Sometimes the best movies are creations that feel like they were just ideas thrown against the wall, projects that can only have been forged in a time of true experimentation. According to Director Donald G. Jackson, this film was pitched to New World Pictures with the idea of “Mad Max meets Planet of the Apes – only they’re frogs!” For some, Hell Comes to Frogtown is remembered only for its ridiculous title, or the unlikely leading man, wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, but there are as many interesting stories behind the scenes as there was strangeness on the screen. The likelihood is that this is no one’s favorite piece of cinema, but in the 35 years since its release, more people should have seen this intriguing b-movie.
What if fallen angels were real and they spent their time just screwing with people while waiting for Armageddon to happen? That’s probably the worst way to describe 1998’s Fallen, a suspenseful supernatural thriller that couldn’t quite take flight at the theaters, but became somewhat of an underground cult classic—in time.
I’ve never been a fan of many card-based games, after succumbing to the wiles of Magic: the Gathering back in high school, I swore them off. The genre never quite pulled me in easily, but apparently, the trick to getting myself and a lot of others to reconsider is to pair card mechanics with an IP we are already invested in. Between Marvel Snap and the Midnight Suns, however, all I can say is that 2022 became the year of “deal me in.”
2022 had a ton of things I wanted to put on this list, but so many were good, not great. The lower end would be incredibly crowded if I were strictly ranking these things, and a few got pushed off because I know I’m in a small minority of people who liked them. For example, I think Marky and Gore would be perturbed if they saw me put Immortality on here – even in that final spot – and I’ve already written longer pieces on things I truly enjoyed, such as The Quarry. This is my personal list, so most likely it’s just things I want to talk about or didn’t think were worth a full article, but maybe reading about them will convince someone to reconsider an entry or simply try it for the first time.
When else will I get to talk about this one-season Netflix show that has already been canceled? Who knows, that’s why it sneaks on the list here. Blockbuster is a sitcom about the last one of its kind and it is pretty dumb, but I loved it. I enjoy sitcoms with good characters and that is what keeps this show afloat. Randall Park and J B Smoove are easy winners, but some of the smaller characters are putting a lot of work in here and I hope they go on to bigger and better things. The setting of a Blockbuster store is surreal and a nice little kick of nostalgia, but that won’t work for everyone. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be easy to get invested in the ten-episode run, because don’t let my wife lie, she really wanted to know where that main romance plot was going.
9. Superhero TV
Okay, there was a lot of superhero-based television that came out this year, and to save myself a bit of a headache, I’m just going to say I enjoyed all of it and slide them all in the same entry. What I said is true, I didn’t feel anything was bad per se, but some were certainly better than others and even the ones that weren’t spectacular didn’t fail to entertain me. A couple of these, however, required some previous viewing to be really good, so it makes them harder to recommend to everyone.
She-Hulk: I know a lot of people didn’t like this one and I can only assume that’s because we have so many viewers that still think if the subject matter doesn’t apply to them directly then it’s bad. Some people were expecting Hulk smash and not She-Hulk to smash…some men…in bed. This isn’t an action series, but a comedy, it was compared to Ally McBeal early on, so I knew exactly what I was getting into, and I guess others didn’t or expected more. The last episode wasn’t my favorite and some of the fourth wall breakings were dumb, but that’s the same reason I don’t like Deadpool much and Jennifer was doing it first. I like dumb sitcoms though and the side characters were exceptional. Nikki and Pug deserve their own show.
Sandman: What a beautiful show, like poetry in motion. I read a chunk of these comics back in high school and adored them, but I always wanted to know more about the world. This was insightful and felt like Gaiman’s work was adapted excellently without having to adhere to the material like a prison. I was so glad to see this is getting a second season and every character grew on me by the end, so more is welcomed. Each episode felt like a classic adventure and I love that the season felt like multiple bold arcs. My favorite episode is the one where he keeps meeting the man in the bar through the years, but shout out to the bonus stories as well.
Peacemaker: His name is JOHN CENA—wait, sorry, that’s not right. Peacemaker appeared in the recent film, The Suicide Squad, and viewers will need to know about that one to get some of the arc here and how cool it was to see the character grow. I enjoyed this one a lot, especially the main group of ragtag schmucks who are all skilled, but somehow still bad at what they’re doing. There are twists and turns, but the main plot takes a backseat to the sheer craziness going on between the cracks of an alien invasion. There’re so many little things to appreciate here, like Harcourt, and the fascinating take on Vigilante.
P.S. This dance intro is mesmerizing and why wouldn’t his name be Eagly.
Moon Knight: Oscar Isaac kills it here. I know some people were upset with character changes for the show, but it helps this version feel different from Batman, which he gets compared to a lot. The way the story handles the reveals, Khonshu, and Ethan Hawke as the villain all comes together beautifully. I know the last episode is a bit weak, but it was a lot of fun and that final scene ruled. This show had me wanting to go back and read some of my favorite comics with the character in it, so mission accomplished. I hope we see more of ol’ Marc Spector and his buddies soon, but we all know the standout was Layla El-Faouly. In the interest of transparency, I received some screeners for this show and studied it a lot for my Looper article, so it was easy to go back and fall in love with the show more with each viewing.
Harley Quinn Season 3: Batman is an innately boring character after all of these years, at least compared to some of the rogues’ gallery of people he surrounds himself with. This cartoon is killing it and they’ve finally found out how to use him and Joker where they don’t feel tired or forced. The voice acting and writing for the show are just on point and Harley feels unleashed while still having her own passions and motivations that can go places. King Shark is the man.
The Boys Season 3: This continues to be a favorite of mine, even if I think season two may have been their best work so far. I pray they don’t go too far with it, and try to milk the cow more than is needed. I want this story to end and end well. I know we’re so far from the comics now, but I’m still riding this high and I can’t wait for the real diabolical shit to hit. This right here is the reason I keep a Prime sub.
Ms. Marvel: This show was perfectly fine.
This spot originally had Everything Everywhere All At Once in it, but seeing as that emotional multiversal tear-jerker has proved a bit too much for some people – it made some folks I know cry – I’ve decided to give the nod to a film that is much more fun, not quite as wild, and about fifteen minutes too long. Bullet Train is Smoking Aces on a train, a train made of crack, or it’s an anime with popular actors you recognize, or it could be just a good time where we learn the hard truths about Thomas the Tank Engine. All of these things can be, and are, true. I love the odd menagerie of bad but personable characters we see in this weird adventure, and it all comes together pretty well in the end, even if a few parts feel cheesy.
7. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
I’m a lifelong Trek fan and I’ve sat through almost all the franchise has to offer, good and bad, but I don’t think anyone even has to like the property to enjoy Strange New Worlds. These are the tales of Captain Christopher Pike and his crew at a time just before Kirk, a nearly undiscovered country, but each episode feels like its own great adventure with only a few connections. There are a couple of nice surprises and some good references, and though some of the characters feel different and updated, everyone comes across as more fleshed out. Hell, there’s even an albino engineer (sort of). The acting is stellar, the look of the show is fantastic, and keeping it simple seems to have paid off for Strange New Worlds. Now let’s see if that might bring in some new fans.
6. Marvel Snap
Addiction has a new name and this one will hook you in a…snap (sorry). I wrote something a bit longer about this subject, but I was not expecting a mobile game to grip me like this. Between a few friends talking about it though, introducing me to the mechanics, and then a certain X-Men book reigniting my love for card collecting, I’m so deep now. Wait, don’t walk away! The micro-transactions truly aren’t that bad, I promise. I can also play it on Steam to help with my vision. I’ve spent a total of $13 on the game so far and have never felt pressured to give them more, but I almost want to since the gameplay is so fun. The only downside to it is that the time I spend playing this is usually when I’d be reading comics, so it’s a weird tradeoff.
5. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
This is one I hope everyone watches eventually. I purposefully stayed away from the trailers and any potential spoilers (though the IMDB cast listing almost did it) and was more than pleased when I finally saw the film. It’s an incredibly fun piece, a delicious mystery with plenty of twists and turns, and the characters make me think it might just be a little bit better than the first outing. Glass Onion gets a bit wild toward the end, embracing some of the wilder genre tropes, but everything comes together nicely for a satisfying end. I hope we get another one of these, because I need some more Benoit Blanc in my life and nothing beats a good buttressing and a solid mystery.
Since I already did a piece on Mandy Rose this year and we aren’t sure what lies in store for her wrestling career, has anyone heard of AEW’s secret weapon? Jade Cargill is money – no, really, did you miss that outfit she wore that was made of it? Better yet, did you see this woman dressed as Jade from Mortal Kombat or She-Hulk? Perfection. Okay, she isn’t the best in the ring, but she isn’t bad either and it looks as if she’s putting the work in and improving. I can respect that, but she’s easy to root for, a heel I want to see succeed. She has the look, but moreover, Cargill oozes confidence and she knows it. This beauty is statue-Esque, undefeated, she currently holds the TBS championship, and identifies herself as “that bitch.” She’s walking the walk, talking the talk, and I hope Jade continues to take over.
What a fantastic concept for a film. It’s so dumb it works and Deadstream does the genre-mixing thing without feeling like a complete rip-off of something else. Clearly, there are some Evil Dead inspirations here and I can’t help but think someone involved in making this played Resident Evil 7 multiple times, but in every instance where it starts to feel too goofy or too tense, it jumps back and forth. Also, they nail the whole idea of what a Twitch/YouTube community is like, perfectly. I always enjoy finding new horror films that feel fresh and scary, but nothing beats fun and creativity when it’s wielded correctly. Give this one a like…or a follow…or something.
2. TMNT: Cowabunga Collection
I gave the impressive TMNT: Shredder’s Revengeits own best-of-the-year article, and even though I could gush about that game more, we should discuss the other gem of turtle goodness the world received this year, the Cowabunga Collection. This shouldn’t be a hard sell for anyone who likes them some TMNT, but even non-fans can respect the idea of getting 13 classic 8 and 16-bit titles with quality-of-life improvements to help navigate those treacherous sewers. Want to just play through the arcade games casually beating up The Foot with a partner, sweet! Finally ready to tackle that TMNT game on NES with the help of a rewind feature and prove to Shredder he’s just a giant tin can with mutant yes-men? That might reveal you have some unresolved issues, and like me, this game hurt you, but that means we aren’t alone. We can do it! Also, there are some neat special features here and a lot of high-quality images and extras to pore over for hardcore fans looking for a specific nostalgia trip.
I hadn’t even heard of this movie until my pusher slid me a copy and said, “you like horror, you’ll like this.” They were right. X was out of nowhere, it was engrossing, and I’ve made a bunch of people watch it so they could get the same experience. I loved watching the film, but the second viewing was even better, hearing so many characters telegraph the events of this unfolding tragedy. The ‘70s setting, mixed with the pornography undertones, it all feels raw, and then comforting somehow when they start singing Landslide. It’s hard to explain how much X took me and made a believer out of me, so I hope everyone else gets to feel that also. This isn’t the most fun movie I watched this year, but it was definitely the one I thought about the most after the credits rolled. As of this writing, I haven’t watched Pearl yet, the follow-up movie, but I’m hoping it is even half as good as what I witnessed.
I almost didn’t post one of these this year. If I’m being honest, 2022 was a period where I lost more family and friends, felt like I was falling away from people I want to stay close with, and didn’t truly grow much as a writer as I would have liked. It wasn’t all bad, however, I debuted at a few new places, wrote some bigger pieces, and other than a couple of misfires, had several things published. As is tradition, I post these to not only remind those who missed some of my work of what I did this last twelve months, but for myself as well. I always want to do bigger and better things in my field, but I’m unsure if this is the motivation I need or not. Still, the plan hasn’t changed. I want to remember the cool things I accomplished and keep working hard on achieving more. I know I can do it. Sometimes it’s just about finding the right time and opportunity.
January of this year started off pretty thick with pieces, but there wasn’t much fluff. I got to talk about some of the ‘90s best animated female villains and characters we wanted to see cameo in the (now canceled) Saved by the Bell reboot. It’s hard to go wrong with these two.
I did a lot of articles about film anniversaries and that started in February with my piece on Swamp Thing, followed up by my first video game feature of 2022 on Life is Strange, which I somehow tied back to my albinism.
March was a full month and I spent a lot of time analyzing Marvel’s Moon Knight show to look for Easter eggs, then I told people what was new in GTAV for GG Recon, and wrapped things up with talking about new characters introduced in The Boys: Diabolical.
We started off with a cool debut at Space and talked about Star Trek in April, followed up by praising the good G.I. Joe movie, and talking about how Ghostwire Tokyo lacked substance. Finally, Stone Cold made his comeback at Wrestlemania and I just had to write about that!
May saw another article in a print magazine, one about Saints Row characters, and then I debuted at Reviewed talking about accessible video games. After that, I got to review a Vampire: The Masquerade game, Swansong, and finally saw my long-awaited interview with writer Paul Jenkins.
After giving Eternal Darkness some credit on its anniversary and reviewing a couple of odd movies, I did one of my favorite reviews of the year on The Quarry. Next, it was time to remind people about Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, before rounding it out by discussing how Far Cry 6’s violence helped the experience for TheGamer.
Other than reviewing a couple of odd movies in November, I was into the Resident Evil Village DLC. I will also take any excuse to write about the X-Men, especially those ‘90s trading cards or the cartoon.
And most recently, I got some wonderful attention on my pieces for The Orville and another wrestling feature about Mandy Rose. I did my first controller review and hope to get a few more under my belt, as well as discussed a lesser-known Justice League movie and a lot more TMNT.
It wasn’t a slow year, that’s for sure, and here is to hoping that 2023 is twice as busy. A big thank you to everyone who supported me, who shared my work, or just clicked on a link. It means a lot when you read the words I wrote. I couldn’t have done it without my friends and incredible wife. She’s a dork, but Aimee is also the reason I’m able to do anything.
With everything going on over at Warner Bros. in regards to the DC Universe, it might be nice to go back to a time when the team was (maybe) thriving, all of our favorites were (sort of) there, and things just seemed simple — in a way. Okay, so the 1997 Justice League of America movie isn’t what most would call “good” and is almost in the “so ’90s it’s unintentionally funny” category, but we’re here to talk about it 25 years later because this thing is an unrecognized piece of nerd history — no matter how harshly it got the original Batgirl treatment and was swept under the rug. This is less the humble beginnings of the Justice League and more the tragic adventures in an alternate reality — one of a made-for-television movie that never had a chance.
Somehow, we’ve managed to make it to the end of 2022, so with that in mind, we’re celebrating some of the best games to have launched in the past 12 months. For today’s edition, we’re celebrating the past with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.
Fans are often afraid of the necessary evolution most franchises must embrace, concerned the experience will change too much or simply be an uninspired retread of its greatest hits. There’s a fine line between bringing something up to current standards and using what came before responsibly. When a company finds that perfect intersection, sometimes, it hits just right. That’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, an excellent game that drips with nostalgia, but not because it’s a cheap ploy to bring back in old fans – this is a return home.
The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise has been swinging hard in recent years with comics, toys, movies, and television shows, but a sizeable portion of their audience first discovered these turtle boys through animation. Though several different iterations of these reptiles have appeared on the small screen at this point, it’s hard to argue against the enormous impact of the original 1987 cartoon. The iconic look of the show and several character models are still often used for new art and action figures, and even provided a basis for 2022’s “TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge” video game. Now as the show celebrates its 35th anniversary, it’s still easy to look back and see why so many of our much younger selves fell in love with the program and still want to revisit this version of the heroes in a half shell.
Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo, as well as the other mainstays of the franchise are all great, but this show ran for 10 seasons and it’s easy to forget the smaller players. We’re here to talk about some of those characters who may have slipped under the radar or gotten lost in the fog of time. Heroes and villains alike, these are the side characters who are more awesome than we might remember and deserve recognition.
Mandy Rose (Amanda Rose Saccomanno) has been all over the news after recently being released from WWE. Rose was the queen of NXT during its greatest slump, ruling for over 400 days as their Women’s Champion, but that came to an abrupt end in an impromptu match against Roxanne Perez. Though the circumstances of her leaving may bring about some different opinions, it is clear that the real losers in this situation were the fans.
Finding the perfect video game controller is almost never easy for persons with disabilities, and, as more custom-built models hit the market, it can be difficult to discern which ones are worth the risk to your wallet. This is especially true when so many top-notch gamepads look alike and boast similar features, but most people who game extensively know not all controllers are created equal. Thankfully, a few stand out above the rest, delivering several of the qualities passionate players are searching for. The Ultra X HexGaming Controller makes a strong case for occupying one of those coveted spots.
I received a sample of this new product and took my time with it, testing out the Ultra X on three different Microsoft consoles and two PCs while playing through a variety of digital experiences from classic FPS titles to fighting games. The Ultra X may not initially impress those who have already sprung for an Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, straight from Microsoft, but this HexGaming Xbox controller proves it’s just as good, and maybe even better than the first-party alternative, when it comes to accounting for accessibility.