John Otteni

John’s Top Ten Movies of 2019

2019 was a great year for mainstream cinema. Which means it’s a boring year for lists. Maybe it’s me but I feel like in lesser years cinephiles go more out of their way to unearth those under-appreciated documentaries and hidden art house gems. I’m not talking about Uncut Gems either.

The second more likely scenario is that I was lazy. I found a group of films I liked and I called it a day. The true answer is likely somewhere in-between. That being said I had a lot of fun at the movies in 2019 and will try to make this list my own.

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John’s Top Ten TV Shows of 2019

While writing my list I noticed something. Out of the ten shows I picked for my favorites of 2019, only one is over an hour long. I remember a time when all the GOOD shows were an hour long. Like The Sopranos. It just goes to show how the evolution of the TV and all the ways to consume TV have broken down a lot of conventions. Shows can be as long as they need to be when they don’t need to worry about commercial time.

Which also explains why a majority of my selections are streaming-based. I don’t know if any of this is good or bad for the medium or if we need to cool it on the number of shows available, but as of now, I feel good about it. After all, you don’t have to watch all of it.

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John’s Top Ten Albums of 2019

Welcome to the first post of 2020! So let’s start this year off wrong! I mean right. Shit.

So, a whole top ten? I don’t know. I didn’t listen to much this year. Maybe because I need to fix my car stereo? Yeah, that’s right, I listen to music on the radio. Like a neanderthal. Which means this list is a weird mishmash of mainstream stuff you could (and probably did) hear everywhere and then one or two deep cuts that are the result of me actually trying. But whatever. Go music!

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Shocktober Day 30: Us

Us (2019)

I can’t believe Us came out this year. The film already feels so ingrained in pop culture. It was parodied on SNL and at the MTV Movie Awards (that’s when you know you’ve made it). It’s hard for me to picture a pre-Us world. The film was a hit and an immediate genre classic. Yet I still hear the conversation of “I liked it BUT…” Now it was a lot to ask for Us to live up to the critical and cultural impact of Get Out. Jordan Peele’s debut carried an easier message to decipher. Though I do believe Us sheds light on important issues as well. That being said, if there’s one advantage Us has over Get Out it’s that it’s scarier. Which is a big deal when you’re talking horror.

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Shocktober Day 29: One Cut of the Dead

One Cut of the Dead (2019)

One Cut of the Dead begins with a single, unbroken, thirty-minute shot of a crew of filmmakers–making a zombie movie–being attacked by real zombies. It’s impressive from a technical standpoint but the story, characters, effects are nothing to write home about. If you went into this film blind you’d think it was another run-of-the-mill zombie b-movie with nothing new to say about the genre. Make it past that 30 minutes and you’d be wrong. It’s rare that a movie takes such a 360 turn but One Cut of the Dead is special. So much so that if you plan on or are interested in seeing this film I recommend you stop reading right here. This movie has a twist. A big one and I’d hate to spoil the gift that is the last 65 minutes of One Cut of the Dead

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Shocktober Day 27: Climax

Climax (2018)

A great poet once said, “Everybody dance now. Dun dun dun dun dun.” Those words have never been truer than in Gaspar Noé’s drug-induced nightmare dance party Climax. Before Climax I had never seen a Gaspar Noe film. I’m too afraid to watch Irreversible and have never been high enough to watch Enter the Void. So with generally positive reviews and a non NC-17 Rating (a rare feat for Noé) Climax seemed like a good entry point. Did it stick the landing?

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Shocktober Day 23: 1922

1922 (2017)

The year is 1922. A gallon of gas costs $0.22. Warren G. Harding is a shitty president. Germany can’t get enough of that Nosferatu and Wilfred James has done a very bad thing. Adapted from Stephen King’s 2010 novella of the same name and written/directed for the screen by Zak Hilditch, 1922 is a Southern Gothic thriller in its purest form. Except it’s the Midwest. Nonetheless, you have murder, transgressive thoughts, desires, impulses, ghosts and corn in a brooding thriller far better than its Netflix Original trappings.

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