It’s the last day of the year!!!
2015 hasn’t been the worst year yet for me, so hopefully that means 2016 will be pretty rad too.
Today, I thought I would reflect on the year in popular culture and bring you the same list that everyone else is doing at this time of the year, but with a twist… My Top Ten is filled with games, TV shows, and movies. Next year, I hope to add books to the list, but that’s a topic for another blog. 😉
I’ll precursor this list with a bit of further information. Some items on my list (namely, the video games) have not been finished, but from watching others play it or from my own brief experience, I felt they deserved a spot on the list. Additionally, items that I have not played or watched in any shape or form will not be included on this list. So if you’re looking forward to my thoughts on the final season of Mad Men or my feelings on Hateful Eight, I’m going to have to disappoint you. For TV shows, it is based 100% on this year’s season.
So without further ado…
Earlier in the year, when Bethesda teased that there was a new Fallout coming, I couldn’t actually imagine that they would release it in the same year. I was incredibly excited by what I saw and knew I would buy it as soon as it was out. And for the 10+ hours of play, and another 20+ watching others play it, I’m still pretty hapy with that purchase. I know I could spend 200+ hours on it, and sadly, I haven’t been able to play anywhere near enough of it. But from everything I have seen and done, this game is well worthy of being on my list. It even beat out a few fantastic movies and TV series to mae it here.
The game is not the most polished, and the clunkiness that we have all known from Bethesda’s facial simulator is still there. But the gameplay and the story sell it for me. As an RPG Shooter, it is second-to-none. Boss battles feel epic and legitimately take a lot of strategy to defeat. I can’t wait til I have time to finish it.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
When I saw the trailer for this movie, I wrote it off almost immediately. I didn’t bother seeing it at the theatre, because I was certain it was going to be horrible. I’m so happy I was wrong, though. This was such a fun movie, and deserves to be on any top ten list. It was a sleeper, sure, but once you sit down to watch it, you can see that everyone had fun making it. Between Samuel L Jackson’s hilarious lisp, Colin Firth’s charisma, or the quirky James Bond tropes, there is a lot to love about the movie.
Nothing too sleeper about this next one. The Martian has had some ridicule about the whitewashing in it, but I still genuinely enjoyed this movie. I’m a big fan of Matt Damon, but I also enjoy watching a movie that treats the female characters in the piece right. Jessica Chastain is a force to be reckoned with, and I love seeing her show up a few times this year. Also, Kate Mara is always a joy to watch. I’ve loved her since the first season of House of Cards. Chiwetel Ejiofor was his amazing self, as well, and I would love to see him be a male lead some day.
I haven’t read the book, so I cannot comment on how they handled the adaptation. I do want to get a chance to read it sometime. It’s on my list for next year. It was a clever piece of fiction, with the right amount of science to make it believable.
I’ve played all of the Witcher games. Sadly, I have not finished a single one yet. I believe I will with Witcher 3, because it’s just by far the best of the series. What I love about this is the lore. I have desperately wanted to read the entire Witcher anthology, but I have heard that the games do an amazing job of adapting the books. The Witcher has great combat, and the fantasy elements are strong but not overbearing. Geralt of Rivia is such a fun character to watch and be, and I think that is what makes the games so great. You don’t even have to play the other two games to enjoy this one, either, as there is just enough lore and information for the newbie out there.
I love a good ghost story. I’ve written a few now, and they are tons of fun to think about. But I’m a sucker for seeing it unfold on the big screen. One of my favourite horror movies is titled Ghost Story. It’s been a long time since I have been able to say that I enjoyed another outright ghost tale as I did that one, and that was made in the early 80s.
Crimson Peak did that. I’ll admit I have a crush on Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain (see above), but mostly I enjoyed this simply because of the atmosphere of it. The house itself is a character, and I wanted to explore every inch of it with the heroine. The story was moderately good, and the acting was top-notch. But the true hero is the directing, art direction and cinematography. del Toro may have missed the mark slightly on his writing, but he never fails in those three areas. We need more good ghost stories.
Marvel’s Agent Carter
The next three choices were the hardest to pinpoint. I knew 1 & 2 for a certainty, but there was a lot to love about these three, as well. Agent Carter was on at the start of the year, and it was easy to forget that it even started this year. I was incredibly impressed with this show. I was a little worried at the beginning, as it had a couple of rough starts, but seeing it through to the end was worth it.
Characters from both Captain America movies show up in the series, and they are integrated perfectly. There doesn’t seem to be a second where you don’t believe they aren’t the exact same people as the ones seen in the movies. Hayley Atwell is incredible in the part, as well, and I just love watching her show off her sharp wit and physical strength against all of the chauvinistic men in her office. I really look forward to Season 2.
Before this series came out, I had never heard of Jessica Jones. I’ll admit it; I’m not a comic book geek. So you’ll have to forgive my ignorance. When I watched the trailers, though, I was deadset on watching the series. I enjoyed Daredevil earlier this year, and it looked just as dark and realistic as that had. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was enthralled. I finished the series in two days. Then I watched the last few episodes again with my husband. The first half of the season was slightly stronger than the last, but I was hardly disappointed by any steps they took. It introduced several different origin stories, as well, and made it seamless. Also, Killgrave has to be one of the best villains in recent memory (and I thought nobody could top Kingpin and Loki). I certainly have no desire to control people’s minds after watching it.
Without a doubt this movie had to make the list. In fact, I’m a little sad it isn’t even higher. I wish I had been conflicted about it. I nearly placed it at 5th, because in a lot of ways Jessica and Carter both affected me in different ways to this one. However, Star Wars tugged at the nostalgia I have for the original trilogy. I was overcome with emotion when the movie started and the scrolling text appeared on the screen. The elements of the original series were there, and somewhat of a crutch for the movie. There were missteps a plenty, but I was not dissatisfied. I walked out with more questions than answers, and I felt a bit cheated in parts. Buuuttt…. it’s headed in the right direction. And Abrams did a fantastic job bringing it back to life. Here’s to more BB-8, too! 😀
The year is 1979, and this is Minnesota & North Dakota. The events are real – not fake in any way. Or fake in every way. Because the Coen Brothers agreed that Fargo was not a true story, but the series continues on with the same premise. This season was incredible. I was surprised to see that they could almost top the previous season, which I thought was some of the best storytelling I’ve seen in recent TV. The actors this year were amazing, too, with Kirsten Dunst, Bokeem Woodbine and Patrick Wilson as stand outs for me.
There were even hilarious moments that reminded you that it was really not a true story, and probably the best deus ex machina in TV history showing up in the penultimate episode. Heaps of laughs from the dark humour makes this perhaps one of the best series I’ve seen ever. Watch it. Really. I can’t emphasise enough how great it is.
Now comes the part where I tell you that there are too many great shows and movies and games this year. So here are the Honourable Mentions: Jurassic World, Daredevil, Mr Robot, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Inside Out, and you’re thinking, well, just get to the point already. What’s number 1? And if you’ve made it this far, then kudos, bro, because you’ve probably made it further than my own family. 😉
So without further ado…
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
I was asked the other day what my top 3 favourite action movies of all time were. To which I replied (quite emphatically):
Number 1 will always be, and thereby the movie in which I judge all action movies – Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Number 2 is Mad Max: Fury Road.
Seriously, this movie was such an ephemeral experience. It was everything I dreamed it would be and more. The signature over-the-top action, with giant set pieces in the middle of barren wasteland with characters that have no moral high-ground and vehicular manslaughter made for one of the best movie going experiences I have had in memory.
The story is just about obsolete, but I didn’t go in expecting Hamlet. What I was surprised with was the acting. Charlize is amazing, and I love me some Tom Hardy. He is so underrated. The action, cinematography, effects and sound editing are all so incredible too.
The more I think about it, the more I want to stop writing this post and go watch it again. In fact, I think that’s on my to-do list for tomorrow now. Thanks, blog. haha
And there you have it. My completely unnecessary and somewhat convoluted attempt to write a top ten list about pop culture for 2015. I have just under 6 hours left of the year, and I expect that in 6 hours I will still feel that way about this list. haha