Best Of 2016
January 4, 2017 § Leave a comment
And now we reach the good side of why 2016 may be a bad year but there’s some good parts to it. And just to make it interesting, there’s some in the list that is baffling enough to be here. However, there is also some that has yet to be on the list since real life happens so in other words, I haven’t seen how creepy CGI Peter Cushing is Rogue One or how good Stranger Things and Atlanta is. Uh, 2016 really sucks for everybody.
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (Ultimate Cut Only) – Already talked much about this in a review I did and it’s easily placed here but not the theatrical cut since like Suicide Squad, its cut is a total clusterfuck that cannot be ignored. It is still better than Man of Steel but what further DC Extended Universe movies is gonna be like is a good question so Wonder Woman and Justice League, please don’t suck unless it unintentionally became so bad it’s good in the process.
Captain America: Civil War – It may not be as high marked as The Winter Soldier but it is an interesting follow-up to it with The Avengers (and both Black Panther and Spider-Man) being involved in the action. It also gave us a unique take of an antagonist that doesn’t go hell-bent on world domination or destruction and has a different kind of vendetta that is worth explained. That, and I did not see the twist near the end coming that led to Iron Man fighting his former team partner Captain America and for good reason. Overall, it is a better take on Civil War than the comic book it’s loosely based on did.
Deadpool – Finally we have a Ryan Reynolds superhero movie that we deserved… even though Deadpool is not really a superhero. But after Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it took a while but this is Ryan’s comeback performance that worked and it became like the comics I read in the past (which is when Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness was involved so late 90s). It has action, meta humor, sexual innuendos and Ryan Reynolds fighting villains naked (and burned). I can’t wait for the sequel even if Ryan accepts Leslie Jones to be his “loud” sidekick which I’m not sure if it would work but hey, this movie worked.
Doctor Strange – Okay, I have little expectations on this before seeing it and that’s mainly because of director Scott Derrickson who remade The Day The Earth Stood Still which I disliked and think he’s not a good filmmaker since then. But after seeing it, I could give him credit that he has made a movie that I liked and that’s with Benedict Cumberbatch being sold as the main character, Tilda Swinton giving her shot as The Ancient One (despite controversy) and Mads Mikkelson being awesome as always. It also adds the humor charm that I won’t spoil but it is worth checking out.
Ghostbusters – Yeah, this is on the list and I am trying to figure out why. I already said enough on the review but since then, I watched it a couple of more times and enjoy it a bit more but this is the starting point on why I said that this list is baffling. Let’s see what else is there on the list.
Star Trek Beyond – Now this is a Star Trek movie made for all audiences without going all criticism with lens flare and how Into Darkness was set out to be. It presents a tale on how the crew of Enterprise work together even if their worst danger possible and with a surprise turn from Idris Elba as what I thought was a stereotypical villain but midway through, his motivation became more open and explained and why he has issues with Starfleet. Also, it is heart-breaking since this is a swansong for Anton Yelchin after what tragically happened to him last year. I seen him in other stuff like Hearts in Atlantis and Odd Thomas and he did have acting range that is worth seeking out but he’s gone too soon and we’ll never have somebody else like him.
Suicide Squad – I already discuss enough of this on my review and worst of list so do I need to explain further?
Donald Trump’s The Art Of The Deal: The Movie – This one I’m not sure of putting up because well, let me say this. I’m not in favor of Donald Trump as President and I’m not much a fan of Johnny Depp as I used to be but honestly, him as Trump is so baffling that it’s almost his greatest role since Ed Wood. The movie may be under an hour but this loose adaptation of Trump’s famous book is handled in Funny or Die fashion with Alfred Molina adding in the performance and Alf (yes, that Alf) appearing out of nowhere. Again, not sure if this is worth in the list but I liked it at the time. Don’t know if I will this year or later but who knows.
Jessica Jones – Oh shit, this series is awesome. I’m actually a huge fan of her character in comics ever since I picked up the first issue of Alias and how it translate to the visual medium (I nearly said small screen but it’s a Netflix property) worked surprisingly well with twists and turns including David Tennant’s frightening turn as The Purple Man. Other than that, Krysten Ritter sold her performance as the lead and I hope to see more of her on The Defenders.
Legends Of Tomorrow – While DC is getting bad rap in terms of movies, television and comic properties on the other hand is the opposite and this show is basically second favorite next to The Flash. And with time travel and character interactions, I can’t wait to see how the second season continues when it airs later this month.
David Bowie – Lazarus – The last music video that Bowie has been involved while he’s alive. I already mention back in 2015 that Blackstar is potentially placed in Best of 2016 list and it is but before getting to a bit of the album, I have to wonder how we still cope with not just the loss of him but also Prince, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, George Michael and many others. This song and the video is really haunting now not just for the fact with the first thing he sang on the song but how it became a grim nostalgic take to his career even with him wearing a suit he previously wore back in the seventies. And the moment he went to the closet in the video, it is him giving a disappearing act that will never be attempted again so this is his farewell whether he meant it or not and I still miss the guy.
Frank Ocean – Nikes – This year has been involved in surprise returns and Frank is part of it with him not giving one album but two and I’ll get to those but this song shows what America is like in this day and age with Frank bringing up Trayvon Martin. And it’s not just the fact that this song is presented as a tribute as well, it also proves how far Frank went from his Channel Orange days and what has he presented us now. It has a sense of artistic feel and unexpectedly so he’s Frank Ocean being himself and not imitating others like Kanye West and The Weeknd. I’ll get back to Frank shortly so on to the next one.
Radiohead – Burn The Witch – Another surprise return and this is perhaps Radiohead’s comeback single. While their previous albums have already been good, I can admit that it’s trying to recapture the unexpected magic that is Kid A and this one is not recapturing it. Instead, this is Thom Yorke and his friends as you never heard it before and it’s thanks to Colin Greenwood’s orchestral reinvention to a song that was played differently live in the years prior. And the video is a good homage to both stop-motion animation but also The Wicker Man. Heck, there’s even a post depicting an homage to a remake starring Nic Cage which I find hilarious. So after years on Radiohead trying to stop the world again with their music, 2016 is the time they did it.
Rae Sremmurd – Black Beatles – This one is gonna be the “All About That Bass” of this year, isn’t it? Okay, in all honesty, I never heard of them before this and don’t know what to think when Rae Sremmurd released a song that not only makes Mannequin Challenge a trend that happened but the questionable take on using The Fab Four in a song that is hardly about them. This song is weird but catchy and mesmerising at the same time. I know it’s not unlikely Hip-Hop and The Beatles mixed together (I remember hearing DJ Shadow’s The Grey Album after all) but this sounds like it’s made in a “this should not exist” and yet, it does so oh well.
Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!” – I did mention that I have yet to see Atlanta and I need a good free time to binge-watch a bunch of shows but I did listen to this album and well, it’s not like Donald’s previous two albums that’s for sure. It adds a psychedelic ride to R&B and funk and we hear him sing more than giving a rap beatdown. This is New Sound Album that surprisingly worked well and I am anticipating on what he’ll do next even if it’s him playing Lando in an upcoming Han Solo prequel film.
David Bowie – Blackstar – And back to Bowie. Is there anything I should discuss that I (and everybody else) already have at this point? Well, there is one. I didn’t put Lazarus cast album in the list and I would but dammit, I wanna see the show myself and the album is not enough. Yeah, it has few unreleased tracks but not enough. Back to Blackstar and it falls next to his Berlin Trilogy, Ziggy Stardust, Outside and Never Let Me Down as one of his greatest works ever… and yes, I wrote Never Let Me Down just now. It’s basically my guilty pleasure. I don’t think there’s much to say at this point.
death’s dynamic shroud.wmv – Classroom Sexxtape – I bet there are many who has never heard of this one. Well okay, I became familiar with this genre known as Vaporwave thanks to Vektroid, James Ferrero and few others and dds.wmv became a surprise for this not just for this album but 2015’s I’ll Try Living Like This which that is unlike anything I heard before. But given that dds.wmv is more of a collective than a band, it is easy to know that Classroom Sexxtape is a solo work of Tech Honors instead of a collaborative piece and you could see his distorted point-of-view of Millennial culture that’s going on now. Heck, this album is the only thing that makes Miley Cyrus worth listening and I still don’t like her to this day.
Frank Ocean – Blonde/Endless – These two albums really show its own difference to each other with Blonde showing an alternative R&B feel that he is known for since Channel Orange and Endless showing a more poetic side of him even with a visual view of him and his duplicates making a stairs that went somewhere. It’ll take a while to explain why I like them both equally but in short, it’s proof that Frank Ocean is a positive voice of our time and he spoke it in a melancholy sense that made us feel what we really feel.
Kevin Abstract – American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story – Speaking of Alternative R&B, this album came out of nowhere for me since prior to it, I didn’t know who he is. The album title basically speaks for himself since it’s Kevin telling us his love story even in a place he lives that supports or denies him and it presents his homo-romantic side with him taking influences from Frank Ocean and The Smiths. This album is the sleeper hit of 2016 and I do hope to see him getting more known in the future.
Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Events – I know, this one is a EP but whether it means “extended play” or uses the title “mini album” instead, I’m counting this and another surprise for me since this came out very recently. Only this time, this is not NIN that’s all done by Trent Reznor but this is NIN that’s done by him with a little help from now-official band member Atticus Ross, Trent’s wife Mariqueen Maandig and friends Dave Grohl and Dave Navarro. It also has one of the most hardest and roughest songs I ever heard which is Burning Bright and makes me think Trent wants to bring lo-fi music quality to it which works. Trent recently mention that we have more NIN to come and it’s not just “Definitive Version” reissues of his side-projects but whatever it is, I hope it’s worth waiting our time.
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool – Yeah, I said that Burn The Witch is their surprise return and I brought up that is not the Radiohead album you expected to hear but I didn’t mention that it’s an album worth waiting for since it’s all studio workings of tracks that were played live before and that includes True Love Waits which already got an official release once. This is Thom Yorke giving his fans something that the fans wanted to hear for years and it is worth the wait so it’s a gift well received.
The Avalanches – Wildflower – Okay, last thing where I said that this a surprise return for me and yeah, The Avalanches did surprise us. I hope to not go repetitive that I already were but oh man, this is a surprise step-up to Since I Left You and it is not dated after their long time of working on this album and has enough cleared samples, guest stars and rhythm that makes this album a work of wonders. Like their first album, it presents nostalgia in a different fashion and this one has more to it with funky sounds and experimental direction. Wildflower is proof that The Avalanches are not a one-album wonder that we all thought were and proof that patience is indeed a virtue.
Alters – Aftershock Comics have gotten good press recently with Animosity and Insexts being sold well and this Paul Jenkins offering is also a surprise which focuses on adventures of a superheroine that has a transgender side. I like Paul’s previous works whether it’s The Sentry or Origin which finally tell Wolverine’s backstory and this one is worth checking out. So far, I’m into three issues of this and want to check out more so keep it coming.
DC Universe: Rebirth – This one shot not only restores DC fanbase after the points that is The New 52 line and the clusterfuck that is Convergence but also became controversial when Geoff Johns now is preparing to bring Alan Moore’s Watchmen characters in the DCU scene but by unexpected standards. It also gives a return of Wally West of Pre-New 52 DCU continuity in a world where there already is a Wally West and how he’s gonna fit there. I am eager to see what happens next and how Geoff will fit Watchmen in DC Multiverse.
Jessica Jones – Already brought that I like the show and Alias and I am happy that Bendis and Gaydos gives us the kind of continuing tale of the character that we all knew. And it also shows how far she went with herself, Luke Cage and so on and what mystery is lurking in the corner next like how she got out of prison for example. So Bendis, I may not be a fan of you as I once were when Ultimate Marvel Line was at its relevance but do tell her story well since you created her after all. I can’t wait to pick up the next issue.
Kim + Kim – This is what Broad City is like if the two girls were intergalactic bounty hunters. Honestly, this one is quirky and fun and it is a bit frustrating on trying to get those four issues within my area but I got it and has good storytelling, fun art and a perfect sense of character development. This is Magdalene Visaggio’s breakthrough work and I became anxious to see what kind of work she’ll do next so this is one mini-series worth seeking out even in trade paperback form.
Snotgirl – I actually love this series and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it’s written by Bryan Lee O’Malley of Scott Pilgrim fame or that it focuses on a female character that I should not feel for but I do and Lottie Person is no Scott Pilgrim but a fashion blogger caught in a strange world filled with love triangle, murder and boogers. It may as well be the kind of comic my little sister would love but she doesn’t read comics so it’s just me taking that job I guess.
Young Animal Imprint – I am mixed about this. In the past, I’m a fan of Gerard Way in terms of his music work and his comics have a hit and miss quality. And then, I heard the controversy that involves Hart Fisher which is best to look for yourself. But this one is almost like a resurrection of DC’s Vertigo line except that Vertigo is still around. So I picked up these four comics and they are in its own takes. Doom Patrol is my favorite but mainly because I like the comic back when it’s written by Grant Morrison and I see the influences here. Mother Panic shows the dark side of Gotham City that we didn’t know. Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye is strange but fun take on obscure DCU character and Shade The Changing Girl is surprisingly awesome as well and you should pick that one up. So far, this is a imprint that caught my eye (not cybernetic of course) and I am eager to check future issues out.
Phew, I’m done talking about Best of 2016 in a extensive and a bit tangential way possible but I’ll have time checking those I haven’t and I don’t know what 2017 is gonna be like in many months to come but I do expect the unexpected so let’s see what happens next. And yeah, Janu-Fahey Month starts this week so come back tomorrow for what I should pick.