The Coolest Everything of 2010

At first glance, it may seem just like every other year, but in my opinion, 2010 was one of the best in recent history.  Groundbreaking musi...

At first glance, it may seem just like every other year, but in my opinion, 2010 was one of the best in recent history.  Groundbreaking music, video games and films altered the futures of their respective genres, and gave us all something epic to enjoy.  How better to honor these outstanding achievements than through the art of the list.  Cool on Purpose presents, The Coolest Everything of 2010.

Film

inception movie
Inception

We were lucky enough this year to be blessed with what may very well be the greatest film of all-time.  Renowned director Christopher Nolan changed the face of the genre with his 2010 smash hit Inception.  I saw it in theaters three times myself (I've never seen a film in theaters more than once before this).  Nolan has an uncanny ability to make astounding movies that also do extremely well at the box office.  It may have something to do with his casting of Leonardo Dicaprio, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page.  With The Dark Knight Rises coming up to bat next for Nolan, he may also have taken the title of best director to add to his successes.


the social network movie
The Social Network

David Fincher has been on a roll as of late.  He already established himself as an astonishing director back in the '90s by making every guy's top ten list with Fight Club, but with the The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and now The Social Network, it appears as though he's going for the gold.  So many upcoming actors (including the already rapidly rising Jesse Eisenberg) made their mark in this film with outstanding performances.  The fact that Fincher decided not to tone done the dialogue for the mindless droves that usually consist general movie audiences is this films greatest achievement.  If you haven't yet seen it, you're in for an intelligent treat.

black swan movie
 Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky's magnum opus is no less than a masterpiece.  Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel's performances are spellbinding.  Clint Mansell's brilliant work on the soundtrack is a mirage of sound that blends Nina Sayers' world with that of Tchaikovsky's Swan LakeBlack Swan is a psychological thriller like no other that will undoubtedly leave you in awe.

salt movie
Salt

No one was expecting this.  The day I first saw the trailer for Salt I said, "Oh OK, another Angelina Jolie spy movie.  Should be good."  I have never been more wrong.  There is nothing quite like Salt.  It's so rare for everyone in the audience to be so readily fooled and deceived while also being thoroughly entertained and engaged.  The only thing more frustrating than the fact that this movie didn't garner nearly the attention it deserved, is attempting to explain how fantastic this movie is to someone who has not yet seen it.

the american movie
The American

Music video director Anton Corbijn's first foray into fiction film is surprisingly well done.  Like the story's main character (wonderfully played by George Clooney), the director shows he's a master craftsman by using control and ambiance rather than an abundance of over-stylization and action.  If you are expecting a hyper, action-adventure, you will be disappointed, but if you want an amazing and realistic look into what the life of an assassin might be like, don't miss The American.

Video Games

mass effect 2 video game
Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 is in my opinion the best game available on a next generation console.  It improves on the first in every conceivable way, and leaves the traditional approach to RPGs in the Normandy's dust.  Bioware didn't just make a phenomenal game, they completely changed the genre.  Let's be honest.  Every single (guy) who played Final Fantasy VII pretty much ended up playing through the majority of the game with the same squad; Cloud, Vincent (if you unlocked him) and Red XIII.  Of course I'm genearlizing and of course you used Aeris before she died, but let's be real...  Mass Effect 2 somehow manages to get you to genuinely want every single character in your squad.  It becomes a difficult decision every time you leave your ship.    The original Mass Effect already had the best create-a-character and conversation systems out there, so when Mass Effect 2 took it a step further, it blew my mind.  The graphics are phenomenal, the characters are some of the best out there, the story is amazing...  I can go on and on.

red dead redemption video game
Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar has always been one of my favorite developers.  They don't let conventional boundaries stop them from making something extraordinary, and this year was no different.  When Red Dead Redemption first came up, people were simplifying it as basically Grand Theft Auto in the wild wild west.  At first glance, that's an accurate statement, but once you step into John Marston's boots, you realize that it's something more.  Rather than pasting in the genre's traditional vice-driven character template, Rockstar took the less traveled road and made Marston a man of morals creating one of the best characters in video game history.  There is no experience quite like Red Dead Redemption, except for maybe being an actual cowboy.

god of war iii video game
God of War III

My favorite series of all-time capped off it's trilogy with the most epic game ever created.  The scope and scale of God of War III is immense beyond all reason.  From the moment you take control of Kratos, you feel as if you are the bearer of vengeance itself.  The Ghost of Sparta's journey is a daunting one.  What you once thought was a boss fight, is now just a stepping stone up the back of a Titan.  God of War III offers up the phenomenal graphics and music that the series is known for, as well as some terrific voice acting.  If you haven't wised up enough to play God of War III, Kratos will make a man of you yet.

heavy rain video game
Heavy Rain

There used to be argument over whether the gap between games and movies could truly be bridged.  Then Heavy Rain came along, and no one argues anymore.  Heavy Rain has what may be described as the best graphics of any game, on any system.  It is a one-of-a-kind experience.  As a matter of fact, Heavy Rain cannot truly be called a game.  It is based in realism.  It is based on life.  It is based on the idea that there is no game overs, or restarts, or checkpoints in real life.  There are no right and wrong answers.  There are only favorable and unfavorable outcomes.  If you get hit by a car today, you don't get to hit a button and try crossing the street over again.  No, you deal with it and keep going, or don't.  It was relieving to see that Heavy Rain took an adult approach to relationships and how our lives intertwine.  Play the game that's not a game.  It'll change you think.

starcraft ii video game
Starcraft II

I don't even need to play computer games to realize Blizzard's affect on the gaming industry.  Starcraft II (one of the most anticipated games in PC history) received a myriad of perfect reviews all across the board.  It's doubtful we'll see excitement of this magnitude again until Diablo III finally rears its head, or until Blizzard's new mystery project is unveiled sometime next year.


Live Arcade Games

limbo video game
Limbo

Sometimes it's the simplest that are the standouts.  Limbo thrusts you into the shoes of a young boy in a strange world searching for the fate of his sister.  The art is what initially drew me in.  The dark, eerie,  silhouette style gives you a feeling of unease as you wander this strange land.  The fact that you're playing as a young boy only adds to the game's intensity when you die.  Just when you start to think you're figuring the world's physics, Limbo throws a wrench into the gravity machine.  The first time I played this game, I played it in one long, breathtaking, enjoyable sitting.  It's a few hours you'll want to invest more than once.

scott pilgrim vs. the world: the game video game
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

If you are a fan of this blog, or born in the '80s, or an avid fighting gamer, I can only imagine you will love Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game.  It's the most brawling fun I've had since Double Dragon II for NES.  Pixel artist wonderkid Paul Robertson created the mind-blowing visuals for SPvTWTG that took it into the stratosphere.  The epic boss fights and Anamanaguchi chiptune soundtrack are awesome, but they pale in comparison to the badass video game homage paid to the greats of old.  Mario, Double Dragon II, Ninja Gaiden II, River City Ransom, Kirby, Street Fighter and Guitar Hero all get proper shoutouts.  To top it all off, it's the kind of four player co-op fun you haven't enjoyed since your N64 days.  As far as 2D brawlers go, SPvTWTG is required playing.

Albums

the black keys brothers album
The Black Keys - Brothers

It is my personal opinion that The Black Keys' Brothers is one of the best albums of all-time.  I have listened that CD into the ground.  It's the Keys' sixth studio album and one of the most masterfully crafted ensembles you'll ever hear.  Their grungy blues-rock awesomeness comes across as genuine and unrefined.   The album sounds like Brother Where Art Thou just got out of a long term relationship with electric guitars, sung through Campbell's soup cans, in the best way.  You would be doing yourself a great disservice by missing out on this masterpiece.

janelle monae the archandroid album
Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III)

The future is here, and her name is Janelle.  Ms. Monáe has taken me to another world with her enchanting voice.  I've gotten lost in her rhythms and swept away in her melodies.  She has so many obvious influences that come through in her music that it's like a medley of everything you love, everytime you listen.  The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) is more of an orchestral journey than an album, sending you through a future I want to be in.  I thought it was a good CD until I heard a bit of Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune" creep in near the end of the album... that's the moment I knew it was great.

Mixtapes

brandun deshay volume three to get ready mixtape
Brandun DeShay - Volume: Three! To Get Ready

This is one of my favorite CDs of the year, album or not.  Brandun DeShay is easily the most slept on rapper in the world right now.  The mixtape features a bevy of upcoming emcees as well as some of the most creative production I've heard in a long time.  Video game references, astonishing analogies and mesmerizing metaphors make it impossible to skip over any tracks.  You can't like hip hop and not like DeShay.  It's required listening.

big sean finally famous vol. 3 mixtape

Big Sean - Finally Famous Vol. 3

G.O.O.D. Music wasn't fucking around this year.  Big Sean stepped up to the plate to deliver one of the freshest and most impressive mixtapes of 2010.  He destroys beat after beat in his signature, overconfident style and makes sure you remember his name in anticipation of his debut album which should drop next year.  Big Sean's definitely one of the most clever rappers out right now so if you haven't heard any of his stuff, this is a good place to start.

Updated January 16th, 2011.

See ya Space Cowboys...

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