Fernando's Favorite Movies of 2012

I am not a huge fan of lists, so this is not a top 5. The following movies are the movies that I enjoyed the most in each respective genre. I have split up the genres into Comic Book, Drama, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, and Action. This year was full of great movies and some moves that could be in multiple genres, but I chose the best fit for each category. 

Best Comic Book Movie

Marvel's The Avengers was hands down the best comic book movie of the year. This year had some good choices. The Dark Knight and The Amazing Spider-Man were both noteworthy. However, The Avengers manages to accomplish the perfect balance of fanboy lip service and general audience acceptance. This delicate balance was combined with Joss Weadon's gift of ensemble cast writing. The Avengers is action packed, filled with smart dialoged, and has a plot that never drags and most importantly: Hullk SMASH. 

Best Drama Movie

I called it long ago when I saw the trailer for Steven Speilberg's Lincoln. Lincoln did not disappoint. It was a flawless Daniel Day Lewis performance and a supporting cast that helps breathe life into this period movie. Spielberg paints a picture that few other directors would have been able to capture. Lincoln is a movie that will live on as a staple of both Abraham Lincoln's life and the end of the Civil War. 

Best Sci-fi Movie

Looper was a huge surprise that should not have been. Looper is a smart time travel movie that doesn’t ignore the viewer's intelligence. This movie seems like it would be action packed, and it is, but the action is not the main draw-the plot and the two heroes are. Both Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis deliver fantastic performances that help bring the audience into this world, where time travel is used to kill the mob’s garbage. 

Best Supernatural Movie

Another surprise this year was Chronicle. This low budget movie demonstrates that a good plot does not need a big budget. The story of high school acceptance told though the lens of three high school boys who get supernatural powers shows the audience the dangers of misused power and the addiction that comes from that. This movie manages to blend high school angst, sharp supernatural effects and action without sacrificing story. 

Best Action Movie

Skyfall - Daniel Craig has been rebuilding the Bond legacy and this movie culminates all those efforts. Skyfall brings back the iconic James Bond character without all of the cheese and laughable action sequences that plague many of the other Bond movies. In the end the audience is left with a hero that is flawed, aged, and magnanithemous. I hope that the James Bond movies to come employ even half of the intelligence, action and humanity that was in this one. 

Leslie's Top Television Shows of 2012 (part 2)

Yesterday I gave out a series of “rewards” for television shows that caught my eye either for good or bad reasons in 2012. Today you get my list of favorite shows for the year. Putting this list together was kind of hard as my go-tos like Supernatural and Glee became a bit of a mess last year while others like Chuck ended. So here is my shortened list of favorite shows from 2012.

Favorite Shows of 2012

These are my sad crazy eyes.The Vampire Diaries

Despite all the melodrama, I am addicted. Elena becomes much more interesting with Damon while Stefan becomes more interesting when he’s inadvertently doing stupid things for “the greater good”. It’s not high class television, but it’s fun and has become the show I most look forward to each week. There is plenty of snark and if I don’t think too hard, the relationships are intriguing to watch unfold. But mostly I watch for Damon. Because he has crazy eyes, snarky one-liners and an inclination to lose his shirt. And I'm still not sure how Matt is still alive. He's like the only human one left!

Sometimes Sherlock forgets to dress before visiting the palace.Sherlock

Oh, Benedict Cumberbatch, I can’t tell what you’re saying half the time, but you’re fascinating to watch run away yammering about this and that. “A Scandal in Belgravia” had a few moments that I wish had been done differently and I didn’t understand why Irene Adler had to be a dominatrix, but the following two episodes more than made up for it. My head still can’t wrap around “The Reichenbach Fall” and no matter how many times I watch it, I have absolutely no idea what has happened. Fernando might be awaiting the return of A Game of Thrones, but I’m eagerly anticipating Sherlock running around in new adventures. Whenever that happens.

Misfits

This was an accidental discovery. I’d heard the show mentioned in passing before and knew it was a British show about delinquents who somehow get superpowers. When I saw that it was finally airing on American television, we added it to our DVR to try out. I was not expecting the crazy bizarre show that followed, full of raunchy comedy and wrongness and absolute hilarity. Yet at the same time the show had its own weird emotional resonance that made it addicting. We’ve only seen the first two seasons and I’m itching to get my hands on the others. This is probably the most fun show I’ve watched all year (except maybe for Super Hero Squad).

Revolution

Sword fights! Old-timey soldiers in the future! A badass secretive uncle! Mysterious necklaces that could have come straight out of Lost! Revolution had so much going for it that I was afraid that it would fall apart after just a few episodes, but it hasn’t. Despite it mostly being about trekking through the overgrown remnants of the United States, it still manages to stay at a consistence pacing. Plus we play this fun game called “Lost or Supernatural” where we try to guess where each of the side and supporting characters have been before. Because with Kripke and Abrams behind this show, familiar faces are bound to show up pretty often.

Arrow

Yesterday I mentioned that Arrow was the biggest surprise of all the new shows in 2012. It could have been horrible, cheesy and a complete trainwreck. Oliver Queen and Green Arrow aren’t exactly pop culture icons like many other superheroes and Ollie has a pretty ridiculous amount of facial hair in the comics, so I was pleasantly surprised that the CW created a show that made Green Arrow almost seem possible. It’s fun, adventurous and though some of the characters can get kind of annoying (*coughthesistercough*), I really look forward to seeing how this first season plays out with the growing conspiracy unfolding and what future seasons hold for Ollie.

He's kind of my favorite.Young Justice

And finally I had to include a cartoon. You might have been expecting Super Hero Squad, but despite how much I love that show, I don’t think there’s much of a chance for a continuation. Plus it’s Marvel when my heart sits firmly in the DC camp. Young Justice combines my favorite superheroes with my weakness for teen superheroes and somehow put together a serialized story of shapeshifters and alien invasion. Though a time jump that came from seemingly out of nowhere was a little baffling, whatever anger I might have had was quickly quelled with the inclusion of Nightwing. I like Nightwing.

Now if the Cartoon Network would just put it back on television. It’s stopped midseason back in October, I think, and there’s no indication on when it will return.

 

And those were my favorite shows for 2012. I imagine even more shows will add up on my DVR this year, though if American Gods hits HBO by the end of the year, I’m pretty confident that it will be tops for 2013.

What shows did you love in 2012? What should I be watching in 2013?

Yesterday I gave out a series of “rewards” for television shows that caught my eye either for good or bad reasons in 2012. Today you get my list of favorite shows for the year. Putting this list together was kind of hard as my go-tos like Supernatural and Glee became a bit of a mess last year while others like Chuck ended. So here is my shortened list of favorite shows from 2012.

Favorite Shows of 2012

Leslie's Top Television Shows of 2012 (part 1)

I watch far too much television. If I counted all the hours I spent reading, the only other activity that would come close to comparing in hours spent would be watching television (and maybe sleeping). Because I watch so much television, I’m splitting my Best Of list into two. Tomorrow you’ll get my list of top television shows, but today you get my random collection of “awards”.

Sword fighting with Satan - Coming to NBC!Favorite New Show: Revolution

I knew I would love Revolution, but I had my doubts as well. With Eric Kripke and JJ Abrams behind the scenes, it was bound to be my kind of crazy. Family drama, snappy dialogue, treks through long stretches of America, a dystopian world with lots of sword fights? It became a must see after the first half hour. It carries the same family ties of Supernatural while being slightly more realistic. The actress that plays Charlie can be a little over the top, but Myles and all the awesome sword fighting make up for it.

Most Surprising New Show: Arrow

This was one I was cautiously optimistic about, so when it turned out to be kind of awesome, I was very happy. It fulfills my superhero quota, is fast paced despite flashbacks and conspiracies, and provides regular doses of creepy John Barrowman. This year was full of archery, but I think this might be my favorite case. And thankfully they didn’t give Oliver the horrible facial hair commonly seen on Green Arrow. At least not yet.

Trio of awesome - Who needs Sam's moping?Show Trying Its Hardest to Reclaim Its Former Glory: Supernatural

Oh, Supernatural, I feel so wrong (spoiler alert) not putting Supernatural in my list of favorite shows for 2012, but former show runner Sarah Gamble had a difficult time with comprehensible story lines and consistent characters. Then Jeremy Carver returned and things are starting to take a turn for the better, but they aren’t there just yet. Yeah, I’m bias, so perhaps the return of Castiel to his former awkward yet sane state has colored my opinion of the first half of season 8, but the nine episodes that have aired have felt more like episodes from season 2 than anything under Gamble. While Sam’s flashbacks are odd and currently pointless, the addition of Benny creates an interesting dynamic between the brothers and I look forward to the rest of the season. Hopefully my once favorite of all favorite shows will be on my list for 2013.

My Favorite New Discovery: Super Hero Squad

The best thing that came out of being laid off back in March was stumbling upon this brilliant, near-perfect cartoon. Every episode is full of giggles, clever jokes, sight gags and buckets of superhero goodness. It took five minutes before this became one of my favorite cartoons ever. I’ve always been a DC girl, but between Super Hero Squad and The Avengers film, Marvel may win me over yet.

And the internet went crazy...Most Redeemed Show: The Walking Dead

Season two of The Walking Dead sucked. It sucked bad. The only redeeming thing about it was Daryl Dixon being a loveable badass. Then it ended with a badass woman with a sword and two zombie slaves, and I thought the show might still have potential. The third season started with a bang and hasn’t slowed down with Michonne being the best thing this show could have ever done. Now with the loss of one of the more annoying characters and a creepy villain that isn’t undead, I’m actually eager to see where the season goes even if I do still have to cover my eyes at least once every episode. But I don’t care what happens – if they kill off Daryl Dixon, I’m out.

Most Disappointing New Show: Girls

Apparently I’m not hip enough to “get” Girls. We watched the first few episodes and it was full of uncomfortable moments, unlikeable characters, and absolutely no moments of laughter. I couldn’t do it. I guess I’m not that cool.

Favorite Hour of Television: Glee 03.15 – “Big Brother”

This episode of Glee is still on my DVR. If I get sad, I watch it. If I don’t feel well, I watch it. If I’m sleepy, I watch it. If I’ve had a good day, I watch it. Basically I watch it. A lot. Why? Because it is the poster child of my pop culture mantra – “More BOMER!”

I couldn’t find the best part where he gives “acting lessons”, but that will do nicely.

 

Tomorrow - my top shows of 2012. Any guesses what might make it on the list?

Leslie's Favorite Reads of 2012 - Robots, Zombies, and Super Soldiers

Happy 2013! We still don't have jetpacks or personal flying cars, but we do have books and books and more books to keep us occupied until those futuristic achievements come to light. In 2012 I managed to read 84 books, which trailed my year goal of 100 but was nearly 20 more books than in 2011. I think that's pretty good considering 2012 was a year of change and adjustment with a new job that took up more time despite the shorter commute, new friends and new hobbies.

In those 84 books, 13 got a 5 star rating from me on Goodreads, another 45 got 4 stars, 20 received 3 stars and 6 got 2 stars. Luckily I read no 1 star books in 2012 and I hope that's a track record I can keep going into 2013. Last year was a year of surprises - books I thought I would love disappointed me while those I had no real expectations for knocked me off my feet. After some contemplating, these came out as my top 10 reads of 2012.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H Wilson

Is anyone surprised that my favorite read of the year involved robots? But it wasn’t just that this book is about robots. This book is about creepy robots wanting to destroy the human race and robots that have become cognizant of their own existence. There are moments of sheer horror and other moments of cheer-out-loud triumphs. Along with Amped, this book turned me into a huge supporter of Daniel H Wilson in any of his future endeavors, even if he does give me nightmares.

Feed by Mira Grant

If I were giving an award to the one piece of not-real-life culture I consumed this year that left the most emotional scar tissue, Feed would be it. I can’t even talk about this book (or write about it in this case) without tearing up. This book is so much more than another zombie story. So much more and so devastating in it’s amazing storytelling.

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