Winner: Channing Tatum
12 years ago, this Alabama native was an unknown dancing around in a Ricky Martin video. In 2012, he starred in five films that collectively generated 600 million in worldwide ticket sales.
It all began in January when he starred in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, an action thriller about an assassin (MMA fighter Gina Carano) being screwed over by her bosses. Featuring an all-star cast – Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender – it made a modest profit but more importantly, earned overwhelmingly good reviews.
Then came The Vow in February. Co-starring Rachel McAdams, this romantic drama about a guy who gets to fall in love with his lady a second time when she develops amnesia after a car accident was far from a critic’s fave. However, it made 125 million domestically and an additional 71 million outside North America.
In March, Tatum co-starred with Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street, a comedic adaptation of the late 80s/early 90s TV cop drama. Earning 138 million at home plus 63 million more abroad, it was his biggest grosser of the year. On top of that, its 85% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes made it his most acclaimed film of 2012. A sequel is in the works.
Tatum’s past experiences as a stripper inspired Magic Mike. The June dramedy earned strong reviews and became his third consecutive hundred million dollar hit. (There will be a follow-up to this one, as well.) Finally, in September, he appeared in the little-seen 10 Years. Although it only made $200000 in a limited release it garnered mostly positive reviews. (It’s out on DVD December 18th.)
If all of that wasn’t enough good news in one year for one guy to take, Tatum also hosted Saturday Night Live and was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. Despite plans to slow down in 2013, he’s got four new films coming out next year including the G.I. Joe sequel that was supposed to be out this year. (December 24 UPDATE: And he’s going to be a dad, too.)
Who knew there was life after She Bangs?
Loser: Zack Ryder
In 2011, this affable broski successfully used the Internet to get over with fans of the WWE after years of being stuck in the mid-card as a less-than-stellar villain. As a result, he gradually started getting better bookings on TV working with the biggest stars in the company. His complete reversal of fortune culminated at the TLC pay-per-view in December last year when he defeated Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship, his first title push in three years. (He previously won the tag team titles with Curt Hawkins back in 2008.)
But once the year changed, his good fortune completely disappeared. In January, he continually became cannon fodder for the returning Kane as the re-masked monster feuded with his pal John Cena. He got choke slammed in the ring, choke slammed through a part of the entrance stage on Raw and even choke slammed outside near a production truck on another episode of that same show. At the Royal Rumble, he was attacked again while watching the show in a make-shift waiting room and ultimately, tombstoned in the ring while wearing a neck brace. On another Raw he was hilariously pushed off the stage in his wheelchair by The Big Red Monster. It was like the bookers were sending him an ominous message.
Before the Rumble, Ryder was ordered by Raw Interim General Manager John Laurinaitis to defend his US title against Jack Swagger on TV despite not yet recovering from his kayfabe injuries. As a result of Kane’s numerous attacks, Ryder couldn’t mount any offence against The All-American American. Sadly, his one-month reign as champion came to a whimpering end.
If that weren’t humiliating enough, his developing on-screen relationship with Eve Torres hit a rough spot when he witnessed her making out with Cena after Ryder’s pal rescued her from being taken away by Kane in an ambulance on Raw. He later slapped Cena and questioned their friendship.
At WrestleMania 28 in April, during the 12-man tag team match that determined who would become the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown, the Long Island Iced Z got distracted by Eve when she unexpectedly came into the ring to get his attention. Ryder got pinned by The Miz after falling prey to the Skull Crushing Finale. As Team Raw celebrated their victory over Team Smackdown, Eve showed the broski how she really felt about him. She kicked him in the nuts.
Although Ryder did get some kind of revenge months later on a special live edition of Smackdown (he accidentally drenched her with a punch bowl during a backstage party skit) and became a temporary one-episode General Manager for the show (renamed Zackdown) after winning a 20-man battle royale by last eliminating arch rival Kane (not to mention quietly making peace with Cena which was never actually shown), those rare, minor positives failed to revive his 2011 momentum.
Although it’s been fun to see him team with the equally silly Santino Marella (“Cobra!”), Ryder is not as prevalent on TV or on pay-per-view this year as he was last year. And when he does he get booked to wrestle, he rarely wins. He’s currently not in any programs with top-notch stars and Team Co-Bro aren’t likely to get a tag team title push any time soon.
In a year marked with disappointment, perhaps the fact that his Z! True Long Island Story YouTube series is now being edited against his wishes by WWE might be an even bigger indignity that getting hoofed in public by a hot chick. Here’s hoping he can turn it all around in 2013.
Winner: Nate Silver
Predicting is a tricky business best left to professionals. In the case of the 2012 United States Presidential Election, that professional was Nate Silver. The founder of the popular New York Times blog, FiveThirtyEight, he spent countless hours analyzing as much polling data as he could get his hands on much to the chagrin of the overpaid, overrated and extremely lazy media pundit class.
As he forecast Barack Obama’s easy re-election to the White House, many disagreed with his analysis, particularly conservatives like former Republican Congressman (and current MSNBC morning broadcaster) Joe Scarborough (“…anybody that thinks that this race is anything but a toss-up right now is such an ideologue, they should be kept away from typewriters, computers, laptops and microphones for the next 10 days, because they’re jokes.”), who bet him $2000 that he was wrong.
In the end, they all had to eat their words. Silver correctly predicted the winner of every single state in the union. (In the 2008 campaign, he got 49 out of 50 correct, so this wasn’t a fluke.) More importantly, he rightly foresaw not the “nailbiter” that many so-called experts anticipated but a clear, undisputed victory for Obama. On top of that, he also correctly prognosticated 31 out of the 33 Senate races. For his part, Scarborough wrote a semi-apology to Silver for Politico and later invited him on Morning Joe after the election to talk about the results. (To his credit, the former Republican Congressman made good on his word to donate two grand to the Red Cross if he lost their bet.)
Silver’s other professional triumphs this year included a popular, critically acclaimed book, The Signal And The Noise, which hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was named Book Of The Year by Amazon.com, and a Webby Award for Best Political Blog.
Hard work does indeed pay off. Shocking.
Loser: Donald Trump
The fifth edition of The Celebrity Apprentice was the lowest rated in the show’s history, he endorsed Mitt Romney for President, he raised money for defeated Florida Congressman Allen West, he continued to foolishly question Barack Obama’s citizenship which deeply annoyed his own children and he made a silly offer that Obama easily refused without costing him the election. After the President won a second term, The Hair had a temper tantrum on Twitter.
Meanwhile, a protest movement, upset with his birther pronouncements, began demanding that Macy’s stop selling his brand-name business attire, his Las Vegas restaurant would instantly skeeve Gordon Ramsay, he was criticized and/or made fun of for various reasons by people like the Vice President of Chrysler, NBC anchor Brian Williams, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, Fox News’ Shepherd Smith, Chicago Sun-Times columnist George Will, attorney Gloria Allred, Robert De Niro, Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Barbara Walters and even Obama himself, and he was the unflattering subject of an acclaimed documentary regarding his misguided plans to build a resort in an environmentally sensitive area of Scotland which, fortunately, for his sake, has not been widely seen by the public.
Clueless self-parody, thy name is Trump.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, December 8, 2012