As the year winds down, it’s time for me to switch from mostly technical posts to mostly lame, casual, and fun (for me anyway) posts about the year that is about to end. Most of my traffic comes from folks Googling for particular topics, so the only folks who will end up here (probably) are regular readers. I hope you enjoy this list of all the books, movies, video games and music I really enjoyed this year.
In no particular order, here are a few of the songs I really dug this year. And by that I mean I played them at least 40-50 times a week probably. First up is “Murmur” by Mint Julep. I highly recommend the entire album. The video for this is incredible.
Next up is another awesome video/song. The artist here is DJ Shadow, but it features Run the Jewels as well who made my list of favorite media last year.
Finally, a mashup of Justin Bieber and Depeche Mode. Yes, seriously. I love this one.
I played some good games this year, but I’m still feeling a bit let down from a few years ago when I played both “The Last Of Us” and “Tomb Raider.” I re-played both of those this year and they still stand up incredibly well. This was the year I finally played an Uncharted game. (And it was pretty cool actually.) Probably the game I was most into was “No Man’s Sky”, but as much as I liked it when I was done with it I was really done.
I picked up an XBox One and so far the biggest feature I like about that are all the old XBox 360 games I got for free with Games with Gold. The Sony version of that (PS Plus) sucks in comparison. “Battlefield 1” was really well done and one of my favorite shooters ever. Speaking of - I didn’t bother with the last two COD games. Meh. I’ll maybe pick up the latest one once it goes below ten dollars. Maybe. My current game is “Forza Horizon 3” which is fun so far. The graphics are the best I’ve seen in a racing game.
All things considered - I think the PS4 is a better system but XBox has a slightly better library I think.
There were a lot of great movies/tv shows this year, here is a quick list with some quick comments.
- Rogue One: I just reviewed this. You can guess what I thought.
- Captain America 3: I’ve been completely surprised by how the CA series has evolved. The first movie was pretty much what you expected, but the last two have taken a darker, serious tone that I would not have expected. At times, CA3 was a bit too dark, but about half way through the film it began to have a bit more fun and I enjoyed the hell out of it.
- Suicide Squad: Another film I enjoyed although most people did not.
- Batman vs Superman: An incredible disappointment. Wonder Woman was good and I’m looking forward to her solo film, but this was mostly crap.
- Star Trek - Beyond: I want to like the new Star Trek films and they have cool parts, but I just can’t make myself care about them. All three have had some cool parts, and Bones is really well done, but I just don’t have any real deep feelings about this series which is truly sad.
- Ghostbusters: Fun, great special effects, funny as hell too.
- Doctor Strange: Since the very first Marvel film, I was wondering how they would handle magic. They avoided the question in Thor by making it all high tech. A really good film to see in the theaters.
- 10 Cloverfield Lane: Really, really good. Forget the name and any confusion it may cause. Just watch it.
- X-Men: Apoclypse: Probably my second favorite of the new trilogy (“First Class” is just amazing), and easily the movie with the best “superhero scene” ever. Not a spoiler, but if you’ve never seen it, I’m talking about the Quicksilver rescue scene embedded below:
- Independence Day: Resurgence: Crap.
- Moana: Really great - I liked it and the kids liked it.
- Stranger Things: 80s nostalgia and freaky horror - a great combination. Both my wife and I were really unsure of where this series was going for at least most of the run.
- Luke Cage: Great soundtrack, great characters, great new perspective of the Marvel universe. Unfortunately the story kind of flounders at the end. The entire last episode feels like it should have been cut in half.
- Westworld: Another show where I was truly unsure of how things were going to end up. Great twists, great acting, and another great soundtrack.
- Game of Thrones: One thing to say “Hold the Door.” Ok, more then that I’ll say that now that the show has moved beyond the books (mostly), it is really moving along well. The last few episodes were just mind blowing.
- The Flash: I binged watch this late this year and enjoyed the hell out of it. See my review. I’m now watching the Arrow.
- The Crown: Another Netflix original and another one I binged watch (along with my wife).
- Oh - and this is the year I finally broke my addiction of Young and the Restless. Yes, I was addicted to a soap opera. Go ahead and make fun.
I use GoodReads to track the books I read and they made this lovely little graphic for the books I read this year. I apologize for the file size. If I had to pick one book to highlight, I wouldn’t. I’d pick two - the “Art of Atari” book was beautiful and “Every Heart a Doorway” was fascinating.