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Top pop culture moments of 2014

It's been a crazy year, guys. Just plain crazy.

Hashtag or no hashtag, I just checked and the Internet remains safely unbroken. But that doesn't mean this image of Kim Kardashian's physics-defying derriere hasn't broken something deep inside of me. Could be my spirit, could be my brain, tough to say. But while Ms. Kardashian may not have broken the Internet, she did successfully sear this image into our collective cultural brain. So … good job? But do you think the designer of that dress was saddened that we all assumed it was a trash bag at first?

Speaking of breaking the Internet, that's what Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres claimed she was trying to do with her star-studded selfie taken during the telecast — or at least she was trying to break Twitter. And DeGeneres' efforts were much more successful than Kardashian's, with the candid photo of DeGeneres along with Jennifer Lawrence, Channing Tatum, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong'o, Lupita Nyong'o's brother and part of Jared Leto becoming the most retweeted photo of all time and grinding Twitter's servers to a halt. That photo had been retweeted 3.37 million times.

Justin Bieber deserves credit for at least one thing: After starting off 2014 with this ridiculous, glassy-eyed mug shot in Miami after he wasarrestedfor drag-racing, driving under the influence and whiningly resisting arrest, I was pretty sure he wouldn't make it to December without ending up in jail or rehab. While he did manage to juggle multiple pending court cases for DUI, assaulting a driver and egging his neighbor's house, Canada's little scamp managed to make it out of 2014 unscathed — unless you count his recent bleach job.

May 5, 2014: The surveillance footage seen round the world. On their way out of a Met Gala after-party, Solange Knowles lunges past sister Beyonce to unleash hell on brother-in-law Jay-Z — and TMZ got its hands on the footage. Sadly, much like the rumors of marital strife that swirled around Beyonce and Jay-Z all summer, this slap-fight heard round the world may have been faked solely to boost ticket sales or their tour. But whatever, Solange knows how to put on a show — as if her wedding photos alone weren't enough proof of that.

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Finally just now recovering from the absurd, sinister, TV-inspired trip that was the warped "Adult Swim" viral hit "Too Many Cooks"? Time to fire it up again. There's probably a detail or two you missed, anyway. For instance, can you spot the very first appearance of machete-wielding madman Bill? Look carefully. The blend of '80s TV nostalgia, absurdism and blood-curdling terror became a beautiful pop culture stew to be savored again and again. Team Smarf forever.

Professionally, 2014 was a mixed bag for Shia LaBeouf. While his full-frontal work in Lars Von Trier's two-part "Nymphomaniac" didn't generate much excitement, his WWII tank drama, "Fury," was a bona fide hit. But all that was easily overshadowed by the much more entertaining Shia LaBeouf Show going on throughout the year in Berlin, L.A. and New York. Whether he was using paper bag on his head to announce that he's Not Famous Anymore, having staring contests with strangers in art galleries or getting arrested outside Broadway musicals, LaBeouf was tough to ignore. Which is saying a lot for a non-famous person.

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick

 
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