margotttenenbaum: (Isabelle Lightwood)
[personal profile] margotttenenbaum
2016 sucked! Here were some things I enjoyed anyway!

This was actually a really good year for me and TV, so I had some trouble narrowing it down.

I initially planned to hatewatch this show for the lols as an old timer from HP fandom who lives for CC drama, but oop @ me. Instead I got blindsided by deep investment in another very silly little show. <3 Shadowhunters may not be reinventing the wheel. Or have very good writing. Or acting. But it makes me happy. Let's hope s2 doesn't fuck it up!

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
This show was such a surprise favorite when it premiered, and I honestly can't remember disliking an episode yet. Even when I have qualms, it tends to address them pretty quickly before I can get too worked up. S2 went in a surprising direction but it's one I am very much enjoying. Also! I cannot believe my witch powers were able to banish my most hated character, Greg, from the show! Usually my witch powers only work for casting actors I like in musician biopics (I claim full responsibility for willing Penn-as-Jeff and Rami-as-Freddie into existence) and not for banishing actors from CW shows! But man oh man did I hate Greg with the fire of a thousand suns and I could not be happier that he is GONE FOR GOOD and that the love triangle is 100% over (though "The Math of Love Triangles" remains one of my fave songs from the show). Loving Becky and New Valencia and my gf Heather especially.

The Get Down
I loved The Get Down so much. It's basically everything I could want in a show, especially as a lover of music stories. Everything about it feels so fresh and exciting to me, and it really calls to mind the kind of Baz films I actually used to love (Romeo + Juliet, Strictly Ballroom) a lot. I'm also bitter af that it doesn't get the same kind of play as other, whiter things that came out at the same time. :( If it doesn't get a s2 I'm going to be REALLY upset. I just love everything about it: the characters, the writing, the music, the visuals. Music and visuals are super important to me and I have kind of specific taste, but this (and a few others on the list) really hit it out of the park for me personally.

As a person who hates westerns and robots, I went into Westworld expecting to hate it. It is very much not my thing. But lo and behold, I actually ended up hugely obsessed with it. I must've watched every episode four or five times (except the finale), which is really unusual for me these days, though it's something I used to do as a teenager. I just loved how weird and cerebral it was trying to be, and I loved trying to untangle its philosophies and my own opinions of them. Aside from Mad Men, Westworld is the only TV show that ever gave me the same feeling as reading a novel – except the chapters were all jumbled up, lol. I have mixed feelings about how things unfolded in the finale, but I still deeply loved everything that came before it and am interested to see where it goes next.

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson
Just great television? Every episode simply blew me away with the acting, the direction, the way it handled its very large and possibly overwhelming themes. It managed to take a case everyone already knew and make the twists and turns of it feel fresh and thrilling. When people talk about prestige TV, this is it. This is everything prestige TV is supposed to be, but isn't always.

Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life
So many people seemed to be disappointed in the revival, so it makes sense that my contrarian ass loved it wholeheartedly. I thought the show actually did a really good job of updating itself while keeping the same tone and feeling as it used to have. It may not be a popular opinion, but I was really happy with the new stuff.

Carmilla :: I finally watched this out of a deep need for some lesbian vampire content in my life and even though YT series can be weird and it was quite silly, I ended up enjoying it a lot. When will someone buy it and dust it off and turn it into a proper TV series? I'll be waiting.

Insecure :: SO GOOD. Sometimes I find it harder to talk about things I liked in a way that isn't just !!!!!, but I enjoyed every aspect of this show: the tunes, the characters, the writing. It was so funny but so sharp and it didn't pull punches. It wasn't afraid to let its characters face consequences but it didn't punish them either. I can't wait for s2.

Better Things :: This show was an unexpected little gem. FX is really killing it TV-wise (Atlanta was also FANTASTIC). It's a weird, nonlinear, very vignette-driven little show about motherhood and Hollywood, two of my favorite topics in fiction. Very worth checking out. Krys, I'm talking to you. You should watch this if you haven't.

You're the Worst :: I feel shitty not putting YTW into my Top 6 because I still love this show so deeply and I loved this season, but I'm not sure I loved it as much as the previous two (though the finale was A+++++) so. It's in the bonus.

Lol only one of these was released in 2016. Fail, thy name is me. Some of these aren't even HUGE faves, just things I enjoyed. Not a good year for me and movies, I guess?

The Witch (2015)
Okay, this (and the next one on the list) are exceptions to the "this was an eh year for me and movies" thing (even though this is a 2015 movie, and the next one is 2014). I LOVED THIS MOVIE. I loved this movie so much it immediately shot up into the upper echelons of my Favorite Movies Of All Time. I understand people who were not as effusively into this movie as I was, but I also judge them, in my heart. I love anything that implies more than it tells. But what I loved the most about The Witch was that it was not modern. It made no attempt to appeal to modern audiences or conform to modern expectations. It was a horror movie for puritans. It took everything that puritans legitimately believed to be real and made it so. That shit is so weird, how could I not love it?

What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
So good!!! Everyone who hasn't seen this, go watch it now. I'll wait. One of the best vampire movies ever and just a legitimately hilairous film. It's old news for me to be telling anyone this, but this movie just boss af.

The Two Faces of January (2014)
This movie had all the things I like: Kirsten Dunst, Oscar Isaac, 1950s Europe, and murder. So many of my interests! I'm a Highsmith fan (tho, lol, I've seen more movies based on her books than I have actually read her books) so that combined with the cast pretty much decreed that I would love it. But god, you just can't beat this cast. Kiki and Oscar had such good chemistryyyy. And also Oscar looks super hot and speaks All the Languages, including Greek! Convincingly!!! Greek is not a language you can just pick up and make sound right! Hot.

Everything Is Copy (2015)
This is the documentary about Nora Ephron and honestly everyone should watch it. She's such a hero for me. I really idolize women who are so quick and witty, and I love just love her sensibility. Getting to learn more about her life was a joy.

Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures (2016)
Another great HBO doc. I always liked Mapplethorpe pictures but I never knew much about him, so I found this really fascinating. Very full look at him as a person and his work.

The Misfits (1961)
I had always been a little afraid to watch The Misfits as a Monty and Marilyn fan, because the ends of their careers and their subsequent deaths is just upsetting stuff, but this film really is a triumph for them. I'm not generally a fan of Dramatic Marilyn but she was fantastic in this; it was easily her best performance. And she and Monty had such lovely chemistry, you could feel how much they liked each other in real life. It was a bittersweet experience, but I'm glad I finally watched this.

Biggest disappointments!
Captain America: Civil War (2016) :: I didn't hate this movie while I was watching it, but it didn't give me what I personally wanted from it. There were aspects I liked but on the whole it was disappointing and made it clear that the Marvel bubble had burst for me. It'll take something big to get me re-invested but based on how this franchise operates I don't think that's going to happen.

La La Land (2016) :: I didn't expect to like it a lot, but I was still surprised by just how much I loathed this movie.

All ladies!! HOW I LIKE TO DO. I'm disappointed in myself every time I read a book written by a man, tbh.

Only Ever Yours, Louise O'Neill
This book destroyed me. I hadn't been so affected by a book in a long time. It was beautifully written but incredibly painful and very resonant despite being a futuristic dystopia (aka what 2017 is likely to bring). I recommend it but prepare yourself for being fucked up.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson
Prepare yourself for being fucked up!! Just art. Just a fucking lesson in writing creepines, ambiance, unreliable narrators. Shirl, you a legend for a damn reason.

Carry On, Rainbow Rowell
A silly little cute book that I needed as a pick-me-up after the heavier stuff I read this year. It's basically gay Harry Potter, but who doesn't enjoy that? Plus I actually thought the worldbuilding was fun and pretty unique; I'm far from a fantasy expert, but the magic in this 'verse wasn't something I'd ever seen before and I really liked it.

The Price of Salt, Patricia Highsmith
I can't believe I had never read Highsmith before this year. I need to read so much more of her work. She's just very much my Jam. I always have a thing for American writers with very crisp, straightforward prose that also lends itself to shockingly beautiful bits of poetry.

Room, Emma Donoghue
Like a few books on this list, I feel Room really was just a triumph of writing? I put off reading it for many years even though I liked the author because I wasn't sure I would be down with the little boy PoV, but it was just so well done. I really respect it and found it so gutting and emotional. The movie was good and very well cast, but I think this is just one of those stories that needs to be read.

Know Not Why, Hannah Johnson
Another silly and sweet little book to make up for the tough stuff. I will always be a sucker for a well done romance with a full world and great supporting characters, and this didn't disappoint.


Diamond Days, Cruel Youth.

Telepathy, Christina Aguilera.
When Doves Cry, Prince.
I Wanna Be Your Lover, Prince.
One Caress, Depeche Mode.
Diamonds and Pearls, Prince.

And that's all, folks!

Date: 2017-01-02 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
as an old timer from HP fandom who lives for CC drama

HEHEHEHEHE. Every time CC wank crosses my dash I read it with glee, even if I have no idea about the canons in question. My fave post if the one where the OP said she got famous writing fanfic of her plagiarized fanfic. xD

As a person who hates westerns and robots, I went into Westworld expecting to hate it. It is very much not my thing. But lo and behold, I actually ended up hugely obsessed with it.

I'm saving this up to watch when I have more emotional energy, I'm really looking forward to it.

And OMG someone else who hates westerns and robots!!! *clings* It's weird that I'm not more into robots, because on paper I get the appeal of "What is humanity? What is consciousness?" etc. and all that jazz but somehow it doesn't get to me in storytelling when the characters are robots? I'm not sure why. These are EXACTLY the two main points where I thought Westworld wouldn't do as much for me as Dollhouse (and I'm doubly grateful Dollhouse exists so we have both kinds of stories, where the Actives are human vs. where they're robots), but I'm glad the show worked for you, hopefully I'll have the same reaction. :D

So many people seemed to be disappointed in the revival, so it makes sense that my contrarian ass loved it wholeheartedly.


Date: 2017-01-02 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Old school HP wank is THE BEST, it never gets old. I am always down for ever more ~exposés. I love that CC is such a Bitter Betty about Shadowhunters, too. Makes it easier to enjoy it!

It's weird that I'm not more into robots, because on paper I get the appeal of "What is humanity? What is consciousness?" etc. and all that jazz but somehow it doesn't get to me in storytelling when the characters are robots?

SAME. The themes are so interesting to me theoretically but usually I'm just like, ugh, robots. They're not appealing to me AT ALL. I'm not sure why Westworld ended up working for me, but they did make the line between hosts and humans very thin, which may have helped. Sometimes stuff just clicks! I do hope you enjoy it!


Date: 2017-01-02 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Can I just say I love it when you do these yearly recaps/rec posts? There's always such great stuff there (definitely adding the two documentaries to my to-watch list) and I really enjoy the way you write about it, even when it isn't necessarily my cup of tea (khm, The Witch, khm).

RE: lilybarthes

Date: 2017-01-03 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Awww thank you!!! I'm glad you enjoy my rambles, haha. :) The docs are so good, let me know when you watch them! I think you'll enjoy the Nora one especially.

Date: 2017-01-03 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I loved loved loved The People vs. OJ Simpson - you're so right, it really is prestige television.
I keep meaning to watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I've heard nothing but good things about it.
I can imagine that Room is a story that needs to be read, but I watched the movie version on the plane and wept openly several times. It was very well done, and I was impressed with the acting skill of the little boy.
And yes yes YES with your disdain for La La Land, I totally agree with all the points from your Tumblr rant! Ugh I went in with such high expectations because literally every review said THIS IS THE BEST EVER but it was so...meh. :/

Date: 2017-01-03 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yesss watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend! It's so good! Then come and talk to me about it.

I definitely didn't hate the movie adaptation of Room, particularly because Jacob Tremblay really was the perfect choice for it. Genuinely think that kid could've nabbed an Oscar; I wouldn't have been mad about it. It's just that so much of the novel is internal that the differing mediums really just can't tackle the story in the same way.

I'M SO GLAD PEOPLE ARE AGREEING WITH ME ABOUT LA LA LAND. I keep hearing all these things about Oscar buzz and I'm like what????? Was I watching the same movie as all these critics????


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