Top 10 Review the World Episodes of 2014
One thing I love is end of year retrospectives. And in the grand tradition I started last year, I offer to you the top ten Review the World episodes of 2014. So clear your personal calendars, grab a bag of Rap Snacks, and settle in the for the show. These are all episodes I love, and I encourage you to watch every one in its entirety.
#10: Childhood Neighborhood Tour
We begin with Brian’s most recent entry, one that was intended to cap all of his furious activity for 2014, and at one point, possibly forever. Brian has been incredibly consistent at providing a new episode every week for almost two years now, a remarkable feat, and it looks like the pace may slow a bit in 2015 as he takes some time to breathe and refuel his creative juices. And what more perfect way to allude to that than by taking us back to the source primeval — where it all started — his boyhood home in Hamilton, Ohio. My only complaint is that I wish it had been a lot longer, with more backstory, maybe hitting some more significant spots. But it would ultimately be impossible to encapsulate everything that’s been catalogued over the course of 15 years on reviewtheworld.com. In fact, more than any other episode this year, with all their references to older material, this one made be want to dive in to the back catalog, which may be the point all along. At any rate, it was a great way to end the year.
#9: Shamrock Shake
This is Brian’s segment for a joint review project early in the year with friend Bill Webster of veggiemacabre.com, taking a look at McDonalds' verdant St. Patrick’s Day offering, the Shamrock Shake. Filmed solo in the middle of a snowy Ohio February, this is a fun watch filmed with admirable gusto. Brian somehow managed to bring a little bit of spring magic into what seemed like, from Texas, a grim nightmare world of never-ending cold and snow. Maybe not quite that bad, but still.
#8: RtW Cameo: 19 Crimes Wine
Is this a Review the World spot, or an Audio-Alpha spot? I only remember seeing it on RtW, so to Brian goes the credit. I suppose this was to be a coming out party of sorts for Brian’s friend Chris, but Audio-Alpha has had sort of a spotty internet presence since that time. Chris can still be found doing his thing online, rapping shirtless for his many fans. Filmed in the somewhat imposing basement of Chris’s grandparents house, Brian nervously laughs his way through what turned out to be an entertaining romp of a wine review, probably filmed for the express purpose of impressing Chris’s (now) fiancée, the sultry blogesse Molly of SwaggerMomTales. The only crime here is that we didn’t get to see acclaimed Audio-Alpha henchman and Grandma-house resident Wayman chime in with his considered opinions.
#7: AirHeads Turbo Taffy with Sour Gel
Co-starring RtW stalwarts Nick and Eddie, this little vignette featuring one of RtW’s signature candy lines serves up some classic, almost textbook Review the World summer goodness. This is the Big Three at the top of their game in 2014, doing what they do best.
#6: Salt ‘N Vinegar Crickets
I am delighted to say I had a hand in this one, as with a couple of others on this list. I bought that box of crickets for the guys back in 2013, and it quite understandably took them a while to get around to filming the review. Also shot at Chris’s grandma’s house, this time the big man himself, Wayman, joins the cast for some culinary cricket commentary. Brian stoically powers through, even though he might have been just as disgusted at regular salt & vinegar potato chips. Chris/Audio’s reaction is classic theater.
#5: RtW Cameo: Beers With Movie Sauce
No doubt one of his most popular entries of the year, Brian travels to North Carolina to the home of good friend Bill Webster of veggiemacabre.com to film an episode of Bill’s new series “Beers with Movie Sauce”. The conceipt is something like a hosted movie segment that you might have seen on a Saturday night on the USA network back in the 90’s or early 2000’s, where Bill comments on a favorite horror movie, and throws in a beer and hot sauce review as lagniappe. Bill’s vids famously have great production values, and Brian knows movies like nobody else, so the team-up was sure to be a killer. Brian’s selection, C.H.U.D. 2, made for some fun and funny discussion. Although the conversation started to drift a bit at the end, I was told this was only the first of a two-part review, the second part of which was unfortunately never forthcoming. A real bummer for us fans. Maybe one of these days!
#4: Zapp’s Mega Review - Part 2 of 3
This one is near and dear to my heart. Back in 2013, Brian, Nick, and Chris teamed up to review a pack of goodies I sent their way, a box full of 10 or so varieties of Zapps potato chips. The guys went all out to film the review over three episodes, filming in some genuinely pretty and historic spots in downtown Hamilton. It looks like they had a lot of fun with it. This is my favorite of the three, but really represents the series in its entirety.
#3: Dallas Roaming Lunch
Biased, you say? Just because I made my debut appearance on RtW in this episode doesn’t mean I can’t objectively critique its merit. This was a fun vid to shoot and featured some great food, to boot. If only we had got to cap it off with Taco Naan. Sigh. By the way, I can tell you that that place is still going strong and the food is better than ever! Just ate there last week. Brian, we need to do this again sometime, buddy.
#2: Fresh vs. Frozen - Skyline Chili Spaghetti
I don’t know, it just seems like Brian really brings it whenever he’s challenged to some joint review project. This was technically another one of those with buddy Bill, and features one of my most anticipated Cincinnati delicacies, the chili spaghetti plate, loaded with shredded cheese. The video was shot alone, indoors, in the dead of winter. Very unassuming, but full of love for this bonafide regional dish. Just a solid review with, I have to say it, some great sound. I’m no ASMR freak, but I do notice good foley work. This is like that, in a way. Just makes me hungry, is all I’m saying.
#1: My Zen Spot: Crawford Woods
The number one spot goes to another solo project, sort of a companion to the year-ending Neighborhood Tour video at number ten on my list. I might as well say that I don’t prefer Brian’s solo vids per se, just that there happened to be some really good ones this year. Also, this was Brian’s contribution to what was to be a joint video project with buddy Bill of veggiemacabre.com, another theme that keeps popping up in this list. Crawford Woods is a spot well known to anyone familiar with Brian’s work, the site of numerous short films and reviews. Here Brian goes from using it as backdrop to making it the star of the show, attempting to explain and even capture some of that magic that keeps drawing him back to this place. Along the way we get to hear him reminisce about days gone by and get a sense of the changes that life inevitably brings to people and places. The whole thing could be described in its way as a poignant tribute, but one that ends with the acknowledgement that is as yet unfinished, which is true, because I doubt we’ve seen the last of it.
Happy New Year to all!