Let’s face it…2016 has been a diaper fire of a year. In the face of rampant bigotry, violence, and the worst of the world receiving all the attention and rewards, I thought it would be best to share my superlatives; my favorites of the year 2016. These are of course my favorites, and even though I’m definitely RIGHT, feel free to disagree.
Best Movie: Captain America Civil War
I have to admit I was suffering severe super-hero fatigue going into this movie. I’d had my fill of comic book movies and nerd culture and this just seemed to be another on to add on the pile. Then I saw it and realized, whether you love this trend or not, you have to admire the skill with which the MCU’s leadership is weaving its overall narrative. From call backs to films not even believed to be canon until now to payoffs set up four years ago, the movie is a masterpiece of culmination storytelling. It is a wonderfully directed and intensely personal story told with drama, humor, and action in almost equal parts. While I think Winter Soldier is probably a better made film…I can’t deny I may enjoy Civil War on a pure watchability level more.
Best TV Show: Stranger Things
I’ve resisted most “made for Netflix” series because they truly don’t appeal to me, but a horror-sc-fi-fantasy story set in the 80s? Yeah I’ll check that out. Stranger Things reminds me a lot of my favorite British TV shows, Spaced and The Office. They are short, sharp, stories with absolutely zero fluff and cut down to just the best of the narrative. At only eight episodes it tells is rather complex story in a simple way and absolutely draws you in. By far the best “TV show” of the year and one I’ve revisited several times since my first viewing.
Best Album: Level 7 – Miracle of Sound
I’ve got a whole post on Gavin “Miracle of Sound” Dunn coming but his music is kind of the soundtrack to my 2016. I purchased all of his albums from BandCamp after listening to his YouTube channel and I couldn’t be more impressed with his range and, more importantly, the passion he has for what he does. 2016 was a tough year creatively, and Dunn’s experiences in the year are no exception as vocal negative fans seemed to be the voices shouting the loudest. Level 7 might be my favorite album he’s done and the “controversial” Fires Fade one of my new favorite MoS songs. It’ll definitely bring some good music to the end of what was kind of a lousy year.
Best Video Game: Doom
Where did this come from? After years of grey-brown “realistic” shooters id software treated us with a return to classic form in Doom. I love everything about this game. From its classic-style shooting (no reloading!) to its marvelous silent protagonist I can see myself wasting hours of time in this game the way I used to waste hours of time in the classic Doom 2. Whenever I have just time to kill (it does happen sometimes…) I definitely don’t mind punching demons’ appendages off for a while.
Best Time Waster: YouTube Creators
I’ve been a YouTube fan for a while, but this year I found myself turning to it more and more instead of “traditional” media. From classic favorites like Homestarrunner and AVGN, to Jim Sterling, Angry Joe, RedLetterMedia, and the Nostalgia Critic I found more entertainment having YouTube creators as the background of my day-to-day life than anything else. Got some drawing to do? Let’s put on a Co-Optitude marathon! Sitting down for some reading? Cinemassacre’s last full Monster Madness ever is going on! It shows the best of egalitarian art, anyone with ability and creativity can become a popular public persona, the established organized structures be damned! The quality content available on YouTube now is remarkable.
Most Surprising Entertainment: The Spin-Off Doctors Podcast
I’m a huge Jim Sterling fan and love his Podquisition podcast. Despite this I’d never listened to his second podcast, the Spin-Off Doctors (aka “The Movie Boys…”) before about a month ago. I listened to the Warcraft episode and was hooked. I’ve listened to every one of them since then and they accompany me everywhere, work, the car, the gym, everywhere. If you haven’t listened to Jim Sterling and Conrad Zimmerman analyze the various entertainment enterprises that spin-off from popular video game franchises you’re missing out. Their Pixels episode alone is epic!
Best Personal Growth Discovery: Bodybuilding.com
I was introduced to Bodybuilding.com’s programs this year and they have reinvigorated my desire to exercise. Admittedly after years of boxing, running, or BeachBody programs I was a bit burned out. These have been a great find and having excellent company and having a blast while working out has been extra motivation! I recommend Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size or Kris Gethin’s Muscle-Building Trainer. Intense programs that really get results!
Best Cultural Event: Guns N’ Roses – Not in this Lifetime Tour
Much like Doom this kind of came out of nowhere. From rumors that started last year a full blown tour no one thought the original line up of Guns N Roses would ever reunite for even one show let alone a multi-continent, months-long tour. Their show in Nashville was terrific and, despite my personal predictions of implosion, their tour in South America is still going strong with a Japan tour forthcoming. It was a childhood dream to see my favorite band live and, while I saw Axl with the new GnR a few years ago, seeing most of the original group together at the absolute top of their game this year blew my mind. By far the event of the year!
That’s my positive year-end review. I may do a negative one as well…but a list of all the things that pissed me off this year may never end. It may prove cathartic though so we’ll see how I feel in the coming weeks!