Entertainment

12.30.13

Our Pop Culture Wish List for 2014

It’s one thing to predict what will happen in the new year, but it’s more fun to hope for things. From shorter movies to more Oprah, here’s what one writer has his heart set on.

The end of the year is a great time to recap what happened. It's a spectacular time to predict what will happen. It's also, as it turns out, a brilliant occasion to wax poetically about what we hope will happen. So before "old acquaintance been forgot," here's a look at our own little pop-culture wish list for 2014.

Y2K Comebacks We Actually Want

This past year 98 Degrees reunited for an album. The Backstreet Boys hosted a 20th anniversary cruise (seriously). Enrique Iglesias is still existing. Hell, even Fall Out Boy got back together. Since bringing back the turn of the century's music stars is so en vogue right now, how about bringing back some of the artists we actually want to see and hear again?

Mya, where have you been? Eve, what happened to you? And, let's be honest, aren't we all kind of hoping that Nicole Scherzinger will just forget that whole solo career nonsense and revisit that leather corset boutique where the Pussycat Dolls have been hiding for the better part of a decade? Note: Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit, this does not apply to you. Please stay away.

Come to Terms With Reality TV Stars

We--the media, society, all of us--exist in a wonky headspace. We can't believe that anything a reality TV "star" says or does is given any credence, and yet we give them such a platform--Duck Dynasty's ratings compared to any news program, or even high-brow scripted fare like Mad Men, would make you cry--that it's impossible to be surprised when their words and actions are taken seriously. A lot of people watch these reality shows, and like their stars. When they say something, people listen.

As offensive as what Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson said was, it's hard to be offended by it. There's a captive audience for TV shows starring people who horrify us with their behavior. It's why networks like A&E lifted MTV's Jersey Shore formula and commission TV shows that exploit fringe subcultures of America like the backwoods conservatives in Duck Dynasty. Phil Robertson was hired and paid an obscene amount of money to trumpet values and say things in line with his controversial GQ comments. Why would he think there was anything wrong with what he was saying to that magazine reporter when he’s been paid by A&E for years to say just those things? Why should we fault him for doing what he probably thought was his job?

It's not our wish that these reality TV personalities stop finding fame or that people stop listening to what they say. It's our wish that we stop being hypocritical about it all.

Beyonce to Give Some Warning Next Time She Drops An Album

Our weak, easily excited hearts can only take so much surprise. No matter how spectacular the surprise is.

Oscar Movies to Be Shorter

Martin Scorsese's Wolf of Wall Street is operatic in its unapologetic depravity. It's also operatic in its length. The movie was three freaking hours long. It was exceptional, exhilarating, and a whole lot of fun. But most it was freaking long. And, honestly, had the movie shaved about 45 minutes off--we get it, they sure did party wild--it would've been even better. Tighter. But who's going to tell Martin Scorsese to cut down the length of his movie?

Apparently, nobody. Just like nobody is going to tell David O. Russell to shorten American Hustle (138 minutes). Or Steve McQueen to do the same to 12 Years a Slave (133 minutes), Paul Greengrass to Captain Phillips (134 minutes), or Lee Daniels to The Butler (132 minutes). Even Saving Mr. Banks was more than two hours long! Sure, on average Best Picture contenders are 13 minutes shorter this year than last year, but I'm still fearful of contracting bed sores from covering Oscar season and its excessively and unnecessarily long films. (It's not just Oscar season, either. Did Man of Steel really need to be 143 minutes?) God bless Gravity and its 91-minute running time. It may get my Oscar vote out of sheer pity.

More Actors to Be Like Jennifer Lawrence (As In Take More Risks)

Jennifer Lawrence was woefully miscast in American Hustle. She's probably going to win an Oscar for it.

She's a steely ingenue, a fair-faced heroine, a leading lady. Rosalyn in Hustle is a whirling dervish of drunken recklessness with a Real Housewives of New Jersey accent and a hideously sexy mop of hair on her head. It's a Jennifer Tilly/Joan Cusack character actress role. Lawrence's accent is ridiculous. It's actually kind of bad. But she's so much fun you're furious when she's not on screen.

Actors talk insufferably all the time about "risks" they love taking. They're all lying. In their eyes, "risk" means "gaining weight" or "extreme dieting" or "wearing prosthetics" to change their appearance or ugly themselves up for a role. They may be willing to look different, but they're still terrified of looking stupid. Lawrence isn't. Taking on Rosalyn was the biggest risk any actor took this year. (Honorable mention, of all unlikely people, is Cameron Diaz, for her ferociously weird turn in The Counselor. Sex with a car!) Here's hoping Lawrence's contemporaries will follow suit.

Matthew Perry to Land Another Hit Show Already

Jennifer Aniston had the kind of box-office year that had people stop feeling bad for Jennifer Aniston. Matt LeBlanc won a Golden Globe for playing a role that's not Joey Tribbiani (sort of). Courtney Cox is the model every sitcom star prays works out for them with the cable success of Cougar Town. Lisa Kudrow just rocked an explosive guest arc on Scandal, and David Schwimmer is now a respectable director. Matthew Perry is just sad. At least we're sad for him.

How degrading has it been to see him go from failed network series to failed network series in an attempt to land his next post-Friends star vehicle? The swift cancellation of Go On last season was particularly heartbreaking, as the quirky little sitcom actually found itself a little groove and some ratings stability by the time NBC pulled the plug on it. Now He Who Was Chandler Bing is set to star, co-write, and executive produce an update of The Odd Couple for CBS. You know what? This could work! It's essentially an entire series about the Chandler-Joey roommate situation, right? Could we be any more excited?

Rebel Wilson's Sitcom to Not Be So Sad

Going into 2013 nothing seemed like a sure shot for hilarious success than a sitcom created by and starring Rebel Wilson. Leaving 2013 nothing was more disappointing than the drippy, sad, and woefully unfunny disaster Wilson served us, Super Fun Night. That the show hasn't been able to figure out how to maximize Wilson's refreshing brand of brazen and self-aware humor is as confusing as Wilson's decision to employ one of the worst American accents ever on a show she was in charge of. You know how sometimes at work you think, "This is hard and I'm bad at it and I don't want to do it anymore"? Wilson can think that about that atrocious accent and literally not have to do it anymore. It's her show! And we'd all be grateful for it. Here's hoping that in 2014, Super Fun Night improves…or Wilson finds a better vehicle for her humor.

Oprah to Win an Oscar

Can you even imagine that speech? The entire world would simultaneously be living its best life while watching.