2017 - Let the Past Die
This year flew by faster than most that I can recall. Everything is moving faster. The news cycle is pivots in minutes, the consumption cycle for digital content is insatiable, and escapism is the lantern that lights most of our lives.
Some would say that 2017 is the best time to be playing video games and much like Alex I'm inclined to agree. However, we don't just talk about video games on this show, in fact we've really focused on film and television due to the easy way we can digest it and the vast treasure trove of great (and not so great) movies the 80's and 90's produced. My goal in 2018 is to be more varied in the topics we cover so we can offer more options to you as listeners, because there is so much from our childhoods to deconstruct, admire, and critique.
But before we get into the new year proper lets look back at a few things that really kept me entertained and moving forward in 2017. These are things that may not have come out this year, but that I discovered, and thoroughly enjoyed. They were the things I watched, played, or listened to in that little amount of free time a dad gets in this day and age; these made the time fly by.
10. Funhaus: Demo Disk - YouTube
Funhaus came out of Inside Gaming, which was part of a Machinima which was... never mind the history of where these guys came from, but you should check out their content. It ranges from a question and answer show which is more of an experiment in improve to a Google Trends game show where two teams try to pair a second word with a given one to find the most searched for combination. But out of all their shows Demo Disk is my favorite.
The premise is simple., three guys sit around playing demos from free disks that used to come as promos in magazines circa the late 90's to late 00's. Hilarity ensues. Then at the end they search the internet for porn related to the video games or topics that come up while they're playing because, as we all know, there is porn for everything. They blur out whatever they show, but it's definitely NSFW, so be warned.
Oh and at the end they break the disk, lately in silly ways.
Unfortunately they've run out of disks as they literally only get duplicate ones from fans so they're putting a cap on this show and putting out WheelHaus instead, which is the exact same premise but with random Steam games.
9. The Last Podcast on the Left
"That's when the cannibalism started..." - Jeffery Dahmer
If you are intrigued by serial killers, cryptozoology, conspiracy theory, occultism, or other weird things you have to listen to The Last Podcast on the Left. Marcus Parks guides the show along with Henry Zebrowski, with Ben Kissel as the straight man as they delve into the darkest stories of our world and some of the great beyond. It gets weird and dirty, but over the years this show has really matured into something that is really special.
My personal favorite episodes are the ones about serial killers and occult, their episodes on the Toy Box Killer and Chaos Magic being my personal favorites. There are a ton of episodes to choose from and they keep releasing weekly content.
8. Thor: Ragnorok
If someone had told me that someone would make a good Thor movie after the first two I would have shook my head in disbelief.
Then comes Thor: Ragnarok.
Granted this is unlike any direction that I foresaw Marvel going with the character. Thor, a literal God among men, has always seemed ridiculous to me and antiquated. However, this take on the character deftly balances the serious and the silly nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the exact path of it's predecessors - and that's a very good thing. We don't want a dark and gritty world to visit for almost three hours (*cough* Justice League *cough*) what we need is to get out of our own day to day lives, laugh, and see the good guy win.
Oh and Hulk bashing stuff is good too.
7. Spiderman: Homecoming
Another MCU film? Yes. Yes, indeed. You're lucky I'm not including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on here, which also very good. We even recorded a GeekSquatch Now episode on it.
Spiderman: Homecoming does things that I was genuinely surprised by. It didn't bother with another origin story, or even a flashback if memory serves, it just knows that YOU know after five other films, how Peter Parker became Spiderman. Simultaneously it shows us the most authentic Peter Parker ever: a kid just trying to make it work in a super hero world. With snappy retorts we come to expect from our friendly neighborhood spidey.
The same could be said for the villain of the film, he too just wants to make his life work for him... except he steals stuff... and kills people.
And who can't resist the cameos from Tony Stark?
6. Stranger Things 2 - Netflix
Do you love the 80's? Then you should be all about Stranger Things. There is literally nothing bad about it, except the pacing which was a little slow for the first half of the second season. You should stick with it though because the writing is excellent, the acting is top notch, and the feels... oh the feels. This show takes risks and keeps us on the edge of our toes.
They even cast 80's staple actors into the show as a wink at us the viewers. I can't wait for season 3.
5. Mindhunter - Netflix
If you checked out The Last Podcast on the Left and enjoyed it you're going to fall in love with Mindhunter. I think a lot of people slept on this one and it's a shame.
It's hard to imagine being on the bleeding edge of any field, especially during the moments at which you feel like you're on the precipice of a breakthrough, but this show captures that. Two FBI agents in the 1977 go on a journey to understand the minds of those who kill people in specific - and random - ways. Will this breakthrough break them and their loved ones? What is the cost of delving into the twisted minds of those that take other human lives?
What defines the mind of a killer?
4. Wolfenstein: The New Colossus - Machine Games
We spent most of our Wolfenstein 3D episode talking about the original creator of the series and how successful id Software became off of re-envisioning that game into one of the most iconic games of the 1980's.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus will be remembered for similar reasons. It will not be remembered for the gameplay, it's passable, but nothing worth much discussion. The story, the acting, and the cut-scenes are genuinely the most bonkers in video game history.
And you get to kill Nazis. A lot of them.
3. My Hero Academia - Hulu (Funimation)
Any extremely late addition to this list, My Hero Academia is one my most favorite anime to come out in years. You should take that with a grain of salt, though, as I don't watch that much anime. I've been binging it for three straight days.
Imagine living in a world where 80% of people are born with a special mutant ability (called a Quirk on the show) and you're one of the 20%. Could you become a super hero anyway? Perhaps with a little help from the #1 superhero of all time?
2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
If you think I didn't love the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise you obviously didn't listen to our episode entirely dedicated to it. Please correct that error, I won't hold any grudges.
1. Blade Runner 2049
Most sequels pale in comparison to their predecessors. Sometimes I think it's just a matter of the impact of the original cannot be distilled and bottled twice in a row. However, every once in awhile a fresh set of eyes, some time, and risks are taken which propel sequels to heights above their source material. Our boi Ryan Gosling nails this performance out of the park, Denis Villeneuve masterfully directs, and Roger Deakins captured beauty in all the ugly places this film goes.
Ironically this film is the darkest in tone, creating negative escapism ("Hey, at least we don't live there") that while depressing in one sense, gives us a look at one of the worst places we could go as a world in the hopes that we can change our collective course. Hopefully we can.
The tragedy of all of this is that it didn't make much money and the intellectual property will probably be shelved for another thirty years.