Some people like to start the new year looking to the future, but here at GateCrashers, we’re looking back to the past to entertain us. If you’re new around here, this is #FBF, a once-a-month article that celebrates all the best stuff of yesterday that we’re still enjoying today.
All In The Family
Submitted by Katie
I watched All in the Family occasionally growing up. Admittedly, I never saw reruns of the groundbreaking television show as much as other Norman Lear helmed creations like Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, and Good Times (I cried when John Amos’ character dies on Good Times). However, the vacillating emotions, the way All in the Family seamlessly slipped between gut-busting humor and scenes where you held your breath as the string of tensions pulled tautly, made an impression on me, the week of Christmas, my partner and I decided to check out the All in the Family Christmas-themed episodes. Nearly every episode resonated with heavy themes set during the holiday. Since then, we have been going through the DVD box set chronologically. It shouldn’t be shocking, but All in the Family feels as if it was made today. The 1970s show covers nearly identical issues from the last decade surrounding the political divide, race, civil rights, human rights, and fixed mindsets. Revisiting All in the Family at the age of 23, during a time where strife reigns supreme in every facet of life, is eye-opening. I digest each episode in my head and with my partner for hours. But I love and harbor a deep appreciation for All in the Family. I hope to continue laughing, crying, and learning with the Bunker family as we slowly watch the whole series in 2022.
Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enriquez
Submitted by Cass
The stories that live inside Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez are hard to describe. I read it at night, well past midnight, and every time I closed the book, I couldn’t close my eyes. They made me feel upset, uncomfortable, and full of dread. But even though it was always a stressful experience, I never could stop reading because all the stories where masterfully written. Mariana Enriquez’s voice is unique in the genre of thriller and horror. Her stories explore new grounds and haunt the reader in ways they wouldn’t believe. If you are looking for something to keep you awake, and some incredibly well told stories, you should definitely check out Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez.
Submitted by Cidnya
As I prepare for the newest installment to the Scream franchise, I revisited Scream 4 starring Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox. Released in 2011, Scream 4 ispacked with meta-commentary on horror at that point in film history. Its opening dialogue cuts right into making digs at Saw IV and how horror sequels aren’t original anymore (which is funny because one of the side characters was the main character in Saw II). It blends a love of the genre while reinventing itself as smarter, quippier, and funnier than the landscape at the time. While many fans may feel divisive on this sequel, I still think it holds up with a great whodunit like the first, great meta-commentary on sequels like the second with pure fun, and creative kills like the third. Kirby (Panettiere) by herself makes the film worth it with her horror film knowledge leading her down the path of survival, even if she doesn’t make the cut in the end. I think enough time has passed from when the 4th film was released that we can see how it’s a meta criticism of the genre and how ahead of its time its own self-deprecating humor was. Check it out because it’s a SCREAM.
Submitted by Ian
The first time I read volume 1 of Southern Bastards I declared it like no other comic on the shelves. This may seem a bold proclamation, on the surface it is one of many great crime comics that have populated the industry since the Golden Age. Southern Bastards is a comic that wears its heart on its sleeve. It is Southern Fried Crime served up expertly by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. Only a creative duo who have a pride and passion for their roots could orchestrate a comic where the main antagonist is a high school football coach with a hard winning mentality. A coach who also happens to have the town of Craw County in his grip of fear, all while running his operations from the back office in a BBQ restaurant. The story moves at breakneck speed, weaving in smaller character moments with the bigger picture. The story is easily digestible in the trade paperback format and all four current trades can be enjoyed over a weekend. You won’t want to put it down. The first trade even comes complete with a recipe for fried apple pies. On face value some elements at play may seem like southern stereotypes, but with the right attention instead Southern Bastards offers a cast of diverse and interesting characters. Like all good crime comics, the areas of grey these characters operate in both morally and through their actions is what drives the story. While the first arc may seem pretty clear good in terms of good and bad, right and wrong, things change over the course of the series. As a sports fan I urge you to read the second arc and not feel a twinge of sympathy for Euless Boss as he sees his dream ripped away from him. The unsung star of Southern Bastards is Latours’ color choices. Red is the predominant color of choice. All the covers are in the same red and black theme. The football team wear red. It is almost as if you can feel the heat of the southern nights, with the mosquitoes buzzing in the air. The red tones ramp up and dominate more as the action and violence intensifies. Like I said, to me there is no other comic like it. The adventures of Roberta Tubb, the eeriness of the wild dog pack and the horror of Tad Leadbettter were all coming to ahead when the series when on hiatus. I hope that sometime soon, maybe even in 2022, Southern Bastards can find its way back to us.
Submitted by Patrick
I was a bit hesitant to write about Beatstar for this month’s article, because I have become quite addicted to it. A mobile game originally releasing in September 2020 and available on both the iPhone App Store and the Google Play Store, Beatstar is in the vein of Guitar Hero. I originally downloaded Beatstar after seeing ads for it on TikTok, and I have quickly become obsessed with it. Normally I find mobile games fun for a bit before the ads get too annoying or the game gets boring, but Beatstar keeps me hooked. This game is free to download and play, and while there are microtransactions and ads, they do not get in the way of gameplay. You can spend a ton of money buying new songs if you want, but you can get plenty of new songs to play through regular, free mechanics of the game. Using your two thumbs, you tap your way through plenty of recognizable songs, as well as some new one you might discover as you progress. These songs can get pretty challenging as you unlock hard and extreme songs, but completion of any particular song is not required to receive new content. Beatstar is a great app to spend some time combining some simple gaming and music!
Ninja Gaiden Black
Submitted by Luke
When I was a young child, I got the game Ninja Gaiden Black and I got my ass BEAT. I got it beat so bad, the game offered me the choice to abandon the Path of the Ninja to play on the aptly named Path of the Dog difficulty. There was no difficulty selection in the game, the game just blatantly disrespected you and called you shit. 15 years later, here I am, beating the remastered collection on Path of the Ninja. No longer am I dog at this game. I remembered absolutely loving this game and the sequel, Ninja Gaiden 2, so I was a bit disheartened when I read initial reviews that were somewhat down on the remastered collection. Fortunately, I remembered I have shit taste and low standards so I snagged the collection and the games were just as fun as I remembered. I returned to the game with all the lessons I had learned the first time around, which is to say I spammed the Flying Swallow (jump, heavy attack) move and decapitated everyone after 2 or 3 of them. 2 games that took me months to beat when they came out took me 4 days total and I loved every second of it. Now it’s time to finish off the trilogy!
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Submitted by Chris
Being a gamer who is constantly playing behind, my wife and I finally got to experience the joy that is Luigi’s Mansion 3 over the holidays. Maybe I’m just lucky with my gaming partner here, but I can’t imagine playing this thing solo. We both really love how different Gooigi is compared to Luigi and I especially loved to abuse the healing factor of going back into the vacuum. Plus the story is just so silly. It’s hard not to love a game like this.