Junkee’s Pop Culture Predictions For 2014

A bunch of our writers cast unfounded speculations over the year to come.

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A new year, a new batch of mostly unsubstantiated predictions. Enjoy!

How This Unbearable Internet Trend Died And No-One Cared Will Warm Your Heart

Soothsayer: Elmo Keep (‘A Sexy, Sexy Lesson In Copyright Law’)

Kill these inane Upworthy/Buzzfeed style headlines that have crept across the wider Internet. We can read! For ourselves! Thanks. People, being in general gifted with intelligence, will in 2014 grow weary of every meaningless piece of clickbait being waved in front of them, dangling from a headline that reads like a chain email subject line your mother forwarded you in 1997. Falling for these stupid things is like being unable to resist watering your Farmville crops (HAHAHAHAHA REMEMBER THAT? No.) — and shame on everyone else who has adopted this headline style, as if these content farms as something to aspire to. Headlines are an artform. Or, a cheap psychological trick straight out of direct marketing! YOU DECIDE.

Please get back to writing things we actually care about, rather than trying to trick people into clicking on your bullshit. And if you really, really can’t resist, here are the cliffnotes.

Chris Lilley’s Jonah Will Flop

Soothsayer: Nathan Wood

As far as I’m concerned, Ja’mie: Private School Girl didn’t live up to the hype. Many questioned Lilley’s re-hashing of his bitchy school girl character as a little predictable/unimaginative in the first place, and the jokes in Ja’mie didn’t carry the same comedic weight, nor the consistently successful ratings, of his previous projects.

Jonah in 2014 seems to confirm that Lilley is out of ideas, squeezing the last of the lifeblood out of his teenage characters while he’s still got the physical ability to play them. He might still have a baby face, but at 39 he’ll be struggling to fit into a school uniform for much longer.

Justin Bieber Will Come Out Of ‘Retirement’

Soothsayer: Yara Murray-Atfield (‘Five Things I Learned At A One Direction Concert‘)

Last month, in the voice of someone less-than-sober, Bieber told an American radio show he was “probably going to quit music” — only to say a few seconds later he was “just messing around.” It seemed like a hilarious prank – Justin, you trickster! – but he has since taken to Twitter to tell his “beloved Beliebers” he’s done with the biz.

Although nothing screams ‘official’ like a tweet, my bet for 2014 is the Bieb will be back making music by the time Easter Eggs are in supermarkets. Hopefully sooner rather than later, because without the recording studio to keep him occupied, who knows what controversies the New Year will bring.

Basketball Will Rule

Soothsayer: Jaymz Clements (‘Homeland‘s Brutal Season Three Finale Should Have Been The Show’s Last Episode Ever‘)

You know how you see all those dudes at festivals in basketball jerseys? Did you ever wonder why that was? It’s all to do with the NBA being at its most completive and enjoyable since the mid-’90s, when Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaq, Shawn Kemp, Larry Johnson, Penny Hardaway and co. were doing their thing. And since I moved to the USA basically to become a professional NBA watcher (and high tech jewel thief), I’m going to enjoy the hell out of the rest of this season and the play-offs. Because this one will be for the ages.

When Kevin Durant and the OKC Zombie Sonics win the title over Paul George and the Indiana ‘Two First Names’ Pacers, ignore everyone bleating about how it was a shame that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat didn’t three-peat. Because it’ll mean the Pacers and Heat had one of the greatest Eastern Conference Finals ever. If you like basketball, 2014 is going to be better than that picture of Muggsy Bogues standing next to Manute Bol.


The Third Hobbit Movie Will Feature Even More Actors Who Look Like Orlando Bloom 

Soothsayer: Elizabeth Flux (‘Seven Things We Gave Zero Shits About In 2013‘)

If you had asked the fourteen-year-old me whether I’d like to see a Middle Earth populated by people who bore a resemblance to Orlando Bloom, you would have received an emphatic “YES!”, before I turned away to glue more pictures of Legolas onto my exercise books. But after ten years and a disappointing series of Pirates of the Caribbean movies, for some reason this hypothetical has become a reality.

In two Hobbit films we have seen three Blooms: two pseudo and one actual. Dwarf-Bloom, played by Richard Armitage; Human-Bloom, played by Luke Evans; and Elf-Bloom, played by Orlando Bloom. Considering that Legolas doesn’t even feature in the book, the film didn’t really require any Blooms whatsoever — and yet it seems Peter Jackson is determined to keep picking from this very specific garden.

Next Boxing Day, look forward to meeting Orc-Bloom, Hobbit-Bloom, Dragon-Bloom and Ent-Bloom.

New Jersey State Senator Cory Booker Will Become A Forerunner In US Politics

Soothsayer: Nathan Wood

If you’ve followed Booker’s career at all over the last few years, you know he’s a special kind of politician who has a big, big future. He first came to public attention as the subject of the 2005 documentary Street Fight, which followed his campaign for the Mayoral seat of Newark, New Jersey. The film established him as a new generation politician, following in the footsteps of Barack Obama as a community organiser and champion of the people. Since become the Mayor of Newark in 2006, he’s established himself as a grassroots politician, actively engaged with his constituency via social media and leading the city’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 from the ground level.

He was only just elected a US Senator in October this year, so it’s doubtful he’ll make a run for the 2016 Presidential Election against Hilary Clinton. But he’ll definitely be moving towards the top pile of possible candidates over the next couple of years. If you haven’t seen Street Fight, it’s a must watch.

’70s Cleavage Will Make A Comeback

Soothsayer: Dijana Kumurdian (‘How To Dodge The Internet‘)

A lush-looking joint about a pair of con artists in the late 1970s, David O. Russell’s admittedly underwhelming American Hustle is worth watching for a couple of reasons: Jennifer Lawrence’s role as the drunken, pissed-off wife, and Amy Adams’ miraculous boobs.

If there’s any lesson to be taken from this movie (and its moral crux is a bit too ham-fisted to take seriously), it’s the genius placement of delightfully unmasked breast outlines in navel-grazing flowy tops, plunging necklines in sequins and soft jersey, suggestively long necklaces and the black leather jumpsuit. Oof.


TV Will Suck

Soothsayer: Jaymz Clements

You know how TV was generally pretty okay last year? Well, outside of 2014’s OTHER big pop-culture trend — sending a ‘belfie’ (the belly-button selfie) to prisoners — TV will suck this year. Here’s what’s going to happen:

Fat Tony & Co: Will actually end up being about Tony Modra.

Orange is the New Black: Will realise that turquoise is the new black, and will struggle as it converts the series into Scrubs.

The Newsroom: Will simply be Aaron Sorkin handing in scripts that have him yelling at kids to get off his lawn and the internet for nine episodes.

Girls: Hannah gets married, has kids, and moves into a house across the road from her parents.

Homeland: Spy Mom: Just 50 minutes of Claire Danes’ eyes twitching.

Mad Men: Everything was Don Draper’s future-life-flashing-before-his-eyes dream; old mate Dick Whitman actually died in the Korean War.

Sons of Anarchy: Jackson Teller will jack in this whole outlaw bikie thing and realise his dream of opening a dance academy.

Game of Thrones: Everyone will die. Again.


Ironic Apathy Will Rule Advertising

Soothsayer: Lauren Carroll Harris (‘How Piracy Can Help The Artist‘)

Some people got irony right in 2013. Ja’mie: Private School Girl was a painful but ultimately successful critique of mainstream Australia’s narcissism, carelessness and prejudice, with its stream of #friedrices and OMFGs. But intentional, careworn futility has reached the mainstream: every hipster Santa and similarly cynical advertising gimmick makes me want to chip away at my face with a rusty teaspoon.

Ironic apathy is now less often a counter-cultural critique than a form of standard-issue PR manipulation. Bring on 2014? Like, whatevs.

We Were All Pranked

Soothsayer: Ned Chigliak (‘Eight Things We Learned From The Two-Hour Breaking Bad Documentary‘)

Miley Cyrus, Edward Snowden, Chris Lilley and his Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge will all be revealed to be Daniel Day Lewis.


Even More Unnecessary Remakes

Soothsayer: Jaymz Clements

Hey, Hollywood, stop remaking shit that doesn’t need to be remade. Total Recall. Robocop. Roadhouse? Are you fuckin’ serious? If Swayze were alive, you wouldn’t dare. Same with Red Dawn. AND your attempts to remake Dirty Dancing. Let the spirit of the greatest professional cooler known to man lie in peace.

And yet: as ideas run short, we’ll all be enjoying the continual unnecessary remaking of classic movies. I can’t wait for when Ethan Hawke remakes Reality Bites shot for shot, Whitnail and I is redone by Werner Herzog starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, and Michael Bay tackles Bladerunner with Shia Le Bouf as Deckard.

The good news, though, is that with JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan floundering, I’ll finally be tagged to write Star Wars Episode 7: How Awesome Is Jeff Goldblum?

We Will Learn From Our Mistakes?

Soothsayer: Steph Harmon

Last year taught online consumers of the financial imperative behind click-bait headlines and trolling opinions; this year, we will learn how to apply that knowledge to become a more mindful and proactive audience.  We will learn to ignore the trolls that have been sent forth to distract us. We will acquire the tools to immediately recognise an article whose sole purpose is to capitalise on anxiety for financial gain, and we will boycott it. We will stop clicking links simply to hate-read them — in fact, an app will surface that will allow us to hate and share an article without contributing to its traffic. Many websites will suffer financially. And then they will adjust. A new balance will be reached. We will all be better for it. Until a young popstar does something outrageously stupid, and we all go back to start.

Also, GIFs will get sound.

True Detective Will Be One Of The TV Events Of The Year

Soothsayer: Nathan Wood

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are set to star in this eight-episode HBO serial killer mystery series from first time show creator Nic Pizzolatto. Both Harrelson and McConaughey are at the peak of their film acting careers, so to be following in Kevin Spacey’s footsteps by turning to TV acting suggests that this gritty show must have some really meaty roles for the pair.

Dark, murky and tinged with menace, if the trailers for True Detective are anything to go by this will be captivating viewing. It premieres in the States on January 12.

High-waisted, Pleated Woollen Pants For Men

Soothsayer: Rob Moran

This is less a “prediction” than it is a thing that director Spike Jonze has already willed into existence with the odd sartorial vision from his upcoming sci-fi-romance, Her. Through effective recommendations like “They kinda feel like you’re being hugged!”, he’s already inspired a clothing collection from Opening Ceremony, so there’s no stopping this thing.


Basically, dudes everywhere will spend 2014 looking like pre-war dads or cool film noir detectives or simply like we’re peeing out of our guts. Either way, it’s gonna be exciting (pants-citing?).

The Media Will Fail At Their Attempt To Turn On Jennifer Lawrence

Soothsayer: Elizabeth Flux

2013 was the year of Jennifer Lawrence. She would basically devour a screenplay, crap out an Oscar nomination, then go on David Letterman and talk about it in unflinching detail. Naturally, she is beloved by all – myself included. But in Hollywood your poppy can only grow so tall before people try to cut it down and start believing you’re a douche. Just ask Orlando Bloom. Or Shia Leboef. Or Johnny Depp.

It’s going to be hard to cut down Lawrence, as so much of her popularity has stemmed from her own self deprecating manner and bluntness. So far the main criticism levelled her way is that her “real” personality could be a facade. But unless she sets fire to a puppy whilst drink driving and shouting racist slurs, Lawrence will survive 2014 and any sour grapes that are slung her way.