|Posted by CZsWorld on December 31, 2013 at 7:20 PM|
In the past couple years, I've done a New Years Eve countdown for the best CZsWorld stuff of the year. That's not going to change this year, but I'd also like to open it up a little bit. For 2013, I'll be including the best Movies, Albums, Books, TV Shows, Sports Games and Video Games in addition to the CZsWorld countdown. Let's jump right into it:
5 | Broncos @ Colts
Peyton Manning leads his undefeated Broncos into LucasOil Stadium on a night in his honor, as Indianapolis was to celebrate his career as a Colt. But it was his replacement, Andrew Luck, who stole the spotlight, sustaining many long drives to keep the ball out of Manning's hands in an emotional 39-33 upset on Sunday Night Football.
4 | Alabama @ Auburn
Perhaps one of the greatest plays in College Football history. In a tie game with 0:01 remaining, the visiting Crimson Tide decided to try a long field goal to win the game. The nation's top ranked team fell short, and the attempt was returned 109 yards for a shocking game winning score.
3 | Super Bowl XLVII
The Blackout Bowl. Brother against brother. Ray Lewis's last ride. The replacement quarterback. Many storylines surrounded this game. After Baltimore's quick start and 45 minutes of delay in the dark, the 49ers mounted a comeback, only to be halted by a Ravens goal line stand to end the career of an NFL legend. It would have been perfect if Ed Reed had retired too.
2 | Eastern Conference Playoffs: Bulls vs. Nets - Game 4
Against all odds, a battered Chicago team was led by an unlikely hero: Nate Robinson. He tied Michael Jordan's record for points in a quarter, by knocking down 23 in the fourth to tie the game. He fought through a nasty flu, filling up buckets of vomit, then turning around and drainig rediculous buckets on the court. Robinson was the only consistent offensive force, powering through three overtimes and a Bulls win.
1 | The Stanley Cup Finals - Game 6
Here's another incredible finish for you. The Blackhawks were on the verge on clinching the Cup against the Bruins. After a hard fought game, the Hawks found them selves down by one in the final minute. It looked as if Boston would wrap things up and send it to a seventh game. Bryan Bickel and Dave Boland thought otherwise. The two scored within 17 seconds of each other to give the Hawks their second Cup in four years.
3 | Pokemon X
I haven't had time to do a whole lot of gaming this year, so I'll start the countdown at number three. I've only just started Pokemon X, but I can already tell, it feels different. This isn't the same train, defeat the gym leads and an evil organization and become the champion... oh wait, yes it is. But this time around it feels fresh for the first time since Gold and Silver. Is this better than Generations 1 or 2? Of course not. But the series seems to be headed in the right direction.
2 | Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Eight years after the third installment in the franchise, Sly and the Gang are back. But the developer of the original three games, Sucker Punch, (inFamously) is not. The big question was if the new studio, Sanzaru, would hold true to the essence of the series. The gameplay is perfect, and the story holds true to the Sly formula. The game was a lot of fun, but it was missing something. Theives in Time is almost a little too nostalgic. It's an homage to the series, but it forgets to add in new elements. It's hard to complain though, because the series is one of the greatest. The next game should be very interesting.
1) The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Another delayed sequel? It's been 20 years since the iconic A Link To The Past came out on the Super Nintendo. Does the sequel deliver? Absolutely. Taking place about 100 years later, this game takes elements from A Link To The Past, Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, making one of the best games I've EVER played. My only criticism is similar to my critique of Sly Cooper. It's almost too silimar to A Link To The Past, but in this game, there are plenty of new element to give it a unique identity. This might be the best game ever.
5 | Oblivion
I probably wouldn't have even seen this movie if it wasn't for the fact that I was interested in After Earth, so I check it out for comparison's sake. Oblivion is a cataclysmically happy suprise. Had I not known "Oblivion" was a Joseph Kosinski film and "After Earth" was an M. Night Shyamalan flick, I probably would have told you the opposite was true after seeing them.
4 | Monsters University
Really? Another delayed sequel? Make that another quality delayed sequel. Actually, make that a quality delayed prequel. If you loved "Monsters Inc.", then surely "Monsters University" won't disappoint. And it's a Pixar movie, so get ready for a sweet onslaught of Easter Eggs.
3 | Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
It should probably come at no suprise to see yet another delayed sequel on my list. That's because "Anchorman 2" is the best comedy of the year. Reassembling a cast like this makes it hard to imagine any other result, but if you were nervous about this movie spoiling the Anchorman name, fear not. It's just about everything someone like myself who loved the first one could have wanted. Steve Carell steals the show. This movie hits the spot: WHAMMY.
2 | Room 237
Don't worry, this isn't a delayed sequel to "The Shining" (I'll get to that later). It's a documentary about theories and hidden meanings in "The Shining". This indie-doc isn't something you'd normally find on a movies of the year list. Actually, it didn't even come out this year, I'm just including because it wasn't released to the general public until 2013. As someone who studies theories about Kubrick and "The Shining" year-round and has seen "The Shining" 20 times, I loved it. There were some theories that, suprisingly, I never knew about until "Room 237" and others that were so lame that they were funny, which seemed to be thrown in for contrast. That being said, my sister, who has only seen "The Shining" once, also enjoyed it, so you might want to check this one out.
1 | The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I enjoyed the first Hunger Games movie. It was well written, with good suspense and performances. Fans of the book seemed to be happy with the adaptation. Good for Hollywood. They got one right. When I heard that the second one was going to be about Katniss going back to the Hunger Games, I instantly thought it was going to be a bad idea. A rehash. A cash cow. Never have I been so wrong. "Catching Fire" pulls it off in just the right was. Everything about the first movie is now the opposite in the sequel (you'll know what I mean when you've seen it). "Catching Fire" is more emotional, and actually has a deep underlying political subplot which gives the film a powerful message. I hope the academy isn't so ignorant as to overlook this one. Movie of the year.
4 | Doctor Sleep
Remember that delayed sequel to "The Shining" I mentioned up there? Well, here it is, only it's a sequel to the book not the movie. I've only JUST started this one, so I'll just leave you with this: it takes place when Danny is an adult, and I like where it's going so far.
3 | The Disaster Artist
This is a comedic first hand account of the worst movie ever made: "The Room". The book is unbearably funny, and at times, unfomfortable to read because of how hilariously awkward it is. Tommy Wiseau is like a real life Michael Scott. I highly recommend this book, but only after seeing "The Room" (which I also recommend). It wouldn't hurt to see "Sunset Blvd", "The Talented Mr. Ripley", and "Zoolander" before reading this book too, if you want to fully understand it.
2 | Hyrule Historia
If you couldn't tell from my "A Link Between Worlds" review up there, I'm a big Legend of Zelda fan. I study the Legend of Zelda timeline as intensely as I study "The Shining", so when "Hyrule Historia" came out to reveal the true timeline I was all ears. The official timeline was a highlight, but the book as a whole has so much more to offer and taught me loads of Hylian lore.
1 | Gray
Exactly 364 days ago, I made a New Years Resolution for 2013: Fall Out Boy will get back together. People tried to tell me that it was a prediction, not a New Years Resolution, but I ignored them. I had my mind set. Sure enough, in January, they delivered, announcing a new studio album and bassist Pete Wentz's new book Gray. The book covers Fall Out Boy's rise to fame in the early 2000s and Pete's personal struggles in his lives in L.A. and Chicago. Ironically, I read the book on a plane from L.A. to Chicago. That's right, I knocked this one out in one sitting, that's how captivating it was. His writing is highly stylized and you'll find yourself drawn in emotionally. It also serves as the least cryptic look into Pete's life at that time we've ever seen and is full of little references to Fall Out Boy's history. This title deserves #1 (with a bullet!) on my list.
5 | The Greatest Generation - The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years concluded their "Suburbs" trilogy this year with "The Greatest Generation". It upholds the same raw punk-rock style as their other work, while also mixing in a couple somber acoustic tunes. The end result is an epic record, that while not as catchy as "Suburbia: I've Given You All, And Now I'm Nothing", it finishes strong with tracks like "Teenage Parents" and "I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral" (A culmination of the entire album's highlights. The record is also littere with little Wonder Years references. This one doesn't disappoint.
4 | Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We've Got In Our Brain - The Venetia Fair
The Venetia Fair's second LP was crowdfunded. The band doesn't have a big following, but it was enough to raise money to make one of the best albums of the year. "Every Sick, Disgusting Thought" takes the chaotic, theatricral hard rock sound of the first album and infuses with an almost Latin vibe and cleaner audio to make a weird but most satisfying album. The one thing that was missing from this record was the hint of atonality presented in their first LP and EP which involved keyboardist Joe [Brown] artistically mashing his face into the keys like Jackson Pollack if he were a pianist. This band has "infinite potential".
3 | PAX AM Days - Fall Out Boy
You knew I was going to talk about Fall Out Boy again, but I bet you weren't expecting this! After releasing their first album since 2008 called "Save Rock and Roll", a pop-rock Panic! At The Disco type ordeal, they decided to go back to their roots in Hardcore Punk, and the result was "PAX AM Days", an EP with 8 short, fast and loud raw punk-rock tracks that will have you riled up and breaking furniture in no time. Don't get me wrong "Save Rock and Roll" was good, but it wasn't until "PAX AM Days" that Fall Out Boy was truly back.
By the way, I was at that show in the attached video. See if you can spot me.
2 | The Predator - Ice Nine Kills
Ice Nine Kills started off as a band who mixed many different genres, such as emo, ska, pop-punk and hardcore to create a very unique sound. Their first two records stayed true to this, then on their third record, they discovered they were pretty good as just a straight up metal band well. This left them torn between two sounds headed into 2013. "The Predator" was a perfect balance between the two. The album goes back and forth between wild metal shredding and upbeat rock anthems. Every time I listen to it, it's over before I want it to be.
1 | Ocean Avenue: Acoustic - Yellowcard
Ten years ago, Ocean Avenue was released: a beautiful SoCal style pop-punk concept album masterpiece that captured the attention of kids like me, appreciators of classical music, and even MTV. There probably hasn't been a better album in the 10 years since then, and there was absolutely no reason that this acoustic version isn't the album of this year and probably the next 10 years. If you grew up on Ocean Avenue, you'll be overwhelmed with nostolgia when listening to the acoustic version. It literally gave me chills. If you didn't grow up on Ocean Avenue, don't worry. This is one of the most beautiful and well made records of all time. Listening to it is almost like being wrapped up in a dream.
5 | American Horror Story - Coven
I've watched three seasons of "American Horror Story", and not one episode has ever been scary. That being said, it is a really good show. Season 3 picks up a little bit of the slack left by Season 2, bringing back some favorite characers and moving the plot forward in most episodes. Season 3 isn't over yet, so you'll have to wait for next year's countdown to see how it rounded out.
4 | The Simpsons - Season 26
Some critics say that the "The Simpsons" stopped being funny after 20 seasons. I don't know where such criticism comes from. Season 26 is just as funny and original as ever. Here's to hoping the show makes it through 30.
3 | VGHS - Season 2
This is technically a web series, but let's let it slide. Video Game High School was much different in Season 2, which led to some good and some bad. The now 20 minutes episodes were great for character development, but it caused some of the episodes to be less grand than in Season 1. It's hard to care whether Brian D gets a snack after practice or not for 20 minutes. They did manage to keep up the highly stylized fantasies and I loved the inclusion of the Drift Racing and Real Time Strategy games. I'd love to see Season 3 find some ground between 1 and 3, it could end up being really great.
2 | Metalocalypse - The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera
This is exactly what the series need. A feature length, musical metal rock opera to tie up the loose ends from Season 4. This was nothing short of epic in every way. It's full of twists, character backstory and everything you could wish for in a TV movie. It also comes with a supplementary album with all the songs from the movie and and pretty nice behind the scenes.
1 | Futurama - Season 8
Sadly, 2013 marked another series finale for what I consider to be the greatest show ever to air: Futurama. Once again, it went out with a big bang. Volume 8 was possibly the best one yet. At times it was funny, at times it was sad, and at others it's an awesome sci-fi adventure. If it were to end here, it would be a good ending, but I'd love to see it come back again. There is hope on the horizon.
5 | CZsWorld Channel Trailer
YouTube changed the format of channels earlier this year, now allowing users to create a trailer advertising their channels to potential subscribers. This one was a lot of fun to make, because it was a mashup of all the best CZsWorld videos to that point. I also like the idea of making it like a cinematic trailer, because it fits the idea of CZsWorld videos being cinematic films.
4 | Cruise Ship Waterpark
I haven't forgotten about my roots in RCT3 filmmaking, and "Cruise Ship Waterpark" might just be my most creative park yet. This isn't just a waterpark sitting on top of a cruise ship, it is a full experience, inside and out. This is as much of a full on resort as "Paradise Atoll", crammed onto a luxury cruise liner.
3 | Freakshow Frenzy
Another animation, but this one was my first one using Maya, which has given me much more control. Notice how every little thing in the room is there for a reason, and fits in with the theme. This tabletop circus adventure is creepy and unsettling. It's exactly what I wanted to do with my first short horror film.
2 | Feeding Hour
Another horror, this time, live action. What I like about this one is just how simple and self contained it is. Despite the fact that the monster looks horrible and clearly a product of low budget, the build up and back story are what make this short. There is also a good amount of visual storytelling, some of which was inspired by German - Expressionism.
1 | Finding OJ
This editing project was the winner of my school's trailer contest. It uses clips from tons of movies to create a trailer for a new movie, which is a cool concept that I love to use (see: Finding Nemo Taken Mashup Trailer and CZsWorld Channel Trailer). This particular effort, just happened to be a riot which wins it the number one spot in CZsWorld's countdown.
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