Best of 2021
This list is some of the best of stuff I experienced in 2021.
I’m Not There
I started watched this Bob Dylan inspired docu-mocku-dramatized-metary back in high school when I first got into his music (of which I am a huge fan of, see last year’s album pick). I never finished this movie then, and I recall finding it hard to understand. In summary, this movie characterizes six different parts of Bob Dylan through six different characters. It is hard to follow because of this, but I thought it was great and engaging. I haven’t been able to parse the Richard Gere story, as other critics have noted, but I enjoy the style it was set in, and so will give it a pass.
Honorable mentions are Knives Out, Coraline, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!
This is an excellent book about the life of Richard Feynman, a physicist who worked at Los Alamos during the war. There is minimal mention of physics, though, the book is about intellectual curiosities and his “curious character,” as the book mentioned. I related to a lot of his stories, such as his criticism of the education system in Brazil at the time, and how it is like what I saw in my education.
Honorable mentions are A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, Saga, and What are People For?.
Aereo-Plain - John Hartford
I love bluegrass music, but John Hartford’s bluegrass music is my favorite type. I had four of his albums: Aereo-Plain, Morning Bugle, Nobody Knows What You Do, and Mark Twang on repeat for much of the year. These songs are so catchy, delightful, joyous, American, melancholy, and childish that they have been on my mind like few albums before.
Honorable mentions are Will the Circle be Unbroken, Hot Rats, and A Night at the Opera.
Best Video Game
Half Life: Alyx
Half Life: Alyx is a Half Life game, but in virtual reality. It is such an excellent experience. The writing and gameplay are fantastic, and it is such fun. The infamous Jeff chapter is one of the most compelling sequences I’ve ever seen in a game. This game makes a compelling case that VR games are the best way to experience an immersive story, and I look forward to more games like this for VR in the future.
Honorable mentions are Dwarf Fortress, Caves of Qud, and Forewarned.
Best TV Show
Over the Garden Wall
This series is wonderful. It reminds me a lot of Ghibli movies.
I didn’t watch a ton of television shows, or at least new shows, and so I’m omitting honorable mentions. I enjoyed introducing my partner to Taskmaster.
Best Youtube Series
Cody’sLab - Chicken Hole Base
This is a series where a man buys land in Nevada, and tries to make it self-sustaining, loosely limiting himself to things that would be possible on Mars. I found myself enthralled with Cody’s videos when I first discovered them. I’d recommend this series to anyone who is in science: Cody is living the mad scientist dream.
My RSS reader has 157 blogs at the moment, though some may be hiding under other categories, and so this category had a lot of competition. I most enjoyed seeing frequent posts by Ran Prier. Often his posts are about “weird collapse.”
Best Board Game
Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
I enjoyed this game a lot, in which a player tries to give clues like Mysterium. I find it much more enjoyable than Mysterium or other games within this genre.
Other games I enjoyed were Calico and Star Realms.