Not updating for half a year? I don't know if I should call that a record or a record low!
So I write my thoughts on 2016: I remember wanting to write a follow-up to my last entry, which had discussed Britain's referendum on its EU membership, but so many things happened so quickly that I could barely dissect it all. By the time I felt ready to consider Britain's second ever female Prime Minister, Eleanor had arrived for a visit (so obviously early July) and I felt I could discuss all my thoughts with her. We had some fantastic discussions, she and I - at which point I felt I had nothing to add here.
After that came my attempts at CCNA self-study, often thwarted by the fact that Summer was unusually busy at work, then I got stressed out over the fear that I would not be able to do the exam in time, then would fail (my CCENT certificate was about to expire), except I did none of that (certificate got!) and also pulled off my soprano solo performance of Pie Jesu by Gabriel Fauré at my Grandma's funeral. Oh yes, weeks before my 29th birthday, my maternal grandmother passed away.
Then before September could properly end, I had the highlight of my parents visiting so a good chunk of my friends finally got to meet them. But then the old lady I live with decided to do something crazy and buy a house in the country, so I agreed to take over the flat lease. It's a new year, so I should now be able to re-order the large flat the way I want it, ready for a new occupant or two. I'll need one more sub-lessor to make sure I don't have too much of a financial black hole from this flat!!!
So a lot of people, in light of Brexit and Trump being voted in to be the new US President and lots of celebrity deaths, happily declared Good Riddance to 2016!!! I'm not so sure I feel that way personally. I mean, 2016 wasn't actually that bad a year, it just feels worse than it was as a lot of people added interpretations to what was going on. In many ways, 2016 can be summed up as a strange year where major things happened but their consequences will not be apparent for a long time to come, so a lot of people were worrying about what could happen as opposed to what is happening. When it comes to the present, there were good things. The most stand-out thing is that this year was excellent for Professional Wrestling, the British scene in particular. As for me? Well, I wouldn't call it my most satisfactory year personally, but it wasn't bad either. I suppose, I just realised I had gotten really lazy so my goals for 2017 are: be less lazy, travel a bit more (whether in Czech itself or further afield) and finally get around to investing some of my savings.
Time for the 'awards' of 2016:
Game of the Year: I really don't know what to put here, as I did not really do much gaming in 2016. I suppose, judging by reviews and such, 'Uncharted 4' seems to win by default, but I personally don't seem to have one.
Favourite Gaming Experience: Playing 'Until Dawn' with Honza. It was cool to have that game where I could swap the controller with another player and just enjoy playing the game, which itself was not too long and an interesting experiment in many ways.
Favourite Game played in 2016, but released (on PS4) a year earlier: I seem to do this every year now, where a game is released but I don't play it until next year for one reason or another. I managed to do a two-fer for this year with 'Until Dawn' and this year's category winner, 'The Talos Principle'. The exploration of transhumanism and the motives for creating a robot, or life at all, are really well done and presented here, even if the philosophy itself is rather straight-forward and not particularly groundbreaking. I do still find myself listening to its soundtrack as it is beautiful and even soothing. Also, f*** Milton!
Soundtrack of the Year: Something else I seem to be doing every year, is purchasing a soundtrack album; whether for a game or self-made animated show. This year, the winner is 'Danganronpa - Trigger Happy Havoc' (the Japanese title translates to "Bullet Rebuttal"). The game itself has had an interesting history, first released in Japan in 2011 and then finally getting an official English language release about 2 years ago, getting a cult following just before. I might write my thoughts about this game at some point, but what's making me hesitant is the fact that I didn't play it; I watched a Let's Play of it. Oh well, I did the same thing for 'Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver'. As for Danganronpa's music, it is excellent. I've been listening to some of the tracks on repeat and I've heard the whole album at least twice already.
Movie of the Year: My God, if nothing else this year has been great for movie-viewing. Having a nice, large pool of friends whose interests are wide enough to assuage almost any genre desire, means I have seen so much! Not only that, but I was also visiting my parents this Christmas just gone and SO MANY MOVIES came out during the festive season. I swear cinemas were packed with movies, it was mind-boggling! Normally cinemas try to keep their films to family films, Christmas-themed movies and one adult blockbuster. Although it seems Star Wars is becoming an obligatory release for Christmas time. We had a lot of movies, normally reserved for the January graveyard, moved up to December...this confuses me a little. Anyway, after a lot of thinking, I have chosen 'Nocturnal Animals' as my 2016 movie of the year. Normally I choose a high-octane movie of some variety, but damn, 'Nocturnal Animals' was just so well shot, so well edited and so well presented - there aren't many films that can make me sit after the credits roll in stunned silence for a full minute.
The About Damn Time tentpole franchise award: 'Star Trek: Beyond'. I fully understand when a franchise needs re-booting, and Star Trek REALLY needed a good re-introduction to the audience after the damage done by Enterprise and Nemesis. However, I really don't understand why it had to take 3 movies and a 50 year anniversary for the film and characters within to finally feel like Star Trek. More like this please, keep Simon Pegg as a script writer.
The adaptation that comically missed the point: 'Assassin's Creed'. Technically, its UK release date was 1st January, but it was released on or just after Christmas Day in most other territories, so I'm counting this. I have decided I will and must write up my full thoughts on this movie because I have so damn many. Here I'll just put the summary; despite a lot of choices for the film being 100% correct, it seemed to forget the purpose and goals of the video game franchise and - hilariously - managed to maintain the franchise's biggest issue: one of being style over substance.
Most imaginative and inspiring movie: 'Zootopia' (or 'Zootropolis' in Europe, yuck!). When I say inspiring, what I mean is that it inspired my imagination to go wild - I want more stories in that world!!! But I also want to follow Judy and Nick some more, the characters are so good!!!
The Darkhorse Success Story: 'Deadpool'. I wouldn't exactly say the movie is doing anything that groundbreaking, but the fact it had such balls to ignore conventional Hollywood wisdom in its storytelling, content and characters (except for Deadpool's main dilemma, but I can forgive that) and still be such a massive financial success, even getting more money than the entire X-Men movie franchise...that is just ridiculous. Considering which of my friends was desperate to see that movie but avoids Superhero movies like the plague, it's obvious the character has a certain, subversive appeal that makes him more unique than other, super-powered characters.
Worst Movie and Movie outshone by its Soundtrack: I am legitimately surprised that the latter award has made a comeback; this was often a problem with movies in the 90s (Mortal Kombat movies being the worst offenders). So paired with Worst Movie, I award the two to 'Insurgent'. I knew it would be bad going in, I didn't care what happened to the characters on screen, it was boring - I questioned why I had bothered going to see it (I know why, but I won't discuss it yet). Tove Lo's 'Scars' was a song way too good for the end credits of this film!
Year's Most Frustrating Movie: 'Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice'. It wasn't a complete disaster, but Bruce Timm's take on how the two first meet was a million times better and more believable. Also, why is Zack Snyder hell-bent on re-telling Watchmen using Justice League characters? He's already made Watchmen, he doesn't need to do it again.
The 'At Least You Tried' Commiseration: 'Suicide Squad' had so much life, energy, humour and an almost perfect on-screen portrayal of Harley Quinn and the Joker (and of Amanda Waller). It's just a shame this movie suffered from so much studio interference and you could just tell. It's almost a miracle it wasn't worse.
Best TV show: I didn't really watch any anime this year, so I happily award this to 'Brooklyn 99' - thanks to Eleanor for introducing this to me!
Favourite Wrestling Match: Martin Kirby vs Will Ospreay in WCPW. This was a booking out of nowhere (explained in-story by Martin challenging Will in order to prove he's not a loser) and I was convinced Ospreay would win, since Kirby was a dick and Ospreay was more popular. However, Kirby proved himself a really talented wrestler and his legitimate win started his gradual face turn, with everyone in the crowd behind him.