Thursday, 30 January 2014

2013 Best & Worst (Dandy's picks)

2013 is over, my top ten lists are complete and now, just like every other esteemed blogger in this hush hush arena of horticulture it's time of my choices for best and worst, films, books, TV shows.

Even though my fellow reviewers  have already given their thoughts the matter in hand, this is an equal opportunity blog, which means that each one of us has a voice that may agree with each other or may not, but either way we can always have our say on the matter .Viva la Article 10!

So now that's out of the way; welcome to the first ever BEST/WORST awards of the year; the awards being either respect or disdain, respectively

Not that I'm counting or anything but in 2013 I saw more films at the cinema in one year than I ever have before Heck on one time I went twice in one day. So it's fair to say that I saw a fair number but only a handful of them are what I would consider good films.

These then are the  nominations for best film (in alphabetical order)

About Time

A delightful, fun to watch light comedy, carefully mixing both romance, a time travel plot device with a dash of Rachel McAdams and the end result not being too melodramatic. It's just a shame the story didn't quite reach the profound arc it was hoping for.

Captain Phillips

Excellent, nail-biting, pseudo docudrama with an excellent Tom Hanks performance, supported by a cast of superb unknowns. Ironically the main downfall of having such an anonymous ensemble is the illusion it creates being shattered by a central character who is irrefutably Tom Hanks.


Meet Bruce; not only is he a corrupt cop, he's a despicable, misanthropic, drug using, womanising piece of scum who may just be one of the most darkly charismatic, compelling and entertaining characters you will ever see on screen.


Based on the true story of two F1 legends, this film combined masterful acting, wonderful direction, great dialogue and probably the most understated yet incredible visual effects all year. If you can't tell it's CGI, that's damn good CGI.

Thor 2 The Dark World

Without question the funniest film that came out last year (specifically the last 30 mins) and the beauty of it was that it was very much intentional. Other than that it decently written, had some genuine shock moments, outlandish enough to show what a comic book film should be but with some great tender moments too that never felt out of place. The style and art direction was a bit too Lord of The Rings meets Star Wars, spliced with Masters of The Universe for my liking though.

and the winner is...


You will never see more magnetically charged, complete downward spiral of a character done in more wonderfully creative and performed way. James McAvoy was completely robbed for his Oscar and BAFTA nomination for this gloriously disgusting film.

Nominations for worst film are...

After Earth

Will Smith demonstrates that he can be a really bad actor, his son demonstrates how he will never be a good one and they both demonstrate that they should never write a story together again. A monumental disaster of a film that's as entertaining to watch as stoned hamster trying to use his exercise wheel.


Matt Damon squares off against a oddly accented Jodi Foster in an over stylised rip off of Johnny Mnemonic but omitting everything that made that pretty bad film watchable. Namely cheesy lines, stable camera work and Dolph Lundgren as cyber psycho Jesus.

Man of Steel

Zach Snyder attempts to ape the dark, brooding atmosphere and gritty realism of Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, forgetting that the character he is using is a super-powered alien orphan in a chainmail onesy and special abilities that get arbitrarily unlocked the more bad guys he throws through standing structures.

Monsters University

Billy Crystal and John Goodman lend their voices to the pointless prequel to Monsters Inc, which was executed in such a clumsy and unfunny way that not even a cameo from Her Majesty Helen Mirren could salvage it.

Mortal Instruments City of Bones

Billed as Twilight but with more bite this optimistic new franchise hopeful had pretty much hung itself before the first glimpse of bad CGI hit the screen. It also doesn't help that the main sarcastic, cocky, arrogant love interest of 'slightly better than Bella' is played by an actor who has no idea how to be cocky, arrogant or sarcastic.

and the winner is...


Well done to Neill Blomkamp for creating such a potentially complex story about mortality and entitlement, only to have the supposed morally good, saviour character cheat and steal his way into paradise.

Nominations for best live music act are...

Imagine Dragons

The only band I know where percussion is god and every single member wants to drum. Exhilarating and endearingly humble to their very positive audience

Kings Of Leon

Second time I've seen these guys and they just seem to get better and better. The sound quality was crisper this time due to an indoor arena and it's wonderful acoustics.


I missed the first 15 mins but the rest of the gig was well worth the ten years I've been waiting to get to see them. It's true what they say, they really are much better live than on recording, as if that doesn't sound outlandish enough.

and the winner is...


They won me over through excellent playing, wonderful showmanship and the fact they looked like they were having as much fun as the entire audience listening to them.

 Nominations for worst live act are...

Kaiser Chiefs

A return home to Leeds from the local lads and not only did they alienate the crowd with their over arrogance and lack lustre set list but they genuinely looked like they really couldn't be bothered being there.

Pulled Apart By Horses

These guys were just one stream of bad noise from start to finish. Loud, obnoxious and lacking the ability create even the simplest of hooks.

The Weeks

So boring I can't even remember what they sounded like. Plus the singer was on some serious drugs to convey the very determined lack of self awareness he was demonstrating.

and the winner is...


It's all the name really, just spelt differently. The singer really needs to work on his stage presence, preferably when sober and he needs more space to move. The way he was so rigidly stuck to a triangle shape with his movements all the time was much funnier than it should be.

Nominations for best TV show are...

Breaking Bad

Dad from Malcolm in the Middle Bryan Cranston plays cancer suffering teacher who decides to cook meth and kick arse in order to finance the medical bills. At least that's how it starts...

Game Of Thrones

Winter is coming, the lions are roaring and we're now one season away from being unbowed, unbent and unbroken. It's a TV adaptation that has yet to seriously let me down.

and the winner is...


Of course it is, it's probably one of the best TV shows ever created, I blitzed through the entire 6 seasons in a space of 5 weeks, sometimes watching 4 to 5 episodes a night. It was as addictive sublime as Heisenberg's blue meth. Remember his name and say it once in a while just so you do.

Nominations for worst TV show are...

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Cheap cash in that was riding on the success of The Avengers by making a TV series. I'm not too happy about characters being raised from the dead no matter how popular they are either.

X Factor

It's time has passed, there's now no need for this to go on any longer, especially when the judges have the tendency to pick the worst people possible to forward too the finals.

and the winner is ...


I'm just sick of it now; it's become too formulaic, too cliché ridden and too much focus on the judges rather than the contestants. It's time for a fresh start and possibly a new release time. Maybe then we may just have a Christmas song at number one at Christmas time. Crazy thought.

The nominations for best read of 2013 (well for me at least) are...

A Storm of Swords: Blood & Gold (A Song of Ice & Fire)

The Red Viper, the red wedding, the purple wedding and where ever whores go. Those who have read this series will know exactly why those reasons make it my favourite of the series so far. If you haven't read it, maybe it will make you intrigued enough to start. I do suggest A Game Of Thrones first however, you wouldn't want to miss anything.

The Night Circus

A beautiful tale of magic, love, destiny and consequences. One of the most dream like books in existence that everyone should read at least once.

Thirteen Reasons Why

A haunting story about one long suicide note recorded on multiple cassette tapes. Probably the most originally narrated story I've ever read.

and the winner is ...


I finished this book in one night, it compelled me so much I was driven to read it and find the outcome in one sitting. It's not perfect but it touched me and made me feel genuinely sad yet hopeful. When it hits me hard, I kind of like it. I'm very much an emotional masochist.

And finally the nominations for worst read of 2013 (for me that is) are...

A Feast For Crows (A Song of Ice & Fire)

Every main character is dropped, the plot idles along with the speed of a snail on a glacier and Brienne the Beauty is looking for a maid of three and ten with auburn hair and fair of face and my god does she want you to know it.

Gone Girl

Promising start which quickly leads to a supposedly shocking twist that garnered nothing but mild curiosity from myself and a whole host of others who have read it.


Robert Langdon returns for his most lacklustre adventure yet. Such a shame because so much could have been done with Dante being a main driver of the plot.

and the winner is ...


I'll give it some credit for the Cersei chapters which I did enjoy, but everything else about the book is so tedious that the only reason I continued was that I couldn't bring myself to move on to the next book until this one was done. Such a promising title for a part of the story so lifeless. Actually it's quite apt when you think of it like that.

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