Patrick Freyne’s cultural highs and lows of 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy made me laugh, starring, as it did, a wise-cracking racoon.

What were your cultural highlights of 2014?

High Maintenance, Vimeo's first foray into funded programming, is a series of loosely connected, funny and melancholy vignettes. Netflix's animated series Bojack Horseman is the most moving story about a washed-up horse-headed actor you'll ever see. Vic and Bob's House of Fools takes the formulaic British sitcom of the 1970s, removes the nuance and adds Matt Berry, a fez and a medieval gauntlet. Broad City is a very, very funny, hyper-real sitcom about two young women making terrible decisions in contemporary New York. The Good Wife is still the best drama on television.

I worry that Rectify, the Sundance Channel's beautiful, mysterious series about a freed death-row inmate, is too original to last. The Lenny Abrahamson-directed Frank is the sweetest film you'll see about a musical genius who wears a large plastic head. Lukas Moodysson's We Are the Best! is a lovely, uncynical story about three teenage girls who form a punk band. Richard Linklater's Boyhood made me cry, starring, as it did, the ageing process. Guardians of the Galaxy made me laugh, starring, as it did, a wise-cracking racoon. George Gissing's incisive portrait of struggling hacks, New Grub Street, is really a highlight from 1891, but I was very young then, so the reissued novel is my literary highlight of 2014. Ariana Grande's Problem is the song of the year.

And the year’s biggest disappointments?


We can’t get Amazon Prime, Netflix’s first big competitor, in Ireland.

What caught you by surprise?

Jaime Hernandez's The Love Bunglers, the latest in his beautifully drawn series about a group of Hispanic fringe-dwellers. I've long been a fan, but it never stops amazing me how emotionally devastating long-running comic-book stories can be.

Who or what was 2014’s unsung hero?

Netflix. Send help and/or pizza.

What’s your top tip for 2015?

Netflix will invent a ray that beams a whole TV series directly on to your retina and pizza dough into your gullet. Amazon Prime will also invent one, but it won’t be available in Ireland.

2014 in three words?

Well that’s that.