Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DrogeMiester's Top 10 Music Videos of 2013

In my third end of year list, I will be reviewing my personal favorite music videos from 2013. A music video can say a lot about a certain song or the artist of the song. There are a lot of artists who sadly don't take advantage the music video. They use the music video to show off their body or show off their dance moves. Some artists also simply use the music video to film themselves singing or do random things that don't make sense. However, despite all this, I really appreciate those artists who do take advantage of the music video. I love it when they do something clever, inspiring, or thoughtful. I also love it when an artists tells a story with the music video that adds meaning to the song. This following list is a list of music videos that I really enjoyed from this year.

10- "Cups (Pitch Perfect's 'When I'm Gone')" -- Anna Kendrick

Personally I wasn't a big fan of the movie Pitch Perfect. Anna Kendrick was the only good part of the movie. She was a good actress and good singer that was stuck in a really dumb movie. However, my favorite part was when she performed Cups. I was also happy when this lone shining star of the movie became really popular and was followed by a remixed radio version of the song and this music video. The reason why I love this music video is it is super fun. Anna Kendrick starts out performing her cups thing and then she walks out into the restaurant and suddenly everyone in the whole restaurant is participating. It makes me super happy. Nothing deep or thought provoking, just a lot of fun.

9- "Stay the Night" -- Zedd feat. Haley Williams

Not only do I love Zedd's music, but I also think his music videos are super genius and creative as this is the first of two Zedd music videos on this list. Haley Williams of Paramore is our singer, but in the background we see the story of a guy and a girl building a relationship. Simple song; simple idea. And then in the midst of that, all these crazy computer effects and a bunch of other stuff that I have a hard time putting words to happens. And yeah, I can't describe it. It's just super creative and artistic.

8- "Brave" -- Sara Bareilles

I really love this song as it almost made my list of top 10 favorite songs of the year. The song is an anthem telling people to not be afraid of who they are. "I want to see you be brave," she says. The thing I really love about this music video is that we see a bunch of people just dancing crazy in public places. They are being brave and having fun without caring about what others around them think. This adds to the beautiful message of the song and makes me just want to go out in the world and be myself.

7- "Clouds" -- Zach Sobiech 

I love the story of this song. 17-year-old Zach Sobiech was diagnosed with some life threatening disease and was told he only has a limited time left to live. What does he do? He writes this song that is beautiful and emotional. Early this year Zach passed away. Around the time of his passing, this video was released as a tribute video to Zach. It's really touching. Having lost my brother this year as well, this song and video have become very personal to me.

6- "Demons" -- Imagine Dragons

I always brag at the fact that I went to a free Imagine Dragons concert the year before they became big. Yes, they are a band from Provo, Utah, which happens to be the city I am currently living in. My one claim to fame. I love the whole album, especially the huge hit song Radioactive. Unfortunately this is a list about the music videos of the year and Radioactive's video was a little on the weird side. Thankfully they redeemed themselves with Demons. This song is very insightful and I love how the video adds to the insightfulness of the song by diving into the lives of a few of the concert goers to an Imagine Dragons concert, showing the demons that they are dealing with.

5- "The Fox" -- Ylvis

Yes, if you know me, you knew this was coming. I am often a sucker to these huge YouTube phenomenons. I loved both Gangnam Style and The Harlem Shake that preceded The Fox. And of course I loved this as well. This comedy duo definitely did their job as far as I'm concerned because I was laughing super hard the first time I saw this. Not only does the song make me laugh (as well as get stuck in my head for days at a time), but so does the music video. I guess I just love watching adults all dressed up like animals and dancing around while acting super serious. All the random YouTubers that had fox videos before this were probably super happy as you know everyone upon seeing this went to search knowledge as to what foxes really say.

4- "Summertime Sadness" -- Lana Del Rey

Like I mentioned in my favorite songs list, this song was originally written in 2011, but became popular after Cedric Gervais did a remix of the song. It was great timing for Gervais since Lana Del Rey had been recently brought into the limelight with her hit song Young and Beautiful from the movie The Great Gatsby. After this sudden popularity of the remix version, Lana actually released this music video. As you will find out, this is a new video of the original song, not the remix version. The song by itself is already super depressing, but it is vague enough to mean a few different things. This video adds to the emotion of the song by essentially clarifying that the song is about suicide. It's a super sad video, but one that is emotional and powerful.

3- "Can't Hold Us" -- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton

This music video is one that tells a great story that goes right along with the song. Macklemore takes a flag from the cold arctic snow with the words, "The Hiest," which is the album the song comes from. Then he takes that flag and travels the world with it, ending up placing the flag on the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, which is where Macklemore is from. The song is about not having a ceiling on the things you can do in this world. Go live your dreams, and don't let anyone stop you. It makes want to go travel the world. Or get a haircut on a beach. Or set up a living room in the back of a trailer.

2- "Safe and Sound" -- Capital Cities

This music video is just boss. Capital Cities is a band that I have fallen in love with. They are super creative in all of their music, and just plain awesome in this music video. The video is an homage to the history of music and dance in the past hundred years or so. We get a huge conglomeration of decades all in one dance floor and that is just super cool to watch. Also, one of the singers from Capital Cities has one of the best beards ever. Many kudos to him.

1- "Clarity" -- Zedd feat. Foxes

As you know if you have checked out out my top 10 favorite songs of 2013, this is one of the songs I have just fallen in love with this year. However, when I first heard of the song, I did what I always do and I went to check out the music video. It wasn't the song that initially blew me away, it was this music video. Like I said before, Zedd is super creative with his music videos and I love it. There are so many things that happen in such a short span of time, most of which include various crashes and explosions. Then as we get into the video, it all reverses and unexplodes and uncrashes. Yes, I know those aren't. I just made them words. Then for a third time even later we go forward with it all. Then in the midst of all that, some crazy confusing things are happening with a guy and a girl. What does it all mean? Well, being that the song is about complicated relationships (If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? If our love's insanity, why are you my clarity?), I suppose it all fits together. But either way, I just get mesmerized every time I watch it. Definitely deserving of best music video of the year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

All is Lost Review

My first reaction when I heard of the movie All is Lost was "again?" Another survival movie about a man that is lost at sea? It seems like we just had a movie like this. Oh, yes. We did. It was called Life of Pi and I loved it. Plus Cast Away still exists and now we have a space survival movie in Gravity. Was this movie really necessary? I remained hopeful as I went in, but I was very skeptic and thus I kept these questions at the front of my mind. Did it set itself apart from these other movies? Surprisingly it actually did. It's not necessarily a movie I will remember for a long time, but I left satisfied.

The beauty of All is Lost was the mystery behind it all. In most survival movies, you will get an introduction to the person and their story. You'll know their name; you'll know their background; you'll know how they got themselves into the situation. Stuff like that. With All is Lost, you didn't know any of that. You jump right into the situation. There is this older sailor on a fairly large and sophisticated sailboat. He is in the middle of the ocean all alone, a long ways from land, and his boat has crashed into a crate. We don't why he is there. We don't know exactly what happened. We know nothing about his past. We don't know anything about his family or friends. We don't know what he is doing. We don't even know what his name is. He's just crashed his boat, and now he is trying to fix it and simply survive.

Personally I feel that this a very interesting way to tell a story. Not only is it very creative and bold to tell a story with a beginning, but it also forces the viewers to be creative themselves. As I was watching this movie, I was forced to think of various circumstances to complete the story. Who he was. Why he was there. What was his purpose in all this. I was given part of his story, and now I was forced to paint the rest of it myself, and I found that I enjoyed that. I also appreciated the detail in the part of the story we got. The movie included a lot of little aspects that most movies would jump over. We got shots of him eating, reading, sleeping, shaving, checking random things. Stuff that you would do if you were actually lost at sea, but stuff a movie normal just skips over. Also there was very little dialogue. There was a little bit of narration at the beginning, but that was it. He said a few words here and there, but not much. I also felt that was rather realistic because if you were lost at sea all by yourself, you wouldn't talk out loud that much. It would be all in your head. And once again, the creativity of the viewer is forced to play a big role. You could tell that there was a lot on his mind, and he must've been talking to himself a lot in his head. But you weren't let into his head at all. Instead you just had to creatively imagine what he was thinking or saying to himself.

Our actor, of course, was the great Robert Redford. I was rather impressed by his performance. You may initially think that if you were offered a part in a movie where you didn't have to deal with any other actors or even say very many lines that it would be easy. But then when you think about it, it would probably be rather difficult. Perfectly expressing a lot of different emotions and feelings without saying anything would be hard. Not having the support of any other actors would also be hard. Robert Redford was forced to single-handedly carry the whole movie on his back. Robert Redford nailed the role. He did single-handedly carry the whole movie himself, and he was able to express all those emotions without speaking. I was invested in his character even though I knew nothing about him.

In the end, I walked away from this movie rather impressed. Robert Redford did an excellent job and I hope the performance gets him the Oscar nomination that is being buzzed. The movie may not be the most original idea, but the prospective in which they did the movie was. I'm not sure I was completely satisfied with the ending, but I won't dive into that here. If you've seen the movie yourself, talk to me privately and we'll discuss it. I will award All is Lost an 8 out of 10 and recommend you give it a shot once you have the opportunity.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nebraska Review

When I first heard about the movie Nebraska, I was mildly intrigued. It looked like an interesting movie, but to say to that I was super exciting would be an overstatement. Then it was released on a limited basis and ever since that the Oscar buzz on it got higher and higher. Needless to say, I became super interested in giving it a shot. The problem was it hadn't made it to my local theater yet. Luckily, on my Christmas vacation home, I became aware of an artsy theater that was pretty close to where I was that had the movie playing, so I finally got to see it. I don't know much about what they are planning on doing with their release schedule, but if this movie shows up in your local theater soon, I'd call it a must see! Definitely deserving of all the Oscar nominations it's about to receive.

Nebraska is more of an artsy character piece. It's a movie that's directed by Alexander Payne, who's most well known for The Descendants and Sideways. This movie is a very personal project for Payne being that it is shot in his home state of Nebraska. The movie is about a family that is originally from Montana. The parents are really old and the two sons are middle-aged and living on their own, but also living close by. The father, Woody, is a little crazy and thinks he's won a million dollars. Despite his family persistently telling him it's a scam, he's insistent that he's going to Nebraska to get payed and he's willing to walk their on his own. Finally, one of the sons caves in and they go on a road trip to Nebraska to collect his winnings.

The movie is actually shot in black and white, which I think is super cool. It fits the tone of the movie really well. It's also fairly slow moving, which as I mentioned in my review of The Book Thief, if you are going to have a slow-moving movie, you need a solid cast that I can become attached to. This is exactly what happened in Nebraska. The further we got into the movie, the more I became emotionally attached to this family. Bruce Dern plays the crazy old father, and June Squibb plays the angry old mother. Both of them have been nominated for Golden Globe awards and both should be nominated for an Oscar (best actor and best supporting actress). Both of them definitely deserve it. They are both super funny in their own way. Dern is absent-minded the whole movie and his response to everything great. Meanwhile, Squibb is always yelling or complaining at something when she's on screen and that made me laugh the whole movie. Will Forte plays the son who takes his dad to Nebraska, and I was super impressed with his performance. The man is a comedian that plays a completely serious role. I love it when actors can be versatile like that. Many kudos to Forte.

Overall, Nebraska is a great character piece about a family that you will just fall in love with. It is super well acted and well made, which is why it has lots of awards coming it's way. Whether or not it wins all those awards is less relevant because of the crowded market, but the nominations are worth it. You will walk out of Nebraska will all those warm fuzzies inside and will thus be super happy for the rest of your day. Content-wise, regardless of what the messed up MPAA claims, the movie really should be a light PG-13. There are two uses of the f-word that gave it the R-rating, but that's not a rating it deserves. I could name a hundred or so movies off the top of my head that are only PG-13 that are a lot worse content-wise, so don't let that scare you off. Put Nebraska on your must see list! I give it a very strong 9 out of 10.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Review

After watching the new Ben Stiller movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I kinda felt that Ben Stiller had been secretly stalking me, because it seemed like the movie was based on my life. No, I didn't go on adventures to other countries, but sometimes my mind wanders while I zone out in real life. Sometimes instead of asking a girl on a date in real life, I try to go contact her online. Now don't look too far into that because I am mainly just being silly, but the point is I enjoyed this movie because I felt like I related to this character of Walter Mitty that the movie followed.

The movie is based off a short story written in the 1930's, that was also made into a movie in the 1940's. I am not familiar with either of those, so the idea was new to me. Like I mentioned, the movie follows the life of title character Walter Mitty. Walter Mitty is a character that isn't too outspoken. He is a dreamer and oftentimes zones out in real life, while in his mind he goes on these high adventures or dreams up the perfect situation based on events that are actually happening. He works for Life magazine and it's announced that the magazine is going online and thus the next issue will be the last. The photographer of the magazine has sent the negatives and pointed out one specific negative that should be used as the final cover. However, the negative goes missing and Walter, who usually just goes on adventures in his head, decides to go on a real life adventure to find this photographer.

The best part of the movie is definitely the visuals. As Walter goes on adventures to places like Greenland, Iceland, and the Himalayas we get these breath-taking images of these places and it's rather fantastic. The part of the movie in the Himalayas is definitely the best. Also, the story of the movie is a good one. For much of the movie, we get a Forest Gump-like experience. Ben Stiller does an excellent job acting as Walter Mitty and thus we get invested in the character. This makes following this characters life a worthwhile experience. The message in the movie teaches about following your dreams. Sure, it may be a bit cliche, but it's also inspiring to watch this character who normally has a boring life decide to go on these adventures. At the very least, it was fun to watch.

Overall The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a well put together and well acted movie. Ben Stiller is both director and lead actor in this, and I would say that it's a success for him. Some look at the PG-rating and wonder of this is a movie that is directed more towards kids than adults. I would say that's not true. Think Life of Pi or We Bought a Zoo. This is a movie that the whole family can enjoy. If you are looking for a movie to go to this holiday season, I'd say that this movie would be worth your time. I will give The Secret Life of Walter Mitty an 8 out of 10.

Friday, December 27, 2013

DrogeMiester's Top 10 Songs of 2013

Not to be confused with my Top 10 Songs of 2013 post that I posted last week, this list here is my list of personal favorite songs of the year, whereas that list was of the most popular songs of the year. Last year when I posted my list of the most popular songs of the year, I had a friend ask me what MY favorite songs were. Great idea. I created said list, but didn't publish it here. This year I am. For various reasons, I have limited my choices to released singles that were popular in 2013. Popular as in on the Billboard charts, played on the radio, etc. Usually that means they were released in 2013 or in the end of 2012, but that's not always the case as some songs get released a year or two previously but for one reason or another don't gain popularity until later. Anywho, this was a really difficult list to create because there was a lot of good music from 2013. I probably spent more time than I should have spent coming up with this list, but now that I have done that, I feel comfortable with what I have come up with, so I hope you enjoy! If you haven't known what my musical tastes are, you should have a good idea after reading this.

10- "Young and Beautiful" -- Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey was introduced to me by the movie The Great Gatsby, which was released early this summer. The song Young and Beautiful was the main theme of the movie and is now looking at a potential Oscar nomination for best original song. By itself the song is still a great, catchy pop song. In context of the movie, the song becomes bone-chilling and just plain awesome. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite movies of 2013, and while I'm not here to review the movie, I will say that Young and Beautiful fits the tone of the movie perfectly. Thus every time I hear the song, I think of the movie and all the moral dilemmas that the movie brings up.

9- "Safe and Sound" -- Capital Cities

When I first heard this song, I was thinking it was a fun, but slightly generic pop song. And then suddenly the trumpet hit my ears. Holy boss! It took me a few seconds to register the awesomeness that my ears had experienced. Yeah, Capital Cities is super creative with this song, and I love it when a band does things like that. It reminds me of the first fun. album and how creatively they implement your non-typical rock/pop instruments into the music. How often do you hear a pop song blast a trumpet anthem? Doesn't usually happen. Props to Capital Cities.

8- "Wake Me Up!" -- Avicii

I call this folk music. Aloe Blacc, the uncredited vocalist in the song, actually referred to it as country (just no one tell that fact to a certain friend of mine who I've been having this argument with for several months). I still think it's more folk-like than country-like, but whatever it is, this song is genius. Avicii really is a genius, and if you listen to his whole album TRUE, you will realize it. Avicii is not a singer. He is a DJ. But yet while some DJ's stay strictly to the electronica genre, which I certainly don't mind, Avicii crossbreeds. With Wake Me Up! he goes back and forth from folk to electronica throughout the song and the result is this masterpiece of a song. And just to clear a few things up, yes this is the original. And no Aloe Blacc doesn't mind not being credited. He enjoys the anonymous hit and the reaction that ensues when people realize who the singer actually is. So no, you shouldn't be bothered either. But you should go check out the acoustic version Aloe put out of this song afterwards. It's quite beautiful.

7- "Burn" -- Ellie Goudling

I don't shy away from the fact that Ellie is my girl. I enjoyed Lights. Then Anything Could Happen was released and I fell in love with that song. I quickly listened to the whole Halcyon album and totally fell in love with the whole album. One of the best parts of this past year was when Ellie released the extended version of Halcyon called Halcyon Days, which I also quickly fell in love with. Burn is the lead single from that and brilliantly shows off why I love Ellie so much. Ellie has one of the most beautiful soprano voices I have ever heard. Not only can she hit those high notes, but she does so effortlessly that the the ensuing sound you hear is certainly the sound of angels. That and she so perfectly implements the right amount of electronic sounds into each of her music. So it's the perfect equation for making music that will just melt me.

6- "Beneath Your Beautiful" -- Labrinth feat Emeli Sande

Maybe it's because I've met a lot of girls with their walls built so high that I can't climb them or maybe it's because I've built my own wall so high that girls can't climb it. Whatever the case is, I feel this song is speaking right to me every time I listen. That strong message attached to a such a beautiful song makes me fall in love with this. Also the duet between Labrinth and Emeli Sande is amazing. Sometimes I feel that artists feature other artists just to make monetary gain, but in this instance these two combine perfectly for one of the best duets I've heard in a long time.

5- "Summertime Sadness" -- Lana Del Rey and Cedric Gervais

Lana Del Rey is the lucky artist of the year that made it on my list twice. After winning me over with Young and Beautiful towards the beginning of the year, she totally blew me away with this song. The thing that catches me with this song is that it is so sad that the sadness just emanates from the song and completely envelops me with emotion. While the lyrics are vague enough to mean several different things, Lana's music video she recently released sheds some light on the song in my opinion as it features a girl committing suicide. This makes me believe that in the song, Lana has recently lost a good friend or a sister to suicide and each time the anniversary of that events roll around, Lana gets sucked into depression. Whether or not this is something Lana actually experienced in real life is irrelevant because the song is just beautiful. And yes, I have the attached the version of the song that you need to listen to, the seven-minute-long Cedric Gervais remix. At least that's the one I love. This song is originally a 2011 song that became popular this year due to Cedric Gervais creating a remix, which was a timely choice for him with Lana coming off the success of Young and Beautiful. Lana was nice enough to give him a co-billing on the song.

4- "Clarity" -- Zedd feat Foxes

If you didn't know by now, you will quickly learn what time of music just hits me to the core, and that is the genre with about a hundred different names. I call it electronica. You call it what you want. This year one of my favorite artists has been Zedd as Clarity has been one of the most played songs on my iPod throughout the year. I don't really know who Foxes is, but I'm glad Zedd brought her on for this because she is great. Also the lyrics in this song are quite intriguing. "If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? If our love's insanity, why are you my clarity?" Love just makes no sense in many instances. With some couples, it makes no sense for them to fall in love. They are very opposite people with their lives going in completely different directions. But no matter how hard they try to fight it or figure out the logic, they just can't and thus fall in love anyways. Also that music video you just watched is pretty boss. But I'll get to that on another post.

3- "Alive" -- Krewella

Alive and Clarity came out at about the same time of the year and I love both songs. I wanted both songs to get super popular, but unfortunately Alive got left in the dust while Clarity went on to bask in the limelight. Oh well. I can't exactly recommend Krewella as after listening to their whole album Get Wet, I learned they enjoy being sensual and vulgar with their music. You can kinda figure out that out by watching this music video. However, this song standing alone from the rest I feel is perfectly user-friendly. I debated throughout the whole year as to which song would get the nod over the other on this list. While Clarity is lyrically superior, Alive wins out in my mind because it is musically superior. To me it is a beautiful example of the electronica genre that I love. If you are one of my many friends that think I am crazy for liking electronica, Krewella did release an acoustic version of the song that you should check out. Voices, guitar, piano, drums. Typical band-like instruments. Let that show you that there is a lot more to electronica music than you may think, and there is a ton of talent involved.

2- "Levitate" -- Hadouken!

Yes, people are awesome. That video right there is pretty boss. At first glance you may think that a random YouTuber threw that together with an awesome song that goes along with it. And right there you'd actually be wrong. Hadouken! is an actual electronic band with three albums out that released the song Levitate with this video that they put together themselves. Pretty boss, eh? Not many bands do that. With that said, yes I love the video. But the video aside, I also am in love with the song. I actually had this as my number one song for most of the year, and I even told a few of my friends that this was my top song. They might call me liars now, but oh well. This song is the perfect motivational song in my opinion. It makes me just want to fly. Or take over the world. Or maybe just do well on a test or have a good run. Whatever it is that people do nowadays that they need to do well in. Listen to this song and it's pretty much a done deal.

1- "Animals" -- Martin Garrix 

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to a genre (or sub-genre?) of music that I have loved since I was young. It's called techno. This song was a late entry into my favorite songs of the year list, and the more I listened to it, the more I realized it was going to be really high on my list. In the very end, as you are witnessing, it made it all the way to the top. Why? You can ignore the cheated radio-cut of the song that would be like watching a version of Lord of the Rings that was only an hour and a half long. Also ignore the weird music video that goes along with the cheated radio-cut of the song -- it looks like a preview for that weird horror movie You're Next that no one watched. This song is brilliant because it is the paints the perfect picture of why I have always loved techno. Some call techno boring because it is so repetitive. I call it beautiful because of how layered it is. You start with a simple beat. Keeping that simple beat, you add another beat to play on top of that, so you have two layers to the song. As you go throughout the song, you keep adding and taking away different layers to paint this beautiful picture. Usually that picture includes some sort of phrase with actual words. Also, the middle of the song is usually where you have most of the layers in place, and as you wrap up the song you slowly take away the layers and at the end you are left with that same simple beat that you started with. Now with all that in mind, go back and listen to this song by Martin Garrix and discover the beauty of techno music. Yes, I know that the actual line of lyrics to this song is a bit weird, but if you judge a techno song by its lyrics, then you are missing the whole point. No this isn't the best techno song ever made, but it makes me reminisce on all of the amazing techno songs I have listened to in my life, and thus it gets awarded the best song of 2013.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks Review

It's the second part of a Tom Hanks double-header this year with Saving Mr. Banks. After the man hit a home run with Captain Phillips back in October, I became quite excited to see how he would do as Walt Disney in this one. I am also a huge fan of the movie Mary Poppins, so I was looking forward to seeing this movie about how the movie came to be. The movie was a bit different than what I was expecting, but overall it was a very touching and emotional movie that was well worth my time.

Being quite honest, after I attended the movie I looked back and realized that the advertising for the movie was a bit off. The movie was advertised as the untold true story about the making of Mary Poppins. This made me feel like the movie was going to have some sort of twist or surprise ending that would shock or surprise audiences a bit. Then after giving off that vibe, the trailers actually went ahead and gave away any sort of surprise that the movie held. Having seen the trailer several times in the theaters, I guess I expected something more that was going to happen, but it never did. Pretty soon I realized that the trailer had given away the movie, which was really frustrating.

But hey, should I be criticizing a movie based on its advertisements? That's not fair. Now that I have that out of my system, let's focus on this movie. Tom Hanks has been getting a lot of press for his role as Walt Disney. Rightfully so. However, this is not a movie about Walt Disney. This is a movie about PL Travers. If you don't know, PL Travers is the author of the book Mary Poppins. The big conflict in the movie comes with Walt Disney wanting to get the rights to turn the book into a movie. Obviously we know how this turns out because the movie Mary Poppins exists, but we learn throughout this movie that PL Travers has a lot of baggage that she's been carrying with her for her whole life that has made her book very personal to her, so she rightfully wants the movie done right. There are a lot of flashbacks to her childhood that slowly present us this story of what she is dealing with, and the more we learn about her past, the more we feel for her as the movie progresses. Like I said, this is a very emotional movie, so if movies tend to make you cry, make sure you have your box of tissues handy.

Oscar buzz has been surrounding this movie for a long time, and in a crowded marketplace this Oscar season, tons of nominations may be hard to pick up. Tom Hanks has been getting a lot of press leading up to the movie, and if he picked up a best supporting actor nomination, I would not be surprised. However, this is not Tom Hanks' movie. This movie belongs to Emma Thompson, and boy does she kill it as PL Travers. That woman deserves an Oscar for that performance. In the end, I really did enjoy this movie. If you are looking for a movie to see this Christmas season, I'd definitely recommend you give this one a shot. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Walking With Dinosaurs Review

Ever since I was young, I was always fascinated with dinosaurs. A trip to the dinosaur museum was the coolest thing ever for me. Even to this day, I have no shame in letting my inner child show when it comes to dinosaurs. Jurassic Park is still one of my favorite movies, and I will easily admit to you that Jurassic Park 3D was one of the best theatrical experiences for me ever. Thus when I first heard about this movie, I was immediately intrigued. However, after poor reviews followed some less than impressive trailers, I proceeded with caution. Coming out I was amazed at one aspect. How did the makers of movie look at the final product and consider themselves pleased enough to release this into theaters? Walking With Dinosaurs is a pretty bad mess.

The idea behind this movie is a good idea. That idea is to make a movie with realistic CGI dinosaurs and throw people right into that story. The problem? How they went about doing it. We start off with two kids and an adult driving up to a dinosaur skeleton. The three of them get out of the car, and the boy decides to stay behind. As he's playing his Gameboy, a bird lands on the car and starts talking to him. No, I take that back. The bird wasn't talking at all. But it was supposed to be. There was this voice we started to hear that we were supposed to believe was the bird, but it just didn't belong to the bird. Then this voice that was supposed to belong to this bird took us back in time to tell a story. The story was about a herd of Pachyrhinosaurs. The story itself was pretty bad. All we got was a story about our main Pachyrhinosaur growing up to eventually become leader of the heard. They migrated back and forth a lot. And then for most of the movie we got this weird love triangle story between our main character, his brother, and a girl Pachyrhinosaur that they meet. And that's it. No substance at all.

And yes, back to the voices. Only four characters could talk; the bird and our three Pachyrhinosaurs. But once again, the voices were out of place. The mouths of the characters rarely moved and definitely weren't synced to the voices. But the voices were there and we were supposed to just believe they belonged to the characters. Remember Mystery Science Theater 3000?  It was as if that gang got together and did a dinosaur documentary as one of their gigs. Except instead of making fun of it, they tried to be completely serious the whole time. It was rather ridiculous.

Was this movie complete trash? Well, not exactly. The CGI dinosaurs were actually done really well. It was much better CGI than a certain other recently released movie that took place in Middle Earth, if you know what I mean. Also, it introduced several different dinosaurs and paused to explain them really quick. As far as I can tell, the information was accurate. So for a small portion of the movie, it was actually fairly educational. However, the movie is actually based on a documentary also called Walking With Dinosaurs, and I actually hear that it's a pretty good documentary. If you want to be educated, just go watch that instead.

Overall, I can see Walking Dinosaurs as a movie that really young boys may enjoy. Like boys ages three to six. And it seems like the type of movie that you would find on Netflix in a few years and put on for your younger kids either early in the morning or just before bedtime in order to keep them preoccupied for a bit. But this is not a show for adults. And it's definitely not one you want to spend money on. Don't even bother Redboxing it. If you want to watch a good dinosaur movie, just re-watch The Land Before Time or Disney's Dinosaur. I give Walking With Dinosaurs a 5 out of 10. And that's just because of the good CGI and enjoyable credits music. Movie quality itself would be a lot lower.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Review

If I'm being perfectly honest, I never actually saw the movie Anchorman. It came out back in the day when I didn't see a whole ton of movies, and since then I just never got around to giving it a shot. Although I have been shown a couple scenes here and there, and I actually quote those all the time. "LOUD NOISES!" When an Anchorman 2 trailer arrived, I wasn't super ecstatic, but then the trailers arrived. Oh my goodness! All the trailers made me nearly die laughing. I was sold. I was going to catch the first one before I saw it, but it didn't happen. Oh well. Turns out that Anchorman 2 wasn't my favorite, but if you need a few laughs and you liked the first one, I'd say it's worth your money.

Coming from someone who hasn't seen the first one, take my word that if you are like me and haven't seen the first one, you don't actually need to see the first one to understand what's happening. The story is fairly simple. After losing his job as an anchorman to his wife, which causes problems with them, Ron Burgundy is on the streets in a rather tough position. Suddenly he is given the opportunity to start the first 24-hour news broadcast. He initially thinks it's a bad idea, but then he accepts the job, gathers his old crew, and is back doing what God put Ron Burgundy on this earth to do: have salon quality hair and read the news.

Will Ferrell is sometimes hit and miss for me. At times he is really dirty and stupid. Other times he great. I have to say Elf is one of my favorite Christmas movies and it's because of Will Ferrell. Also I really am a huge fan of The Other Guys and several other of his movies. So overall I'd call myself a fan. When he gets into a role, he is 100 percent into the role and that to me is the sign of a good actor. This one I would say is more of a hit for me on his part. Yes there were times where I wasn't impressed or was wondering why certain things were happening. But Will Ferrell, like always, was super into his role. He WAS Ron Burgundy and it looked like he was enjoying himself. But he's not the only positive in this. My favorite character in this movie was Steve Carrell. I don't know if I've ever been super impressed with Carrell, but I suppose that's because I never saw Anchorman because that character was brilliant! He was making me laugh out loud the whole movie.

This wasn't actually the best comedy I've seen this year. That award might go to Red 2 or The Internship. For most of the movie, I was actually unimpressed. Yes, I laughed quite a bit, especially with Brick, but it wasn't sucking me in, and I wasn't impressed with the story. Also, it was a little too dirty at times, which I guess is to be expected with an Anchorman movie. However, after going through a lot of the movie feeling unimpressed, we then got to the ending. Wow! I'm not going to say what happens, but I actually found the end of this movie quite epic! It made the whole movie worth it. If you liked the first one, I'd say give this a shot. If you never saw the first movie, but you like Will Ferrell or Steve Carrell, I'd say give this a shot. If you never saw the first one, but you don't like Ferrell or Carrell, they probably won't convert you to be honest. But I walked out of this movie entertained, so take that for what it's worth. I'll give Anchorman 2 a 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top 10 Most Popular Songs of 2013

The top 10 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 for the week ending in December 28th have been released just now, and that means my year long project of keeping track of the top songs of the year has been complete. Thus it is time to release that list to the public. Note, this is not a list of my personal favorite songs of the year, that list will come later, but rather it's the most popular songs of the year according to the general public here in the United States. My formula for determining this is simple and thus not perfect, but it works. So here we go!

10- "Wake Me Up!" -- Avicii

The genre of electronica has become increasing popular, with many top artists turning that direction at least a little bit in their music. A lot of electronic music topped the billboard charts this year, but out of all of them, Avicii takes the crown with the top electronic song of the year. The uncredited Aloe Blacc provides the lyrics, and Avicii's mix of electronica and folk music in the song helped spread it out to more audiences than just fans of electronica.

9- "Radioactive" -- Imagine Dragons

Last year was a huge breakout year for the Provo band Imagine Dragons as their album Night Visions viraled out of control. The first single from that album, It's Time, didn't quite crack the Top 10 last year, but followup single Radioactive certainly did. In fact, Radioactive has become one of the biggest rock songs ever, setting a record for most weeks on top of the rock charts. It never hit number 1 on the Hot 100, but it spent 20 weeks in the top 10, and at this current time has been on the Hot 100 for nearly 70 weeks, which means it's only a few weeks away from breaking the all-time record for time spent on that chart.

8- "When I was Your Man" -- Bruno Mars

Bruno actually had a hit this year in Locked Out of Heaven that was bigger than When I was Your Man. That single is currently in the top 15 when it comes to the songs of the decade. Unfortunately for Bruno, it split it's run between the end of last year and the beginning of this year, so it has shown up in neither end-of-the-year list. Instead When I was Your Man gets to represent Bruno in this 2013 list. It had a good run towards the top of the charts, with one of those weeks being at number one.

7- "Just Give Me a Reason" -- P!nk featuring Nate Ruess

Taking advantage of Nate Ruess' vocals turned out to be a great choice for P!nk in this duet, as Nate is coming off of huge success as lead singer of the band fun. This duet hit chords with audiences earlier this year as it ruled the billboards for three weeks, and has earned P!ink a Grammy nomination for best song.

6- "Wrecking Ball" -- Miley Cyrus 

Miley shocked audiences this year several times as she has set out to shed her good girl "Hannah Montana" persona. Dancing almost naked with Robin Thicke, who is both married and almost old enough to be her father, definitely did the trick. Not finished with her antics, she decided to go completely nude in her music video for her single Wrecking Ball. These combined have given her a lot of bad press. However, in some instances, bad press can turn into good press when it comes to success, and that seems to have been the case as Wrecking Ball has flown high as one of the top songs of the year.

5- "Roar" -- Katy Perry

Back in August, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga both released their debut singles for their upcoming albums on the same day. It was a cat fight that Perry won out on, as Roar has continued Katy's successes from her previous album. Also, their was a mild controversy as concerning Roar having copied Sara Bareilles' single Brave. Being that Roar was written before Brave was released, this seems to have not been the case. Sara Bareilles has definitely not been complaining as the controversy boosted sales for her song quite a bit, and it has sure to have done the same for Roar, so the situation is a win/win for both parties.

4- "Can't Hold Us" -- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton

It's been a huge year for Macklemore as the rapper has seen his first two singles both reign as the king of the Billboard, which is something not many have been able to pull off. It helps that he has been able to please audiences from both the rap crowds and the pop crowds. His successes have gain him several Grammy nominations, including best song, best album, and best new artist. Can't Hold Us is the lesser of his two successes, but not by a whole lot.

3- "Thrift Shop" -- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz

Continuing on Macklemore, Thrift Shop was the top song of the year for quite some time. Although in terms of Billboard success, it did get shortchanged a bit as in the midst of its rein at the top, Billboard changed their formula to include YouTube views. The made it so YouTube phenomenon Harlem Shake reigned at top for five weeks before Macklemore took back the title. Had this change not happened, Macklemore may have reigned for 11 weeks at number one instead of the six weeks that it did. This wouldn't been enough to garner it the top spot, but it would've been a close second.

2- "Royals" -- Lorde

Speaking of breakout artists, 16-year-old Ella Yelich-O'Connor of New Zealand, known by her stage name of Lorde, has had a huge year. While most 16-year-old girls are busy with high school and homework, Lorde has been busy writing music and has seen herself become one of the biggest artists in the world just in time for her 17th birthday. Impressive. Royals enjoyed the year's second longest run at number one, and is also tied for third longest run of the decade. The song isn't done with it's top 10 reign quite yet, which means it has still plenty of room to climb on the decade list. As the song is beginning to fade out, Lorde's second single Team is on the rise, so Lorde's success is far from finished.

1- "Blurred Lines" -- Robin Thicke featuring TI and Pharrell

In talking about controversy, Robin Thicke has definitely been no stranger to the concept, as he has ridden that the whole year long. He started by introducing his music video to the world wherein he, TI, and Pharrell danced around with completely naked girls (an edited version of the music video was also done where the girls had some coverings). Then of course there is the subject matter of the song that, while very catchy, is also quite a bit sketchy. Those two aspects helped Thicke cruise to one of the best Hot 100 runs in history, and currently the best of the decade so far. After leading as king for the whole summer, he had the previously mentioned stint with Miley Cyrus at the VMA's which turned a lot of heads. To top it all off, while Sara and Katy may be besties after the Roar/Brave controversy, Marvin Gaye's family is certainly angry at Robin Thicke and have decided to sue Thicke for illegally copying Gaye's Got to Give it Up, as they claim. And that ladies and gentlemen, is your song of the year. Moral of the story? Sparking controversy leads to fame and fortune in the music industry? You decide.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

Just like was the case with The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the early 2000's, this December gives the gift of Hobbit once again just one December after the first one came out. When I first saw An Unexpected Journey last December, I wasn't totally impressed. I didn't hate it, but I was hoping for a lot more. Upon viewing it again, I actually liked it a lot more. It had a few things that bother me, and it's no where near the level of the Lord of the Rings movies, but I would think it's a good movie. I can't claim I was extremely excited for Desolation of Smaug, but nevertheless I had high hopes. It turns out that I still thought the movie was really entertaining, but when all is said and done, the second chapter of the Hobbit trilogy is still no where near as good as it could've been and is actually even a step down from the first.

If you haven't read the Hobbit, I highly recommend you find some time to sit down and read it. Most of you, I feel, have read the Hobbit, so I don't need to dive into the story that much. With this second one, we pick up our story with right where we left off with Bilbo and the dwarves running away from the orcs. An Unexpected Journey, although it was a bit drawn out, seemed to follow the book pretty well. This one, however, took a ton of creative liberties. A lot of creative liberties I was fine with. The scenes were entertaining, even though they strayed quite a bit from the book. However, the more we got into the movie, the more I got the feeling that they were just throwing things in there to fill the movie. And that of course brings up the discussion of this three movie decision.

Was it worth it to create three movies out of the Hobbit? I never liked the idea, but I was willing to give Peter Jackson a shot. After all, he made the Lord of the Rings movies, which are three of my favorite movies ever. He seemed like he knew what he was doing when the three-movie decision was announced. After seeing the first two movies, I have officially decided that this was a bad idea. The first movie was good, but it could've been improved if they moved a bit faster through it. The second movie was decent, but they added so much, that it got a bit silly. Had they stuck to two movies, I feel The Hobbit would've been pretty epic. The scenes in it would've been great. The movie would've been more focused. The pacing would've been much better. Things just would've been a lot better overall.

But let's get back to the movie, because I have more to say. There is one aspect that bothered me even more than all the unnecessary added plot and that is the CGI. Had the CGI been top-notch, I may have been able to forgive the plot follies. But my goodness it was so awful that it was embarrassing! Especially the orcs. Every time there was a scene with the orcs, despite how well written the scene may have been, I had a hard time enjoying the scene because of how the orcs looked. For a movie team that did something so legendary with The Lord of the Rings, it's almost mind-boggling that they could be so lazy and pathetic when it comes to doing the CGI in their movie.

A few more down points for this movie real quick. Did Legolas need to be in this movie? I mean, he did a good job, and was especially entertaining when he was cutting off orcs' heads, but I'm going to say no to that question. It was one of those things where they threw him into the movie as filler so they could justify three movies. And since Tolkien never wrote him into the book in the first place, the writing of his character seemed especially weak. Also there is Evangeline Lilly. I love her! She was so good in Lost! And I'm not complaining that they wrote her character in, but the way they wrote her character is what I have a problem with. In the movie there is a weird and awkward love triangle between her, Legolas, and a dwarf. Yes, you heard that right. And yes, it's as stupid as it sounds. Finally, I need to complain about the music in the movie. All four of the other movies I walked out loving the music! The Lord of the Rings soundtrack is easily one of my favorite music soundtracks ever. And the Misty Mountains song in An Unexpected Journey was also awesome! But this movie had no memorable music. The music wasn't bad, but it was just not memorable. And that's disappointing.

Now I know I have written for a long time on this post, but I have been so negative to this point that I need to give some positives. Like I mentioned, while this movie is far from epic, it was really entertaining. It may not seem like it based on this review, but sometimes when you have high hopes for a movie and it doesn't quite meet your expectations, all the follies stick out a lot more and thus you spend a lot more time talking about them. Thus is the case with this. The visuals and cinematography in the movie, outside the awful CGI of course, was brilliant. The acting was superb, as always. Speaking of which, our Sherlock reunion made me so happy. Martin Freeman is an amazing Bilbo. He was great in the first and was great in this. And when he made it to Smaug, that scene stole the show. Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug was pure genius. The man is one of my favorite actors, and after hearing him voice both Smaug and the Necromancer, but especially Smaug, I have decided that he should voice every villain ever. He is that good!

Anyways, I will wrap this up by mentioning that I originally gave An Unexpected Journey a 7 out of 10. After additional viewings, I would've regraded that and given it an 8.5 out of 10. Most people that I've been reading have claimed that Desolation of Smaug is an improvement over the first, but I am going to reverse course and give Desolation of Smaug a 7.5 out of 10. It's decent and entertaining, but overall not that great and a step down from the first. But alas, there is still hope that the finale next December ends up being the best of three, so we'll see what happens.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Movie Preview: December 2013

We're already a few days into December, but the holiday season is upon us, and the majority of the movies coming out this month are later on anyways. In fact, with the combination of nationwide releases and nationwide expansions around Christmas, there are plenty of options for everyone this Christmas break. For the movie business, that means it is almost guaranteed that a few of those that get lost in the crowd, but audiences won't be complaining too much. Let's dive in!

December 6th - 8th - 

The first week of December is always the quietest of the month. Audiences have just spent their time on the Thanksgiving movies, and are waiting till the middle or end of the month for the Christmas movies. Thus was the case last weekend as November holdovers Catching Fire and Frozen dominated the weekend, with the latter stealing the crown from the former. The only new nationwide release this weekend was Out of the Furnace and it was a bad weekend for it. Out of the Furnace was the first movie in a Christian Bale double-header this month, both going for Oscars. Out of the Furnace was essentially about Christian Bale's character going through a lot of crap in his life. Audiences and critics both didn't go for it, as critics were harsh on it, and audiences didn't give it a shot as it opened to only $5 million for the weekend. No Oscars for this one.

Opening in limited release this weekend was a movie that will get Oscar consideration, and that is Inside Llewyn Davis. It only opened in four theaters over the weekend, but the movie's per-theater average was the ninth highest ever for a movie not released by Disney with that per-theater average being $101,000. Inside Llewyn Davis expands to more theaters on December 20th and is scheduled for a nationwide release in January. Inside Llewyn Davis follows the life of a young singer for a week as he tries to make it in the unforgiving New York Winter. With a 95 percent tomatometer, a best picture nomination in the Oscars is a possibility, with star Oscar Isaac also being in the conversation for a best actor nomination.

December 13th - 15th - 

The second weekend of December is where this month starts picking up. The big release of the weekend will be the biggest of the month, and one of the most anticipated of the year as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits theaters. The Desolation of Smaug is the second chapter of a planned Hobbit trilogy. Fans of the book were skeptic of the decision by Peter Jackson to split the short book into three movies, but last December when the first chapter came out, fans of the book ended up being pleased. Critics were harsh on the movie, though, and the casual movie goer wasn't always impressed. This might hold this second chapter from reaching Lord of the Rings levels, financially, but it will still do great, especially overseas. The second chapter, as the title suggests, will focus around the drag Smaug as voiced by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. It also brings Legolas into the series, along with new elf Tauriel, voiced by Lost star Evangeline Lilly.

Counter-programming from the other nationwide release, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, will make this weekend a rather successful one. Tyler Perry has established himself as quite the popular movie-maker, and audiences have especially loved it when he uses his Madea character, a big, crazy black girl played by Perry himself. The Madea movies typically fare well, and a Christmas theme very well may boost it beyond the typical Madea audience.

This weekend also has two Oscar-contenders opening in limited release that will both get a nationwide expansion on the 20th, as well as a third movie in limited release that will get an expansion in January. The first of these three is Saving Mr. Banks. Saving Mr. Banks tells the story of the making of Mary Poppins, or rather the process that Walt Disney went through to get permission from author P.L. Travers to make the movie. Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney and it's been quite the year for Hanks. This movie, along with October's Captain Phillips, might make it so Hanks gets two Oscar nominations in one year, one for best actor and one for best supporting actor. Saving Mr. Banks expands nationwide on December 20th.

The other movie expanding on December 20th, but opening this weekend, is American Hustle. David O. Russell is the director of this movie, and he's been a rather popular director recently with his other movies The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, both of which got multiple Oscar nominations. American Hustle brings in an all-star cast, as it combines the cast of The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook with Christian Bale and Amy Adams from The Fighter, and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence from Silver Linings Playbook. As a fifth star, the movie also includes Jeremy Renner. With very strong reviews so far, multiple Oscar nominations are certain to come this movie's way.

Finally, the limited release movie that expands nationwide in January is the movie Her. Her is more of an under-looked Oscar contender, but it could sneak in a few nominations. Spike Jonze directs as the movie is about a lonely author that falls in love with a new technologically advanced operating system that's designed to meet his every needs. The cast includes Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Scarlet Johansson in lead roles, but also has a supporting cast of Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, Bill Hader, and Kristen Wiig.

December 20th - 22nd - 

Think that was a lot the previous weekend? Well, we're just getting started for holiday movies. In addition to the previously mentioned expansions of Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr. Banks, and American Hustle, the weekend of the 20th also gets two brand new nationwide releases that look to get a jump on the busy Christmas holiday. The dominate one will be Anchorman: The Legend Continues. It's been nearly 10 years when the first Anchorman become a modest hit. Since then, the audience of the movie has continued to build and thus the hype for the sequel has been pretty big, especially because it returns the cast from the original, and trailers have provided lots of laughs. Being that comedies have been somewhat sparse this holiday season, this should provide a great option for those hungering for a comedy that don't want to give Madea's Christmas a chance. Anchorman 2 actually opens up on Wednesday, so it will get even more of a head start on the other movies.

The other nationwide release will give family audiences their first major option since Frozen, and that is Walking With Dinosaurs. Dinosaur movies are no unique thing with movies like The Land Before Time, Jurassic Park, and Dinosaur. This movie, though, looks to take a unique spin on the Dinosaur genre by creating a realistic CGI world that, combined with the help of 3D, looks to take family audiences back to the dinosaur age. Hence the title, Walking With Dinosaurs. Yes, there is a story in the movie that actually seems a bit cliche for dinosaur movies, but the realistic dinosaurs in this is the big grab, and family audiences should eat it up.

December 25th - 29th - 

And then there was Christmas. In addition to what should be a long list of holdovers, Christmas adds five new nationwide releases, which should make things pretty insane. First up is the highly anticipated Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street. This movie tells the true story of Jordan Belfort, who went from being a wealthy stockbroker to falling because of crime, corruption, and the federal government. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Belfort, and although the competition for best actor is rather crowded, Leo could be one of the major contenders. The Wolf of Wall Street will probably see several other Oscars, of which Matthew McConaughey and Jonah Hill could sneak away with best supporting actor nominations.

Next up is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which is a remake of the 1947 movie of the same title. The movie is about the day-dreaming Walter Mitty who finds himself on a real-life adventure due to a certain chain of events. The movie is directed by Ben Stiller, and also stars Ben Stiller as the title character of Walter Mitty. The movie is only rated PG, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. Either it will appeal to all audiences and thus do really well or it audiences will be confused as to who it's trying to target, and thus it may be a miss. Thus it will rely on good word of mouth as well as Oscar buzz in order to get a good audience.

Third movie of the week is Grudge Match. This is a movie where audiences will see Sylvester Stallone get back into the boxing ring once again, although this time he's not playing his title character of Rocky. However, this will certainly get his Rocky fanbase out to see him box once again, and he will be up against Robert De Niro in the ring. As the story goes, the two were big rivals 30 years previously, and they are getting back into the ring again for one final battle.

Like I mentioned earlier, with so many movies coming out at once, there is bound to be a movie or two that gets lost in the crowd. This will almost certainly be the case for 47 Ronin, unless of course it picks up good solid word of mouth. 47 Ronin is a Samurai movie that stars Keanu Reeves, and it's about a band of Samurai that are out to avenge the death of their master under a ruthless shogun.

Finally we have another Justin Bieber documentary coming out, this one titled Believe. It seems like a bit of an odd choice to do this, since Justin Bieber already filmed a documentary about himself. But for whatever reason he's doing it again. Justin Bieber has also been releasing a song a week for the last couple of months leading up to Christmas, so this appears to be a grand hurrah after doing that. Beliebers will show up to see Believe, but it's doubtful that many others will.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Grammys 2014: If it were My Choice

The nominations have recently came out for the 2014 Grammy Awards. I am not making predictions as far as who is going to win, but I wanted to make my personal picks based on what the nominations were, so that's what this is. You can look at this and know a bit about my musical tastes this year. Also, when the Grammys air on January 26, you can look back at this and see how happy I am at the results. This is not a comprehensive list of all the categories, just the ones I care about.

For a full list of the nominations, check out this article on Billboard.com: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/5819883/grammy-awards-2014-full-nominations-list-complete-nominees?page=0%2C0

Album of the Year: "Random Access Memories" -- Daft Punk

Record of the Year: "Royals" -- Lorde

Song of the Year: "Royals" -- Lorde

Best New Artist: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (why is Lorde nominated not here?)

Best Pop Solo Performace: "Brave" -- Sara Bareilles

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: "Just Give Me a Reason" -- Pink feat Nate Reuss

Best Pop Vocal Album: "Pure Heroine" -- Lorde

Best Dance/Electronic Album: "Random Access Memories" -- Daft Punk

Best Dance Recording: "Clarity" -- Zedd feat Foxes

Best Rock Performance: "Radioactive" -- Imagine Dragons

Best Rap Performance: "Thrift Shop" -- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat Wanz

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "Holy Grail" -- Jay Z feat Justin Timberlake

Best Rap Song: "Thrift Shop" -- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat Wanz

Best Country Solo Performance: "I Drive Your Truck" -- Lee Price

Best Country Album: NOT Red (It's not a country album, it's pop)

Best Country Song: "I Drive Your Truck" -- Lee Price

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media: The Great Gatsby

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: The Great Gatsby -- Craig Armstrong, composer

Best Song Written for Visual Media: "Young and Beautiful" from "The Great Gatsby" -- Lana Del Rey & Nick Nowles, songwriters (Lana Del Rey)

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Pharrell Williams

Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: "Summertime Sadness" (Cedric Gervais Remix) -- Cedric Gervais, remixer (Lana Del Rey)

Best Music Video: "Safe and Sound" -- Capital Cities (Grady Hall, video director; Buddy Enright, video producer)