The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 28, 2012

Pop culture props for 2012

By Scott Meeker
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — In terms of movies and books, 2012 offered up plenty of entertainment for those who wanted to find a dose of escapism.

Here’s just a partial list of some of our favorites.


“The Avengers” / “The Dark Knight Rises”: The former successfully pulled off the ultimate superhero mashup movie, while the latter brought some heavy cinematic weight and timeliness (Occupy Gotham, anyone?) to Christopher Nolan’s Batman finale. The summer of 2012 was a great one-two punch for comic-book fans.

Lincoln”: Really, no other selling point was needed once Daniel Day-Lewis signed on to play the 16th president. In focusing on such a small part of Lincoln’s presidency -- the passage of the 13th Amendment -- director Steven Spielberg accomplishes the impossible by making legislative wrangling and maneuvering a triumphant spectacle. It helps, of course, that the movie also features great turns by Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field and James Spader ... to name only a few.

“The Raid: Redemption”: If you call yourself a fan of the action genre and you haven’t watched this Indonesian thriller about a SWAT team trapped in a high-rise ruled by a ruthless drug lord, shame on you.

Most epic bike chase: “Premium Rush.”

Most epic train ride: “Skyfall.”

Most epic face-off with a wolf pack: “The Grey.”

Most epic use of time travel: “Looper.”

Most epic three-way tie for cinematic failure: “John Carter,” “Wrath of the Titans,” “Battleship.”

Most epic technological breakthrough/failure: Depending on your point of view, watching a movie at 48 fps (double a movie’s standard frame rate) is either mind-blowing in its vidid amount of on-screen detail or overwhelming and unnecessary. Not sure if this will ever become an industry standard, but it’s worth the drive up to KC to see it put to use in “The Hobbit.”


“Gone Girl”: There’s a reason that Gillian Flynn’s thriller tore up the bestseller charts this year. While its “perfect wife goes missing” setup seems like the start of a Lifetime movie of the week, nothing is as it seems in this page-turner. By the time you get to the final page, you’ll have the giddy realization that you’ve just been played like a fiddle by a master.

“Live By Night”: Though it stands on its own as a novel, Dennis Lehane makes a welcome return to the Coughlin family, first introduced in “The Given Day.” The fast-paced novel follows the youngest member of the family, Joe Coughlin, as he works his way up from robbery to a power player in the rum-running business during the height of Prohibition.

“The Wind Through the Keyhole”: Was what is essentially Book 4.5 in Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series really needed? No. But was it a welcome reminder of King’s storytelling powers? Absolutely. Very few writers could pull off the story-in-a-story-in-a-story framework and make it look so easy.

“L.A. ‘56 -- A Devil in the City of Angels”: Erik Larson’s thrilling 2003 book “The Devil in the White City” gave the true-crime genre a jolt with a narrative approach that has spawned a lot of unworthy imitators. At first glance, Joel Engel’s tale of a serial rapist prowling the Hollywood hills and the detective determined to take him down seems like another copycat. But Engle’s prose gives the story a noir-ish kick, with a love story that complicates Det. Danny Galindo’s case and a resolution that comes with an unlikely teamup between the LAPD and the entertainment industry. A great read.

In terms of movies and books, 2012 offered up plenty of entertainment for those who wanted to find a dose of escapism.

Ermahgerd, we saw way too much of the following on the Internet this year:

But Twitter isn’t just for entertainment. These news stories trended like crazy this year:

Compiled by Alexandra Nicolas