Well, 2014 is leaving us. The inevitable march of time continues, and as I am inclined to do, I can't help but look back at the year and ponder... "Was it worth it?"
2014 saw a lot of great things. It brought another album from Weird Al (always a positive in any year.) It saw the Marvel Cinematic Universe face not only a major shake-up to the status quo, but also sent it soaring into the depths of space. People learned that "I am Groot" is the most versatile phrase ever uttered. It saw the release of some amazing animation, and some games that sucked my life away... It saw the theatrical release of a movie based on one of my favorite short-lived TV shows. Indeed there were some huge highs in this year, perhaps some of the best I have seen.
For the highs, there were some major lows, too. I battled with one of the longest and most severe depressive funks I have ever dealt with. I had a knee surgery that did nothing for my knee. Michael Bay is still making movies, and managed to destroy two of the most beloved franchises of my childhood in a single year. To top off the bad for the year, the world Lost Robin Williams, something that brings me a great deal of sadness.
All in all it was a good year. The highs were amazing. My most anticipated movie list turned out to be well worth it, netting 11 mostly positive reviews. To finish off this year, and before I move on to my list of most anticipated movies for next year, I'd like to offer up some Bests and Worsts from 2014. Keep in mind, these are all my opinion, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the entire team. So, shall we begin?
1) BEST FILM OF THE YEAR!
This was going to be a tough one, I didn't see as many films as I would have liked, and I mostly skipped the films that were obvious Oscar Bait. When I hit the theater, I look for something fun. An escape from reality that can lift the spirit, or at least offer up a little something to make me smile. As such, the typical Oscar winners tend to fall outside my interests. That left the running down to about 3 movies: How to Train Your Dragon 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Each of those films offered up something fun, and at least two of them managed to hit enough highs and lows that that they brought you along for an emotional roller coaster. In the end, This year's Movie of the Year (and my first ever movie of the year) goes to Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie was the right mix of happy, and sad, exhilarating while still managing to hit some somber tones. It took my breath away, and offered up a great 3D experience. The big deciding factor here was the home release. The disc was the first thing to make me give up playing my choice for Game of the Year, and was the motivating factor for me setting up a second TV and Blu-Ray player in my media room. If you have not seen the film yet, I highly recommend it.
2) GAME OF THE YEAR!
This one came down to three titles as well. The games I look for offer up story, replayability, and customizability. It is for those reasons that most First Person Shooters never even come close to entering the list, and why one will see a lot of RPGs making their way into my sights. This year, there were three stand out games, that offered varying degrees of those three criteria. The first on the list is Infamous: Second Son. This is an odd choice for the list, as it fails to offer up a great deal of customization. It does offer up a good story, and it allows for some decent replayability. Next up, we have Dragon Age: Inquisition. Another odd choice, this game offers up a great deal of customization, and a grand story, and I can see some mild replayability. What makes it so weird, is that after the folly known as Mass Effect 3, I swore I would never pick up another game from Bioware. The final game to make my list, is Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The game offers up more customization than Infamous, and it offers more obvious replayability than Dragon Age. Where it slacks is the story... When it comes down to it, one game managed to grip me so much that it has only left the PS4 to allow me to watch Guardians of the Galaxy. The game naturally, is Dragon Age: Inquisition. By far the best entry into the series, and something that I have yet to finish, because I am just so invested in doing as much as I can in the massive world...
3) ANIMATED FILM OF THE YEAR!
This one ultimately came down to two films. Both were excellent films, and honestly, this is the hardest choice I have to make. Both of these films had me leaving the theater with a huge grin, and that is no easy feat. The first is Big Hero 6 . While there were parts that were less than perfect, the film was a great effort, and I can only hope it leads to a series of animated Marvel Films. Next up is How to Train Your Dragon 2. This film was an exhilarating roller coaster of emotion, offering up excitement, and sadness in such a way to keep this jaded movie-goer gripped. In the end, despite the close race, and my immense love for Marvel, this title can only go to How to Train Your Dragon 2! The movie was practically perfect in every way, and was completely worth the price of admission, as well as the price of buying it on disc.
4) BEST KICKSTARTER REWARD!
I made this category up on the fly, because I needed to come up with a way to mention Veronica Mars. The series was a refreshingly well written show, that offered up a strong female protagonist. Anyone who has seen a picture taken of me recently, will have likely seen the poster I got as a reward from this Kickstarter project hanging on the wall behind me. The film itself was a great accomplishment, and has been watched almost as often as I have watched Guardians... Another year, this would have easily been on my shortlist for film of the year.
5) WORST FILM OF THE YEAR
Most of the films I saw this year were at least watchable, but one movie stands out as a colossal waste of time. A movie so awful, I am ashamed I wasted gas driving to the theater, not to mention the cost of the ticket. I am ashamed to say, I am now partially at fault for giving that hack Michael Bay further reason to make films. I of course speak of the abomination that was Transformers: Age of Extinction. I can't even begin to describe just how awful this film was, but those familiar with Bay's style of "film", should know what to expect with this pile of shit.
6) BIGGEST WASTE OF MONEY!
Hands down, I'm giving this to The Evil Within. A game that has no shortage of atmosphere, but seemed to forego the fun factor, in favor of difficulty for the sake of being difficult... While I appreciate a good challenge in a game, the control scheme, paired with the difficulty made this game nearly unplayable. Add to that the frustration of making a lot of progress only to have it all taken away by some random unkillable enemy, Words just fail me when I try to describe the anger I have for this particular game.