I love these types of things because it’s a) a great way to get new shows, movies, albums to consume and b) sometimes it helps you see something different in something you already loved.
So here is a (partially) annotated list of top 10s for the year. Note: I kept a pretty detailed log of both movies watched and recipes cooked last year and accidentally deleted them when my startup disk was full. Turns out Mail archives every damn thing and was taking up about 40 gigs of space. So…there’s my tip for you: delete Mail’s archive or (if you are lazy like me) just disconnect it from your gmail account.
Top 10 Films:
10. Sex Tape
Look, I’m as surprised as you probably are to see this on here. I expected it to be yet another bland, boring Apatow-esque comedy. I was wrong. It was at times gaspingly hilarious (especially everything to do with Rob Lowe’s house), and really quite sweet.
9. San Andreas
This is the perfect natural disaster movie. I get that not everyone needs or wants natural disaster movies in their lives, and they aren’t my go-to genre, but this was big and fun and scary and featured the most unintentionally hilarious scene wherein The Rock tries desperately, in vain, to cry.
8. Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
I watched a lot more action-y movies in theatre this year, thanks to a couple of friends who love them, and it’s been a lot of fun. The first Maze Runner was pretty boring so I didn’t go in expecting much (really, I went at my friend’s behest) and it was surprisingly good, really gripping you and pulling you along for the ride.
Paul Rudd, fun, what more do you want?
6. American Ultra
5. Love and Mercy
I knew the basics of the Brian Wilson/Dr Landy story, but the film broke my heart. Paul Giammati is frankly terrifying as the abusive Dr Landy, while John Cusack and Paul Dano each bring a different kind of sweetness, fragility, and troubled-ness to the role of Brian Wilson. Highly recommended.
Grandma has everything I could ask for in a film: Lily Tomlin; centering women’s stories; exploring women’s relationships; tackling the stigma of abortion while treating abortion itself as normal and lifesaving; intergenerational relationships. It’s got everything.
3. Miss You Already
One of the things we see so rarely, and I treasure so much, are explorations of female friendships and the very real ups and downs that lifelong friendships have. You know going in that this is going to be a tearjerker and it delivers completely.
2. Inside Out
A movie about emotions! Befriending them. Learning from them. This is everything I want in every movie.
1. Max Max: Fury Road
The most badass, feminist film I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve seen it twice already (both times in theatre) and I can’t wait to watch it again.
Top 11 TV Shows:
Elementary’s been on for four years now, but I only started watching it this year and caught up in about a month. It’s a pretty basic procedural, which is something I frankly love, but it explores questions of friendship, addiction and sobriety, family, and sacrifice. And Lucy Liu as Joan Watson is one of my favourite characters out there.
Justified ended it’s five (I think) year run this year which means, of course, that I found it and fell in love with it right as it ended. The things I love about Justified: It’s exploration of morality–how good people do bad things and bad people do good things and sometimes good people and bad people can’t help but find themselves intertwined–and how the extreme poverty of rural Kentucky completely change those questions of morality; the always great Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder; the arc of Ava Crowder who always finds ways to survive; Timothy Olyphant. I’ve never seen a depiction of rural poverty like Justified and it was really eye-opening.
9. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I don’t much care for the Avengers, but I love AoS, mostly for its exploration of what my friend S calls “protagonist-centered morality.”
Take two of my favourite things, Veronica Mars and zombies, and combine them for a funny and sassy show about a zombie medical examiner who eats brains to solve crimes? Sold!
Need I say more?
I find myself loving just about everything the Duplass brothers do, as they explore, especially, modern (middle-class masculinity) and the difficulty of long-term relationships. Really looking forward to the second season.
5. Playing House
A funny, sweet comedy about two women’s friendship and how it changes as life changes. It’s so rare to find comedies that aren’t oppressive or hateful, and I treasure them.
4. Parks and Rec
Parks and Rec is another show I only got into this year, and boy did I get into it. It’s not a perfect show, but it has so much to love, from its explicit feminism, to Ben Wyatt, to the truly loving way it explores Ann and Leslie’s friendship, to Chris Traeger, to one of my favourite moments ever:
3. The Walking Dead
This season has just been so fucking good. Especially Quiet, Domestic Carol.
Not only is this the most wonderfully diverse show I’ve ever seen, but it’s a superhero show where the superpower is empathy. And the “What’s Going on Scene” is just wonderful.
1. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones is one of the hardest shows I’ve ever watched. It’s also one of the most remarkable. Never before have I seen such a thorough, accurate, and survivor-centered exploration of trauma, rape, and PTSD. I highly, highly, highly recommend it with the caveat that it could be triggering as fuck for survivors of sexualized violence and/or psychological abuse.
Top 10 Songs:
I only occasionally listen to entire albums, being more of a patchwork listener, so here are my favourite songs that either came out in 2015 or that I discovered in 2015.
10. No One is Lost–Stars
9. Anthem–Alana Yorke
8. i–Kendrick Lamar
7. Tennessee Whiskey–Chris Stapleton
6. Caught Me Thinking–Bahamas
5. Back Before We Were Brittle–Say Hi
4. Say Love–JoJo
3. Monday–Matt Corby
2. Wires–Basia Bulat
1. From Now On–Basia Bulat
Top 10 Recipes:
10. Spinach and Artichoke Casserole
9. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
8. Nasu Dengaku
7. Chickpea and Peanut Butter Blondies
I was skeptical af! They were delicious!
6. Mac and Cheese Mix
4. The Best Gravy
2. Crispy Tofu
Honestly, the soup itself is fine but I probably won’t make it again. The tofu, though? Maybe the best tofu I’ve ever eaten.
1. Spinach Dip