Thursday, December 5, 2013

2013 Entertainers of the Year

Entertainment Weekly has done this list for years, and I try to create my own list without looking at their list, and I do not know their list sans Sandra Bullock as the "Entertainer of the Year" because the cover was everywhere on twitter.  With that said I have to agree with her as Entertainer of the Year, and here is the rest of my list.
1-Sandra Bullock-"Box Office Powerhouse/Great Actress"

Bullock made everyone laugh, and maybe cry this year in two of the biggest films of the year, The Heat and Gravity.  Bullock is one of the few actresses working today who can always draw a crowd.  Big studios always seen to want to use men or male oriented themes to make money, but over the years they have been proven wrong by women like Julia Roberts, and Sandra Bullock.  Bullock is a bit different from Roberts; she has had the romantic comedy mode, but Bullock has a charisma to her which is not only like able, but can carry a variety of films.  This year Bullock helped turn the buddy cop film into more than just a guy thing in The Heat.  Bullock showed everyone this is not always a mans game, this was also true with Gravity.  Bullock carries the film or floats through the film on her own two legs.  Sandra Bullock is the entertainer of the year, because she is a box office power house; she is funny, a good actress, and states simply with her presence the power women can and should have in film.

2-Vince Gilligan, and the creative team behind Breaking Bad-"The Men who made Television Magic"


Can you believe this happened?  This was a statement uttered at work every  Monday after an episode of Breaking Bad.  Twitter and Facebook were a buzz talking about a show about to end, and the way it was ending.  Vince Gilligan and the team behind all of the seasons of Breaking Bad crafted a beginning, middle, and end to Walter White, and Co, that some are calling the most flawless from start to finish.  The reason this show had people hooked was because week after was because something "real" and dark was happening on a weekly basis for a man who started at a desperate place.  The entire run of this show was great, but the final season was an edge of your seat ride that may never be matched.  Hell Anthony Hopkin wrote a letter to Bryan Cranston saying it was some the best work he'd ever seen.

3-Justin Timberlake "He Brought Sexy Back with his 20/20 Experience"

Over the last seven years Justin Timberlake has focused more on his acting career, and while his movie has not taken off, his role as a variety performer on Saturday Night Live has been triumphant.  Yet JT is the most successful through his music, with two albums one released in March, the other September, which complete the 20/20 Experience, and sold out concerts all over the country Timberlake has soul, and boy does this guy shine on stage.  The man is unstoppable selling about 3 million albums.  While Timberlake has not done as great at the movies this year he also starred in Runner Runner along side Ben Affleck, and stars in the critical darling Inside Llewyn Davis.  What a guy!

4-Netflix "It's Not TV it's Binge Watching at its Best"

I remember about 7 or 8 years ago when Netflix was all the rage because they would send you DVDs in the mail.  After this novelty wore off the company seemed to be in a little bit of trouble, but this past year marked the biggest turn-around I have seen in a while.  Netflix created a partnership with Disney, and other companies, and now the amount of first run movies and television series on their Instant feature is incredible.  Netflix did not make the list for this fact, Netflix made the list for their original and revitalized programming.  House of Cards was the first, and with Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Corey Stoll and Kate Mara this show was an Emmy winner, and all around great series.  Netflix brought back the cancelled series Arrested Development, and fans rejoiced.  Netflix also has partnered with Weeds creator Jenji Kohan on Orange is the New Black, which in my opinion surpassed the buzz on House of Cards.  This service is unstoppable. Every year a network makes my list, well Netflix is not a network, but they have revolutionized the way television series are consumed.

5-Jennifer Lawrence "The Girl on Fire with our Hearts"

Lawrence stole our hearts when she tripped, and stepped up to the podium in February to win her Best Actress.  Jennifer Lawrence is an "every girl" she is honest, upfront, and never seems to let go of herself for Hollywood.  Lawrence has two movies this year, one The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which on pace to give Iron Man a run for his money at the top of the box office this year.  Films centered around a strong female character rarely do well, and it could be in part because of the popularity of the books, but people who are not fans of the series are showing up to see Lawrence; she is a star on the rise, and great in this film.  Lawrence has already claimed another acting prize just this week for her other film American Hustle, Best Supporting Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle.  While I think Lawrence is a bit miscast in the role she certainly is a presence, and will most likely score her third Oscar nomination at the young age of 23, what a talent!

6-Tom Hanks "How Tom got his Groove Back"

For most of the 2000s Tom Hanks has been more of a behind the scenes guy, sure he took on roles in the Dan Brown adapted films, and Charlie Wilson's War, but Castaway was his last "great" role way back in 2000.  Since this time Hanks was producer extraordinaire. This year two roles seem to be knocking people out of the water, critics and audiences are saying he is "back."  In Captain Phillips the last five minutes will break your heart, Hanks has never been better, and the film made 100 million domestic, and incredible feat for an adult drama.  Look out for Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks; he is getting a lot of buzz for this role from early screenings.  With both of these roles he may even be a double nominee at the Oscars this year.

7-Matthew McConaughey "Pretty Boy turned Go to Actor"

While Tom Hanks got his groove back Matthew McConaughey started to find his last year with Magic Mike, Bernie, Killer Joe, and The Paperboy.  McConaughey was a great in each one of those films.  This year McConaughey has only two performances but they are the best of his career.  McConaughey takes more of a supporting role in the Jeff Nichols film Mud where he plays a man looking to get the love of his life back.  McConaughey's acting within this film is so natural, but brazen its fun to see him play vulnerable; he does it well.  McConaughey's other role is bit showier, but boy is it jaw dropping.  In Dallas Buyers Club McConaughey lost tons of weight to play a man diagnosed with AIDs; he was a bigot, a kind of bad guy, but he fights hard to survive, and this performance is the most raw performance of his career.

8-Macklemore and Ryan Lewis "Music with a Message Never Sounded Better"

While this group has been met with a myriad of emotions, I think what they have done for music this year is great. They have three massive hits on the charts "Thrift Shop" "Can't Hold Us" and "Same Love."  This duo who avoided major labels is proof that the music game can, and should be done in a less corporate way.  There is something to be said for the way they sky rocketed to success, and the way they have incorporated meaningful messages into their music.  I think rap has started to go back to including deeper meaning into their music, but I like the message these two men present, and I think they are proof in the "Cinderella story" effect of entertainment.

9-Michelle and Robert King "Saviors of  Quality Network Television"

If you are not watching The Good Wife, or if you have never seen an episode its time to go back to the beginning and play catch-up.  The ensemble acting which goes on within this show is like a perfect well oiled machine, and they were almost picked, but the credit has to go with the shows creators, who write and direct for the show, Michelle and Robert King.  The way they have constructed the humor and drama within the show reminds of the way this was done on The West Wing.  There is something special about a show that can take the "procedural" of weekly cases, intertwine them to the emotional wellness of the cast, and never make you feel as though the story is forced.  The Kings are my favorite duo working today, they know how to build genuine non soapy drama, their is a humanity to this show, and they proven that networks can step up their game.  They have in fact just look at the slate of this year's new dramas on network television.  This credit is largely due to this show.

10-Allison Janney-"The Queen of Scene Stealing"

Allison Janney has made a name for herself and to many as CJ Cregg from The West Wing, but prior to this role she was one of the great character actresses who would show up in small roles, and steal scenes, see 10 Things I Hate About You, or Primary Colors and tell me I am wrong.  Janney is at it again this year in both films and television.  This summer she starred in the indie film The Way Way Back where she played a hilariously obnoxious neighbor, Janney's lines stole most of the film proving her comedic genius. Janney is also stealing the show Mom on a weekly basis as Bonnie a grandmother, mother, and recovering alcohol and drug addict.  Janney's timing is perfect, and she makes this show better week after week.  Janney is not just about the laughs her recurring guest role on Masters of Sex has provided a richer context to show, and the development of a woman's sexual awakening in the 1960s.  This woman is a chameleon, and its hard to ignore her greatness.

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