2014 is slowly coming to a close. It’s been a good year. Ali and I did some traveling, hung out with friends, spoiled our niece and nephews some more, saw family, and a few weddings. Our biggest news of course is that Ali and I built and moved into our dream home in New Braunfels, just north of San Antonio.
I decided to end the 2014 on this blog with my first ever “best of” list. These will be random categories, and if I decide to continue this post type next year may include totally different categories. I can do what I want, this is my blog.
Best of 2014(ish)
I really only play games on my iPhone and iPad, but I play them all the time. I still love the Angry Birds games, but find myself playing it less and less. Jetpack Joyride had an okay update this year, but the only game I could put on this list is Monument Valley (iOS/Android – $3.99).
Monument Valley is a gorgeous game where you navigate the lead character through a impossible, M.C. Escher like world. Angles and perspective are both your friend, and enemy as you work your way through the story. A few months back they released a second pack of levels through an in-app purchase ($1.99). Definitely worth every penny.
It’s best experienced on a large screen like an iPad.
Spider-Man Unlimited (Honorable Mention)
Lately I have been all about Spider-Man Unlimited (iOS/Android – Free). It’s a little annoying in that it’s built to entice in app purchases, but you can avoid those if you have patience and play the game to slowly level up your characters. It may not be the best game ever, but it definitely has kept me entertained for the past few months.
I’m having a lot of fun with Super (iOS/Android – Free). It’s a new pseudo social network that’s a cross between Instagram and Twitter. You start a post with a “starter phrase” supplied by the app, then type your text, and sign it. Based on what you wrote, Super will suggest a photo, or you can upload your own or do a (limited) image search for an image. I pulled one of my favorite quotes from Ghostbusters and the app came back with this image, and I thought it was funny, so I went with it.
Follow me, my username, like everywhere else, is mikerastiello.
Best Comic Book (Series)
Though it started in late 2013, Sex Criminals really picked up steam this year. I didn’t hear about this book until Apple banned the second issue from it’s bookstore due to graphic/pornagraphic images. But, with the title that this series has, that’s to be expected, right? Because of the ban from Apple, Comixology decided to give away the first issue for free in digital form, so I downloaded it and laughed my way through every digital page. The story is unique and fun, and the art is great as well. After finishing that first free digital issue, I added the series to my monthly pull list.
Just to clear up for people who don’t know the series, it’s not about people who commit sex crimes, they are people who have sex and then commit crimes. It’s really good and really funny. Especially the first few issues.
Motherfucker, Faith No More
This is tough for me since I don’t listen to a ton of new music. However, one of my favorite bands, Faith No More, put out a new single this year called “Motherfucker” in advance of their first album in 17 years which comes out early next year. When I first heard they reunited and were touring overseas I thought it was cool and hoped it would rekindle something in them and make them want to put out a new record. Then when they went into the studio, all I could think was “please don’t suck, please don’t suck…” Well, Faith No More did not disappoint. Motherfucker is a great track and blew away my expectations. I can’t wait for the full album release in early 2015.
Best TV Show (Comedy)
You’re the Worst (FX)
Just like the movies, Ali and I watch a lot of TV shows. My favorite new comedy has to me You’re the Worst.
You’re the Worst is a show about two horribly toxic people who meet and start hooking up and slowly evolve (devolve?) into a couple in an awkward game of relationship chicken. It’s hilarious and definitely worth watching (You can watch it on FX Now).
Here’s the red band trailer for the season (NSFW)
You’re the Worst was picked up for a second season which will air on FXX
Best TV Show (Drama)
Best drama came down to a tie for me.
Flipping through an Entertainment Weekly I saw an ad for a new show from one of the big directors of The West Wing, which Ali and I were watching at the time on Netflix. The show is called Manhattan, and it’s a fictional telling of the Manhattan Project during World War II. The show has drama, espionage, and all the casual racism and sexism you’d expect in 1940s America. Plus Richard Schiff (Toby from The West Wing) has a great recurring role in the show.
Manhattan was picked up for a second season which will debut in the summer of 2015.
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
Another show we discovered this year thanks to commercials during Breaking Bad was Halt and Catch Fire. This show is another period piece, taking place in the early to mid 80’s and tells another fictionalized tale of a historical time, the dawn of the personal computer. The team at Cardiff Electric in Dallas, Texas gets put on a path to build an economical personal computer for the everyday person, led by a former IBM-man. The series is entertaining, especially if you are a computer junkie.
Halt and Catch Fire was picked up for a second season which will debut sometime in 2015.
Ali and I go to the movies a lot, at least once a month if not more. And as you know I am a huge comic book fan, and this year’s movies didn’t disappoint. X-Men got their franchise back on target with Days of Future Past, and of course Marvel continued their excellence with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the runaway smash Guardians of the Galaxy. I myself have watched Guardians at least 15 times since purchasing it less than a month ago.
But, the best movie of the year for me has to be Birdman.
Great cast and an amazing score. Plus, if you are a film buff it was really cool to watch how the film unfolded. There are very few visible edits in the film. They are cleverly hidden in camera pans, transitions and special effects. Really cool filmmaking there.
Ali wins for the third year in a row. No contest.