By Deborah Netburn and Patrick Day, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers As the year rushes rapidly to a close, it's time to sift through the mountains and kilobytes of pop culture detritus that have built up on our computers and in our brains over the past 12 months and try to figure out what worked, what didn't and what's best forgotten by New Year's Day. In the first installment of our series, we check out the various online marketing gimmicks used to promote Hollywood's best and biggest flicks this year. And so like the adventurers of the age of discovery, we find those brave souls in the online marketing departments of film studios taking bold risks in what are essentially uncharted territories. Some of these ventures are successful -- who didnt want to make their own Simpsons avatar? -- but many more of them are not.