Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Best of lists, Christmas films, and more this week on The A.V. Club

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Don’t miss

  • Our annual judging is in full swing now. The best films of 2012 were hard-fought and filled with outliers and ballots, but our winner did top the lists of almost half our critics.
  • Our worst films of 2012 list was more unanimous, although our readers have suggested many stinkers not on the list. With 20 spots, there’s only room for the truly awful.
  • We also collected our very favorite scenes of the year and picked an overriding winner. If you’re trying to catch up with the year’s films in about a day, consider this your crib sheet.
  • More friends of The A.V. Club shared their 2012 pop-culture favorites, including Ben Folds, Maria Bamford, Gwar’s Oderus Urungus, Adam Scott, and many more. You can see what they picked here and here.
  • Have you still not done your Christmas shopping? Maybe you’ll get some ideas from this week’s AVQ&A, where we discuss the pop-culture gifts we’d like to give the world.
  • Or, if you really don't like the people on your list, consider buying them something from our always helpful cheap-toy roundup.
  • Erik Adams relived holidays past by rewatching Home Alone to see if its kids-vs.-adults sadism holds up.
  • We reminisced on the end of another year with an Inventory collecting 14 panicky works about growing older. At lease they’ll provide some comfort come New Year’s Day, sort of.
  • Todd VanDerWerff returned to the grinding realism of It’s A Wonderful Life, a film he’s seen more times than any other, to understand what it’s trying to say about altruism and a post-war America.
  • Meanwhile Zack Handlen revisited Gremlins, the holiday movie for those all out of Christmas cheer. It is still a very strange film.
  • Looking for something slightly cheerier to get you through the holiday? Erik Adams collected the 10 most essential Rankin/Bass classics, plus 10 more if you want to keep going.
  • If all this Christmas cheer is getting you down, let this video of Alison Brie rapping with Danny Pudi beatboxing cleanse your palate.
  • All better? Now enjoy our favorite holiday songs of the past 20 years.
  • Scott Tobias inducted [REC] into the New Cult Canon. If you want to see what a found footage film looks like at its peak, we recommend it.
  • Catch up with The Lawrence Welk Show during your time off, and let Todd VanDerWerff explain what the show meant to a changing TV landscape.
  • The first Muppets Christmas special, The Great Santa Clause Switch, introduced some of Jim Henson's pet obsessions, and, if you look closely like Tasha Robinson does, it can be a key to the rest of his work.
  • Prepare yourself for Les Misérables with our Inventory of 20 films and shows that end with posthumous reunions.
  • Judd Apatow talked to us about his excellent new film, This Is 40, and explained why all of his work is really an existential crisis.
  • Watch Bad Santa with Scenic Routes to see how its two opening scenes set up two very different sets of expectations.
  • The world isn’t ending today, but maybe it will sometime next year, when Seth Rogen and James Franco’s star-filled This Is The End hits theaters. Watch the trailer now to prepare yourself.
  • While you’re at it, watch the new trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness. It’s still not going to give you any answers about what this movie will be, but there are a lot of loud “BWAAAAAMPS.”
  • Avoid your family and replay the year thanks to some extremely funny browser games from our sister publication, The Gameological Society.

What are we arguing about this week
Which are you more upset about? The best films or the worst films? Right now the comments are neck-and-neck. Cast your impassioned defense or angry retort in the comments today!

This weekend
See: We do not know your sense of humor, and therefore cannot recommend you see Jack Reacher. But please, please go see Zero Dark Thirty, Amour, Barbara, and This Is 40. We liked all of those quite a bit.
Read: December tends to be a slow time for books, but Nobel Prize winner José Saramago’s Raised From The Ground, a fantastic 1980 novel finally getting an English translation, is certainly worth checking out. Or you can go classic and catch up with David Sedaris’ Holidays On Ice, guaranteed to make your December look better by comparison.
Listen to: We caught up with records from Solange Knowles and Balmorhea, and both made us wish we’d listened to them sooner.
Watch: Despite the impending holiday, it was a rather busy week for TV. Gossip Girl came to a series end so maddening we lost our usual gentlemanly demeanor and gave it a straight F. Homeland also wrapped up an often cuckoo season with an episode that, well, the review starts with “I dunno, you guys.” Fortunately How I Met Your Mother made up for all that with two episodes that were a return to the show’s glory days. And they had a Buffy reunion. We also concluded our Sopranos reviews with the show’s enigmatic finale, and caught up with a classic Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode. There, is that enough TV to get you through forced family time? If not, just start diving into the whole section.

This week on The Onion
Our illustrious colleagues at The Onion were one of just six comedy shows to be given a pilot from Amazon, in the megalith’s attempt to create original TV content. You can read all about it here.