This time around the NPC delves into Ferelden with a look at the Dragon Age RPG.
Part 4 of “Superman/Shazam: First Thunder!” I deliver my verdict on this epic piece of Judd Winick storytelling!
Welcome to Left of the Dial, I bring you the music because the radio won’t. This band comes to you from Ukraine, Russia, China, Scotland, Ethiopia, Israel and Ecuador. This is the story of Gogol Bordello. Continue reading
My friend, fellow blogger and podcast-mate Graham released a list of the best hit songs of 2012 (in his opinion). Since I am allergic to originality, I have decided to do a similar article. However, this will differ in three fundamental ways. Firstly, I will not be sticking just to hits, because hits are determined by what the majority thinks is good, and the majority is very stupid. Secondly, I’m not going to say that this is just my opinion because
it goes without saying that a list with one ranking music will be completely subjective, thus making the disclaimer a superfluous one whose only purpose is to shield the most easily offended music fan’s feelings this list is the gospel truth and if you disagree with it, you’re wrong. Thirdly, this list goes to eleven. Anyway, here’s the list.
11: Some Nights – fun.
Give me a second I, I just need to get something straight, the first song I heard from fun. was We Are Young, which I really hate. I was ready to write these wankerish Queen wannabe hipsters off completely. Then I heard this song, and I decided that these wankerish Queen wannabe hipsters had at least one really good song in them. Graham went a bit more in depth than I did in his own article, so go read that or something.
10: Nothing To Lose – K’Naan featuring Nas
I’ve been a fan of K’Naan for a long time, and I’ve been a fan of Nas for longer. It hasn’t always been easy, though. Nas has had quite a few stinker albums, and to be honest, K’Naan’s feud with k-os was particularly petty for me…and much of the stuff K’Naan put out this year was sub-par. This song, however, resonated with me. This is a song about triumph, defiance and perseverance, and given what these men overcame and where they ended up, it is an inspirational song. Perhaps the most inspirational song of the year, really. Also, it’s just tight, man. Yes, K’Naan fumbles a little at one point, but he begins and ends very solidly, and Nas is just on fire, man.
9: Swimming Pools (Drank) – Kendrick Lamar
Hey, idiots that say that hip hop is all about bitches & bling? Here you go. Now shut the fuck up.
Hey, idiots that want hip hop to be smarter? You should have bought this song on iTunes. Hell, you still can. Go do it, now.
Anyway, this is smart, powerful, it has a good message and ironically, it’s an anti-drinking song that’s being played in clubs a lot. People are taking shots to the “drank” parts. Fucking hell, I hate people some times.
8: Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepson
Look, this is a cute and catchy song, alright? DON’T JUDGE ME!
Also, this represents something beautiful. No, not young love. Redemption. You know who brought this actually very good song to the forefront? Justin Bieber, by tweeting about it and releasing a lip synch video of this song with Selena Gomez. It was literally the first good thing he did ever (as far as I know) and he followed that up with a bunch of good deeds. Bad music, yes, but good deeds, like visiting sick fans in the hospital and publicly disrespecting our borderline fascist Prime Minister by wearing overalls when he met him. In other words, this song represents Bieber growing as a person, going from a terrible musician to a good person who makes terrible music. And that’s a…well, not a beautiful thing, but it’s a nice thing, at least.
7: Gangam Style – PSY
Look, we’ve all heard this song a few hundred times, and we all know why it got popular. But you know what? I don’t care about the stupid fucking horsey dance or the music video that’s only mildly funny. I like the song. It is fun, upbeat, and awesome. I don’t care that it’s in Korean, it is fun. That’s all I need.
6: Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day – Marilyn Manson
Remember when Marilyn Manson made music that was provocative as well as really good? Well, it seems Manson himself remembered that and transported himself back to that time, mentally. The whole of the Born Villain album felt like a throwback to classic Manson. We saw glimpses of a creative resurgence in Manson’s previous album, The High End Of Low (particularly in the track Running To The Edge Of The World, the band’s best ballad ever) but this one was even better. This is the album longtime fans have been waiting for. This song is the one that combines poignant social commentary and quality music best of all of them. All I can say is welcome back, Manson.
5: N***** in Paris – Jay Z & Kanye West
Few songs this year were as plain fun as this one. Not only that, but the music video, which utilized a live recording that was more energetic than the studio cut, made the song feel like a momentous event. And, well, it is. This is the best rap song of the year, and the year was pretty good for urban music in general. Hell, 4 of my top 10 songs are rap, even if one of them is in Korean.
While I’m on the subject…black people, we need to have a talk. This “taking back the N word” thing has to stop. It isn’t working, it’s perpetuating the use of a word that would go the way of a dozen or so other slurs otherwise, and it makes people who aren’t black feel self conscious when singing along to some of their favourite songs. It also meant I had to censor this article to keep the site from being blocked by search engines. Furthermore, there’s a set of impossibly complex rules about the use of the word. Some black people have told me “anyone can use the word as long as it’s not a racial insult”, others have said “anyone who isn’t white can use it”, others have said “only black people can use it”, others have said “no one can use it” or “only if you’re quoting or talking about the word”…meanwhile, I’ve personally seen several white people using the word casually, something that I’d not have expected a decade ago. Why can’t we just say that this experiment has failed and just quit it?
4: Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye
Look, I love this song, you love this song, your grandma loves this song, my grandma loves this song and she died before it came out. If there’s a list of “best songs of 2012” somewhere that doesn’t have this song, then the list was made by someone with no ears. Actually, somewhere in mid 2012, I picked my mom up, and a fight started. We were pissed off at each other for…something, I forget. This song came on the mp3 player hooked to my van’s stereo, and she quickly said “hey, I really like this song.” By the first chorus the fight had ended and we were both singing along. That’s the power of music for ya. And that’s all that has to be said about this.
3: The entire Resolution album by Lamb of God
Yeah, the whole fucking album. It’s my list, deal with it. Besides, if I didn’t do it like this, half the album would have been on the list. This was one monster of an album, and it’s sad that the main story from Lamb of God this year was Randy Bylthe being charged with manslaughter. But seriously, in an age where albums are going the way of the VHS, they made an album that’s best listened to as an album, and it paid off. Go get this thing now. I embedded the official music video but my personal favourite is either the brutal Cheated or the introspective, experimental and honest King Me.
2: Fashion Monster – Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
This song is fun and creative, the music video is easily the best I’ve seen from 2012, and honestly, the only reason I didn’t put it at #1 is because I only heard it a week ago and I’m not sure if this song will stay with me like the #1 has. It’s a song about personal freedom and creativity, and it’s upbeat and very danceable, even if the dance is difficult.
There is one thing I wanted to bring up here: this idea that Japan is weird. Aside from the vaguely racist tone of that particular meme, the fact is that it just isn’t true. Look at the music video up there. I’ve been told that was weird. Was it? Well, yeah. But was it more weird than this music video? Or this one? Or this thing? Do people see those videos and say “Americans are weird”? In general, no. They say Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Kanye West are weird. So why is it that this video (and Kyary’s arguably more well known song PonPonPon) elicit the reaction that “Japan is so weird”? I mean, hell, most of the most widely cited “weird” stuff from Japan like tentacle hentai and used schoolgirl panty vending machines are either really fringe or illegal (selling used panties has been illegal in Japan since the 1970s). And a lot of the other stuff is present in western culture, like crazy game shows (please try to tell me that the Tila Tequila`s game show, Survivor and Fear Factor aren’t crazy and weird while keeping a straight face) and crazy cartoons. And hell, Otaku culture isn’t all that weird compared to American nerd culture. My Little Pony, anyone? Anyway, the point is that Japan isn’t weirder than any other country, overall, so knock it off, everyone.
1: Breath of Life – Florence + the Machine
This is a song from a good movie. Not a great movie, mind you, but a good one. This song is great. It’s so great that my friend Zena used this song at her wedding in December. She recognized the greatness of the song, and so did most people I know who have listened to it. But you know how high this song charted? 87. On the UK singles chart only. You remember when I said the majority is very, very stupid? Yeah. Rihanna’s collaborations with her assailant charted higher than this fucking masterpiece. Go fuck yourself, humanity.
Happy New Year! This is a 2 part retrospective on the films of the year 2012. We discuss the best and worst of the year’s films. Part 1 deals with the most unique movies our panel saw, the most surprisingly good and bad films of the year and the best horror movie of the year. Part 2 delves into the realms of science fiction and fantasy, and then we get into our picks for the best and worst movies of 2012, as well as what we’re looking forward to for 2013.
Buxomia (blip tv and sportchilada)
Matthew Currie Holme (P5YCH)
Zena (Real Queen of Horror)
Music: Diamonds in Disguise by Chance’s End
To celebrate 5 years since I published my Don’t Open ‘Till Christmas review, here is the first Teaser Trailer for my new project:
Taking a brief break from reviews, I decide to cover the DC Relaunch at my local comic shop. Filmed on location and featuring an (amateurish) interview from Moviemob!
Forgive me, as this was shot last year.
On September 14th, 2012, Internet personality Doug Walker, better known by his alias the Nostalgia Critic, released the final episode of To Boldly Flee, a mini series made in celebration of the four year anniversary of his website, thatguywiththeglasses.com. It was big, it was epic, it was funny, a great way to cap off four years of reviewing shitty movies from the 80’s and 90’s. But not everyone seemed to be thrilled about it. In fact, a lot of people got worried. Without giving anything away, the ending seemed to be a bit sensationalist, hinting that it just might be the end of the Nostalgia Critic. People panicked! There were riots in the streets! Shooting sprees spread across the nation! Fans poisoned their families and hung themselves rather than face a world without their weekly dose of Nostalgia Critic videos! Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but regardless, the rumor mill’s imagination went pretty wild. This wasn’t the first time Doug teased about killing off the character. He pulled this stunt before with his reviews of Garbage Pail Kids and My Pet Monster, and people fell for that too only to forget about it a few weeks later. But a lot of signs seemed to be pointing to the fact that this just might be the endgame for this series. The next morning, Doug himself revealed that this was in fact the case, but it’s also the sign of a new beginning.
Before I get into further detail about what’s going on and my opinion on the matter, allow me to explain exactly why I’m bringing this up. Without Doug Walker and his associates, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now. He was one of the first to get me interested in being a critic. And I think it’s safe to say that my comrades on both this site and sites like Reviewtopia, The Agony Booth, and Space Monkey Mafia Studios have taken influence from not just him, but other members of Channel Awesome like Linkara, Spoony, Nostalgia Chick, The Cinema Snob, just to name a few. It also provided us with the best forum I’ve ever been to, which served as a virtual second home with a great community of intelligent and awesome people, and was where I found the casting call that lead to my position on Man In Black Reviews. So needless to say, I owe a lot to this site. Thankfully, the site will carry on with or without Doug and our favorite shows will remain in tact. But this isn’t about them, this is about the Nostalgia Critic, and more specifically what his retirement will ultimately mean.
In the video he released the day after the To Boldly Flee finale, Doug explained that the main reason he’s retiring the Nostalgia Critic character is that he felt that he did everything he could do with the premise. Sure, there’s a whole deluge of movies he hasn’t reviewed that fit right into his little niche, but there are only so many ways that you can say “this movie sucks”. To me, this is a perfectly sound and reasonable explanation for wanting to do this. As an avid watcher of his show for nearly three years who has seen almost every episode, I could see that some of the later videos were getting repetitive and were becoming clones of his older stuff. Sometimes it’s good to know your limits and quit when you see the writing on the wall and have nowhere to go from there. Flight of the Conchords canceled their show when they ran out of ideas. LCD Soundsystem broke up when they decided they reached their peak. There’s just no point in beating a dead horse when you’ve done everything there is to do. If you don’t realize that, you’ll end up like The Simpsons or Tim Burton or Weezer. It’s clear that Doug doesn’t want the Nostalgia Critic to be his entire legacy and wants to try new things. For that, I respect his decision. Besides, he’s been making episodes every week for over four years. I think he deserves a break.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “The Nostalgia Critic is the driving force of the website. Why would he kill off his main attraction?” I have two responses to that. One, the stats of the last few episodes have been going downhill. Doug realized this was due to the show becoming repetitive and decided to pull the plug before he ran it into the ground. Second, while it’s true that the Nostalgia Critic was the cornerstone of the site, there are still dozens of of content makers on that site who still put out material on a regular basis. I know people who go on the site that don’t care that much for the Critic, and only go there for people like Linkara, Angry Joe, Spoony or The Cinema Snob. Hell, the main reason I came to that site in the first place was because of JesuOtaku, and as time went on I had discovered Todd in the Shadows, Oancitizen, Paw, Nash, and had their videos to look forward to as well. It helps if you think of TGWTG as a TV station. Let’s use Showtime as an example. Some probably only watch Showtime for Dexter, which isn’t such a bad thing since Dexter is the channel’s most popular show. But as they’re watching it, they might also discover Californication, Weeds, or The Borgias, and become fans of those shows as well. The point I’m making is that even though TGWTG is Doug’s baby, he’s not the only person there with something to offer, and they can carry on without him. And even if the site did disband, half these people have sites of their own, so it’s not like any jobs will be lost.
Which is not to say that he’s gone forever. One rumor I heard a lot both before and after the announcement was that Doug was shutting the site down and leaving the Internet entirely. When I saw the trailer for To Boldly Flee on Facebook, there were a bunch of comments saying goodbye like he was dying or something. While that’s definitely not the case, I still think that’s an extreme and irrational conclusion to jump to. For one, the site, like I said before, is still raking in views and making a lot of money. Aside from that, Doug just signed an exclusivity contract with Blip. For someone to just up and retire at this point in their career is idiotic.
As for what he means to do in the future, very little detail has been revealed. He means to continue his other sketches like Ask That Guy With The Glasses, Bum Reviews and Video Game Confessions, and he hinted that maybe, just maybe, he’ll do a Nostalgia Critic every once in a while if he gets a good idea for an episode. (I actually like this idea since he’ll have more time to actually work on it instead of just farting one out in a week.) Aside from that, he has a big project that he’s been wanting to do for years. So far we only know two things. One, it’s called Demo Reel, and, aside from movie-centric themes, it will be significantly different from the Nostalgia Critic. Two, he actually bought a studio and will soon be holding casting calls. Will this be as good as the Nostalgia Critic? Will it garner as big of a fanbase? The answer is I don’t know. Nobody knows. They haven’t even started casting yet. Clearly this is something on a much bigger scale than anything he’s done before and he’s risking a lot on this, but it’s too early to make any conclusions. After all, no one can predict the future.
So despite one of the most popular and influential characters on the Internet ending his final chapter, nothing of real significance has changed. Doug will still be making videos, TGWTG will carry on, and the world will keep on turning just as it had before. He’s left a huge and infallible impact on Internet culture and provided us with nonstop entertainment for over four years, and we should be grateful that it lasted this long without burning out. Thank you, Doug Walker. I have nothing but respect for you and I wish you the best in your future endeavors. My only complaint is that now I’ll never get to see you review The Big Green. Sparkle sparkle sparkle, you crazy diamond. Sparkle sparkle sparkle.
I take on the 30th Anniversary issue of the Incredible Hulk! Insanity, quippiness and wardrobe changing ensues!
Part 4 of “Superman/Shazam: First Thunder!” Writrzblok delivers his verdict on this epic piece of Judd Winick storytelling!