As I spend my days now looking forward to the Nintendo Switch, I can’t help but remember this same feeling a year ago, when I was dreaming of finally getting my Oculus Rift. Little did I know that a few months later, a preorder communication/shipping fiasco would result in me switching over to the HTC Vive. Yeah, there was a lot of unexpected chaos in 2016, you might’ve heard.
Typically, late December and January is when I would do the most gaming, catching up on titles I missed out on now that they’re on sale, but that never happened. For a while there I got really sick and decided I only had enough energy to watch Terrace House. So anyway, even though I’m now frantically trying to get through Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian, Stardew Valley, Thumper, and a few others, I’m just going to have to write something about them independently when/if I finish them. Like my other lists, these are the games of 2016 that I liked in 2016.
2016 may have been a bad year for politics, celebrities and gorilla memes, but it was a great year for movies. Even in the dark months of January and February, I had films like The Witch and Deadpool to keep me warm. Spring arrived with a bloom of superhero movies, some good (Captain America: Civil War), some unspeakably horrible… *cough, Batman vs. Superman.
The summer brought fun-in-the-sun family films; Finding Dory, Pete’s Dragon, and what I can only assume is the heartwarming romantic comedy that is Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Fall delivered understated dramas; Moonlight, Arrival, Manchester by the Sea. And Winter was ruled by Star Wars. Star Wars will rule Winter from now until the end of time.
Films I missed but wished I had seen before our deadline include; Manchester by the Sea, Hell or High Water, Paterson, Indignation, Certain Women, The Dark Horse, Edge of Seventeen and that O.J. Documentary everyone’s been raving about. I’ll get to those films eventually, until then, here’s what I did see and enjoyed in 2016.
La La Land
I feel like 2016’s already starting to look not so bad right now, as a lot of what we were whining about in that (un)fateful year is still here. Also, one of the positive remnants of 2016 we’re still left with is the year in film that was, as we head into award season. Which, I don’t really have anything to say about since I avoided watching the Golden Globes – which apparently were kinda sorta culturally relevant this year – by instead spending that night seeing one of the movies on this list. And for maybe the first time I can remember, I think we’re doing these lists before any of the Oscar nominees have been announced, so how about I just get to talking about my favorite movies from last year based on their own merits?
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The Nice Guys
How to describe this last year in movies… It was good? It’s always good, it’s never hard coming up with 10 movies that I liked a lot. This year I even had one sort-of movie in O.J.: Made in America in contention, given that it weirdly straddles the line between miniseries and documentary. I guess I’d just like to say that I didn’t like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and that the title Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice remains a bad title. Why would you call a movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Because you’re making a bad movie.
I started writing this last night, just after we finished recording our top ten TV shows of 2016 podcast, kind of in the hopes that all the thoughts I’d had about 2016 TV while recording it were still fresh swirling around in my head. And then I took a break and wrote the rest tonight, feeling like yeah, what ever thoughts I’d had about these shows were a lot more fresh in my head after we recorded that podcast. So I apologize if the second half of this is a little undercooked.
But regardless of that, 2016 in TV was anything but undercooked, though I feel like there was plenty more shows I could have enjoyed from this year if I had just been a bit more diligent of a binger, but I guess I’ve just never had that in me. Also, this year was kind of a weird one for me TV-wise, since a lot of the shows from the past few years I’d really loved ended last year (meaning 2015), and so I think I was a bit hesitant to seek out new shows to call my favorites. But here are a few of the new discoveries I made this year as well as a few old favorites that managed to get even better.
We continue to forge onward into the digital future of the television medium, and it continues to look brighter and brighter. In 2016, Hulu and Amazon both made huge commitments to creating their own shows, which, along with Netflix and newcomer Seeso, challenges HBO and other broadcast channels for the best selection of original programming. This was the year that frustrations with Comcast finally led me to cancelling cable, and I’m still quite optimistic about streaming throughout this next year and beyond.
After all, I still haven’t found the time to watch 11.22.63, Black Mirror, The Crown, and countless other shows I probably should have. Beyond my honorable mentions, there are a few others shows I’d like to shout out, starting with Agent Carter and The Grinder, both of whom were cancelled too soon. If you do start a Seeso subscription, four other shows I’d recommend are The UCB Show, Hidden America with Jonah Ray, Harmonquest, and Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, which was a nice rebound for Paul F. Tompkins after No You Shut Up! was cancelled. Also, HBO’s big comedies, Veep and Silicon Valley, were another couple of narrow misses, as was Comedy Central’s best comedy, Broad City. The Venture Bros. came back for a short, solid sixth season, that show has been going since I was in junior high. Also good: Documentary Now!, Luke Cage, Transparent.
So many great shows so little time. I remember a day when I had to struggle to find good shows. A time when My Name is Earl and The Office was the most solid block of TV available all week. Times have changed. Every day we have more and more ways to watch great television. I hate to say it, but I think TV has finally edged out movies and I don’t see it ever going back. But can there be too much of a good thing? As I ponder this question why don’t you check out my list of shows that I actually watched and enjoyed.