Follow @Mr_McCrackelz

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Best TV of 2014

2014 was a mixed year for movies and a deeply disturbing one for gaming. But it was another notch in the "golden age of television's" belt. It's been so good for so long, I'd almost forgotten about Hannibal! So here we go... and don't worry, True Detective isn't #1.

5. Bojack Horseman.

Yep. I loved it. I even watched it all again to try to convince myself I had just enjoyed it more while buzzed. Not so. Yes, the first 2 episodes are bland as the worst of Family Guy. But once it gets it's wheels spinning, once you see Bojack as the conflicted Machiavellian jerk that probably deserves all his poorly hidden misery... it gets good!

My review.

4. The Legend of Korra.

I'd admired the show since it started, it's really the only cartoon I still followed it week to week. But for some bizarre reason, I never blogged about it at all. I don't know why. It had a spectacular non-conventionally attractive female lead, a comic relief character that was actually funny this time, and each year it tackled dark and complicated political quandaries. Yes, there's a lot of talk about what the last scene in the last episode expresses, and that's impressive. But more than that I always loved the even handed approach it took with 3 out of the 4 antagonists. Excluding one power mad jerk, we had 2 marginally sympathetic terrorists and a 27 year old woman who convinced herself that her hard line militaristic empire would save the world. You guys! There was an animated show aimed at teenagers and children that struck up a meaningful conversation about the bloody unification of China! Take a bow, Konietzko and DiMartino, take a bow.

3. True Dectective.

Man, did this one wind me up. I wasn't the only one. While the ending was safe and expected, instead of shocking and original, I think it still ranks amongst that greatest police procedurals ever made. Because there is a fine art to stringing along ravenous viewership week to week. That's something this series absolutly mastered.

My review.

2. Hannibal.

Every time I want to gush about Hannibal I never know where to start. How about when Hannibal roasted a man's leg in a decorative clay cast and made him eat it as his last meal? Do I even need to go on? Read that sentence again. This show is bursting with style and substance horror movies never seem to have and this season was even better than the last. Watching Will Graham grow dark behind bars was a treat, if for nothing else than to give Hugh Dancy more to do than run a fever this year. He'd also make a much better joker than Leto. Just sayn'.

My review.

1. The Leftovers.

I struggled to put this at #1 But this show impressed the hell out of me. I mean, I would have put Black Mirror up here instead, but that show technically just made it here after running since 2011 in the UK... and 2 out of the 6 are kind of awful. But The Leftovers! Right, grief is really hard to convincingly put on film, but this show had to sell grief in every frame. The fact it never got tiresome is a minor miracle on it's own. The fact it wrapped up beautifully and was the work of  Damon Lindelof is even more shocking. I'm always happy when writers address their fan's biggest concerns.

As a rotating ensemble show we follow the different members of the Garvey family and what they're doing now that 2% of the world's population have dissipated. Mr. Garvey's just trying to keep his daughter close as his wife and son have shuffled off to their respective cults. Mrs. Garvey's cult is the most interesting as I don't really care for the son's arc in general. Though the plot twist was pretty brilliant. No, Laurie Garvy's "Guilty Remnants" are where it's at all season. They all wear matching white, they have a vow of absolute silence, they constantly chain smoke, and they break into people's houses and steal family photos. "You're wasting your breath" "They're not coming back!" They spell out in signs. They are beyond infuriating and are spectacular villains. Not monsters, you get both sides, but like all great villains... they go too far. Holy mother of macrame do they go too far.

And there's the side stories too. Some even taking up their own episodes. Christopher Eccleston almost stole the whole season with his. As a pastor with a catatonic wife, huge medical bills, and on the verge of losing his church, his episode almost stands on it's own. He's tremendous. But mostly I put this show in the #1 spot not just because it rewarded my patience and attention, but because out of all the great tv this year, there was something different about this one. It understood adults and teenagers in ways most shows never do. It explored all the different ways grief can warp your life if you let it. And that all it's fortuitous twists of fate feel truly, deeply, earned. You need to give it a shot.

See you in a few days with my games of the year. It's a short list...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Seriously... I've never been this sick before.

I had uncontrollable chills. I could barely sleep because of the pounding pulse in my ears and apparently if I take more than 4 dayquil a day I can go into liver failure. That's not enough, DAYQUIL!!!!!!!!

Figure it out.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

RIP: Stephen Colbert, The Imortal.

It happened last night, a great American was lost to us. Sure, Stephen Colbert will be taking over the Late Show in May, but I'm not talking about Stephan Colbert, I'm talking about Stephan Colbert. The well informed idiot that listened to his gut no matter what nationalistic nonsense it spewed. The Colbert that knew that something was only true if it felt true. The Colbert that proved our nation wasn't as intellectually bankrupt as we feared.

In the end, his legacy will be one of coy rationality. A true pacifist's message delivered by a rabble rousing stooge. I can't be alone in picturing the archives of the Report as historical record and seeing quotes of his being lauded along side Mark Twain's.

We may not have lost Stephan Colbert, but we have over seen a funeral for a great man.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guy Pearce has some serious pipes

Let's get something straight... Prometheus wasn't Pearce's fault. Yes, the story was a slasher flick abomination of one of the most wonderfully cerebral horror films ever made. The point is, he threw all his weight behind that shoddy script and ridiculous old age makeup. All of it.

He does the same in his pop music debut. He's going for a David Bowie-Freddie Mercury feel, and I say he deserves a pat on the back for it. It's a good song, but it's an even better music video. Sure, the demonisation  of commercial excess has been done to death, but watch Guy Pearce do it. He looks like he's having a ball playing so viciously against type. I think you're gonna like it.

Final Fantasy XIII-2: The tail is wagging the dog so hard I'm getting dizzy.

It suuuuuure is!

I can put up with a lot. Throttling frame rates, dated graphics, and late to the party console ports if you give me a game worth playing for 2 weeks. For only $20 and a C+ from PcGamer I thought I could put up with some cheese to see what that franchise had been up to since 2006. But mother of god, I did not see this coming.

For the first 40 minutes there was no dialogue, just... exclamations and jargon. I know I haven't played the first in the series but Jesus Lord, this is some impenetrable bullsh*t. I'm not gonna grouse about the pop acid jazz abomination that is it's soundtrack, I'm just going to speculate that no writers actually wrote this sucker. Or that the "writer" was really a visual designer that needed to cover his tracks to support whatever fever dream he needed plopped onto the screen.

Games in recent years have been making big strides for better stories and characters. I guess I've become a bit of a snob. But I didn't what to punch every other character in the face in FFXII for opening their over-designed mouths. Or in VI or IX... maybe in VIII.

I'm gonna keep wading through. I'm on a mission now, I'm getting the same pain in the back of my neck that I got from watching The Room. This could get awesome if I didn't have to work today and could down a shot before diving back in. I'm weirdly invested now.

Come on... tell me you don't wanna punch him in the face. I mean, is hair bleaching a huge thing in Japan or something?