Best Movies: Star Trek Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3, Much Ado About Nothing, The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug, Gravity and rather unexpectedly, Filth
Best TV Shows: It’s currently the mid-season break of season 2 but CW’s Arrow has been amazing this year and gets my top spot, it’s a little cheesy at times but has been brave enough to introduce characters like The Huntress, Dollmaker, Solomon Grundy and The Flash and do more with them than the typical cameo to please the fans. Stephen Amell gives a great performance too. Other notable TV shows this year include Breaking Bad (such a phenomenal finale!), Yonderland, Game Of Thrones (Season 3), Boardwalk Empire (Season 3) and Veep (Season 2)
Best Books (fiction): The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman. His latest offering certainly didn’t disappoint me, it was fantastical and nostalgic, twisted my expectations and explored the supernatural in a way that only Neil Gaiman can
Best Books (non-fiction): Hyrule Historia by Iji Aonuma, Akira Himekawa and Shigeru Miyamoto, Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections and Other Obsessions by Guillermo del Toro
Best Video Game: I’m going to be controversial here and choose something unexpected. The Deadpool game had me in stitches of laughter throughout, it lacked in graphics and gameplay yet it was definitely the most enjoyable gaming experience for me in 2013. I might be biased because I adore the regenerating degenerate but what can I say, it was too fun not to mention and the writing was thoroughly entertaining. Other great games this year for me were Grand Theft Auto V, Papers, Please, Bioshock Infinite and Fist Of Awesome
Best Songs: My God Is The Sun by Queens Of The Stone Age. Since it’s release in the Summer, I’ve played the new album on my iPod at least once a day and this particular song is always stuck in my head!
Best Albums: …Like Clockwork by Queens Of The Stone Age, Hesitation Marks by Nine Inch Nails, The Next Day by David Bowie and Matangi by M.I.A.
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: The current Deadpool run has been consistently awesome, I have felt all the feels this year; I never thought a single issue of Deadpool could make my cry…cry with laughter, sure! But sob for Wade Wilson? I never thought it was possible. Posehn and Duggan have exceeded my expectations and the result this run has given Deadpool a more complex character, interesting stories and at times heart-breaking narrative. All this without foregoing the humour that’s essential in any Deadpool run.
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: This Is The End, not only is it a silly, indulgent comedy but the extras on the Blu-ray are pretty extensive and include the short film by Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen that the film was loosely based on. As a filmmaker, I find the extras just as interesting. Other Blu-ray releases worth mentioning are Lawless, Looper, Firefly (the complete series on blu-ray!), Silver Linings Playbook, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man Of Steel, Iron Man 3 and on DVD, The Legend Of Korra
Thing that you were most excited about in 2013?: Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Thing that disappointed you most in 2013?: Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2014?: Godzilla, The Lego Movie, Season 3 of Arrow, the Netflix mini series of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage which is in the works and the new Haruki Murakami novel, Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage.
Emma-Jane Corsan writes the column “Excuse Me While I Geek Out” for Forces of Geek
Best Movies: Computer Chess,
Zero Charisma, This Is The End, Gravity, Frozen,
, The Conjuring
, Francis Ha
Best TV Shows: Hemlock Grove, Broadchurch, The Returned
Best Books (fiction): Joyland (Stephen King), Bobcat and Other Stories (Rebecca Lee)
Best Songs: Default (Atoms For Peace), That Ain’t Right (Pyyramids), Cholla (The Joy Formidable), Unbelievers (Vampire Weekend); (Click HERE for my complete Spotify playlist of over 25 picks)
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: Amityville Trilogy set, Shoah (Criterion Collection), The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary
Thing that disappointed you most in 2013?: Homeland Season 3
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2014?: Godzilla
Todd Sokolove writes the rotating columns “Don’t You Forget About Me,” “Netfix” and “In Defense Of” for Forces of Geek
Best Movies: Pacific Rim. It was a beautiful CGI masterpiece and I loved every single minute of it.
Best TV Shows: The recently debuted Almost Human. Karl Urban is one of my favorite actors these days. Loved him in Red, Star Trek, and Dredd. This show is either going to last a long time, or be one of those too-great-for-TV shows that break my heart and get canceled after a season or two.
Best Books (fiction): Oooh, this is hard. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell might have been my favorite read of the year. She’s a YA author that seriously gets the geek audience, and her books are just incredible. Check out Eleanor and Park. It’s a must read.
Best Video Game: Bioshock Infinite. The game took my breath away constantly with stunning visuals and a gorgeous world. The story was thrilling.
Best Albums: Jimmy Eat World’s Damage and The Fold’s Moving Past
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon. The hardcover collected volume made me question everything I thought I knew about comics. Also, Mouseguard: The Black Axe.
Eric Smith is the author of “The Geek’s Guide to Dating” and the upcoming young adult novel, “Inked”
Best Movies: Gravity
Best TV Shows: Arrow, Doctor Who and Sherlock
Best Books (fiction): Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Best Books (non-fiction): The New Yorker Magazine
Best Songs: Royals by Lorde
Best Albums: Southeastern by Jason Isbell
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: The X-Statix Omnibus I picked up for $30!
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: Man of Steel
Thing that you were most excited about in 2013?: The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who featuring John Hurt
Thing that disappointed you most in 2013?: The Conjuring
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2014?: Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who
Joe Yezukevich is a contributor for Forces of Geek
Best Movies: The Wolf of Wall Street: Three things I am a fan of – Martin Scorsese, money, and coke-fueled orgies – are all prevalent in this film, which, fair warning is THREE F-IN HOURS LONG! However, unlike many, I did not find this to be problematic. Any film which is over two hours I immediately say is three hours because, well, that’s mad long. But, Scorsese really keeps this moving. I can watch Quaalude-popping and that hott naked Australian chick for weeks. And, as a student of documentaries, I will add Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God for my non-fiction choice. The world may like the new Pope Francis even more after this film (which shows what a cruel, non-Christian, SPY his predecessor was). And, oh yeah, if you really want to get pissed off about pop culture, check out the doc Seduced and Abandoned about how to get a film made. If Alec Baldwin and James Toback can’t, YOU WON’T EITHER, FILM SCHOOL STUDENT!
Best TV Shows: The Walking Dead killed it this season (har har). The narrative REALLY transcends the smashing zombies’ heads which naysayers think this is all about. I received two volumes of the SUPER DELUXE HARDCOVER COMPENDIUMS for Christmas (thank you, Scott and Hope), and can start to geek-out with the comparisons. Let’s kill off Carl now, ‘kay? I will cheer loudly as I did when Andrea was silenced (I hated her). I also have to give big ups to The Blacklist because James Spader remains one of the best actors of MY generation (plus, he plays a cat named RED REDDINGTON!) And, Megan Boone is a fine piece of actress. Also, Masters of Sex is pretty damn masterful and sexy (other “master” and “sex” innuendos, indeed).
Best Books (fiction): Tenth of December by George Saunders. The first and last in this collection of short stories take some work, but “Exit from Spiderhead” is, truly, one of the best short stories ever in life. I’ve read it at least once a week. Saunders’ “Pastoralia” (from a collection of the same name) is still my favorite short story of all time, but I am elated he brings one to a VERY close second. I also find Andre Dubus III’s collection of four novellas in Dirty Love pretty amazing. I mean, I know we don’t need another text to tell us “relationships suck,” but Dubus shows us how we all may contribute to the sucking. Interpret as you’d like.
Best Books (non-fiction): Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. If you had ANY thoughts about joining a cult, this book will make a non-believer out of you! L. Ron Hubbard was a freak in a strange-yet-quirky 1950s suburbia sorta way, but his penchant for kink and sci-fi BUILT A RELIGION! There is even a chapter called “Tommy” about the “churches’” most famous Thetan.
Best Video Game: I saw Atari Flashback 4 at the Walgreens. Give me Missile Command over that Black-Ops any day!
Best Songs: The video of the naked ladies helped as did the funky Marvin Gaye hook, but Blurred Lines is a song I will never tire of. My favorite line of the year in a song comes from Yeezy’s Black Skinhead: “Stop all that goon shit/ early morning cartoon shit/ This is that goon shit/ fuck up your whole afternoon shit.” Indeed.
Best Albums: All right, ima say it: I love Drake’s Nothing Was the Same. GREAT tunes on this Drizzy drop which flooded memories of my youth WAY more than those robot guys did with their random album. I also want to mention (because 2013 was not a great year for music) the mother of all #throwbackthursdays : Beck’s Song Reader. He gets all Tin Pan Alley with a collection of sheet music. #datankledoe
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: The Daniel Clowes Reader. He reigns supreme, and even though this scholarly tome is Ghost World and some short stories, the critical analysis shows how important comic books are in your life – yes, YOUR life.
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: I may be a year late on this, but the Criterion Collection of Robert Downey Sr’s films is great. Yes, as I explained to a friend the other day, I mean, I suppose there would have to be a “senior.”
Thing that disappointed you most in 2013?: Two films: 1.) Spring Breakers: one would figure, even the worst director ever was on to something when he cast Disney gals in bikinis. But, no, Harmony Korine remains the worst. Although, I cannot stop shouting “Look at all my sheeeeeiiiittttt!” at random people. 2.) The Bling Ring. Sophia Coppola is a fairly uneven director (within the films themselves), but this one started off GREAT with the tune “Crown Off the Ground” by Sleigh Bells and a pretty stylish sequence. Then, it falls flat, like Paris Hilton.
Marc Bonanni teaches English and popular culture. He is a mammal. And, he is the co-host of the book talk radio show “Read First, Ask Later”
Twitter • www.profwagstaff.com
- 12 YEARS A SLAVE – Quite possibly the most important film of the year.
- GRAVITY – A simple story turned into an intense and incredibly well acted special effects adventure.
- NEBRASKA – The story of an old man slowly losing who he is returning to who he was with a perfect performance from Bruce Dern.
- JODOROWSKY’S DUNE – One man’s drive to make the most ambitious film ever. It fell apart, but the remnants are everywhere. My favorite film of the year.
- INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – The Coens bring the Greenwich Village folk scene to life, along with a young man who just can’t seem to be a good man.
- ALL IS LOST – Robert Redford in a one man show about survival in the middle of the ocean. Rough passages for all and for all a great film.
- PACIFIC RIM – The best time I had in a theatre all year, but a movie that unfortunately few were as interested in as they should have been. Great effects in support of a great story? Sign me up!
- CHEAP THRILLS – Pat Healy stars in the story of a down on his luck loser who is generally a good guy…until money rears its rather ugly head. Dark, dark, dark comedy ensues. What would YOU do for money?
- WE CAUSE SCENES – The founder of Improv Everywhere tells his story, and it’s surprisingly inspiring. Not that he’s overcome any adversity or anything, but his mission and the life he’s able to lead by having fun is amazing.
- THE PUNK SINGER – Kathleen Hannah is a semi-unsung hero in punk music. I’m not totally into her music, but I like her a lot.
- MILIUS – John Milius wrote some of the most influential films of the 70s and 80s, for better or for worse. I don’t agree with him, but his story is a lot of fun.
Best TV Shows: The Walking Dead –I’m half way through season 3 as I write this and I can already tell that it’s probably the best show on television. It being the only recent show I’ve watched has nothing to do with that.
Best Books (fiction): Doctor Sleep by Stephen King–The only new book I read all year, but it did something that I never thought possible: it was a sequel to a classic more than 30 years later that very nearly lived up and updated a character that we all cared about in a way that we could get behind. I was not disappointed.
Best Albums: Being a classic rock kid, it’s hard to find new albums that really move me. (And I just don’t buy a lot of new music anymore.) There were a couple, though; New by Paul McCartney – Paul has been on an upswing since 1997’s Flaming Pie. That’s a long time, but he just keeps getting better. Looking back has become a cottage industry for him and it pays off in great music. Reflektor by Arcade Fire–A new Arcade Fire album is always a reason to celebrate. Not as amazing as The Suburbs, but still very good. Delta Machine by Depeche Mode – Depeche Mode is one of those bands that should have been past their prime in about 1990, but their new albums are always worthwhile. This one is no different.
Thing that you were most excited about in 2013?: Star Trek Into Darkness did NOT disappoint, but also not one of the best of the year; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was trepidatious excitement since the first film was a bit of a letdown, but it ended up being much better than the first.
Thing that disappointed you most in 2013?: The death of Peter O’Toole, although, sad to say, it wasn’t all that surprising. Also, just the world in general. A lot of bad stuff happened this year that never should have happened.
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2014?: After how good Desolation was, I’m really excited about There And Back Again! Also trepidatiously excited about Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The director scares me, but everything else looks awesome.
Mark Wensel previously wrote “My Top 5” for Forces of Geek and his new column, “Double Feature Movie Show” launches in January 2014.
Best Movies: The World’s End, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave
Best TV Shows: The Walking Dead and… actually, that’s the only TV show I watched all year!
Best Books (fiction): From History’s Shadow (Dayton Ward)
Best Books (non-fiction): Nerd Do Well (Simon Pegg–it came out in 2011, but I read it in early 2013)
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: Before Watchmen (I know, I know… but I really liked it), Star Trek: Khan (IDW), Star Trek Annual (IDW), Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics (Library of American Comics), Planet of the Apes (BOOM Studios–every single story the company produced under the POTA banner was gold)
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: Star Trek Enterprise and The Next Generation season sets
Thing that you were most excited about in 2013?: Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel
Thing that disappointed you most in 2013?: Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2014?: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Hunger Games: Mockingjay, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Walking Dead Season 5, Preacher (assuming it starts airing in 2014)
Rich Handley is the Editor and Co-founder of Hasslein Books and the author of several pop culture centric books. His latest is “Back in Time: The Back to the Future Chronology”
http://cartoonresearch.com • http://blogs.indiewire.com/animationscoop/
Best Movies: Gravity, Thor: The Dark World, Saving Mr. Banks, Get A Horse!
Best TV Shows: The Big Bang Theory, Breaking Bad, Modern Family
Best Books (non-fiction): The Art of Jay Ward Productions; RayHarryhausen Master of the Majicks Vol 1; The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble and the Zen of Animation Design
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: Adventure Time, The Simpsons, Spongebob Squarepants
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: The Puppetoon Movie (Blu-ray)
Thing that you were most excited about in 2013?: Man of Steel
Thing that disappointed you most in 2013?: The Lone Ranger
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2014?: Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Big Hero Six
Jerry Beck is a writer, animation producer and author of more than 15 books on animation history.
Best Movies: I feel that this was a somewhat wimpy year for movies, I focused heavily on books instead.
Best TV Shows: Breaking Bad; there will never be another Walter White. But, an honorable mention for Parks and Rec.
Best Books (fiction): Joyland and Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Best Books (non-fiction): Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris and The Moth by Catherine Burns
Best Video Game: GTA V
Best Songs: Vampire Weekend’s “Unbelievers,” Dawes’ “From a Window Seat” and if I may be brutally honest I had some serious car dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Applause”
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 10. I love dem kitties.
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: Demons, Frankenhooker, but most of all Street Trash. All released by Synapse. I love them!
Thing that you were most excited about in 2013?: The Walking Dead.
Thing that disappointed you most in 2013?: The Walking Dead, wah wah.
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2014?: Hands down the Blu release of of Twin Peaks!!!
Kate Davis’ column “Robot Roll Call” and another, yet to be named column, launch January 2104.
Best Movies: The Croods, The Wolverine, Star Trek
Best TV Shows: The Closer, The Americans
Morayo Sayles reviewed “The Americans: Season One” and “Psych: Season Seven” for Forces of Geek
Best Movies: The World’s End, Only God Forgives
Best TV Shows: Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story: Coven
Best Songs: Queens of the Stone Age – I Sat By The Ocean, Sky Ferreira – You’re Not The One
Best Albums: Kanye West – Yeezus, CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe
Best Comic Books / Graphic Novels: God Hates Astronauts (Image), Theremin (Monkeybrain), Daredevil (Marvel)
Best Blu-ray/DVD Release: Bruce Lee Legacy Collection
Thing that you were most excited about in 2013?: AKIRA and Jim Steranko’s S.H.I.E.L.D finally getting reproduced.
Thing that disappointed you most in 2013?: Star Trek Into Darkness…
Thing that you’re most looking forward to in 2014?: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Ryan Ferrier is a former Forces of Geek columnist and now writes some really fantastic comics including “Tiger Lawyer”, “The Brothers James”, “Bloody F**king Revenge” and “D4VE”