Canyon Echoes

Worst, Weirdest, Best

Oliver Barnfield, Resident Pop Culture Writer

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When a franchise goes on for a long time, It’s bound to have some… questionable installments, as well as some high points. So lets take a look at the weirdest, worst, and best of some long running franchises.

Steven Spielberg Films

Best: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

ET might be more famous, and Schindler’s List might be more artful, but this simple alien film will always be my favorite for its tight script, childlike wonder, and great atmosphere.

Weirdest: 1941

Spielberg is funny, yes, but he has wisely strayed from comedy films. This shows why. An ill-advised attempt at a wartime comedy, this is an awkward stain on Spielberg’s golden pants of the 70’s and 80’s. OK, that’s a bit of an awkward analogy, but so is this movie.

Worst: Always

A movie drowning in syrup and schmaltz, if this movie was a food, it would be an extremely sweet cake that makes you sick the next day.

Star Wars Films

Best: The Empire Strikes Back

This film does it all. The battle scenes are creative, the romantic chemistry is believable, and the dialogue is funny. While the other movies are great and on par, this one outweighs those in terms of its iconic moments.

Weirdest: The Last Jedi

While it has several scenes that are your typical summer movie blockbuster moments, there are several that turn the tables significantly. The plot threads are unpredictable at times, and this serves as both an advantage and as a downfall. Note: I would have put Star Wars Holiday Special under this category, but I doubt it’s an official part of the canon. And the fact that there is so many weird things to talk about. Another article, maybe.

Worst: The Phantom Menace

Short Version: Yipee!

Long Version: A messy, boring, and awful film that not only made the imposing Darth Vader an annoying kid with a bowl cut , but created characters that have no depth or personality. Everything in this film is ill-advised, cringe worthy, and ugly. At least Attack of Clones had action, and the romance was at least funny to watch in how awful it was. But this film just has the drudgery of endless trade deals and racist caricatures. The CGI is cold, soulless, and a far cry from the vibrant practical effects of the original trilogy.

Beatles Albums

Best: It depends

I know, it’s a bit of a cop-out. But one day, I will love Abbey Road one day and another I will love The White Album or Revolver. But that’s the sign of a truly excellent band.

Weirdest: The Beatles (a.k.a White Album)

Yes, the weirdest can also be the best. This album was a very risky move at the time, there was no unifying style, the album was 2 records long, and it was completely different from the escapist psychedelia of Sgt. Pepper. Through the country styling of the cheery Rocky Raccoon and the wistful and melancholy of Dear Prudence to the apocalyptic primal scream of Helter Skelter, this album was all over the place. In a good way.

Worst: Beatles for Sale

This tired, unfocused album must have been a gut punch to fans who had just been blessed with the raw energy of A Hard Days Night. They even look lethargic on the cover.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Best: Sonic CD

It’s embarrassing to admit liking Sonic games now. Up until Sonic Mania, a breath of fresh air to us fans, the franchise had let out a steady stream of horrid games with a toxic fanbase too. This game makes me forget about that because of how great and out there it is.  The game has an indescribable dream like quality to it, something that no other game in the series has replicated, with brilliant colors and great visuals.

And the music is the best in the series, my personal favorite being any of the bad future themes. This is one of the very first games I can recall playing, and the music, level design, and vibrant colors bring me back to that time. It’s a close tie with the similarly awesome Sonic 2, but this takes the cake.

Weirdest: Sonic Spinball/SegaSonic the Hedgehog/Sonic Eraser

First, we have Sonic Spinball, a pinball-esque with a very odd atmosphere and extremely hard levels. The game was not created by Sonic Team, who were hard at work on Sonic 3, so it feels nothing like your typical Sonic game. The sprites look off-kilter, the controls are sluggish and the game-play is odd, to say the least.

SegaSonic the Hedgehog is an arcade game that features all your favorite characters! From Sonic, to Eggman, to.. um… Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel!

Not only does this game feature 2 never seen before or since characters, it also has never been released outside of Japan. The game utilized a trackball control system and has a weird isometric viewpoint that is very disorienting.

Sonic Eraser is a Tetris rip off, and not much more than that. Available only on Sega Mega Drive extension Sega MegaNet and on dial-up internet in Brazil, what makes this so odd is the unbearable music that is excruciating to endure.

Worst: Sonic ’06

This game nearly ruined the franchise. That’s all I will say.

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