Yvette Nicole Brown, Kumail Nanjiani, and Damon Lindelof pick their 2012 pop-culture highlights

Yvette Nicole Brown, Kumail Nanjiani, and Damon Lindelof pick their 2012 pop-culture highlights



While
The A.V. Club staff gets to weigh in about what movies, TV, music, and more we liked this year, we’d be fools to think that anyone really cares what we think. After all, we’re not famous. That’s why we asked a bunch of our favorite actors, musicians, podcasters, comedians, actors, and showrunners what they liked most this year, and we’ll post a different batch of answers every few days until the end of the year.

Kumail Nanjiani, comedian, host of the Indoor Kids podcast, and co-star of Franklin & Bash
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
The Cabin In The Woods. I love horror movies, and it’s rare to have a horror movie that comments on the tropes of horror while also being a successful horror movie on its own. And I love how the mystery of it slowly unfolds. Rather than telling you what’s going on, the movie trusts the audience enough to know they’ll catch up eventually. This one sat on the shelf for years until Thor [Chris Hemsworth] became a big star. This is pre-abs-bigger-than-the-average-head.
I also liked Indie Game: The Movie. A wonderful documentary about the difficulties of developing indie games outside of the system. Great insight into the passion that goes into the creation of these extremely personal games, which are a welcome antidote to the Grand Theft Call Of Halo Part 5’s of the world. My jaw hurt from trying to not cry for an hour.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
Veep. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been one of the funniest people in the world for like 20 years now. We should trumpet her name every day. A very witty and fast-paced show that you can enjoy even if the only thing you know about politics is that there are good guys and bad guys.
Also, The Wire: Yep. Finally watching it. I got tired of hearing, “You haven’t watched The Wire!?!?!? How are you even a person?” But now all I hear is, “You’re just now watching The Wire for the first time? I’ve seen the whole series so many times that the images got burned into my TV, but it’s okay, ’cause it’s the fucking Wire!” BTW, it’s great. I get it. You know it. Wait, you haven’t seen The Wire??!?!?!


Kyle Kinane, comedian, whose latest special, Whiskey Icarus, is out now
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
The best thing I’ve listened to has been Masked Intruder’s [self-titled] full-length. Great tunes, and they wear ski masks through the whole show.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
I don’t see many movies, but Looper was good. And I watched Big Trouble In Little China again, because that’s good every year.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
I don’t even know. Do Cheers reruns count?


Damon Lindelof, co-creator of Lost and co-writer of Prometheus
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012? 
The audiobook for John Hodgman’s That Is All. No one does what this guy does, and I’m not sure anyone can. He’s even better live.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
Presently, it’s Silver Linings Playbook, which performed the rare feat of transcending its hype, but I have every reason to expect Django Unchained to pull ahead once I see it. 
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
The best series on the air right now is Breaking Bad, but one can’t deny that this last season of Mad Men offered up several of the year’s most incredibly crafted episodes. Lane Pryce, you will be missed. Fuck it, Game Of Thrones and Homeland were pretty spectacular, too. Oh, and The Walking Dead. And Doomsday Preppers. This is an unfair question.


Jane Espenson, writer for Once Upon A Time and co-creator of Husbands
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn as an audiobook. I was home sick with pneumonia and I wasn’t up to even sitting up in bed to read, so I loaded it onto my phone as an audiobook. They had a man and a woman reading the two characters, and it was really well done. Great book.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
The Avengers—I mean, it’s Joss [Whedon]!
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
I’m very partial to Once Upon A Time and Husbands, of course, but if we exclude those… There were some episodes of 30 Rock that just amazed me. The Big Bang Theory is a favorite of mine. Community. But ultimately, Modern Family is probably the one that I’m enjoying the most right now. 


Julie Plec, co-creator and showrunner of The Vampire Diaries
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
I love Fun’s “We Are Young,” and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Like Mika’s “Grace Kelly,” it’s a “drive with the windows down singing at the top of your lungs” kind of song.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
Without a doubt, Argo.  But I will be first in line to see Les Misérables on Christmas Day, much to the chagrin of my family.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
I’m one of the loud-and-proud super-fans of The Newsroom, and have been since minute one of episode one.


Adam Pally, “Max” on Happy Endings
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
Jack White, Blunderbuss, or Tig Notaro at Louis C.K.’s show at Largo [Live].
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
Bernie or Step Up Revolution.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
Homeland, or Tom Hanks’ makeup in Cloud Atlas.


Dan Tamberelli, star of The Adventures Of Pete And Pete and member of the band Jounce
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
Best thing I listened to in 2012 was the Lord Huron album Lonesome Dreams. It’s a complete-thought record that should be listened to from front to back.


Anthony Jeselnik, comedian
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
Jim Florentine’s anti-comedy album Awful Jokes From My First Comedy Notebook. The whole album is just Florentine reading his own hilariously bad, decades-old jokes in a recording studio. There is no audience, so the only feedback after each joke is Jim’s own disgust with himself. It is amazing.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. It’s a great coming-of-age film. But the fact that the book’s author/film’s director, Stephen Chbosky, went to my high school, based some of the characters on people I knew, and shot the movie where I grew up added an extra, visceral level to the experience.  
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
It had to be Justified. Not only is Timothy Olyphant my favorite actor, but the villains on the show are incredibly complex, and the plot moves are always unpredictable and badass.


Yvette Nicole Brown, “Shirley” on Community:
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
Comedian Kevin Hart continues to delight me. My first sitcom was with him, and he has continued to shine, selling out arenas and such! He’s a funny, funny dude, and I’m so proud of him!
It came out during the tail end of 2011, but I’m still listening to Lalah Hathaway’s Where It All Begins. She is one of the best singers we have, and totally unsung! 
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower surprised me in a lot of ways. And Logan Lerman—who I worked with this year on the Percy Jackson sequel—is really a star. Such a wonderful actor. I loved the film.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
Scandal, hands down. Kerry Washington is a revelation. Suspense, intrigue, drama, and romance?! I’m all in! Thank you, Shonda Rhimes!


Jake Fogelnest, comedian and host of The Fogelnest Files podcast
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012? 
I’m assuming you mean, “What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012 besides The Todd Glass Show?” We all agree that’s the best, right? 
Probably The Beatles’ album Revolver. Man, that’s a really good record! If you’ve never heard it, you totally have to check it out. In fact, The Beatles have lots of good records. I suggest the albums Abbey Road and Rubber Soul. I’m pretty sure they’re available on iTunes. The Beatles are from England. 
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
I enjoyed watching The Master in 70mm. I also enjoyed watching a screener of Argo. Oh, and I saw a movie called Help! which actually stars The Beatles! They’re the band I was telling you about earlier. It’s a really funny movie with a lot of great Beatles songs! It’s about how Ringo—he’s one of The Beatles—has this ring, and these people want to get it from him! I don’t know; it’s hard to explain. You kind of have to see it. 
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
I think it’s cute that anyone would answer anything other than Breaking Bad. Hey, they should put The Beatles on that show!

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