A lot of good media this year. Some of it buzzworthy. Some of it decades old that I just got around to. Regardless this is what made me happy this year.
Here's it is. The media I most enjoyed taking in this year.
5. Stranger Things
You saw it. If you didn’t then you heard everybody shitting their pants about it. It's good. Let's all calm down a bit, but it is good.
4. Orange Is The New Black
If you’re like me, then you probably thought that 2015 Orange is the New Black really sucked. This year’s was much better. They raised the stakes. More important, they let non-Piper characters carry the load it ends up better because Piper is really not that interesting.
|You keep feeding that chicken American Dad!|
3. American Dad
If you haven’t seen it then you’re missing out. It’s great. It was on this list last year and it is again. If you don’t think you like it because you don’t like Seth McFarlane but have never seen it then you should. The first few seasons were pretty meh, but if you stick with it you’ll be rewarded with one of the funniest, unique, and completely bizarre shows around.
2. Mad Men & Game of Thrones (tied)
Mad Men was on this list last year when I watched the lion’s share of it. I watched the last season this year. Most of the big shows that ended had everyone talking endlessly about the finale making it hard to avoid spoilers. That didn’t seem to be the case with Mad Men. I wonder why. I thought it was a perfect sendoff. Game of Thrones was fucking nuts this year. That's it. Just nuts. I can't wait until the next season.
1. Luke Cage
Marvel is just knocking these out of the park and good for them. All of them are good shows. I like them all in different ways even though they’re pretty similar thematically, but I think Luke Cage was the most fun to watch. The badass music helped.
Honorable mention Star Trek: Voyager
Dishonorable mention: I'm sure I watched something that sucked, but can't remember.
5. Run The Jewels; RTJ3
Run The Jewels were able to get this one in under the wire. It wasn’t supposed to be released until mid-January but then did a surprise release on Christmas day. If you like either of the other two outings, then you’ll like this one too.
4. Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures: Orange Juice
I don’t really know anything about these guys. Orange Juice popped up in my Spotify Discover playlist and I loved it. I bought the album which is only a 2 song single. The other song is good too, but not nearly as good as this one. I usually like to put full albums on here, but I listened to this 2 song single enough to warrant a spot.
3. The Hold Steady: Stay Positive and Boys and Girls In America
I know these guys aren’t new to music, but they were new to me this year. I found out about via my Spotify Discover playlists. I like that they rock. Way too much of indie rock is heavy on the indie and cheap out when it comes to the rock. These guys are fun and unique and I like them a lot. I’ll probably do a lot of listening to them this year. It was a tough call over whether to put this one or Boys and Girls In America on here. So it's a tie. They’re both great. Listen to both of them.
2. Adele 25 This one came out late last year. You’ve probably heard Hello a billion tiems. And with good reason, Adele is a very good singer and it’s a great song. YOu should be lucky that a song that’s so pervasive is also really damn good. All I Ask is my favorite song on the album. I can listen to it on repeat forever and never get sick of it. It’s amazing.
1. My Spotify Discover Playlists
I don’t know if this counts as an album, but this is what I spent the most time listening to. My friend Jay Welch told me about this midway through the year, and now I don’t know how I took in songs without it. I look forward to them every Monday.
Honorable mention: (1/2 of) Life of Pablo by Kanye West. There's some sweet songs on here. Not enough to put it in the top five, but still.
Dishonorable mention: (The other 1/2 of) LIfe of Pablo by Kanye West. There's a lot of fucking garbage on this album. You know it's true.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
5. I finally got around to seeing this one. It was pretty good. Wasn’t great. Wasn’t terrible. It was an exceedingly competent movie. I mean that as both a compliment and an insult. I heard that it was pretty much just a Newer Hope. It was. It was fine. It actually probably doesn't’ belong on this list, but I watched it very recently so it’s fresh in my head.
4. Star Trek Beyond
The Kelvin timeline Treks are tough for me. I loved the first one. I LOVED the first one. I very much did not love Into Darkness. As a Trek guy, there are parts of these new ones I love and parts that bother me. But also as a Trek guy to watch the Enterprise on the big screen still gives me goose bumps. I look at the new universe almost like I do the movie Galaxy Quest. Don’t get too pissy about retcons and cannon and just try to enjoy yourself.
3. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
I’ve seen this movie a bunch of times. It’s one of my favorites. It came to Netflix so I watched it a couple more times this year. There’s not a whole lot to say about it that hasn’t already been said. Jim Carrey is good without being too Jim Carreyey. Kate Winslet is awesome in everything she’s ever in. The effects are haunting and dreamy. It’s just beautiful.
2. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Everyone I know pretty much loved this movie. The only negative reviews I heard were from critics who thought the name of the movie gave away the ending. If you're telling me that at the end of that movie you can tell me you were able to call that because of the name then I say “fuck you” because you're a damned liar.
1. Mission Impossible 3
This is hands down my favorite movie that I saw this year. Tom Cruise is a goon. He’s part of a creepy religion and gives weird interviews, and was shitty to Brooke Shields a while because he doesn’t understand how brains work. All that aside, the dude makes a good movie sometimes. I don’t even like the Mission Impossible franchise all that much. I thought Ghost Protocol was one of the most overrated movies ever. Yeah, there were a couple neat stunts, but it ended there. Mission Impossible 3 though is just awesome. Phillip Seymour Hoffman makes a terrifying villain. Keri Russel is great. I can’t say enough good things about this movie.
Honorable mention: Sausage Party
Dishonorable mentions: Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (or the 25 minutes I watched before shutting it off). And also Batman v. Superman. Good gravy was that ever bad.
5. The Bill From My Father: Bernard Cooper
I bought this book because I heard a chapter read on This American Life. I was expecting a book of humorous essays, but I got a sweet, funny, touching, sad memoir about a man's relationship with his father. I didn't get the book I was expecting, and I'm glad.
4. This Boy’s Life
Tobias Wolff is my absolute favorite. (watch your ass, Wolff, King is driving hard to the hoop). I usually read something by him every year. I went with his memoir about his early life. They made a movie based on it with Leonardo Dicaprio. I've never seen it.
3. Wizard and Glass: Stephen King
This is the 4th book in The Dark Tower Series. It's my favorite so far, but they're all just awesome. The Dark Tower book are daunting because very few people sit down and want to kick back and read 8 books. But then you start and you don't ever want to leave Mid-world. I'm on the second to last one now and I don't know whether to jump into the last one or wait so I can stay in this world a little bit longer.
2. The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley.
This book should be required reading to live in America. Malcolm X is probably the most interesting person ever. They should make you read it in high school, and then make you reread it 10-20 years later. Maybe I'm just saying that because that's what I did.
1. 11/22/63: Stephen King
Holy shit is this a great read. I read a lot of Stephen King. I don’t think it was too much but that’s what my wife said. He deserves it. I’ve read 8 and I’m working my way through my 9th book by him. Maybe that’s too much I don’t know. I’m enjoying them all. So I guess not. As much I've enjoyed all the Dark Tower books and The Stand I think this is my favorite King book so far.
Honorable Mentions: Stephen King's The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wind Through the Keyhole, and Wolves of Calla
Dishonorable Mention: The news. Started out okay. Went to shit half way through the year. Do not recommend.