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totally top 3: may 2019


I absolutely loved Claire North’s, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Like I said in my review, once I realized what I was reading, I wasn’t sure that I would like it, but even when it made me feel a little dumb, I enjoyed it. Harry is just an incredibly interesting narrator to hang around with, both because of what he is and also because of the dry way he relays his observations of the world around him. Though he’s never effusive, you can feel these wonderful tremors of joy and anxiety and fear and possibility with just the subtlest change to the narrative voice. Wonderful writing and world-building and a great, simmering queer subtext, and the wonderful line, “He enjoyed toying with me, and, in my way, I enjoyed being toyed with.” — one of the absolutely horniest things I’ve ever read.


I’ve been listening to Phantom Planet’s “BALISONG” and Big Data’s “Put Me to Work” on repeat a LOT all month long. “BALISONG” has this great chugging rhythm and Alex Greenwald’s hypnotic voice rising and falling in all kinds of interesting ways and it’s got me extremely hyped for a full-scale comeback. “Put Me to Work” is fucking great, extremely dance-y and perfectly current while also feeling a little flashback-y like all good synth music. Also, who doesn’t love a shout-y sing-a-long chorus?


I waited a long time to watch Call Me By Your Name because despite my Genuine! Best! Efforts! I am a jerk who sometimes ends up turned off of things because the hype has overwhelmed me! I don’t think it was necessary this time, but man, was it worth the wait anyway. What a lovely piece of moviemaking and storytelling. I’ve been trying to articulate a lot of things about it both as a movie I liked and as a Piece of Queer Media (especially a compare and contrast with Brokeback Mountain, oh man. There are even shirt parallels!) but mostly I keep being grateful (which says something really fucking shameful about pop culture) that this felt like a movie about a gay relationship that I was just able to enjoy as a romance because no one died a horrible death and the heartbreak was just nice regular heartbreak. Progress!?!??! Also, what a lovely story about family, too. (Shoutout to Reid, the tattoo artist I saw a couple of weeks ago who said it “really fucked him up” because I hadn’t seen it yet and couldn’t have a conversation about it, but you know what? Fucking same, dude.)


And three to look forward to…

late night   simon james green, alex in wonderland   the dead don't die

totally top three: april 2019

The end-ish of this month has been ROUGH because I got sick like a dumb idiot and also because I have to go in for my semi-annual endometrial probing and I also have other stuff scheduled and I don’t handle having plans very well? I prefer to be free and I will assume that this is just my nature as a pisces, since one of the other things I find myself obsessed with in 2019 is astrology even though I don’t believe in it at all. What an adventure being alive is!

I did at least manage to like some stuff this month, so that’s cool!


I thought Unicorn Store was incredibly sweet and charming and also it made me cry a little bit, but in a nice, moved way, which is always great. Brie Larson is a national treasure who I already love a lot and Mamoudou Athie is a wonderful new addition to my list of People to Be Obsessed With. I liked that this just leaned into its premise and let it play out as weird as it wanted to without sacrificing any of its characters’ humanity. Samuel L. Jackson was also great as always and man, what a wardrobe!


I didn’t actually know anything about Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive when I finally started reading it 10,000 years after the hype died down and though I don’t think it mattered much enjoyment-wise, I do think I would have been extremely fucked up by the expectation that it might be anything like Gone Girl because it just… Is not at all that kind of book and I don’t know what marketing person decided to fucking, die on that hill. This is some of the best writing I’ve read in a long, long time and a really complicated, interesting narrator to spend time with and I am so glad I read it and happy to never read it again.


Lizzo is a babe, a talent, a hero, an idol, an inspiration and Cuz I Love You is joyful and fun and energetic and beautiful and I am so glad I’m alive on earth at the same time as her. I can’t imagine telling a young version of myself about Lizzo’s entire existence and I am so envious of and happy for young people right now. Favorites: “Cuz I Love You” & “Like a Girl” & “Jerome” & “Better In Color”


And three to look forward to…

avengers: endgame   frank iero and the future violents, barriers   tom ryan, keep this to yourself

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