My Top 10 Favourite Characters of All Time

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This list serves as a list of my Top 10 Favourite Characters of All Time, wherein I recount my favourite characters throughout fiction, but this video also functions as an experiment I’d like to play out over the coming years here on the channel. Every year in January I would like to remake this list and compare how the placement of certain characters change over time, and as new characters are introduced. With that being said let’s start the list:

  1. Edda (Black Lagoon)

One of my favourite moments in Black Lagoon is the scene at the end of the Greenback Jane arc, were the cowboy from America figures out the Edda is a secret informant for the CIA. This reveal, is the closer of an already great arc for characterisation of Edda gives her additional depth, and this additional depth, gives Edda enough depth and interested to grant her a spot on this list. Edda CIA status then plays perfectly into Rock’s character arc and the progression of the story in Roberta’s Blood Trail. Rock spends an episode trying to uncover the person truly in control of Roanapur and decides that someone important would be paying him a visit very soon, only for Edda to show up ad with a little dramatic irony, the audience realises that she is the one how controls Roanapur. She’s the only character in Roberta’s Blood Trail that keeps her cool and fixes the situation; Revy is pissed because the young maid is living her dream, Rock is pissed at Mr Chang, Roberta is so pissed she loses her mind, Dutch is pissed at Rock, and Balalaika is so incredibly pissed at the world and the way she’s been treated since the war, that she threatens America. Edda is the only reason both the Americans and Roberta leave Roanapur, saving the city from absolute collapse. Another standout scene is when she cucks Roberta in the aeroplane, and we finally see her in full CIA apparel, blue eyes out and everything. Edda is nearly as underrated as the show she inhabits and in the latter half of the series proves her effectiveness as a character.

  1. Askeladd (Vinland Saga)

Askeladd is the standout character of Vinland Saga. Thorfinn, though I do value his ties to the thematic undertones of the series and his unwavering pacifism, is a little too boring contemporarily to have a slot on this list (though he still made the honourable mentions list). Askeladd has that intelligent nihilistic endearment that Thorfinn lacks, he’s cynical and wise and always steps ahead of everyone else, including the audience. Askeladd upon introduction is presented as Thorfinn’s ultimate obstacle, the last step in Thorfinn’s journey of revenge. As the prologue progresses the audience begins to suspect something deeper is going on with Askeladd and it is eventually revealed through the groups pursuit by Thorkell that Askeladd is from Wales and his true goal is to protect his mother’s homeland, and that he intends to achieve this by installing Canute as King. His hatred for his comrades and the Viking way of life, through his backstory about his mother, adds that necessarily depth to rank on this list. The reveal that he hates everything we, as the audience, once believed he entirely represented is a great subversion. Askeladd’s strength as a character is displayed in my favourite scenes of Vinland Saga. The scene where he and Thorfinn find themselves both detached from the group, unknowingly both mutually disgusted by their peers, is one of my favourites. Askeladd and Thorfinn discuss how war has laid waste to the area they are standing on, with Askeladd pointing out the remains of monuments from the Roman Empire that were know irrelevant. This is one of the scenes were Askeladd is giving advice to Thorfinn warning him that he’s better than war and better than revenge but it doesn’t resonate with that Thorfinn, and later in another standout scene when the two clash for the final time, Askeladd finally shows some disappointment in Thorfinn for not understanding what he and his father were trying to instil in him. Luckily, eventually Thorfinn would learn these lessons.

But Askeladd is who placed number 9 on this list not Thorfinn, and I would be remise when talking about Askeladd if we didn’t mention chapter 54. Spoilers for Vinland Saga ahead. (Skip to number 8 if you haven’t seen Vinland Saga and wish to avoid massive spoilers) Askeladd’s final stand is one of the best I have ever seen. He singlehandedly stops the invasion of Wales, kills the King and grants Canute the perfect opportunity and scenario to claim the crown for himself, and sub-textually the impact this has on Thorfinn’s character is even greater than everything I just mentioned. It’s truly griping to watch chapter 54 unfold for the first time, I couldn’t believe everything was resolved so perfectly, every plotline was resolved in this action by Askeladd, when I’m sure many in the audience weren’t expecting this to be the conclusion of the prologue. Thorfinn has everything he thought he wanted taken from him, Canute truly came of age, the wars were over and Askeladd’s story was resolved. Askeladd wasn’t around in the grand scheme of Vinland Saga very much but his impact is undeniable.

  1. Naito Tetsuya (New Japan Pro Wrestling)

If this list was going to be as true to myself as possible, professional wrestling would need some representation and I thought about Stone Cold Steve Austin and I thought about The Rock, but I came down to two options; the woman that inspired me to take this path or the most captivating character in the history of wrestling. Tetsuya Naito was introduced to me by Showbuckle, the man responsible for my investment in New Japan Pro Wrestling entirely. His video “The Fall and Rise of Tetsuya Naito,” was the first taste of New Japan Pro Wrestling ever, sure I’d heard the name Kenny Omega and Okada, but this was my first visual connection to New Japan and afterwards I never looked back. A lot of people’s first New Japan event was Wrestle Kingdom 12, but most tuned in for the return of Chris Jericho, when I was completely drawn in because Naito vs Okada was the main event and it seemed destined for this to be Naito’s biggest victory. Naito’s gimmick is that he doesn’t give a fuck about anything, he’s tranquilo, whenever in a big match he loses his cool he either losses or snaps back into his absolute calmness. Watching the subtle storytelling of Naito using his old moves and losing matches like at Wrestle Kingdom 12, when 30 thousand fans specifically bought tickets to watch him finally get his moment by defeating Kazuckica Okada in the main event of the biggest show of the year, only for Naito to slip back into the Stardust Genius for a second and then lose the match he seemed destined to win, was the pinnacle of Pro Wrestling storytelling. Naito has the most charisma that I’ve seen in a wrestler since Austin and Rock in the early 2000s, and the value of that and the appeal of that cannot be understated.

  1. Annie (Attack on Titan)

Annie is the outlier pick on this list because she isn’t as well developed or even as focused on as the other characters on this list, but she does hold personal value to me. Hell, any isn’t even critically the best character in Attack on Titan, Levi, Kenny, Erwin, Geisha and Kruger are all more effective, but Annie is special to me because she has been my favourite character since I initially watched Attack on Titan. Like a lot of people, Attack on Titan was my gateway anime, sure I’d watched shows like Dragon Ball, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh previously but Attack on Titan was the first anime I watched consciously. I sympathised with Annie because she seemed so alone at the end of Season 1, her flashback with her father who’s relentlessly apologising for putting her in this position won her over to me. Maybe this was all propped up by my twelve-year-old attraction to her, but nonetheless her character does have some depth and the community universally awaits her return, while Isayama continues to tease us without compassion.

  1. Farnese (Berserk)

Farnese may be the character with the most development in all of Berserk. She has been continuously focused upon in every arc since her introduction in Conviction. In Conviction she’s initially introduced and is inspired by Guts to throw away her fundamentalist religious beliefs and follow him to find a real purpose in life. In the Millennium Flacon arc she wrestles with her feelings of worthlessness as she tries to fill the void in her heart since she removed God from her life. She finds herself sacrificing her freedom to try and prove her self-worth by agreeing to marry Rodrick in return for a boat for the group, only for the group to prove to her that she is valued by coming back to rescue her as everything goes to shit in Virtannis. Contemporarily in Fantasia she is coming into her own as a Witch and coming to terms with her relationship with both Guts and Casca. The most exciting aspect of Farnese may still be in her future as in the coming chapter we will see how her jealousy towards Casca regarding Guts’ affection is forced to the surface. Hopefully she realises that Rodrick is a great catch and she moves forward with him. Farnese has developed so much throughout the story that original Farnese as we were initially introduced to her would kill current Farnese if they meant, that’s outstanding development. From vile, repressed witch hunter to valued comrade and friend, Farnese is a fantastic character to watch grow, and in any normal series would undeniably be best girl.

  1. Casca (Berserk)

Casca is the very best character Berserk has to offer and what’s most impressive is that she was only really active for a single arc. Her character development through her blossoming relationship with Guts endeared her to me more than all of Farnese’s technically proficient development. Casca supportiveness in her and Guts’ sex scene, endeared her fundamentally as a kind and understanding life partner for our main boy Guts. Her acceptance of Guts after he shares his most personal and depressing experiences is heart-warming and their togetherness in that moment makes them a joy to watch together. Not only that but her portrayal as a layered and relatable person through her extremely complex relationship with Guts and Griffith make her stand out amongst the sea of fantastic Berserk characters. But my favourability of Casca was made evident early in 2018 when she finally returned to us. The emotion I felt to finally have a walking, talking Casca back was unparalleled in a story, I had never felt as much emotion towards a character or a story as I did towards Casca and Berserk in that moment. Going through the heartbreak of the Eclipse and the insuring journey was all made worth it by journeys end. Casca is the only character on this list I’ve cried over and that must count for something. Most interestingly is that Casca has a lot of development ahead of her, in the coming chapters we will see where she will lead us and the overall narrative of Berserk, personally I’m hoping to see her go through a ruthless Black Swordsman period…

  1. Revy (Black Lagoon)

There is no anime character more entertaining to watch or more interesting to listen to than Revy from the greatest anime of all time, Black Lagoon. Here we are exclusively talking about the far superior version of Revy in the English Dub of Black Lagoon, her dialogue and the re-written script for this show is the driving force behind her characters success. Revy unlike any other anime character is not only hilarious and fun to watch but has some legitimate depth and subtextual motivation. Her hilarity and the overall fantastic writing of the series is highlighted by her chemistry with Edda as mentioned at the beginning of the list and in her other fun interactions with the mercenary she affectionately refers to as Chinglish and the stoned Irish drive, among others. But a criminally underrated aspect of Revy as a character is her depth, particularly in her relationship with Rock. Their relationship is the driving force behind everything that happens in Black Lagoon. To boil it down to the simplest elements, Rock to Revy represents her hopes for a normal life, were she wasn’t molested and beat as a child and she can have a peaceful life in a city like Tokyo. Initially the reminder that this life is possible irritates Revy and that’s were their drama early in the series comes from. But unknowingly this antagonism towards Rock in the early stages makes him more accustomed to her way of living and his normal side slowly slips away until Roberta’s Blood Trail where it is completely gone, Rock has become just as fucked as Revy. But the true depth with Revy comes from all throughout the series as she struggles to protect Rock from the darkness ignoring that he, himself wants to dive headfirst into it and that he even enjoys it. When this subtle storyline briefly bubbles to the top it produces some of the greatest scenes in the show, including the scene where Balalaika nearly kills Rock, both his transformation is on display here as well as a line from Balalaika where she mentions to Revy that she doesn’t know what she sees in Rock. Another similar scene occurs between Revy and the mini maid in Roberta’s Blood Trail. Revy is just such a great character and easily my favourite in all of Japanese media.

  1. Tywin Lannister (Game of Thrones)

Tywin Lannister is the ultimate hypocrite, but it’s so enthralling to watch his hypocrisy at work. Charles Dance puts on the standout performance in a great cast, when you consider his competition are some of the elite actors like Peter Dinklage, Diana Rigg and Lena Heady, that’s saying a lot. Tywin as a character was lucky enough to have only existed during the highlight period of Game of Throne’s run, he was introduced in season one in an incredibly introductory scene with Jamie and then died in the finale of season 4 with a great death scene with Tyrion. Tywin was killed before the terrible writing of seasons 5,6 and 7 ruined the fundamental aspects of the show. Recounting his greatest moments is a difficult task, any scene wherein he interacts with one of his children is always captivating, it’s interesting to see how his relationship between the three of them differs; he’s more lenient with Jamie, harsher with Tyrion and pettier with Cersei. Tywin’s scenes with Joffrey are legendary and Tywin is the only character with the balls and the power to tell Joffrey to fuck off consistency. His scenes with Arya have an unrivalled tension and atmosphere and watching them subtly insult and endear themselves to each other was a weirdly great dynamic. There’s countless more like his dick measuring contests with Lady Olenna, but the Shakespearian performance from Charles Dance personifies what the patriarch of the Lannister family should have been.

  1. Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)

Tony Soprano is the deepest and most layered character I’ve ever encountered. The Sopranos total runtime, all seasons included, numbers over 70+ hours, and nearly all of that is an exploration of a single enthralling character. To not only carry this enormous amount of TV time but also create the greatest and most influential television show of all time, is a clear testament to the impact and effectiveness of Tony Soprano. Tony is a depressed mob boss with internal struggles and moral quandaries in both his families, and watching him deal with his divorce, deal with coming to turns with the betrayal of one of his closest friends, deal with his sons attempted suicide, deal with having to run for his life are all wholly engrossing. Plus, the exploration of his psychology is equally as fascinating. One of the most prevalent elements of the Sopranos is Tony’s therapy sessions and his elaborate meta dream sequences. These add so much depth to Tony and are how we come to understand his violent tendencies and problems with authority, throughout the series. This is all enhanced by the writing and dialogue in the show, the dialogue is grounded and realistic, we hear Tony grunt and gasp for air as he talks, we her him misspeak and get interrupted. Tony is so engrossing as a character sometimes it’s hard to tell that you’re not watching a walking, talking human being, because of the sheer amount of depth here. If I were to mention my favourite Tony Sopranos scenes we would just list every scene in the entire show, because there isn’t a bad one. The standout scene I think of when thinking about Tony are all unimportant scene to the overall plot but integral to Tony as a character. Like the scene where he tells Jackie Jr that Richie was a rat, I love the way he tells him to sit the fuck down or when he blows up in a Melfei session about Janice and rants about how she not entitled to anything because he has the scares from the years she left him alone with their mother when they were younger. Ultimately, Tony Soprano may be the greatest character in fiction, but he’s outclassed by one character on my favourites list.

  1. Junior Soprano (The Sopranos)

If Tony Soprano isn’t number 1 on this list then who could possibly top his entertainment factor and overall depth, non-other than his uncle Junior Soprano. Junior has depth, he’s not as explored as Tony, he isn’t the lead after all, in fact he’s the old out of touch grandfather antagonist in the first season. While the acting and dialogue for Junior in season one is exceptional, the depth and love for this character that I have I drawn from his antics in the following seasons. Simply: there is no character more fun to watch in fiction, to me, than Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano. His scenes with Bobby are comedic genius, his trial antics and interactions with his lawyer are amazing, his battle with cancer and dementia just add to the overall package here. But the most interesting aspect of Junior’s character is that he is the exception of the mafia rule, he rides off into the sunset, being allowed to grow senile and die peacefully having avoided sickness, jail, death and the demons from his past. All things he’s faced with through the series; Tony was going to kill him at the end of season one, the feds couldn’t get to him, he beat cancer and because of his forgetfulness all the horrible things he did in the past have been forgotten. If Tony did indeed die at the end of the series, which is debatable, then Junior would be the only character to seemingly have a happy ending in the entire show. I urge you to seek out both his funniest and most emotionally impactful scenes and watch or rewatch them. The scenes with Mikey in Season 1 are hilarious particularly the ‘we aren’t making a western here’ scene, but the scene where he sings Core N’ Grato after Jackie Jr’s funeral is impeccable, the crying mobsters and the powerful song create an unforgettable scene. The scene where he is talking to Tony about having plenty he’d like to forget heartbreaking, especially when he doesn’t realise the irony. There’s not only extreme depth with Tony in this show but in nearly all the characters especially Junior Soprano, my favourite character of all time.

 

 

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My Top 10 Favourite Films of All Time

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This list serves as a list of my Top 10 Favourite Films of All Time, wherein I recount my favourite movies, but this video also functions as an experiment I’d like to play out over the coming years here on the channel. Every year in January I would like to remake this list and compare how the list changes over time. With that being said let’s start the list:

  1. Goodfellas

Goodfellas is getting hard done by here on this list. I think its positioning on the list and its importance to me would be significantly different if I watched it for a second time; but this video has to come out in January and we only have so much time. There’s an undeniably unique atmosphere to Goodfellas, its unlike anything I’ve personally ever watched, maybe Martin Scorsese’s other films are similar in atmosphere, but since this is the only movie of his I’ve ever seen, to me the look, feel and tone are all entirely unique and fascinating. I have seen a variety of mob related media, including movies that will appear further down the list, and tv shows that will appear in tomorrow’s video, but this is the grittiest representation of the mob life, I’ve ever seen. In both the Sopranos and The Godfather there is a draw, an appeal, to the mob life, Vito makes it all look so respectable and elegant and the Sopranos’ waver in the filth, but the filth of sex and drugs something we all admire, so the draw is still there. But in Goodfellas it all seems hopeless, come films end; all the characters we are even tangentially aware of are either dead or in prison, except for Henry, who hates his mundane new life anyway. There are no happy endings here and we don’t feel good come movies end, but that’s the point. We’re telling the stylised story of a reckless man who wanted something and reached for it, only to fall, not to his death but to a worse fate, a life of unfulfillment and absolute mediocrity. The cinematography and performances bring the movie it prominence. The way the helicopter is portrayed through visual language is fantastic, you feel genuine unease, the famous restaurant tracking shot is undeniably impressive in every category. The performance from Joe Pesci’s is literally career defining, he was type-casted forever because of his performance here as a quick tempered, miserable piece of shit. Everything in this movie is appropriately vile and yet somehow entirely enthralling.

  1. Inglorious Bastards

Inglorious Bastards might not be Quentin Tarantino at his craziest, that would be Death Proof, but Inglorious Bastards shows all his strengths, diametrically. It establishes in the first scene and in the equally tense German pub scene that Tarantino can build tension like no one else, the slow burn of the two Nazi soldiers slowly uncovering that the Americans are undercover or that the farmer is sheltering Jews is brutal, and there made worse by how both end. Tarantino could have kept this strikingly serious tone throughout the entire film, but he doesn’t, the film is the diametric representation of Tarantino’s strengths, it in some ways they even contradict each other. These tension-laced scenes are in the same movie as Hitler being blown away by twenty rounds in a burning cinema. The outlandishness completely juxtaposes the realism of the other scenes, but somehow it all still works. These diametric elements co-and-side to create a masterpiece in tension, humour, drama and catharsis. Performances reign king throughout this film, Tarantino is ubiquitous for his strength in dialogue and when performed at this high of a level the results speak for themselves. Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger and Michael Fassbender may all have my favourite individual performances of them in this movie. Waltz is charmingly evil, Pitt is obliviously stupendous, Fassbender is cunningly swov and Kruger is desperately deceitful. These characters are captivating, big personalities that mesh incredibly well and they’re interactions result in some of my favourite scenes of all time. I don’t fully understand how this movie functions on a technical level, it’s a marvel to me, and enjoying it even more because it confuses me on a fundamental level.

  1. Good Time

The rawness of Good Time is intriguing, the vicarial desperation of a man giving everything for his goal is captivating to watch. In this movie we watch an awful man breakdown over 2 hours trying to break his mentally ill brother out of prison. Now his brother is only in prison because this awful man, Connie, manipulated him into assisting him in a bank robbery. I would like to thank Super Eye Patch Wolf for recommending this movie in one of his videos because otherwise I doubt I would have found it and this film is really worth watching. Throughout my initial viewing of the movie I found myself dreading the, what I perceived as, inevitable sad ending with the brother getting murdered in prison or something else horrible happening to him, when this was clearly not his fault. But when the movie ended I was entirely satisfied by the ending. Everyone that needed to be punished for being a terrible person was punished and everyone that needed help or was wrongfully put in a bad situation were given the help they required. Connie is taken to jail by the end of the movie and Nick is in the mental health facility allowed to be happy. But the real draw of this movie is following Connie as he manipulates all the people he knows in order to try to get his brother his freedom, he manipulates a psycho girlfriend into using her mother credit card to try and pay the bond, he saves the wrong guy at one point and manipulates him into helping him out. He even manipulates a 16-year-old girl into helping him. Watching this clusterfuck of human desperation with a happy ending is incredibly enjoyable and I would recommend this largely unknown film to anybody, and that’s why it deserves a spot on this list.

  1. Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel deserves all the credit in the world for just how successful this movie is, and I’m not strictly talking about how monetarily successful it was, but just overall as a piece of cinema. Marvel made a great movie and they didn’t necessarily have to, to make all that money. They caught lightning in a bottle with the structure of this movie, somehow all your favourite characters are featured here, and they get apt screen time. It brought countless extraneous plot elements from several movies together and then delivered with a fantastic villain, with Thanos. Even Marvel’s unanimously considered weakest element, the villain, defies all expectations. Thanos is the selling point of this movie, to me, I really don’t care about the Marvel cinematic universe or any of the characters or even any of these films, I see them once and a while, and I’m glad I went to see this one, and only for Thanos. Thanos is the Darth Vader of cinemas modern time, a generation defining. He works so well because he is not a mindless evil tyrant, as at least I had assumed going into the movie, being largely blind, he does not take any joy or reverence in his actions throughout the movie. He is a damaged hero who views this as his last chance to save the universe, he believes what he is going to be right. He sacrifices the only being in the universe he still has any affection for, in order to save the universe, he is not a hypocrite, he is willing to sacrifice everything for this goal, and the fact that he achieves it at movies end solidifies my admiration for this character. The embodiment of my fascination with this character, is in the scene where Thanos defeats Tony Stark and before he kills him, he genuinely acknowledges his respect for him and hopes that the remaining people on Earth remember him for the hero he is. The subtly and nuance of the writing of Thanos is the driving force behind this movies placement here on the list.

  1. The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight to me, is the story of a Black man that hates white people and a racist from the south coming together to kill this bitch, and by movies end they realise that they aren’t so different from each other as they die together. The mystery premise of this movie is the initial intrigue of the film, and as the plot unravels I like how the mystery element is subverted and nearly everyone is in on the plan. But as with all Quentin Tarantino movies the dialogue and performances are what carry the film. Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russel and Walton Goggins are the standout performances, the scene where the sheriff exposes the major for his fake Lincoln Letter is amazingly great, the tension and humour are all evident and it also leads great insight into all three of them as characters. From this one interaction we learn that the sheriff is cleverer than we may have initially anticipated, the major is more deceitful than initially anticipated and that the Hangman is more gullible than initially anticipated. These characteristics of them all individually plays very cleverly into the twist, the Hangman unknowingly drinks the poison and the major and the sheriff are forced to come together to survive. This throw-away interaction in the middle of this film is only one reason that this film is so great and why it earns a spot as one of my favourite films of all time.

  1. Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs is so unbelievably great, and it isn’t even my favourite or the highest-ranking Quentin Tarantino movie on this list. At this point I might seem like a broken record but the dialogue and performances are what carry this movie. Mr White and Mr Pink particularly are my favourite performances, I love the cynical nature of Mr Pink, and the fact that he never takes his eyes of the prize, whereas everyone else flusters. Mr White is the most relatable character in this film, he’s the closest to the everyman, he works hard and trusts in his friends, he has the empathy the characters lack and the relationship between him and Mr Orange is portrayed not to dissimilarly to a father and son. Which only makes the conclusion of the film more tragic, Mr White kills associates of his own and gives his life for someone he believes to be his friend only for Mr Orange to reveal himself as the undercover cop. The final scene of Reservoir Dogs is iconic for a reason, it beautifully brings all the tension and dramatic irony together in a single climactic scene where these characters bear their souls to the audience. This was Quentin Tarantino’s debut and since then he’s never looked back, and this first outing was one of his best.

  1. The End of Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the greatest television series of all time and its climatic cinematic performance is equally as great. What’s most impressive about the End of Evangelion is how short it is, this movie is a clean and concise 1 hour and 30 minutes, I was stunned when I rewatched the film recently to discover this shockingly short run time. Think about all the iconic scenes that you associate with this movie in your mind; Misato’s death, the invasion of Nerve, Ryusiki’s death, Rei’s philosophical awakening and subsequent killing of Gendo, Asuka’s fight against the Eva series, the world ending and Shinji’s psychological awakening and subsequent saving of the world all happens in a succinct and satisfying 90 minutes. Just scene after scene of classic, unforgettable anime drama. The direction and cinematography of this movie may be peak Hideiki Anno. I love the use of flashing images and match cuts Anno uses frequently to overload your brain with rapid fire images, its tantalising to watch. Evangelion has always thematically been about the worth of human connection and this is never further brought to the forefront than in the climax of the movie, Shinji is given the choice to allow everyone to be absorb into a singularity or to reject the end of the world and try one final time to connect to Asuka, and ultimately Shinji proves himself the hero and chooses hope. The final scene might be the most iconic of this seemingly ubiquitous film and is the perfect closer for Anno’s masterpiece, making it even more infuriating that he decided to revisit the series with the terrible and ugly rebuild films…

  1. Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown is Quentin Tarantino’s best work and I will not here otherwise. For the first time in a Quentin Tarantino movie the plot is equally as complex as the characters and dialogue. Jackie Brown is where Tarantino’s characters feel the most authentic. But once again, even with the dynamic plot, in Jackie Brown the performances and dialogue reign supreme, everyone in this film is outstanding. Watching Pam Grier as Jackie Brown portray her absolute exhaustion at life only to outsmart Ordell and the cops and get away with stealing tens of thousands of dollars is extremely satisfying. Ordell’s self-destruction is equally as satisfying to watch all his allies betray him or end up dead. Jackie betrays him, Melonie dies, he kills Lewis and he kills Buemont. Every scene in this movie is infinitely rewatchable for me, Chris Tucker gives the performance of his career here in a great scene acting beside Samuel L Jackson. The scene where Jackie and Ordell argue at the beach house is great and the diegetic audio of the scene is priceless in execution. Lewis and Melonie have fantastic chemistry in this film and watching them annoy each other is weirdly rewarding. This film is just so well-written and is easily to me the best of Quentin Tarantino.

  1. The Godfather

There is an unrivalled atmosphere in the Godfather. You consciously feel like you’re watching a classic of the medium whenever you gaze at its frames. There’s such class and appeal on display here that it gives me a nostalgia and a fondness for a time in which my parents weren’t even born. The Godfather is a two-part narrative about the successfulness of Vito Corleone, the initial Godfather and patriarch of the Corleone family and the failure of his successor and son Michael Corleone. The acting in this film is remarkable, every performance is unique and believable, everyone from Tom to Fredo to Moe Green to Sollozzo to Clemenza to Sonny to Kay, are damn-near perfect in this film. An outstanding cast of characters. The Godfather Part 1 feels like a journey you take with Michael you grow with him on this journey, you carry the weight of his actions and his trauma, and by the end you feel like you’ve been worn out. This movie is long, and you don’t feel any of it, something interesting or iconic is always happening. I love in this film and in the sequel how the monumentality of someone raising their voice is portrayed, the noise sounds unique to the time and is scary as well as captivating. The score of this movie is also undeniably excellent, the main Godfather theme is unparalleled in cinema for excellence. There are countless scenes from this movie I would consider to be my favourites, from Michael and Vito’s final on screen talk, to Vito’s wholesome death, to Michael’s hit on Sollozzo and the police chief, to the explosion with the car, the emotional moment with Tom and Vito after Sonny’s death and of course, the namesake scene of the movie. The Godfather is only outclassed in my heart by one film, it’s sequel.

  1. The Godfather Pt. 2

The Godfather Part 2 narrowly outclasses its predecessor in nearly all areas. You may as well count these films together as one they are so similar, but for me everything’s just a little better in Part 2. This movie serves as the crescendo of Michael Corleone’s descension. He ruthlessness is on full display in this film, even after he wins at the end of the movie all his enemies, no matter how harmless they are after Michael has destroyed them must be killed, from Roth to Fredo, everyone that stands even briefly in Michael’s way are killed by movies end. Everything I said about the first movie applies here to the second movie, the acting and atmosphere here are unmatched. Roth as a villain and the surrounding storyline in Cuba is far more entertaining to me than the conflict in the first movie with Sollozzo and the 5 families. My favourite scenes from this movie also rank higher than those of the first. The iconic Fredo scene is great, Michael embracing Fredo at the funeral is beautiful and his subsequent killing of Fredo is devastating, Michael exploding when Tom tells him Kay had a miscarriage is terrifying and Tom’s final scene with the nearly rat, where he convinces him to kill himself is also impeccable. Everything in this movie to me is great and at this point in time, to me, The Godfather Part 2 is the pinnacle of cinema.

 

 

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The Godfather’s Unparalleled Atmosphere

In ‘The Godfather’ there is a ubiquitous sense of tension, at any point it feels like things could explode. There are scenes of absolute calmness, but you never quite feel at ease, and there are scenes were Michael explodes yelling in that 1950s raised voice, but you never quite feel intimidated. It’s the opposite you feel most intimidated when Michael is calm and collected and he feels vulnerable when he lights up with anger. This is a thematic parallel to the successes and failures of the family throughout the film depending on the ‘don’ at the time. Sonny is very emotional and quick to anger, and the family fails during his reign, but when Vito is head of the family he remains calm and collected and the family prospers. Michael is a combination of the two personalities of the former heads of the family, and that’s why he succeeds when dealing with the family business and fails when dealing with his family.

 

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Never in another film have I felt the tension and atmosphere like in The Godfather. The schizophrenic nature of the tension and the reality that Michael can bubble over at any point is astoundingly captivating to watch. A perfect example of this is in Part 2 when Michael is first told about his wife’s miscarriage and then in the scene when Kate confronts him and explains to him that she had an abortion. In both these scenes it is a drop of the hat that sets Michael off, possibly justifiably in both cases, but he goes from 0 to 100 quickly. Michael entirely fails as a father and husband in the film, he’s forgotten Vito’s message about true men spending time with their family, and its repeatedly brought up throughout the film. He has absolute victory in business as he escapes sentencing and kills Roth, channelling the calm and collected nature of Vito. However, he has absolute defeat dealing with his actual family. His sister still hates him, his wife and children leave him, and he doesn’t forgive Fredo. Therefore, channelling the idiocy of Sonny.

 

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The Godfather’s unparalleled atmosphere is a key reason for its universality in film legend. The one aspect this film nails and the aspect that will stand the test of time is this atmosphere. No matter when or where this film is consumed in the future, the atmosphere will breakdown any reality a viewer lives in.

 

 

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Thanos is a Generation Defining Villain

Thanos is the standout element of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. He wasn’t the reason the movie made so much money but is the reason for its overwhelmingly positive reception from critics and audiences alike. Thanos as a villain is so effective, not only because the standard MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) villains are terrible, but because he is a nuanced character with good intentions. Thanos doesn’t gloat about his actions and subsequent victory, he doesn’t needlessly rub in his superiority or anger easily, he is lawful evil. He’s doing what he believes is the only way to save the universe from unbalance and ruin. This generation defining performance makes Thanos this generations parallel to Darth Vader.

 

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Thanos will redefine the contemporary villain architype. Everything Marvel does is mirrored by money-hungry studios; just look at the abundance of attempted cinematic universes from DC to the Paramounts shared monster’s universe, that all take direct inspiration from the Marvel formula. Therefore, the fascinating villain from the biggest Marvel movie to date, will surely be reimagined just as Darth Vader has been ever since Star Wars: A New Hope. Every time I watch Infinity War I am further flabbergasted that Thanos and as a result this movie was so masterfully created. Congratulations Marvel for creating a movie comparable to the first Star Wars in terms of impact on culture and even bigger in terms of monetary value, you’ve earnt it.

 

 

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Tom Holland is the Worst Spider-Man

Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spider-Man and Peter Parker is what out of touch Disney executives think Californian teenagers act like, it’s embarrassing; and I hate it. But what I hate more is the nearly universal praise I hear for this portrayal. According to some people Tom Holland is the only Spider-Man to properly portray a teenager, which is laughably incorrect. No teenager acts like Tom Holland, I know because I’m still technically a teenager, and the cultural representations of teenagers aren’t that different between Australia (where I am) and in the USA. (Maybe less shootings because we solved that problem…) And no one I have ever meant acts in anyway like Tom Holland does in this movie, no one I have ever meant acts like any of the other portrayals of high school Peter Parker, but they are rightfully universally criticised for it.

 

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Spider-Man Homecoming wasn’t a terrible film. I liked the portrayal of the Vulture, I thought he was a remarkably nuanced villain, especially considering the MCU’s track-record. But Tom Holland’s performance wasn’t an aspect I liked in anyway, it just took me out of the overall experience. He’s not funny, the movie isn’t funny, he’s not annoyingly endearing, he’s just annoying, and everyone praises him for it, it’s embarrassing, and I hate it.

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YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO BE BORED

You have the internet and have absolutely no excuse to be bored, everything is available, and everything is free. There are countless YouTube channels making quality content for you to consume, for the last hundred and fifty years the world has been creating movies for you to enjoy, listen to some fridge contemporary music, listen to podcasts while you endlessly grind away on your favourite game. You have infinite possibilities at the tips of your figures, more power than anyone in human history ever has. Are you feeling meaningless well there are hundreds of niche communities for everything you can imagine, you belong in at least one of them.

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Watch Neon Genesis Evangelion if you haven’t, its necessary for your development as a human. Have you caught up on Berserk recently shits getting real? Oh, you haven’t even started your Berserk journey well then you have 39 volumes of wholly worthwhile manga to catch up on, binge it you’ll be a different person afterwards. Finished Berserk read Vinland Saga. Want to know how Japanese nihilistic media came to be? Go back and read the original Devilman manga or if that turns you off watch Devilman Crybaby for a more contemporary version. ALL THIS CONTENT IS FREE, why haven’t you consumed it yet? YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO BE BORED.

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Have you seen the Godfather? How about the Godfather Part 2? These are necessary, must watch cinema and will alter the way you see atmosphere and tone in media. What in particular did you like about those movies, are you intrigue by what cinema can do from here? Or are you more enticed by the mafia elements of the Godfather and interested in exploring those elements further? If you want more integral cinema surf the Quinton Tarantino catalogue of films; start a Reservoir Dogs and make your way to The Hateful Eight, it’ll change the way you think about dialogue in media. But if your more interested in the depiction of the mafia in other media, the natural cinematic progression is to watch Goodfellas, for a more grounded and realistic take. But then you have a long form 70+ hour philosophical drama, the HBO original series to watch is The Sopranos. It’s a sprawling story about a nihilistic, depressive mob boss and his journey to get his life in order, it’ll alter the way you think about long-form storytelling. ALL THIS CONTENT IS FREE, why haven’t you consumed it yet? YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO BE BORED.

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This is but a sliver of the possible media for you to consume if you follow the natural progression of the content trail. Ultimately my message here is you have limited sacred time to be conscious and to be thinking, don’t waste it on boredom, you have more options than anyone ever has, don’t waste it. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO BE BORED.

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Media Consumption Month #1 (August 2018)

Welcome to the first monthly edition of Media Consumption, the post where I reflect on all the noteworthy media I consumed the previous month. Originally this series was going to be weekly, but I didn’t consume enough media to write articles every week to make these posts interesting. I welcome you to argue with me about anything or leave constructive criticism in the comments below: (You Don’t have to have an account!)

Attack on Titan Season 3:

Attack on Titan Season 3 has continued to develop, and now pages inscribed into my mind in only black ink are being fully-realised in animation, and it’s a fantastic experience. Attack on Titan is responsible for my current level of anime fandom, it brought me into the fold in 2014 and once I caught up on the manga later that year. At that time the manga was in the middle of this arc and so this adaptation is a great sense of nostalgia personally. Episode 2 stood out for expanding on the Levi chase scene and creating an action spectacle out of it with insanely, impressive animation. The People vs People arc is something I’ve been defending for years and the backlash from anime only watches has been surprisingly largely non-existent, which is reassuring. A heavily criticised element of Season 3 has been the OP, which is admittedly tonally more cognisant of the initial half of Season 3, but still incredibly lame and uninteresting. The ending theme however sounds like the birthchild of Season 2’s Opening and Ending, it is fucking outstanding. The aesthetic is unique and awesome, and the music brilliantly reflects Historia as a focal character. All in all, I’m eagerly anticipating the continuation of Season 3.

Steins; Gate 0:

Steins; Gate 0 is making me internally conflicted. Binge watching the first 12 episodes of the series, to catch-up, was so fun but the week to week wait with these episodes is poison to the shows pacing. It’s hard to re-immerse yourself in this complex story every week. Sometimes I’ve completely forgotten how we ended last week, so I think ultimately to get a proper view on the series I’ll have to re-watch the entire thing once the Dub is finished. But honestly the most annoying aspect of the show in these previous few episodes is the Steins; Gate 0 original character Kagari. She sucks, she terrible, I don’t care about her at all and she seems to be the motivation for the plot progression and recently and her voice actor is terrible. If I hear her scream mommy again I’m going to have a brain aneurysm. This show is currently on a wait and see basis, hopefully the show pulls through with a widely satisfying conclusion.

My Hero Academia Season 3: 

Filler is one thing, but a filler episode that’s just an advertisement for an inconsequential film that I’m going to force myself to watch, is an entirely different scenario. My Hero Academia double-decker fucked us with the latest episode and this filler garbage is pissing me off. I’m already significantly less interested in this arc in comparison to the first arc of this season and this shit isn’t helping. The most interesting arcs in My Hero are either tournaments or villain battles, whenever they focus on becoming a ‘hero,’ it bores me to tears, I don’t give a fuck about Superhero ideals just play with the characters we like. But if my speculation is correct things may get much more interesting when ‘she’ reveals herself in the coming episodes.

Devilman:

I read the first chapter of Devilman on a whim because I wanted to see the character designs and   how they differ from Devilman Crybaby (the only Devilman content I’ve seen). Little did I know the first chapter was about the weird and rushed dinosaur element from the end of Devilman Crybaby; and now I’m completely intrigued so I’ll be reading the original manga for the foreseeable future. It makes complete structural sense for this to be the opening chapter and I can’t comprehend why it was shoehorned into the final episode of the Netflix adaptation. The second chapter introduces the main characters and they are all largely like their 2018 counterparts, but the manga clearly is establishing a much slower pace, that I’m totally in favour of. Devilman Crybaby was an incredibly enjoyable clusterfuck, but at times it was hard to reconcile the character motivations and plot developments from episode to episode with the insane speed the show was running in. This manga however, seems to be explaining things much more clearly and I’m hooked.

Cowboy Bebop:  

I am forcing myself through this show… it’s just so boring! I’ve reached Episode 11, (the weird alien spoof) and I think the disconnect I have with this show comes down to my hatred of episodic media and my disinterest in anything to do with Space. I feel like I’m wasting my time largely while watching this show, there’s nothing we are building to, nothing to look forward to in anticipation, just more inconsequential characters dicking around. It’s a shame because Episode 5 is evidently a masterpiece, I would rather re-watch that 26 times than continue, but we’ve come this far so we can’t give up here, and maybe I’ll understand by the end. It’s certainly not all bad; the cinematography a times is impeccable, Ed is an excellent character and Faye is easily the hottest anime bitch ever, but I’m constantly watching Spike and Jet dicking around being entirely uninteresting. You can check in next month to see if my overall opinion on this show is any different.

Vinland Saga:

Vinland Saga is about to be the Anime of the Year in 2019, I’ve finished the prologue and next year’s anime adaptation is definitely ending here and when it does, I dare someone to try and challenge it. This was a text-book example of how to fantastically build and payoff a climax within a section (arc) of a story. Real progression with the plot and characters, genuine intrigue for how the story develops going forward, and self-contain, effective and memorable characters. I was completely blow away by the way Vinland Saga just surprised me and cemented itself onto my favourites list. That final chapter was so great; Askeland’s ultimate noble sacrifice and redemption that directly feeds into the development of Canute and Thorfinn was gripping. The last page and Thorfinn’s big, “WHAT NOW?” moment was exhilarating, and I get extremely excited when imagining that moment in animation. Everything came together so cohesively, and it felt like none of my time was wasted and all of my time was well spent investing in Vinland Saga… Thank You Mr. Makoto Yukimura.

The Vision of Escaflowne:

Escaflowne is the only of the four new shows that I watched the second episode of, because the first episode made such an impression. The art style is quite unique in this show, the texture on the dragon’s skin and the weirdly, good-looking over-sized noses all differentiate this show from anything I’ve ever seen. I like that both episodes had seemingly our two main characters both taking the role of the fish out of water in each other’s world and allowed us establishing moments of each respectively. It’ll be interesting if we keep switching between Earth and the ancient sci-fi world that’s name escapes me currently. The Dub in this show isn’t distracting and the main girls voice gives me odd nostalgic feelings, but I can’t place what other projects the voice actress has appeared in, that I’m familiar with. I’m interested to see how this plot, above the others, will progress going forward. All the other shows have a direction and a set tone already but this one seems to be the most dynamic and the one I’m most interested to see develop, even if Serial Experiments Lain was my personal favourite of the 4 new shows.

Revolutionary Girl Utena:

For this show choosing the Dub made for an incredibly unpleasant experience. The voice acting wasn’t remarkably terrible, though it wasn’t any good either, but the voice lines were out of sync with the mouths. This is some basic, fundamental shit that I believe would be difficult to fuck up this badly. The plot didn’t exactly interest me; I watched the first episode only and that was 2 weeks ago now and all I recall is she wants to be a prince to those in need because of her backstory and that she beat some prick in top of a floating castle above the school. It wasn’t all bad, I see the potential in the aesthetic and I love weird, unique shit and this definitively qualifies. Ultimately, this was my least favourite out of the 4 new shows I checked out this month, but I’m not dropping it and will likely be watching the sub going forward.

Serial Experiments Lain:

Serial Experiments Lain was fucking awesome. Unfortunately, I have only seen the first episode, but the entire show worked cohesively so effectively, that I was salivating by the end. The imagery and aesthetic are so visually compelling and striking that the scenes of the initial suicide and the distracted father with the multiple computers, are burned into my subconscious. What a fascinating show; from the aesthetic to the chilling music, to the arthouse elements, to just the way the characters deliver dialogue, everything directly speaks to me. I watched this show, as I did all others in the English Dub and this was easily the standout one of the bunch. Even the 13 Episode length excites me, and this is a show I’m deeply interested in continuing next month and watching develop further.

RahXephon:

RahXephon is intriguing. The obvious Evangelion inspirations and obvious, and I love it. It’s also been about two weeks since I watched episode 1 of this show, so I don’t remember everything (and likely will have to re-watch it) but I was intrigued. Seeing all the Evangelion elements slightly altered in a different team’s vision is a unique and fun experience. I identified the NERVE like military organisation, the Rei parallel character is self-evident and that woman that saved him in the abandoned train station is our Misato. This is one I’ll have to re-watch to remember all the little details that will become important later, but I’ll certainly be continuing this next month.

B Gata H Kei:

Whenever I would look back at my limited anime catalogue, one show stands as a flashing outlier. One of these things are not the same, and Yamada’s First Time or B Geta H Kei, was that outlier. It was a show I watched in Grade 8 for obvious reasons, but I remember liking it way too much. I began watching it in the Summer holidays (December where I live) and my family was on a vacation living in this rental house on limited internet and all I can remember thinking about the entire week of vacation was that I wanted to get home and continue watching this show. It’s a lot of what I thought about that entire week, and I couldn’t watch it while I was there because if KissAnime used up a huge amount of the data people would start asking questions and I didn’t want to have to explain what the show was to them. So, it was a constant internal struggle to pull myself away from the Safari tab on my iPad.

So now, a few years removed, I was fascinated to re-watch this show and try to understand my plight with this show, and this show is deceptively fun. The premise of the show is awesome, and I’m shocked at the overwhelming charm of all the characters. This show brings out something I like to call, ‘forgotten nostalgia,’ which is infinitely more powerful than your ordinary, run of the mill, nostalgia. As I gradually recalled elements of this show it transported me to a different time and the feelings of forgotten nostalgia were so strong. I got a similar feeling when I watched some old Looney Tone Cartoons on YouTube recently and remember the little jingles Daffy would sing to himself and how intrench into my very being they were. Re-hearing the Opening Theme and more importantly the Ending Theme after all this time shocked the nostalgia meter. Something I hadn’t thought about in years yet it all felt so near and familiar. Re-watching this show is a remarkable experience and I can’t wait to continue my journey past episode 3 next month.

G1 Climax:

The G1 Climax wrapped up in early August, and what a trip it’s been. 4 weeks of constant 3-hour professional wrestling shows definitely had me at my limit, but it was all undeniably fantastic, even if I was extremely salty about the conclusion. Before we get into specifics I would like to shout-out a retrospective lookback that New Japan has realised on their Japanese YouTube page that summarises the tournament, with some additional unseen footage of interviews with reoccurring and one-time audience members and shots of the behind the scene actions of the wrestlers. Even if you haven’t been following the tournament as closely as I have, it’s a must watch.

The G1 ended weirdly this year. I predicted going into the tournament that the finals would be a Wrestle Kingdom Main Event rematch with Naito finally beating Okada in a big match scenario. Evidently the finals didn’t feature either of them, instead Tanahashi defeated Kota Ibsuhi in the finals. Okada was eliminated due to his time limit draw with Tanahashi on the first night in Budokan, which was incredibly exciting and a nice feel good moment for the long time New Japan audience that adore Tanahashi, and this decision was fine with me because Naito beating Tanahashi again, this time in the finals would have fitted into the Naito storyline quite well. But that wasn’t to be because Naito lost to Zack Sabre Jr and Omega lost to Ibushi, and therefore the B Block ended in a 4-Way tie with each man having 12 points, but because of previous match-ups Ibushi, who had beaten all the other contenders, proceeded to the finals. Now Zack ending on 12 points is amazing to me, Zack is my second favourite wrestler in New Japan, but my most favourite is Naito and I was furious when Zack pinned him. Naito fans have been waiting for his big moment for years and we were denied it at Wrestle Kingdom and so this G1 was his to win. But ZSJ fucked it all up…

So, I went into the final night quite pissed and disinterested, but Shibata showed up and Tanahashi and Ibushi had one hell of a match. The final Tanahashi run was inevitable and I’m fine with it, he obviously deserves it and Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi is a mega-match. That along with the likely Chris Jericho vs Kazuchika Okada for the Intercontinental Championship have me very excited for January 4th. I have no idea what Naito will be doing until January, and Juice Robinson vs Cody is going to yield some phenomenal promos. Ultimately, I’m incredibly thankful that New Japan gives us a month break until the Destruction tour, because I desperately need it.

NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4:

NXT Takeover this go around was underwhelming to me; my favourite match was the NXT Woman’s Championship between Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler and that match withstanding, I didn’t care for anything else on this show. Nothing on this show was bad in terms of match quality or storytelling but nothing stood out to me. The Main Event felt like we were walking old ground, only to have a terrible finish. Adam Cole and Ricochet just didn’t inspire anything in me. The opener was meaningless, there were no stakes because everyone understood exactly how the match was going to play out. Velveteen Dream and EC3 was sloppy and all over the place and the whole show just felt unremarkable. The Kairi Sane match had something these matches lacked; I cared that Kairi won that belt. I’m a Kairi Sane fan and her beating Baszler told a simplistic story that kept me caring. All these other matches felt like the outcomes didn’t matter and they were just on the card to be good wrestling matches; and if there’s something I particularly don’t give a fuck about its good wrestling. With Kairi winning the championship I believe the Main Event for Survivor Series’ accompanying Takeover is evident; Kairi and Io Shari should tear the house down and show everyone what Japanese Woman’s wrestling is.

SummerSlam 2018:

Overall, as blasphemous as a statement like this usually is, I think SummerSlam handily impressed more than NXT Takeover. Nothing was as exciting as Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, nothing got the reaction that Becky Lynch’s turn got, and nothing was as clever as that Main Event. The opener however, was not a highlight of the night, the only person involved in this boring feud that I’m remotely interested in is Drew McIntyre. I have little interest in a babyface Dean Ambrose, I have even less interest in Seth Rollins currently and no amount of rehab will ever have me invested in anything Dolph Ziggler does. To boot this match was boring as fuck. New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers was enjoyable; retrospectively the New Day absolutely should have won the belts here, but hindsight is 20-20 and Eric Rowan couldn’t have picked a worse time to tear his bicep, and Harper should just continue killing dudes in his stead. Braun Stroman squashing Kevin Owens was fucking awesome, and incredibly ballsy for the WWE to do in front of this audience. There seemingly is a payoff coming from this squash with Kevin quitting recently on Raw, so he’ll be fine, and this got Braun to the exact point necessary for later in night. I love short matches that don’t fuck around, and this was a perfect example of one.

The two biggest matches for SmackDown were next and they both were remarkable. Becky Lynch may have been the most over wrestler on the entire show and it was fun to watch. The story in this match was executed with pin-point accuracy; it was necessary for them to get the belt off Carmella, she’s a bigger star coming off this run, they played into the audiences’ fatigue with Charlotte being rammed down their throats and paid off the audiences’ frustrations with Becky being repeatedly being walked over. If you’re a Becky Lynch fan this heel turn should be the best possible outcome for you, because now Becky’s going to be booked strong instead of being positioned as the moronic babyface and will only get over even more. You must be a heel, or AJ Styles, contemporarily to get over in WWE. Speaking of which this was the greatest fuck finish I think I’ve ever seen; AJ Styles and Samoa Joe probably could have had a basic storyline and had a barn-burner of a match but instead this entire feud is being dominated by an unbelievably well written (mostly well performed) storyline. Samoa Joe is the best promo in this company, he and Kevin Owens have a way to give their terribly written dialogue without sounding like absolute geeks; they are great in spite of the material they are given instead of being great because of the material they are given. Joe notably kicked out of the Styles Clash, and this may be an indication of his much-needed victory at Hell in a Cell. If WWE are ever going to go with Joe as a world champion this is the time. The follow up on SmackDown was also great, AJ told him to not do something and then Joe said FUCK YOU, beat him up and did it anyway like he was Stone Cold Steve Austin. There is no reason not to vicariously love Samoa Joe right now.

Daniel Bryan and Miz was fucking awful. It was way too long and after the previous two thrilling segments the crowd didn’t care at all. WWE has butchered Daniel Bryan’s comeback so terribly that Brooklyn couldn’t remember why they ever cared about him. The crowd was left in a bored hazed following that snore fest and hearing Baron Corbin’s music definitely didn’t wake them up. But WWE in another great decision had a surprise appearance from the Demon, and another fantastically refreshing squash match. Finn Balor desperately needed to remind any of us why we cared about him and he did exactly that with this performance, he’s a hot commodity again and I’m excited for what’s next. Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy calmed the crowd down again, these boys really couldn’t do anything in this position. Jeff definitely tried by killing himself with that Swanton spot on the apron, but the crowd was largely disinterested and now we can move on to Randy Orton and Jeff which I’m at least vaguely interested in.

To end the night, we got back-to-back viewings of Raw’s Main Events; and again, both matches delivered. Alexa Bliss and Ronda Rousey did what it set out to do, introduce the Bella’s for our inevitably depressing Evolution Main Event and put Ronda over as a monster. But most interestingly Roman Resigns and Brock Lesnar was a captivating finale to an entertaining night. You’ve got to respect the clever way WWE constructed this Main Event, from the Stroman inclusion to Brock’s continued rampage, to Roman finally pinning Brock Lesnar after 3 years of build. No one booed with disinterest like at WrestleMania, instead 15 thousand people were on the edge of their seats for the entirety and they were all worked into caring about Roman’s 15th big moment. Well done WWE, SummerSlam was pretty cool.

Denzel Curry – Taboo:

This album is unbelievably great. Denzel Curry’s new album Taboo is his best work yet and has permeated my ears ubiquitously over this past month. While I don’t believe any single song from the album compares to Imperial’s best song, This Life, but Taboo is exceedingly more consistent than Imperial or Nostalgic 64. Taboo (the song) is a melancholic, smooth opening that establishes the tone of the project and immediately prepares the listener, then Black Balloons follows and is a different sound than Curry usually puts forth. That obscurity is continued with Cash Maniac which are both smooth, memorable and almost relaxing songs, but this is entirely juxtaposed by the following track, Sumo, which is loud, intensive Denzel at his best. Reference to Chowder, references to Rikishi (which obviously popped me) and references to obscure PS2 platformers all combine into an energetic bridge to the second part of the album.

Super Saiyan Superman continues this energy with a quick track, that’s name itself is enough for successful song, even if it is weird Superman isn’t mentioned at all in the song. (I believe.) Switch it Up and Mad I Got It are the least memorable to me, I still enjoy them when they play but I haven’t yet sought them out specifically, but Siren’s was my favourite song from the album for a time. This is easily the smartest track on the album, there’s some fantastic wordplay from JID (especially the National Anthem section) in what I believe is his best performance to date, and the haunting final soliloquy makes for a smooth track, that’s definitely the most substantive on the album. Clout Cobain is next, and it’s been overplayed by me personally so now it’s not my favourite, but it very well may make a return to my favourites list from the album. The music video almost overshadows the simplistic song in some regards and I find they make a must more palatable combination, whereas the song separately is slightly repetitive.

The Blackest Balloon is another slightly repetitive track that benefits from its short runtime, but the chorus maintains a place in my head at least once a day. Percs is the song I’ve listened to the least on this song, only because I forgot to download it, so I’m too unfamiliar with the track to give an informed opinion on it. Finally, the album closes on Vengeance and Black Metal Terrorist, which both are heavy favourites of mine. They both maintain the high energy Denzel is known for and evolves them in two distinctly different directions. Vengeance is entirely stolen by JPEGmafia’s hilariously brutal feature, with the standout line of the album, “If he dies, he dies, Pussy meet the Sky!” Black Metal Terrorist is the ending of the album and it drills home the entire project with madness and high energy, fast verses. Overall this album is a definitive Album of the Year contender.