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Friday open thread: Things of the year

Mount Hood and the Columbia River at The Dalles Oregon Photo by: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve cared less and less about ranking things as “(blank) of the year”. I still have my preferences, sure, and there’s still things I rank highly, but I also don’t really judge people or things by whether they’d make some sort of arbitrary year-end list or not. “Like what you like” is absolutely a thing, and a thing that I respect completely.

That said, there is a list. There’s always a list. I like some things more than other things, and the end of the year is a great time to take stock of those things. I haven’t seen enough films to make a top 10 list, nor have I sought out enough new bands to make a list of my favorite new bands, but it is possible for me to make a list of my favorite pop- and other-culture things of the year.

I’m also no longer the person I was in my 20’s, where there’d be one or two things on my list you’d never heard of; I’m not an obscurist any more, I like what you like for the most part.

And thus:

- Us. Jordan Peele’s second film isn’t quite the cultural juggernaut that Get Out was, but it was every bit as good of a film.

- Parasite. Bong Joon-Ho’s film about class divides, which seems predictable until it 100% does not.

- The Santa Clarita Diet. This show didn’t start this year, but it ended this year, so it counts. I don’t love Drew Barrymore, but she’s great in this show, as is Timothy Olyphant.

- IDLES: Joy As An Act Of Resistance. When I first heard “Colossus”, the first single off this album, I dismissed it as low-rent Nick Cave. That was my mistake. The more I listened, the more this album grew on me, to the point where it’s one of my favorite albums of the year.

- Watchmen. I am not a graphic novel/comic book person. But the HBO series that uses the acclaimed graphic novel as its launching point is seriously one of the best TV shows I’ve seen in years, and I would go so far as to say it’s the best thing HBO has done in many years (and that includes the dragon show).

- Fleabag. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t do it justice. The first season was great, the second season was transcendent. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s show and character is hard to beat when you’re talking about the best shows of the year.

- Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend. If you like podcasts, this is a great one. Conan spends an hour with a guest, getting a lot deeper than the six minutes or so his guests get on his show, and he has some good banter with his producer and assistant as well. It’s a very fun way to spend an hour a week.

I also read quite a few books in 2019, but I don’t know that any of them were written in 2019, so I’m not sure they’d make this list. But this is a good sample of the stuff I liked this year, which is a good place to start.

What’s on your list of good stuff this year? I don’t play video games, but what are some games that would make your list? What are some of your favorite books, games, movies, and music of the year?