Grammys 2014: A Review and Three Great Performances

Pharrell

In the immediate aftermath of this year’s Grammy Awards, I churned out a 750-word review for The Eagle. I don’t have much more to say – awards shows like this one are best enjoyed and debated as they happen and immediately afterward – but I want to spotlight three great performances that are worth checking out even if you didn’t see the entire show.

First, a snippet of my review: “Last night’s Grammys proved that some things do change. Robots can win Album of the Year. Thirty-three couples can get married in a hasty ceremony officiated by Queen Latifah. A 17-year-old New Zealander with curly hair and a sultry voice can win Song of the Year for a tune that critiques the very establishment that provided her with the award. The 2014 Grammy Awards were rarely boring, but they were often baffling.”

Read on for three catchup-worthy performances.

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The M&M Report, Episode 18: The Wings of an Eagle

West Wing

Listen to Episode 18 here.

As of this week, The M&M Report has migrated to The Eagle, American University’s student newspaper. Devin Mitchell and I are very excited to bring the podcast to a larger audience, but our regular followers needn’t fear that we’ll be selling out as a result. The M&M Report will still be your source for pop culture analysis that strives to be both fun and substantive.

This week, Devin and I talked about The West Wing. Devin loves this show with an emotionally invested passion with which I wouldn’t dare compete, but we had a lively chat about the show’s merits, a few of its flaws and our favorite episodes.

After that, we ushered in the triumphant return of Devin Doesn’t Like Things. This week, Devin is fed up with the incessant parade of awards shows and their surprisingly troubling implications.

Next week, we’ll be back with special guests and much more. Until then…thanks for listening!

Click through for the time breakdown.

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6 Performances to Watch At the Grammy Awards This Weekend

Beyonce

The Grammy Awards are airing on CBS at 8pm this Sunday night. Music’s biggest awards show is often as confounding as it is exciting, but the megawatt lineup suggests noteworthy “moments” (the Grammys’ favorite word) are ahead. Here are six performances I’m anticipating.

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2013 in Review: My Favorite Movies…and All the Rest

Before Midnight

Below, you’ll find my ranked list of every new movie I saw in 2013. (I saw many of them in theaters, some on DVD and Netflix and a few of them in advance screenings.) If it’s not on this list, I haven’t seen it.

First, a few notes: these rankings are really quite arbitrary. I’m happy with the first few at the top and the bottom, but in between, I could make a case for bumping almost every movie up or down one or two slots. I wrote this list to give you a sense of what I enjoyed at the movies in 2013. My hope is that you’ll start at the top of the list and find a few movies worth checking out, or you’ll disagree with my rankings and we can have a discussion about the relative merits of your favorites and mine.

On with the list!

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The M&M Report, Episode 17: The Year’s Best Movies

12 Years a Slave


 

Welcome to The M&M Report! This week, Devin and I broke down the Oscar nominees in the major categories, offering our thoughts on the nominees, as well as some alternatives who we would have enjoyed seeing on the list. We closed by listing our five favorite movies of 2013. (For further reading, check out my thoughts on the Oscar nominations.)

Devin and I are proud to announce that The M&M Report will be moving to TheEagleOnline.com beginning next week. We’re very excited to bring a podcast presence to our student newspaper, and we hope that you’ll join us in our transition. Our shows will be very much the same, though perhaps a little shorter – we know firsthand that college students have busy schedules. We’ll start the new era of The M&M Report with a discussion of one of our favorite shows, The West Wing. Plus, the triumphant return of Devin Doesn’t Like Things.

Until then…thanks for listening!

Click through for the time breakdown.

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The Oscar Nominations: Outside “Llewyn Davis,” Little to Complain About

Hemsworth

First, some obligatory awards season perspective: the Oscars don’t matter to you. You’re allowed to like a movie whether it was nominated for Best Picture or not. You are your own Oscars.

If that’s the case, why do we get so worked up about snubs and surprises and predictions and hopes and dreams? We want to see quality work recognized. The Academy Awards are one of the most common starting points for someone looking at the films of a particular year. If the awards don’t reflect the best movies, they’ll provide an inaccurate reflection of what we thought about film in 2013.

Nonetheless, complaining about the Oscar nominations is futile. It’s better to look at them as a starting point for discussions about the merits of movies. In that spirit, I’ve chosen four nominated-related things that made me happy this morning, and four that made me less than happy. Let’s use this list as a way of talking about movies, not awards.

(For more of my thoughts on the subject, stay tuned for this week’s episode of The M&M Report, in which Devin Mitchell and I will talk in depth about the year in movies.)

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Alright, Alright, Alriiiiiight…Thoughts on the 2014 Golden Globe Awards

Slave

Technical glitches and Jacqueline Bisset-bombs aside, last night’s Golden Globe Awards telecast was a standard affair: drunken speechess, witty one-liners and confusing winners. Here’s a look at what five takeaways from last night’s show. (Read the full list of winners here.)

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The M&M Report, Episode 16: Battle Howl

Wolf of Wall Street


This week on The M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I talked at length about one of 2013’s last movies and one of 2014’s first. It was a study in contradictions, with the excesses of debauchery followed by the simplicity of combat.

The Wolf of Wall Street has gotten lots of acclaim, as you would expect from a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese, but it hasn’t been immune to controversy, including allegations that it glorifies the despicable character at its center. Devin and I debated this issue and praised the movie’s performances even as we struggled to decide whether the movie is profound or merely compelling.

Lone Survivor is perched high atop this week’s box office, and it’s not hard to see why: established box-office draw Mark Wahlberg, solid supporting cast (Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana), respect and admiration for the American military. We talked about the movie’s grotesque highs and jingoistic lows.

Next week, we’re going to take a deep dive into the best movies of 2013, spurred by tomorrow’s Golden Globe Awards and this Thursday’s announcement of the Oscar nominations. Expect return visits from previous podcast topics like 12 Years a Slave and Inside Llewyn Davis plus our thoughts on other favorites like American Hustle, Nebraska, Her and Dallas Buyers Club.

We talked about several articles during this week’s show. Here’s a helpful list:

  • Devin’s review of The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Steven Perlberg’s Business Insider piece detailing bankers’ reactions to Wolf
  • Devin’s article about Jordan Belfort’s American University visit
  • My review of Lone Survivor

Until next week…thanks for listening!

Click through for the time breakdown.

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Golden Globes 2014: Who Will Win…and Who Should

Amy Tin

Just for fun, here are my predictions for tomorrow night’s Golden Globe awards, presented without comment. Let’s see how many I get right, based almost entirely on speculation. Bonus: my preferences in every category except the ones in which I’ve seen none of the nominees.

Best Picture, Drama: 12 Years a Slave
My pick: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actress, Drama: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
My pick: Cate Blanchett

Best Actor, Drama: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
My pick: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

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“Arrested Development” Season Four: For Streaming Eyes Only

Penthouse

And now, the story of an Arrested Development fan/admirer who likes the fourth season more than some people and less than others.

I binged-watched the first three (and, until 2013, only) seasons of Arrested Development over the summer, marveling at the volume and velocity of the gags, the spiraling awfulness of the main characters, the casual brilliance of the social criticism, the comedic transcendence of the actors in peak form. The first two seasons whizzed by in a nearly flawless blaze of acidic, frequently self-referential hilarity. The third season, while funny and arguably more absurd and labyrinthine than the first two, seemed more desperate to be liked than its predecessors, and the comedy suffered as a result. (The metacommentary began to swallow the show’s plot, and the less said about the “For British Eyes Only” arc, the better.) Nonetheless, I finished my binge satisfied with the fruits of my “labor.” (The “Next Episode” button doesn’t press itself, after all.)

I started the first season right around the time that the fourth season dropped on Netflix. I didn’t have a chance to decide whether the show’s three seasons were sufficient before another one was in the works. But when I finished “Development Arrested,” which mirrors the pilot and offers a surprisingly satisfying conclusion to the saga of Annyong, I didn’t find myself clamoring for more. Especially with a show as densely packed as Arrested Development, there’s value in concentrating the brilliance.

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