The end of the year is upon us Geeklings. When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow we’ll be taking our first steps into the journey that is 2019. On paper, the idea of a new year is really, really exciting. It’s a time to kind of reset the board and start over. New beginnings if you will. It doesn’t have to always be that way though. No, a new year can just be a continuation of the awesome of the previous year. I think it all depends on a person’s mentality or the type of year they’ve had. For me, I’ve got some really big things planned for 2019, but we can talk about that more during the week.
Today is a day to celebrate all the awesome that was 2018, and there was quite a lot. In fact, there was so much awesome that I’ve already forgotten things. I don’t know what it is but this year felt especially long, and I don’t mean that necessarily in a bad way. I mean it in the, “oh man, that came out this year” kind of way. I’ve said it before concerning Black Panther but it seems that certain things have been such a part of the pop culture fabric for so long that you forget that they’re only a year old. On top of that, my memory is really starting to suck and I forget things. I have been keeping notes throughout the year though and that helps. Man, that made me sound incredibly old… I’m not that old Geeklings.
When I did my Best of 2018 Honorable Mentions I totally left off the final season of Star Wars Rebels and I was bummed out about that. I also left off the two Stephen King books that dropped this year (The Outsider and Elevation) both of which I loved. It happens. With Rebels, those last four episodes or so were some of my favorite Star Wars storytelling in any medium and King’s books just remind me of why I love his stories so much. Let this paragraph stand as my apology.
I’m sure I”ve left some things off, it’s going to happen, but at the end of the day I’m pretty happy with my Best of 2018 list. I tried to take into account alllllll the pop culture I experienced this year, and there was quite a lot, and condense it into one list of truly awesome things. There is no doubt that there will be things that you have in your best of lists that I don’t and that’s natural. I can’t watch, read, or play everything despite how badly I want to, and as of right now I’m this site’s only employee. For all you Nintendo Switch Fans or Red Dead Redemption II players or people who loved Predators or Mary Poppins Returns, I hear you but I have yet to experience those so bear with me a little, okay? This is my list. Let’s talk about it.
With that being said, let’s do this thing. Here is part one of the I Am Geek Best of 2018. We’re going to cover items ten through six with the Top Five dropping at some point during New Years Day. I can’t tell you what time exactly as I plan on having quite a bit of tequila tomorrow night. Paaaaaaaartyyyyy! Feel free to add your best of list either in the comments or throw me a line on Twitter @iamgeek32.
Now, without further delay…
10. Teddy Perkins- “Teddy Perkins” is the best horror movie of the year. Point blank. I’m not really willing to debate this. Yes, I loved Hereditary and Victoria and A Quiet Place (more on that in a minute), but when push comes to shove Atlanta’s “Teddy Perkins” ruined my life… in all the best ways. In fact, not only did it ruin my life but it sort of ruined A Quiet Place for me. “Teddy Perkins” was released a day before John Krasinksi’s gem, and all I could think of leading into it, and days afterward, was Teddy Perkins and how it was scarier.
What is it about “Teddy Perkins” though that left me reeling? I think it was a collection of things. First, the unexpected nature of the episode. Atlanta has made a reputation by being unorthodox, at best, which means I never know what to expect when I sit down and watch. Season two is riddled with a number of Get Out references and homages, but none more clearly than “Teddy Perkins”, an episode that sees Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) head to the home of a once-famous musician to collect a multi-colored mini piano. By himself. What follows is a deep exploration of fame and isolation, family, fathers, and the ramifications they can have on a person. The episode itself is filled with a tension that wraps around your insides. At first, it seems like a typical random Darius adventure but as the show runs deeper and longer things become uncomfortable. Not until the episode ends are you able to get yourself together and try and figure out what the hell just happened to you.
It’s hard to ignore the very obvious Teddy Perkins/Michael Jackson comparisons, and Donald Glover does that intentionally, but it’s Glover’s performance that leaves the largest impression. It took me until the end of my first viewing, I re-watched immediately after which is another testament to the episode, that I discovered Glover was, in fact, Teddy Perkins. It was a certain type of mannerism that reminded me of Troy from Community. Once I discovered that it was nothing but a deeper appreciation for what was happening on screen. Glover’s performance is haunting in its simplicity. Granted, it’s not a simple performance but the way he conducts himself as Teddy Perkins is almost effortless. Perkins jumps off the screen and seems larger than life. The sound of Teddy Perkin’s voice haunts me still as does his eating of an ostrich egg. “Teddy Perkins” is not only the best of Donald Glover but some of the best of what the genre has to offer.
9. God of War (PS4)- I don’t play as many video games as I used to anymore, but despite that, I still bought myself a PS4 in the hopes of getting back into gaming. There were a ton of things I wanted to play and there were a ton of games on the horizon that I needed in my life. Looking at you Last of Us 2. When I saw the trailers for the new God of War game I was instantly intrigued. I was a pretty big fan of the original game, never played any of the sequels, and loved the idea of exploring Norse mythology. You should know by now that I have this thing about jumping into a story without experiencing all the story that came before it. That was one of the things that initially prevented me from picking up God of War… only for a minute though.
God of War was all over Twitter when it was released and all the reviews were glowing. I’m talking as if the game had been dipped into something radioactive. That kind of glowing. I would have to skip over sections of a podcast I listen to in order to avoid game spoilers. Eventually, it became too much for me and I needed to purchase the game. A purchase I have not regretted at all.
The good news is you don’t need to have played every God of War game in order to fully appreciate this story. In fact, having only played the original seemed to be enough for me. Not once did I feel like I was missing out on something. Putting Kratos into Norse mythology was refreshing and exciting, and super cool. I loved hearing the characters mention Odin and Thor and dark elves. If years of reading Thor comics has taught me anything it’s these characters. I was more than prepared.
The game itself is challenging, not a cake walk, but it’s driven by its story. A man who has killed gods loses his wife and is left alone with his sickly son. A son who doesn’t know of his father’s god killing past. What follows is an intense family drama filled with self-discovery for both characters, a lot of bloody action, a talking severed head and an ending that had me repeatedly saying “holy shit”. I have yet to finish all the side quests in the game but left feeling all types of hyped for the eventual sequel. God of War opens the world for Kratos and delivers an incredible gaming experience with beautiful visuals along with a tremendous story that hit on a number of emotional beats. I spent many hours this summer playing this game in the air condition and I don’t regret a single one.
8. The Haunting of Hill House- Just to circle back to horror for a second, if “Teddy Perkins” is the scariest single thing I’ve watched this year than The Haunting of Hill House is the scariest collected thing I’ve watched this year. Seriously, this thing scared the bejesus out of me. As I’ve said, I’m big on the type of horror that will ruin my life and my life was definitely ruined for weeks following my viewing of Hill House. Ruined how you ask? We’re talking the type of ruined where I don’t want to be home alone with minimal lights on or thought behind every corner was either a ghost or the Bent Neck Lady waiting for me. You know, super cool things like that.
I don’t want to re-hash my review from earlier this year, but when it came to Hill House making the list I had to ask myself a few questions. Obviously, the first question is staying power. Is this one of the many things I’ve watched this year that I enjoyed and then just fell into my pop culture rolladex or is it something I continuously talk about while patiently waiting for a rewatch. The second question is the amount of fun I had watching/discussing, and both of my answers were waaaaaay in the positive.
Hill House was one of my absolute favorite things of the year. I’ve had tons of conversations with friends about the show and it’s fun reliving the moments with them. Talking to my best friend about a jump scare that made me scream out loud and receiving a text from him after it made him spill his coffee were moments that helped comprise a small community of fans who were victimized by the Hill House, but also so enthralled they couldn’t look away. Much like the characters we were all drawn back.
I can not wait to watch Hill House again. I want to give it some time though so the scares are fresh again, but not long enough where I’ve forgotten the story. I want to be able to pick out the crazy amount of ghosts lurking in the background and kind of peel back the layers of Hill House itself. The viewing of Hill House has the potential to be a new Halloween tradition, and I’m here for it.
7. Deadly Class– Man, oh man, Deadly Class is everything I love about comics. Everything! I was late to the party here but I’m so freakin’ happy that I received my invitation because this series. This series! Now here I have to be careful because I read all of Deadly Class in two glorious weeks which means I should be only counting the issues from this year but it’s hard. Oh so hard.
The concept of the book alone is enough to sell you. A group of misfits attending a high school for assassins during the late ’80s. Yes, please! It’s everything that follows that is incredible. Rick Remender gives us this bonkers premise, which he makes work so effin well, and drives it on the richness of character. I had no idea that this book was going to suck me in the way it did, in fact, I didn’t even know it had until the first major character moment goes down. Next thing I know is that I’m fully invested and needed all the issues immediately.
Deadly Class works so well because it makes you care. Nothing is what it seems and character motives aren’t always black and white. But at the heart of it all, Deadly Class is a story about friendship, love, and family. A sense of belonging. A sense of self-discovery and second chances. I can’t even begin to explain how many times this series ripped my heart out of my chest and asked me to watch it beat. I am so deeply invested in this story and these characters that I can’t wait for their return in mid-January.
Deadly Class is everything that makes comic books great and something you need to put on your pull list immediately. Then come back here so we can geek out about it.
6. Black Panther- At this point, what can be said about Black Panther that hasn’t already been said? I mean, it’s incredible. It’s breathtaking. It’s culturally important. It helps to re-define and enhance the superhero genre. Black Panther is one of the most important movies of the year, if not, the decade.
This isn’t just a superhero movie. Black Panther spoke to a generation of people, both young and old, and showed them they could be represented. It was this special gift that transcended more than pop culture and it was beautiful to withhold. Watching athletes throw up the “Wakanda Forever” sign or watching videos of teachers greeting students with the handshakes in the morning was touching and inspiring. Wakanda suddenly didn’t feel like a fictional country. It seemed like a very real possibility of endless promise.
On top of that, Black Panther is simply awesome. The visuals of Wakanda, Michael B Jordan’s Killmonger, everything about M’Baku, the soundtrack, Shuri, the score… Black Panther deserves to be nominated in every major awards show.
There’s only one thing that can be said. Wakanda Forever!
There you have it Geeklings, be sure to tune in to I Am Geek on New Years Day with the rest of the Best of 2018. There are still plenty of incredible things to come. In the meantime, why not sound off in the comments with what you think of the list so far. Then mentally prepare yourself for what’s to come. I Am Geek sending 2018 out with a bang!