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As promised, here are my Top 6 films of 2009. 2009 on the whole was a pretty good year but to me, it didn't compare as much to the years before it. Here is hoping for a wonderful 2010 though and beyond. Without further delay, here are my Top 6 films of 2009. This is in order.
6. Black Dynamite
Black Dyanmite is a shining example of a spoof film done right. Anyone who's ever seen a Blaxploitation film automatically will understand this film. From Dolemite to Blackbelt Jones, no film is safe and this film is just utterly hilarious. The writing is sharp, the campiness is intact, and the laughs just never end. I can't remember seeing a film this funny actually.
Bullhorn & Black Dynamite = Two of the funniest characters this year.
It's just a total good time and I think of all the movies of this year, I had the most fun watching it with a group of friends. Black Dynamite didn't do well business wise but to anyone who's seen it, the film is a cultural success in that it lampooned a genre which for the most part, is relatively lighthearted to begin with.I encourage anyone who enjoys good comedy to see this film.
5. Inglourious Basterds
I can't say I had high hopes for Basterds. The movie was rife with delays and in it's early stages, the casting and concept of the film seemed awful, cliche, and done. Fortunately though, Tarantino lived up to the decade of hype by giving us what perhaps amounts to his best film since Pulp Fiction some sixteen years ago. Basterds is a sharp film rife with intelligent dialogue, humor, brutality, and entertainment. It is is a pulp World War 2 film which is by no means meant to be serious. It is a great time and there are few films this year that are as entertaining and as unapologetic as Basterds. The performances were all spart on with Christoph Waltz being the clear showstealer as the cold and somewhat likeable Hans Landa. All in all, you'd be hard pressed to find a better action movie from this year and Basterds represents the best of the summer blockbusters (if it can be called that) of 2009.
4. Sin Nombre
Sin Nombre is a hybrid; part gangster narrative, part love story, and part migratory tale. It tells the story of Sayra, a poor Honduran girl who embarks on a journey to illegally emigrate to America with her father and uncle. Some films have tried this before, but few have shown such a horrifying and detailed representation of it. This truly is the trip from hell and it is made no easier with the introduction of Casper, a conflicted member of the brutal and terrifying MS-13 gang. As their journeys intertwine with one another, the film just keeps going and keeps gaining momentum as time goes on. By the end, it is a wholly fulfilling experience and it represents one of the finest debuts of 2009 up with the ranks of films like Moon. Paulina Gaitan, the girl who plays Sayra, delivers one of the best performances of the year and the entire supporting cast is able to play their parts extremely well. Sin Nombre is one of my favorite films of the year for many reasons, but above all, it rises to number four for the very fact that it tells a story which is important to tell. People can be against illegal immigration, but when you see what some of these people have to go through, you can only feel all but sympathetic to their disposition in society.
3. Up In The Air
Jason Reitman has proven himself to be one of the most consistent and most talented directors in the business today. Up In The Air continues his streak of quality as he crafts a story of realization and quasi-romance. Ryan Bingham, played by the always excellent George Clooney, has a life of flying around the country continuously and firing people. His addiction to never settling ultimately shatters when he finds his company is grounding all workers due to the poor economy. He suddenly finds himself confused but all looks up when he meets two women, Alex Goran and Natalie Keener. Pound for pound, this movie is pure quality. With sharp writing, a manifestation of our own poor economy, and great performances from all actors, this film should resonate with anyone who sees it. The beautiful Anna Kendrick actually represents one of the best actors in the film as though almost all her scenes include George Clooney, she is able to act on an equal level with him, impressive for someone who is only 23 some odd years old. Up In The Air is a film for anyone and I encourage you to all see it.
Up is charming, funny, sentimental, and beautiful. With some of the finest animators in the world, Pixar has been a powerhouse churning out critical and box office smashes every year on a consistent basis. Up represents the best of these, the best film Pixar has done and one of the best animation films of the last decade. The film has a beautiful way of appealing to both kids and adults alike with Carl's sentimatal moments concerning his wife and dreams of adventure to Russel's longing to be accepted by somebody. There is a ton of stuff here to appeal to adults and to kids, it's a lot of fun. Up! was one of my favorites of the year because it was hilarious and I loved watching it. I can't see why anyone would want to see it, you'd be a fool to pass it off as just another kid's movie.
1. The Hurt Locker
The Hurt Locker really came out of left field to me. I did not hype it nor know about it until around December when the Oscar buzz came about. To be fair too, it was also on the bottom of my list of Oscar contenders to see. It should have been on top. The Hurt Locker is a masterfully told tale riddled with suspense. It is perhaps the most haunting war film in recent memory and the hardest hitting despite its absence of gore and extreme action sequences. In fact, one notorious sniper sequence is surpsingly very lite on violence yet it stands as one of the greatest battles within any war film made. The film is riddled with excellent characterization and Jermey Renner delivers a wonderful performance. His character is perhaps one of the most interesting of last year and his actions and the disdain he receives from those around him lifts the movie up in both it's suspense and it's poignancy. The Hurt Locker is the best picture of last year, there is no going around that. It is a must see.
Sorry for the long gaps in between blog posts but I really can't help it these days. I just do so much more now than I used to, generally enjoying life and all it's fruits and just having fun. I managed to pick up Bad Company 2 though and I've had the time to play about 20-30 hours or so, can't really pin point an exact estimate.
I've also played Modern Warfare 2 for around 50 hours, with that granted, here's a head to head of the two games weighing the benefits of both. I know this is a hot topic since I see it all the time and to be honest, most of the time it's just fanboy rage against the evil Activision empire.
I'll break down the positives of each game, then say which one I like better overall. I could talk about negatives but I imagine you'll find those out when I describe the positive of the other game, you'll see.
Bad Company 2
1. Unmatched Scale
It is no secret that Battlefield is a series known for it's grand scale stemming from it's inception with the first Battlefield game, Battfield 1942. It has remained as a staple for the series and Bad Company 2 is no different. Every map is absolutely huge and with 32 players causing mayhem in a variety of vehicles, you really do feel like a small part of a very big war; a feeling all but lost with the latest entries in the Modern Warfare franchise. The scale is one of the stand out features of Bad Company 2 because really, there is no other console game that offers a similar scale with the exception of a few titles which don't even have close to this game's mainstream appeal. Bad Company 2 is leading the way for huge warfare and it is made all the better with the inclusion of...
2. Massive Destructability and Fallout
There's this little saying in the Bad Company 2 which goes a little something like, 'No two maps look the same at the end of a Bad Company 2 match'. This is true, hella true. I mean anyone who's played the game knows the sheer amount of explosiveness that permeates the screen. Every moment has an earth shattering explosion causing your ears to ring, your character to shake, and dust to explode into your face blinding your vision. This is all happening in real time, and it adds so much depth to the game where explosions actually mean something. Grenades are practically useless compared to the assault of a rocket or a rocket propelled grenade and unlike Modern Warfare 2's piddily explosions, Bad Company 2's maps can be levelled by the end of the map with craters decimating the ground below. The map is changed totally by the end of the game and each game is played differently for this reason.
3. Squad Play
I have long argued that Bad Company 2 has a truly rich multiplayer experience, richer than any other game on the market. This is not just due to my long fanboy love affair with the Battlefield series, but it's because of squad play, a tenant I firmly believe in. Modern Warfare 2, with the exception of some select modes, is a very independant affair in which you rarely ask for backup from your team let alone depend on them for your survival and success. Battlefield Bad Company 2 however frequently forces you to both communicate and work with your team to accomplish a goal. There is no singular force in this game and anyone who attempts to do so will be put down really fast, like real fast. The team work in this game is immense and daunting to someone who is used to Halo or Call of Duty but when executed well, it is an amazing feeling.
4. Better Online Balance
I don't need to tell y'all that Modern Warfare 2 was poorly balanced and was chock full of glitches from launch. Hell it probobly still is even though I haven't played in a good month. Still though, Bad Company 2 should stand as a fine example of a game which still had progression without being unfair. Let's be honest, some of Modern Warfare 2's perks were balls. Balls in the form of balls to the face in terms of how annoying they were. Bad Company 2 retains the same idea of perks but keeps it fair, and for the most part balanced. You never feel gimped compared to someone of a higher level than you but you still know that there are good things around the corner if you keep playing. Modern Wafare 2 however, you're gonna be destroyed until you unlock some good perks and weapons.
5. Better Community
Modern Warfare 2 is full of annoying ignorant folks of all ages who spew racist and insulting crap at any moment. Bad Company 2's does not for the most part. 'Nuff said.
Modern Warfare 2
1. Infantry Only Warfare
I know, I know, there's helicopters and such but not to the extent of what is offered in Bad Company 2. For the most part, Modenr Warfare 2 is pure infantry vs. infantry combat and you know what, sometimes this is what I want. Sometimes I just wanna stab people in the face as opposed to having to pull out an RPG before a tank blasts my ass across the map. If Battlefield on the PC is any indication, people do crave this in the Battlefield games given the amount of Infantry Only servers. It's a real shame Bad Company 2 didn't allow for this option especially in the Squad Modes. I would have relished in the idea of an infantry only setting as opposed to a hardcore setting.
2. Spec Ops!
Spec-Ops is one of the dopest things of any game last year, don't even lie. Snowmobile races, blowing up vehicles on a bridge, juggernauts, don't lie you loved it...And Bad Company 2 totally lacks any sort of co-op. We all know Modern Warfare 2 was a badass value and Spec-Ops and it's infinite addictiveness was a huge factor in this. Spec-Ops with my friends still stands as one of my favorite gaming moments of last year and it suffices to say that Bad Company 2 fails hard on co-op compared to Modern Warfare 2.
3. Far Superior in the Single Player Department
Bad Company 2's single player was good, Modern Warfare 2's was heart pulsing blockbuster movie testosterone laden balls to the wall actions. It was like a Michael Bay movie on speed and while not maybe of the highest quality, it was really fun to play. I don't play games like this for Metal Gear Solid-esque stimulation, I want to see blood spill and explosions rattle my screen. Modern Warfare 2 kept me engaged and gave me incentive to go through again just to do it one more time. Bad Company 2 really didn't.
4. Constant Sense of Reward
Some people might look down upon this but I see it as being a positive. To be honest, I love to be rewarded for doing diddly ish but some people think that's just 'nubbish'. Bad Company 2, even though I might be killing it in terms of my score, really doesn't make me feel as if I'm doing really well especially given how damn hard it is to level up. Seeing my experience clearly accumulate however in Modern Warfare 2 along with constant levelling just makes it a lot more addictive in that you just gotta love that sound when you accomplish something no matter how small.
5. There's Just More To Do
Bad Company 2 Modes:
Modern Warfare 2 Modes:
Mercenary Team Deathmatch
Search and Destroy
Hardcore Team Deathmatch
Search and Destroy Hardcore
3rd Person Cagematch Harcore
3rd Person Team Deathmatch
3rd person Team Tactical
Hardcore Ricochet: HQ Pro
I rest my case
The Bottom Line:
Y'all are gonna hate me for this
The better value overall goes to Modern Warfare 2. With a huge community destined to never die and a ton of content to go through, you're getting way more for your money here
The better single player experience goes to Modern Warfare 2. With a fantastically entertaining single player and a great spec-ops mode to play by yourself if so your choose, this is the better game for the gamer with Xbox Live Silver.
The better online experience goes to Bad Company 2. Less is more with this game. Like I said, no game plays the same and there is just better balance, a better community, and it is very apparent DICE but all their time in this mode. It's very good and far superior to Modern Warfare 2's online.
The best overall game: Modern Warfare 2 but this all depends on what you like. Online is where the heart is in both these games after all.
If you want pure online chaos with a nice chunk of team work, go for Bad Company 2.
If you want to stab faces and just charge in shooting, go for Modern Warfare 2.
If you want to be a smart gamer, save up, buy both, and decide for yourself...
Look out for my next blog, my top 6 movies of 2009 (About Time).
The Wire was a five season television show on HBO which basically detailed the Baltimore drug trade from the perspective of the police and their criminal targets. The show brought in various other arcs though like the school system, the port, the politics of the city, and other gangs. Ultimately, it became one of the most ambitious and complex shows on television and this is a show you must watch from the beggining. This is the only way to appreciate it's brilliance, it's sharp writing, and it's unmatched sense of drama which we will never see again.
While most police-oriented shows take a somewhat unrealistic approach, The Wire did something different by offering a gritty and realistic portrayal of life in the streets of Baltimore and amazingly, despite it's realism, it was able to create something far more shocking and dramatic then anything we had yet seen on TV. David Simon truly made something that was a product of the reality, a reality which is shocking and something we rarely see. For this, The Wire stands as a landmark television series which sadly barely got any acclaim in it's original run.
My favorite seasons and why run in this order. Bare in mind I love all of these seasons and all of them should stand as a standard for TV drama:
5. Season 5
Season 5 suffered from some odd new storylines and a mundane aspect with the media but otherwise, it was the same show which I came to love. The writing was on point and the character arcs were fantastic. The development of McNulty, Marlow, Michael, and other characters stand out and as a whole, this series was a great ending to the series. Without awkwardness, they managed to round up the series well and not leave out any loose ends. There are no questions to ask, we know what has happened, this is how TV series should end and I thank God that they ended it like this.
4. Season 1
With Season 1 it was clear they were trying to get their footing and took a lot of time to get the season rolling as they had to properly introduce each character. In the end though, they did just that and it had easily one the most gripping second halves of all of the seasons. This one was plain great and it did an excellent job of setting up the rest of the series. A great start to the greatest series of all time is the best way to explain it. Just so many cIassic moments in this and also it had some of my favorite characters like Omar, D'Angelo, Stringer, and Avon.
3. Season 3
Oh this season is good, really good. With a fitting end to the arc started by Season 1 and just in general great new ideas, this one stands as the middle of the 'peak'. The concept of Hamsterdam was perhaps one of the most interesting ideas explored in the series and with politics being thrown into the mix, the complexity factor was ramped up. It worked though, perfectly, and for that I love this season. It was just fantastic.
2. Season 2
I came in with the impression that I was going to hate this Season, obviously that wasn't the case. A lot of people don't like it due to the shift on focus but this Season is just perfect in every way. For one, it was a well done bridge between the first and third season as it managed to introduce both characters that would effect the course of the series and it also made the third seasons existence plausable. On another hand, it also introduced some of the most interesting characters of the series. The Sobatkas in paricular represent the pinnacle of the story's writing. The drama was amazing and the writing in this season blew my mind. The acting as well was just so on point and honestly, this season had me on the edge often. David Simon intended this season to show the plight of America's working cIass and I must admit, it succeeded. This stands as one of the finest examples of television only paled in comparison by...
1. Season 4
This is the most perfect thing I've ever seen; movie, television, painting, etcetera. In the end nothing beats this season of Television. With the plight of Baltimore's schools brought into the picture of the Stanfield organization, the police department, and the politics of the city, this season stands as the most complex yet and it still managed to be more well written, acted, and coherent then every single television series active at it's time of conception. There were many moments where I was in tears and I rarely tear up, let alone to a television show. This season had the most drama, the best acting, the most tragic consequences, and it was the most realistic at the same time. This is when I realized that this was the greatest show of all time.
In the end, I could spend all day talking about this show; the characters and all. It's just a fantastic show and you all should watch it. Everything is perfection and I leave you with the theme song (one of the most fitting themes of all time) and a montage of my favorite characters.
"When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track
If you walk with Jesus
He's gonna save your soul
You gotta keep the devil
Way down in the hole
He's got the fire and the fury
At his command
Well you don't have to worry
If you hold on to Jesus hand
We'll all be safe from Satan
When the thunder rolls
Just gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole
All the angels sing about Jesus' mighty sword
And they'll shield you with their wings
And keep you close to the lord
Don't pay heed to temptation
For his hands are so cold
You gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole"
Just go watch it
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