Most years, I usually try to make excuses for why I didn’t get around to watching as many TV shows as I wanted to. This year, those excuses didn’t really exist. After all, what else was there to do last year than sit at home and let hours upon hours of television whisk you away from an ever darker reality? Yet, there was something about this endless time to sit around and watch TV that made the medium just a little less enticing. It’s hard to look at TV as an opportunity to slow down and enjoy something after a long day when it feels like everything had already slowed down and any sort of enjoyment was hard to come by. That said, I was somehow able to find a bunch of enjoyment in the shows listed below.
Also, I usually include a list of shows I wish I’d caught up with from the past year, but Better Call Saul’s really the only one I have for 2020, which I blame AMC for. Like, why even have an app for your network if it doesn’t have the only show anyone cares about? Continue reading
2020 sucked and we all know it. So there’s not much reason to belabor the point now that the year is over. Still, there was some good stuff to come out of 2020 in the form of the music, movies, TV, and video games that we were able to enjoy while huddled in our homes all year. We’re starting our Top Ten lists a little later than usual this year, due to our need to catch up with a lot of movies (since movies basically didn’t come out in theaters last year). While it feels a little self-flagellating to extend 2020 any longer, hey, at least the media appearing in our Top Tens will provide us with things to remember from 2020 while the rest of it I’m sure will be easy to forget.
As for music, I thought 2020 was both a very good year for music as well as one where I was able to stay pretty on top of music throughout the year. This was mainly because I was just stuck at home all day and had nothing better to do, and similarly was working an at-home job that allowed me to listen to music all day. The year was filled with a lot of artists I already knew and loved releasing albums that either met or exceeded the expectations I had for them, so if you know my taste in music, this list is probably going to be a little boring. But let’s get going anyway… Continue reading
Well, I hope anyone reading this had as nice a holidays as anyone can have under the circumstances. This week we’re doing double duty (despite the fact that we should probably be taking it easy) by reviewing both Paddington and Paddington 2. We all thought these might be holiday movies going into them, though they’re more just winter movies about family and togetherness. This perhaps makes them good movies to watch in the days preceding Christmas, so why not take a peek at these delightfully British films just as we did? Continue reading
Bartees Strange – Live Forever
Speaking of more traditional indie rock, here’s an artist acutely aware of how to turn indie’s status quo on its head. Yet at the same time, Bartees Strange also seems just as aware of the power of a rip-roaring rock song, as most clearly demonstrated by “Mustang”, easily one of my favorite songs of the year. Much like Phoebe Bridgers’ “Kyoto” from earlier this year, it’s the kind of song that brought me back to a simpler time (like, say 2010) when an indie artist could have a crossover hit. I’m sure I would have been pretty pumped for just an album full of songs like this, but I’m just as intrigued by all the different genre-bending detours on Live Forever. Continue reading
Deep Sea Diver – Impossible Weight
Most of the albums I’ve been giving shout-outs to or will end up on my Top 10 have received a decent amount of national attention, but for today’s review, here’s a more local favorite. Not that Deep Sea Diver doesn’t deserve to be a little more nationally known, but it’s hard to say I would have heard of them if it wasn’t for Seattle indie station KEXP championing this Seattle-based artist. Also, it’s a little hard to call anything from the Emerald City “local” at this point, since the pandemic has caused this year to be the longest period I’ve spent away from the Pacific Northwest. But listening to the always-reliable KEXP online has been a nice way of staying connected to the region, which for all its changes in the past 10 years can still churn out great indie rock from time to time. Continue reading
Due to the recent passing of Sean Connery, this week we’re talking about The Rock, one of his more ridiculous (and more entertaining) movies. We ponder whether this is Michael Bay’s best film as well as all of the director’s various trademarks that are usually obnoxious and bad, but actually work pretty well here. We also pay tribute to the film’s perfect scene involving the song “Rocket Man” as well as a surprising detour into some of the past and recent winners of MTV Movie Awards. Continue reading
The Killers – Imploding The Mirage
It’s hard to say why exactly I was compelled to check out the latest Killers album, other than the fact that it was the first time I’d heard music critics have anything enthusiastic to say about a Killers album in god knows when. I don’t think I’ve listened to a single Killers album since 2006’s Sam’s Town, though I feel like John’s up-and-down relationship with the band being documented on this blog has kept me in the loop enough. Still, they are a band (much like The Strokes) that have only had their legacy solidify in recent years, as “Mr. Brightside” feels like about as ubiquitous of a millennial anthem as you could find. So maybe — to use the verbal bombast of a Killers song — it was time for a reckoning. Continue reading