If you told me at the beginning of the year that one of my favorite films of the year would be the so-called “Facebook movie,” I would have laughed in your face. And I would have been wrong for doing so. The Social Network easily turned out to be one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while and I give most of the credit to Aaron Sorkin.
Yes, the movie is about the founding of Facebook, but it really could have been about any Internet startup. Even though the movie is really little more than a lot of talk, the talk is positively riveting. I felt tense the entire time and the quick-paced dialogue had me positively intrigued. As much as it pains me, I also have to give some credit to Justin Timberlake for his portrayal of Napster founder Shawn Fanning. His performance was very good.
The geekier side of me also had a blast with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Kick-Ass, but Toy Story 3 and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are very much worth mentioning too. It turned out to be a rather good and diverse year for cinema.
A sizable portion of my freelance writing is in the realm of technology and gadgets, reviewing all sorts of different consumer electronics. For my part, my favorite gadget of the year is probably the Olympus PEN E-PL1. It was through rather unfortunate circumstances that I was forced to buy a new camera (my old Canon got stolen at a Canucks game), but I’m really digging the E-PL1. The Micro Four-Thirds format is great, but I realize I’ve also opened up a big can of worms when it comes to new lenses and other accessories.
Even though I’m surrounded by iPhone 4 evangelists, I very much enjoyed the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate with its positively brilliant 4-inch AMOLED display. The Cisco Valet Plus wireless router was also a pretty great product, making wireless networking so much easier for the techno-phobic. And despite some of its shortcomings, the Honda CR-Z sports hybrid is a great little (and affordable) car too.
I don’t really have as much time to play video games as I once did, but Super Street Fighter IV was a big highlight of the year for me. Originally, I thought this was only going to be a mild update to the “original” Street Fighter IV, but with more moves, more characters, and other improvements, SSFIV is a must-buy for any fighting game fan. It’s really deep and positively addictive.
Since Vancouver is a hockey town, I also found myself clocking in more than a few hours with NHL 11. The new faceoff system is interesting and the “broken stick” feature adds a whole new dynamic to the gameplay. Rock Band 3 represents a huge leap for Harmonix and rhythm games too, and while it wasn’t really released in 2010, I had a great time with New Super Mario Bros. Wii too. I just wish I had more time to play games these days.
Going through the rest of the world of entertainment, my reading list is slowly growing and I’ll eventually get through all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books. Some tidbits are more useful than others, but his books are always an enjoyable read, whether he’s discussing the extraordinary circumstances of Bill Gates and what it takes to suddenly tip the scales.
While I’m not normally much of a manga person, I did find myself reading the Scott Pilgrim series, thanks largely to how much I enjoyed the movie. And a list of books wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Make Money Online: Roadmap of a Dot Com Mogul. We all know that’s the book of the year, right?
In the world of music, I discovered some older (but still in this millennium) music from Silversun Pickups and Metric that I really enjoyed. More recently, I’ve been impressed with Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and, as odd as it may sound, Rihanna’s “Loud.” What can I say? Her songs are catchy.
What about you? What were some of your favorite things of 2010?