The Winter Solider.

13: Guardians of the Galaxy. Do I need to say anything else?

12: The episode "The Sign of Three" of Sherlock.

11: The music service app Spotify. I started using it more instead of Pandora as it has more of a selection and it has helped me find music that I haven't heard in a long time to creating mix CD's for my love and friends. If you haven't used it, give it a shot.

10: The book The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. David Mitchell weaves a story like no other writer today. Bouncing around through time, making the early 80's come to life just as easily as making the not-so-distant future terrifyingly real. The characters are what keep you reading through the endless pages. Lucky us--the ending promises to revisit many of them in the next go-around. Highly recommended to David Mitchell fans, but newbies should start with his earlier work.

9: Getting really into the Funko Pop figures to the point that I actually pre-ordered the Dancing Groot one.

8: Pausing to "look at the flowers". It happened on The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy that just speaks of the allusion from the John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men and that made my inner bookworm squee.

7: The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. This trilogy is considered to be nontraditional science fiction and how could you not enjoy these plots: The first book trails a team of women chosen (sacrificed?) for an exploration of Area X. The second investigates the aftermath of the expedition from the halls of a broken, festering government. And the third? It ties everything together, forming the crux of VanderMeer's deeply unsettling philosophical argument. If you have not read this trilogy yet, get your hands on it in 2015.

6: The complete shock that Jax Teller kills Wayne Unser on Sons of Anarchy in the second to last episode of the series. Now of course I expected Jax (Charlie Hunnam) to kill Gemma (Katey Sagal) due to the fact her lie and deceit about the murder of Tara was perpetuated by her but Jax putting a bullet in Unser (Dayton Callie), who refused to leave the two alone, turned some fans against Jax and made a bunch of us question WTF? It wasn't just the most shocking moment of the final ride, it was the most shocking moment of the entire series, at least for me.

5: I fell into the hype of the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and will say that the movie was better than the book. Maybe I should update that blog piece? I certainly get why some fans of the novel, which I am not, walked out of the theater disappointed. Movie adaptations never mesh with the way we envision characters on the page. But I will admit -- I enjoyed the adaptation put forth by David Fincher better. I loved it as a bleak account of modern love after it's curdled, as a wicked satire of cable-news scandal-mongering, and as just a good old-fashioned dark-as-hell thriller. Fincher's film managed to tease us, play with our loyalties, and sucker punch us with surprise twists most of us already knew that they were coming.

4: Something else from Sons of Anarchy -- the song "Come Join the Murder" by The White Buffalo and Forest Rangers. It was perfect as Jax found peace in death; the same way Hamlet did.

3: This isn't something that I would consider to be the best pop culture favorite but it brought to light that even though you make others laugh and smile and appear to be happy does not necessarily mean that you are and that everyone needs help -- the suicide of Robin Williams. This news came to a complete shock to everyone, including myself. I remember stepping out of my room and telling my family and the look of WHAT across their faces was the look the entire world had. If you know anyone who is suffering from mental illness, please make sure to reach out to them to make sure they are okay.

2: This was the year that staying dry was a challenge. Yes I am talking about the damn ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I did not participate as my body would have hated it due to my disorder but it was nice to see a cause go wildfire. I just hope the money raised for ALS actually got there.

And the best pop culture favorite for 2014 goes to...

1: THE BUTT. Sir Mix-a-Lot should really consider a career as a trend forecaster. The rapper was way ahead of his time when he proclaimed his love for a juicy booty in his one hit wonder "Baby Got Back,'' because 2014 will undoubtedly go down as the Year of the Backside. Jason Derulo's ''Wiggle'' encouraged big butts to shake. Meghan Trainor defied those body-image expectations with ''All About That Bass.', even though you should consider yourself beautiful regardless of your size. Nicki Minaj even sampled ''Baby Got Back'' on ''Anaconda.'', much to my smirk and smacking my head. Then there was Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's duet, ''Booty,'' in which the video was basically the U.N. Summit of Ladies With Well-Endowed Cheeks. Plus, how can we forget Charlie Hunnam revealing his rump on Sons of Anarchy a lot this year and had the Parents Television Council crying and most of the Internet cheering. But why all of this focus on the rear? It's not rocket science — we have been working our way down the body. In the '90s, boobs were huge, both literally and figuratively. We moved on to abs in the 2000s, with Britney Spears displaying her midriff whenever she had the chance. Enjoy your time in the sun, butts. Hollywood can be fickle. Maybe in 2015, legs will get a shot!

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