2013 favorites

Two thousand thirteen was an amazing year for entertainment. I saw a lot of great movies in theaters, listened to some sick albums, added some new television shows to my Hulu queue, read fascinating books and cheered on my favorite celebrities this year. Here are my extensive highlights of 2013 in all areas of entertainment.

movies

The Great Gatsby

You couldn't avoid this summer blockbuster. You also couldn't avoid it on my blog either. I made a currently obsessed with: the 1920s post and an outfit of the day post inspired by this movie's original novel. I loved the imagery, costume design and brilliant acting of this movie. Leo DiCaprio did a phenomenal job of bringing the mysterious, yet heartwarming Jay Gatsby to life. I loved the modern flourishes added throughout this movie either through the sets or the soundtrack. The movie adapts the timeless book to become equally as timeless. 

Disney dominated the box office this year (when does it not?) with Monster's University and Oz the Great & Powerful. I loved Monster's University because it had me laughing so hard with it's creative one-liners and my jaw was to the floor with the animation. Oz was magical in 3D and that's really the only way to experience it. Being a huge Hunger Games fan, Catching Fire impressed me with it's two-hour run-time, big-budget special effects and immense attention to detail. The movie stayed true to the book, always a plus in a movie franchise like this. Now You See Me ended up surprising me in huge ways with it's twisting plot. The movie had me guessing until the very end.

music

Stars Dance by Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez is the leader of the Disney divas that have ventured into music. Stars Dance, from beginning to end, is EDM-pop ear candy at it's finest. I play this CD in the car, to get pumped for a party and while I'm doing my homework. I'm in love with this girl. Grab her amazing dance album for only $7.99 on iTunes by clicking the title above.

EDM continued to define 2013 with releases by Lady GaGa and Krewella. Get Wet is one of my favorite new albums that I've discovered this year. The dizzying dance beats and brash vocals made Krewella's record such a knockout. ARTPOP proved to be just as big, bombastic and theatrical as past GaGa releases, which I absolutely loved. Standouts from ARTPOP include "Aura," "G.U.Y." and "Sexxx Dreams." Ariana Grande solidified her status as a young Mariah Carey with her R&B album Yours Truly. Katy Perry rounded out my top five albums with Prism, an expansive disc full of flavor, power and the occasional pop punch. Read my full review of Perry's release for The Gonzaga Bulletin here.

television

Teen Wolf

My summer was highlighted with an obsession with Teen Wolf. This third season is where the show really kicked off with drama, action and big-budget production. Even without Colton Haynes (a series regular until this sesaon), this show has no shortage of man candy: Dylan O'Brien, Tyler Hoechlin and Tyler Posey among others. The show also got decidedly scarier and multi-dimensional this year. My favorite character is the lovable Stiles Stilinksi (played by Dylan O' Brien) because he adds some much needed comic relief and chemistry.

If you didn't have a guilty pleasure reality television show or two this year you're probably lying. Catfish was the most unique of the reality-tv gamut. The show's level-headed, sarcastic hosts made it easy to watch as online relationships were debunked in equal parts of hilarity and drama. The Bachelorette was a trainwreck that you couldn't not watch. This was the first season of the show that really peeled back some of it's layers to reveal the frivolity that someone can actually find "love" in ten weeks. The show is a running joke with outrageous people and that's what makes it deliciously entertaining. The New Normal was technically an NBC dud, being cancelled after one season, but I personally loved the show. The sitcom centered around a gay couple and their realistic dramas, including having a baby. What made the show so special was it's witty humor and ability to touch politically sensitive topics with grace and a sense of objectivity. Nashville on ABC gave me my musical fix this year. Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton continued to thrill with their country music rivalry. A slew of new characters made this season's plots undoubtedly more complex and interesting.

books

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

No, this book was not released in 2013, but it's certainly one that I read this summer and thoroughly enjoyed. Most teens can relate to the book's main character, Charlie, with particular ease. The story focuses on experiencing love, life, fitting in, sex and drugs all for the first time. It's raw, it's real and it's immediately captivating. The book is also chock full of quotes that will soon become cliché: "In that moment I swear we were infinite," and "We accept the love we think we deserve." Regardless, this book is a must-read even if you think you're too old for it.

The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales came in at a close second as my favorite book this year. The real life story of a group of Hollywood-wannabe teens that steal from celebrities is eloquently told by Sales. She pairs the story with interesting pop culture deconstructions and research that even the most non-fiction fearing reader will find fascinating. True by Hilary Duff concluded her three-part paranormal romance series with surprises and a satisfactory ending. Starstruck by Lauren Conrad continues her Fame Game book series with wit, drama and glamour. If you know Conrad from The Hills, you can expect the book series to be exactly what you think it would be about: reality tv-show life. Finally, Prep Boy Secrets is my in-progress novel that twists murder, romance and fame all together in the world of Manhattan's teenage elite. You can read chapters one through twenty for free on Wattpad.

celebrities

Miley Cyrus

I think everyone can agree that 2013 was the year of Miley. She first captured our attention in the most controversial way at the Video Music Awards. I've been a Miley fan before she started to grow up in such an unconventional fashion. What I see in Miley is a girl who has taken the reigns of her own career and flipped pop culture upside down. Her antics, whether staged or authentic, have sparked conversations on issues facing our society today. She knows how to make people talk and she sticks to her guns. There is an artistry about her that I admire. We're all keeping an eye on what she does in 2014.

Britney Spears went to "Work B**ch" with a new album and launching a two-year residency in Las Vegas right before ending the year. Her new music, magazine covers and E! documentary kept her on the forefront of my mind. I'm so proud of her for taking on such a big performing production to celebrate her fifteen years in the industry. Jack & Finn Harries, both twin brother YouTubers, have transformed from internet phenoms to bonafide British celebrities. Their entertaining videos skyrocketed them to fame and the launch of many successful projects like a fully-interactive website, an invitation to a Burberry fashion show and editorial spreads. They're an inspiration to me for turning their seemingly insignificant online popularity into a business. Selena Gomez had a great year with the release of her first number one album and embarking on her first world tour. She even steamed up the screen with the raunchy movie Spring Breakers. Finally, British diver Tom Daley entered this list by coming out as a bisexual this year. He's one of the few out Olympians and his courage and personality is insanely inspiring to me.

joe gooding