Saturday, December 25, 2010

Year in Review Part One

Ah, 2010, the year that my finances came to a crushing and awful point. I shall never forget being forced to choose between food or laundry. But enough about my woes. I'd like to take this opportunity, as we edge closer to 2011, to reflect on what happened to me, what I did, and what I reviewed for this blog. I haven't done a year in review for awhile, and back in January, I did two posts about film I saw and books I read, but nothing comprehensive. For this year, I'm going to do 2 posts again, one on film/video games, and the second on books.

Let's start with some personal stuff first. The big thing that happened to me this year was that I went back to school. I said that I was going to do paramedic stuff, but I ended up doing computer programming. Quite a switch, I know. But I feel like programming is a better fit for one such as myself, that is to say, a total geek. My g/f was finally accepted into the Canadian Forces, specifically the Navy, and once her training is complete, she is going to be a badass force to be reckoned with. My cousin was born in April, bringing my cousin tally to a total of 2! Yes, I know everybody has a million cousins, but I come from hearty Protestant stock, and we don't believe in mass procreation like our Catholic brethren. I got to visit my cousin on his birthday, and it was spectacular. However, it didn't instill baby-fever in me.

All in all, not a terrible year. I would have loved to have not been so stressed about money, but wouldn't we all?

Now let's take a look at this blog's major focus: art to consume greedily.

I'll start with movies. Frankly, I can't remember every single movie I saw this year, which says to me that it wasn't a stellar year for film. Or maybe, I just didn't see everything I wanted to. Let's take a look at that post in March where I posted what I wanted to see.... Huh. It appears that Iron Man 2 and Tron: Legacy were the only two major flicks I missed. Let's take a look at the Top Five movies of 2010:
5 Inception
4 The A-Team
3 The Town
2 The Social Network
1 Toy Story 3
The clear winner was Toy Story 3 - a movie I thought so much of, I was sad because it couldn't be topped. I really liked The Social Network's screenplay and performances, and I was blown away by The Town. I thought The A-Team was a really fun action movie, big, loud, stupid, and ignorant of basic physics. I loved Inception on my first viewing, but it didn't hold up on a second, but it was still better than most movies I saw. What about the worst?
5 Nightmare on Elm Street
4 Robin Hood
3 MacGruber
2 Due Date
1 Get Him to the Greek
I didn't care for these films, but I didn't really see a lot of "bad" movies, so the list is skewed. I know for a fact that I actively hated Get Him to the Greek. Never before have I see a comedy so purposefully malicious and unconcerned with tone or character. It was awkward and not in the funny way - in the annoying and frustrating way. Due Date was a huge disappointment considering the two leads, but the few funny bits were Robert Downey Jr and he was saddled with being the straight man. Robin Hood was stunningly mediocre and Nightmare on Elm Street was uneven and a missed opportunity.

What's coming up for 2011? Here's my list of movies I want to see
7 Tintin
6 Final Destination 5
5 Transformers 3
4 The Muppets
3 Thor
2 Green Lantern
1 Tree of Life
Can't wait for a new Terence Malick flick. And Jason Segal doing The Muppets? Yes, please. Looks a decent year for movies. There'll be another Paranormal Activity, which doesn't make me want to puke. Yet.

I also played a lot of video games this year. A lot. I got a new laptop for school, and I went ahead and played every video game I had always wanted to play and didn't. Let's take a look at video games that I loved, regardless of their release date.
6 Chess Titans (Windows 7)
5 Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
4 Half Life 2
3 Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition
2 Red Dead Redemption
1 Fallout: New Vegas
Yes, Fallout is number one. Would there have been anything else? There's certainly one million bugs, some of them game-breaking, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a blast walking around the Mojave Wasteland. I think the highlight of my experience was when I spent an hour, perched on a mining crane, using an almost broken sniper rifle, and slowly but surely picking off a family of Deathclaws. I took me forever but it was so satisfying when it was over. I also played Half Life 2 for the very first time and I fell absolutely in love with it. It's a perfect video game. Yes, perfect. GTA IV was given a second try by yours truly, and I found it to be totally immersive. There's nothing cooler than walking around in a suit, stealing a car, and then cruising around listening to Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath. Red Dead Redemption was also particularly addicting! It was always just amazing to hop into the saddle and ride into the bush. I still played a lot of Modern Warfare 2 going into the new year, but I sort of dropped off.

What about video games that I still want to play (in no particular order or by release date)?
7 Uncharted 3
6 GoldenEye 007 (Wii)
5 Super Mario Galaxy 2
4 F.E.A.R. 3
3 Crysis 2
2 Resistance 3
1 Mass Effect 2 (PS3)
I just received for Christmas Uncharted 2 and God of War 3, so that removes them (finally!) from the list of video games I want. I cannot wait to play Mass Effect 2. I've only hear amazing things about it, and it's one of the very few instances where I wish I had an XBOX. But if I didn't have a PS3 I wouldn't get Uncharted or Resistance or Killzone. I think I'm going to give Killzone 2 another try. I liked it, but I didn't love it. I am super excited about Crysis 2. My new laptop can't even handle the original Crysis, but with the sequel, it'll be on PS3, which means I'm in! The two F.E.A.R. games were really fun so hopefully the quality remains high with the third.

Some general thoughts on things:
I played more video games than watched any movie or television show. The g/f and I watched all of Lost this year and a ton of Doctor Who and I still played more video games. I find now I've read so much and played so much, I have trouble sitting through TV or movies. I need something to do during it. It's not an attention span thing: I sit and read all night at work. I have no problems with attention span. I just feel like TV and movies just aren't challenging me. Video games are where I want to be. That, or books.

Speaking of books, return tomorrow for a mammoth post on what I read and what I thought were the best books I read all year - and let me tell you, the sample pile is giant.

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