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What I Liked This Year
Other than you. I liked you A LOT.
I thought it’d be fun to take a look back at all of the shows, movies, books and WWE events I enjoyed the most this past year. Every week I have my ‘What I Liked This Week’ section, so why not for the whole year? Here we go!
These aren’t really in any kind of order or ranking, by the way.
That said, Reservation Dogs Season Three in my opinion was the best show of the year. Hilarious, emotional, with incredible character arcs.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is possibly the best Trek since Deep Space 9, if not the original series. Self-contained episodes that focus on each crew member leading towards a powerful season finale. The ‘Balance of Terror’ episode was inspired as well as the episode that was a nod to Wrath of Khan. Plus, I dug the terrifying exploration of the Gorn species throughout the season.
Mike Judge’s Beavis & Butthead was, quite plainly, better than the original series. Judge is a far more skilled creator now than all of those decades ago and it showed. Beyond the usual fare of these two idiots being morons, a science fiction multiversal element was added spinning out of the ‘Do the Universe’ movie that blew my mind yet felt completely congruous to the heart of the characters.
What We Do in the Shadows Season Four can be summed up with three words: Lil’ Collin Robinson. If you know, you know.
Notable entries, as this was a GREAT year for shows: Atlanta, Barry, Welcome to Chippendales, Somebody Somewhere, and We Own This City.
The Thing did not come out this year, I know, but I saw it for the first time this year so that counts for me. You know how for the past 40 years everyone said this is a great movie? They were right. I don’t have anything to add other than to say that the care put into the practical effects go a long way to making this movie as terrifying to see now as when it originally came out.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story exceeded all of my very high expectations. A totally true for-real biopic that tells exactly how Al’s life has gone. Or went. Madonna’s, too.
Everything Everywhere All At Once was a major accomplishment of storytelling diving into generational trauma and how we make our own monsters. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like this movie before.
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry is another thing that didn’t come out this year, but I read it for the first time in 2022. Yellowstone and especially 1883 liberally steal from, uhm, are heavily influenced by this book and McMurtry bluntly did it better. Like, I hope his estate got a check for 1883.
Liarmouth by John Waters is the first novel from the infamous filmmaker and it lives up to his highly-regarded body of work. I took this in as an audiobook narrated by Waters himself and got-dang if it wasn’t one of my favorite entertainment experiences of the year.
Sea of Rust and Day Zero by C Robert Cargill are excellent novels exploring the robot uprising in our near future that leads to humanity being wiped out. It’s the best kind of science fiction, holding a mirror up to our world now and doing the kind of exploration that’s equally informative, entertaining and harrowing.
Heat 2 by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner is another debut novel from an infamous filmmaker and serves as a direct sequel to one of my very favorite movies of all time, following Val Kilmer’s character after he escaped the end of the movie and where his life of turmoil and conflict led him.
A notable runner-up is Star Trek: Die Standing by John Jackson Miller, which follows Michelle Yeoh’s character from Star Trek: Discovery as she becomes a sort of anti-007 going on spy missions across the galaxy. Yeah, it’s that awesome.
Reckless volumes 4 and 5 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips feel like they were made just for me, but I feel that way about everything this duo creates. A troubled man solves others’ troubles, often causing more problems than he fixes.
Nice House on the Lake volume 1 by James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez Bueno took me by surprise by how great it was, especially Bueno’s unreal art. It’s a ‘Big Mystery’ story like Lost where every question is answered with at least two more questions, keeping the reader actively engaged.
Kali by Richard Sammelin and Daniel Freedman is a bad ass revenger about a woman out to give some hell to all of those who wronged her. Sammelin’s art takes this to another level and frequently left my jaw on the floor.
Treasure of the Black Swan by Paco Roca and Guillermo Corral is a global adventure story about treasure hunters, corporate greed, and geopolitical intricacies that’s brought to life by a cartoonist I consider to be the best working today in Roca.
Notable Runner-Ups: Golden Boy by Mikael Ross and Invisible Wounds by Jess Ruliffson.
Most of these I’m going to talk about from personal experience working the shows, but I DO watch them too!
WrestleMania was a show full of solid matches and huge moments, as it’s supposed to be. I was actually working at Axxess DURING both shows (yeah, I know) but we were of course watching both nights as they went. My favorite moment of Night 1 was when a family came in with their son, telling me they had come in to meet me and that they were then going to the second night’s show. It was amazing spending time talking with them and making this as big a moment for their son as possible. That’s what it’s all about.
The highlight of Night 2 was that they put the show up on the big screen for the ‘Superstar Entrance’ at Axxess and all of the staff gathered in my exhibit to watch and we were hugging and laughing and slapping each other on the back during the Sami Zayn/ Johnny Knoxville ‘Jackass’ match.
I was working backstage at Hell in a Cell in Chicago and the talk of the day there was what shape Cody was in as well as the upcoming changes to Judgment Day. But yeah, the Cody/ Rollins Cell match and Cody’s pectoral tear being so visual is something that will stay with all of us, right?
I was home for SummerSlam but that main event between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar is one of the damndest things I’ve ever seen, to the point that it inspired my best painting to date. PLUS: Damage Control debuted!
Clash at the Castle was my favorite viewing experience of the year, mostly because two of my best friends Andy and Tom were with me and it was our first time together watching wrestling together in a decade or longer. Beer, nachos, and so much laughing I lost my voice. Outside of being there in person, it’s the best way to watch wrestling in my book.
Survivor Series: War Games was, in my opinion, the first look at Triple H’s vision for WWE creative, with a lot of storylines started under his regime coming to fruition here. And…I’m a fan of what I’m seeing so far!
Okay, that’s what I liked the most this year. What’d you like? I’ve opened this up to everyone to reply, not just paid members.
FYI, you can still use ENDOFYEAR22 at checkout for free shipping at Schamberger Labs through Saturday. This can also be combined with the exclusive discount code that paid members already enjoy.
Also! I’m discounting paid-tier newsletter subscriptions through Saturday to $5 a month or $50 for the year. What do you get with a paid tier?
The above-mentioned exclusive 25% off discount on all prints.
24 hour early access to new original paintings.
A list of upcoming signed prints at WWE Auction.
Access to our exclusive chat, where I show off progress shots, chat live during Raw, NXT, SmackDown and other WWE events, and sharing lots of behind-the-scenes information about my career. It’s pretty fun.
Exclusive codes for $15 off new prints of Wrestling Landscape Paintings. Yeah, that much.
The top tier, also known as the Founding Member level, will remain at $200 for a year. Those elite members get all of the above PLUS the hand-painted remarqued editions of the Wrestling Landscape Painting prints! These aren’t available anywhere else and if you’ve seen my prices I’d say that $200 is hell of a deal for 3-4 original paintings a year.
Thanks for everything in 2022. I’ll see you next year!
Love you more,