Top 13 Of The Year 2009

Posted by Grey Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009. It has been a hell of a ride.

Rounding up the year will be our inaugural Yearly Zombies, honoring the best and most memorable of everything in the year 2009.

Celebrating the pinnacle of the intricate facets of pop culture from gaming, movie to wrestling in 2009, this will the first installment comprising the top of the thirteen categories, and will be followed up by detailed listings of each respective genres.

Before we proceed ahead with the list, this serves as a reader's warning. This is The Daily Zombies, and yes, we are different, so for whiners who would like to rant about the hows and whys of we made the choices, feel free to comment. Not that it costs us anything, anyway.

So, without further ado, let's move on with the show.

13. Anime Of The Year: Naruto: Shippuden

Anime, by definition being Japanese animation, therefore covering the likes of Japanese-produced animation films, OVAs or TV series in our category, but obviously excluding briliant animation films the likes of Pixar's "Up" and Israeli animated documentary film, "Waltz with Bashir".

And we open the list with an arguably controversial decision: Naruto: Shippuden (ナルト 疾風伝).

The story started like any other typical aspiring shonen (teenage boys) manga: Naruto Uzumaki, a lonely yet boisterous orphan boy who was often ostracized by his peers and fellow villagers in his resident ninja village, Konohagakure, seeks to fulfill his ultimate ambition of becoming Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. But it is the rich characterization of the impossibly myriad characters whom back story weaves concurrently with the various sharp plot twists, coupled with the uniquely fictional settings filled with a fusion sense of past-meets-modern sentimentality that made Naruto one of the truly unforgettable anime series of our time. That said, the source manga is one of the most consistently intriguing page-turner despite its reputation of being a shonen manga.

Having celebrated its tenth anniversary being conceived as a manga published in Japan's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine in 1999, the Naruto franchise has went on to take the world by storm with tenacity and popularity not unlike Dragonball in the previous decade. And one major contributing factor for this astounding far-reaching global impact has to be the anime adaptation, a trait alike to Dragonball's path to manga and anime iconic status. However, unlike Dragon Ball, the manga was already a chart-topping fan-favorite in Japan long before the anime adaptation was made.

Premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo in 2002, fans in Japan caught up with the anime, which went on to run for 220 episodes across nine seasons until its conclusion on February, 2007. However, one inevitably terrible fate awaits for all manga-to-anime adaptation: Fillers, which in effect, can be called killers here, if you recalled what happened to the wildly popular Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story (るろうに剣心 明治剣客浪漫譚) anime from 1996 to 1998, in which fans were denied a conclusion due to terribly irrelevant fillers screwing up the ratings in a catastrophic way. In the case of Naruto, fans were forced to endured through a stellar eighty odds episodes of fillers in order to move on closer to the actual manga plot.

In came Naruto: Shippuden, the ongoing sequel to the original Naruto anime continuing its coverage on the manga from volume twenty-eight onwards. Debuted in Japan on February, 2007 on TV Tokyo and developed by its old partner-in-crime, Studio Pierrot and director Hayato Date, whatever this continuing chapter has achieved is in fact a direct conglomeration of weaknesses of the later portion of Part One, mainly being the fillers. We were fed so many fillers that we are all turning bonkers before Shippuden comes along and as a result of all the holding time, courtesy of the eighty odd abysmal filler episodes, we are on the bright right track of the story proper as the anime started to gradually pursue the manga's plot. And the original source, being such brilliant materials, can only led to one conclusion: One of the best ass-kicking action anime we have ever seen in a consistent form.

While the usual complaints of slow pacing and (still) occasional return of short filler episodes (in an effort to distance from the current manga plot) are indeed valid, this year's Naruto: Shippuden has been an anime with one of the more consistently high standard animating and scripting we have seen for a long time.

12. Book Of The Year: The Graveyard Book

Imagine Rudyard Kipling's classic, The Jungle Book (particularly famed for its Disney rendition), in which the protagonist, Mowgli was abandoned at birth by human civilization and brought up by anthropomorphic jungle animals, getting a much, much darker twist?

Well, you'll get The Graveyard Book.

As Gaiman himself put it, this is Jungle Book, in the graveyard. So, instead of the
trees, the wolfs and the tigers, you get the tombstone, the undeads, and what unspeakable dark creatures you can think of. And with Gaiman being Gaiman, there's of course more than meet the eye in this deliciously haunting prose where a toddler escapes the massacre of his family and became a permanent resident of the graveyard with the ghosts (one whole graveyard of them) as his guardians. That is, before the monstrous serial killer returns to complete his job.

You will be surprised by this purported children's fantasy novel. The Graveyard Book had went on to be named as the recipient of the 2009 Newbery Medal by the American Library Association and has even won the prestigious 2009 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Not bad for a children's book, eh?

The Graveyard Book at Amazon

11. Comic Series Of The Year: Batman and Robin

Following the events of Batman R.I.P., Final Crisis, and Battle for the Cowl in which the original Batman, Bruce Wayne, apparently died (tongue firmly in cheek) at the hands of Darkseid and featured the winner of the Battle for the Cowl, Dick Grayson (AKA Nightwing AKA the first Robin) as the new Batman with Damian Wayne (allegedly the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul and thus the grandson of Batman villain Ra's al Ghul) becoming the new Robin, Batman and Robin was launched in June 2009 to reflect the shake-up in the Batman mythos: A new Dynamic Duo is in town!

With the first story arc, "Batman Reborn" written by Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quitely, fan anticipation were at an all-time high for the Caped Crusader, especially after the previous Morrison and Quitely's Eagle, Eisner and Harvey Award-winning masterpiece, All Star Superman. Morrison had earlier mentioned that the tone of the series will be a "reverse" of the normal dynamic between Batman and Robin, with, "a more light-hearted and spontaneous Batman and a scowling, bad ass Robin."

For any readers who had doubts on the new status quo, they were greeted with a pleasant surprise. All the convoluted plotlines and reference to yesteryear's pulp works were shoved aside, as the new series shifts into a delightfully light-hearted comic book experience, yet still capable of evoking dark and occasional creepy scenes in a heartbeat. While Morrison's dialogue and deft pacing definitely warrants credit, so is Quitely's hyper-detailed artwork. It’s hard to believe that Bruce are not missed at all amidst Dick and Damien's charismatic dynamism.

While Morrison is the permanent writer for the ongoing series, the artist involved will be on a rotational basis with different artist coming in for the respective story arcs. The second arc, Revenge of the Red Hood were illustrated by Philip Tan, who had also done a great work while the third upcoming arc, Blackest Knight, were drawn by Cameron Stewart.

Batman and Robin is an excellent comic with astounding writing filled with unsettling twists that challenges the reader in an inventive way, and competent art that does more than just keeping pace. While we all know by now that Bruce Wayne will be having his resurrection, kicking and screaming all the way from the prehistoric ages in "The Return of Bruce Wayne", the latest chapter in the long-running, "definitive" Batman epic that Morrison had in mind, this new Dynamic Duo have clearly cemented their place both in the DC Universe and in the hearts of the readers.

10. iPhone Apps Of The Year: QuickOffice Mobile Office Suite

The App Store is in our opinion, the single greatest feature of the iPhone.

The ever-growing phenomenon currently has more than 100,000 iPhone third-party applications, officially available for iPhone users to download and install. Since its launch, there have been over 2 billion total downloads in a wide range of categories from games, music, financial management, news updates, travel tools, fortune teller, book readers to all kinds of oddities you can imagine (fart generator, anyone). While we can quite certainly ensure you that more than half of these 100,000 applications are likely to be an absolute useless piece of junk, probably created by some smart ass kid as his vacation project, there are indeed gems amidst the ruins and rabbles and we are here to honor this particular brightest one. And our winner, a most practical choice by our own admission, QuickOffice Mobile Office Suite.

As unbelievable as it sound, there are no news or any indication of Microsoft releasing their much-touted Office Suite for iPhone. There are no doubt numerous undisclosed political factors contributing to this fact which made way to open opportunities that QuickOffice took wholeheartedly, paving the way for arguably the most useful application for iPhone.

While there are other similar applications aiming for the iPhone office suite throne, Quickoffice Mobile Suite has slayed all its competition by simply being the best of them. Its basic features, Quickword and Quicksheet, works perfectly for editing Word and Excel documents respectively with all the basic functions like cell or text formatting. It also introduced "Copy and Paste" even before the release of iPhone 3.0. As for the transferring of files, you can easily have it done over Wi-Fi by remotely access to your PC's iDisk.

While this app will not bring you fun and laughter a'la The Sims 3 or that aforementioned fart generator, this is one practical app that served its purpose duly and with a discounted price at $9.99 now, this could just be the best time to get it.

iTunes Store link

9. Gadget Of The Year: Windows 7 Operating System

While our extensive coverage on all things iPhone might lead you thinking that we will be choosing iPhone 3GS as our Gadget Of The Year, we here at The Daily Zombies, tend to be more unbiased than you might thought, always looking at the big picture. As much of a iPhone Zombie we are, it would be amongst our greatest wish for the Androids to rise to the occasion and compete with iPhone in a fair footing (meaning without lucrative service provider's unnecessary manipulation), something that we have not noticed as yet. Thereby, we are looking more out of the box now while making our choice.

What single product could possibly broke the record of the highest-grossing pre-order in Amazon's history, a record held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final volume of the Harry Potter jabberwocky that took the world by storm in 2007?

Microsoft's very own Windows 7, the latest public release version of Microsoft Windows, a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft for usage on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet PCs, and media center PCs.

While it might surprised many that the gadget of the year turned out to be a software instead of the usual hardware, it is a fair argument that software is in itself a gadget. And in the case of our selection, do bear in mind that within two weeks after its release, Windows 7's market share had surpassed Snow Leopard (the latest update to Apple's Mac OS X operating system), which was released two months earlier; and subsequently established a 4% market share in less than three weeks after its release, a mark that its predecessor, Windows Vista took seven months to reached.

Of course, the figures wouldn't mean anything if the OS do not have the goods to support it. As a matter of fact, Windows 7 encountered much more obstacles than all its predecessors, due to the excess baggage thanks to the badly received Windows Vista. These issues have to be dealt with, lest the company's iron grip on the market be hurt, especially at a time when Apple's Snow Leopard were released to global acclaim. And dealt with them, Microsoft have.

While we have not go in depth in further exploration on Windows 7, what we can already conclude is that it is indeed the best OS ever and will provide Windows users, currently still the dominating figure in computer usage with 91% of the market share. a solid platform to work on.

8. Game Of The Year: Batman: Arkham Asylum, for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360

Earning a spot in the Guinness World Records for the coveted 'Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game' had nothing to do with the game making our list. However, the many reasons that made Batman: Arkham Asylum outshone its qually strong competitors in 2009 and making it our Game Of The Year, is the very same sets of reasons it got the much-deserved acclaim.

Everything was in the way when the British-based Rocksteady Studios announced the game.

First, games based on licensed properties had a terrible reputation to live up to (think Transformers and the gazillion movie-to-game tag-along products). Skepticism from fans is only reasonable. When was the last great, no, I'll just say, decent game based on Batman? Secondly, the previous planned game was one that was based on the mega-blockbuster film, The Dark Knight (that was pretty much in the work with Gary Oldman, reprising his role as Lt. Jim Gordon, "revealing that he knew an awful lot of effort had gone into getting Batman's gliding abilities to feel suitably smooth and fluid for the game"), which got canceled in a rather unceremonious way with Pandemic Brisbane, the studio developing the game being shut down ever since. Thirdly, as the Batman franchise gets all heated up due to the success of director Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight film, you can easily imagine gamers playing the game in the hope of something along the line of the film.

But the development team at Rocksteady Studios took all these obstacles in strive, making Batman: Arkham Asylum not only the undisputed best Batman game ever, but also arguably the best game of the year.

What is the secret formula to success? The single one coda that all licensed games should follow: Staying true to the basic characteristics of the license and showing us what Batman really is about: A man, like any other, but hone to the extreme with his intellect and fighting abilities, complete with an incredible arsenal of gadgets at hand. Yet this man is Batman, master of the formidable art of manipulation of the human mind as he strike fear in his foes regardless how outnumbered and how disadvantaged he is. The game made a tremendous efforts conveying this feeling of being the Dark Knight, making you feel just like the superhero, ready to face whatever comes next in a hellishly insane (literally), dark locale - Arkham Asylum, the infamous mental institution rehabilitating the Caped Crusader's rogues' gallery of psychotic super and non-supervillains.

On the offset, it might seemed like any other Action Adventure Game where the macho hero takes down anything coming his way trying to save the damsel-in-distress. However, Batman: Arkham Asylum, with an intelligently balanced combination of ass-kicking fighting abilities, challenging puzzles with Batman's unique Detective Vision, innovative psychological gaming to break the thugs in cold sweat, great voice acting from an amazing voice cast (mostly from the original Batman: The Animated Series TV show), immersible storyline written by Paul Dini (creator of the aforementioned animated series and the current writer and editor of Lost), and finally an immensely dark and horrifyingly atmospheric location, provides what some say, the ultimate Batman simulator and more importantly, an incredible gaming experience like no other.

7. Movie Of The Year: Inglourious Basterds

“This might just be my masterpiece.”

And that line, incidentally the last line in Quentin Tarantino's ass-kicking war epic, Inglourious Basterds, is also evidently true for the auteur filmmaker. A self-described homage to war movies like The Dirty Dozen with the typical men-on-a-mission in a major war theme, Tarantino successfully blended suspense, action, and comedy into one exhilarating hell of a ride unlike any other war movies you have ever saw.

Set in German-occupied France 1945, Inglourious Basterds is in fact, four short plays that culminated into the last fifth play. Sounds a little contrived? Not if Tarrantino is in the house. All five chapters of the film will eventually conclude into two final plot to assassinate the Fuhrer himself, one planned by the eponymous "Basterds", a bumbling team of elite soldiers whose favorite pastime hobbies is taking the scalp of Nazis, and one planned by a vengeful French Jewish cinema proprietress.

With Tarrantino at helm, expect lengthy, all-too-casual conversations that are incredibly witty, brutally gore action sequences that are nonetheless entertainingly, and a truly clever script by the time all the chapters collided into its final scene. While many might felt turned off by the extremely lengthy dialogues, it actually served an integral purpose this time, generating a sense of unbelievably intense suspense, unlike in Tarrantino's previous effort, Death Proof. Like wise for the 152 minutes run-time, though it felt like a breeze and we would really want to see more of the wacky Lieutenant Aldo "the Apache" Raine (Brad Pitt), Staff Sergeant Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz (Eli Roth), the unexpectedly charismatic Oberfeldwebel Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger) and the undisputed Villain Of The Year, Standartenführer Hans "The Jew Hunter" Landa, in an incredibly sinister turn by Austrian actor, Christoph Waltz.

Inglourious Basterds was in contention for the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival where the world premiere of the film were held, and was the only U.S. film to win an award at Cannes that year, earning a Best Actor award for Christoph Waltz. Subsequently, it has been nominated for 4 categories in the 67th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture – Drama and Best Director for Tarantino.

To quote Roger Ebert himself, "You have to hand him this: it's one World War Two movie where we don't know the ending.".

6. Music Track Of The Year: Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine

Before you go all "What The Fuck", yes, this is me conveniently putting myself in the position of choosing Killing in the Name as the Music Track Of The Year, and this served more symbolic purpose than one might suspect.

Featured on Rage Against the Machine's 1992 self-titled debut album and subsequently released as the lead single from the album in November 1992, Killing in the Name reached number 25 on the UK Singles Chart. Other than the tremendous impact this track had left in both popular culture and social activism, this would seemingly be the end of the story.

Until December 2009. rejuvenated from a Facebook campaign created to prevent The X Factor winner's song from gaining the Christmas number one in the UK for the fifth year running, Killing in the Name took the top spot of the UK Singles Chart, thereby becoming the official UK Christmas number one.

A classic tale with the morale of the sorry being having the balls to tell others, "Fuck You I Won't Buy What You Sell Me".

For the full story on this one, check out our earlier coverage.

5. Headline Of The Year: Michael Jackson Turns Zombie or The King Of Pop Goes POP

For the record, there are no headlines as such, and the point in this category could have probably benefited slightly if I just change it to "Top News Stories Of The Year".

But that is so stereotypically boring of all the "Best Of" lists out there now. Voila. By the way, the fabricated headlines does not bear any derogatory intention or mean-spirited dig but is in fact, a tribute to Jackson with reference to his work on the epic Thriller video, which we believed, led some much-needed popularity to the zombie genre movies back then in 1983 (a definite winner for Zombie Of The Year 1983). Should we conduct an in-depth survey on the collective memories of mankind on the particular topic of memorable zombies, The King of Pop is definitely a shoo-in for the top three list.

It is a fair argument that there are many other crucial events that caused far more impact to the world than this. The Economic Crisis, the Swine Flu, the usual dose of terrorism rearing its ugly face everywhere (for one, Fort Hood) and the epitome of boredom, the Copenhagen Summit, otherwise known as the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference. But none would have the shock element of the tragic demise of the King of Pop.

Web search engines met their limitation (well, finally) as all trembled when news of Michael Jackson's death broke out on June 25th. The King of Pop was rushed to a Westwood hospital and subsequently pronounced dead of cardiac arrest. As every major tabloids played detective on the cause of death, an official statement indicated that Jackson was a victim of a fatal cocktail of prescription drugs. The plot then thickened when it was later ruled a homicide by Los Angeles County officials, a charge which eventually went nowhere.

Americans mourned for months, as well as Wacko Jacko (okay, they don't really call him now, due to his posthumously renewed popularity) fans everywhere in the world. The global impact were tremendous as fans worldwide held marathon moon-walking campaign and all sorts of tributes to the king. Along came This Is It, a film documenting Jackson's rehearsals and preparation for his planned string of 50 London concerts of the same name, which was canceled due to his death eighteen days prior. The film, despite limited screenings and a relatively short theatrical run, went on to become the highest grossing concert movie and documentary in the history of cinema.

it is indeed the end of a decade for pop music, with the demise of the King himself.

4. Toy Of The Year: Hot Toys MMS DX01 The Joker Collectible Figure

While fans of The "The Dark Knight" or collectible figures are likely to have lapped up to the first release of Hot Toys MMS 1/6 scale 12-inch Heath Ledger JOKER in October 2008, the release of Hot Toys's latest MMS DX01 Joker are still met with overwhelming anticipation all over the toy community. And we here at The Daily Zombie can assure you: The hype is real.

Hot Toys, the Hong Kong based production house long reputed for their extremely detailed collectibles and toys merchandise with actual likeness, has delivered yet another winner this year. The release of this iteration was marketed as a tribute to Heath Ledger for his iconic turn as The Joker (which had received global acclaim and posthumous honors with Best Supporting Actor awards at both Academy Awards and Golden Globe Award), a move that many might deemed as just another marketing ploy. However, this has proven to be largely untrue, with the focus of this release being the bonus head, clothes and accessories of The Joker in his guise as a Police Officer in a Gotham City police suit which he wears for the assassination scene in the film. The significance in this is that the assassination scene is in fact, the only scene where we see The Joker without his make-up but still with the Glasgow Smile disfigurement, thereby allowing us to recognize Ledger more easily and at the same time reminding us of how Ledger totally lost himself and immerse into The Joker.

As aforementioned, the package is in essence, two Jokers for the price of one, as all you need is an additional body to fix up the second Cop Joker. The outer layer of the gorgeous-looking package comes with five 1:1 scale playing cards (contrary to what you see in the photo below, two cards were hidden), with lines from the film and a written tribute to Ledger.

Once again, Hot Toy's ability to create realistic life-like figures with spot-on expression taken from the source material likeness has reached another new level with the Cop Joker's determined yet cruel look in his cold heartless eye. A comparison with the actual screenshot from the film will tell the story.

And that is before we moved on to the real beefy of the package: The Joker, in his DX-01 form. Just when you thought the previous versions couldn't get any better, this one came in and seal the deal. A big part of the score had to be due to the PERS (Parallel Eyeball Rolling System) eyes, featured first time here (and for the Cop version as well). What's a Parallel Eyeball Rolling System?

You see those cold, soulless eyes staring at you from all angles? It's because of this innovative Parallel Eyeball Rolling System, where you manipulate the figure's eyes to look anywhere you desired to match the pose, as per below pictures. The logic of how this works is simple. There is a magnetic device at the back of the head which in itself is removable. Just move the device to position the eyes, which will stay parallel regardless to prevent straying crossed eyes.

That, alongside with hyper-detailed work the team had with the amazing paint job (look closely at the Cop Joker version, you can easily notice the black eye rings in his eyes and the realistic color of his Glasgow Smile scars), the nice killer touches (the dead-on expression with the lips niftily crafted and painted, creating a realistic typically mean-spirited look of The Joker) and the improved outfits and accessories, made this the definitive Joker figure for any fans, and in our opinion, the best toy of the year.

As a side note, we will be putting up an article with more images of the figure soon.

3. TV Series Of The Year: South Park: Season 13

Thirteen almost seemed to be an auspicious number to the contrary of common beliefs, when it comes to The Daily Zombies' favorite comedy series.

After thirteen seasons of over-the-top, controversial writing, can Trey Parker and Matt Stone rise above the aging show and delivered the goods? The question has been answered as we honored South Park in their thirteenth and arguably one of the best season in this year where TV series, in general, matured in leap and bound. We take a look at some of the highlights of the season.

Starting off with the season premiere, "The Ring", an outright Disney Tweens parody, South Park continued their age old tradition of relentlessly poking fun at any social phenomenon, comely news, or pop culture weirdo. Not to give out too many spoiler on this one, The Jonas Brothers had their turn in the chair, getting fingered for their purity rings nonsense, Disney, with their evil mascot at helm, was slammed on their hard-sell marketing schemes. And as a pleasant surprise, Kenny dies from something very real.

Kanye West already got all the spoofs one can only imagine, with his antics at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, but all that actually happened after South Park's shot at him. "Fishsticks" is an excellent parody of Kanye West's infamous ego and have proved to be significantly prophetic, not mentioning how dead-on it was that actor John Stamos wrote on his social networking Twitter feed that "Matt and Trey had it so right with South Park's FISHSTICKS episode on how DENSE you are – KANYE" and even Kanye West himself said on his blog, "South Park murdered me last night and it's pretty damn funny. It hurts my feelings but what can you expect from South Park!". Predictably, Comedy Central reaired "Fishsticks" for two straight hours on September 15, 2009, shortly after the VMA incident.

Is there a taboo that South Park wouldn't touch, a line that Trey and Matt wouldn't crossed? The question has been answered by "Dead Celebrities" and it is a straight "no". With the nation still mourning over the demise of The King Of Pop, this episode shown Michael Jackson, along with Billy Mays, Farrah Fawcett, David Carradine, Ed McMahon, Walter Cronkite, Patrick Swayze, and DJ AM, trapped in Purgatory for being in denial of their deaths.

Then came our favorite episode, "WTF", where the boys forms W.T.F. (Wrestling Takedown Federation), a backyard wrestling federation after watching live WWE Raw event. Incorporating characters who have served in the Vietnam War and social issues like abortion, the show grew huge as the audience (mainly consisting of rednecks) believed in all the storyline presented. Soon, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon himself came to scout for talents. A spot-on parody at the current slate of wrestling.

From tackling social commentaries to fighting public outrage, both Trey and Matt have boldly stepped in for this season, making tremendous impact on pop culture and the general public consensus, making South Park Season 13 one not to be missed.

2. Wrestling Match Of The Year: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, at WrestleMania XXV

By any means possible, please note that we are not promoting the erratically named "25th Anniversary of WrestleMania" (it should be the 24th) with its mini Kid Rock concert, no-showing of tag team titles unification match between The Colóns (Carlito and Primo) and John Morrison and The Miz, and the anti-climax main event from Triple H and Randy Orton. It is one match that anyone who had watched this event will not forget. It's ironic, coming from two of the most broken and bruised veteran in this industry, "The Heart Break Kid" Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker.

If there is one undisputed choice in this Top 13 list, it had to be this one. This match has been widely recognized as the match of the year by every self-respecting wrestling commentary sites that even WWE themselves had to award them with the Best Match Of The Year in their other wise nonsensical Slammy Awards. A match that is truly one to close off this tumultuous decade in wrestling, where we saw the rise and fall of a major player, monopoly of another and more importantly, the all too many tragedies that befell many wrestlers who passed away before their time.

Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, both hailing from the more exciting times in the '90s and also, both who picked up numerous injuries and have learn to adapt their style, gradually becoming smarter workers over the decade. The Dead Man and The Heartbreak Kid were the two most experienced WWE superstars. However, it is most interesting that they had never had a match at WrestleMania and had not have any one-on-one encounter since the inaugural Hell in a Cell match in 1997. This is until 2007's Royal Rumble where both faced off as the last two survivor in the eponymous Royal Rumble match. Things have changed as the decade passes. Undertaker's undefeated streak had become a stuff of legends with WrestleMania, and fans wait in anticipation whenever Undertaker faces another challenge at the event.On the other hand, Shawn Michaels had firmly established his position as the "Showstopper", being a regular for every year's match of the year. The idea of The Streak versus Mr. WrestleMania at The Showcase of the Immortals proved to be the show-stealer of the event for the massive Texas crowd.

While any angle allowing HBK to exit from the abysmal storyline with John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) will no doubt be considered as a godsend by the fans, the plot leading to the showdown started like any other feud. On the February 16 episode of Raw, HBK, fresh and therefore seemingly empowered from closing his previous obnoxous feud, challenged JBL to a match the following week, with the winner advancing to WrestleMania to challenge The Undertaker in an attempt to end his undefeated streak at the event. On the following week, HBK defeated JBL, but was to faced another competitor, Vladimir Kozlov, who stood in his way to prevent him from advancing to the match. HBK would go on to defeat the previously undefeated Kozlov, earning his match with The Undertaker.

Leading into the match, HBK entered into his vintage (there I said it, Cole) provocateur form, taunting the Phenom at every turn.

Then came the match, featuring first the awesome entrances with the heaven versus hell theme in the feud as HBK made his entrance descending on a platform, basking in bright white lights to symbolize the light while The Undertaker came in, ascending from the floor with fire shooting up from the stage.

The crowd goes wild and the action kicked off in a fast pace until HBK feigned a knee injury to gain the advantage. Playing the in-ring psychology to a flawless pitch, HBK then exchange submission moves with The Undertaker, with both successfully dodging their respective submission holds.

The action soon move to the outside of the ring with HBK attempting a moonsault from the top rope only to have The Undertaker escaping followed by The Undertaker attempting a diving move over the top rope, only to have HBK dodging the attack this time by pulling the nearby cameraman into The Undertaker's way.

The match then proceed to climax with both men persistently performing and kicking out of all of their respective finishing moves. The match was finally won by The Undertaker after HBK attempted another moonsault from the top rope, only to be caught in the midst of the move by his opponent to be dropped by his finishing maneuver, the Tombstone Piledriver, complete with a successful pin and as a result, remained undefeated at WrestleMania, extending his record to 17-0.

Being an absolute wrestling masterpiece, the match was a roller coaster ride that reached its climax with a bang, serving as a perfect textbook example for the up-and-coming rookies. You can see both men adding their very own signature all over the match that even their expression when failing to pin their opponent is one that is lacking from the recent slate of unrealistic matches. Incidentally, this is the longest match on the card, lasting 30min 41sec, and is indeed one hell of a match that kept fans on the edge of their seat.

While rumors of a rematch between the two seems to be credible for now, to repeat Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25 is just too convenient for the bookers whom had simply ran out of ideas, despite the prospect of a guaranteed solid match.

1. Zombie Of The Year: Zombieland

What constitutes a "Zombie Of The Year"?

Akin to the much-touted "Man Of The Year" (now remolded into Person Of The Year, probably to please the feminists rights activists) voted by Times Magazine, this is one Zombie, that have, erm, yeah, "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year". Well, that's how Time categorizes their man. For our Zombie Of The Year, it must be the strongest shot in the arm for this nifty little piece of pop culture we called Zombie, much like Vampire's. In 2009, we see no shortage of decent works in this vein regardless the media: Robert Kirkman's self-published comic book, The Walking Dead, followed by his work on Marvel Zombies; DC's very own crossover event of the year, Blackest Night, with the basic premise pitting DC superheroes against their undead counterparts; British's E4 Channel's BAFTA-nominated horror drama, Dead Set, being set in the Big Brother house amidst an ongoing Zombie Apocalypse; the brilliant Xbox 360 First Person Shooter video game, Left 4 Dead 2; and the list goes on. However, there can be only one undead worthy of the honor, so here goes.

Zombieland, released in the United States in October, has went on to grossed more than $60.8 million in 17 days, surpassing the Dawn of the Dead remake to become the top-grossing zombie film in history. But box office is not the only reason the film has made into the list.

In essense, Zombieland is a road movie, with zombies. Thinking this is just another Zombie Apocalypse survival horror shoot em'up? Dead wrong (No pun intended). While the survival horror element is bound to surface in a Zombie Apocalypse as such, the film is a straight-up no-nonsense exercise in genre movie spoofing, drawing a fine line between the abysmal breed of parody films like Superhero Movie, etc from true blue superior parody comedy like Hot Fuzz and, yes, Shaun Of The Dead. But while Shaun Of The Dead boldly took us where no Zombie Movie had ventured before, Zombieland surpassed it and reached for an even higher level, providing non-stop action and slapstick humor in a beat, making full use of the genre that us, the audience and the director knew all to well.

Kudos to the top notch writing by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, for the dead-on characterization for all four of the main characters, cleverly giving them the background to strengthen their conviction, be it Columbus's cowardice, Tallahassee's recklessness, or Wichita's shrewdness. And all four main actors did a competent job while Woody Harrelson, as Tallahassee, truly shone as probably, the greatest Zombie Killer in movie history ever. That, along with possibly the most surprising and funniest cameo ever by Bill Murray, makes this movie one of the best comedies we seen this year.

And undoubtedly, the strongest shot in the arm for the zombie culture, proving to all the naysayers and vampire movie freaks that despite all the rage surrounding Twilight's New Moon and upcoming vampire movies and TV series, Zombies still holds its own ground and ready to take on any pretentious "dark" chick flick anytime, as TV series based on Zombieland is in ongoing discussion while the sequel has been greenlighted.

A summary of the Top 13 list for your easy reference.

13. Anime Of The Year: Naruto: Shippuden

12. Book Of The Year: The Graveyard Book

11. Comic Series Of The Year: Batman and Robin

10. iPhone Apps Of The Year: QuickOffice Mobile Office Suite

9. Gadget Of The Year: Windows 7 Operating System

8. Game Of The Year: Batman: Arkham Asylum

7. Movie Of The Year: Inglourious Basterds

6. Music Track Of The Year: Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine

5. Headline Of The Year: Michael Jackson Turns Zombie or The King Of Pop Goes POP

4. Toy Of The Year: Hot Toys MMS DX01 The Joker Collectible Figure

3. TV Series Of The Year: South Park: Season 13

2. Wrestling Match Of The Year: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, at WrestleMania XXV

1. Zombie Of The Year: Zombieland


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