Some people use the start of a new year as inspiration for change. It’s a time to get off the couch, break bad habits and start over fresh. It’s all super positive and motivating, really.
Yeah, we don’t do that here. At Speakeasy, the beginning of a new year marks the birth of new obsessions. That movie that’s been getting serious buzz since last summer? Time to spend hours pouring over its IMDB page. The TV show that’s already won like 12 Emmys and is about to have its best season ever? Should have started watching that yesterday. It’s time to say goodbye to our former pop culture flames (sorry, “Dance Moms”) and begin anew.
So while everyone else is swearing off all-nighters or hitting up Ping, we’ll be munching on popcorn, wondering how Netflix hasn’t cut us off yet. If you’d like to join us, never fear. Read on for our picks of 2013’s most obsession-worthy movies, TV shows and games.
“Game of Thrones” season three | Carina Belles
Full disclosure: I used to be a “Game of Thrones” hater. Bunch of boring old dudes fighting over who gets to rule their old, boring kingdom? Thanks, but no. Winter is coming, blah blah blah. There’s only so much borderline sexist fantasy I can stomach before I retreat back into my “Harry Potter” cupboard forever.
Then I actually watched it. Oh my god. I didn’t want to like it, because how else am I supposed to make fun of my mouth-breathing geek friends? But I fell in love (mostly with Jon Snow, but that’s another story). I love the scenery, I love the politics, I love Peter Dinklage, I kind of even love the twincest, but mostly, I love the kickass, amazing ladies of Westeros.
Like, aside from my boyfriend J-Snow and my life hero Peter Dinklage, I don’t really care what happens to most of the characters. (Especially you, Joffrey). They know what they’re getting in to. You win or you die. But if any harm ever comes to Daenerys, Arya, my beloved Sansa or Cersei (okay, maybe not Cersei), it is ON. I am so invested in this show, I feel like Ben Wyatt. Also, wolves! Lots of cute wolves.
Season three premieres March 31, and I could not be more excited. An army of White Walkers is on the move, Joffrey is marrying Anne Boelyn, Theon’s gonna ruin some more stuff, and Daenerys is probably going to take over the world. So, yeah, watch “Game of Thrones.” It’s totally worth the HBO subscription.
“Iron Man 3” | Ross Dickerhoof
So, yeah, “Iron Man 2” was pretty disappointing. So disappointing, in fact, that while I was watching it, I was drumming my fingers on the couch, checking my watch and thinking “For Christ’s sake, guys, just hurry up and get ‘The Avengers’ out already!” I didn’t really have any desire to see any further entries in the franchise (yet my Robert Downey Jr. mancrush survived). Then I saw the trailer for “Iron Man 3.”
Oh. My. God.
Tony Stark going through depression and self-loathing? A new, possibly evil Iron Man? Ben freaking Kingsley as The Mandarin? Stark’s house exploding and falling off a cliff into the ocean? How can this not be The Best Thing Ever?
And what’s that, you say? Shane Black, who wrote “Lethal Weapon” and directed “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (which is amazing, by the way), is directing? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.
I’m definitely hoping for the best on this one. It looks like a great game-changer for the franchise, a fresh perspective on the character and universe and not just an extended trailer for the next “Avengers” movie like “Iron Man 2” was. Black specifically said he wants to direct it like a “Tom Clancy thriller” and take on more real-world issues. Just don’t let me down, Shane. I’ve been hurt too many times before by crappy superhero threequels. I’m looking at you, “Spider-Man 3” and “X-Men 3.”
“The Elder Scrolls” Online | Isaac Noland
A dark elf sprints through marshy wilderness, dodging avian aggressors between 20 foot tall mushrooms. Behind classic medieval walls, a lizard-man stalks his mark. In the high peaks of windswept mountains, a Nordic warrior with a greatsword dodges dragon’s fire.
All of the above scenarios are familiar to anyone who has played the most recent entries of “The Elder Scrolls” video game series. “Morrowind,” “Oblivion” and “Skyrim” brought the series to the forefront of single player role-playing game franchises. In 2o13, the series will make a modern foray into massively multiplayer online gameplay.
“The Elder Scrolls” Online faces the daunting task of pleasing a large, rabid fanbase all too ready to pounce on any misstep. The common fear is that “TESO” will simply be “World of Warcraft” with an “Elder Scrolls” skin. Luckily, reports on alpha builds of the game have expressed excitement at how engaging the combat system is, a common bane of many MMOs. In this developer introduction for the game, the aesthetics of each recent entry are alive and well in their respective parts of the huge continent of Tamriel.
Graphical changes are inevitable when approaching a massive online world. For the “TESO,” this means slightly less realistic models. The detail has been traded for the insane ability to have about 200 players on screen at once. Another exciting feature is the idea of a “mega server.” Unlike most other MMOs where a player has to find his friends and group mates in a list of servers, everyone is hosted in this one “mega server.”
The aforementioned aspects of the game addressed my biggest fears for the new entry, and now I am left only with extreme excitement for 2013. It would be enough to just make “The Elder Scrolls Online” a “good” or serviceable game, but many features appear to be renovations for the entire genre, and that bodes well for fans of any multiplayer experience.
“Grand Theft Auto V” | Blake Tan
There isn’t anything more fun than driving around a lush, detailed, fully-realized video game environment in a snazzy convertible you just car-jacked from beneath the noses of some donut-munching police officers. Traffic laws mean absolutely nothing as you zoom past other vehicles, flouting everything your driver’s ed classes taught you. That is, until you smash into a tree rooted by the Almighty himself and you go flying out your windshield into a pedestrian walking his dog. Being the vile, mean-spirited criminal you are, you stand up, brush yourself off and kick him for softening your otherwise deadly gymnastics – and kick his dog too!
Rockstar’s next installment in their “Grand Theft Auto” series looks as promising as when they first previewed “Grand Theft Auto IV” more than four years ago. It’s almost impossible to believe that this is even the same generation of consoles that “GTA IV” launched for – the visuals for “GTA V” look absolutely breathtaking. And Rockstar North is pushing the open-world crime game genre forward, in their signature Rockstar fashion, by telling a narrative that feels as detailed and interesting as anything the scribes for “Breaking Bad” can come up with.
Throw in some multiplayer so you can wreak havoc in the fictional city of Los Santos with your friends online, mix in some compelling characters to drive the single-player story forward, and you don’t have to be the mastermind behind a criminal empire to realize that Rockstar is making a play for game of the year as early as spring.
“The Great Gatsby” | Holly Coletta
I’ve been waiting for a big-screen adaptation of “The Great Gatsby”* basically forever (a.k.a. AP English), so I was heartbroken and a half when Baz Lurhmann’s version was pushed back until May 2013. Though the delay makes me a little nervous, I’m convinced I’ll love it either way, because everything about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is glam and fab and awesome (see also: Carey beautiful human Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan).
Lurhmann has sort of a polarizing filmmaking style (because apparently not everyone was a fan of “Moulin Rouge!”…?), but the trailer affirms my excitement. It looks like the perfect juxtaposition of ‘20s swank (glitzy flapper dresses, slick cars, fancy dranks, Leo DiCaprio looking like a boss) and modern day swag (Jay-Z is scoring the film. This is not a joke). I’m still harboring a little “meh” grudge against Tobey McGuire (who plays narrator Nick**) for “Spider-Man 3,” but my F. Scott fangirl status can temporarily forgive even the darkest of geek world sins.
So what am I most excited for in 2013? Um, the party at Gatsby’s. Duh.
*Disclaimer: This is not the first time “The Great Gatsby” has been adapted. There was a silent film made in the ‘20s, another film in the ‘40s, a very pretty, very period piece-y 1974 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow and also a made-for-TV movie in 2000 that starred Paul Rudd (!) as Nick.
**Can we all just take a moment to think about how much better it would be to have Paul Rudd be Nick?
What’s your 2013 obsession? Do you agree with our picks? Leave us a comment and let us know, or tweet us at @SpeakeasyENT! Also, let us know if you hated “Spider-Man 3” as much as we all did. Because that still hurts.