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zombievictim's Ultimate 2015 List

I can't believe another year has finally come and gone and a whole lot of media has been consumed. Now, I haven't listened to anymore than two whole CDs this year, so that won't be a category, but I've seen more than enough movies to make up for it. As with any year, some of the more depressing dramas are in my "haven't seen" list because I always find myself watching said drama's before the Oscars, in order to catch up. Watching a dark drama and putting myself through the emotional roller coaster at hand is a tall order for someone like me. So years from now this list could look very different (I also think Star Wars will age well and move up on repeat viewings) but as of this day, the 31st of December, the last of 2015, I think the choices are at least close. So...




Favorite Movies
  1. Mad Max: Fury Road 
  2. Inside Out 
  3. What We Do In The Shadows 
  4. Ex Machina 
  5. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck 
  6. Jurassic World 
  7. The Hateful Eight
  8. Straight Outta Compton
  9. Terminator: Genisys 
  10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Honorable Mentions: Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation, Ant Man, Creed

Haven't seen: American Sniper, While We're Young, Lost River,
Maggie, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Visit,
Sleeping With Other People, 99 Homes, Room, The Martian,
The Walk, Steve Jobs, Crimson Peak, Beasts of No Nation

Favorite Television Shows
  1. Scream Queens
  2. Daredevil
  3. Ash vs. The Evil Dead
  4. Game of Thrones
  5. Red Oaks
  6. Casual
  7. Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt
  8. HitRecord on TV
  9. Jessica Jones
  10. The Carmichael Show
Haven't seen: Better Call Saul, Fargo, Man in a High Tower, Narcos

Favorite Video Games
  1. Fallout 4
  2. Batman: Arkham Knight
  3. Halo 5: Guardians
  4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  5. Tell Tale's Game of Thrones

Essential Christmas Movies (Part Two)

Finally back to finish up the list that started all of this off. While I'm sure some will be surprised by some obvious exclusions and even more shocked at some inclusions, again this is just what I consider to be essential movies to watch every December. You may agree or disagree but just remember that chances are if you don't agree with me, then you're wrong.

Just kidding. Let's get this show on the road.


I still find it kind of odd that this movie has taken on the life that it has. Will Ferrell is a staple of most modern Christmas'? What a strange world we live in. But this film really does manage to catch lightning in a bottle, given that it was a movie by Jon Favreau, who hadn't really had much success in the kid-friendly genre. Somehow the movie pulls in many elements that you wouldn't think would actually work, and gives them new life.

Fun Fact: Will Ferrell turned down $29 million to be in Elf 2 in late 2013.


There are many different forms of Charles Dickin's classic "A Christmas Carol" but this may just be my favorite. And it's no wonder given that it's headed by Bill Murray, who may or may not be the funniest man on the planet. I'm not sure if my parents actively avoided letting me see this film, because it does have some rather dark content, or if it was just a different day and age and they simply didn't own the film on VHS (similar to why 'A Christmas Story' didn't enter my annual rotation until my early teens). Either way, I'm glad I didn't catch on until later in life because it's really grown to be a personal favorite of mine and one I wish I could get away with watching outside of December.

Fun Fact: Sam Kinison was originally slated to play the part of The 
Ghost of Christmas Past. The part eventually went to David Johansen 
due to his friendship with Bill Murray.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

This has always been the version of "A Christmas Carol" that reverberated throughout my childhood. Sure, I knew of the existence CHarles Dickens classic, but the Muppet version was the only movie in my annual holiday rotation. Scrooged was a more recent addition as its more adult content, but a part of me will always prefer this one.

Fun Fact: According to Brian Henson, the decision to use Gonzo and 
Rizzo to narrate the story was made because he wanted to incorporate 
the narration and prose of the Charles Dickens novel into the film.

Bad Santa

It had taken me forever to finally see this movie but now that I have, it's a must. Sure, these days the shenanigans going on can even be seen on some Cable TV shows, but this level of swearing--involving Christmas, no less!--There's a sequel on the way and while I doubt it'll have the same spark as the original, seeing any Christmas movie with severely adult content makes me chuckle.

Fun Fact: Billy Bob Thornton admitted that he was genuinely intoxicated 
during the filming.

Guilty Pleasure Christmas Movies

By now you should know that I quite like bad movies. Like, really like them. I may even enjoy really terrible movies more than I like really good movies. That's just how my brain works. Make fun of me as you please. But thankfully this strange affliction has left me enjoying some of the most unintentionally funny movies around. And Christmas really likes to throw in some spectacularly bad ones.

Jingle all the Way

This entire list was pretty much made just to make sure that this movie got its time in the spotlight. Seriously, this movie is just baaaaad but yet soooo good. Watching it as a kid, I never quite understood just how bad it was. I mean, how can a production company make a movie based around a toy and not have the toy in every store across the nation. Turbo Man looked stiff and flimsy and would probably break within minutes of playing with it, but dammit I wanted it! Just like every kid wanted one, because that's what the movie dictated and kids are stupid. Yet they weren't made available. It's something that never made sense to me as a child but then as an adult, I was able to realize just how much of a shoddy production it was. It would have practically been like printing money but they screwed that up. That pretty much sums up this mess of a movie.

Fun Fact: Chris Columbus originally wanted Joe Pesci for
 the part of Myron, but was deemed too short next to Arnold.

The Santa Clause 2

This probably has more to do with my love for the original but this movie has always stuck with me as a continuation of a story I truly love. Sure, it falls off the rails and becomes a crazy CGI monstrosity, but it doesn't go along the same path as the third one which is just plain bad. Who ever thought having Martin Short as Jack Frost would be anything but MST3K level bad? Although I do absolutely love "Evil Santa" in this film. Nearly everything he says makes me chuckle and is the main reason why this film is even on the list.

Fun Fact: When Santa is on his first date with the aspiring singer/songwriter 
if you look at her shirt the face of Santa is that of Tim Allen.

Santa's Little Helper

Yep, I have no legs to stand on at this point. I'm not even going to begin to act like this is good in any conceivable way. It's a WWE production done on a shoestring budget with a weak story trying to tie into Christmas. It's not like there was much to be expected from it and that's most of the fun. I just imagine this crew trying to film this movie in July and just looking like idiots. The screenwriter's clearly looked at A Christmas Carol and It's A Wonderful Life for inspiration and then failed to understand what made those work. They gave us a terrible lead character who doesn't really change and is still able to get what he wants. There's odd messages and the film is really poorly made... AKA you need to go seek this catastrophe out immediately.

Fun Fact: An episode of WWE's Total Diva's is playing on the TV in the nursing home.

Christmas Skits

Talk about a New Age segment! I figured this would be a good way to cover youtube videos/SNL skits/whatever the hell else that I deemed to be a good addition to Christmas. I also wanted to be able to showcase some other moments, and although they aren't something you need to watch every year (The Essential Movies 100% should be) they're still a nice time time filler to get you in the holiday spirit.

"The 12 Days of Shitsmas" - Angry Video Game Nerd

I enjoy Angry Video Game Nerd far more than I should given how little I've played of the games that he usually goes over, but something about the style of the videos has always appealed. So it was great to see him do a whole 12 day series for the Holidays and angrily review 12 different games.

"Motivational Santa" - Saturday Night Live

You can't really go wrong with having Chris Farley play a motivational Santa, complete with his usual sidekick David Spade. There were loads of SNL clips to choose from, but this one always stood out, mainly because everything Farley does is absolutely hilarious.

"Just as Good As Cookies" - Monkey and Apple

This is a creepy video. Let me just warn you before you even attempt to watch it. MonkeyandApple is a youtube channel I've been following for a while and really just wanted to include one of their skits. It's not their best but it is hilarious. Also, I find it odd saying "their" when it is one guys channel but that's the name, so I'm sticking with it.

"Christmas Special" - Evil Iguana Productions

Another youtube channel that I've been following since High School. This is actually the main reason that I came up with this idea because this skit popped into my head, even though I hadn't watched it in years. Their popularity has dwindled in recent years, but they're still putting out great content, so I highly recommend checking them out.

Essential Christmas Horror Movies

It's hard for me to have any holiday come up and not associate it with some kind of horror movie. That's just the way my brain works. There's "Halloween", "Black Christmas", "My Bloody Valentine", "April Fools Day" -- hell, even birthday's get an association with "Happy Birthday To Me." A plethora of horror movies for every holiday you can think of but still, the ultimate holiday of all can be slim pickins.

So here are some Christmas-themed horror movies that are actually worth a watch.

Black Christmas

This one is tough because, no, it's not a movie for everyone. It's more slow paced, and really ventures far from what life is now like with the advent of technology, but for those willing to go along for the ride, they're rewarded with one of the most atmospheric horror films ever made. It's just an added bonus that it all takes place at Christmas time. Kind of weird to think that this is directed by the same person that, years later, would take on "A Christmas Story." Oh what vastly different subject matter.

Fun Fact: The original title of the films script was "Stop Me". 
It was director Bob Clark who came up with the title 
"Black Christmas" saying that he liked the irony of 
something dark occurring during such a festive holiday.

Black X-Mas

That's right, I'm including both the original and the remake on the same list and you know what? I don't even feel a little guilty about it. I love this movie so much. Sure, it's not good but dammit if it doesn't know how to be a ridiculous time. The cast is full of people that have gone on to do something, no matter how small that something may be. And the gore effects, while trite and repetitive, happen so in such an odd sequence, that it illicits giggles from me every time. There's one sequence towards the end where four people are killed in all of about 30 seconds. It's done so comically that half of them are more humorous than horrifying. The movie tries for a black comedy (no pun intended) approach, but doesn't know what kind of movie it wants to be when the kills happen. So we're left with a pretty uneven mess that, in spite of its flaws, brings us pretty girls getting murdered in bulk in what can only be deemed a "loose remake" of the original. Add all that to the wonderfully Christmas-y color palette, and you've got yourself one fun Christmas Eve.

Fun Fact: During one scene the famous "leg lamp" from A Christmas 
Story (1983) can be seen in the background.

Silent Night, Deadly Night

This movie is fuuuuuucked up. While I still haven't seen the remake, I can't imagine it follows along the same spectrum because disturbing wouldn't begin to cover it. Having your parents killed in front of you by a psychotic Santa Clause all because they stopped to help him with his broken down car? Ouch. Add to it that the kid also got to witness Santa rape his mother before killing her, it's no wonder that this kid grows up to have all sorts of fucked up problems.

Fun Fact: To protest the film, critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel 
read the credits out loud on their television show saying, 
"shame, shame, shame" after each name.

Future Friday the 13th Sequel

Okay, now I'm just reaching for straws but seriously, how has this not been done yet? Jason in the snow writes itself! I'll always hold out hope that this eventually happens but given that the series has had some difficulty getting off the ground as of late, I'm doubting that will happen. Still, there will always be my blind optimism I can look back on and at least say that I tried.

Fun Fact: This will likely never happen 
because Hollywood is stupid.

Essential Christmas Songs

Oh yes. I'm going there. Every holiday season we are treated with the radio (wait, do people still listen to that anymore?), okay the internet, being bombarded with X-mas tunes. I worked at Michael's during the Christmas months and it was filled with more holiday songs than I ever even knew existed.

There are so many different versions of all the classic Christmas songs out there that it's hard to pick just one. And really, with so many different versions out there, it's really just a matter of environment as to which you prefer. If you grew up with some Bing Crosby "Jingle Bells" then that's perfectly fine. It's also fine if your preferred version of the song is The Joker's rendition from Batman The Animated Series. Christmas songs are so reliant on childhood nostalgia and trying to pass on traditions to the younger generations, that I felt it would be silly not to do my own favorite holiday song list.

"(It Must've Been 'Ol) Santa Claus" - Harry Connick Jr.

I blame my step-mom as the reason why I enjoy Harry Connick Jr. Christmas albums. As soon as she entered the picture during Christmas time, she was filling the house with some HCJ. I think my younger self was probably annoyed with the music, since I thought there was already enough on the radio (back when it was actually listened to!). It wasn't until years later, while reflecting, that I realized just how much I enjoyed all of his renditions of classic X-Mas songs. This one in particular always stood out to me above the rest and I hope you can understand why.


"Bart Simpson's Jingle Bells" - The Simpsons

Sure, the original "Jingle Bells" is a classic but no matter what, the version that always enters my head is Bart Simpson's rendition. Sure, a moment may pop in where I think about Mark Hamill's Joker belting it out as he's riding a giant Christmas Tree, but otherwise it goes right to the first ever episode of The Simpsons.

"The Chanukah Song" - Adam Sandler

Okay, okay, so with the inclusion of this song on the list, I could have titled it "Essential HOLIDAY Songs" but you know what? Fuck it. The theme is "12 Days of Christmas" and I still say this falls under the umbrella. Don't think so? Boohoo it's my list. Anyway, the song itself is probably Sandler's best ever (is there even really competition?) and there are many different versions, but this one has always been my favorite.

"White Christmas" - Bing Crosby

I love me some old school X-Mas songs and there's nothing quite better than Bing Crosby's 1954 classic. I still have yet to see the film from which is comes from, but the song has been featured in more than enough pop culture to have it completely intertwined in the Holiday season.

Christmas-Themed TV Episodes (Part Two)

That's right, I'm back with more. Seeing as how there are enough Simpsons Christmas episodes to fill a list, I figured we'd need to spread the love around to some less thought of holiday classics. And yes, I use the term "classic" useless but dammit it's Christmas!

"The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" - The Big Bang Theory

Sure, this episode features a pretty thankless storyline with Penny and Leonard, but everything is wrapped up with a great exchange that remains one of my favorite moments in the shows history as Sheldon is gifted a used napkin signed by Leonard Nimoy. I can understand the criticism that this show receives but there's not much better than seeing the joy on Sheldon's face as he receives the gift as it reflects the ultimate "great gift" reactions of our lives.

"She of Little Faith" - The Simpsons

Yeah, I had to do more than one Simpsons episode, it's just the law. It's like if I were to do a Halloween episode list, there's no way there wouldn't be multiple Treehouse of Horror episodes on it. The Simpsons has always known how to do a holiday right and this episode only stood out to me recently. The entire episode revolves around the idea of consumerism in religion and deciding a religion based on your own personal views, rather than based on the society around you. It's a powerful message and one that was lost amongst my younger self who just viewed it as "The Richard Gere Buddhist episode." Thankfully I'm able to appreciate it more now.

"Twas The Nut Before Christmas" - King of the Hill

I had a hard time just choosing one King of the Hill episode, mainly because I'm a tad bias in that I consider it the greatest show ever. Seriously, I love every episode and immediately become best friends with anyone that even mentions they like it. It's a problem. And one of my favorite aspects of the show has always been Hank's relationship with Bill. In this particular episode, Bill is being taken advantage of during the holiday season by a misfit and Hank is looking out for his neighbor and friend.

"X-Mas Story" - NewsRadio

Newsradio is a show that seems to get more and more lost amongst the shuffle as the years go on. It's really too bad as it's a great little show that features one of the greatest comedic performances of all time in Phil Hartman's Bill McNeil. This episode is particularly noteworthy due to the absurdity and, ultimately, the good feels.

Non-Traditional Christmas Movies

Sure, there are plenty of movies out there that are part of your yearly Christmas rotation: A Christmas Story, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, It's A Wonderful Life, Home Alone, you get the idea. And while I agree that those films should be watched every December, those also end up on every list imaginable (including my own!) so I really wanted to showcase some other films set around Christmas that capture that unique feel, while also still being an actual movie.

Die Hard

This is essential viewing every Christmas. Sure the soundtrack is absolutely peppered with Christmas classics but there's something more that makes this movie feel more "in-the-spirit" than most: The Christmas Party. The entire hostage situation is made possible due to a holiday party being held at Nakatomi Plaza. Plus there's the whole "Now I have a machine gun -- Ho Ho Ho" part.

Fun Fact: Nakatomi Plaza is actually the headquarters for 20th Century Fox

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Dammit does Shane Black love him some Christmas. Between this, Lethal Weapon, and Iron Man 3, it was hard to decide which movie to choose, but I had to go with the film that relaunched Robert Downey Jr's career. It's easy to forget that this is even set at Christmas as the "fly the by the seat of your pants" story left quite an impact but that setting really adds to the overall dynamics at play. And as someone that's been watching a lot of Psych lately, it's hilarious to see Corbin Bernsen in a villainous role.

Fun Fact: Was originally titled "You'll Never Die In This Town Again."

Batman Returns

Okay, we may be getting a little weirder, and I understand if you don't agree, but dammit if this doesn't embody Christmas. Hell, there could not be a single ornament or Christmas tree in the entire thing and the snow would be enough to earn its spot, but there are ornament bombs, giant X-mas trees, and Walken looking like a straight up Ebenezer Scrooge. In fact, I feel odd watching this movie if it's not the winter months because of just how cold the entire movie is, from its palette to its settings.

Fun Fact: Nearly 60 Cat-Suits for Catwoman were used 
throughout production since they'd keep tearing.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I find that this film really deals with more of the depressing themes of the holiday well. Benjamin is often just trying to find his place in life and most of the time he does, it's through family. And really, that scene featuring him and Cate Blanchett dancing in the snow is enough to warrant a spot. So apparently my main prerequisite for this list is snow. I really should have thought this over...

Fun Fact: Mr. Daws, the man struck by lightning seven times, is 
actually based on a real person, Roy Cleveland Sullivan.

Christmas-Themed TV Episodes (Part One)

Television shows have kind of gotten away from the "Holiday episode" that used to adorn every season of ever hit TV show. Now Modern Family tries to keep it to every other year, and other shows decide to ignore it entirely. Sure, it's still around but television used to completely revolve around the holiday in the December months. It's no longer a gimmick and is treated as just another event in the character's lives.

Well thank god for the 80's, 90's, 00's -- really, any time that's not now -- because we got more than our fair share of Christmas specials. These would often be so plastered in Christmas jubilee, that the entire story would follow some classic yuletide paradigm (the most popular being Scrooge). But that didn't matter because TV was meant to be an escape. So here's a collection of all my favorite Christmas episodes for you to whet your whistle on (I even provided a link with how to watch them).

"Woodland Critter Christmas" - South Park

Those that see South Park as just a raunchy cartoon with potty humor really must not be watching the episodes because the great aspect of the show lies in the storytelling. Just look at this Season 8 Christmas episode that progressively builds on itself, leading to a thrilling conclusion. It's one of the more fantastical episodes, yet it's also one of the more rounded of the series. Ongoing in-jokes (Cartman's undying hatred for Kyle and his jewness) and pure insanity (the critter's are satanic cult members) make this a Christmas episode unlike any other.

"The One With the Holiday Armadillo" - Friends

It's hard not to laugh seeing Ross in a giant Armadillo costume, trying to explain the point of Hannakah to his son, only to be interrupted by Santa and Super-man (Chandler and Joey). That scene alone is enough to make the episode worth it. But it also makes a good point about the holidays and to show respect to the things happening at the same time as Christmas. It's done in that ridiculously obvious sitcom fashion, but it's a good thought nonetheless.

"Roasting on an Open Fire" - The Simpsons

I received the first season of The Simpsons on DVD and proceeded to watch the first episode and it's one that I've watched nearly every Christmas since. At the time, The Simpsons was my absolute favorite TV show. The current product was less than stellar, but those fantastic years of the 90's were relatively recent and had a great part in developing my own sense of humor. I owe a lot of what I like today to The Simpsons.

And it really amazes me just how strong the show starts off. Sure, the animation is a little rough but that just adds to the nostalgia -- which I, of course, love. And dammit if it's not absolutely hilarious. This is still back when the show treated its world in a more realistic light, and so the situation never gets too out of hand. And ultimately, "the feels" come in full force, as a strong message of family resounds.

"A Very Sunny Christmas" - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

An "It's Always Sunny" Christmas episode brings with it everything you would expect: The Gang taking normal Christmas traditions and making them completely useless. Decorations to get everyone in the Christmas spirit? Better do that the night before Christmas. Or how about throwing rocks at trains to really lay in the point? Sounds like the perfect night for Charlie and Mac.

And, in classic Christmas episode fashion, there's another instance of the "Scrooge" storyline coming into play, with Dennis and Dee trying to show Frank the error of his ways. He even goes "Rankin Bass" animated for a scene. If there's anything we really need in this world, it's another Sunny Christmas episode. Please?

"Christmas Party" - The Office

Ah back in the days when The Office was still awesome. I'll always consider the golden years of the show to be "Pre-Jim and Pam" because the intrigue about whether they would or wouldn't get together was still palpable. They ruined that in later seasons but here we're still left with Pam being with the wrong person while Jim does absolutely everything to ruin relationships everywhere with a simple "Why don't you go the length that Jim goes?" Because he's not real. He's not real...

Any episodes I may have missed? Well be sure to check back for Part 2!

Essential Christmas Movies (Part One)

Christmas movies are the ultimate way of getting into the holiday spirit. They usually consist of a 90 minute encapsulation of the holiday season and can be the spark to suddenly make some cold month into a weird time where everyone seems much friendlier.

Outside of my brother, who I live with, I don't see any of my family at Christmas-time which means I have to get into the Christmas spirit without a key element. But thankfully I have a pretty hefty movie collection to cover all the basics from childhood and bring a little nostalgia with me. You may notice some big name films being excluded and my answer is simple: it simply didn't affect my life. I know that It's A Wonderful Life is a great movie but I don't really feel lost if I'm not able to watch it one year. In fact, this year is the first year in several that I've even watched that film.

So here are some movies that I always considered essentials for this time of the year.

A Christmas Story

If I lost a bet to Satan and he said "You're only allowed to have one Christmas movie for the rest of your life" the answer would be so obvious, I wouldn't even let Satan finish talking before I told him/her "A Christmas Story." Nothing epitomizes the holiday through celluloid better than Bob Clark's 1983 classic. It amazes me that this is the same person that also made Black Christmas.

Some people have gotten sick of TBS' all day Christmas Eve into Christmas marathon but I'm not one of them. Every time I see it, I get such a kick out whatever part happens to be on. It's great background noise for Christmas morning.

Fun Fact: An elaborate fantasy sequence - in which Ralphie joins 
Flash Gordon to fight Ming the Merciless - was filmed 
but dropped from the final cut.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

I love that the main message in this movie seems to be that "Things will work out in the end" except that the only reason we get a happy ending is because Cousin Eddie decides to kidnap Clark's boss who then decides to not be a Grinch and doesn't press charges, which he totally could have done and still been in the right, morally. It's just a really strange message to send but that's what is so great about this movie. It's an off-kilter comedy that has somehow withstood the test of time and lasted longer than any of the other films in the series.

Plus, it does the impossible and makes Chevy Chase likable.

Fun Fact: The Griswold house is the same one used for 
the Murtaugh's in all of the "Lethal Weapon" films.

The Santa Clause

Tim Allen will always be two things to me: Buzz Lightyear and Santa Claus. No, I don't get down with any Tim "The Toolman" Taylor nonsense. That show never sat right with me. But Allen as Scott Calvin always got me in the Christmas spirit, particularly the first half which is really where the strength of the film lies.

I know that most people like to pretend that the series ends at the first but we actually got two sequels (but we'll get into that later). The thing that really puts this movie above those is the lower budget, and less CGI spectacle that it becomes later on. Here, it's just a simple Christmas story.

Fun Fact: Notably, a Scott Calvin line about "call 1-800-SPANKME" 
was removed from all cuts of the film after parent complaints. 
I still vividly remember this line and is on the VHS release.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

I have many fond memories of watching this DVD on repeat one Christmas break. I had received it as a gift (along with Jurassic Park 3) and had a pretty steady binge of the films back to back. I also drank a lot of hot tea that, looking back on it, were mostly 90% sugar. That mental image pops into my head every time I watch this movie. Not the intense pain I was in when I saw the film in theaters over Thanksgiving weekend and was suffering from some terrible stomach illness. I think of the purple, cracking glass that I drank sugary hot tea out of while I watched Jim Carrey completely encapsulate a character I always thought of The Grinch to be, but wasn't represented as such in the 60's cartoon.

I think that this is also the movie that's most quoted around Christmas time in my family. From "Holidaywhobewhatee?" to "You're an idiot!", these have become as expected in my family as "Merry Christmas." It's amazing that they never tried to do anything more with the character, given Hollywood's obsession with sequels, and I couldn't be happier that this has been a one and done venture. I think that The Cat in the Hat proved that.

Interesting Fact: Jim Carrey was counseled by a NAVY Seal about torture-resistance 
techniques since the Grinch costume was so uncomfortable.

Think I missed something? Let me know (and stayed tuned for more!)

Entering the Wasteland (A Look At Fallout 4)

I haven't talked about videogames in a while so I wanted to go over a game that has been blowing my mind over the past month: Fallout 4.

My first experience with Fallout 4 came when I borrowed a friend's copy nearly a year after release. I had been wanting to play it as I was a huge fan of Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series and figured any game of theirs that added guns to it would be welcome. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to really get into it and never even left the vault (which is very early on in the game). So I had officially declared the game not for me and moved on. Friends would tell me how great it is, and how much fun New Vegas ended up being, but there wasn't much to make me give it a second chance.

Cut to 2015.

Seeing the preview for Fallout 4 was an eye opening experience. Getting to see the aesthetics of the game and just how much customization was at play, I knew it was the game for me. It didn't matter how little the third game captivated me, I knew this time would be different. And boy was it. I ended up renting the game from a Redbox (free rentals are awesome) and knew it was my favorite game of the year within an hour of playing.

There are so many different dynamics at play here that really help layer the game. Having settlements that require upkeep across the Commonwealth provides added incentive to scavenge through the wasteland for materials. The build mechanics take a little getting used to, but once you do, you can really start to make the game your own. Sanctuary ended up being my main choice of Settlement (and one that I pooled all my resources) and I built a ridiculous steel Mansion there. I mean, just look at this thing:

Even in a nuclear world, I need a TV to fall asleep.
I even have a pool table. I can't play pool.
An entire room full of guns. That's what a second floor is for, right?

The gunfighting reminds me a lot of Bungie's Destiny, which has some of the most satisfying gunplay in a videogame, with each round really making an impact both onscreen and through the controller. And the customization for said weapons is mindblowing. You can fit any handle to any chamber to any barrel with any trigger. It really goes along with the Bethesda's mantra of "Do what you want, when you want."

My only real complaint, and this is one that tends to happen with any game like this, is that once the main quest is over, the game feels pretty done. Sure, there are side missions but there doesn't really seems to be much drive in any of them. I've found a few different ones by wandering, but otherwise it's a lot of "Clear out this Settlement" for the Minutemen. Just wish that there was a little more to the post-main story field.

Because everyone wants to live in Fenway Park.

After finishing up the main questline in 4, and getting my character up to a level 44, I decided I would finally go back to the game that turned me off from the series to begin with, especially since they had provided a free copy with 4, and I delved into Fallout 3.

While I certainly miss building/maintaining settlements across the Commonwealth, D.C. is a nice change of pace. Everything that sets it apart from 4 is still fun in its own right. I like that things feel a little different, and while you'd think that going back in chronological game order could be a hindrance, it actually helped me appreciate some of the subtleties in both games. Sure, the world in 3 isn't quite as organic as 4, but that's what 5 years will do in terms of game engineering. Still, the graphics look great and the great storyline/game dynamics remain.

One thing I really enjoyed about this game is that you literally start out with your character's birth and you really are able to make your player who you want. In 4, even though you make the decisions, the character himself (or herself if you decided to be the girl) feels ultimately pre-made and set. Even making crappy decisions doesn't really change the dynamic too much.

Not Fallout 3.
The shooting is where things turn south for the game. With 4 having some truly amazing gunplay, I was disappointed at the aiming mechanics in 3. It became very obvious that this was from the makers of Elder Scrolls and that they weren't entirely used to programming a shooter. While something about the gameplay is really enjoyable for me, even with its clearly last-gen mechanics, I still really dig it.

Ultimately, I can see why the series became so popular and I definitely see myself getting New Vegas somewhere down the road, as the style of the game is interesting, and the story of this post-nuclear warfare filled world is fascinating. If you were like me and never ventured into the world of Fallout, I recommend you change that now and get on board the most expansive and impressive game of the year.

Random Thoughts for December 2015

Still not watching "Scream Queens?" Everyone needs to get on that. I'm not sure how this can go so under the radar yet somehow it does. It's the most entertaining show on TV right now and yet friends roll their eyes when I mention it. Oh well, you'll discover its greatness eventually. The finale is tomorrow so there's still plenty of time to binge that shite.

I've started reading so many books in the last two months. Started is the key words. I really enjoy reading but there's always a part of every book, that my interest wanes. Don't get me wrong, I can get invested in a good book, but my efforts are often focused elsewhere. Could also be due to my own book clogging up that portion of the brain.

Speaking of which, "Crimson Summer" will be released this Spring. I'm still shopping it around but I think I'll be self-publishing in an effort to keep the content in tact. My vision for it has always been a book that my thirteen-year-old self sought after and taking out the violence/controversial aspects wouldn't be that vision. Making it just another YA novel doesn't sound appealing to me and so I'm wanting to stick with the adult content already in place. I can't wait for you to read it.

Sleeping with the TV on is a serious problem. I'm not sure of the actual negative effects on me, but nights of decent sleep are inconsistent. I think that could be more to do with my sedentary lifestyle. I don't really do much as most of my passions involve an electronic screen. I really sound like I should be 200 lbs overweight.

"Creed" was good but not great. It's really weird seeing Oscar buzz around this movie in any way shape or form. I think everyone's affection for the original series is clouding their judgment because as good as the film is, it does nothing to really stand out. While I'm glad that Michael B Jordan is getting the credit he deserves, and the series has always held a special place in my heart, I just don't understand the hype. It's good, not great.

Adele's new CD should be called "Cry." It really seems to be the main point of the album, "25" and it doesn't surprise me how colossal the album has become. She's a superstar and the content is relatable to just about everyone. I've always enjoyed her work but "Hello" is something else entirely. It's refreshing to hear someone's voice combine with the accompanying music so powerfully.

I'm going to do a 12 Days of Christmas thing this month. You'll understand it when you see it as far as the content but think of a shortened version of 31 Days of Halloween. I've been watching a ton of Christmas stuff lately to try and get in the holiday spirit and so I figured I'd spread it around.

I'm so ready for "The Force Awakens." This needs to just be out already. I've been staying away from everything as to avoid knowing too much, but it'll only get worse on the coming weeks. I'm not looking forward to the bombardment of ads. Makes me thankful I don't watch much live TV these days.

"Batman v Superman" looks like rubbish. I'm really surprised they would release the content they have. It's hard not to watch the latest trailer and laugh. The film is everything that the pessimists had all feared. Which is really too bad because I quite like Eisenberg's Luthor. It seems destined to fall in with the Spider-man 3's of the film world. I'll catch it on Bluray.

Wrestling has been terrible as of late. Which is really too bad as Marc and I had plans on going to Mania this year. At this point, I'm not sure either of us has any interest in going. Just goes to show what a subpar product WWE has been putting out. It's easily fixable but management doesn't want to listen. Makes me think my money may be best spent elsewhere. I may end up writing a plea letter, but I'll save that for when they screw up the Royal Rumble.

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