Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Favorite Things 2013

This year, more so than any other in recent memory, I found myself playing catch-up with last year's "best-of" that I didn't take in much from this calendar year. Basically, I haven't read, listened to or watched enough of anything to make separate lists for each ... so, here's my Top Ten Favorite Things from 2013.

1 & 2. While everyone is talking about AMC, HBO and Showtime and their popular programming, I'm interested in BBC America, which produced two of my favorite television shows this year: Orphan Black and the third season of Luther. One could not find better acting, nor more complicated and well-drawn characters. Bonus: the female characters are strong. Tatiana Maslany (playing 7 characters on Orphan Black) should have been nominated and won an Emmy, and Ruth Wilson (from Luther) is so on point as psychopath Alice Morgan, it actually makes me giddy when she shows up on screen.
3 & 4. The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell and Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. I wrote reviews of both a while back, so I won't get into it again. Simply, both are books that stay with you.

5 & 6. I have slacked the most this year in the movie department. I have seen only one movie in the theater and about a handful on DVD. My two favorite films of the year are The Way Way Back and the German film Lore. It was theatrically released in 2012, but out on DVD in 2013, so I'm counting it. Lore takes place at the end of World War II and focuses on siblings who've been abandoned by their Nazi-sympathizing parents and now must confront the harsh reality of losing a war and the propaganda they've been fed. Superb performances from a very young cast and a WWII perspective not often told. The Way Way Back also features a younger actor with potential: Liam James (in the role of Duncan). His interactions with Sam Rockwell made this movie.

7. The album that sticks out to me this year is Tomorrow's Harvest by Boards of Canada. I enjoyed many others (from artists Daft Punk, Phoenix, Local Natives, The National, Quadron, Thundercat, and Cut Copy), but this one I enjoyed the whole way through. And I got sucked in. It's ambient, but not boring.

8-11. Even though I enjoyed the above album as a whole, my favorite songs of the year were Trying to Be Cool by Phoenix, Holy by Frightened Rabbit, Diane Young by Vampire Weekend (love, love, love the ending), and Heartbreaks + Setbacks by Thundercat.