As usual, as I do each year (each year, at least, since first creating this blog), and as you expect me to do, I have compiled my top ten list for 2017. Also as usual, that list includes five honorable mentions. Not at all as usual, I’ve generously expanded this annual enterprise to include two of my other favorite things, television and music, because why not? You deserve it, guys.
More foreword: My TV list only goes to five. Partly, this is because I’ve missed out on a ton of high priority TV in 2017, a’la Big Little Lies, Twin Peaks, The Leftovers, Halt and Catch Fire, and Better Things. Partly, it’s also because a big chunk of the TV that I’ve seen this year has not impressed me (a’la the comically overvalued and determinedly mediocre The Handmaid’s Tale). Basically, if I stretched my list out to ten, you’d see a few other shows on here that I really genuinely like, and a few that I’m more ambivalent about, and that ain’t cool. So, five it is.
Yet more foreword, still: It only recently occurred to me that I’ve soaked up a ton of music this year, more so than television, so consider this a late but good (and 100% correct) addition. Music is good! It’s what helps keep me going while I write.
And, last of all: Connective tissue. I bet you’re all dying to know what threads I’ve found in pop culture that connect different forms of media together. Sorry to disappoint, but at present I’m too burned out to think of any. The best that I can do for now is to say, again, that Get Out is the lens I’ve viewed most of my pop culture through in 2017, and most of my all-purpose culture, too; it’s impossible to watch, say, Black Mirror, or listen to Damn., without thinking of Jordan Peele’s extraordinary film (which is to say nothing of visual and aural media not listed here, like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which I don’t care for). Maybe I’ll have more to say on that once we’re in the new year. Maybe I won’t. But this is the year where even as overt American racism has reared its ugly head in the public eye, weaker, and likely more common, forms of liberal American racism have cropped up, too, which to me is in many ways more troubling (or at least more urgent).
But that’s another story for another time. Let’s get to the lists, because that’s what you’re here for. First, movies, because a) movies are the best, and b) I’ve seen nearly 200 of this year’s new releases:
- Phantom Thread
- Get Out
- The Shape of Water
- My Happy Family
- The Florida Project
- Faces Places
- First They Killed My Father
- Marjorie Prime
- The Breadwinner
- Lady Bird
(Honorable mentions: Columbus, Lemon, Lady Macbeth, The Beguiled, Mudbound)
And next up to bat, TV, which I like a bunch, too, even though I rarely feel the same way about TV as I do about movies:
- The Girlfriend Experience
- Black Mirror
- Mr. Robot
- Alias Grace
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
And finally, music, the fuel that has inspired me more than a few times while trying to either crack or simply get through my tougher assignments this year:
- Fleet Foxes, Crack-Up
- Kendrick Lamar, Damn.
- St. Vincent, Masseduction
- Valerie June, The Order of Time
- Oh Sees, Orc
- SZA, CTRL
- Bedouine, Bedouine
- Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Navigator
- Jay-Z, 4:44
- Slowdive, Slowdive
Boom. That’s it. Done. No fade-out. No acknowledgements. No afterword. See you guys in 2018.
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