Top ten Movies and TV shows that I watched this year (written while drunk, for posterity).

10. Westworld
Dystopic technological future. What is Life? Beautifully constructed worlds. This is pretty much the formula for what I want to watch, and Westworld nails it. This story is about a dystopic future with a beautifully constructed world that questions where life begins. If I didn’t know any better I would say I dreamed this series into existence. It's escapist science-fiction exploring what tethers us to reality, what makes humans human. Think Groundhog Day + Jurassic Park + Blade Runner and you’ll pick up what I’m putting down.

9.  IT
Much like many of my favorites this year, this one is a visual treat. Chung-Hoon Chung has an eye for camerawork that makes Spielberg look up from behind his Oscars. Add in some incredible child actors and a story from Stephen King, you know it won’t suck. If you haven’t seen the original mini-series-turned-long-film or read the OG book, pick those up as well because you’re about to have a new obsession. No jokes here, IT scared the jokes right out of me.  

8. The Deuce
The Deuce was made by the creators of The Wire, hence the name, I suppose. This series takes a deep dive into the sex trade of the 70’s and pornography’s rise to the mainstream. Yeah, I know, but it has James Franco as two people! It can’t be too over-the-top if you have an A-List actor as the star, thems the rules. Striptease was about Demi Moore as a stripper, for godsakes- and my grandma recommends it to this day! She a party animal, but her suggestions are on point. Take a risk, fire up this HBO show with your blinds closed and thank me in the morning.

7. The Handmaiden
I understand, this one can be a little daunting. Not only is it a subtitled film, it’s a sexy film. About Asian lesbians. Seems like it’s a bit of a perv flick, yeah? Fuck that. This movie is amazing. I can talk for 6 years and an afternoon about how gorgeous this was. I can add at least another half-decade of effusive praise for the spiderweb storyline, how intricate and captivating it was. This movie’s edgy storyline and eye-catching visuals make it a perfect date night movie for those who want be cultural, but also a bit sexy.

6. Icarus
So, documentaries are cool. Most of the time, though, they can be a bit formulaic. Introduce the problem, show why the problem is bad, and end with a call to action on how to solve said problem. This doesn’t do that. Maybe it wanted to when it began, but like any great story, it took the reigns and steered itself. This documentary starts about a cyclist who wants to try the ‘roid thing, and ends with Russia hustling the Olympics. I like that Cold War spy shit, and this is real world Red Menace, cloak-and-dagger tomfoolery. Rigging the Olympics. Sounds an awful lot like a political story from this year as well… Just can’t seem to put my finger on it…

5. What We Do In The Shadows
I’m really into New Zealand. It’s kind of a comedic paradise. I don’t know if it’s because life is just great in NZ, or if they are descendants of Comedic Timing Gods, but holy sheep they are funny down there. Over there? Down over there. Actually, I like it, they should be the Down Over, since Australia is the Down Under. But enough about that. This movie is hilarious. Shot documentary style, it follows the bachelor lifestyle of 3 vampire roommates in New Zealand as they are readying for an annual undead gala later in the week. With writers / director / costars like Taika Waititi of Thor Ragnarok and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Concords, you can’t go wrong. The timing and delivery in this film harkens back to Mel Brooks and Monty Python, the HOLY MOTHERFUCKING GRAIL OF COMEDY AND NICK CAN SUCK A BUTT IF HE DISAGREES. Watch this movie if you want to get the sculpted-Greek-sixer because you’re going to laugh your abs on.

4. Atomic Blonde
Uh, Charlize Theron kicking ass, cool vaporwave aesthetics, and Cold War spy games? Yes, I’ll take two, please. This is what John Wick wants to be, and John Wick is fucking awesome. This is action done right. It’s raw, it’s mean, it’s goddamned sexy. I’ve always been a sucker for a woman who don’t need no man and Atomic Blonde don’t need nobody, except for maybe someone good with sutures. The story has its clichés, but why dwell on that when you have Theron front kicking KGB agents down stairwells in neon light? This is eighties action for the twenty-teens.

3. Black Mirror Season 3:
This one is a no brainer. Of course, Black Mirror makes the list! This series is stunning. Each episode examines the dystopic possibilities of our futures and the role technology has in shaping them- and it’s horrifying. We already see disturbing parallels in the real world now. China is developing a citizen rating app not much different than the rating app presented in the first episode, Nosedive. Some of the directions we are taken in are outlandish, sure. Yet they handle the extremes deftly. Be it a Prime Minister porking a pig, or killer bees commanded by public polling, the creators make it easy to suspend disbelief and to get lost in the possibilities of “what if?”.

2. (Ep 99) Big Mouth:
It may seem odd that I chose the cartoon about kids dealing with puberty as my second favorite of the year. It’s just that this series is so damn good. Big Mouth doesn’t shy away from the awkward, often vulgar, issues that come with puberty. With the “Hormone Monster”, they take on everything from no-reason-boners to surprise periods with hilarious aplomb. That’s right, I used aplomb. It’s my vocab word of the week. Anyway, this series captures the trials of coming of age perfectly, and finds a way to take the most cringeworthy times of our lives and make them not only laughable, but acceptable as well. 

1. (Ep 89) Blade Runner 2049
My eyes are depressed from this film. I’ve had mushroom trips that weren’t as visually exciting as this was. I can concede, Jared Leto wasn’t the coolest of baddies, but I’m not letting that get me down. 2049 was a study of the human condition. Instead of retelling the previous themes, it developed them into new existentialist quandaries that drove the plot in thoughtful and unexpected ways. Don’t let the length intimidate you, it’s worth every 164 minutes of it. Just, you know, pee first.



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