I thought about creating lists of my "favourite things over 2013," but I realised that no matter which category I picked, I found it hard to create a top 10, whether it was films, music, TV shows, or anything else. So instead I think I'll pick out what I think was best in each in 2013.
Only one series really stands out to me in 2013, and that is the final season of Breaking Bad. You know a series finale is good when the final episode has a 9.9 out of 10 rating on IMBD. Finally we have been given a series finale which was not only good, it was so great it was almost universally seen as being one of the best endings to a television series ever. I don't need to say much more. If you haven't watched this series yet, what are you waiting for? Watch it now. It is truly amazing.
Musically, I can say without a doubt that one album in particular stood out to me. David Lynch's The Big Dream. Yes, that's right David Lynch, known for directing several very surreal films and a distinctive style, is also a musician. Now on his second album, I believe he really made something worth listening to.
The whole album has a certain style to it, which you might quickly identify as "David Lynch's style" as I have done. In some way, it's kind of like Lynch's style of the Blues. The album is an album composed of songs, all with Lynch's voice and lyrics, and held together with some very otherworldy guitar playing by Lynch and music production by Lynch and his producer friend Dean Hurley. The album has some eerie yet strangely familiar and sympathetic quality to it. It draws you in to a world of music, all the while of retaining some novelty value whereby you can say, "This... is David Lynch doing this."
I highly recommend this album. I must have listened to it tens of times by this point. If you still aren't convinced, maybe listening to the album's closing track will change your mind. It's simply beautiful.
As far as video games go, my "best of 2013" will definitely have to go to the weird and wonderful indie game Papers Please. Who would think that a game where you sit at a desk the whole time and stamp things would turn out to be so great?
Paper Please presents you with a set of initially very simple goals and a simple interface, and yet manages to introduce a broader narrative to captivate you and a system of moral choices that make you think. The game's gameplay is challenging and mentally engaging, and the whole experience is overall great. Papers Please is an easy pick for my favourite video game of 2013.
Lots of films came out in 2013. Big time film websites would probably give this to the barely-released-by-Christmas Hobbit film, or maybe some superhero movie because they couldn't think of anything else. However my choice for best film of 2013 was actually Upstream Color by Shane Carruth of Primer fame.
Upstream Color is actually a film I have only thus far watched once. I watched it at the time with a close friend of mine, and being fans of Primer, we were very eager to watch Carruth's new flim. Before watching it we read the synopsis about four times, and we had come to one firm decision. Neither of knew what the Hell the film was about. Then we watched the film and came to another conclusion; we now knew what the happened in the film, but neither of us really got why those things happened in the film.
Yet through this confusion, we saw something very interesting. Upstream Color is a very interesting audiovisual experience. The directing is very hard to describe, but it retains some surreal quality that somehow reminds me of Primer, which shows that Carruth has adopted some sense of having his own style. The film's plot seems like it is kept as a secret throughout the film, only revealing itself to viewers who watch very carefully and try very hard to understand it. What you are left with is a very intriguing experience that if you are wise should leave you with only one conclusion, Carruth is an artist, and the film is simply a work of art.
I am a lover of those Japanese animation things. While I usually hide my power level, I shall reveal a little for this list. Of all of the series I watched in 2013, I believe one in particular stood out amongst the rest. I had been looking forward to it before it arrived, even though I had not read the manga, and when it came it did not disappoint whatsoever. The anime I'm referring to is of course Attack on Titan.
Attack on Titan is a series about mankind being forced to live in limited space and barely surviving against the presence of man-eating giants. The series I would say is first and foremost... very disturbing. If you watch this show, you had better be prepared to watch people as they are constantly eaten alive, kicking and screaming, by gigantic uncanny valley creatures, very slowly and painfully.
Aside from being one of the first things in a while to truly unnerve me, this series also manages to deliver a narrative that isn't entirely juvenile action, and when there is action in the series, character development built throughout the show will make you care about it. Especially since the show carries the possibility of characters dying, and characters in the show will die. People will die a lot in this show.
If you've been feeling down about the state of anime, and you think anime nowadays is all moe shit, then this series might just restore your faith. Attack on Titan kicks ass.
Well, That's It
Well, there you go. That's some of the odd stuff that I'm into and what I really liked over the last year. Let's see what 2014 will bring us.