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The Best Films of 2014

At the end of every year, the assembling and organizing of a best-of list becomes an exercise in incongruity; it seems like we spent all of our time complaining about blockbusters and avoiding dystopian YA adaptations, and yet, when you look at the sum total of a year of cinema, there are enough great films for not only this list, but two supplementary ones. Some film writers have taken this year’s shortage of clear-cut “favorites” as the sign of a weak year. I say just the opposite: the wide swath of quality releases, from personal indies to whip-smart genre flicks to thoughtful documentaries, tells the story of an uncommonly rich and rewarding 12 months of… Read More

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The 30 Best Albums of 2014

The musical trends of 2014 felt so obvious in the moment: DJ Mustard beats, technophobia, strong female pop duets dominating the charts, polarizing booty-love anthems, a house music revival for the masses, LGBT voices making space for themselves, politicized music that sounded particularly relevant post-Ferguson. But when we look back at 2014, I’m not sure we’ll remember all that. It would be easy to say, “2014 was the year Beyoncé went full feminist, Nicki went borderline misandrist, and Taylor went ‘pop,’ though she’s been it for years,” but that’s just not the whole story. With that in mind, we tried to tell the whole story in this ranking of the year’s 30 best… Read More

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10 Great 2014 Movies You Can Stream (or Rent) Right Now

Well, moviegoers, the year is drawing to an end, and ‘tis the season for “best of 2014” lists. Ours will arrive later this week — and as with most, thanks to the Oscar-courting release patterns that have become the norm, it’ll be full of films you’ll either have to go to theaters to see, or that aren’t even at your neighborhood theater just yet. There’s nothing we can do about that, but in the meantime (as a kind of appetizer), we thought we’d offer up a few great movies that didn’t quite make the final cut, but have the advantage of immediate availability for streaming or rental. Add them to your queue for the holidays, or just click the title link to watch right now. … Read More

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Are You an Adult Who Reads YA Novels? Congratulations, You Saved Publishing in 2014

We won’t have the full picture until sometime in 2015, but as it stands right now, book publishing had a profitable year in 2014. In the face of constant fighting between the Big 5 publishers and Amazon, book sales are up across all categories by 4.9 percent, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP). … Read More

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The 25 Best TV Characters of 2014

At this point, it’s become tradition to declare each new season a banner year for the Golden Age of Television, so by now that designation has become basically meaningless. Still, 2014 brought some truly wonderful TV programs. True Detective became the newest water-cooler show, we all fell in love with Broad City, and old favorites like Scandal and The Americans remained consistently thrilling. Most of all, though, these series gave us some of the greatest fictional characters to ever grace our television. From a fierce law professor to a serial killer to a woman in transition, here are the 25 best TV characters of… Read More

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10 Great, Underrated Movies From 2014

In many ways, you can tell just as much about what kind of year it’s been by the movies that aren’t on the many year-end Top 10s and critics’ awards lists. If the regulars in those lists represented all there was to see, well, that’d be one thing (and in the case of this year’s movies, a fine thing); but 2014 was such an embarrassment of riches that even a rundown of the performances and films that aren’t generating “buzz” is pretty impressive. So, in advance of our own roundup of the year’s best movies later this week, we offer you a few less-discussed titles still worthy of your consideration. … Read More

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50 Excellent Fabulist Books Everyone Should Read

Fabulism, it seems, is having a moment — although whether it’s truly a trend is up for debate. Some might say it’s been right there, purring along, all this time, while others might blink and wonder what you’re talking about. Such is always the case with magic. But whether you’re a newbie or an old hat, there are always new corners of the fantastic to discover. So, here you’ll find 50 excellent novels and short story collections by fabulists, fantasists, and fairy-tale-tellers, literary books that incorporate the irreal, the surreal, and the… Read More

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10 Movie Sex Scenes That Will Scar You for Life

There are many factors involved in crafting a great cinematic sex scene. When the lovin’ becomes an expression of who the characters are and doesn’t rely on predictable titillation, the sex is great. However, a well-written scene doesn’t always portray tenderness and passion. Sometimes the best sex scenes are the ones that make us wince. Other times, filmmakers get it all wrong and, well, at least they give us something to talk about. Here are ten we wish we could… Read More

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The 50 Most Heart-Wrenching Movies of All Time

It’s fall, and there’s something in my eye. Or it’s allergy season. Or I’m newly sensitive to hyper-emotional filmmaking. Or maybe it isn’t just me; every year, when prestige movie season begins, we find ourselves sniffling and dabbing through moving, heartstring-tugging pictures, though this year seems to already have a surplus of big-time weepies. In the spirit of those pictures, here’s a rundown of the 50 most cry-worthy flicks in movie history — not just the saddest, mind you, but those most likely to move us to tears, be it through tragedy, triumph, or the sheer goodness of their… Read More

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25 Gifts for Your Dad That Don't Suck

If you’re like us, then you find shopping for your dad almost impossible. When he needs something, he usually buys it for himself, and there are only so many golf balls and ties that one person can receive in their lifetime. With that and the fact that you’ve got less than a week left until Father’s Day in mind, we’ve scoured the web for some interesting gift ideas that were inspired by some of our favorite celebrities — and a few fictional characters, as well. We’ve found presents for all kinds of dads: the ones who still play video games, the hardcore neurotics, and those rare, blessed creatures with zero percent body fat. Click through to check out our roundup, and let us know in the comments what you’re planning to get dear old dad this year. … Read More

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