Let’s Take A Look Back At This Year’s New Articles
I’ve written many articles this year and reviewed piles of movies, tons of shows, and even a few books. And while a lot of media flees my memory once I’m done reviewing it, a few things were so good and memorable that they’ve stuck with me throughout the year. And in the same vein, some media pieces were so disappointing that I still wish for a better version.
So, as we get to the end of 2022, I thought I would do a little retrospective. If you’re a new reader to the site, this is the perfect place to jump into the last year of Sci-Fi Bloggers’ content. Everything is split into three categories, and we’ll start with the most positive of them.
Part 1: Favorite Reviews
This might be the best movie I’ve ever reviewed in the entire time I’ve been a professional critic, and this retrospective would be incomplete without it. Everything Everywhere has some of the most impactful dialog writing ever and so many interesting aspects to its plot. It was earnestly hilarious, gut-wrenchingly sincere, and, most of all, so much fun. I’ve noticed a rise in nihilism amongst my peers (and myself, if I’m being honest), and it’s in equal measure given rise to nihilistic media. And though some of that media is good, seeing the alternate take, the take of hope and love and valuing everything for the sake of itself, soothed a part of my soul that needed it. It’s a rare piece of art that leaves the viewer holistically better for having viewed it, but this movie does that and more and should win every award possible.
This show is a lot of fun and has great scenes, but it stuck in my head because of the acting. Oscar Isaac may be one of the most talented actors working today, and the seamless switching between personalities and how he can carry a scene with only himself is a tour de force. It was also nice to see a show that focused on Egyptian mythology for once, instead of its two more popular options, and doing so in a way that (at least to a layman like me) seems more accurate than some representations.
While the first movie in this retrospective made me feel a wider range of emotions, Encanto holds the record for the movie that made me cry the most since I saw Bridge to Terabithia as a young child. At least three scenes hit with more force than I could’ve ever expected, and I literally cannot listen to “Dos Oruguitas” without feeling a deep emotional ache. It’s also the only movie on this list with multiple heavy-hitting songs. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is an earworm, even if some lyrics don’t hold up to scrutiny and others seem rather tonally off. “Surface Pressure,” on the other hand, has freaking brilliant lyrics and taps into a specific emotional state I haven’t seen many other pop songs even touch. There’s a reason this movie did as well as it did, and I’d gladly rewatch it anytime it’s playing.
Ah, Centaurworld. The weird, absurd, absolutely wild show that never once lets you get comfortable watching it. This one isn’t so much on the list because it was a standout piece of media—though it has some standout moments—but because it was one of the most fun reviews to write. Balancing ruthlessly tearing into it with acknowledging the obvious craft, talent, and love infusing the production was an interesting challenge, and I wish more shows had so much in them to praise/complain about. It’s one of the few series I finished after reviewing it, and now I want to inflict it on a friend group just to see how they react.
Stop motion is a siren song, and any big-budget ones that come out have my instant attention. So, basically, I knew going in I would like this movie. And then I found so much more to like on top of that; from characters to the story to the theme, it’s a solid kid’s movie with only a few flaws. My review of Wendell & Wild turned out to be one of the longest I’ve ever written for the site, so there’s little more to say here. If you haven’t read the review/seen the movie yet, you really should.
I didn’t know what to expect from this show and then ended up connecting with its meta-aspects a ton. As a horror writer, seeing the variety of styles this show played with was a delight, and I’m still bummed out to hear that it’s not getting a second season. I don’t finish most shows I review for lack of time, but I debated giving this one a go—even if it was like five more hours of content—but abandoned that plan with the news. It’s still super good though, so don’t let that stop you from at least enjoying what there is of it.
I enjoy being scared. It’s why I seek horror. But, as I’ve said many times in articles, it’s hard for me to be scared nowadays. The Storage Papers is the most notable exception to this rule this year. Holy crap, did those first few episodes get a jump out of me. I was hanging out in my backyard at night, listening, and it forced me inside because I kept getting scared by shadows and the wind. I tried to listen more past those initial episodes after the review, but they didn’t grip me as much—but the “positive” memories remain.
I’ve talked to death The Magnus Archives on this website, but that’s because it became my fandom more thoroughly than any other media property since I was a teen. So, it had to be in the retrospective. I only know what Pseudopod is because one of The Magnus Archives’ voice actors is involved with it. Everything Everywhere All at Once may have been a soothing balm in the moment, but The Magnus Archives has gotten me through more tough moments than I can count. Writing that article, summing up my feelings about having finished more than a year of listening to that podcast and making my way through two-hundred episodes, still feels special. I can’t believe I listened to that many episodes of anything. Does it have flaws and issues? Oh hell yes it does. And there’s been controversies since then, but no media or fandom is without stuff like that, sadly, and for now, The Magnus Archives and Magic: The Gathering are my go-to nerdy comforts.
This one is on the list for a simple reason: I’m still trying to understand what this movie wanted to get across. The third part—the one with the cat people—broke any internal logic The House seemed to have going for it. Is it horror? Is it satire? Is it a meditation on the housing crisis or an allegory for holding on to negative feelings? Is it meant to be open-ended, or did I just not “get it?” Why is this movie three parts? Why is there an implied apocalyptic flood? WHAT DOES THIS MOVIE MEAN? Can I please get at least an hour-long video essay dissecting The House with literary, economic, and symbolic lenses? It’s been occasionally springing to mind and confounding me for months now, and any movie that sticks with me this long has to have something in it that’s deeply compelling.
Come Back on 12/28/22 for Part Two!
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