Hey folks, and welcome to 2014! A new year, a fresh start, all that jazz!
You’re going to see some changes to QRE this year. For one, we’ve added those new guys (Josh, Ryan and Tom) – they’ll have all kinds of stuff coming your way all year, so we’re not just going to be around at Halloween anymore!
There’s also a site redesign coming up soon. That’s right – your favorite entertainment website is going to have a whole new look.
Most sites are doing a 2013 retrospective, and QRE is no different. So, without further ado, here is QRE’s look back at 2013.
This has been quite a year, quite a year indeed. I’m sure everyone will have their own ideas about what the highlights may have been, but I’m gonna focus on the stuff that made my inner fanboy giggle with glee like a schoolgirl…
While fans certainly had mixed reactions to the ‘Man of Steel’ climax, there is no doubt whatsoever that Superman is back. Henry Cavill is the first live-action Supes to step out of Christopher Reeve’s shadow. I practically worship the Reeve version, so me saying this is a big deal. And hot on the heels of this success came even bigger news: a Superman/Batman movie! I had to change my shorts.
We also got ‘Thor: The Dark World’, which was good, ‘Iron Man 3′, which was, well . . . and a SHIELD TV show, which has its ups and downs, but certainly has potential.
But I’m a DC fan, so I gotta mention ‘Arrow’. This CW show was pretty darn cool last year, despite trying really hard to be like the Dark Knight movies, but this season, it has improved by leaps and bounds. They’ve really expanded the mythology and, frankly, this Green Arrow would fit in perfectly with the new DC movie universe. Which is certainly better than the DC comic universe – I hate, hate, HATE the New 52!
Disney, in their endless quest to own EVERYTHING, purchased Lucasfilm and, while the response to this news was mixed, we then learned that there were going to be NEW MOVIES. AND that the old cast was coming back!
Meanwhile, JJ Abrams cranked out another Star Trek movie. ‘Into Darkness’ has, like most nerd things, caused mixed reactions, but I think this rebooted version of classic Trek is just what the franchise needed. I admit, this movie may have owed TOO much to ‘Wrath of Khan’, but hey, Benedict Cumberbatch rocks in anything.
I have been a Whovian since the Tom Baker era and Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor of the modern series. And since Who had its 50th anniversary this year, we got loads of goodies: the 50th special, a biopic of the show’s creation and, just recently, a lovely farewell episode as Matt Smith turned over the part to Peter Capaldi. I am just stoked about Capaldi and, while I will certainly miss Smith’s Doctor, it’ll be nice for the ancient Time Lord to be played by someone older than myself again!
- HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ gave us the infamous Red Wedding, which was a shocking plot point to millions of people, none of whom apparently read.
- Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth is continuing, as the second Hobbit film continues to drag out a fairly short story.
- The second ‘Hunger Games’ flick made bank – not bad for a ‘Battle Royale’ ripoff! I’m kidding, of course(?)
- The critical and commercial failure of ‘The Host’ hopefully means no more Stephenie Meyer drivel taking up valuable theater space.
- We got another Arkham game – which is a great way to live out one’s Batman fantasies without having to put on a rubber suit (seriously, those things are stuffy).
In fact, fantasy, comic book adaptations and sci-fi seem bigger than ever. TV and movies are really embracing that fanboy dollar. Let’s face it: nerds are now the source of pop culture. Although ‘Big Bang Theory’ is still around to perpetuate old stereotypes.
Next year, we’re getting a Captain America sequel, a Spider-Man sequel, a Flash TV pilot and a new Doctor Who, the return of ‘Sherlock’ (Benedict Cumberbatch!) – and that’s just the tip of the nerd iceberg. Nerdberg? Hmm, I wonder…
I leave you with a film recommendation: ‘The Ghastly Love of Johnny X.’
It’s on Netflix and if you dig odd movies, well, this one is the cat’s pajamas. Ten years in the making, this indie flick is another highlight of 2013 that deserves an honorable mention.
Have a safe and happy New Year, boys and girls. Here’s to 2014!
My First thought was go with a movie, but there was so many bad movies this year, it makes it seem like the good ones may not have been as good as they actually were.
Instead I think my favorite 2013 moment was when they announced officially Star Wars would be getting new titles, and a company like Disney is going to be backing them. I’m not going into detail, as that requires too much time to explain myself. There are new Star Wars movies coming out?
Yeah, I’m excited as shit.
2013 had some gems in the television realm. I did not catch them all, of course, and no, I have never seen Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, so I will not be talking about them today. Yes, I have them on my list of things to watch. However, I do want to mention a couple of favorites and why I like them.
One of my personal favorite TV shows is Shameless, the American version that airs on Showtime. This show is about the Gallagher family, and they are the embodiment of dysfunction. William H. Macy is brilliant in his portrayal of alcoholic, drug-addicted Frank Gallagher, father to 6 kids and a general all-around parasite. Frank is always either at the bar, or passed out from being at the bar. His kids, as a result, are always left to fend for themselves and left holding the bag to pay all the monthly bills and buy enough food for themselves. The oldest daughter, Fiona, is a high school dropout and self-appointed mother figure for the younger kids. Lip, aka Phillip, is a genius and has unlimited potential yet would rather just get high and spend time with Karen. Ian, the next in line, is in the ROTC and clerks at a market, and hides his homosexuality from the rest of his family. Debbie is growing up much quicker than a girl needs to, she holds down summer jobs babysitting neighborhood kids and this girl showed us this past season she is not one to be trifled with. Carl is a pyromaniac, and spends most of his free time looking for things to light on fire or blow up with fireworks. Then there is the baby, Liam. He really doesn’t do much. He is a baby, after all. Joan Cusack shines with her portrayal of Sheila. This show does not hold back. It is a bit over the top at times, but there is a level of realism there that many of us can relate to. I look forward to the premiere of season 4 in two weeks.
We saw the series finale of Eastbound & Down, a brilliant show about Kenny Powers, the foul-mouthed anti-hero, a man that was once the biggest star in professional baseball. Over the course of the series we found Kenny at the darkest time of his life, baseball had forgotten him, and to paraphrase Kenny himself, he rose from the ashes like a majestic phoenix, laid waste to his enemies, and regained the glory and all the fame and riches that followed. And in the end, he showed that at his core, he cared more for the love of his children and the only woman he ever loved, and turned his back on it once and for all.
I love Arrested Development. I was hooked on this show the night it debuted on Fox way back in 2003. And then, as many of you know, it was cancelled. Years of rumors about the show being picked up floated around. Well, this year Arrested Development finally returned via Netflix, and for the first few episodes, things were a bit confusing. Only after continuing further into the season, and reaching the final episode, we can see the genius at work. A few years have passed in the world of the Bluths, and the changes to me, were great. Each episode focused on one particular Bluth (or Funke) and slowly the pieces fall into place to tell the hilarious and brilliant story. I was rather surprised to see that Michael is no longer the rock of the family and equally surprised at the antics of George Michael, who reveals how much of a Bluth he really is. I wish there had been more focus placed on Buster and Maebe, but I realize the time constraints involved with such a large cast. And come on, GOB, that guy is just hilarious. I was pleased with this season, as it left me wanting more, as a great show should.
HBO launched a wonderful new series headed by Stephen Merchant called Hello Ladies. Merchant plays Stuart Pritchard, an owner of a web design company and a man who is desperate to meet the woman of his dreams. He is socially awkward at best, and it only adds to his frustrations when his equally socially awkward and newly separated best friend Wade tags along. Stuart has a tenant, Jessica, a struggling thirty-something actress that uses what connections she has to introduce Stuart to women at his behest. Kevin Weisman portrays Kives (it rhymes with Beavis), a paraplegic that everyone but Stuart finds delightful. I really enjoyed the first season, and my favorite line of the season was during the final episode. Stuart is attending a wedding, and seated next to a pair of dreadful parents and an unruly child, and he answered his very honest answer to the mother’s question of, “What’s he like?” Check this show out if you get the chance.
Orange Is The New Black, a Netflix Original, really caught my attention late this year. The series stars Taylor Schilling as Piper Black, a rather well-to-do, newly engaged woman in her thirties that has been sentenced to fifteen months in federal prison for a crime she committed ten years prior. The plot focuses on her relationship with her new fiancee, Larry, portrayed by Jason Biggs (yes, the pie lover) and how they handle being a couple while she serves out her sentence. The problem is that Piper’s ex-girlfriend Alex (Laura Prepon of That 70′s Show), who was the partner in the crime she committed, is also serving a sentence in the same prison. The cast is large and diverse, and some great performances by Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, and Taryn Manning steal the show.
The other guys talked about movies and tv, so I’ll add just a bit on the music I dug on this past year.
Now, keep in mind, I’m not the vinyl-playing-corduroy-wearing kind of guy, so don’t be surprised if my choices seem kind of mainstream.
February saw the unannounced release of the new Fall Out Boy album, “Save Rock And Roll”. After a hiatus of a few years (they decided they were tired of the emo-pop image), they came back with some decidedly heavier music. The lead single, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)”, had some Bruce Dickenson-worthy high notes in the chorus. Featuring Big Sean (I don’t know who that is), Foxes (ditto), Courtney Love (really?) and Elton John (okay, I know him), this album says that they’re back, and they just might be able to save rock and roll. Recommended: “Death Valley” and “Save Rock and Roll”
Black Sabbath also put out a new album this year, titled “13″. Showing that even the old guys can get in on new trends, the album itself only has 8 tracks, but there are four bonus tracks that are available only on Spotify. Recommended: “Damaged Soul” and “Peace of Mind“.
My personal favorite musical highlight of 2013, however, was the new Clutch album, “Earth Rocker”. No offense to the guys in Fall Out Boy, but I’m kinda hoping Clutch are the ones to save rock and roll. I’m pretty sure Neil Fallon’s beard could do it alone. Recommended: “Earth Rocker” and “Oh, Isabella”
Earworms were no stranger in 2013. Thrift Shop, Blurred Lines, Get Lucky, What Does the Fox Say, Royals, et al. The only thing I have to say about them is I could probably go the rest of my life without hearing them again and die a happy man.
So there you have it, folks. 2013 from a QRE point of view. We hope all of you have a safe, happy 2014!