Happy New Year: 2021 Review! - Falcon's Blog

Happy New Year: 2021 Review!

Greetings, New Year’s Eve is finally here and, to mark the occasion, so is my last blog update for 2021. As per usual, I will be discussing my picks for the best titles in the entertainment categories that I experienced or wrote about during these past several months. Feel free to comment below on what media you enjoyed in 2021 or if there are any particular upcoming projects that you are looking forward to in the next year.

Unfortunately, 2021 felt like a bit of a washout due to the lack of cultural events or memorable moments and a more cynical or perhaps, by this point, a more realistic person would argue that 2022 will be more of the same. Despite this, one thing to note about this year was the great effort made to celebrate 10 years of Write Wise. It is a great credit to this small community that the site is still growing strong after a decade in existence, that the stories are getting bigger and better and that there is no indication that it is slowing down. I am looking forward to what will happen next year on the site but for now I’ll be discussing my winning choices.

Television Show of the Year: GLOW

Staring Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron to name a few from a large and memorable cast, ‘GLOW’ lasted for 3 fantastic seasons before being cancelled by Netflix due to Covid-19 restrictions. As a result, the last planned season will likely never be seen which is a shame as it had ended on something of a cliff hanger and there were still many plotlines left to explore. The series is a dramatization of the real 1980s show, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, and follows the increasingly complicated relations between the numerous women who participate in the theatrical wrestling matches. The tenuous friendship and personal rivalry between the leads of Ruth Wilder and Debbie Eagan is one of my favourite aspects about this programme and I’d recommend that you watch it if you haven’t done so already.

Book of the Year: The Hellbound Heart

Known for being the source material of the famed horror movie ‘Hellraiser’, the Hellbound Heart was written by Clive Barker in 1986. The book, published one year before the film was released, introduced readers to the horrifying and sadomasochistic world of the Cenobites and the iconic Pinhead as Kirsty attempts to escape their pleasurable torture. It is similar to the aforementioned movie for the most part but one key difference is Kirsty’s relationship to Rory for in the film adaptation she is his daughter but in the novel Kirsty is merely a friend. If you enjoyed the story on the big screen then I imagine you would appreciate the one on paper as well.

Happy New Year 2021 - 2022!

Game of the Year: Half-Life

There is not much that needs to be said about this classic first person shooter game. Released back in 1998, Half-Life lets the player control the silent protagonist of Gordon Freeman as he battles his way out of the Black Mesa Research Facility after an experiment goes horribly wrong. There is no shortage of enemy AIs in this beloved game, either extra-terrestrial or human, and the game play has a developed a nostalgic feel to it over time. Despite being a few decades old by this point, Half-Life and its sequels still stand out as a creative high point for gaming industry.

Film of the Year: The Elephant Man

A much more down to earth film one would expect from the surreal director David Lynch who introduced the world to the bizarre series of ‘Twin Peaks’ and the cult hit of ‘Eraserhead’, the Elephant Man is based on the life of Joseph Merrick and the deformities that made him a celebrity in Victorian England. John Hurt gives an impressive performance as Merrick, while under heavy prosthetics, and his touching friendship with Anthony Hopkin’s Frederick Treves is most certainly a highlight of the movie that is worth emphasising. I also appreciated the decision taken to have it in black and white as this give the picture an almost timeless quality to it.

That about wraps it up for 2021. I hope we will be able to look upon 2022 with fondness 12 months down the line. My blog will return in January, with its usual style, to review a famous pop culture television show from the 1960s that I enjoyed watching recently for the first time. Have a great New Year!

Quote of the Day

Can the Spider-Man come out to play?

The Green Goblin / Norman Osborn

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Written by Falcon, Friday 31 December 2021

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Falcon  4 month(s) ago

Thanks for your comments! It sounds like you experienced some interesting things in 2021 judging from what you wrote below, even though it seemed like there was a lack of releases that year. 'Last Night in Soho' was certainly a strong contender for myself as a potential Film of the Year but it was just narrowly outshined by 'The Elephant Man' which stills holds up well to this day. I shall have to look into 'In Sound Mind' as it gets highly recommended by both of you and it sounds like a intriguing premise to me.

 
Joh  5 month(s) ago

Nice picks. I enjoyed season one of GLOW but never got around to watching any of the later seasons. I think there only was one season available when I watched it, and I forgot to go back to it when more came out. The Elephant Man and Half-Life are of course excellent.

I find it hard to define my own picks as I didn't watch a lot of TV shows, play a lot of games or read a lot of books (either from 2021 or otherwise).

For game of the year, I'd go with In Sound Mind. It's very good. I'm not sure if I played any others from the year or played many games for the first time, but it's a deserving winner and is from 2021. The story, themes and style of the game all felt very original and interesting. The player plays as a psychiatrist who visits distorted worlds resembling the psyches of his patients. It's pretty creative and each of the levels is quite unique in how they work and feel.

For book of the year, I'll go with Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. It's not from 2021, but I wouldn't have had options to pick from if I limited by year in this category. The book is a collection of short stories, and they're really weird. The stories are often poetic and often fairy-tale-like in how they are told. I really enjoyed them. The imagery, moods and emotions throughout are very rich. My favourites were The Husband Stitch where the narrator recounts dark urban legends in between telling the story of her life and marriage, and Eight Bites where the protagonist gets a gastric band and is then haunted (literally) by her decision.

For film of the year, I'll limit myself to 2021 as I watched quite a few titles from the year. I'm going to go with Last Night in Soho. I thought it was a very cool and fun thriller. Honourable mentions go to The Father (starring Anthony Hopkins) and Land (starring Robin Wright) which were both excellent dramas.

 
Aaron  5 month(s) ago

2021 has indeed been something of an odd year. Like you say, it was excellent to be able to mark 10 years of the WW with both an annual and a challenge. It's hard to imagine it's been a whole decade since it started, but then time does go very quickly.

I loved the Elephant Man and, of course, Half-Life. Both fine choices for recognition.

I struggle to select one particular standout movie, as I've watched so many this year. I am tempted to nominate Blade Runner. While I've seen this one before, I felt my watching of it this year yielded new depths, almost to the point of feeling like a new movie. If omitting it, because it is a rewatch, my next choice may be The Father, an outstanding, original movie that, in lesser hands, could have been a miserable watch.

For favourite game of the year, it has to be In Sound Mind. A game that mixes old-school FPS, adventure game mechanics and an excellent, psychological story wonderfully. Honourable mention goes to Signal Lost, an HL1 mod recently released that I was very impressed with.

My favourite read of the year was probably The Remains of the Day (who also wrote one of my favourite novels Never Let Me Go).

Here's hoping 2022 delivers!