The best I’ve seen of all that I’ve seen (or played) in 2017. Why? Because art is awesome and we should celebrate it. Particularly, I’m looking at books, movies, video games, and anime.
Note: these are not all things that came out in 2017, but things I experienced for the first time in 2017.
So this is not a best-of-2017 list like so many others have made. This is just me sharing my experiences with you awesome people so we can geek out together. Share your first-time experiences in the comments!
So I watched a grand total of 55 new movies this year. Yes, I keep track of that. Everybody does…don’t they? My to-see movie list is ridonkulous, so I like to fly through that as hard and fast as I can. Plus my wife and I are still going through one movie a year from every year from 1941 to whenever we stop. This year we got from 1965 to 2002, so we’re getting places!
I did see some awesome newer movies like Spiderman Homecoming, Wonderwoman, Thor: Ragnarok, and Power Rangers (if your expectations were in the gutter as mine were, you loved this stupid movie), but the films that wowed me were older ones.
This year I went back as far as Trip to the Moon. You know, that 15-minute movie from 1902 by one of the first directors to look at film and say, “We could DO stuff with this!” It’s amazing how creative it was. I laughed when the guy put trees on the moon, but then I realized, “This was 1902. No one could tell him he was wrong! Holy crap!”
I also enjoyed Seven Samurai, the film that introduced me to the hilariously amazing Toshio Mifune; Kubo and the Two Strings, Laika Entertainment’s magnum opus; The Dark Knight Returns, an adaptation that excels the comic by not being hideously ugly; and Stand By Me, one of the greatest boy movies ever made.
But the best movie I saw for the first time this year?
A movie I’ve been meaning to see for ages: The Godfather. I finally saw it and finally loved every bleeping second of it. The dark storytelling, clever quotes, and top-notch acting, you’ve seen it, you know it, I’ll just end by saying I hope the sequel lives up to the hype.
What’s the best movie you watched this year, even if it didn’t come out this year?
Okay, I TRIED playing some new video games this year, but most of the ones I tried were horrid or just didn’t sate my tastes. I tried Skyrim and Witcher 3, I really did, but they weren’t my style. Fortunately, while I replayed a lot of older games like Pokemon Silver, it was the newer games that captivated me this year.
Until Dawn was more enjoyable than I expected, at least until I biffed it at the last mo-fo-ing second and lost a perfect run that I couldn’t undo. Well, not without finding the controller I threw through the drywall.
Final Fantasy XV made a decent entry, but I’m sorry to say it gets worse on replay. The almost-but-not-quite storytelling and we’ll-just-patch-it-later attitude of the developers left a sour taste. However, Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age took a game I liked and made it a game I loved. All the problems are fixed and the experience is brand new. I’ve actually tossed out the original PS2 version, it’s that good.
But in early December, I wanted to try a game genre I’d never played before: a dating sim. Supposedly they’re awesome in all the stupidest ways. All right, I’m game. What’s a nice free one I can play on Steam?
Doki-Doki Literature Club? Okay, these girls are cute. Not a lot of interaction, but…but…wait, wait, wait. What did she say? Whoa, this is getting dark. I’d better go–WHOA! What the crap!? I thought this was a dating sim! Wait, now what is this game–WHAT?! Holy cra–oh, now what? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I have to WHAT NOW?!
WHAT IS REAL ANYMORE?!
Yeah, it was awesome.
What’s the best video game you played this year, even if it didn’t come out this year?
Y’all, anime is one varied freaking medium.
I slogged through the soulless corporate cash-grabs that are Pokemon Origins (fight me) and Brotherhood FFXV. I got weirded out by the eerie Serial Experiments Lane and Paranoia Agent (raaaa-ee-aaa-ee-ah!). I got bored with cool concepts like Overlord, Tiger and Bunny, and Fate Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works before I lost interest. I had my brain popped by shows like Erased and Gakko Gurashi. And I even got a glimpse at Monster before realizing jank sites will give your computer AIDS.
Sadly, though, all of them were surpassed by an older anime I finally watched early this year.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.
That story. Those characters. Those action sequences. That animation. It’s the Godfather of anime and it’s one of the first ones that made me want to geek out to no end. It’s everything the hype says it is and more.
What’s the best anime you saw this year, even if it didn’t come out this year?
I saw one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Oh! And I saw two seasons of Poldark. The third isn’t on Amazon Prime yet. That show was pretty awesome.
I don’t watch a lot of TV.
I aimed for 50 new books this year and made it to 70. Boo. Yah.
The best nonfiction I read was hands-down Tim Keller’s Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering. It’s one every Christian should read, no excuses. Either you’re suffering now or you will suffer at some point in your life, and if you don’t know how to do it (or why you have to) you’re liable to be crushed. Literally changed my life, as I’ll talk about early in the new year.
Fiction, though? Sadly, many were mediocre at best, or ridiculously stupid dribble I only read because I promised I would (teen girls deserve better fiction). In fact, most of the truly good books I read this year were older classics.
I only really enjoyed two new-ish stories (and that’s a liberal adjective). One was Coraline, which adds a level of world mystery that the movie missed. The other was Brody’s Ghost, a surprisingly fun manga-style story about a guy and a ghost girl who may not be telling the truth.
As for the classics, I read some awesome ones. The Count of Monte Cristo is worth the massive length for a revenge story that the stupid movie didn’t get half right. The Outsiders is one everybody read in grade school except me, and now I’m mad at my grade school for depriving me of this beautiful story. The Big Sleep is the only detective story I’ve ever really liked. Philip Marlow feels like he’s seen too many film noir crime flicks and doesn’t want to be in one himself.
How did I choose my favorite? Simple. It’s the one that made me want to cry right there in the library. John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. It’s just. Not. Fair.
What’s the best book you read in 2017 even if it didn’t come out in 2017?
So that was my 2017 in art, not including retreads through previous books, anime, video games, and movies. I love me some art.
And if you love you some art, geek out in the comments. What’s new that you loved? What’s old that you never experienced before, but love now? What ground did you retread with just as much love as the first time?