Monday, December 27, 2010

It's the end of the year as we know it.

So, 2010, much like the dreams of Matt Cardle in which he hopes his debut album will be filled with material written by himself and not completely made up of bland cover versions, inevitably draws to an end.  

It's been a mixed one for me - as mixed as a bag of mixed nuts that have mixed with even more nuts - starting with me still being stupidly ill with what ended up being a very bad case gastritis (which was finally diagnosed after it had shifted) which was then closely followed by my dearly missed Mum dying.  The rest of it seems to be have been mostly made up of wedding plans for the fantastic Wedding Of The Year at the end of October.  Most of December has seen the year come full circle with me being ill again, this time with the excitingly titled Labyrinthitis (sadly, an affliction that doesn't involve Jennifer Connolly) and a foul cold.  However, New Years eve will be spent in the company of my fine friends Neil and Lisa at a Rock Stars from the 70s/80s New Years Eve Party - a party to which I'd originally intended to go as Noddy Holder, but now these plans have changed for some ultra-secret new ones - which, if it works, I'll be very pleased with.

Followers of this blog (of which there are many more of you than there were at the start, primarily down to a nauseatingly sickening pleading campaign, one almost as half-heartedly honest and lie-filled as the Tory election campaign) - or simply those of you who've randomly clicked on this from the inevitable Facebook status link - will have noticed that it gets updated a damn sight more than it was this time last year, something I hope to keep up with.  I enjoy writing this blog, goddamnit, although do regret the fact that posting links to it on facebook means the status on there gets more updates than actual comments on the blog, but what the hey.

A few weeks ago, I asked for your opinions on your favourite games and films of the year.  I might have suggested music as well, but in all honesty I've listened to very new stuff myself this year - certainly not enough to be able to make a reasonable judgement on for an end of year review.  To end the year in an super-awesome spectacular fashion™ I'll reveal my favourites for the year, before (cue drum roll) I let you know how the votes fell from you, my loyal readers (and don't you just hate being called 'Loyal Readers'?).

So, allow me the indulgence of letting you know my favourite films of the year.

The FoldsFive Leslie Neilsen Films of the Year 2010 Award.  What are they?  They're motion pictures filmed by a director containing a variety of people acting out roles, but that's not important right now.

In third place, Inception.  A film that proved to be much less interesting on subsequent viewings, but for how I felt after seeing it for the first time makes it well worthy of third place.  This position was closely fought for by Scott Pilgrim versus the World, but that ended up being a film I liked even less upon my next viewing.  Still, I hope that Inception sets a precedent for Summer Action Blockbusters not having to be dumbed down nonsense.  See: The Expeduhbles and/or The A Team.  

In second place, The Social Network.  Ultimately a likeable film about unlikeable people - strangely, much like Scott Pilgrim in that regard.  David Fincher achieved the impossible - a Court Room drama about people you didn't care about for a verdict that nobody really knows the details of that was utterly compelling.  It proves that Fincher can just about make a good film about anything;  I'm eagerly awaiting his next epic "Yellow Pages".  

In first place (and miles ahead of the rest) it's Toy Story 3.  Utterly brilliant and easily up there on my top 10 list of my favourite films of all time.  It's nothing short of cinematic perfection, and repeated viewings only enforce this.  For the third part of a trilogy to be this good, it's remarkable in itself (and puts itself up with the pantheon of The Original Star Wars Trilogy, Lord of the Rings and Back To The Future in being a trilogy in which every film is good.  Oh, Godfather Trilogy.  You came so close and let yourself down at the last minute).

I absolutely adore this film and am not ashamed to admit that it made me blub like a six year old with a freshly dropped ice cream.  The scene in the furnace is way up there with the first 10 minutes of "Up" as being some of the most harrowing cinema I've ever seen - and that's even including the bit from Showgirls where the film still persists in carrying on after the first ten minutes has elapsed.  How did they do that?

The FoldsFive Games of the Year 2010 that aren't Chaos because I'm not allowed to have it as Game of the Year every year Award

In third place, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.  Still awesome fun.  Autolog is still a bloody obvious idea that ever racing game developer will steal and claim as their own.  It was a shame that the concept of 'Scores' seem to have died a death somewhere in video games, but Autolog brings that all back.  Just shaved four seconds off your best mates score?  Doesn't matter, because you'll finish a race to find they've just gone and beat you back.  Nothing promotes competition and friendship more than trying to wonder how that bastard managed to take out seven racers in less than two minutes when it's taking you five.

In a fine second place, Halo 3: Reach.  Even long after you've beaten the single player mode (and replayed every campaign mission so much you can see them in your sleep), the multiplayer will keep you going - and there is so much variety to it (other than a disappointing number of maps) that it'll be a game to keep in your collection for years to come.  A fitting bow out to an awesome (yet occasionally flawed) series.

In first place (ta-daaaaa) - Red Dead Redemption.  Even without the recent awesome downloadable content "Undead Nightmare" this would have claimed the top spot.  I dread to think how many days of my life this game has stolen, and none of it felt wasted.  The gaming industry has long since claimed that there is no money in Cowboy games, but RDR proved them all wrong.  Critics can claim that it's nothing more than Grand Theft: Cowboy, and they'd be partially right - However, it's the little touches that make the game as opposed to it seemingly stealing the Grand Theft Auto template wholesale.   Hunting coyotes in the moonlight, riding through the forest towards a town and seeing its welcoming lights on the horizon, the utterly brilliant audio design - it's certainly a whole that's more than its individual parts.  

Oh, and I'm on a horse.

But, how did your votes differ from my own? Your votes flew in in the thousands hundreds dozens, and here - another drum roll - are the results.

In third place, a joint entry for Toy Story 3/Kick Ass. Now, I loved Kick Ass but it was (ever so slightly) pipped to the post by Inception. Loved it, but the ending let me down slightly - serves me right for being a comic geek and expecting the same ending. In second place, Scott Pilgrim Versus the World. In first place by a very narrow margin (pipped the post by 1 vote by Scott Pilgrim) is Inception.

Now to games, a surprising entry in 3rd place was Angry Birds. I've only been recently introduced to this, and also love it, but oddly never considered it for my top three. In second place, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - a game that was receiving votes by some days before even being released. None as committed as a World of Warcraft fan. Reassuring to see that by a large margin the number one was the same as mine, namely Red Dead Redemption. Hurrah for the sense of followers!

As a related aside, I feel I must mention my friend James (the one who lives in Toms House), who posted his votes in such an eloquent and reasoned fashion that I feel obliged to post them here;

Hi there!

Right. For me, the Film of the Year was Inception. I really enjoyed Toy Story 3, but it had the advantage of characters that I already liked and a premise that was already familiar to me. Inception had to build all that from the ground up. It also managed to be, I think, the best sci-fi film I've seen since the Matrix. So it gets the gong.

The Ones That Didn't Make The Shortlist.

Kick-Ass: I liked it at first. Then I thought about it, and decided not to like it. Then I thought about it some more, and liked it again. Leaving my own state of mind aside for the moment, I think it suffered from not really knowing what it wanted to be, and was unnecessarily dark at times.

Iron Man 2: 50% good action movie, 50% dull.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: no matter how entertaining the gameplay is, if the game is about the adventures of a turd then I will be bored in five minutes.

So, onto games. I have just realised that the logic I applied to Toy Story 3 also disqualifies World of Warcraft: Cataclysm from the coveted Game of the Year award. And so Halo: Reach must take the prize. Deservedly so, as it is, without a doubt, my favourite Halo game. It made me wish I still had a 360.

As I don't have a 360, the only other new game that I played this year was Limbo. Great game, but not big enough to be a contender.

Hope you feel better soon,
James (the one who lives in Tom's house).

So, in traditional style, let's end this (kind of) awards ceremony by playing some poignant music and doing a sympathetic list of some of those celebrities who've left us this year;

Leslie Nielsen, star of Forbidden Planet 
Irwin Kershner, director of The Empire Strikes Back
John Marston, all round decent cowboy star of Red Dead Redemption
FoldsFive, valiant hero of Demons Souls on the PS3
FoldsFive in Demons Souls again
FoldsFive in Demons Souls again
FoldsFive in Demons Souls again
FoldsF - Gah, fucking hell.  Fuck you, Demons Souls, that's why you're not in my top three!

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