Following up on my previous non-tech/just for fun posts (Books I Read in 2015 and My Year), here is my favorite media of 2015. This was originally going to be my favorite music of the year, but I figured I’d expand it a bit to cover movies and video games too. This is obviously a very personal list, but hopefully you’ll get some ideas about things to watch/play!
This is in no particular order, but here are the tracks I listened to a lot this year. The first track, “Close Your Eyes”, is incredible. I first heard it on Sirius XMU and was just blown away. It sounds like a pop/rap/NIN mashup and is a great song to turn up real, real loud - just be sure the kids aren’t around.
Speaking of mashups, my favorite this year was a mix of NIN and Taylor Swift. The video is really well done too. Even better, my 5 year old just loves the hell out of it.
Another surprise was the new Prodigy album - the first single was freaking awesome.
More recently, this Grimes track has been on repeat for me as well:
And while not new, my favorite song from the past few years has been pretty consistent - “Wings” by HAERTS.
So yeah, the big movie for me was - obviously - the Force Awakens. I reviewed it already. But what else impressed me this year? I thought both “Avengers 2” and “Ant-Man” were great Marvel films. I liked how different they were. One was a huge scale/popcorn chomping film while the other was much smaller, personable, still with great action. And while I’m not specifically writing up a TV section, “Jessica Jones” was damn good too. As an aside, Netflix is the best thing to happen to TV in a long time. From their own content to their documentary selection to even some of their “B” flicks, I feel like I could easily pay more for the service. Speaking of Marvel - don’t bother seeing the Fantastic Four film. It isn’t watchable even if you can see it for free.
“Inside Out” was easily one of the best children’s movies I’ve seen since “Up”. I loved “The Martian” and will be reading the book next year. “The Visit” proved to me that M.Night may have a tiny bit of talent left (stress - “may”).
I was initially a bit disappointed by “Mad Max”, but after watching it a second time I appreciate it a bit more. I still feel like it was more a “Film set in the Mad Max universe” then a proper “Mad Max” film, but maybe I’m just being too picky.
If there is one film I’d like folks to consider, it is “Maggie”. This flew way under the radar - I don’t think I saw it advertised once - but it is an incredibly well done zombie film. Outside of “The Walking Dead”, I’m really tired of zombies, but this is the best zombie film I’ve seen since “28 Days Later.” I highly recommend seeing “Maggie” as soon as you can. I never thought I’d see a zombie film that was slow and thoughtful - but this movie really pulls if off.
Oh, and as for stuff I’m embarrassed to admit - my guilty pleasure recently is “The Royals.” It is pure and utter trash, but fun to watch.
For next year, keep an eye out for “Colony”. I’m a fan of alien invasion stories, especially ones that are far removed from “Independence Day”, and this one looks fascinating so far. You can watch the first episode online now if you don’t want to wait. Of course, like most sci-fi shows with a “mystery”, you have to assume it will probably get cancelled before they resolve anything.
So I just checked, and apparently, I only reviewed 2 video games this year - Battlefront and Destiny. I liked them both, but I’m not sure I’d consider them great. I’m spending a lot of time during this Christmas break playing Fallout 4, and I like it a lot too, but again, I’m not sure I’ll be thinking about it in a year’s time. As an example of what I mean - my eldest son recently borrowed my PS3 (the PS4 now rules my TV) so he could play “The Last of Us”, and I still tend to think of that game when I think about what makes a truly “great” video game. (And if folks are curious, my all time favorite game was “A Mind Forever Voyaging”.) I guess the best I can say is that I’m enjoying the three games I mentioned and I recommend them, but nothing has blown me away this year.
I will add that both Sony and Microsoft have deals where if you pay for a yearly multiplayer subscription, you get free games every month. While the quality goes up and down, there have been some really great freebies. So even if you don’t play online a lot, you should definitely consider subscribing.