Media I've consumed in 2020

January 01, 2021 at 11:00 PM | categories: movies, books, games | View Comments

Maybe I'll make a 2020 post next year.

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Media I've consumed in 2019

January 06, 2020 at 11:00 PM | categories: movies, books, games | View Comments

One more year of this dumb list, and one more year spending way too much time figuring out how to make a post to this blog.



I didn't read as many books as I'd like this year, but they were all pretty good. After watching the movie Wonderstruck (see below) and being impressed by the concept (half of the movie takes place in the 70's, and half takes place in the 20's, with the 20's portion being basically a silent movie), I saw it was based on a book with a similar concept. I had never read a Brian Selznick book and apparently this is kind of his schtick, but again, both the story and the storytelling of the book were impressive (the 70's half is entirely in prose, and the 20's half is entirely illustrations). It's definitely a kids/YA book, but if you're looking for something YA that isn't about wizards or dystopian murder societies, I highly recommend it.



I saw a ridiculous number of amazing movies this year, but my favorite goes to Parasite for walking the fine line between comedy, thriller, satire, and parable and being effective at all. It gets bonus points for being a laugh-out-loud comedy in a foreign language and yet it still translates.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also recommend a few other indie movies that are still totally approachable and everyone should see. The Florida Project tells an amazing, heartbreaking story about "the hidden homeless": a societal class I honestly didn't know existed until I saw the movie and apparently is all too real. I don't want to spoil anything, but the last camera shot in the movie had me literally ugly-crying. And if you just want to watch a really weird concept movie, A Ghost Story takes the ridiculous concept of Casey Afflect with a sheet over his head playing a ghost that silently watches over a house and treats it totally seriously. It's a meditation on time and grief and goes places that punch way above the weight of its concept. And it's a crime Rooney Mara didn't get a nomination for her performance in this, as the movie pretty much rests entirely on her soldiers, and the "pie eating" scene alone is a physical performance tour de force both emotionally and for the sheer mechanics of what she does over the course of a single take.



As usual, I played a lot more games than this, but I'm only counting games I played all the way through (or at least hit the level cap in ESO). I have to give my favorite game of the year to Brothers if only because it's a 6 year old game that I already had spoiled and the ending still was effective and moved me. Possibly because I have a little brother.

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Media I've consumed in 2018

January 05, 2019 at 11:47 AM | categories: movies, books, games | View Comments

Time marches on. I waste most of mine.



As predicted last year, I started reading the Witcher book series. I particularly liked the first in the series, The Last Wish because it's mainly an anthology of creative retellings of fairy tales. The others have been a bit more plot-heavy than I'd like, but I'd recommend the first to anyone. Also, Norse Mythology was finally my first Neil Gaiman, and it impressed as well (I guess I'm finding out that I really like anthologies).



Continuing my anthology kick, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is the only movie this year that I've already watched multiple times. I love Coen brother dialogue, and no segment overstays its welcome. Weird movie of the year goes to Raw. I'm not even sure I like it, but it's definitely stayed with me (maybe longer than I'd like). Finally, Your Name. seems tragically overlooked. It's beautifully animated, and without spoiling the twist, know that it's way more than just "anime Freaky Friday."



I continue buying games at a record pace, but I never finish them. Still, I've been playing Stardew Valley on PC and now Switch for a couple years now, and it remains an incredibly relaxing world to visit. I love Animal Crossing games, but always fall off after a month or two. Stardew Valley sticks.

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Media I've consumed in 2017

January 15, 2018 at 08:30 PM | categories: movies, books, games | View Comments

To escape the continued crushing reality of 2017, I escaped into a world of multimedia.



As boring as it may sound, and despite reading some pretty good fiction books this year, my favorite is probably 99 Bottles of OOP by Sandy Metz. In addition to reiterating what "real" OOP is as in her Nothing is Something talk (hint: creating a Dog class that inherits from the Animal class isn't the important bit), it also has an eye-opening exercise that if you actually do at the start of the book, it shows just how seductive it is to over-engineer a solution.



Thor was probably the most fun I had in a theater all year, but O.J. Made in America was the most enlightening. I was around ten years old when it all went down, and I was old enough to understand everything that was happening, but not why it was such a big deal. This 8 hour documentary (best watched in chunks) lays everything out in detail, from the specifics of the case itself, to O.J. Simpson's reputation as being "aracial" in contrast to other contemporary African American athletes, to the historical context of Rodney King and the LA police, and the rise of 24-hour news coverage. I highly recommend, even if you don't care about football at all, and you didn't want to hear another second of O.J. coverage during 1995.



Witcher 3 is what I was hoping for out of Fallout 4: another huge world to explore with scads of deep stories to wander between. It also looks amazing, and basically never bugged out on me, which is more than can be said for most Bethesda games. All of the quests--even the smallest side quests--told an interesting story, and the Hearts of Stone expansion told an even better story (I never did get around to finishing Blood and Wine, but I probably will at some point). I never played the previous games in the series and don't feel like I missed out, but don't be surprised if you see some of the Witcher books upon which the game is based in my list next year.

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Media I've consumed in 2016

January 14, 2017 at 04:30 PM | categories: movies, books, games | View Comments

To escape the crushing reality of 2016, I escaped into a world of multimedia.



Again I failed to even read a book a month in 2016. Most books didn't really grab my attention, so I took my sweet time getting through them. Still, there were some gems. I finally read a David Sedaris book (Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls) after years of hearing him on This American Life, and his voice comes off in print just as well. Also, Sandi Metz's Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby is well written, full of practical advice, and something I can use as a counterpoint to people who think dynamically typed languages are bad for software quality.



Maybe it's just because I'm a single thirtysomething, but The Lobster spoke to me. I loved Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth, but I can't say it was relatable. And I definitely wouldn't recommend it to someone who doesn't know what they're getting into. The Lobster is still uniquely weird and cynical, but it still has moments of sentimentality and romance.

In between the daily hunts of single people.



I played precious few games this year, and finished fewer still. My favorite, though, was Uncharted 4. I normally gravitate towards smaller indie games, but Uncharted really shows what smart people and amazing artists can do with technology these days. The story it tells also isn't half bad, at least by video game standards.

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