Kinda pumped for the Oscars over here. It’s like the Super Bowl for me and my ilk, and, even though the broadcasts are usually terrible and the awards go all the wrong places, I still love staying up for all that nonsense.
I also love best of lists. They really, truly are my favorite part of the new year – a chance to catch up on any of the great stuff I missed.
So, in honor of these twin passions, I’m going to let y’all know what I liked about 2013. Honestly, though, I haven’t watched, read, seen, or played everything that came out this year so, y’know, be fair. If I missed something, it’s probably just because I haven’t enjoyed it yet. This is especially true in the video game arena, since I mostly buy used and bundled.
Without further ado:
Album of My Year
Kanye West – Yeezus
I mean, I just haven’t heard anything like this. Like, ever. It’s strange, insane, and somehow near perfect. Or, as I so eloquently tweeted when I first heard it, “Yeezus is evidence that Kanye’s career is an incredibly rendered descent into madness and absolute proof that madmen make better art.”
It’s pure mad science; I can’t stop listening.
Book of My Year
Neil Gaiman – The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I read a whole lot, but it’s very very rare that I read something while it’s new. I’m all about libraries and sales, so there’s only a couple authors that I can’t ignore. Neil Gaiman is one of those authors. Maybe the leader of them. I kinda want to be him, being honest. And this book is perfect evidence of why.
It’s creepy and beautiful, haunting and poetic and strange. Short as it is, it made me cry, laugh, gasp, and lose sleep – often all at once and definitely more than once. I want to eat it and gain its powers, but I’m sure it would burn me alive from the inside out. I want to live in it. Really, just thinking about it now I’m feeling this pit in my stomach that reminds me of falling in love.
My lip is quivering right now, it really is. I love this book, and I hope my wife understands.
Game of My Year
Lucas Pope – Papers, Please
So, like I said, I haven’t played a lot of recent games. Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us stand out as things I probably will love when I get around to them. I did love Tomb Raider, Arkham Origins, and Guacamelee, but none of them stick out in my head as much as this weird little indie.
Which, yes, is about checking documents. You are the border official for a fictional totalitarian nation, and you must carefully inspect the paperwork of everybody you see and mercilessly have folks dragged away when they don’t meet your government’s arbitrary standards. You balance this with just barely feeding and housing your family and occasionally averting or assisting freedom fighters, and, somehow, it’s all fun. Addictive, even.
Movie of My Year
Spike Jonze – Her
Before I saw this, I would have talked about my top five movies here. They would have been, in order from five to one, Mr. Nobody, Captain Phillips, Iron Man 3, Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street. There might have been honorable mentions, too, though I can tell you American Hustle would NOT be one of them. It wasn’t very good. The actors were great, but the movie? Not so good. I feel strongly about this.
But this list is already real long, and now there’s a clear winner. Her made me cry. If you haven’t noticed, I love things that make me cry. Especially if they also make me laugh, and even more if they also make me think, which Her did. There’s really not much more to ask.
Best screenplay, best direction, best best best. There’s movies I haven’t seen (12 Years A Slave especially sounds incredible), and they might be better, but I’d be really surprised if I loved them more.