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Top 10 Singles of 2013

Top 10 Singles of 2013

You won't find Lorde or Miley Cyrus here

This year was a transitional time for pop music: after years of beats trumping melodies, songs you could sing along to returned to the top of the charts in 2013. Not only were tunes you could hum back in vogue, so were mid-tempo ballads as songs like Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” Rihanna’s “Stay,”  and Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” dominated at radio.

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring Pharrell and T.I. spent the most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100,  but it was female artists who brought the sizzle to the charts in the form of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop,” and, of course, Lorde’s “Royals.”

Picking my top 10 songs was a bit of a struggle this year. The Top 5 came easily enough, but then there about 20 songs that I liked but didn’t love. Domestic talent has seen a resurgence, so I was a little surprised that 1/3 of my list came from new British singer/songwriters, none of whom have broken through yet in a meaningful way here...even though they are all certainly worthy contenders to continue to build in 2014.

I’m a big country fan, but as so many other critics have written this year, the current top country male artists have tied themselves up in a bundle of cliches, leaving women such as Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe and Brandy Clark to produce the most interesting work —even if mainstream radio isn’t embracing them as it should. 

My Top 10 is a totally subjective list: each song had to be a radio single released in 2013  and we had to be able to get a high-quality copy of the video (in all honestly, that changed one position on the list when we couldn’t get one clip), but other than that criteria, the list is simply the songs that I found myself listening to over and over this year, especially the Top 5. 

Additionally, two songs that seems to have made everyone else’s list—Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” and Lorde’s “Royals” — are nowhere to be found in my top 10. While I ended up begrudgingly liking “We Can’t Stop” after hearing it for the 1,000th time, it was never a song that resonated with me. While I understand all the hype over “Royals,” by the time I got around to making my list, I was so burnt out on it that it joins songs like “Stairway to Heaven”  and “Losing My Religions” that I never need to hear again in my life.

What were your favorite songs of the year?

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<p>Matthew Goode in &quot;Stoker.&quot;</p>

Matthew Goode in "Stoker."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Guy Lodge's top 25 films of 2013: #25-11

Before we get to the Top 10, the best of the rest

Tomorrow, because it's December 25 and nobody typically has much going on that day, I will finally reveal my top 10 films of 2013. And with the final draft of the list having sat in my head for about a week now, I'm pretty happy with it -- not just because it's a fine bunch of films (from one's own perspective, at least, that should go without saying), but because I'm positive that the 10 I chose are also the right ones in defining and outlining the year I had at the movies; the more I think about them, the more unexpected connections, parallels and complementary differences emerge alongside the intended ones.

Still, list-making is never an entirely satisfying process, and as I mulled over my initial longlist of over 60 titles for consideration,10 came to seem a thoroughly inadequate number -- it always is, really, but too many films meant too much to me this year to go by unthanked.

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<p>Emmy Rossum of &quot;Shameless&quot;</p>

Emmy Rossum of "Shameless"

Credit: Showtime

The Second 15 Best TV Shows of 2013 from The Fien Print

Showtime and FX dramas lead No. 11-25 for The Fien Print
By now you've had the chance to see my Top 10 as a video, check it out as part of HitFix's Critics' Poll and also hear the darned thing as part of the Best of 2013 podcast with Sepinwall. 
 
That's a lot of different Top 10 delivery systems. Of course, to get down to that Top 10, I had to make a lot of tough choices in what was surely a terrific year for TV. So what follows is my Second 10, which is actually a Second 15 and it includes some cheating in that Bonus 5.
 
In case you've forgotten, here's the Top 10.
 
1. "Breaking Bad"
2. "Orange Is The New Black"
3. "Mad Men"
4. "Rectify"
5. "The Returned"
6. "Enlightened"
7. "Game of Thrones"
8. "Bob's Burgers"
9. "56 Up"
10. "Girls"
 
Click through for the continuation of my list over two pages. And check out the photo gallery below for 15 more new shows that Sepinwall and I thought were worthy of notice.
 
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<p>A scene from&nbsp;&quot;Bringing Out the Dead&quot;</p>

A scene from "Bringing Out the Dead"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Thelma Schoonmaker hopes Martin Scorsese's 'Bringing Out the Dead' will eventually get its due

An undercurrent of faith marks the film as quintessential Scorsese

Talking with Thelma Schoonmaker recently, it became quickly apparent that I wasn't even going to scratch the surface of her career's work with Martin Scorsese in a single piece. I couldn't help but play the retrospective game with her, and while I of course didn't address all 19 feature collaborations, I was curious about six films in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of their work together. Each of them — "Who's That Knocking At My Door," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "The Departed" — will get its own space in the next few days.

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<p>&quot;The Great Christmas Light Fight&quot;</p>

"The Great Christmas Light Fight"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Great Christmas Light Fight,' 'Sing-Off' finales battle on Monday

ABC wins, but football may change things
Fast National ratings for Monday, December 23, 2013.
 
A couple holiday season limited series came to their end on Monday night and, at least in preliminary figures, the finale for "The Great Christmas Light Fight" appears to have topped the finale for "The Sing-Off," helping ABC to narrow Monday night wins.
 
ABC, meanwhile, had solid performances from Christmas encores featuring Shrek and The Chipmunks, while NBC's "Hollywood Game Night" return was soft.
 
There's a catch, of course. ABC had the Monday Night Football preemption in Atlanta (CBS had the game in San Francisco) and the network's margins of victory were so slim that taking the game out of the equation may shift everything.
 
On to the numbers...
 
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Amy Adams on surrendering to David O. Russell's process in 'American Hustle'

Amy Adams on surrendering to David O. Russell's process in 'American Hustle'

Plus: Why a willfully dodgy English accent was freeing for the actress

"American Hustle" star Amy Adams has been recognized by both the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Broadcast Film Critics Association this season. But in both instances she was relegated to designated comedy categories and it remains to be seen whether she can crack what has for months been a rather tight lead actress Oscar line-up.

With "Hustle" moving out into wider release this past weekend and scoring well at the box office, and as the film continues to find purchase with Academy voters, she might just find a foothold. She has her fans, but she also has her detractors, many of which highlight a flailing English accent as part of the trouble. But that can also be explained away as a character trait, and as the actress told HitFix in a recent interview, it was sort of freeing to not have to be a perfectionist on that particular detail.

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<p>Julie Andrews in &quot;Mary Poppins.&quot;</p>

Julie Andrews in "Mary Poppins."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: Does 'Mary Poppins' still fly?

Also: THR's composers' roundtable, and Italy's '12 Years a Slave' blunder

Though not a Christmas movie per se, "Mary Poppins" shows up on TV schedules often enough at this time of year that it's come to be an unofficial seasonal staple -- and with "Saving Mr. Banks" now in theaters, more people than usual will be giving it another spin over the holidays. But does it merits its classic status? I'm firmly in the "yes" camp, but Kyle Buchanan is less convinced: "'The Sound of Music' is sturdily structured and well-cast down to its smallest roles; rewatching it now, there's really not a superfluous scene. Not so much with Mary Poppins, y'all ... The good parts are just as good as you remember — it's just that they've been overrun by so many boring parts that it's shocking. For every spoonful of sugar that Mary Poppins offers, there are two more spoons of medicine you've got to take first." Bah, humbug. [Vulture]

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Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays!
TV Tattle will be back January 2nd.

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: Why does Brandi hate Joyce?

Yolanda has a fab dinner party, but no one cares enough to behave

Here's what I don't understand about "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Every other episode or so, someone throws a fabulous dinner party or hosts a decadent weekend retreat, and for what? You can put out fine china and orchids and cute little appetizers, and you'll still get a gaggle of women squeezing one another's boobs, cackling about dead bodies ruining their scuba diving trips, whining about who got a heart on their place card and who didn't, and (in some cases) getting knock down, drag out, cheap sex in a dirty bathroom drunk. I mean, this week Yolanda should have just rounded up a few bags of Doritos, a party pack of Taco Bell burritos, and a plastic swimming pool of vodka Jell-O suitable for wrestling or inhaling. Unfortunately, instead it was peonies before swine.

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<p>Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone both seem game for 'Grudge Match,' but the movie just can't keep up</p>

Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone both seem game for 'Grudge Match,' but the movie just can't keep up

Credit: Warner Bros

Half-hearted 'Grudge Match' never really figures out what to do with DeNiro and Stallone

Frustrating film never finds its comic voice

This is the second "old guys doing young guy stuff" that Robert DeNiro has starred in this year, and it is by far the weirder of the two. That may be because it feels like a studio movie caught somewhere between two very different schools of comedy. The script is credited to Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman, which could account for the split-personality of the film. Kelleher is the writer of "First Kid," credited as a staff writer on "The Arsenio Hall Show" and "The Pat Sajak Show," while Rothman is a frequent collaborator of Nick Stoller's, one of the major creative voices on "Get Him To The Greek" and "The Five-Year Engagement," the author of the sharp and funny "Early Bird: A Memoir Of Premature Retirement," and the writer/producer of the crazy science-fiction comedy "The Something," which is in development at Universal. And just in case the script wasn't already struggling to fit these two very different voices, the film is directed by Peter Segal, responsible for such uneven efforts as "Anger Management," "Naked Gun 33 1/3," "Nutty Professor II," and "Get Smart."

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"The Sing-Off"

 "The Sing-Off"

Credit: NBC

'The Sing-Off' finale: What did you think of the results?

Did the best group win? Or was it overlooked?

So, "The Sing-Off" wrapped up the way all these types of competition shows do -- lots of singing, some cutesy-poo skits, some guest performances (Pat Benatar! 98 Degrees!), and then roughly three minutes of actual results. In this case, the whole of the two-hour season ender was considerably more entertaining than most of these shows, simply because the level of talent on the show is so phenomenal, the judges are plenty impressive as performers, and hey, there were Christmas songs! 

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<p>Vera Farmiga in &quot;Bates Motel,&quot;&nbsp;Terry Crews in &quot;Brooklyn Nine-Nine&quot;&nbsp;and Travis Fimmel in &quot;Vikings.&quot;</p>

Vera Farmiga in "Bates Motel," Terry Crews in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and Travis Fimmel in "Vikings."

Credit: A&E/FOX/History

Best of the rest: The TV freshman class of 2013

Critics loved 'The Americans,' but what about 'Sleepy Hollow' or 'Trophy Wife'?

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Great Quality TV Deluge of 2013 was how much of it came from brand-new series. It was an insanely good freshman class, not just from expected sources, like FX offering up another terrific prestige drama in "The Americans" or Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan's great partnership on "Masters of Sex," but from outlets that had never really made their own shows before. The year's most acclaimed new series was on Netflix — and it wasn't even "House of Cards," which got the most hype, but "Orange Is the New Black" — while channels like Sundance and BBC America  alsogot in on the fun.

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