If we’re going to talk about favorite things of 2014, then it’s only fair to talk about not-so favorite things of 2014. What goes up, must come down, right?
Let’s get right to it.
Giddy Up America’s Not-So Favorite Things of 2014
10. The Death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Did you know that he was recovering drug addict? I didn’t. I just knew that he was a great actor who was one of those actors who instantly made any movie they were in better. I couldn’t watch the latest Hunger Games movie without feeling sad that he was gone. And also that the revolution against President Snow might not succeed. I would say my five favorite P.S.H. roles are (in no particular order): Lester Bangs (Almost Famous,) Truman Capote (Capote,) Lancaster Dodd (The Master,) Joseph Turner White (State and Main,) and Gust Avrakotos (Charlie Wilson’s War.) Honorable mention would be Brandt (The Big Lebowski,) Freddie Miles (The Talented Mr. Ripley) and of course, Sandy Lyle (Along Came Polly.)
Because, yeah, Sandy Lyle, dude.
Range. That’s all you can say about Phillip Seymour Hoffman. If you haven’t seen The Master, you should. Hoffman definitely died with what looked like his best years ahead of him, but he left behind a body of work that stands tall with the best.
9. Mad Men’s Mid-Season Break
Damn it AMC! And I typed that as emphatically as I thought it in my head. You and your mid-season breaks are killing me, smalls. They’re killing me. It worked for Breaking Bad. That’s great. But to then assume it’ll work for the other great shows you have is asinine- especially Mad Men. It probably doesn’t hurt The Walking Dead all that much, but The Walking Dead sure as shit isn’t Mad Men. Maybe you missed…sorry, I’m addressing this directly at AMC…maybe you missed it that Mad Men is kind of a dense show. There’s a lot going on, a lot of nuance, a lot of subtly, a lot of subtext. In short, a lot to keep track of. It’s hard to remember everything when the show is on regularly. Now you throw a calendar year in the middle of a season, and the last season at that? It seems downright foolish. You’re being foolish, AMC. Mad Men deserves better.
Just to be clear, I am not cool with AMC splitting the final season of Mad Men in two.
8. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Super Bowl Halftime Performance
I love the Chili Peppers. Love ’em. They’re one of my favorite bands of all time, Chad Smith one of my favorite drummers and Blood Sugar Sex Magic is firmly located in my Top 10 Albums of All Time. So with that being said, seeing them “play” the halftime show at February’s Super Bowl was a disgrace. While I watching, yeah I noticed that Flea’s bass didn’t seem to be plugged in, but I didn’t put much thought into it. Maybe the cord was hidden? Maybe it was…I don’t know. If anything I was A) distracted by how borderline pathetic/out of place they looked and B) kind of bummed because Bruno Mars was killing it and didn’t want to see him pushed aside. Either way, it wasn’t until the next day when I started reading things and learned why Flea’s cord was so hard to see- there wasn’t one. The Chili Peppers, one of the best band’s of all time, were faking it. A singer lip-synching a gig like the halftime show is one thing. Seems pretty common place. But the whole band? What the shit guys?
Allegedly it wasn’t there call. It was the NFL (more on them in a bit.) And because they weren’t actually playing, the band decided that even pretending was pointless. So they didn’t. They went out and ran it out bush league style. Complete bush league. Listen, you want to play the Super Bowl, you’ve always wanted to play the Super Bowl, that’s cool. It’s a big achievement for any band. But to do so, you need to discard your beliefs, go back on your pledge to never mime a performance- well, okay. Do what you need to do, fellas.
But come on, anything worth doing is right.
And that includes faking it.
7. Bummers are boring
They are. So let’s take a minute to relive something fun that happened in 2014.
Okay, back to it.
Hold up, actually there is a number 7 now…
7. North Korea Wins, Sony pulls The Interview
This just happened last night, which is why it’s a late addition to this list and if you’re not familiar with the story then all you need to know is that The Interview is a movie centered around the act of assassinating North Korea Looney Tune Kim Jung Un which understandably, hasn’t sat well with North Korea. As a result, North Korea orchestrated a hacking of Sony, the company behind The Interview, that leaked loads of embarrassing information, future projects and more. The group doing the hacking then proceeded to threaten any theater that showed The Interview, which was scheduled to be released on Christmas Day. Sony then
did the honorable thing and stood their ground cancelled the release of the movie because “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”
So in short- you win assholes, art loses. Remember when the U.S. didn’t negotiate with terrorists? Good news, we still don’t! We just straight up cower in their presence. I think this is such bullshit and not because Sony acted like such spineless goats, but because THEY SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING! Did they seriously not think a movie with a premise like killing a sitting dictator wouldn’t be an issue with said dictator? For them to act surprised and taken aback by all of this is as lame and shameless as them pulling the movie. Plus, it’s art! It’s satire. And even further down the road here, what happens next? Is all media now subject to what others think and if they don’t like it, it gets pulled? What’s stopping Putin from doing something Putin-esque and declaring war over the next New York Times op-ed that slams him for being a delusional nut bag? Sony, in being a spineless pushover, has ushered in a dangerous precedent here. So good work, y’all. Now we all know what it’s like to have someone “destroy our spirit and our morale.”
This isn’t as much about Russia as it is about Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. I don’t care for him. I think he’s a liability in the same way you’re friend in college who had a tendency for getting too drunk was a liability- very high wildcard factor. You never know what your shit-faced friend was going to do, you never know what Putin is going to do. All you know is that both will deny they did anything and blame someone else in the process.
I didn’t piss all over your couch. The dog must have.
I didn’t send troops in Ukraine. That’s just American propaganda.
Putin had himself a busy 2014. He hosted the Winter Olympics in which gay-bashing was more prominent than snow and he ran up a $51 billion dollar tab in the process. Hey now, most expensive Olympics ever! And bonus, Sochi, where the games were held, is now essentially a ghost town. But on the plus side, a very expensive ghost town. Putin for the win! Putin could at least use it as a place to toss all the people who dare speak out against him. I’m talking about you, Pussy Riot. Putin then followed up the Olympics with the invasion and casual snatching of Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine that Putin you know, just kind of felt belonged to him. Again, just like how your drunk friend in college stole your weed. He just kind of felt like it was his.
After Crimea, the rest of Ukraine became a full-fledged shit show with Putin adamantly denying he had anything to do with the unrest, despite signs of the Russian military gallivanting around the Ukrainian countryside. Word around the campfire was that he had designs on getting the band back together, the band being the Artist Formerly Known as the Soviet Union. And while he’s been relatively quiet in recent weeks, he still requires monitoring because no one has any idea what he’s planning to do next.
Oh and Russia is hosting the 2018 World Cup. Because of course it is. Keep up the good work FIFA.
5. The 2014 Boston Red Sox
Congratulations Red Sox! You went from my favorite thing in 2013 to my fifth least favorite thing in 2014. That’s pretty impressive. The BoSox followed up their 2013 Championship with a stellar summer, going 71-91 and finishing in last place in the American League East. Jon Lester, the team’s ace, was traded to the A’s, none of the rookies the Sox were banking on to produce did anything close to that and the good vibes that engulfed the 2013 team flew the coop faster than tourists at the end end of August. It really was a bummer of a season, especially once Lester was traded. But on the bright side, the Sox finished in last in 2012 and then won it all in 2013. Sooooo, 2015 is looking good.
4. Robin Williams’ Death
This came out of nowhere; it seemed unbelievable. And it was so sad, so very sad. This was Robin Williams- a man that had made so many people laugh for so long committing suicide in a bout of depression. I really felt terrible for both him and his family and I immediately realized just how long I had been a fan of Williams. Just like when Phillip Seymour Hoffman died, Williams’ best roles started running through my head. It was too hard to pick a favorite, a collection so much easier: Sean Maguire (Good Will Hunting,) Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire (Mrs. Doubtfire,) Genie (Aladdin,) John Keating (Dead Poets Society) and Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning Vietnam.) And I have a confession to make, I didn’t see Dead Poets Society until after Williams had died. I don’t know why, I just had never seen it. It had become something I was ashamed to admit, but too forgetful to actually remedy. But I did see it, I did love it, I did get emotional. And I got emotional thinking about Robin Williams- whether it was remembering his movies, listening to his appearance on WTF a few years ago or thinking back to his old stand up specials.
His stand up was a wild roller coaster ride and half the time, I didn’t even really know what the hell he was talking about. But his energy, his enthusiasm was infectious. He was so fast, so quick.
And now he’s gone.
And I think we’re all at a loss for it.
3. Roger Goodell & the Sorry State of the NFL
Here’s a fun fact, Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, made $44 million dollars last year. 44 million. In dollars! And at least 30 million of that was in bonuses. That is a crazy amount of money. And even crazier for a man who routinely admits that he has made mistakes, has to do better, and has a lot to learn. Think about that- if you made a mistake at your job, a potentially serious mistake that was so egregious that you made a dude who hit his fiance and another dude who literally beat the shit out of his 4 year old kid sympathetic figures, don’t you think you’d have to atone for those mistakes? Yeah, probably. But hey, you’re not Roger Goodell. So…sucks to be you.
The NFL is really making it hard to be a fan. Whether it’s Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, bigger penalties for smokin’ weed than spousal abuse, numerous cases of domestic abuse and more penalty flags in a game than yardage, the NFL is proving to be an impenetrable fortress. With every scandal questions are posed about how the NFL can withstand yet another controversy, how they can’t possibly recover and surely it will be the last straw- people will walk away. And with every scandal, no one does. Viewership is actually higher this year than it has in past years. So yeah, no one cares. Some people like to talk about how they care, but really, no one does. We care more about football than right & wrong.
And with that being said, go Pats.
2. The Polar Vortex
Ah the Polar Vortex. I hope to never ever ever see or feel you again. It was so cold! So cold! Morning walks with my dog became frantic runs. She didn’t care, she was freezing too. We all were. Stupid Polar Vortex.
Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Donald Sterling.
Congratulations 2014. You found several ways to remind us that racism is still a thing in America.
Also in the Running…
Juan Pablo’s immense douchebaggary on The Bachelor
Dick Cheney appearances
The inability to rely on a running back in fantasy football
Schotty journalism by Rolling Stone
…but also the handling of sexual assault at UVA and other college campuses
Buzzfeed’s coverage of celebrities doing the Ice Bucket Challenge
The death of Joan Rivers
Bring on 2015.