Best of 2013...In Movies

Monday, December 30, 2013

For a self proclaimed pop culture addict such as myself, there’s been so much to love about 2013. Over the past few weeks I’ve created lists of my favorite music and television, and have added countless albums, shows, and movies to the ever growing cue of shit to pay attention to. And I do believe I saved the best for last. I jokingly use the phrase “cinematic adventure” with my friends, (mostly because it drives Estevan crazy,) but truly, it’s the most apt description in my mind. For a few short hours you can escape the outside world, slip into a dark room, lean back in a comfy chair (our new theater has recliners thus I’m never leaving,) and lose yourself in a story. I can’t say that I saw even a quarter of what came out, and I know that I’m missing some stellar pieces of cinema, (I still haven’t seen The Spectacular Now and Before Midnight has been sitting next to my dvd player for weeks now,) but I tried to choose some of the things that I saw that really reached stuck in my mind throughout the year. Here are a few of my recommendation…

** click through the link to see a preview**

My straight up faves… 

Nebraska Just before viewing Payne’s latest film, I overheard my local indie movie theater telling a patron “The reason you didn’t like this movie is because you’re under 30.” An apt summation, in that this film isn’t necessarily for everyone. But those people are idiots. Nebraska is heartfelt and hilarious, sad and serene, portraying an all too familiar picture of small Midwestern towns and the people within them in startlingly beautiful tones of black, white, and all the grey that lies between.

 In A World In A World is a smart, charming comedy about a young woman’s struggles in the male dominated ‘hollywood’ world of voiceover artists. To say that I loved this movie is an understatement. Ladies, go watch this now.

Dallas Buyers Club In this film about a rough living Texas electrician/bull rider who contracts AIDS during its early stages, it’s true that in some cases, it’s all about the ride. At its start, it’s difficult to find the humanity in the increasingly unlikable lead, which makes Woodroof’s careening and none-too-pure path towards not only his own survival, but in an understanding and empathy of those whom he had earlier reviled, all the more riveting.

 Frances Ha We are often told that our twenties are the time in which we decide on the “final version” of ourselves. So what happens when you’re an adult who struggles with adulthood? It’s the clarion call of our generation, and very much the thesis of Baumbach’s latest film. Frances is flighty, exuberant, irritating, and often cringe-worthy, with actress Greta Gerwig at the lead, simply magic.

 The Way, Way Back Start of a description with “A coming of age story…” and you will immediately catch me hook line and sinker. Which is why The Way, Way Back is just another movie that was pretty much made for me to love. Duncan, an introverted and awkward 14 year old, finds himself through an unexpected friend while working the summer at a seaside water park. Definitely don’t pass up this lovely, nostalgic, little flick.

 It was good, and I might have hated it... 

 The Wolf of Wall Street I’m rarely torn when asked my opinion. On anything. (Hey I’m one opinionated lady.) Then why am I still struggling with my feelings about this movie? The acting was superb. (Seriously I’ve never seen Jonah Hill in a better role.) I laughed out loud. I was fully engaged and thoroughly entertained for the entirety of the (albeit too long,) three hour film. And all that being said, I can’t bring myself to tell anyone I liked it. I was uncomfortable with the life that was being portrayed onscreen. I found myself thinking that instead of being a cautionary tale of greed and substance abuse, this movie seemed to glorify, and might I say, even come across as inspirational to the next round of yuppies to take their place on the Wall. Can I give credit to those who made it? Absolutely. But do I want to see it again? Nope.

 Because true stories are important too… 

 Blackfish In this riveting and often emotionally wrenching documentary, Blackfish questions the justifications of keeping highly intelligent mammals in confinement for our entertainment. While it will definitely shatter all of those loving childhood dreams of being a marine biologist, (just me?) this film helps to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. You’ll never buy another ticket to SeaWorld again. 

The Midwest doesn’t get everything immediately (but I’m pretty positive that I’ll love these)… 

Inside Llewyn Davis 


12 Years A Slave 

And because sometimes I’m just a hater, the worst movies I saw this year… 

Red 2 

Ass Backwards

Safe Haven

:: 107 ::

Friday, December 27, 2013

* The Bloggess and I share a love of inappropriate-ness and taxidermy, and in the spirit of loving her (and loving calendars more than someone probably should,) you should check out her 2014 calendar for sale.

Christian Metzler's Christmas photos crack me up.

* This made me laugh far harder than it should. I hope I get an awesome memorial like it when I die.

* This is the exact sentiment of my cat. She is evil.

* This note to the neighbors is awesome.

* This is the cutest thing you will see today.

*This is old, but so awesome. The promotional materials of a Wes Anderson film festival.

* I only recently heard the entire story about Jay Z's Picasso Baby music video/public art piece. I think he's a genius.

* Cinema Studio makes the COOLEST movie inspired prints. This Stand By Me print is magic.


* This is why I love the Avetts.

♥ Links Loved ♥ 

* What it's like being an unmarried woman over 30. (Pretty sweet actually.)

* Slate supporting my opinion that Inside Llewyn Davis is possibly the greatest movie ever...

* Hahaha apparently girls dress a lot like Hans Solo...

* 7 Privileges children have that should belong to college students.

* The coolest science of 2013 in gifs.

Best of 2013... in Television

Monday, December 23, 2013

Best of lists tend to be pretty simple for me... I take a list of what came out this year, highlight everything I saw, and rank them. As I said last week when discussing my favorite music of 2013, I picked with the songs and albums that stuck with me throughout the year, that I played over and over again.  But how do you approach the gargantuan and ever changing medium of TV?  I'm admittedly more of a watch-at-my-own-pace television subscriber, which made Netflix and HBO Go my new best friends, and I'm sadly behind on some of the most talked about television of the year, (Breaking Bad is perpetually on my I'll catch up soon list.)  

With all that in mind, I decided to approach this list a bit differently... identifying not only my favorite shows, but moments, episodes, and even skits.  I'd love to hear what were your favorites of the year as well, (so that I can add them to my giant Netflix cue of course!) xoxo Fearsy

Best Comedy...  Orange Is the New Black
Everything about this comedy speaks to what I love.  Strong women, complex relationships, and the ability to binge watching it for 10 hours straight without stopping But the real draw of OITNB is in the storytelling.  We start off with these notions of the women making up the prison population as being one thing, yet as we learn more of their past, experience them in their present, you begin to see each individual character in a new light.  Did Alex really rat Piper out? Is Larry that great a guy to begin with? Why the hell is Red in prison anyway?  One thing is for sure, I can't wait to find out more. 

 Best Drama...  Sons of Anarchy
If you'd have asked me at the end of last season whether I'd be watching SOA this season I would have been doubtful.  I've been cult-watching it since the very beginning, but with an increasingly violent (and dare I say fucked up,) storyline, I wasn't sure I could handle more of what Kurt Sutter was putting out there.  (I'm still reeling from Opie's final episode. I love you Opie.) But I stuck with it.  And it was still violent.  Like holy shit I'll never look at washing dishes the same way... but I loved it.  So often we see shows surrounding a male antihero (Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, etc,) with women merely filling in the complicated background, but this season of SOA dares to suggest that these formerly "background" women may be actually playing the most complex and influential roles of all. With the understanding that this isn't a show for the kiddies... I highly suggest you start watching.

Outstanding Performance... Ricky Gervais in Derek
It would have been easy for Gervais to go his usual biting and hilarious way in his new series Derek.  The show follows Derek, an kind yet socially awkward man working at an eldercare facility in the UK.  Gervais plays Derek to the very edge, with his ticks, gait, and simple nature bringing out questions of autism or even a mental disability to mind at first.  But the answer, (while Gervais has staunchly denied any disabilities,) is that it doesn't matter.  Derek is a character that in his sweetness, his simplicity, and his sentimentality, simply melts your heart. In Derek, Gervais explores our treatment of the elderly, what it means to grow old, be lonely, and be different.  It's loveliness will simply break your heart, and I truly believe it's one of Gervais' greater achievements.

I Know Its Coming and I'm Still Upset... The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones (SPOILER ALERT)
Like many of my fellow GoT addicts, watching the penultimate episode of Season 3 of GoT was an exercise in agony. In a series/show that spares no character, I found myself holding my breath in anticipation of the betrayal and murder of a whole slue of our favorite characters. George R.R. Martin knows just how to break my heart.  

 Best TV Romance... Nick & Jess in New Girl
I just started watching New Girl this year, and I can't believe what I was missing.  This show makes me laugh every time, contributed to my friends and I having a new drinking game (helloooo True Americans,) influences me to dress like a Disney character, and has made me a fanatic lover of Jake Johnson.  He is my cats meow y'all.  I'm obsessed with Nick and Jess' relationship in all of it's quirky goodness and FOX, I will send a bag of dog poop to you if you break them up.  A lot of dog poop. Don't test me.  

Favorite Guilty Pleasure... Sharknado
Because. C'mon. It's a tornado. Made of sharks.

 Best Skit... Moet & Chandon Champagne
If you want to know the one piece of pop culture that universally affected my friend group, it was definitely former porn stars trying to sell stuff on SNL.  Thanks Champagne! was the catchphrase that we never tired of saying. Because other champagnes are too 'spensive.

Sayonara muchachos. 

:: 106 ::

Friday, December 20, 2013

* This had me laughing all day...

* Ahh Paul Rudd.

* This will be the prettiest garland...

* The inside of this car makes me SO happy

*This family's video has been everywhere because it is AWESOME.

* Does anyone know where I can buy this print?

♥ Links Loved ♥ 

* Inner monologue of shopping at Target

Best of 2013... in Music

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 was such an awesome in music y'all. This year I decided to take a different approach to my to 10 albums, really trying to hone out the albums that took me through the year, were always running through my heard, and got plum worn out in the CD player of my Jeep.  It was definitely a pleasant surprise to see my list forming around such powerful and diverse singers almost ALL of which were women... guess I was feeling some girl power this year.  These are the albums and songs that really moved me this year and I hope that you might find playing in your own earbuds throughout 2014 and beyond...

// Albums //

The Lone Bellow The Lone Bellow

Shovels & Rope O Be Joyful

 Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer Different Park

Sara Bareilles The Blessed Unrest

Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack

Lorde Pure Heroine

Tegan & Sara Heartthrob

The Avett Brothers  Magpie and the Dandelion

 Josh Ritter The Best In It’s Tracks

Josh Ritter - Evil Eye (Official Music Video) from Josh Ritter on Vimeo.

Bombino Nomad 

// Songs //
The Wire HAIM // Retrograde James Blake // I Don’t Know How Best Coast // Tom Ford Jay Z // Open Ryhe // Fuckin Problems A$AP Rocky // New Slaves Kanye West // Ohio Patty Griffin // Flawless Beyonce // Rap God Eminem // San Fransisco Foxygen // Diane Young Vampire Weekend // You Can't Be Told Valerie June // 

:: 105 ::

Friday, December 13, 2013

* Jones Design Co is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs to browse mostly because homegirl has an impeccable taste for decorating. On top of that, she's a pretty talented watercolorist, I love her seasonal essentials prints like this...(and you can download it on her website!)

* Who doesn't know who Amy Poehler is? I would have died of joy if this happened to me.

*Jee Young Lee's dream photos are so beautiful. Go here to see a complete collection. (You won't regret it.)

* Oh goodness there's a parody trailer for Love Actually 2 that just made me laugh.  You're welcome.

♥ Links Loved ♥ 

* Did you know that both the Grammy & Golden Globe noms are out? It's like Christmas early for me!

* Planet Money has been doing an excellent podcast series following the creation of their Planet Money T Shirts from cotton plant to finished product around the world. It's so. fucking. cool! The latest installment The Afterlife of American Clothes is especially fascinating.

* So Macaulay Culkin is in a Velvet Underground cover band that changes the lyrics to relate to pizza. Check out Pizza Underground.  I love how weird this is.

* Chilean Artist Sebastian Errazuriz has created one of the coolest conceptual art pieces that I've ever heard of.  Here's 12 shoes for 12 exes.  I'm obsessed. (And kinda really want them all.)

* 7 Way Sex and the City Lied to UsHow I Learned Carrie Bradshaw was full of shit AND In Defense of Sex and the City are all great greats. (In the Defense was my favorite... won't like still love SATC.)

* Uh they're making a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie!!! I loved these books as a kid.

* Judy Bluhm and Lena Dunham together is magic.

* This dad's response to his kids insane christmas list is hilarious.

* but wait there's more... parents send in their own children's wish lists.  God I can't wait to be a parent for the pure humor aspect of life.

* This is an awesome secret santa exchange.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Reading: If you read this post on Monday you saw some of the books that I’ve been reading, (and am still finishing. Apathy, I’m looking at you.)  I used to be someone who could only read one book at a time, but lately I’ve found myself with four and five books that I’m simultaneously reading through the weeks.  I recently started Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World and am really into it.  It’s all about his explanation of some of the conspiracies and ‘out there sciences’ with scientific solutions.  Sound likes a snooze-fest I know, but Sagan really has a very poetic way of writing.  I like it very much.  I may or may not be totally am reading an old Nora in my times where I need a little relaxing.  This time I went back toBlood Brothers which is part of her very good Pagan Stone Trilogy.

Doing: So much!  Last week I officially started my new job with the city of Springfield in their Environmental Services department doing lots of really awesome Sustainability stuff and I’m totally loving it. And am TOTALLY overwhelmed most days.  On top of that, (because I’m a glutton for punishment clearly,) I have been runnin around like crazy attending holiday events and parties, not to mention making sure I have something perfect for each person on my list.  I love giving gifts!

Thinking about: My new tattoo design. I’m going in to see my man Jake to continue working on my ½ sleeve next Tuesday and I’m pumped to see what he made of my idea. Also I’m kinda freaking out about doing the inside of my arm, because my brother told me it’s the worst pain he’s ever felt.  Yikes!!

Watching: Holymotherofpearl do any of you watch Sons of Anarchy? I am literally reeling from last night’s episode!! I watch a LOT of television normally through Netflix or Hulu Plus, but SOA has really been the only show that I’m still pretty religious about catching when it’s actually on TV.  Probably because FX is kinda a douchbag cable channel and refuses to post episodes to OnDemand in a timely manner. Anyway. Sons has progressively gotten more and more hardcore with some scenes that are truly DIFFICULT to watch..ahem Opie… (my theory is that their special effects guy got a COSTCO deal on fake blood and guts. This shit is not for the faint of heart.) But it’s so good.

Listening to: The Inside Llewan Davis soundtrack.  I have been waiting forEVER for this movie to come out  (Springfield generally takes a while to get anything that isn’t Thor 3000 or whatever other giant box office movie is dominating,) so I was suuuper excited when I saw that they released the soundtrack early. And on vinyl.  SWOON.  I’m pretty crazy about folk music, so this shiz is right up my alley, but I truly think that the music, performed by amazing actors and musicians, can really speak to everyone.  I urge you to run, don’t walk, RUN to your nearest music provider and take a listen. 

Feeling thankful: My brother and his girlfriend hosted a holiday sweater party last weekend that I and four of my best pals attended and we just had the best time.  We all gathered around the fireplace for a little family photo and it seriously brings me so much joy every time I see it. (See above.) I am so thankful to have such wonderful friends all over these United States and the holiday just makes me want to fly out and give each of them the biggest squeeze. 

So, how about you? What are you up to today? Feel free to do your own "currently" post on your blog and link back in the comments for everyone to check out.

the books I read in 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

Over the past year my reading habits have been pretty sporadic. What with the new job(s), the massive amount of TV catch up I decided to take on, and the general lack of that subway time I'd always had in Boston, I didn't get to nearly the amount of books I'd like to this year. (Plus the first 5 game of thrones books took me a good 3 months to complete. sigh.) I'm pretty sure I'm going to be a bit shy of my 30 books in 2013 goal, but of those I did read,there have been some really great ones that were definitely worth sharing. Here they are:
 a feast for crows // In book 4 of Martin's Songs of Ice and Fire series we've had a chance to slow down and really focus on only about half of the characters we've all grown to know and love. By far my least favorite of the first 5...but that's kinda like saying you have a least favorite kind of chocolate. It's all pretty awesome.

god, no! // I've been a pretty huge fan of Pen & Teller since their first few episodes of Bullshit on Showtime aired as they turned their often critical, more often hilarious eye to a range of issues from aliens to diet fads to religion.  God, No is Jillette's (an out atheist,) reinterpretation of the Ten Commandments.  His books aren't for the faint of heart, the man is open about EVERYTHING, but it'll make you laugh out loud, and most of all, make you think.

 the partly cloudy patriot // Do you love history? Do you love NPR's This American Life?  Then Sarah Vowell's books are definitely made for you.  Vowell is a self proclaimed history nerd, and through her humor filled essays covers a range of historical topics, most that you think you know...but you definitely didn't know nearly that much about.

a dance with dragons // If you found yourself angry throughout the fourth GOT book about the dirty of Tyrion Lanniser, never fear, he's back.  (He's the best character in the series and I will fight you if you try to deny it.)  This book made the many many MANY hours of reading worth it, by far my favorite of the series thus far.  (Though I might kill Martin if he doesn't speed up his writing process and get me book 6.)

inferno // Robert Langdon is back, this time intwined in a crime centered on the literary Dante's Inferno. I know that Dan Brown has a lot of critics, but I've always really enjoyed his historical thrillers, oftentimes because they take you through so much history, art, and symbology. (History nerd in me I guess.) Not his best book, but definitely a fun read.

 whiskey beach // Duh, you know that you're going to see some Nora on my lists, because, come on, I love her.  I love that Nora's books have become a little more detective/thriller-y (and still full of romance and girl shit,) throughout the years.  Whiskey Beach doesn't fail to disappoint, this time following a lawyer trying to solve his ex-wife's murder (and clear his name in the scrutiny surrounding her death.)

assassination vacation //  By far my favorite Vowell book so far, assassination vacation covers the first three presidential assassinations of McKinley, Garfield, and Lincoln through a travelogue-style road trip.  I kept finding myself telling people so many facts and stories that I learned from this book, (like did you know that Lincoln's son was present for all three of the presidential assassinations? Hello bad luck charm.  This book is a must read.

american savage // Savage Love listeners unite! In his most recent memoir, Savage takes on a myriad of hot topics of the day, from bisexuality, to open marriages, universal healthcare, to dealing with his mothers death, all with the same wit humor, and humanity that we all know and love.  I cry every time I read (or hear, as the essay was also featured on This American Life,) about his mother's death and his struggle with his lack of religion. Easily the best book I read all year.

 adulting // While I wasn't expecting an actual list of steps, I was delighted to read Kelly Williams Browns' suggestions for how to become a moderately functioning adult.  So many times I was like, oh god I totally still do that.  It's a funny, easy read, and definitely a great gift for any 20-something or college graduate.

 don't worry it gets worse // Alida Nugent is another 20-something blogger writing about her struggles with becoming an adult (can you tell the place I was in this past year,) but managed to do it with such a strong, hilarious voice.  I couldn't put this book down.

 reconstructing amelia // A single mother struggles to piece together the days before her teenage daughter's death through email, texts, and social media.  A story of how far a mother will go to know the truth about the child she felt she knew so well, this book was basically begging to become a movie. (Starring Nicole Kidman sometime next year.)  This book was a fun, engaging thriller that you won't be able to put down.

 dark witch // If I actually told you how many Nora books I've read this year I would be embarrassed (hint, it's more than 12 and less than 14,) but I was de-stress reading them for second and third times so I didn't feel like they counted.  Anyways.  Roberts seems to really thrive in her trilogies (and her one quadrogy,) especially when they include Ireland and magic. Book 1 of the Dark Witch trilogy didn't fail to disappoint me, with love, magic, and of course evil in the form of a terrible man/wolf/beast thingy.  Nora, you just keep writing girl.

 every day is an atheist holiday // More of a memoir style of book this time, Jillette ties together his personal beliefs, (he's an atheist and libertarian,) with stories throughout his career, of meeting Penn, of why he thinks that Siegfriend and Roy are classy and tacky at the same time, of raising kids to think outside the box, and much more.

 the fault in our stars // The love story of a terminally ill teenage girl... I literally can't tell y'all enough. read. this. book.  You will sob like a child. But it it such a lovely, wonderful read that you'll read it in one sitting with puffy eyes and tearstained pages.

lets pretend this never happened // This was the year of the blogger book... and this was the best one. Jenny Lewis is weird. And hilarious. And had a strange dead animal filled childhood.  And should probably be my best friend.  The only way you can make this book better for yourself is to listen to the audiobook instead...because he storytelling comes ALIVE when she's narrating herself.  (Also she sings the chapter titles.)  It's a true gem.

 allegiant // The trilogy has been pretty great the whole way through, (Think dystpoian YA novel of the Hunger Games flavor.  But without the dumb love triangle that ever teen book feels the need to include.)  This book was good, but was by far my least favorite of the three.  Mostly because the ending just pissed me off.  That being said, you should probably still go out and read them all, then come back here and tell me how wrong I was about the final installment.  Or even better, agree with me.

 how to be a woman // This book was a little hit or miss with me.  Moran is definitely a talented and often funny storyteller, but while there are some really excellent chapters, (the abortion and not having kids chapters were great,) but the overall reading experience felt a little choppy.

 apathy and other small victories // I started this book because a friend told me that it was his favorite book ever.  Kinda a way more twisted office space meets Chuck Palahniuk.  I'd definitely recommend it if you enjoy the more twisted parts of literature.

 lets explore diabetes with owls // I downloaded this book as an audiobook because like Sarah Vowell, he just has such a great voice to listen to.  My friend and I listened the whole way from Nashville in the car and were in stitches the whole time. Really David Sedaris wins at everything he does.

:: 104 ::

Friday, December 06, 2013

* It's pretty amazing what Clément Beauvais can do with just water and ink...

* Speaking of amazing art, can you believe that Kyle Lambert drew this on his iPad?!

* I think that Yumiko Higuchi's embroidery is so sweet! I'd love to try making some of my own.

* I love this illustration.

* These Emojis SHOULD exist!!

♥ Links Loved ♥

* Google made an interactive map of Middle Earth...

* The Who Said It, Kanye West or Creative Director website is too funny!!

* Which Love, Actually character are you? I was Harry.

Christmas Wishlist

Thursday, December 05, 2013

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It's that time of year again when you're trying to figure out the perfect gifts for your friends and family.  I've been hounding my family and friends for weeks now to give me a list of gifts they'd like when I realized that I hadn't made one for myself!  As a kid, I would flip through the JC Penny catalogue (remember those?!) circling every pie in the sky gift I was hoping for that year, but you really find as an adult that it's so much harder!  I'm usually pretty easy as a new record or book will tickle me pink, so naturally they made the cut for my list.  I've also been thinking a lot about decorating my new place, and of course bulking up my cozy wardrobe.  What about y'all? What are you wishing for this holiday season? xoxo Fearsy