annual media roundup

January 2, 2012
Welcome to the 12th edition of my own personal gamification of watching movies, reading books, and playing games...

Compared to last year, few of the numbers moved that much.

Like last year I rated things, though I found my scale has changed. Nothing received the lowest 1 star rating. 2 starts, marked here in gray, were disappointments. 3 star things matched my expectations for them. 4 stars, marked in red, I'd recommend freely and enthusiastically, and 5 star things are in red and ALL CAPS and are just terrific.

Movies at the Cinema (13)
Battle: Los Angeles, Sucker Punch, The Adjustment Bureau, Hanna, Source Code, X-Men: First Class, Midnight in Paris, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2, Real Steel, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Hugo, The Artist

"The Adjustment Bureau" was some great sci-fi in the mold of Inception. "Hugo" was simple fun with a nice bit of homage to the earliest films, and "The Artist"'s fun with the form and content of the silent movie was just terrific, I'm happy it exists.

Movies on Video (50)
Jeffrey, Mystery Men, Salt, Dinner for Shmucks, Sunshine Cleaning, SHORT BUS, Chasing Amy, Lars and the Real Girl, Silent Running, FRIDA, Killing Me Softly, Waiting for Superman, Family Guy Star Wars Trilogy, Sliding Doors, Arthur, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Havoc, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Starz Inside: Comic Books Unbound, Gulliver's Travels, Karate Kid, Snatch, MirrorMask, Confederate States of America, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Hot Tub Time Machine, True Grit, Cinema Paradiso, Almost Famous, Wild Target, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Trainspotting, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Megamind, The Departed, All the Real Girls, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Wonder Woman, Bridesmaids, Saving Silverman, Superbad, Star Wars: A New Hope, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Best in Show, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Party Girl, Catch-22, WILT

Shortbus was crazy sexy fun, Frida is artistically terrific, and Wilt, a short from German, is the best horror short I've ever seen, more on that as I find out ways to direct people to it.

TV Shows (15)
The Office: Season 6, Modern Family Season 1, Caprica Season 1.5, Mad Men Season 4, Archer, BETTER OFF TED SEASON 1, Game of Thrones Season 1, BETTER OFF TED SEASON 2, GREEN WING SEASON 1, GREEN WING SEASON 2, Parks and Recreation Season 1, Parks and Recreation Season 2, Parks and Recreation Season 3, Shameless Season 1, Shameless Season 2

What can I say, there's so much TV out there that we're able to stick with really good series for the most part. "Better Off Ted" and "Green Wing" are funny, funny, funny.

Books (60)
Extra Lives, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Elements, Why We Suck, Book of Secrets, Bathroom Book of Canadian Quotes, Afterzen, Auntie Mame, JavaScript; The Good Parts, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, Adjustment Team, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World , The Girl Who Couldn't Come , Kill Screen Issue 3: Intimacy, Two Is Enough, World War II: Extraordinary Facts and Stories, Man's Search for Meaning, ACCELERANDO, The Final Hours of Portal 2, Strangeland, The Pregnant Widow, L.A. Noire, Worldwar: In the Balance, The Big Book of American Humor, Kill Screen Volume 4: Shared Play, The Wee Free Men, Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me, Farewell, My Lovely, Gender Advertisements, Fletch, The War Nerd, CONSTELLATION GAMES, Rule 34, Ready Player One, THE ADVANCED GENIUS THEORY, Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives, Eating the Dinosaur, 50 Religious Ideas You Really Need to Know, Life Among the Lutherans, Nude in the Tub, Snuff, Pilgrim in the Microworld, The Soloflex Story: An American Parable, Richard Matheson, The Making of Prince of Persia, Videogames Hardware Handbook Vol.2, RetroGamer Collection Vol. 5, Sex at Dawn, Steve Jobs, Monster Island, Retro Micro Games Action Vol 4, Designing for Emotion, Kill Screen 1.5, 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know, Star Wars vs Star Trek, 11/22/63, Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, American Nerd, The Cleanest Race

"The Advanced Genius Theory" was smart pop-culture analysis. "Accelerando" and "Constellation Games" are both terrific pieces of sci-fi... I read early drafts for my friend Leonard Richardson... you can (and SHOULD) check out the current e-book serialization of it at Candlemark and Gleam.

Comics (29)
Dread & Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip, Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, Ignition City, The Killing Joke, Alien Legion: Grimrod, Henry & Glenn Forever, Aetheric Mechanics, I Swallowed the Key to my Heart 2, THE GOLEM'S MIGHTY SWING, Portal 2: Lab Rat, I swallowed the Key to my Heart, Interplanetary Spy 7: Rebel Spy, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, Market Day, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" , The Punisher: Barracuda, Black Orchid, Star Wars Empire Vol. 7, Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991, Save Yourself, Mammal, Zot! Book One, M.F.A., Boston Security Officer 1, Hark! A Vagrant, Oglaf, The Most Dangerous Game, Local Heroes, A Long Day of Mr. James Teacher, The Best of the Rejection Collection

Again, a lot of good stuff, but "The Golem's Mighty Swing is a majestic and moving piece of art, an old favorite. I'd also like to add how impressed I am with Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, maker of "Save Yourself Mammal!" and "The Most Dangerous Game" -- it is a funny, daily comic that gives xkcd a run for its money.

Video Games(13)
Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja, Sly Spy: Secret Agent, Portal 2, Portal 2 Co-op, Earth Defense Force Insect Armegeddon, Earth Defense Force Insect Armegeddon, ENDI Tank Battle, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Gears of War 3, Saints Row the Third, Yahtzee Adventures, Star Fox 64 3D, Mario Kart 7

I think the strongest recommendation here is actually "Saints Row the Third", a refreshingly unpretentious and exuberantly violent funfest in the GTA-ish open world genre.