|By Zach Patterson||Thursday, 17 Jan 2008|
This time it’s Zach’s turn.
Honorable Mention: Minus The Bear – Planet of Ice
7. 28 Weeks Later
A movie I went into with no expectation became probably my favorite movie of the year. While I loved the original movie, I felt it suffered from a hard divide midway through the movie where it changed course and focused more on a group of soldiers. The sequel works on the interesting premise of trying to figure out how to repopulate a city that was absolutely devastated by the Rage virus. Everything seems plausible, from the character’s motives to the military containment decisions, and it lives off its own merits instead of just diluting and regurgitating what made 28 Days Later so great. Add in a great soundtrack and one of the most intense opening scenes in recent memory, and you have my movie pick of the year.
6. Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales
I know this game was getting a lot of eye rolls when it first came out, but I was flat out excited to try it out. What essentially is 3 games mashed together ends up working very well. The card game plays out like a Final Fantasy turn-based battle, and looks very pretty, and is also fairly easy to learn and play. Then there are the mini-games that range from fun and addictive to tolerable, but on the whole are pretty fun. This is all tied together by an RPG action adventure-esque overworld with some cutesy but pretty graphics that are among the most solid the DS has to offer. There’s also a variety of multiplayer wifi modes that makes this an easy title to recommend.
5. Lollapalooza 2007 and the city of Chicago
While I can find some criticism in the scheduling choices, prices, overcrowding, and occasional lack of interest in certain bands, Lollapalooza was one of those experiences that you can’t help but remember. I’ve never been in a festival atmosphere of this magnitude, and just dedicating an entire weekend to listening to music all day long proves to be surprisingly great. It’s also an endurance test, as well as a balancing act, try to catch everything you want while still going out to eat and wandering the city. And sometimes even when you are at the festival, you have to make sacrifices (Modest Mouse and My Morning Jacket playing at the same time on the two furthest apart stages? Fuck you guys, seriously). However, experiencing bands I had never seen before and didn’t plan on seeing turned out to be a lot of fun, and the big bands really didn’t disappoint. Add that to seeing Chicago for the first time, going on some wonderful bike rides with my girlfriend, and eating out at some great places really made for a great weekend.
4. Hotel Dusk: Room 215
So some people would probably be quick to point out that so many other great console games came out this year, and here I am, Zach Patterson, giving out two spaces in my highly coveted top 7 to DS games! Not only DS games, but ones that probably were considered not even the best of the year! Well screw that, I didn’t play any 2007 console games enough to really deem them worthy in my list, and no one cares about my opinion anyway. But still! Hotel Dusk was definitely my favorite game of the year. A moody, somber soundtrack, fantastic writing, memorable characters, and a distinctive art style really made this game worth buying for the atmosphere alone. In addition, it offered a long, involving story that had replay value, the gameplay was fun and diverse (especially in the adventure game genre), and the novel uses of the DS made this my easy favorite of the year.
3. Phillies Win The NL East
Baseball? Seriously? Well when you follow a team for an entire year, a team who hasn’t done anything for nearly 15 years, and they finally are able to make the playoffs, it is something special. Add to the fact that they faced losing nearly every superstar on the roster for extended time at some point and were written off a dozen times as being dead in the water, and it makes it even more special. The Mets-Phillies games in August really were representative of what this team was about: being outmatched by better pitching, and just using sheer will, heart, and character (and a lot of hitting) to find a way to win. The final game of the year, the division clincher was like my world series. It was an emotional moment for the city of Philadelphia and for the sports fan in me that had long been suffering, unable to have any faith in a baseball team I grew up loving.
2. Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond
I had become a Dinosaur Jr fan based on a bargain bin copy of Without A Sound I had bought back in college a few years ago. Over the course of the next few years, I really began to love the band and picked up all their old material. When they reunited and a new album was released, I was wondering if it was even going to be any good. While Dinosaur Jr released records until 1997, this original version of the band hadn’t played together since the 80′s. Luckily, this album proves that reunion albums can be just as good, if not better than anything released before by the band. Even though this is the 8th album by Dinosaur Jr, this really feels like the 4th album, something that would have been released in an alternate world where a nasty breakup between Barlow and Mascis never happened. But really, this album is just everything that makes Dinosaur Jr great. Distorted guitars, melodic solos, J’s raspy slacker voice, and mixing in some good songs sung by Lou as well.
1. Chromelodeon – The Final Recordings/The Final Show Weekend
In April, Chromelodeon played one last show and released their final album. The band invited their fans (many of us from theshizz) to come out to the show and stay at their house for the weekend and make a big party out of it. It ended up being the best weekend of the year, and one of the most fun of my life. The Final Show was probably the best show with the most active, emotional crowd I’ve been to. The crowd came from all over, and we all came together and really connected. It was a fun weekend that I never wanted to end and cemented Chromelodeon as my favorite band. Additionally, the final album is an absolute masterpiece and definitely one of my top 5 “desert island” albums. I was so glad that it was released, as I had been going to their shows for a long time just to hear “Aluminum” and “Triangular”. Chromelodeon may be gone now, but they certainly gave me a lot to remember them by.