The beauty of modern-day media is that when you want to look back at the past year’s movies, games and TV shows, you can very easily find out what you watched/played and when that was.
Gaming platforms and Netflix will keep a record of what you’ve enjoyed (or maybe hated), while other TV shows you might…erm…somehow acquired on your PC will still be there with a time stamp for when they first appeared on your hard drive.
So with that in mind, here’s the Stuart Reviews Stuff 2014 TV, Movies & Games Awards.
A quick look back at my reviews shows that I’ve seen the following movies released in 2014…
12 Years a Slave, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Imitation Game, The Inbetweeners 2, Interstellar, Into the Storm, Last Vegas, Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, Non Stop, The Raid 2, The Two Faces of January, Under the Skin, What We Did On Our Holiday, The Wolf of Wall Street and X Men: Days of Future Past.
You can read the reviews of each of these movies elsewhere on this blog.
Now, apart from the annoying fact that the amount of movies I’ve seen means that I’ve once again lost money on my Cineworld Unlimited Card, I would say that 2014 hasn’t actually been the best of years for Hollywood.
Sure, a lot of the movies you see listed above are enjoyable enough, but very few would warrant a second viewing. I was asked at my social circle’s annual Christmas meal what my favourite one out of that lot is, and to be honest, it was a bit of a struggle.
And the two that are in contention aren’t exactly the sort of effort that would go down as an all time classic.
As good as this movie was, it shows that 2014 wasn’t the best year for the medium
The worst one comes easier though; that’s for sure.
Best Movie of 2014: What We Did On Our Holiday
Largely flying under the radar, What We Did On Our Holiday wins because it was funny, charming and well worthy of my recommendation.
Worst Movie of 2014: 12 Years A Slave
There’s no doubt there will be worse movies released in 2014, but I chose not to see them.
12 Years A Slave is boring, goes on too long, is far too worthy and one of these movies that only gets praised by people who feel they have to because of the subject matter. At the time, people called it “White Guilt: The Movie” and they were probably on to something.
Interestingly, by the end of the year, I noticed people were looking back on it and saying “Well yeah…it was a bit pish”.
But I said it at the time.
Pleasant Surprise of the Year: Under the Skin
Based on it being a suggestion from my brother – and he has crap taste in films, believe me – I thought Under the Skin would be a load of crap. Indeed, everything about it screamed that it was the sort of thing I wouldn’t enjoy.
But I did. I actually found it a fascinatingly different movie experience.
It’s well worth your time.
Unlike with movies, I’d say 2014 has been a good year for television.
We’ve had a most welcome increase in the quality of Doctor Who compared recent years (and seeing as I write enough about Doctor Who, that’s the last time I’ll mention it in this article), the World Cup actually lived up to the hype for once and the good shows mostly retained a level of consistency.
There were bad points as well though, and I’ll get to them too.
Most Unrealistic Moment In Television Award: Jack Bauer Beats The Traffic
As decent as 24: Live Another Day was, I can’t have been the only person who sat there thinking “There’s no way he’d be able to get from X to Y in that amount of time without running into traffic”?
The Lost The Plot Award: Under the Dome
Let’s be honest, Season One of Under the Dome didn’t have much of a plot to it to begin with, but it was crap in a ludicrously charming way. Season Two though was just crap. All of a sudden new characters appeared despite the show being set in a town that’s trapped under a dome. And those characters were so one-dimensional and poorly acted that it just made me lose interest. I never bothered finishing it.
The ‘They Finished It Like THAT?!’ Award: How I Met Your Mother’s Finale
A kick in the balls to everyone who stuck with that stinking final season, the ending of How I Met Your Mother made me angrier than I thought a TV show could. Quite an achievement.
The Out of Touch Award: The Newsroom
I like The Newsroom and for the most part enjoyed its final season (other than the stuff with that self-righteous twat Neal Sampat), but what struck me about it was the smug, out of touch mentality in Aaron
Neal Sampat: Smug Prick
Sorkin’s writing concerning the way news reporting is changing. Apparently, on-the-ground news reporting on social media is not as worthy as these old hacks delivering their days-later approach to TV and print media news journalism. That’s just not true. Both have their place, but if you disregard the power of Twitter and its influence on how news is reported, then you’re living in the past.
The “This Gets Praise Because It’s Worthy” Award: Rectify
I’d give it to True Detective, but I couldn’t even make it through a whole episode. Rectify is one of these shows that is critically acclaimed by almost everyone and yet it’s not particularly entertaining. Ok, it’s got an interesting subject matter, but it’s so slow-paced and lacking in anything resembling oomph. Having finished the first season I couldn’t be arsed going back to it.
The Best Online Show Award: Orange is the New Black
I didn’t bother with this in 2013 when the first season hit NetFlix but gave it a shot when Season Two was released in 2014.
If you haven’t given OitB a shot, you really should. The storylines are both dramatic and amusing, the characters are varied and the acting is mostly good. Very entertaining stuff.
Best Comedy: 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
Easily the most consistently funny show on TV, Cats Does Countdown gets extra points because you actually get to engage your brain and think while you’re watching.
Most Annoying TV Show: Scandal
At first, Scandal seems like a pretty good show, but when you stop to think about it, it includes some of the worst people to have ever lived as characters. Olivia Pope is positioned as the protagonist but is really just an unpleasant, adulterous cow, while the US President is a weak slimeball of a man. And then there’s that music that gets played in every single fucking episode where Pope and the Prez share an intimate moment. Urgh. I gave up on it.
The “Well We’ve Killed Everyone Else So You’ll Have To Do” Award: Maggie Pierce in Grey’s Anatomy
So apart from Derek and the kids, Meredith’s family are dead, and with Yang gone, what else is there for Grey’s Anatomy’s lead character? How about bringing in the half-sister she never knew existed who is also the daughter of Webber? That’ll stand up to scrutiny and is in no way a shark jumping moment.
The Most Innovative Episode of TV Award: The GI. Joe Episode of Community
Apparently this didn’t do well in the ratings, but the premise, the animation style and the humour of the GI. Joe episode of Community is beyond amazing for a child of the 1980s like me.
The GI Joe Episode of Community was one of the most inventive episodes of a TV show I’ve seen. Class.
The TV Show That Shouldn’t Work But Does: 2 Broke Girls
It’s got some of the worst acting you’ll ever see and the jokes are as subtle as sledgehammer to the balls, but there’s something I just find incredibly entertaining about 2 Broke Girls.
The Style Error of the Year Award: Kaley Cuoco’s Haircut
She looks at least five years older and like the sort of person you’d find serving in a particularly rough pub now.
Grow it back Penny, grow it back!
The Most Annoying Aspect of TV You Don’t Really Mind Award: Castle
I love Castle, but have you ever noticed that every single episode has at least three bits where Castle and Beckett are talking about a case and just at the point where they question something, Ryan comes in with “Actually, that might not be true. Have a look at this”. It should be more annoying than it is, but because it’s Castle, I’ll let them away with it.
The “My Interest Is Holding By A Thread” Award: WWE
Never has WWE been less interesting than it currently is. A tiny roster that never seems to change, far too many hours of TV to fill each week and the same matches and storylines being repeated over and over. I only watch now because I’ve been a viewer since 1991 and to stop now would seem wrong.
Mind you, I stopped watching Neighbours…
The Hidden Gem Award: Continuum
If it wasn’t for the fact it’s on NetFlix, I doubt I’d have ever heard of Continuum, and yet it’s easily been my best new discovery of 2014.
Sadly, just as I’ve become a fan, the word is that the next season will be the last.
If you don’t know much about it, check it out.
The “Let It Die” Award: Only An Excuse?
Seeing as my article on it had over 2,500 views the day it was published, I think a lot of people agree. Utter drivel which needs taken off TV.
Like I say in my intro, I have a complete list of new games that I’ve played in 2014 thanks to Steam, PSN and the Wii U.
That list reads as…
Always Sometimes Monsters
Football Manager 2015
One Finger Death Punch
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare
COD: Advanced Warfare
Far Cry 4
Binding of Isaac
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Mario Kart 8
Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze
And obviously some of them didn’t even come out in 2014, but then I don’t think that should mean they can’t be involved in the awards.
Most Disappointing Game Awards: Worms Battleground
You wouldn’t think it’d be hard to make a new Worms game, but Team 17 made a right old mess of Battleground. It looks drab, has limited maps and complicated, awkward game modes with no explanation anywhere in any manuals or on the internet to explain what they are. They even got rid of Crazy Crates. We gave it our best shot, but ultimately me and my Worms playing pals moved back to the Xbox 360 version.
How could they get it so wrong?
It’s Great If You Don’t Like Moving Award: Alien Isolation
Here’s a game that gets a massive amount of praise from all corners of the internet. Against my better judgement, I gave it a go and it wasn’t the most exciting game in the world. Yes, it looked great, it was atmospheric and when the Alien finally showed up it was surprisingly tense trying to avoid it, but I got the feeling that once you’d seen the Alien once, it was going to be downhill from there. Quite a clumsy game with a daft checkpoint system that meant you’d replay large sections of the game over and over again if you died.
I won’t finish it.
Best Looking Game: Anything By Nintendo
Whether it’s Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8 or Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Nintendo just make beautiful games. They are great to look at and are all fantastic to play.
Most Innovative Game Mode: Mario Chase on Nintendo Land
It’s a simple setup. The player with the Wii U pad looks at the screen on the pad while 2-4 players with Wiimotes watch the TV screen. The first player must hide from the rest and they must chase him. Great fun with plenty of replay value.
The “I Don’t Get The Hype” Award: Dark Souls
The polar opposite of those Nintendo games, Dark Souls is as grim as it gets, looks very unappealing and plays in a laboured manner. It’s just not for me.
The “It’s Still Got It” Award: Pac Land on Pac-Man Museum
A game I first played on the arcades in the 1980s, Pac Land remains an excellent game.
The Most Annoying Aspect of Any Game Award: Handicapping On FIFA 15 Ultimate Team
My Favourite Game of 2014
My amazing run of form on FIFA 15’s Ultimate Team Mode came to a crashing halt when I bought a few players to increase my team rating to 83. The moment that happened everything fell apart. Passes went astray, easy goalscoring chances were missed and penalty after penalty was given away. I never thought handicapping was an issue, but the moment I put some crappy players on my bench to bring my team’s overall score down to 81, things went back to normal.
It’s apparently a situation designed to prevent coin buyers from succeeding, but ultimately it ridiculously handicaps people who have put in the hours to build a team the right way.
After that I didn’t touch FIFA for more than a month
The “People Are Finally Opening Their Eyes”Award: Critics Pan WWE 2K15
Wrestling games have been shit for years; I’ve discussed it at length here.
Finally this year the review sites picked up on it and WWE 2K15 got the hammering it probably deserves.
The Most Enjoyable Game of the Year Award: Mercenary Kings
By no means is Mercenary Kings the best looking, most polished or smoothest to play game, but I’ve played it week after week for an hour or so at a time with a friend online and have enjoyed every moment of it.
I consider gaming a social thing for the most part, so being able to play this for so long (and I’m still barely half way through) whilst chatting with friends is ideal. And unlike FIFA or Call of Duty, there’s no stress associated with it.
Top stuff. There hasn’t been a game I’ve enjoyed more in 2014.
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