My Favorite Things in 2013

Before Midnight
A romance for grown-ups. Direction, writing and acting so good you don’t even think about the craft.

Breaking Bad – Ozymandias
Best TV Episode Ever? If it raises the question, the conclusion is beside the point. (Enjoy the discussion.) Rian Johnson does great work with an amazing script and a superb cast. Bryan Cranston’s best moments are in this one.

foreverly – Billie Joe + Norah
Timeless artistry.

Joyland – Stephen King (audiobook narrated by Michael Kelly)
King is great on audiobook, and this was his most engaging work for that format since The Green Mile. You’ll be looking for excuses to keep listening.

Magpie and the Dandelion – The Avett Brothers
A lot of fun.

Orange is the New Black
My favorite TV series of the year. Funny, thought provoking, emotionally engaging.

Red Sparrow – Jason Matthews
It’s been a long time since anyone wrote pop espionage like Ludlum – Matthews is better.

Kerry Washington and company deliver speed hits of entertainment – junk food with zero nutritional value but doesn’t affect the waistline.

Tatiana Maslany
Astonishing performance in Orphan Black – orders of magnitude better than the material around her.

To Be Loved – Michael Buble
An amazingly assured vocalist in the tradition of Sinatra, finally stepping out of the Master’s shadow.

Unfkd – Diane Birch
I wish everything on Birch’s second album was bold and beautiful as this track.