The Disaster Artist Review

The Disaster Artist is a glorious celebration of dreams and aspirations, I guess. Or mocking the the delusion of dreams that far outstrip the talent of the dreamer. It finds what is admirable in delusion. The Disaster Artist is the story of the making of The Room, a beloved film frequently cited as one of the worst ever made. It is that, but it is also bafflingly watchable. It is like watching a car race than ends in a train crash. This movie tells the behind the scenes story that is just as crazy as the movie that it produced. It works, managing to be heartwarming, funny and as true as any story is.

The Disaster Artist walks a difficult path. It is a comedy about real, still living people. It wants the viewer to simultaneously laugh at and admire these people. That is not an easy task, but The Disaster Artist pulls it off. The story is told from the perspective of Greg Sestero, who meets Tommy Wiseau at an acting class. While Greg is somewhat closed off in his acting, Tommy is shockingly free. They become friends and together move to Los Angeles to make it in Hollywood. The ambition of Tommy and even Greg is admirable. They aren’t going to let anything stand between them and their dreams of being actors. If no one will cast them, then they will write and make their own movie. Luckily, Tommy has a mysterious source of money, which he uses to fund their movie.

There aren’t too many great surprises, there is friction on set because Tommy doesn’t know what he is doing. There is personal friction because Greg gets a girlfriend. The movie goes to great lengths to recreate scenes from The Room, to great effect. Just seeing that weirdness recreated is entertaining. The big emotional scenes work well enough, but maybe didn’t quite engage me the way I wished it would. There is a courage to art, that as an artist you are putting yourself out there for people. This is something I, as a writer, frequently fail at. I’d often rather keep my stories hidden rather than have them rejected. The movie starts lauding that bravery, but when their dreams fall apart in front of them, it shows them recovering by embracing the ridicule. It is just kind of an odd story.

The only place I would say the movie fails is that it doesn’t really examine the obvious lies and flat non-answers that are behind a lot of Wiseau’s life. This brushes up against being a biopic that doesn’t make any effort to find out who its star really is. He claims his vague, eastern European accent is cajun, and while this is patently untrue and played for a joke in the movie, the fact that it is not true is not engaged with at all. At one point Tommy and Greg have an argument, but it is resolved without actually resolving anything. The movie can’t help but show the falseness of just about every claim Wiseau makes about himself, but it is not at all interested in the truth; the story is good enough. It isn’t a big deal, but it is an obvious blind spot in the film.

The Disaster Artist is a treat. It is a thoughtful, meaty comedy like we never get.

****

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The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is one of my favorite directors. I am not as familiar with his early, Spanish language work, but from Hellboy on I’ve been a big a fan. While I was already on board with The Shape of Water just from knowing he was directing it; everything else I heard about it just made it sound better. The Shape of Water has del Toro working in his usual mode; this is a mixture of horror and fairy tale. It has a monster, but the monster is not the scariest part of the movie. It uses the monster as a lens to examine our humanity.

The Shape of Water stars Sally Hawkins as Elisa, a mute cleaning lady for a secret military lab in the middle of the cold war. The action kicks off when Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon) brings in a fish man from the amazon to study. While she forges a relationship with the creature, SHANNON tortures it mercilessly and plans to kill it and the Russians plot to steal the creature to stop the US from studying it. Aided by her coworker Zelda and neighbor Giles, and a little by a Russian spy, Elisa frees the creature and then must evade Stickland as he searches for the missing creature. I call it the creature, the credits call him, played by Doug Jones, as Amphibian Man, but he is clearly a take on the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

The movie, narrated by Giles, is framed as a fairy tale. Elisa is the princess and the Amphibian man is the prince. There is so much more going on here, though. There is a heist, there is a spy thriller, a romance and a monster movie all going on at once. They all blend together into an unforgettable experience.

The plot is actually rather simple, it is the characters that really make this movie shine. Elisa is completely mute, but she doesn’t let that hinder her ability to communicate. It is clear why she would fall in love with the similarly mute creature, who as she signs in one pivotal scene doesn’t see how she is incomplete. He neighbor and friend Giles is a gay man who has been forced out of his work and has trouble making it in the oppressive time period. The same is true of Elisa’s friend Zelda, who is black. All of the “good guys” are minorities of some sort, trying to live their lives in a world titled against them. Then there is Strickland, who is in charge at the facility. Early in the movie he loses a couple of fingers. They are reattached, but as the movie goes along, they fester and die, turning black on his hand as the blackness of his soul is revealed. He has the perfect 50’s life, with the wife and kids and the good job, but he is completely unfulfilled. He is not just a monster, there is a clear character in there, but he is utterly selfish but thinks he is doing his best. The movie does an excellent job of starting him out as a conquering hero who subdued the monster, only to slowly show who the real monster is between those two. Then there is Michael Stuhlbarg’s Dr. Hoffstetler, who only wants to study the creature, but is largely powerless.

There are flights of fancy, this is at its heart a fairy tale. There are times in the movie that might lose people because of how obviously fake they are. But there is a story logic to all of it, it works in the scene even if it would not in real life. This is a movie that starts by expressly stating it is a fairy tale and it primarily about a fish man, there is a natural state of unreality to it all. If you can give yourself to the reality of the movie, it is one of the most amazing films of the decade.

*****

River City Rival Showdown

River City Ransom is one the best games on the NES. It is scrolling brawler, a genre even at its best has always felt somewhat flat, but River City Ransom combined that with a little bit of a Metroid like open world and some light RPG elements, along with a healthy dose of humor, to create one of the most memorable and endlessly replayable NES games. Thanks to consistently inconsistent localization choices, the greater series that River City Ransom was part of never really became a thing and it largely disappeared from western shores after the NES faded until a recent resurgence on the DS and 3DS.

That resurgence has been both welcome and somewhat disappointing. Last year gave us River City: Tokyo Rumble, which I enjoyed. However, it was more like Ransom’s predecessor Renegade than the game it gets its title from. It was fun, but it was not that River City Ransom experience that I was craving. Earlier this year we got River City: Knights of Justice, which replaced the usual Tokyo setting with a fantasy one, but bafflingly removed many of the rpg elements from the game. I have yet to finish it, but I’ve found it to be a great disappointment. While I was still excited to play the game, I was worried that it be another shadow of the game I really wanted to play. Thankfully, with Rival Showdown they have finally gotten things right.

The game is more of a reimagining of the NES classic, not a simple remake. It takes the same basic set up, that someone has set the ruffians of all the high schools against Kunio and kidnapped Riki’s girlfriend, and turns it into a time limited open world adventure. It takes the original game and adds in a dash of Majora’s Mask as well as some alternate endings, making the replayability of it a central part of the experience.

It starts with a few events to set up the game, then let’s the player loose for the rest of the three days in game to do whatever they want. There is a right path, one that leads to the actual showdown with the guy responsible, there is more than enough stuff to keep the player busy even if they ignore all the main story stuff. On my first path I missed a few plotlines entirely. Most of the events are reimaginings of events from the first game, only played out multiple times with increasing difficulty, like the repeated run ins with Benny & Clyde.

One of my favorite moments in any video game is when my cousin and I first got to the top of the school in the original River City Ransom and faced the Dragon twins. It was a hard fought battle. First, they knocked me down to one sliver of health on my health bar. So I moved away from the fight, taking quick shots and running away. Left fighting a two on one, my cousin didn’t last long. By the time I rushed back in, they had already knocked him out. That left me versus both Dragon twins, that epic Double Dragon music, with almost no health. Somehow, though grit and luck and a small amount of skill, I pulled through. I took out both of them, leaving us free to take on the last boss. It was amazing. River City Rival Showdown gave me a few a of those moments. The best one was when an army of delinquents attacks Kunio’s school and must stand alone to stop them. They don’t stop coming for almost ten real world minutes. It is epic and exhausting. I loved it.

I don’t know that I like Rival Showdown as much as River City Ransom, but for the first time one of its follow ups feels like it attempts to improve on the stuff I liked about River City Ransom. Most of them lose things like the rpg character building stuff or the free roaming elements. That delicate mix is what made the original game work so well and this is the first follow that really captures it.

What I Watched December 2017

Movies

Return of the Jedi – I wanted to watch the whole original trilogy and The Force Awakens again before The Last Jedi came out, but I only ended with time for the two previous ones. I know Return of the Jedi is the least liked of the original trilogy, but I can’t see putting it noticeably lower than the original. *****

The Force Awakens – There is still a propulsive momentum to this movie, that pulls the viewer along for the first two thirds of it. It pushes all of the right nostalgia buttons. It doesn’t end with quite the same force, but it is still a lot of fun. ****1/2

The Last Jedi – read review here. *****

Mad Max Fury Road – Yup, it is still the best movie of the last decade. *****

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – read review here. *****

The Lost City of Z – I was really excited for this at the start of the year, but it kind of left me old. I really wanted to like it and it looks amazing, but I really didn’t connect with it. It is a well made story of a man driven to explore. ***1/2

The Three Musketeers – This 1994 Disney version is not the classic I remembered it being, but Oliver Platt and Tim Curry make sure this movie is enjoyable, no matter how miscast Charlie Sheen is or how overwhelmed Chris O’Donnell seems. It isn’t great, but there is a decent amount of fun to be had. ***

Psych: The Movie – I can’t judge this fairly. I love Psych, and this is a super long, pretty good episode of the TV show. I am just happy to have Shawn and Gus and the rest back. I don’t think it quite makes the turn into its last twist and Lassiter is sorely missed, but otherwise it is a lot of fun. *****

The Disaster Artist – read review here.

Christmas Inheritance – another in my mostly successful attempt to watch ever Netflix original movie from 2017. I am not the target audience for this. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Christmas Prince. **

Mudbound – An old fashioned epic about racism in the Great Depression and after the end of WWII. I really liked it. Some of it felt familiar, but the struggles of the two veterans in dealing with life after the war is some really strong stuff. I think I’ll be coming back to this in the future. ****1/2

Bright – I don’t think this movie is good, but I had a good time watching it. I think I was laughing at it more than with it, but I was laughing. Even when I am sure the movie did not want me to be laughing. Will Smith is entertaining, and it certainly feels like a big budget movie. **1/2

Dr. No – This first Bond movie feels somewhat incomplete. At this point it is just a movie, not a Bond movie. It is also a very old movie, and feels like it. **

Goldfinger – In some ways this is better than From Russia with Love, in others it feels like a step down. This third attempt is when the elements of a Bond movie really feel like they come together. It is mostly a lot of fun. ****1/2

From Russia with Love – There are some parts of this that really haven’t aged well, but for the most part it one of the best Bond adventures. I was going to watch all of the Bond movies, but they disappeared from hulu before I could get to them. I do have more than half on those cheap DVD collections that were about a year or two ago, I could make an attempt. ****1/2

TV

The Office – I went back to an old standby during finals. I think I forget how much I love The Office every time I stop watching The Office. I know it dips in quality after the first few seasons, but I still think it might be an all-timer for me.

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

I don’t know how much I have to say about Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It was pretty fun, but it is exactly what purports to be; I didn’t see a lot to comment on. Maybe I could spend this review complaining about the first Jumanji, which is junk, but that feels like a waste of time. This movie takes a goofy body switching premise, but things in the hands of four fun performers and just sort of does its thing.

The plot of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is that a quartet of high school kids fitting rough stereotypes get sent to detention together. Forced to clean out an old storeroom, they find a mysterious old video game titled Jumanji and try to play it. It sucks them all into the game, where they become the character they selected. So the nerdy guy becomes the Rock,the jock turns into Kevin Hart, the shy girl becomes Karen Gillan and the popular social media obsessed girl becomes Jack Black. Working together, they must beat the game to go home.

It is just what it seems. They play through video game cliches and confidence lessons. There are tons of jokes about how the guy that was small is now big and the guy that was big is now small, as well as Black portraying a teen girl. It is nothing new, but it all works.

The biggest reason it works is because of its stars. Dwayne Johnson is endlessly charming and has a track record of working well with Kevin Hart. Hart, I’ve found, works best in small doses and this here is just the right amount. This is also a good showcase for Karen Gillan, who gets a chance to shine not covered in Nebula makeup. Then there is Black, who has to play a different gender and really has fun with it. How much you like the movie likely comes down to how much you like these four. I am a big fan of three of them, and neutral on the fourth, so it really worked for me.

I don’t really want to spoil any jokes, and the plot isn’t worth spoiling; there really isn’t much here other than some very good popcorn entertainment. It is action, adventure, and CGI animals, which fortunately look a lot better than the ones in the original looked. It isn’t genuinely good, but it also isn’t as dumb as a lot of other would be blockbusters. It is roughly as good as watching The Last Jedi for the third or fourth time.

***1/2

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri Review

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is a hell of a movie. It isn’t perfect, but is a thoughtful and thought provoking film. It has several excellent performances and some really interesting things to say about how people deal with trauma. It is also really funny. It is simply one of the best movies released this year.

The movie opens with McDormand’s Mildred deciding to place three billboards on a largely abandoned stretch of road near the small town of Ebbing, Missouri that calls out the local police, and popular Chief Willoughby in particular, about why there has been no progress made in the investigation of her daughter’s murder. It provokes some responses; some support angry, many angry, and things soon spiral out of control.

It is certainly Frances McDormand’s movie and she is as good here as she has ever been. She imbues Mildred with palpable hurt and anger about the loss of her daughter. She isn’t always easy to like, and does several things that are simply wrong. Still, she is very relatable. Woody Harrelson as Chief Willoughby is also great; he is a mostly good man dealing with his own struggles. He certainly has blind spots, egregious blind spots, but he is at least trying to the right thing. The most outstanding performance is Sam Rockwell as Dixon, an incompetent, racist cop who appears much more interested in settling personal grievances than doing his job. The movie doesn’t do much to redeem those flaws about him, but it does eventually give you the rest of the picture, and he becomes a full figured character. Everybody else is good, but those three give the best performances.

While the film raises a lot of questions about difficult issues, it is really about anger and how people process it. It doesn’t suggest that anger is a bad or inappropriate response to terrible things, but it also shows how acting in anger isn’t always the best idea. Mildred is understandably and justifiably angry, though she might not have the right target for her rage. Likewise, Dixon is all rage at frequently innocent targets, but his is shown to be frustrated at his inabilities. He can’t solve Mildred’s case, he can’t help Chief Willoughby, but he acts in whatever way he can to do so. Willoughby is the most at peace with troubles. He could react with anger to what happens to him, but he accepts it with something resembling calm. The movie doesn’t suggest that Willoughby’s reaction is necessarily the right one; it instead shows how anger can help people process tragedy, but at some point you have to process or the anger becomes merely destructive. It is really great.

Those difficult issues it brings up, and doesn’t really deal with, are a problem. Mildred’s ex-husband is abusive, but it also has him dating a significantly younger girl and doesn’t even acknowledge that this might be a terrible thing for her once he reverts to form. It also level accusations of racism against the cops, and one in particular, but the movie never really does anything with that information. I like that it has the nuance to not make any of its characters out and out villains, but it also lets some of them off the hook too easily.

This is undoubtedly one of the best movies of the year. I haven’t seen any of McDonagh other movies, In Bruges or Seven Psychopaths, but I intend to rectify that shortly. It is rare to get a movie that is this unpredictable and enjoyable.

*****

Top 10 Games of 2017

I didn’t play too many new games this year, and I completed only a fraction of those that I did play. Even so, I was able to assemble a list of my 10 favorite games. I haven’t beaten every game on this list, but I have played all of them enough to know how good they are.

10. Etrian Odyssey V -I have barely cleared the first stratum of this game’s dungeon. I have loved previous Etrian Odyssey games and I like this one so far, but it hasn’t grabbed me like most of the rest of the series, so I don’t know where I’ll end up with this one. It could easily fall off the list, or it could shoot up four or five spots once I finish it.

09. Disney Afternoon Collection -I have played each of the games in this excellent collection for at least an hour, but I haven’t beaten any of them. Capcom’s NES Disney games are mostly terrific. Even the worst of the lot, Tailspin, is at least trying to do something interesting. I man never beat any of these games, but I expect to have a lot of fun with it going forward.

08. Ever Oasis - A delightful little game with a little Actraiser and a little Secret of Mana and a little Legend of Zelda.  It ends up being a pretty unique blend that makes for a very fun little game.  I didn’t think it did anything great, but it was consistently pleasant and enjoyable.

07. Yakuza 0 - This game would almost certainly be higher on this list if I had managed to complete it. If the first two chapters are indicative of the whole game, it might have topped the list. I just didn’t spend the time with it that I needed to in order to beat it. I have raved about Yakuza games in the past, and everything I’ve said about the previous games hold true here. It is just a great experience.

06. Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia There is a middle ground between this remake of the second Fire Emblem game and the previous 3DS triad release of Fates. I liked this game a bunch and it did some new and interesting things with the series despite being a remake, but it also lost some things that I loved about the series. I guess my complaint with the series amount to why can’t they just make the GBA games some more. I still have yet to not enjoy a Fire Emblem game.

05. Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap Another remake (fully half of the games on my list this year are remakes), this new Wonder Boy takes the Master System game and gives it a gorgeous, fresh coat of paint. It also changes just enough in terms of quality of life improvements to make it play just like you remember it playing. I really think I need to spend time with the rest of this series, since I loved both this and Monster World 4.

04. Persona 5 I didn’t love this game quite like I did with the previous two games in the series, but it was still mostly a really good time. It still has a great battle system and its life sim elements are incredibly addictive.

03. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age This remake of the most underrated Final Fantasy game proves how good and forward thinking the game was back when it first came out. It also reminded me that the game is a lot shorter than I recalled, clocking in at a satisfying 35-40 hours instead of the 60 or so I remembered. I really need to get back to try to finish up all the hunts at some point.

02. River City Rival Showdown - This one might not be as high once the newness wears off, but right now it is everything I want out of a modern River City game. It’s got a fun, goofy story, classic graphics, a deep array of special moves and some genuinely awesome moments. I hope they make more of these.

01. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild I had some trepidation going into Breath of the Wild, but it won me over completely. It mostly lacks my favorite part of a Zelda game, the dungeons, but it creates an open world that for once is actually worth exploring. It fulfills the exploratory promise that has been inherent in the series since the NES days. I love it.

Top 10 TV Shows of 2017

It was a pretty good year for TV. Here’s my list for the ten best shows of the year:

10: Lady Dynamite – Weird and surreal and completely hilarious.

09: GLOW – It takes a little while to get going, but the payoff is worth it. This show does a great job building up a cast of character worth watching going forward.

08: Wet Hot American Summer Ten Years Later – I hope they keep making Wet Hot Summer, because it keeps getting weirder while maintaining the same level of funniness.

07: Outlander S3 – The book this season was adapting, Voyager, is a tough nut to crack. It jumps all over the place in space and time, with few recurring characters. It also has some terrible moments, offset by some terrific ones. The show did a good job of turning that into a season of TV, though it couldn’t shake the unevenness. Still, I liked it.

06: Legion – It definitely goes its own way with X-Men lore, but it was a wild entertaining ride. I really need to rewatch it now that I know where it goes.

05: American Vandal – This came out of nowhere and the first time I watched it, it wasn’t near the list. But I felt compelled to watch it again and I liked it even more that time. It just does too many things well to mention them all here.

04: Fargo S3 – I’m not sure this season came together by the end, but I know that I really loved the journey. It set up a lot of compelling characters and scenarios, and mostly played them out satisfactorily, though with more coldness than the first two seasons.

03: The Good Place – The show is phenomenal. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, it pivots into something else, something even more interesting and funny than what came before.

02: Stranger Things 2 – The titling of this show tells it all, this is a sequel, not a continuation. It all worked for me. It pushes right up to that edge of being genuinely scary, but is mostly in that Jurassic Park range scariness that is about the most I can take. It move all the characters forward and introduces some great new ones. I loved it.

1: Master of None – There are like three of four masterpiece episodes in the second season of Master of None, the standout being Thanksgiving. Aziz and Alan Yang crafted a perfect comedy romance over the 10 episodes of this season. I loved it.

Honorable Mentions: There was a lot of good TV that would fit somewhere between five and ten, but a lot of them couldn’t fit on the list. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return was good, especially after the first few episodes and got into a rhythm. I don’t know that the most recent season of Bob’s Burgers was the best the show has ever had, but I did finally realize that it is one of my all-time favorite shows. Dear White People was a insightful look at race relations in 2017. Riverdale is delightfully bonkers. Taboo was enjoyably gross. Little Witch Academia is the most I have enjoyed a new anime series in some time, though with the caveat that I don’t watch all that much anymore. And lastly is Snatch. There is a significant possibility that Snatch would not hold up to a rewatch and I seem to be one of the few people that liked it, but I thought it was good fun that captured the tone of the movie even if it wasn’t quite up to that quality. I really wanted to put it on the list, but it was more of a good not great show that I wanted to bring up.

Let’s hope 2018 brings as much good TV as 2017, while being less of a shitshow in nearly every other regard.

Top 10 Movies of 2017

Making a top 10 list this year has proved pretty difficult. There were a lot of movies I liked, but few movies that I really, absolutely loved. I don’t think anything I saw this year was as good as last year’s The Nice Guys or Love and Friendship, let alone Mad Mad: Fury Road from the year before. But there were a lot of movies that I liked enough to consider for the back half of the list. Also, this year I watched a lot more movies than I have in years past, so I had a lot more to choose from. There are also several that I think I would like that I haven’t had the chance to see, like I, Tonya, Coco, or The Darkest Hour. But I didn’t manage to see them before I made the list, so they aren’t on it. It also might be noted that my review scores don’t match up exactly with how I ranked the movies on the list; I don’t care this is how much I like the movies compared to each other right now.

Honorable Mentions: Okja and Murder on the Orient Express. Both a lot of fun, but neither quite as good as the rest of the list. Still, I liked them well enough that I had a hard time not putting them on the list at all. Also, Dunkirk, which got bumped off the list just the other day when I saw my #1.

10. Logan Lucky I went into this with little in the way of expectations and I liked it. The further I get away from it, the more and more I like it. It is just a thoroughly enjoyable film.

9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 It is like the first one, but more. Just more. It also held up better to a rewatch than I expected it to, though it does get pretty shaggy in the middle and I kind of hate the CGI-fest that is large parts of the finale.

8. Thor: Ragnarok A full on delight that I expect will play well on rewatches. I wish it would have pulled back on the humor just a bit so the more epic moments could hit a little harder, but I liked it anyway. It was frequently legitimately funny and had just enough the cosmic stuff to feel worth it.

7. John Wick 2 – The first John Wick movie was about a perfect distillation of everything great about action movies, the sequel is not quite as pure, but it is deeper and had just as great of action scenes. Keanu Reeves has more than cemented his place on the action movie Mt Rushmore, and this is just another feather in his cap.

6. Wonder Woman – This is one of the finest examples of just a straight up superhero movie to come out in long time. And the ending, which I had some problems with in the theater, played really good watching it over the holiday.

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – A fascinating, difficult look at not entirely good people in tough circumstances. It is funny and sad and full of great performances.

4. Star Wars The Last Jedi – It moved the new Star Wars movies from being just retreads of the original series and on to being their own thing. It did it while pushing a lot of the themes that the series has been known for.

3. Blade Runner 2049 I’ve honestly never been the biggest fan of the original Blade Runner; it is a mood piece that just never quite connected with me. This sequel, though, is exactly what I wanted to see. It is a thoughtful, intelligent, gorgeous, sci-fi thriller.

2. Baby Driver The Kevin Spacey stuff hangs over this like a pall. I don’t know that I’ll be able to rewatch this anytime soon and not think about that stuff. That doesn’t change the fact that for most of the year this is the best movie I saw in 2017. It isn’t Edgar Wright’s best movie, but it is perfectly fun.

1. The Shape of Water – I caught this a few days after New Years and I immediately fell in love with it. Del Toro spins another phenomenal fairy tale that really gets across his love of the monster in the monster movie. Del Toro makes movies just for me and I am glad of it.

Now Playing in December 2017

Beaten

River City Rival Showdown — I burned through this game in a few days and have a post coming up for it. It is everything I wanted from it.

Ongoing

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — With Xenoblade Chronicles 2 out, I felt the desire to go back to Xenoblade Chronicles X and finish up a lot of late game stuff, but apparently my nephew deleted my save at some point. Instead, I fired up Breath of the Wild again and completed a few shrines. I love the game so much, I could play it forever. I think I might try to clear out all of the shrines if I have the time.

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time — I’ve been told that this game is the black sheep of the Mario & Luigi series, but through the first half or so of the game it is closer to the peak of the series rather than the bottom. I like the M&L series, but the only weakness of this entry so far is that it lacks the joy of the great villains like Fawful or Bowser. Otherwise, it has been a blast.

Upcoming

Final Fantasy XV — I got this for Christmas and am eager to get to it.

Monster Hunter World — I’ve missed out on the beta demos for this game, but I couldn’t be more excited for a full console Monster Hunter game. Don’t get me wrong, I greatly enjoy the 3DS Monster Hunter games, but I first fell in love with the series with the WiiU version of Monster Hunter 3. I hope this is good.

Mario — I still intend to get to the rest of the series and finish this playthrough before starting a new series playthrough, like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest of Suikoden.