Top 10 “New to Me” Films From 2012

I watched a lot of movies last year — 280, to be exact. I still don’t know how I managed to pull that off, but I’m not complaining. A good chunk of that was thanks a combination of my 50 Movies Project and trying to keep up with 2012’s latest releases. Yet I also saw a large number of other films that have eluded me over the years, many of which deserve to be acknowledged. Here is a list of the top 10 “new to me” films that I saw in 2012, omitting those from the project or those released within the last two years.

Special mention:
Miami Connection [1987]
Miami Connection [1987]
We will stop this senseless killing;
We will end this evil war;
We will stop this senseless killing;
We’ll even up the score!
Against the ninja!

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof [1958]
10) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof [1958]
Careful Maggie, your claws are showing.

The Descent [2005]
9) The Descent [2005]
I’m an English teacher, not fucking Tomb Raider.

Assault on Precinct 13 [1976]
8) Assault on Precinct 13 [1976]
Detective, you run this precinct like chicken night in Turkey.

Slacker [1991]
7) Slacker [1991]
Sorry, I’m late.
That’s okay, time doesn’t exist.

6) The French Connection [1971]
All right, Popeye’s here! Get your hands on your heads, get off the bar, and get on the wall!

Before Sunrise [1995]
Before Sunset [2004]
5) Before Sunrise/Sunset  [1995, 2004]
I used to think that if none of your family or friends knew you were dead, it was like not really being dead. People can invent the best and the worst for you.

4) Out of the Past [1947]
Baby, I don’t care.

3) Magnolia [1999]
Come on, Frank. What are you doing?
What am I doing? I’m quietly judging you.

2) Glengarry Glen Ross [1992]
Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee’s for closers only.

1) The Apartment [1960]
Shut up and deal…

What do you guys think of these films? What was the best “new to you” movie you saw in 2012?

Ranking the 50 Movies Project, Round Two: #25-1

This is it, folks. The end result of a year’s worth of movie watching. The 25 films listed below are all fantastic in their own ways, and I would happily give each of them my full endorsement. In my initial reviews, I only gave out one “ten” rating. After further reflection, at least the top four films would all receive this elusive rating from me. Let’s get to it:

Blow Out [1981]
25) Blow Out [1981]

It’s easy to see why Quentin Tarantino considers this a favorite of his. Can’t get over that ending.

The Wild Bunch [1969]
24) The Wild Bunch [1969]

Quite possibly the most violent Western I have seen, and it culminates with a bloodbath for the ages.

23) Rocky [1976]

A number of progressively worse sequels cannot damage the brilliance of one of film’s greatest underdog stories.

Into the Wild [2007]
22) Into the Wild [2007]

A tremendously beautiful film that stirred up emotions in me that I just wasn’t prepared for.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? [2000]
21) O Brother, Where Art Thou? [2000]

I’m not a bluegrass guy, but I couldn’t stop listening to this film’s soundtrack for days afterward. Now one of my favorites from the Coen brothers.

Casino Royale [2006]
20) Casino Royale [2006]

My first Bond film. After watching another half dozen or so, this one is still light years above the others.

Coffy [1973]
19) Coffy [1973]

This film may very well be the most fun out of all of these — I could watch Pam Grier kick ass all day.

Blue Velvet [1986]
18) Blue Velvet [1986]

Quintessential David Lynch film that contains the deliriously psychopathic role Dennis Hopper was born to play. Just one unforgettable scene after another.

For a Few Dollars More [1965]
17) For a Few Dollars More [1967]

Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef teaming up to take down a ruthless fugitive? Hell yeah.

Paths of Glory [1957]
16) Paths of Glory [1957]

Kubrick’s early anti-war film is still incredibly powerful.

To Kill a Mockingbird [1962]
15) To Kill a Mockingbird [1962]

Worth seeing just for Gregory Peck’s big courtroom speech. What a performance.

Singin' in the Rain [1952]
14) Singin’ in the Rain [1952]

Yeah, I’m still surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Just a great all-around film with some insane dance numbers.

Modern Times [1936]
13) Modern Times [1936]

Charlie Chaplin is as entertaining as always, but I couldn’t help falling in love with Paulette Goddard. What a combination those two made.

M [1931]
12) M [1931]

Fritz Lang’s film delivers some pretty heavy subject matter for the time period, and Peter Lorre’s disturbingly effective performance lingers for days.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
11) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [1989]

I don’t know if I prefer this or Raiders of the Lost Ark, but both are incredible adventures.

A Fistful of Dollars [1964]
10) A Fistful of Dollars [1964]

Could be called “bite-size” Leone, but the result is a quick, highly entertaining effort.

The Sting [1973]
9) The Sting [1973]

The best caper film I have seen — is there a better duo than Paul Newman and Robert Redford?

Metropolis [1927]
8) Metropolis [1927]

An unbelievable cinematic feat that was well ahead of its time.

On the Waterfront [1954]
7) On the Waterfront [1954]

This is a contender, alright. Fantastic work from all involved, especially Marlon Brando’s Terry Malloy.

Vanishing Point [1971]
6) Vanishing Point [1971]

The movie that made me want to hit the open road and not look back.

Notorious [1946]
5) Notorious [1946]

I didn’t know what to expect out of this Hitchcock classic, but it has quickly become one of my favorites from the auteur.

Lawrence of Arabia [1962]
4) Lawrence of Arabia [1962]

This historical epic is still a technical marvel today, and it is absolutely stellar on the big screen.

Touch of Evil [1958]
3) Touch of Evil [1958]

I was hooked from the opening scene, one of the best I can remember. This may have very well eclipsed Citizen Kane as my favorite Orson Welles film.

The Last Picture Show [1971]
2) The Last Picture Show [1971]

As a former resident of a small town myself, I could infinitely relate to this film. I can’t think of another that better encapsulates the experience of growing up in a rural town like this.

The Lives of Others [2006]
1) The Lives of Others [2006]

In a project full of great selections, this is the one that blew me away the most. This is a film that requires the utmost attention, but if you provide this, the rewards just keep coming. There aren’t many performances that are better than what Ulrich Mühe delivers here, and it’s incredibly tragic that this was his last film. I will be recommending this anytime I get the chance.

So there you have it. The 2012 edition of the 50 Movies Project is now complete. What do you think of the rankings? What should be bumped up or pushed down? Have you seen The Lives of Others? Let’s hear your thoughts!

The Top 20 Films of 2011 — One Year Later

As we wrap up 2012, the “best of” lists are coming out in full swing. I am diligently working on mine (expect new posts for movies, video games and music in the near future), but I thought it would be fun to take a look at *last* year’s best films. I originally came up with a top ten in January, but there were more than a handful of films I had yet to see at that point. Now, one year later, I have seen pretty much every major picture from 2011 that caught my eye, and I can now provide a more accurate representation of my favorite films from last year. I have also expanded the list from 10 to 20, as 2011 turned out to be a pretty solid year of movies. For the sake of reference, here is a link to my original top 10 movies from 2011.

Cedar Rapids [2011]

20) Cedar Rapids

My favorite comedy of the year, one that was unfortunately overlooked by most.

Margin Call [2011]

19) Margin Call

One of the best ensemble casts of the year. Absolutely worth watching just to see Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons butt heads.

The Descendants [2011]

18) The Descendants

A tad overrated, but George Clooney and Shailene Woodley make this immensely watchable.

Win Win [2011]

17) Win Win

Can Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan be in every movie? Please?

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [2011]

16) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Yeah, this remake was completely unnecessary, but David Fincher delivered the goods here. Rooney Mara deserves all the props she has received for her performance.

The Ides of March [2011]

15) The Ides of March

Politics suck. This film shows you why. Oh yeah, and it has Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, George Clooney AND Paul Giamatti.

A Separation [2011]

14) A Separation

A startling look at the dissolution of marriage from an Iranian perspective. Its title works in multiple ways.

I Saw the Devil [2010]

13) I Saw the Devil

Brutal, disgusting and unbelievably violent; in a nutshell, another badass Korean revenge thriller.

Attack the Block [2011]

12) Attack the Block

Subtitles may be required for some of its English, but damn if this isn’t one hell of an entertaining flick.

We Need to Talk About Kevin [2011]

11) We Need to Talk About Kevin

An especially difficult film considering recent tragic events, but it features a phenomenal performance from Tilda Swinton.

Young Adult [2011]

10) Young Adult

Jason Reitman can do no wrong in my book. Great stuff from Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt as well.

13 Assassins [2010]

9) 13 Assassins

Takashi Miike’s samurai homage has one of the most unforgettable and epic battle scenes I have ever seen.


8) The Artist

Although not my personal favorite, I can get behind this as Best Picture. Endlessly charming.

Hugo 3D [2011]

7) Hugo

This one is a real treat for film lovers. Brought a whole new sense of appreciation for the work of early director Georges Méliès.

Moneyball [2011]

6) Moneyball

A faithful adaptation of a terrific sports book, this is a baseball movie that can be appreciated even by non-fans.

The Skin I Live In [2011]

5) The Skin I Live In

One of the most disturbing films in recent years with an unforgettable twist.

Shame [2011]

4) Shame

Not enough can be said about Michael Fassbender’s performance of a man who has hit rock bottom with his startling sex addiction.

Take Shelter [2011]

3) Take Shelter

A thought-provoking look at mental illness with the best ending of any film from last year.

50/50 [2011]

2) 50/50

Still the biggest surprise of last year. A cancer film that manages to be both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Drive [2011]

1) Drive

Still my top choice after a full year. Gosling, Mulligan, Cranston. That soundtrack. Drive just oozes style.

Honorable Mentions: 
The Adjustment Bureau
Everything Must Go
Tucker & Dale vs Evil

So, what do you think? Do you agree with my choices? What was your personal favorite film from last year, now that we have a year’s perspective?

Top 5 Video Games of 2012 — So Far

Yesterday I took at a look at the best movies to come out so far this year. Today, it’s video games. Now, there are a handful that I still need to play (Fez, Sleeping Dogs, The Witcher 2) but I am doing a better job this year at keeping up with the latest titles. Here are my top five video games so far for home consoles:

Journey [PS3]

5) Journey

More of an experience than a game, but it is one I will not soon forget.

The Walking Dead, Episode 1: A New Day [PS3]

4) The Walking Dead

This episodic series just keeps getting better and better. Blows away the TV show.

Trials Evolution [XBLA]

3) Trials Evolution

The perfect example of what a sequel should be: it improves upon the original in every way.

2) Max Payne 3

This Rockstar effort is better than most modern action flicks, with an unparalleled visual presentation, to boot.

Mass Effect 3

1) Mass Effect 3

This is the Dark Knight Rises of the Mass Effect trilogy. Not the best of the series, but still pretty damn good, and a satisfying conclusion to one of gaming’s best trilogies.

Thoughts? Am I missing anything that is an absolute must play so far?

Top 10 Films from 2012 — So Far

Now that we’ve wrapped up the first 2/3 of the year, we’re going to be getting into the REAL good stuff for the fall/winter. Movies seem to get their best releases near the end of each year, and 2012 also fits that mold with plenty of heavyweights coming soon. Still, there have been a lot of great releases so far this year, and more than a few should hold up on the inevitable year-end lists. Here are my top 10 favorites through August:

Honorable Mentions:
The Woman in Black — Slow-paced but atmospheric horror with a great performance from Daniel Radcliffe.
The Grey — Liam Neeson as a wolf hunter. ‘Nuff said.

Haywire [2012]

10) Haywire

Sorely underrated action flick. Worth seeing just to watch Gina Carano kick Michael Fassbender’s ass.

Prometheus [2012]

9) Prometheus

The marketing campaign probably raised our expectations too high, but this was still a fun sci-fi adventure that provided endless discussions throughout the summer.

The Avengers [2012]

8) The Avengers

Can’t ask for a much better blockbuster to kick off the summer. Fans of the comics no doubt loved this even more.

The Intouchables [2011]

7) The Intouchables

Doesn’t really give us anything new, but Omar Sy provides arguably the most entertaining performance of the year.

Cabin in the Woods [2012]

6) The Cabin in the Woods

Entertaining throughout, but really kicks into gear during the final act. A real treat for horror fans.

Take This Waltz [2011]

5) Take This Waltz

Possibly this year’s most polarizing film. I really enjoyed this one, perhaps because I could relate to most of the characters.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

4) Beasts of the Southern Wild

Easily the most unique of this year’s films, and it comes from a group of veritable newcomers, no less.

Moonrise Kingdom [2012]

3) Moonrise Kingdom

Hey, maybe there’s something to this Wes Anderson guy after all. The movie that made me a fan of his work.

The Dark Knight Rises [2012]

2) The Dark Knight Rises

I can’t ask for a better conclusion to one of the greatest trilogies of all time. Epic in every sense of the word.

The Master [2012]

1) The Master

People will be talking about this for a long time. Guaranteed.

So, what do you guys think? Do you agree? Disagree? What are your favorites from this year so far?

Top 25 Albums of 2011

This list has been a long time coming. I have had it sitting in my WordPress dashboard for weeks, waiting for a night where I could sit down and write about each album. I have since realized that night just isn’t going to come, so I am posting this as-is. This list will pretty much wrap-up my “Best of 2011” series, and it was the hardest one to compile. Last year was a good one for music, and there were several albums that could have been my top choice at one point or another.

This is a pretty varied list that dabbles in “indie” rock, electronica and hip-hop. My tastes are always all over the place. I have included links to songs from each album in case you want to listen for yourself.

Honorable Mentions:
Xander Harris – Urban Gothic
Dominik Eulberg – Diorama
The Kills – Blood Pressures

Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde
25) Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

Check out: Weekend

Mark E - Stone Breaker
24) Mark E – Stone Breaker
Check out: Black Moon

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - S/T
23) Unknown Mortal Orchestra – S/T
Check out: Ffunny Ffrends

Cults - S/T
22) Cults – S/T
Check out: Go Outside

13 & God - Own Your Ghost
21) 13 & God – Own Your Ghost
Check out: Death Major

Gold Panda - Companion
20) Gold Panda – Companion
Check out: Back Home

araabMUZIK - Electronic Dream
19) araabMUZIK – Electronic Dream
Check out: Streetz Tonight

Thee Oh Sees - Castlemania
18) Thee Oh Sees – Castlemania
Check out: I Need Seed

Cornershop - Cornershop & the Double 'O' Groove Of
17) Cornershop – Cornershop & the Double ‘O’ Groove Of
Check out: Topknot

The Antlers - Burst Apart
16) The Antlers – Burst Apart
Check out: Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out

Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne
15) Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne
Check out: Otis

The Rapture - In the Grace of Your Love
14) The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love
Check out: How Deep Is Your Love?

The Roots - Undun
13) The Roots – Undun
Check out: Make My

Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
12) Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Check out: College ft. Electric Youth “A Real Hero

Destroyer - Kaputt
11) Destroyer – Kaputt
Check out: Chinatown

Kendrick Lamar - Section.80
10) Kendrick Lamar – Section.80
Check out: A.D.H.D

Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do
9) Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do
Check out: Hooked

Maceo Plex - Life Index
8) Maceo Plex – Life Index
Check out: Dexter’s Flight

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
7) Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Check out: Montezuma

Radiohead - The King of Limbs
6) Radiohead – The King of Limbs
Check out: Lotus Flower

The Black Keys - El Camino
5) The Black Keys – El Camino
Check out: Lonely Boy

Real Estate - Days
4) Real Estate – Days
Check out: It’s Real

The Field - Looping State of Mind
3) The Field – Looping State of Mind
Check out: It’s Up There

TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
2) TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
Check out: Will Do
Tycho - Dive
1) Tycho – Dive
Check out: Dive

So what do you guys think? Did you enjoy any of these albums/songs? What were your favorites of the year?

The Top 12 Video Games I Played In 2011

By all accounts, 2011 has been lauded as a great year for gaming. I am still playing catch-up myself, as I missed out on several of the big holiday season titles (Skyrim, Uncharted 3, Batman, etc.). Since I am not really in a position to provide a proper top 10 list of my favorite 2011 titles, I have opted to select the best games I played for the first time last year. There are a lot of 2011 titles, but there are a handful of older releases that really impressed me one way or another. I plan on doing a proper list in the future, but here are my top 12 video games that I played in 2011:

12) The Saboteur [Xbox 360, 2009]

Criminally overlooked sandbox adventure title that expertly uses a mixture of color and black & white environments.

Singularity [Xbox 360, 2010]
11) Singularity [Xbox 360, 2010]

Another underrated game, this one takes the best elements from Bioshock, F.E.A.R. and Half-Life to make a memorable FPS experience.

Crysis [Xbox 360, 2011]
10) Crysis [Xbox 360, 2011]

Yes, it can run on consoles, and yes, it is still a pretty damn good shooter today.

L.A. Noire
9) L.A. Noire [PS3, 2011]

A handful of flaws do not ruin one of this year’s more unique adventure titles; a must play for fans of Film Noir and detective stories.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [Playstation 3, 2009]
8) Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [PS3, 2009]

A sequel that ups the ante with even more insane action sequences; about as close to a movie as a video game can get.

Fallout: New Vegas [Xbox 360]
7) Fallout: New Vegas [Xbox 360, 2010]

Bugs and glitches be damned; this is another great entry into the Fallout series.

Wipeout HD [Playstation 3, 2008]
6) Wipeout HD [PS3, 2008]

White-knuckled racer with a pulsing techno soundtrack and one of the most fun racing modes I have played (Zone).

Deus Ex: Human Revolution [Playstation 3, 2011]
5) Deus Ex: Human Revolution [PS3, 2011]

Cerebral adventure with breathtaking Blade Runner-esque environments.

Gears of War 3 [Xbox 360, 2011]
4) Gears of War 3 [Xbox 360, 2011]

The most refined Gears experience yet; an amalgamation of the best features from the first two games.

Bastion [Xbox 360, 2011]
3) Bastion [Xbox 360, 2011]

Undeniably stylish and full of charm, this indie gem holds its own against the AAA heavyweights.

Dead Space 2 [Xbox 360, 2011]
2) Dead Space 2 [Xbox 360, 2011]

More action-oriented than its predecessor, yet it delivers an even more tense and creepy atmosphere.

Heavy Rain
1) Heavy Rain [PS3, 2010]

This “interactive drama” remains one of the most unforgettable gaming experiences I have ever had, and it is a must play for any serious gamer.

That’s my list. What’s yours? What were the best games you played in 2011?

Top 10 Films From 2011

While working on my top ten list for 2010, I opted to wait longer than most to post my final results. My plan was to catch up on films I missed at the tail end of the year, so I didn’t actually post my list until March 16. I am not doing that this year. There are just too many movies that came out in the final quarter of 2011 that I missed out on, and I would rather not wait until they are out on DVD to compile a top ten.

This top ten list is for 2011 movies that I saw during that calendar year. There are noticeable exclusions that I simply have not seen yet (The Artist, Take Shelter, Tree of Life, to name a few), so I may amend this list in the next few months to include those that I missed last year. I am in full-on list-making mode right now, so here is my preliminary list of the Top 10 Films From 2011:

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [2011]

10) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Perhaps an unnecessary remake, but Fincher’s adaptation is engrossing and features powerful performances from Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

The Ides of March [2011]
9) The Ides of March

Star-studded film that wonderfully shows the backstabbing and selfish nature of politics.

I Saw the Devil [2010]
8) I Saw the Devil

Brutal, disgusting and unbelievably violent; in a nutshell, another badass Korean revenge thriller.

Attack the Block [2011]
7) Attack the Block

One of this year’s most entertaining movies, even if subtitles are almost a requirement to understand it.

13 Assassins [2010]
6) 13 Assassins

Miike’s samurai homage has one of the most unforgettable and epic battle scenes I have ever seen.

Shame [2011]
5) Shame

Not an easy watch by any means, but this is a fascinating portrayal of the depths of an intense sexual addiction.

Hugo 3D [2011]
4) Hugo

Not your typical family flick, this one is a real treat for film lovers, especially when seen in 3D (ironically enough).

Moneyball [2011]
3) Moneyball

A faithful adaptation of a terrific sports book, this is a baseball movie that can be appreciated even by non-fans.

50/50 [2011]
2) 50/50

The biggest surprise of the year, a cancer film that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking.

Drive [2011]
1) Drive

Could there be anything else at #1? Drive is stylish, cuts out unnecessary dialogue, utilizes a killer soundtrack to perfection, and boasts a stellar cast. All the makings of a best movie of the year.

Honorable mentions: Win Win, Bridesmaids, Beginners, The Adjustment Bureau, The Descendants

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with any of these selections? What were your favorite movies from 2011?

Feature: Netflix’s Top 10 Recommendations For Me

It’s no secret that I am a huge advocate for Netflix. This service is one of the greatest creations using the internet, and apparently I am not the only one who thinks so. One of my favorite resources on Netflix is its recommendations system that it provides based on your ratings of other films. The algorithm behind this has improved drastically since the service’s early days, and now it continually provides helpful suggestions. I thought it would be fun to take a look at my current batch of Top 10 Recommendations and see if any of them stand out to me.

Beginning with number one…

Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... [2008-2009]
1) Spectacle: Elvis Costello With… [2008-2009]
Recommended based on my interest in: None listed.
Ok, this is a pretty interesting suggestion. I never really got into Elvis Costello’s music, although I know he has a large following. I had no idea he had a television show. It sounds like something I would dig — Costello interviews musical icons and has them perform alternative versions of songs. There’s an episode with Lou Reed that sounds intriguing, so I think I’ll give that a shot.

Louis C.K.: Hilarious [2009]
2) Louis C.K.: Hilarious [2009]
Recommended based on my interest in: Louie, Louis C.K.: Chewed Up and SNL: The Best of Christopher Walken
I started watching the TV series Louie over the summer, and I love the show. I also caught one of his standup specials on Instant Watch, which was equally hilarious. I won’t get this one on DVD, but if it shows up via streaming I will definitely check it out.

Lucky Louie [2006]
3) Lucky Louie [2006]
Recommended based on my interest in: Louie, Louis C.K.: Chewed Up and Eastbound and Down
Yeah, I really need to watch his first series as well. Heard great things about it; it’s a shame that HBO cancelled it so quickly.

Persona [1967]
4) Persona [1967]
Recommended based on my interest in: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Chinatown and A Clockwork Orange
I just watched my first Bergman film recently (Wild Strawberries) and really enjoyed it. I definitely want to watch more of his work, though I find it funny that Netflix recommended me this based on my interest in Kubrick more than anything.

Le Cercle Rouge [1970]
5) Le Cercle Rouge [1970]
Recommended based on my interest in: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Chinatown and A Clockwork Orange
Netflix labels this a “noir thriller” with keywords “Cerebral, Dark, Exciting, Suspenseful”. Never heard of this one, but it sounds right up my alley.

Fail-Safe [1964]
6) Fail-Safe [1964]
Recommended based on my interest in: 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon and 2001: A Space Odyssey
I have heard this compared to Dr. Strangelove quite a bit, and I really need to see both of them. I’ll probably catch the Kubrick classic first since it’s on my 50 Movies Project, but I plan on watching both at some point.

The Paper Chase [1973]
7) The Paper Chase [1973]
Recommended based on my interest in: The Graduate, Dial M for Murder and 12 Angry Men
Hmm… this probably would have never slipped onto my radar if it weren’t for Netflix. Not sure if it’s my cup of tea, but it has good reviews. I’ll keep it in mind.

The Chaser [2008]
8 ) The Chaser [2008]
Recommended based on my interest in: A Clockwork Orange, Seven Samurai and Jackie Brown
A Korean thriller that I have never heard of. I am always interested in these and will definitely add it to the queue, especially since it’s on Instant Watch.

MST3K: Merlin's Shop [1999]
9) MST3K: Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders [1999]
Recommended based on my interest in: MST3K: Horrors of Spider Island, This Is Spinal Tap and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Nothing wrong with some MST3K! Last I saw, however, they had a bunch of episodes on Instant Watch. I would rather watch those first than grab this DVD.

Bus 174 [2003]
10) Bus 174 [2003]
Recommended based on my interest in: None listed.
Portuguese documentary about an event I never heard of — in June 2000, a man hijacked a Rio de Janeiro bus carrying 12 passengers, aiming to kill all aboard. Sounds pretty crazy, and I am always up for a good documentary. Into the queue it goes.

I think Netflix was dead-on with its recommendations overall. Pretty much everything sounds like something I would like, and the majority of the titles went right into my already-too-large queue. Good stuff; I will do a future writeup about my afterthoughts at some point.

List: Top 10 Video Games I Just Can’t Quit

A couple of weeks ago there was a “Freshly Pressed” blog post that caught my eye. This post, titled “Video Games I Just Can’t Quit,” was about the author’s list of games that he kept coming back to time and time again. I was very intrigued by this idea, and have been thinking about my own personal list since initially reading his. Here’s what I have come up with, a list of games that I continue to play over and over regardless of their age:

Super C [NES, 1990]
1) Super C [NES]
I have fond memories of playing this with my brother when I was a kid. In typical Contra fashion, the game is hard as hell. I think we only beat the game once or twice back then… it was brutal.

Dr. Mario
2) Dr. Mario [NES]
Man, I can’t even tell you how hooked I was on this game. We used to have insane Dr. Mario marathons in college, even developing a ranking chart for everyone who played regularly with us. My roommate was always #1 on the list, but I was a close second. Ah, the good ol’ days… Even today, my girlfriend and I bust it out from time to time.

3) Tetris [NES]
For some reason, old puzzle games got a lot of “airplay” in college. My buddy Roy and I would play Tetris all the freakin’ time, often listening to The National while doing so (an odd mix, but it worked perfectly). I still have some version of Tetris for pretty much every system I own today.

4) Super Mario Bros. 3 [NES] & Super Mario World [SNES]
My two favorite Mario games. I still play them every now and then, picking up right where I left off. My girlfriend and I are working our way through SMW again, this time collecting all of the Yoshi coins and hidden items. Good times.

5) Golden Axe [GEN]
One of my favorite beat ’em ups. It’s still fun to relive the glory days as Gilius Thunderhead, that badass axe-wielding dwarf.

6) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night [PS1]
Believe it or not, this is what introduced me to the Castlevania series. The cheesy dialogue, the incredible soundtrack, the exploration gameplay, the inverted castle… this game has it all. Now that I also have it for the PSP (via the Dracula X Chronicles disc), I can play it anywhere.

7) Star Ocean: The Second Story [PS1]
I have probably started and stopped this game at least a dozen times. I still have a save file that is in the final dungeon, but I have been stuck on one of the last bosses for YEARS. Someday I will pick this back up and finally beat the damn game, and it will be absolutely glorious.

8) Suikoden [PS1]
Still one of my favorite RPGs to this day. I played through it multiple times and loved trying to recruit all 108 characters. Although many prefer the second game, I still think this one is best by far.

9) Quake III: Arena [PC]
Back in high school, my friends and I used to get all of our daily work done in “Computer Lit” (or whatever the basic computer class was) as fast as we could so we could play this. We had some furious deathmatches back in the day, and it remains one of my favorite FPS titles to this day. I never could master that damn rail gun, though I was pretty lethal with the rocket launcher and plasma gun.

10) Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 [PS2]
This is the best all-around Tony Hawk game and it features some of the most memorable levels in the series (Airport, anyone?). This is one of the rare games where I had so much fun that I went through and beat the game multiple times with different skaters. I can still pick it up and play it today while remembering most of my special trick combos. Best skateboarding game ever, in my opinion.

So there you have it, my list of ten video games I just can’t quit. Working on this list has just made me want to go back and play all of these again.

How about you guys? What games do you keep coming back to?