How 2018 Empowered Minorities To Star In Movie Blockbusters

Back in 2016, when Scarlett Johansson was cast as the lead in the live-action Ghost in the Shell remake, critics balked, lamenting that such a prominent blockbuster role, which should have been performed by an Asian woman, was instead given to a white woman. It was part of a larger Hollywood trend, of Asian roles being performed by white leads, that began all the way back in the silent film era, when Mary Pickford performed as Cho-Cho-San in Madam Butterfly. Beyond that, the practice was common in theater as well.

Defenders and justifiers of this practice make their argument upon “pragmatic” concerns — a rhetorical trick that dismisses the more complex, difficult-to-solve dynamics at play. For example: “Hollywood would create a film with Asian leads,” they reasoned, “if those movies made money.” “The films would not even be in production,” they claimed, “unless a white lead actor signed on in the first place.”

This argument, at its core, absolves the studios, the actors, and filmmakers of blame, and instead, places the onus upon the paying audience. But this is a self-defeating, self-serving proposition. The major Hollywood studios are at least complicit in this “whitewashing” effect; they determine what the public consumes, and they help to establish the norms. It’s not worthwhile to play “chicken or the egg” over how things got this way; it is worthwhile to break a cycle that was created.

And 2018 will be remembered as the year that the lie–about minority leads and their lack of bankability–got exposed. The hit, minority-helmed films of 2018 were not “niche” interest, making a killing on the awards circuit but nowhere else; they were multi-million dollar blockbusters. Black Panther, released in February 2018, grossed over $1.3 billion at the global box office. It is the highest grossing solo superhero movie, to date, and it is only behind the Avengers films for superhero films overall. That’s more than PR talking; that’s money talking.

And in what has since become known as “Asian August,” Asian-led films led the global box office in August 2018. Crazy Rich Asians, starring Constance Wu, raked in close to $240 million, while low budget indie film Searching, starring John Cho did close to $74 million against a $1 million budget. These actors are not A-List, instant-hit movie stars like Tom Cruise or George Clooney. But backed by a solid script and solid camera work, they shone on their own merits.

Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and Searching were all written and directed by people of color; even writer/director Spike Lee, who is normally minimized as a niche filmmaker, had his biggest hit in 12 years with BlacKKKlansman. All of this raises another key point; it is not enough to cast minorities haphazardly, in a bid for token diversity and the appearance of progressivism. Minorities need to be in control of their own stories and narratives. And audiences need to demand it, rather than accept co-option as a necessary reality to doing business.

There is still work to be done. Minority filmmakers, writers, and actors are empowered and have their foot in the door, but that is all it is; it takes a sustained push over years, not a single month, to move the needle. And one day, these filmmakers should not bear the burden of being THE film that carries an entire group’s hopes and expectations. Writer/director Jordan Peele had to clarify that his new horror/thriller film Us, (due out on March 15, 2019) does not make race its main issue. One looks forward to a time, hopefully sooner rather than later, that this is no longer a necessary point of clarification.

from GameSpot – All Content

Aquaman: Every Comic Book Easter Egg And Reference

Of course, the year’s most bonkers superhero movie had to be jam packed with equally bonkers references and comic book shout-outs–what would you expect from a movie with a battle drum-playing, bejeweled octopus?

Though they might not be as many direct comics winks and nods as you could find in something from the MCU, the DCEU does a fantastic job of adapting its often densely packed source material for the screen, and Aquaman is no different. Adapting Arthur’s myriad stories and origins into one cohesive, two and a half hour movie meant the movie took plenty of cues from the source material, and in the process managed to sneak in some off-kilter Easter Eggs along the way.

In our review, we highlighted just how absolutely over the top a movie Aquaman really was–and why that wound up being a perfect decision for both tone and aesthetic for the DCEU. “Aquaman is creatively bonkers–the insanity in the movie is a choice that was made, over and over, in every aspect of the film’s creation. Atlantean battle armor looks like something the invading Martians would wear in campy mid-century science fiction, while Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry and Patrick Wilson’s King Orm battle to the death in an underwater stadium that seems to hold millions and millions of people. These are elements that would have probably been toned down and reduced to something less heightened in another superhero movie, but with Aquaman, director James Wan has declared the DCEU the place where comic books movies can just be comic book movies.”

1.) Dr. Shin

Randal Park made a surprise cameo as Dr. Stephen Shin, a character from the New 52 era of Aquaman comics who, much like his on-screen incarnation, is a human obsessed with finding Atlantis. It’s hugely apparent that we haven’t seen the last of Dr. Shin in the live action universe, so it would be best to keep an eye out for him in the future.

2.) Topo

Did you catch that octopus absolutely wailing on the drum set during Orm and Arthur’s big arena fight? That was a wink to Topo, the musically talented aqua-pet who, yes, really did exist in the comics.

3.) Arthur’s Seahorse

During the final battle, Arthur rides into the fray on a giant war-seahorse., This is a nod to yet another one of his aqua-pets, Storm the seahorse, Aquaman’s trusty steed.

4.) The Trench

The terrifying deep sea monsters Arthur and Mera encountered on their way to the final resting place of the trident were The Trench, an offshoot race of Atlantis who, after being sent deep into the Marianas Trench eons ago, evolved into monstrous humanoids able to survive without light or much food.

5.) Leigh Whannell

The pilot of the plane that (literally) drops Mera and Arthur off in the Sahara is Leigh Whannell, director James Wan’s long time collaborator and occasional leading man–you can spot him in Wan’s other projects like Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring.

6.) Dinosaur Island

The strange, dinosaur infested dimension that Arthur and Mera find Atlanna trapped in along with the trident is never specifically named in the movie but is a clear nod to one of the weirdest locations on DC’s Earth: Dinosaur Island, a magically cloaked Land of the Lost style island where dinosaurs reign supreme.

7.) Orm and Manta

While Orm and Manta’s respective comic book origins have been updated and revised dozens of times over, their inherent mutual hatred and shared goal of destroying Aquaman is pretty consistent. In the New 52 era, Orm and Manta even teamed up, much like they do in the movie. The the comic book collabo Orm hired Manta to try and steal Atlan’s trident–a plot you’ll probably recognize as being used in the film too.

8.) Arthur vs. Orm

Arthur and Orm’s bad blood wasn’t invented just for the movie–their relationship has always been dicy, even dating back to the pre-1980s comics where Orm was actually Arthur’s fully human half-brother named Orm Curry, rather than a full blooded Atlantean. Orm’s story was revised after Crisis on Infinite Earths to make him half-Atlantean, and then revised again in The New 52 to make him a full blooded Atlantean war lord.

9.) Mom and Dad

Much like Orm, Arthur’s origin story has been updated and revised time and time again, but the version we see on the big screen is actually part of the comic book canon. Arthur’s connection to his mother, Atlanna, and his father, Tom Curry, was largely solidified during the New 52 era of DC. Prior to that, Arthur was largely considered to be the son of Atlan The Wizard, an Atlantean magician–he even had a brief period of being raised by dolphins the same way Tarzan was raised by apes. Best not to ask about that one.

10.) Amnesty Bay

Arthur’s hometown of Amnesty Bay is also a major component lifted from the comics–but it’s not as vintage as you might assume. Amnesty Bay was first named in 2009, during the Brightest Day event which featured Aquaman returning to his father’s lighthouse on the water.

11.) Murk

Orm’s trusted right hand man, Murk, is another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it comic book cameo. A recent addition to the Aquaman pantheon, Murk was first introduced in 2013 as the captain of the Atlantean army, the Men-of-War.. His loyalty to Orm and his hatred of the surface dwellers have been a major part of his character since then, making his role in the movie a very close translation.

12.) Africa by Toto

Where would we be without memes in superhero movies? Of all the completely buckwild audio stingers in Aquaman, perhaps the most buckwild of all was the Pitbull remix of Africa by Toto, the internet’s favorite power ballad about blessing the rains and traveling to, well, Africa.

13.) Talking to Fish

Don’t lie–even if you’ve never picked up an Aquaman comic in your life, chances are you know his name and can recall that part of his powers include “talking to fish.” Of course, the truth is a little bit more complicated than that–but the movie does a great job of streamline Arthur’s weird communication abilities into an easy on-screen representation. It manifests in the movie when he sends a psychic wave through the water and summons a whole army of creatures to fight with him against Orm.

from GameSpot – All Content

Best Buy’s PS4, Xbox One, And Nintendo Switch Deals This Week

It’s a new week, which means you can find a new set of deals on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch games at Best Buy. Maybe you got a gift card over the holidays, maybe you’re planning to return something and you’ll have store credit, or maybe you’re just looking to save some cash on a game. Whatever the case, here are this week’s video game discounts worth checking out.

You can save $40 on the PlayStation Classic mini console, bringing the price down to a much more reasonable level at $60. Select Xbox One controllers are $10 off. If you buy an Xbox One S or X, you’ll get a free $50 e-gift card.

If you’re willing to place a pre-order, you can get additional deals if you have a free My Best Buy membership. Pre-order Kingdom Hearts 3, and you’ll receive a $10 reward certificate and a free keychain. You can also get a $10 reward, along with some in-game goodies, for pre-ordering BioWare’s shared-world shooter Anthem.

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As for games that are available now, many of the discounts are holdovers from previous weeks, but no matter: a good deal is a good deal. Battlefield V, which has only been out for a month, is half off at $30. The similarly new game Fallout 76 is down to $40, but if you’d rather explore an offline version of the wasteland, try Fallout 4 GotY Edition for $30.

While you won’t find any deals this week on Red Dead Redemption 2, Xbox One owners can pick up the Xbox 360 game Red Dead Redemption (playable on Xbox One via backwards compatibility) for $10. Switch owners can grab the one-two punch of America’s Greatest Game Shows: Wheel of Fortune & Jeopardy for $20.

You can find more of our picks below, or you can check out the full list of video game deals on Best Buy’s sale page.


Xbox One

Nintendo Switch

from GameSpot – All Content

2018’s Biggest Entertainment Controversies, From James Gunn To WWE Crown Jewel

2018 is coming to a close and it’s been a year of many ups and downs in the world of entertainment. While the box office is breaking records and TV continues to get better and better, producing a wide array of shows for a variety of audiences, there was still plenty of controversy behind the scenes.

Whether it was the continuation of the #MeToo movement, Hollywood power players coming to regret their social media outbursts, or even an ill-advised WWE pay per view, the year was fraught with drama. Celebrities lost their jobs, movies were put on hold, and even Netflix came under fire thanks to some truly curious artistic choices. Then, of course, that was that puzzling bit of scheduling at the Warner Bros. panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

GameSpot has rounded up the biggest entertainment controversies of the year, and it’s easy to see some of them will have lasting ramifications in the years to come. Take a look at the list of controversies from 2018 below.

Make sure to check out our favorite movies and TV shows of 2018, along with our Editor’s Choice picks and the best and worst reboots of the year.`

WWE’s Saudi Arabia PPV Crown Jewel draws criticism

In 2018, WWE made a 10-year deal with Saudi Arabia, which Wrestling Observer reported was worth $450 million. The first show of this deal was The Greatest Royal Rumble, which–for anyone who saw it–was very much a propaganda piece promoting how “progressive” the country had become, despite the fact that WWE’s female talent wouldn’t be allowed to compete at the event. Then, just days after the first-ever all-women’s PPV, WWE launched its next venture in Saudi Arabia: Crown Jewel. This was all taking place in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey. Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of the Saudi government and regime, and the CIA and Turkish government came to the conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination.

It was impossible to miss this going on in the news, but even though WWE was strongly advised not to do this show, they went ahead with it anyway. In the days leading up to Crown Jewel, any time the event was mentioned on television, the audience let the company know how they feel with a chorus of boos. The fact that WWE did the show left a giant stain on the company in 2018. — Mat Elfring

The #MeToo movement continued

It was October of 2017 when the #MeToo movement went viral, with sexual misconduct allegations made against film producer Harvey Weinstein. In the aftermath, many were accused of a variety of misdeeds, ranging from harassment to assault. As the year turned to 2018, the movement kept going, with a number of notable figures being accused. Meanwhile, several states passed laws designed to protect against harassment in the workplace.

Among those accused of misconduct in 2018 were actors James Franco, Chris Hardwick, Aziz Ansari, and Jeffrey Tambor. Fuller House creator Jeff Franklin, Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi, and now-former CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves also faced allegations, among a number of others. Additionally, Kevin Spacey, who was accused by Star Trek: Discovery star Anthony Rapp of making a sexual pass at him when he was 14 years old, was charged with sexual assault in December. The case, which stems from an alleged assault in 2016, is scheduled to go before a judge in January 2019. — Chris E. Hayner

Netflix and the case of the mysteriously changing thumbnails

While Netflix is the undeniable king of streaming services, the company came under fire in October for something that hasn’t quite been explained or figured out. It all started when writer Stacia L. Brown pointed out on Twitter that the service was serving her variant poster images for several titles featuring black actors, regardless of their role in the film or TV show.

The tweets led many to question whether the streaming service was targeting its users based on race for purposes of marketing its movies. While the company had admitted in the past to creating personalized artwork based on viewing references, in a statement to Fader the company said it does not base its imagery on demographics. The statement reads, “We don’t ask members for their race, gender, or ethnicity so we cannot use this information to personalize their individual Netflix experience. The only information we use is a member’s viewing history. In terms of thumbnails, these do differ and regularly change. This is to ensure that the images we show people are useful in deciding which shows to watch.” — Chris E. Hayner

James Gunn fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

In one of the more surprising film moves this year, Disney unceremoniously fired director James Gunn from the third entry in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, which he helped make popularize. Gunn had been the primary voice in establishing Guardians as a bona fide cinematic sensation, having both written and directed both blockbuster films. But after a social media campaign resurfaced tasteless jokes he had made years prior, Disney felt it had no choice but to let him go.

The decision drew sharp lines in the sand within the fan community, which disagreed on whether the move was appropriate. Actor Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in the Guardians films, has been especially vocal in his disagreement with Gunn’s firing, even threatening not to come back if Disney didn’t use Gunn’s script. The entire Guardians cast subsequently signed a joint letter requesting his reinstatement, but Disney has stuck to its proverbial guns. The film is now said to be on hold indefinitely, but Disney is still reportedly planning on using Gunn’s script.

In a final wild twist, DC capitalized on the move and hired Gunn to write the sequel to Suicide Squad. As the DC universe’s version of a “ne’er-do-wells save the day” story, Gunn seemed like a natural fit, and he may well direct the film too. And naturally, Dave Bautista quickly expressed interest in the project. — Steve Watts

Warner Bros. books Amber Heard and Johnny Depp on back-to-back SDCC panels

In perhaps one of the worst scheduling plans of all time, the Warner Bros. presentation at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con included appearances by both Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. While Depp was there to reveal a trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Heard was there with the rest of the Aquaman cast to promote the superhero film.

The dueling appearances came after Heard accused her former husband of physical abuse during their marriage, which Depp denied. In the end, their divorce settlement saw the actress awarded $7 million, which she donated to charity. She, meanwhile, dismissed her claims of abuse against the actor.

The move to include both in the panel was roundly criticized on social media, with EW correspondent Dana Schwartz remarking, “WB brought Johnny Depp out for the Fantastic Beasts panel (as a surprise!!!) immediately [preceding] their Aquaman panel, featuring Amber Heard. That makes me nauseous.” — Chris E. Hayner

Fired WWE superstar Enzo Amore interrupts Survivor Series PPV

In early 2018, WWE superstar Eric Arndt AKA Enzo Amore was fired after the company became aware of the sexual assault allegations against him. Many industry insiders said this was less about the allegations–which were proven to be untrue–and more about the fact he was more trouble than he’s worth backstage, and this was the last straw. From there, Arndt went his own way and released plenty of rap tracks online.

Arndt resurfaced during Survivor Series, but he wasn’t part of the show. Sitting towards the front, on camera, at the PPV. Arndt hid out when he showed up, although plenty people noticed it was him in a grey hoodie. Then during the Raw vs. Smackdown tag team champions match, Arndt threw off the hoodie, stood up, and shouted all the catchphrases he used to do in WWE. He was then tackled by security and escorted out of the building. Any hopes of him ever coming back to WWE–which were incredibly slim at that point–have now all gone out the window. You can’t teach that. — Mat Elfring

Photo by Mario Candelaria

Clayne Crawford fired from Lethal Weapon

The drama behind the scenes of Fox’s Lethal Weapon adaptation took a strange turn in 2018, becoming even more intense than the gunfights and turmoil that played out in the second season of the series. It all started back in April with reports of misconduct levelled against star Clayne Crawford. At the time, it was reported that he had been reprimanded for his behavior on set, which included acting out in anger. At that time, Crawford took to social media to apologize for two incidents on the show’s set. He also admitted to participating in studio-appointed therapy and, at the request of Warner Bros. TV, sharing a portion of his paycheck with someone involved.

A month later, it was reported that Crawford was fired from the show and that producers were looking to cast a new lead to take over in Season 3. Additionally, a pair of videos released by Variety after the firing showed a very contentious relationship between Crawford and his co-lead Damon Wayans.

In the end, actor Seann William Scott was hired to join Wayans for Season 3 as a new character, but even that wasn’t the end of the drama. First, Crawford appeared on a podcast, in which he claimed to have been blackmailed to stay quiet about the issues between himself and Wayans, among many other allegations. Then, in October, Wayans announced he would be leaving the show after production of Season 3 came to an end. In an interview with Electronic Urban Report, Wayans said the show’s schedule was too much for him. “It’s hard for me to play this loving, supportive father/husband/friend on TV, but be the guy in life that is telling everyone, ‘I can’t I have to work,'” he explained.

As for what happens now, neither Fox or Warner Bros. TV has commented on the future of the show. So it’s entirely possible this particular controversy is nowhere near over. — Chris E. Hayner

Scarlett Johansson came under fire over the summer due to her being cast as a transgender man in the movie Rub & Tug. The actress was criticized for taking a role that otherwise might have gone to a transgender actor. The move came a year after she faced criticism for appearing in the lead role of the American adaptation of Japanese franchise Ghost in the Shell. Rupert Sanders, who directed Ghost in the Shell, is also set to helm Rub & Tug.

After the backlash, Johansson announced in a statement that she was stepping down from the project. “In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project,” she said at the time. “Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive.” A replacement has yet to be cast. — Chris E. Hayner

One of the biggest TV news stories in early 2018 was the return of Roseanne, which received massive ratings. With its nine-episode relaunch, it became one of the highest rated shows of the year. However, just as quickly as the show rose to prominence once again, ABC canceled it after a tweet from star and co-creator Roseanne Barr.

Many in the show’s cast were quick to speak out against the comedian, prior to the show’s cancellation. In the wake of the cancellation, ABC worked out a deal with Barr to remove her from the creative process of the show–and its profitability–relaunching the series as The Conners. It was explained in the first episode of the new show that Barr’s character Roseanne had died of a drug overdose, which was an issue touched upon in the previous season. — Chris E. Hayner

from GameSpot – All Content

The 10 Biggest WWE Moments In 2018

From the development of new heels to the continuing growth of the women’s division, the WWE didn’t have to go far to find drama in 2018. A lot of it was simple follow-through: narrative threads begun in 2016 and 2017 that finally paid off in 2018.

But the most memorable moments this year occurred by chance, and in one distance, by extraordinarily bad luck.

Because it doesn’t matter that the matches are scripted, performers getting hurt or shelved is an unfortunate, accepted part of doing business. It’s on the company to react, improvise, and recover well from these random acts of fate, and find the silver lining in misfortune.

Here are the 10 biggest WWE moments of 2018.

10. Roman Reigns makes a tragic announcement

Let’s start with the real-life moment, which deserves to stand apart from the other, more kayfabe entries in this gallery.

It’s never a good sign when a wrestler heads to the ring wearing street clothes. And when Roman Reigns headed down to the ring on the October 22 episode of Raw, he dropped some devastating news on live television; he was a leukemia survivor, and the cancer had returned. Reigns promised to fight it and return to competition, and then laid the Universal Championship down in the ring.

The fans, even the ones who were booing mere minutes ago, cheered him and chanted, “Thank you Roman,” as he walked away. It was a stark reminder of the man, Joe Anoa’i, behind the divisive character. Sometimes, it takes a tragedy to make people appreciate what they once had.

9. The Ultimate Deletion

When Matt Hardy returned to WWE with his “Broken” persona, fans hoped for a gonzo, short film on the level of The Final Deletion, with all its DIY charm in tact. And on the March 19 episode of Raw, WWE took a chance. The company gave Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Bray Wyatt, and Senor Benjamin the final 15 minutes of the show to broadcast “The Ultimate Deletion“: the type of weird, wonderful entertainment that would only be possible in professional wrestling.

WWE, ever the cautious corporation, distanced themselves from the segment before it aired. Lead commentator Michael Cole stated, “I’m sorry for what you’re about to watch.” As it turned out, the company had no reason to worry.

8. Daniel Bryan becomes a “new” man

When Daniel Bryan returned to in-ring competition, his skills were still sharp but his character was a little stale. He could no longer play the anti-Authority underdog, and thus, was the sort of inoffensive, milquetoast babyface who was loved, but not enough to make a great WWE Champion.

So WWE made the perfect call; they turned him heel on the November 13 episode of Smackdown, and he gave AJ Styles a low blow to win the WWE Championship. A month and a half later, the metamorphosis, from hero wrestler to sanctimonious, left-wing elitist, is jarring. The boos are constant, and even the “Yes!” chants are a fraction of what they once were.

7. Dean Ambrose turns heel

On the same night that Roman Reigns announced he had leukemia and posed with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins on the ramp, in a show of off-script, brotherly solidarity, Ambrose turned on Rollins. He mounted and pounded his former best friend while Michael Cole yelled into his headset, “What the hell? Are you kidding me? Not tonight! Not on this night!”

It was the real-life-meets-fiction sort of narrative that WWE is famous for. Tasteless, for sure, but also a brilliant bit of booking. If there was a way to make the audience hate Dean Ambrose, this was surely it.

6. Becky Lynch turns heel

Becky spent the better part of three years putting up with Charlotte Flair’s meddling, infighting, and backstabbing. And finally, she had all she could take.

After her Summerslam title match against Charlotte and Carmella (which Charlotte, who won the match, had inserted herself into at the last minute), Becky leveled her fellow Horsewoman with a haymaker, and then continued to punish her outside the ring.

WWE initially sold this as a heel turn, but it was clear the audience wasn’t buying it. And pretty immediately, Lynch became the anti-hero badass we know and love today.

5. Shinsuke Nakamura low blows AJ Styles

After lots of buildup, the title match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestlemania 34 was just that: a match, which failed to live up to its lofty expectations. It’s what came afterwards that became memorable.

Nakamura presented the title to Styles on bended knee, and then low blowed him; between Nakamura and Bryan, Aj Styles’ family jewels have had a rough year.

Nakamura and Styles would later have a phenomenal Last Man Standing match at the Money in the Bank PPV; they now had the face-meets-heel chemistry necessary for a great match. And Nakamura could finally put his lewd, spastic movements to great use, and he became the subversive, underhanded heel he was always meant to be.

4. Ronda Rousey lives up to the hype

Ronda Rousey came to WWE with two embarrassing back-to-back UFC losses. This was no longer the invincible, undefeated juggernaut who had crashed the ring at Wrestlemania 31. And prior to her competitive debut at Wrestlemania 34, fans wondered if she could perform at an acceptable level, especially with so little pro wrestling experience.

Not only did Rousey exceed expectations, but her match turned out to be the best match on the entire card. Granted it was a tag match, she had Kurt Angle, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon all helping her out. Rousey held her own, even in a handful of hot spots of against Triple H. Rousey had the sort of timing and ring psychology that takes some performers years to master.

3. Daniel Bryan returns to in-ring competition

It was never even supposed to be possible. After years of wrestling a style that could be best described as hedonistic, Daniel Bryan was forced to retire from professional wrestling in 2016, due to concussions, brain lesions, and seizures.

But through a combination of oxygen therapy and good old-fashioned time to heal, Bryan returned to in-ring competition at Wrestlemania 34, tagging with Shane McMahon to face Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. It wasn’t a particularly memorable match; Bryan sat out the first half of it. But considering that mere months ago, a return seemed impossible, this was both incredible and inspirational to witness.

2. The inaugural women’s Royal Rumble

The past couple of years have been filled with “firsts” for the WWE women. But there was something particularly special about the first women’s Royal Rumble match. One, it guaranteed the winner a high-profile women’s match at Wrestlemania. And two, the women’s roster was finally big enough and uniformly talented enough to even have a 30-woman Royal Rumble.

The booking of the match was phenomenal and did a great job of celebrating the past (Alundra Blayze, Lita, Trish Stratus), acknowledging the present (Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch), and looking towards the future (Ember Moon, Kairi Sane). The right woman won; Asuka would go on to have a classic match against Charlotte Flair at Wrestlemania 34.

And Ronda Rousey’s show-closing appearance was the perfect pro wrestling surprise; the image of her pointing at the Wrestlemania sign, wearing the late Roddy Piper’s leather jacket, has become iconic.

1. Becky Lynch gets bloody

The most memorable moment of 2018 was a complete accident. In the show-closing segment on the November 12 episode of Raw, Becky Lynch and Smackdown crew were supposed to “invade the red brand” and lay a beatdown on the Raw women to promote the upcoming brand vs. brand Survivor Series PPV.

This all happened as intended. What wasn’t supposed to was a reckless punch by Nia Jax, which broke Becky’s face and left her with a concussion.

Intentional bleeding is banned in WWE. And Becky had a rare moment to display her toughness on a PG show. After recovering her wits, Becky beat Rousey with a chair, and then flaunted through the audience as the blood continued to stream out of her face.

It was comparable to other iconic “crimson mask” moments, like Bret Hart’s bleeding at Wrestlemania VIII, and Steve Austin’s bleeding at Wrestlemania 13. Becky is currently the hottest thing going in WWE right now. And it can be traced back to this, inadvertent key moment, when blood worked as a narrative device rather than shock for shock’s sake.

from GameSpot – All Content

Fortnite Rings In New Year With Fireworks

Fortnite appears to be ringing in the new year for anyone who happens to be in the game when the ball drops. A video captured from a streamer in New Zealand–where 2019 came earlier than many other territories–shows the festivities as they occurred, and we’re likely to see the same across other time zones as well.

Streamer Rocky posted the video, which includes a giant spinning disco ball, some fireworks, and “2019” appearing in its own fireworks in the sky. You can actually hear the participants realize what’s happening as the video goes on, and one remarks that it’s “3 AM.” So the event is location-based, but it may or may not happen at exactly midnight for you.

Fortnite has become known for hosting special in-world events that can only be witnessed if you happen to be in the game at the exact time it all goes down. Usually these are reserved for big events during seasonal transitions or when building the meta-story about what will happen next. For weeks Kevin the cube slowly lumbered toward Loot Lake, for example, but only players in-game when it touched down got to see it flop over the edge and melt.

Currently Fortnite is in Season 7, offering a bevy of new cosmetics for those who complete the Battle Pass. You can check out our challenge guide for tips on how to complete the various tasks and earn your stars. Meanwhile, Epic is fending off legal challenges from the most unexpected of places: various celebrities and viral video stars suing over the use of their dances.

from GameSpot – All Content

Every Show Netflix Canceled In 2018

When you’re a streaming giant like Netflix, you make a lot of TV shows. Of course, when you make a bunch, that means you are eventually going to have to cancel some to make room for the new ones. For Netflix in 2018, that meant 14 different shows went down swinging.

Of course, there’s the higher profile cancellations, like a number of the series Netflix made with Marvel. Beyond those, though, there’s a surprising number of shows you might have missed along the way that were canceled after a single season. What’s more, there are some heavy hitters that became breakout hits on the streaming service and sadly had to say goodbye this year.

So as we look forward to 2019 and what will surely be hundreds of new TV shows and original movies from Netflix, let’s take a moment to reflect on the series, good and bad, that we’re saying goodbye to. Whether it’s a show like Lady Dynamite or the carbon copy of The Soup that Netflix called The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale, pay your respects to the shows we list.

This is Netflix, though. They’ll never really be lost. Instead, they’ll be buried somewhere in the algorithm for you to find again one day and relive the glory.

Lady Dynamite

Number of seasons: 2
Canceled in January 2018


Number of seasons: 1
Canceled in February 2018

Everything Sucks!

Number of seasons: 1
Canceled in April 2018

Seven Seconds

Number of seasons: 1
Canceled in April 2018

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Number of seasons: 4
Canceled in May 2018
(Final season premieres in 2019)

The Break With Michelle Wolf

Number of seasons: 1
Canceled in August 2018

The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale

Number of seasons: 1
Canceled in August 2018

Marvel’s Iron Fist

Number of seasons: 2
Canceled in October 2018

Orange Is the New Black

Number of seasons: 7
Canceled in October 2018
(Final season expected to premiere in 2019)

All About the Washingtons

Number of seasons: 1
Canceled in October 2018

Marvel’s Luke Cage

Number of seasons: 2
Canceled in October 2018

American Vandal

Number of seasons: 2
Canceled in October 2018

Marvel’s Daredevil

Number of seasons: 3
Canceled in November 2018

The Good Cop

Number of seasons: 1
Canceled in November 2018

from GameSpot – All Content

Two Of January’s Xbox One Games With Gold Are Now Available

Xbox Live Gold subscribers can now get their first free games of 2019. That’s because two of January’s Games with Gold are now available on Xbox Live. Better yet, the games in question were well-received–which isn’t always the case for these freebies–so you’ll probably want to give them a shot if you haven’t tried them yet.

The Xbox One game is Celeste, a side-scrolling platformer about a young woman trying to make her way to the top of a mountain. The many obstacles in your way are challenging to overcome, but thanks to a forgiving checkpoint system, you never lose too much progress when you die. In our Celeste review, Oscar Dayus wrote, “Parts of Celeste are challenging to play–in both its gameplay difficulty and its subject matter–but it is a memorable experience worth seeing through.” Celeste is free throughout the whole month of January.

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The new year’s first free Xbox 360 game (also playable on Xbox One via backwards compatibility) is Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. This isometric action game from 2010 has you and an optional co-op partner solve environmental puzzles and defeat enemies in the Mayan jungle. It’s free to download until January 15.

One of December’s Games with Gold, the Xbox One puzzle/platformer Never Alone, is also still available for free until January 15. Then, starting January 16, you’ll be able to grab the Xbox One racing game WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship and the Xbox 360 open-world shooter Far Cry 2.

Games With Gold January 2019

Xbox One

Xbox 360

from GameSpot – All Content

Two Of January’s Xbox One Games With Gold Are Now Available

Xbox Live Gold subscribers can now get their first free games of 2019. That’s because two of January’s Games with Gold are now available on Xbox Live. Better yet, the games in question were well-received–which isn’t always the case for these freebies–so you’ll probably want to give them a shot if you haven’t tried them yet.

The Xbox One game is Celeste, a side-scrolling platformer about a young woman trying to make her way to the top of a mountain. The many obstacles in your way are challenging to overcome, but thanks to a forgiving checkpoint system, you never lose too much progress when you die. In our Celeste review, Oscar Dayus wrote, “Parts of Celeste are challenging to play–in both its gameplay difficulty and its subject matter–but it is a memorable experience worth seeing through.” Celeste is free throughout the whole month of January.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

The new year’s first free Xbox 360 game (also playable on Xbox One via backwards compatibility) is Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. This isometric action game from 2010 has you and an optional co-op partner solve environmental puzzles and defeat enemies in the Mayan jungle. It’s free to download until January 15.

One of December’s Games with Gold, the Xbox One puzzle/platformer Never Alone, is also still available for free until January 15. Then, starting January 16, you’ll be able to grab the Xbox One racing game WRC 6 FIA World Rally Championship and the Xbox 360 open-world shooter Far Cry 2.

Games With Gold January 2019

Xbox One

Xbox 360

from GameSpot – All Content