30 December, 2012
TOP 5 Top 5 of 2012
Here are my top 5 top 5 lists of 2012.
NOTE: Some of these things were NOT released in 2012. I just discovered them in 2012 (books and video games specifically). So, forgive me if I violate your personal rule. This is my blog. I make my own rules.
Top 5 Albums
This year had some fantastic albums (though I think 2011 was even better). These are the ones that moved me most. Though, as I often say, any list I make can change at any time depending on how I am feeling that day.
1. The Sword - Apocryphon: The more I listen, the more I love this album. Stoner metal at its best.
2. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser...: Why doesn't she make more music?!
3. Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE: So highly ambitious it could have crashed and burned. Instead, it works on many levels. It is great that we finally have a modern-day hip-hop artist (if we want to pigeonhole him into a genre) who deals with real social issues without resorting to cliches. And yes, he's also a hero to the LGBT community.
4. Napalm Death - Utilitarian: What I need more in my life is death metal songs that aren't any longer than four minutes. This has a bunch of them! Welcome back into my life, old friend.
5. Soundgarden - King Animal: I wasn't crazy about the first few songs and so I almost dismissed this album. Then it kicked into gear and I couldn't stop listening. Welcome back into my life, dear old friend from way back when.
Top 5 Movies
Any of these movies could have been #1. Also, the movies that didn't make the list could easily make the list on another day (like "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", "Killing Them Softly", "Cloud Atlas", "Lincoln", "Safety Not Guaranteed", "Skyfall", "The Hunger Games" and so on).
1. LOOPER: One of the best time-travel action movies in a very long time. So good I can ignore the paradox it created (as most time-travel movies do).
2. THE AVENGERS: Joss Whedon finally received the mass audience his crazed loyal fan base assured he'd someday reach. And comic-book fans finally got an awesome Hulk! Plus everything else was nearly perfect.
3. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: What? Critics had a problem with it? That's okay because sane fans loved it. Especially that brilliant "Riddles in the Dark" scene. Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis were brilliant in that sequence. Freeman was a standout in the entire movie.
4. QUEEN OF VERSAILLES: A documentary that sums up the problem with the economy and the American dream from the perspective of the (not-for-long?) 1%.
5. MOONRISE KINGDOM: Two outcast kids fall in love and decide to run away together. And the rest is pure genius. An instant classic.
Top 5 TV Shows
Television has become the most creative outlet for brilliant people and so this list is made difficult purely because there is so much great stuff out there right now. However, this list was the easiest to make because of the passion I feel for the following shows.
1. COMMUNITY: Under the maddening helm of the brilliant Dan Harmon, the third season was arguably one of the best half-hour single-cams in television history! So crazy good that it drove Sony to fire Harmon from the show he created. You know it is too good if TV executives can't figure it out.
2. GAME OF THRONES: Not as great as season 1 but even the worst episode of this show is better than the best episode of most.
3. COVERT AFFAIRS: I was going to put HOMELAND here but then had to be honest with myself. Both shows had problem episodes. This one had less of them and ended up as my favorite spy drama in 2012.
4. PARKS AND RECREATION: A nearly perfect show. Still way under-appreciated.
5. COPPER: This BBC America show is the Brit drama the media isn't going crazy over and tossing ridiculous praise at. It is THE WIRE of period police dramas. Minus one misstep in story telling, it is flawless. So obviously it will not be fully appreciated until it is gone.
Top 5 Books
I read a lot of books this year. Five of those from a little series called A Song of Ice and Fire. I also tossed in a new book that is out in 2013 that I got the opportunity to read ahead of release. So not a single book on this list was released in 2012. Perfect!
1. A Storm of Swords (book 3) by George R.R. Martin: Best fantasy book I have ever read. Arguably one of the best works of fiction ever written. It built me up. It broke me down. It made me cry. It made me cheer. It left me feeling as if someone had punched me in the stomach, and then it helped me make a proper fist and punch right back. Wow. Your move HBO version. Your move.
2. A Game of Thrones (book 1) by George R.R. Martin: Hey! Season 1 on HBO was a lot like this! It is the most faithful book to series translations ever. Still, the book is obviously better.
3. A Dance with Dragons (book 5) by George R.R. Martin: Not nearly as full of life as the first book, and not nearly as devastating as the third. It works as a big tease for what happens next. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!
4. A Clash of Kings (book 2) by George R.R. Martin: Hey! Season 2 on HBO was somewhat like this book! Minus lots of characters.
5. The Aylesford Skull by James P. Blaylock: Sure, it won't be released until 2013 but I read it in 2012 and truly enjoyed it. So much so that I have to put it ahead of a GRRM book (shocker!). Easiest book review ever.
Top 5 Video Games
Much like the books list, most of these were NOT released in 2012. But then this is a list of the top 5 things I loved in 2012.
1. Armed Assault 2 (including all DLC): I had skipped this one until the Steam summer sale and I have been playing it like a madman since. Sure, lots of people bought it for the zombie apocalypse survival mod DayZ, but I got it for the military gaming stuff. And I'm addicted. Here is the proof.
2. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare: I love medieval combat games (as you can see with my #4 pick) and there just haven't been many choices until recently. Out of the ones I played or tested this year, this one is by far the most fun. Even when getting my head chopped off left and right (this is a bloody, dismembering game) I am always having a blast.
3. Dishonored: Thief meets super powers. Ummm, yes please!
4. Mount & Blade: Warband (with Napoleonic Wars): I play Chivalry for the quick combat. I play Mount & Blade for the massive battles, castle/fortress assaults, and all those wonderful mods. Another game I picked up for dirt cheap on the Steam summer sale.
5. Battlefield 3 (Premium): I was a Call of Duty guy for years. Then I played BF3 and quit COD forever. I see no reason to go back to an ancient, boring, unimaginative way of playing FPS games. Sorry COD fanboys, you can keep flocking to crap. I'm with DICE now... as you can see here.
So, what would your top 5 top 5 list look like? Comment below.