Yesterday, I posted my list of my favourite comics of 2016. now it’s time to talk about my favourite things that aren’t related to comics.
Movie that came out in 2016
I actually haven’t seen that many new movies this year. Part of it is that I work a lot of evenings. Part of it is that I found other things that interested me more. But of the movies I saw, my favourite was a very close call between two of the most profitable movies of the year.
It’s a great superhero movie with a wide cast, yet it does a very good job at balancing everyone’s perspective on the oversight debate. I almost put down Rogue One here, but I’d have to see it a second time to fully grasp how I feel about it.
Runner-ups: Rogue One (a great Star Wars movie that adds depth to A New Hope, while actually feeling like a straight war movie at times), Risen (A Christian movie that’s actually good. It’s the story of the crucifixion and resurrection, through the perspective of a Roman Centurion).
Dishonourable mentions: Batman v. Superman
Movies I haven’t seen yet, but want to: Finding Dory, Zootopia, Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Movie that I saw for the first time in 2016
This category goes to movies that didn’t come out this year, but I saw them for the first time at some point this year anyway. That’s whether they’re an old classic, or something that came out last year. That includes The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and that Clone Wars animated movie. Just a hint – none of those were anywhere near my favourite in this category. I would at least watch Battle of the Five Armies again … eventually. I can’t say the same about the other two.
This is a fantastic classic that deserves all the praise that it gets. It’s also a long one, so either take a break during the “intermission” or make sure you have a lot of time when you watch it.
Runner-ups: Room (a drama about a recovering sex slave, from the eyes of her 5-year-old son), Idiocracy
Usually I care about sports only when a team I enjoy is doing well. As a Canadian, I also have a bit of a bias towards Canadian teams and individuals. For example, when none of the Canadian NHL teams made the playoffs last year, I completely stopped paying attention. I don’t care about the NFL at all, and same goes for the Canadian counterpart, the CFL. That said, watching the Blue Jays do well two years in a row was good, even if they didn’t make it to the World Series either time. I am glad that the Chicago Cubs ended the longest championship drought in professional sports history. They were my number 2 team for that very reason. It’s just a shame it happened the year after Back to the Future 2 predicted it. But in an Olympic year, it’s hard to pick anything else.
Let’s go through the runner-ups first this time. A very special moment is when Fiji won their first ever Olympic medal, and it was gold in Rugby sevens, their national sport. Nothing against the British (they’re usually the second country I cheer for), but I’m so glad that Fiji dominated them. There’s Usain Bolt completing the legendary triple triple (Olympic gold in all three of the main running events, three times). We may never see another athlete like him again. Seeing Michael Phelps end his Olympic career the way he wanted to was also special. Watching Brazil beat Germany for the men’s Soccer gold on home soil was simply glorious, especially when you remember how badly Germany beat them at the World Cup two years ago. That is the best kind of redemption.
There’s the World Cup of Hockey, where Canada continued its realm of dominance. It’s been years since they’ve lost a single actual game as our national team. It’s especially glorious considering the United States tried to build their team around beating ours, and not only did they fail, but they lost every one of their games. Next time, just try to make a good team. Oh, and then the number one draft pick of 2016, Austin Matthews, scoring 4 goals in his debut game – an NHL record. That was just awesome.
And even though the Blue Jays didn’t make it to the World Series, it was glorious watching them sweep out the Texas Rangers in the first round of the playoffs, especially considering the kind of rivalry the two teams have developed over the last couple of years.
But without further to do, here’s my favourite sports moment (or moments) of 2016.
This 16-year-old swimmer became the first Canadian ever to win 4 medals in a single Summer Olympic games. She became Canada’s youngest ever Olympic Champion after an epic 100m freestyle swim (the most competitive of all the swimming events). She was 7th at the turn, yet charged past 5 much more experienced swimmers and tied for gold. All that after winning silver in the 100m butterfly (the second most competitive swimming event) and anchoring 2 relay bronze medals. No wonder multiple online swimming magazines named her the best rookie of the year.
And to prove that her Rio performance wasn’t a fluke, she won 4 more medals at the Short Course World Championship hosted in my home province of Ontario. She won bronze in her only individual event against a whole bunch of big names (the 100m freestyle), anchored 2 relay gold medals(4x200m free and 4x50m free), and swam by far the fastest freestyle split to earn Canada a silver in the 4×100 medley relay (51.07). Oh, and the split for the individual gold medalist in the freestyle in that same relay was 51.75. It turns out Penny made some mistakes during the 100m freestyle final, which she admitted in a post interview. She wasn’t even supposed to be all that good at the short course, which tends to heavily favour older swimmers.
Oleksiak jumping into the 4x200m freestyle relay with 1.75 second lead. Canada won the relay by almost 5 seconds, scaring the world record. Canada’s two 16-year-olds (Oleksiak and Taylor Ruck) swam the fastest splits out of everyone in the relay.
This is my favourite moment not only because it’s inspiring, but that it reminded me that I always liked swimming. It reminded me of how much I missed it. I’m too old (29) to get into competitive swimming, and I’m a bit too wide to be good at it anyway. That said, Penny’s performance inspired me to take up lane swimming over the winter. It’s a good alternative to biking around in the summer, since there’s too much snow and slush to move all that well on a bicycle.
Favourite Video game
I sort-of got back into video games a bit this year, after a few years of taking a break. As such, there were a number of new releases I played and enjoyed. Most of them were some sort of shooting game, but still. This is also a hard choice between three games, for different reasons. Uncharted 4 is the most recent and potentially the last entry in the Uncharted series. It’s also my favourite of the series, and that’s saying a lot. I also very much enjoyed Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4 version). It’s similar to Uncharted, but it’s more open world and based on exploring. The combat isn’t as refined, but I do like the exploration side of things and the survival aspects. Both games tell great stories that feel personal, with Uncharted delving deeper into Nathan Drake’s past than ever before, and Tomb Raider continuing to explore what being a survivor is like for Lara. There’s also Overwatch. Enough has been said about Overwatch. Let’s just say that it made me fall in love with online shooters again (normally I prefer to just play single-player story modes. It’s a very close call for me, and I’m sure I’ll replay both Uncharted 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, while I’ll continue to enjoy Overwatch for a while yet. Unfortunately, I need to pick one of them as my favourite.
Favourite novel that I read in 2016
My favourite novel that I read this year also happens to be one that released this year. It’s the first, and so far, only book I started reading on its release day. Ilona Andrews’ Magic Binds. There are no runner-ups here. It’s my obvious choice. Instead of writing a summary of why this book is awesome, I’ll just link you to my review of the book.
Favourite music of 2016
This is an easy one for me. I listen to a bit of everything when it comes to music. I’ve got jazz in my collection, a growing amount of classical, a whole bunch of different kinds of rock, a touch of pop, and various forms of metal. The kind of music I usually listen to the most is Symphonic Metal, which sort-of combines a whole bunch of musical styles that I enjoy. A couple of years ago I discovered Epica, and they’ve been my favourite Symphonic Metal band ever since. Their newest album, the Holographic Principle, released this past year. It’s actually a tough choice as to whether I prefer this, or their previous album, The Quantum Enigma. Holographic Principle is more musically interesting and varied, while Quantum Enigma is more emotionally satisfying. Either way, this is by far my favourite album of the year. Here’s the first music video from the album