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| Wednesday, July 23, 2014



Rounding up 2012's TV, film and music





The year’s most memorable developments in the world of entertainment.

Welcome Back, Hollywood

After a few years of relatively stymied momentum, the cinema delivered a veritable cornucopia of high-quality creations for all ages and tastes in 2012. “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” commanded the box office with massive spectacle, emotional depth and intellectual ambition.

Meanwhile, widely respected directors including Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, David O. Russell and Ang Lee offered characteristically Oscar-worthy endeavors.

The indie community fawned over the impressionistic beauty of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and the quirky realism of Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom.” This year’s movies provoked, imagined, dazzled, innovated and inspired

New Superstars Reign

While reliable hitmakers like Rihanna, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Ke$ha and Taylor Swift delivered catchy chart-toppers, three previously unknown artists catapulted to “phenomenon” status through alternative means.

Gotye’s Sting-esque ballad “Somebody That I Used to Know” rose to prominence with the assistance of prime television placement and a risqué music video.

A well-timed lip-dub video and promotion from mentor Justin Bieber ushered Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” into massive summer success, inspiring countless covers and parodies.

Finally, the South Korean dance anomaly PSY took America by storm with his absurd dance moves and ubiquitous “Gangnam Style” refrain.

Golden Age: The Final Season?

Is the end of a television era approaching? The final season of “Breaking Bad” began airing on AMC. NBC announced official end dates for “30 Rock” and “The Office,” and unofficial ones appear to be looming for “Community” and “Parks and Recreation.”

Despite these omens of finality, quality television continues to thrive. Showtime’s “Homeland” commanded the Emmy Awards with its passionate performances, while Lena Dunham’s provocative “Girls” inspired controversy, backlash, and backlash against its backlash. “Louie” continues to expand the boundaries of television comedy while “Suburgatory” and “New Girl” operate playfully within the network model. Television is alive and well.

A Fond Farewell

The entertainment world lost numerous talented individuals this year.

To spotlight an arbitrary few:

Whitney Houston, the R&B songstress with one of the biggest vocal ranges of any singer in history, passed away at 49.

Michael Clarke Duncan, the intimidatingly proportioned star of “The Green Mile” and other well-received films, passed away at 54.

These artists and many others deserve admiration and remembrance for their inspired careers. Though they are gone, they will never be forgotten.

Pop Culture 101

We learned that Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter, or maybe not.

We learned that love is temporary, if Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, as well as Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are any indication.

We learned that superheroes are money magnets, but we already knew that.

We learned that I threw a wish in the well, don’t ask me, I’ll never tell.

For better or worse, we learned that people can overcome negative reputations, as Ben Affleck did with his stellar thriller “Argo” and Chris Brown did with his Grammy award and collaborations with Rihanna.

Pop culture: the ultimate learning tool.

mlieberman@theeagleonline.com