Friday, December 31, 2010

First Signs Year End Review

By the end of today, 2010 will be a distant memory. Nothing new can happen in 2010, and because of this it is time to look back and see how the year was, on a pop culture level. Minus the music of course. It is my life's regret that I never got into music as well as I could have. I love music, I appreciate music, but I cannot in all honesty call myself a music person. For that, go to my friend's music blog. He has pretty good taste and his blog is a lot better than mine. For everything else, hopefully, I have you covered here. For each category I chose the best and the most disappointing. I chose disappointing instead of worse. It's easy to be the worst at something, but to disappoint takes effort and deserves the extra scorn. Also for television shows I am only counting shows that premiered this year. It's not my fault that bad shows lasted into this year.

Best Film of the Year: Inception

I regrettably haven't seen The Social Network or Black Swan yet. I love both directors behind the movies and have been wanting to see them (the trailer for Social Network was amazing) but just never had a chance. It is because of this I choose Inception for the best film of the year. After I see those two I may change my mind but for now Inception takes the cake. For one, it was one of the most original films of the year. Christopher Nolan took a chance, with a film that confused a lot of people, but amazed the majority. In the top grossing films of the year, it sits number four, surrounded by sequels and remakes. Not saying that box office makes a great film, but the fact that it was a major success critically and financially speaks volumes. South Park, which lost it's edge years ago, even did it's own Inception spoof. With millions of fans, a South Park episode, it's own meme and making spinning tops cool again; Inception wins. Should it win Best Picture? Now that's a different story.

Most Disappointing Movie: Book of Eli

Denzel Washington is one of the coolest people on the planet. He is, by any definition, the man. That's why it sucks to see him in such a disappointing movie. Maybe I had too much hopes for it. Book of Eli even had Gary Oldman as a villain, which should of been worth the price of admission alone. Oldman has previously proven himself as an excellent villain in half of his films. Here though he is wasted as a egomaniacal leader of a post-apocalyptic village. The movie, which starts off fine enough, turns into a half-asses parable. That alone would be tolerable, until they break out the mother of all twists. Although there are clues throughout Book of Eli, the twist still feels cheap and meaningless. Made only for twist's sake. Also this movie's trailer reminded me of Fallout 3, which I was obsessed with at the time.

Best New Television Show: The Walking Dead

Award winning comic book series, plus Frank Darabont (the man behind such new classics as Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile and The Mist), plus the most fearless network on cable equals an amazing program. Airing a zombie themed television show is ballsy enough, but to do that and take it seriously is where AMC and Darabont succeed. Once you get done watching the short season, you realize that the zombies aren't even the most important part. Zombies are just a set piece, a situation for our characters. When used in that way, zombie themed media are used at their most effective. We need to care for the characters. Not only is it a brilliant execution of a zombie story, which is more than just zombies for zombies' sake, but it's also a success in ratings. Walking Dead out performed every other show out there. AMC even managed to win over my demographic, which is hard unless you air a show on Adult Swim.

Most Disappointing Television Show: Boardwalk Empire

This one is a tough call for me. Surely there are worse shows out there (Outsourced). The thing of it is, Boardwalk Empire had so much promise. A-list talent, good production quality, and a good premise. Why then was I so bored with it? If it wasn't for the fact that I live ten minutes away from Atlantic City, I wouldn't of even bothered finishing the season. I just wish that they made it into a miniseries instead of a continuing series. If they had a finite amount of episodes they could of told a story with a much clearer direction and message. It's just too bad, I had so much hope for it. Really it isn't fair to Boardwalk Empire, because anything short of masterpiece will be disappointing.

Best Video Game: Red Dead Redemption

StarCraft II is amazing, but I've already mentioned it before on here. Also it's PC game and I'm not a big PC gamer. So, in it's place, Red Dead Redemption is the best game of 2010. Almost for the same reason that Inception was the best film on 2010, it was both an original and a success. Video game companies have attempted to mine the old west before (Gun, Red Dead Revolver, Custer's Revenge), however with Red Dead Redemption it all comes together seamlessly. It takes a bunch of play mechanics we've seen before, but it all synergizes together perfectly here. Rockstar already has my complete and utter faith in them, having revolutionized the sandbox gaming template. Here though they do more then their tried-and-true modern day crime theme, and it works. James Marston feels more real than half the people I see on the movie screen. And tell me you weren't amazed when you first rode into Mexico.

Most Disappointing Video Game: Fable III

I didn't actually play Fable III, to be fair I watched a friend play it. With that being said, it was a lackluster gaming experience for the both of us. The Fable series is respected and they obviously didn't half-ass the game. With all its work and polish, the game should of turned out decent. Each gamer was met with plodding gameplay and a disappointing story. The twist in the story was actually good, but the execution was terrible. That's the best way to sum up Fable III, good attempt but bad execution.

So there is my roundup for 2010. Don't agree? Be sure to tell me why. Here's to 2011, and hopefully it will be a good year. Happy New Years, dear readers.