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totally top three: march 2019


I L-O-V-E-D The Umbrella Academy! It was really fun and engaging and a little dumb, which is generally what I’m looking for in all my media about people with superpowers. I like the characters a lot, even when I don’t — looking at you, Luther — and I thought it looked really good, bright and lively with really fun set and costume design. I liked that it never hit a point where I felt like it was taking itself too seriously, which is really important for me with most things I watch and read, but especially stuff with an inherently goofy premise. It hit some really nice emotional moments, gave me a bunch of characters to care about, and left me looking forward to the possibility of a second season!


These Daily Ritual Jersey Tanks are the most comfortable, well-cut tank tops I’ve ever worn. The fabric is soft and lightweight with a really nice drape, but they’re not sheer at all. They’ve got a little bit of an asymmetrical hem, so they cover a little more butt, but the overall length is also great. They don’t have huge gaping armpit holes — my enemy! — and the neckline is a nice depth. I don’t know that I’ve ever been this enthusiastic about tank tops, but ever since Old Navy discontinued my old faves, I have been looking for something even half as good and these blow those out of the water. FINALLY.


I really liked the third season of One Day at a Time! As a show, it really fills a hole in my heart made by 90s sitcoms that wanted me to learn and feel things and I like that I get to have that experience again, but with some issues that would have never made the cut in my youth. I love these characters very much and I like that the stories are tightly contained and solved relatively simply, but never without a pretty satisfying emotional payoff. Even the cheesy sitcom dialogue works in the show’s favor because the acting shines against the constraints of the words and helps diffuse some of the preachier bits. I’m sad it won’t be coming back, but it’ll be fun to have three solid seasons to rewatch when I’m feeling bad about the world, which is basically always.


And five to look forward to…

the twilight zone   the damned things, high crimes   s.j. goslee, how not to ask a boy to prom   khalid, free spirit   hellboy

totally top three: february 2019


I really, really L-O-V-E-D The Haunting of Hill House and though I know it’s like, deeply uncool now to admit that spoilers matter to you, I am so glad that I managed to go in with really only my knowledge of 1999’s The Haunting (a mostly terrible, but extremely gay movie I saw in theaters) because waiting for each new moment was really satisfying and stressful and made the tension the show was building extra delightful. I was amazed at how quickly I was really invested in the characters and also how much I liked things that I am normally bored by in media (mostly those constraintless timelines and try-hard dialogue). It’s yet another series I am left hoping will stand as-is and another where I won’t seek out anyone’s opinions about it because they’ll mostly be boring, which is a sign that I really liked the show. If the thought of an adult man in front of a cake makes me weep, well. That’s how I like it.


I didn’t listen to a lot of new music in February (instead inexplicably deciding to relive my childhood by revisiting the Beatles’ catalog? The White Album still rules tbh.) but I did manage to listen to Two Feet’s 20 Something Fuck which I think is extremely solid, if short. The algorithm served me “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” way back (I posted it as a ~jam to my Instagram story in June, I think) and I’m glad that the whole album has a similar sound and energy. This is very much summer music for me and I need that right now because BOY AM I SICK OF WINTER. I’m very into the aforementioned “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” but also love “Hurt People” and “You Say” and “Back of My Mind”.


Crystal and I finally watched Baby Driver after a like two hour fight with my dad’s DirecTV login because we are truly millennials but thankfully it was extremely worth it. I really loved the characters and the acting (Fuck Kevin Spacey, obviously.) and the CAR CHASES! Set in daylight! The sign of a good car movie is how bad I want to drive fast afterward and I have to say the people of North Dakota are lucky that I am old and scared of winter driving or I would have immediately been out there raising hell. The music was great even though it’s clear that Edgar Wright thinks his taste in music is ~extremely cool~ and I loved the sound mixing (even though the whining they put in when Baby had his headphones out was TORTURE because of my intermittent tinnitus) and ASL. Also I accidentally came out of it extremely attracted to Ansel Elgort which is mildly upsetting.


And five to look forward to…

now apocalypse   the weight of the stars   greta   queenie   captain marvel

totally top three: january 2019


Jon Walker, Impending Bloom – This is an EP from a former bassist of Panic! at the Disco and it is nothing like what I expected considering the majority of his previous discography. It’s almost like… a really great, heavy 90s album? And since I have been extremely into reliving some of my 90s loves so far this year, it’s really hit right in my wheelhouse. Also, he used a fan’s joking lyric suggestion in “Like an Animal” and it actually made me laugh out loud on first listen. “Write a New Story” and “Like an Animal” are definitely my favorites, here, but it’s a solid listen all the way through.


The Littlest Man Band, Better Book Ends – How an album released in 2004 ended up as one of my favorite things in the first month of 2019 is a question for The Algorithm, but I’m glad regardless because this little lounge-y ska number is great and turned out to be well worth a full start-to-finish listen beyond the couple songs that kept showing up in my Spotify-generated playlists. “Always Sayin’” and “Stayed Away Too Long” and “Sunshine” and “Better Man” are all great, but the album as a whole is worth a listen. It’s like, I don’t know, grown-up ska? A little more introspective, a little prettier.


Roswell, New Mexico – I didn’t watch the first Roswell when it was airing because with the exception of Friends and Jeopardy, I didn’t actually watch TV regularly until like, 2006. But it was filmed in my hometown and they used my grandma’s driveway as a craft service spot and we ate a lot of free food, so I feel bonded to it, but also Crystal loved it, which meant that one of our first friend dates was driving her around and showing her filming locations and stuff that had been leftover (The Crashdown sign stayed up for YEARS after the show was cancelled and I think the UFO center storefront was still there when we moved in 2012…) but all of that is beside the point because this new adaptation is great. The story is compelling, the acting is really solid (and pretty), everything looks really good, and it’s a story about adults! On the CW! Where the dialogue sounds human! And charming! And it’s actually shot well and nice to look at! Also, it’s nice to be excited for more.


And three to look forward to…

the umbrella academy   miss bala   velvet buzzsaw

totally top five 2018: watching

After talking about my favorite stuff all year, it’s finally time to round it all up, so here we go!

In no particular order!


Big Mouth made me laugh more than probably anything I’ve watched in a long time. I think it’s so good at being gross and funny and relatable and I stand by the assertion that like, okay, maybe kids shouldn’t watch it, but kids should definitely watch it. I can’t imagine how much less messed up I would be if I’d had something like this as a youth. But also, it’s just funny. And the voice acting is great. And I really love the stylized characters and especially the hormone monsters! Both seasons are great and it manages to never really feel mean, despite it being about the absolutely cruelest age.


One Day at a Time wins the award for show that made me feel the best about being alive in 2018. These are wonderful, realistic, relatable, gentle characters who grow and learn and change, who are brave and funny and well-developed. It’s a show about a contemporary family that doesn’t feel too real, but also never feels phony. I love these characters so so much and I am so glad it’s coming back for another season.


Hereditary got a lot of hype around its release and it made me nervous to watch because that usually just leads to disappointment, but this time it didn’t! This was a great watch with lots of rich details and brutal, but not excessive gore (I spent most of my life as a big horror movie person, so your mileage may vary there.) and a genuinely compelling narrative at its center. Everyone in this is VERY good, but Toni Collette is BEYOND good. SO much of the movie is carried on her acting that it’s kind of hard to believe that it works all the way to the credits. This is definitely a horror movie, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a scary movie. There are a couple of great jump scares, but it’s really a dark story about family that still manages to pay off as horror. It’s also WEIRD AS HELL, which is something I wish we all got more of in movies.


I LOVE The Good Place so so so so so so much. It’s the only show we keep up with (Until Brooklyn Nine-Nine starts up tomorrow!) and it’s just so good and so funny and fun and charming and GOOD. Characters who grow and change and learn and develop as the world around them is constantly shifting and throwing away everything they think they know or understand. I like every character, even the bad guys, and I can’t get over Manny Jacinto’s absolutely sculpted from marble beautiful face delivering some of the fucking funniest lines I’ve ever heard on tv. He is somehow the clown and the straight man? It’s magic. The whole show is magic, really, and I am so glad I got into it this year!


I watched Castle Rock on a complete whim and ended up loving it sooooooo much. Gorgeous cinematography, like a million actors that I love, Sissy Spacek!, Bill Skarsgård’s brutal, beautiful face and his impossibly skillful and subtle emoting, André Holland’s pitch-perfect brilliance, and a wonderful, weird, fun intertwining story with unexpected twists that pan out in unexpected and continually interesting ways. I cannot wait to see more of this universe, especially with the word that they’re planning a more anthological series which will cross back with characters we already know.


Honorable Mentions

      


Previously

2K12 | 2K13 | 2K14 | 2K15 | 2K16 | 2K17

totally top three: december 2018

December was… Well. It certainly was a month that took place! And now it’s over. And the whole year too!

I love-love-loved Dumplin’ so much. I think it did the book justice even with the trims needed to make it movie-sized and I loved every single one of the cast. I spent most of the movie yelling about how much I love Millie (I LOVE MILLIE!!) and about how I was definitely a Willowdean at that age and how I wish so much I had been more of a Millie. I love all the parents in this and the secondary and tertiary characters. I love the placemaking and the goofy pageantry. And mostly I love that this is a sweet, funny, charming movie about fat girls who doesn’t lose weight and gets a happy ending! Freakin’ great.



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In this year’s fit of nostalgia (last year’s was music based!) Crystal and I started re-watching Stargate: Atlantis and have been having a wonderful time reliving the early days of our friendship bonding. It’s fun to be infuriated at the same dumb plots and bad guys and to laugh at the dweeby (and dated!) jokes and also to revel in all the friendship and found family. Also, I have been shocked to find that the computer graphics hold up strangely well? So weird!



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Early this month, Crystal inexplicably decided that she needed to rectify the Four Weddings and a Funeral hole in my pop culture blanket and you know what? I enjoyed it a lot! It was funny and charming and weirdly like watching something extremely strange because of both the time it was made and how extremely British it is. The eulogy scene is absolutely heartbreaking and I can’t believe I’ve read the poem without ever having seen it. Stunning.


And three to look forward to…