2014 Year in Review

Good day, all. As we wrap up 2014, there was a lot of content I’ve written on Culture Crossfire that I’m very proud of. The site has been very good to me and am very thankful to convey my thoughts here. The wrestling and sports content is divine and I try to contribute my knowledge of television, film, and music to the mix. In the 45 articles I’ve written over the past year, I want to talk about the highlights and update some posts as well. Shall we?

I started 2014 off with an article profiling the most successful professional wrestlers outside the wrestling ring. Brock Lesnar’s UFC stint, Jesse Ventura’s career in politics, and Chris Jericho’s band, Fozzy, were some of the success stories talked about. Fortunately, we can add another name to that list, C.M. Punk. Punk, real name Phil Brooks, hastily exited WWE earlier this year vowing never to come back. Though he kept quiet about his departure for most of 2014, he revealed on good friend, Colt Cabana’s podcast, The Art of Wrestling, in November that lingering injuries coupled with lack of medical support, broken promises, sloppy workers and backstage politics led to him quitting the company. At UFC 181, Punk was present to announce his participation in UFC with his first fight to take place in 2015. Will his UFC career go the same way as Lesnar’s? Only time will tell. I certainly hope he succeeds!

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I went on to write about my exciting trip to Hong Kong back in January for Chinese New Year. While the #1 activity for tourists to do there is a visit to Victoria’s Peak, The Avenue of the Stars was the definite highlight of my stay as a big fan of Chinese movie stars Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Yun Fat-Chow, and Bruce Lee.

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Speaking of Bruce Lee, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum had an entire exhibit on his life when I was there which was amazing. There was even a documentary about him playing in the museum’s theater. While it was a spectacular trip that I recommend everyone to take, I would be cautious of all the pro-democracy rioting and protests that have occurred there in recent months. Do your research and stay safe.

I continued my love for Nickelodeon as I profiled the classic Nicktoons from my day. Doug, Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, and Rocko’s Modern Life were such incredible shows from my childhood that need to be viewed by this generation. Hey, if we can expose the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles to them, no reason why we can’t the others, right? We then go into the top 10 television shows you’ve probably forgotten about. I recommend taking in an episode of the Michael Rappaport comedy, The War at Home, Canadian horror-comedy, Big Wolf on Campus, Louis C.K. vehicle, Lucky Louie, which aired on HBO years before his breakthrough with FX’s Louie. All are worth watching.

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I profiled one of my favorite directors, Darren Aronofsky, to coincide with the release of his latest film, Noah.

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I was fortunate to catch Noah opening weekend and have to say it’s probably his weakest film. Not to say it wasn’t enjoyable because it was, it was just the most straightforward, accessible piece he’s ever done which isn’t a bad thing but nothing special either. I guess I was just expecting a lot more. I also admit to not really caring for the story of Noah’s Ark to begin with. It’s seemingly been forgotten about so here’s to hoping Aronofsky bounces back with something huge.

I discussed the series of films leading up to the first Avengers flick. In my opinion, this was actually one of my weaker works but also one of my most important. Mainly because it wasn’t completed before it went live. I intended to edit it more until I found it front page on the site one morning. Well, that was the article that put me on a tight leash and made sure I completed deadlines on time. There will be a (better constructed) article on the films leading up to the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron this Spring so stayed tuned.

I am far more proud of my Top 5 films Marvel Wants You To Forget article. How else would you have known about the 1994 Fantastic Four film?

I celebrated my one year anniversary and inaugural article on music in 1993 with the 20th anniversary of 1994 in music. I felt pretty freakin’ old knowing that Green Day’s Dookie is officially 20 years old and feel even older with the news of Green Day being inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Yes, A band that broke out in my generation is receiving (sort of) the most prestigious honor in all of music. Don’t worry guys, there will be article on 1995 music next year and we can check into the old folks home together!

One of my most prized pieces was the 5-part retrospective on one of my favorite bands, Iron Maiden.

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I adored walking through the storied career of the legendary group and reviewing their best records. It was a joy to write about my two most respected musicians ever, Bruce Dickinson and Steve Harris and their struggle to keep to keep Iron Maiden alive. I also debuted a new topic, literature, as I reviewed some of my favorite in my favorite book series growing up, Goosebumps. I’ll never forget reading Welcome to Camp Nightmare for the first time.

I made my way to lifestyle as I discussed a controversial topic in straight edge. Not only the movement itself and what it entailed but the influence of music on the culture as well in addition to some of the figures that have negatively impacted the mantra. Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins were the two architects of the worldwide phenomenon.

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I finally got to talk about my favorite TV series, The Simpsons and even attempted to talk about something I’ve been mostly quiet about since I started writing for this site: sports. I looked at some of the leagues and companies that have failed over the years such as the WWE-backed, XFL and the Basketball hybrid, Slamball. I would still love to try a game of Slamball someday.

Oh, and don’t forget my article on another of my favorite filmmakers, David Fincher which was published the weekend that his latest film, Gone Girl, was released.

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I had the pleasure of viewing Gone Girl and really enjoyed it. It was nice seeing Neil Patrick Harris snag a major movie role where he wasn’t basically playing Barney from How I Met Your Mother and Tyler Perry where he wasn’t playing Madea. Ben Affleck puts on one of his finest performances and a breakthrough role for Rosamund Pike who will no doubt get tons of accolades for her role. One of the best films of the year, definately. Fincher never disappoints!

I then capped off the year with a three-part series on Christmas themed films and television episodes.

All in all, I think a pretty good year for me writing wise.

Happy new year everyone. Expect big things from me in 2015!

Written by Matthew Reine

is a New Yorker with a strong passion for film and television. Also the biggest Keanu Reeves fan you know.

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