2014’s been a busy year! Because of this, we’re looking back on things we did or didn’t like in the year, as well as looking forward to what has already gotten us excited for 2015. This is the second part of the series, where we talk about the things in 2014 that absolutely drove us up a wall.
This video is stuck in my head. Much like the rest of America, from what I’ve gathered.
I’m one of the *clears throat* haters she mentions. Frankly, I don’t get it. I love the video – rarely is a pop star so willing to admit that she has the dance skills of a raccoon. But I hate the song. It’s empty. It’s reactionary without having much to say. It’s fluff of the sort that T-Swizzle has churned out over the years. Harmless fluff. But I hate that people act like she’s the second coming of Joni Mitchell. Go back and look at the lyrics of “Chelsea Morning“, an early throwaway. “Coyote“. Anything off of Blue. Then come back and look at the lyrics of Taylor’s “rap“. They don’t compare. And that’s why I hate modern pop music. (Close seconds were “Fancy” and Eminem’s subsequent war of words with Iggy Azalea, because I have now become an awkward curmudgeon waving his fist at modern pop music from my front porch.)
Despite achieving worldwide blockbuster status, Maleficent is a movie I come very close to hating because it wastes its potential. The Sleeping Beauty retelling could have been a great feminist fantasy epic, touching on themes of duality, matriarchy, surviving rape and trauma, and the joy and power of female unity. However, the key words in that sentence were “touching on:” every time director Robert Stromberg and screenwriter Linda Woolverton introduce these ideas, they do not develop them but immediately cut away to unnecessary battles ripped off from Peter Jackson, long sequences featuring countless CGI creatures without names or personalities, and a terrible narration which tells us how the characters develop instead of letting the movie show us. These failures let down both a brilliant opening sequence and a fine performance from Angelina Jolie, who shines all the more opposite good young actors stuck in one-note roles and Sharlto Copley impersonating a giant, well-glazed ham.
This is going to sound weird, since I’m the guy who just wrote three months of weekly columns about it, but I really came to hate football this year. Maybe the whole year was doomed from January 1st, when Michigan State won the Rose Bowl for the first time in a generation. But I have a hard time thinking of a single football game I enjoyed watching this year. My team, Michigan, was fucking terrible and treated Travis and I to the infamous M00N game when we went up to Evanston. But even beyond that dreck, American football just felt like one long awful crapfest this year, especially on a cultural level. Richard Sherman being called a thug. The NFL’s hamfisted and idiotic responses to star players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson (among others!) physically assaulting family members. The on-going calamity of concussion trauma, reaching its zenith for me when Michigan let their concussed QB stay in a game and then re-inserted him a moment later. The whole sport has turned to ash for me.
Three years of frustration, and now you’re trying to woo me back, DC Comics?
I love the characters in the DC multiverse. I loved how good writers could use DC continuity to enrich their stories while still being accessible to new fans. But I get why DC rebooted continuity with the New 52 event, trying to make it even more accessible. I hate it, but I get it. What I don’t get are the poor editorial decisions, mishandling of top talent, and canceling & re-launching titles seemingly at a whim.
This year, DC has announced its next big event — Convergence, which will bring back all that awesome pre-New 52 continuity that was supposedly too cumbersome. Or will it? Buy all 80 issues to find out! Or don’t, but make sure to check out our new TV shows and our five-year movie plan!
If you ever wanted a straw man that embodied all the ills of modern comics publishing, you only need to look at DC Comics.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hated it, but I was underwhelmed by season two of House of Cards earlier this year. It’s probably just because season one was so good, and the fact that the writers killed off one of my favorite characters in the season two finale. But while season one felt like a smart, complex political drama, season two felt more like a soap. I am hoping the show goes back toward more like what season one was when the third season premieres on Netflix on February 27. I’m excited for where they are going with it plot-wise, and Robin Wright continues to be incredibly interesting to watch.
So, tell us – what did you hate about 2014?