It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for movies and television.
But, as always, there were some triumphs and duds. Let’s look back on the year that needn’t by celebrating the best movies and television items to come out.
Scariest Television Anything: “Playtest” from Black Mirror
Move over American Horror Story (you piece of shit) because this taut hour of cyber horror teased at a potential future while putting gamers through a psychological ringer. There was nothing else scarier than this episode on television this year.
Yeah, It Was OK: The Witch
It was fine. Some good acting and costuming, sure, but it was fine. It was It Follows for 2016: a lot of style, little substance. But how about that Black Phillip?!
Best 2015 Movie Watched In 2016: Mistress America
Greta Gerwig, you sweetheart, you. She taught me who a story is really about with this one.
Best Phi Phi O’Hara: 365 Days Of Drag
What an ingenious way to extend a brand and show some actual talent in drag!
Worst Phi Phi O’Hara: Drag Race All Stars
What an ingenious way to kill you brand and show people you are a nightmare to be around!
Best Auteurs: Donald Glover with Atlanta & Issa Rae with Insecure
These two shows taught that the television auteur has a lot more ground to cover. These shows led the charge this year with humor and heart.
Cutest Reality Contestant: Roberi Parra
What a kewtie bb, this one. Here’s hoping he doesn’t fall under the Project Runway contestant curse!
Best Soundtrack, TV: Insecure
Curated by Solange, Insecure received an added boost from a stellar soundtrack of artists like Sampha, Thundercat, KAYTRANADA, Vince Staples, and more.
Best Soundtrack, Movie: Arrival
Jóhan Jóhannsson offered an eerie, bewitching sound to this eerie, bewitching movie.
Let’s See How Long This Lasts: Vice News Tonight
Speaking of style over substance, what a well intentioned, ultimately redundant news program for I-don’t-know-who. This would be perfect, if the Internet didn’t exist.
Best Case For Thandie Newton: Westworld
The best, right? She was the best.
Worst Adaptation: Donald Trump As Reality Star To Donald Trump As President
Welcome Back: The Absolutely Fabulous Movie
Smashing, sweetie darling.
Fell Asleep Fastest: Sausage Party
I wanted to enjoy this and I guess I did, if I recontextualized it as a soothing lullaby to sleep.
*sigh*: The Conjuring 2
What a let down but, boy, what a hunk.
It Was Good, Sure, But Stop: Stranger Things
ENOUGH. WE GET IT. BARB. WINONA. KIDS. ENOUGH. LET IT BE.
Steam? Lost.: Transparent
After a stellar first two seasons, and a great start to a third season, the Amazon breakout show fell under it’s own weight as it seemed to repeat itself and reveal that, yes, all these people are terrible and preachy instead of interesting and with heart. This was not the year for that. Perhaps it was the mid-season episode slump but I was not compelled to continue. Breaks my heart.
Best Alternative Political Coverage: Triumph’s Election Special
This was an alternative, manic gem that put the puppy puppet in the faces of some of the biggest political players.
Most Underrated Performance: Yvonne Orji as Molly in Insecure
Orji as Molly was a revelation. Why weren’t more people talking about her?
Best Second Season: Difficult People
The show finally came into it’s own! (Also, I am years late, but Billy On The Street is a gem too.)
Worst Second Season: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The show really, really killed itself!
Best Case For The End Of The World: You, Me, & The Apocalypse
Of all the world ending shows, this was just a sweet little something.
Best Little Movie: Five Nights In Maine
Most Underrated: Green Room
Most Prescient Horror: The Purge Trilogy
While I haven’t watched the latest entry, this series revealed itself to be the horror version of Idiocracy.
Best Science Fiction: Arrival
This movie made you question so much about how we think and offered a thrilling, female driven story about people affected by aliens. (Bonus: the short story it’s based on is brilliant.)
Best Documentary: The Barkley Marathons
A fun, manic, ridiculous sports epic!
Horror Movie Of The Year: The Invitation
If you saw one horror movie this year, let it be this one. It is a slow burning, uncomfortable horror show that comments on both contemporary adulthood and startling groupthink. This movie is a blood diamond.
Best Competition Reality Show: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2
What else is there to say? This show redefined itself with this season. Here’s hoping for more of the same!
Best Follow Reality Show: Born This Way
There’s a reason this show won an Emmy: it is a sweet, heart swelling piece of docu-drama.
Best Episode: “San Junipero” from Black Mirror
Not only is this likely the most romantic media item of the year it was a stirring queer drama. Don’t read anything about it: just watch it.
Political Show Of The Year: Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Did anyone else really stand a chance to topple her? Bee ruled the year and will continue her reign under Trump.
Television Show Of The Year: Insecure
Did any other show in 2016 articulate the millennial, late twenties to thirties way of thinking? It felt like a rolling state of the union for young people in the funniest, most biting ways possible. Perhaps it resonated as the West coast, diverse alternative to Girls or perhaps it was the understated cool quality it carried itself with, who knows. Regardless, Issa Rae was the television hero we needed this year.
Movie Of The Year: The Lobster
No other movie in 2016 made me question reality, laugh, and cry as hard as this bizarro film. It’s a fever dream through an alternate reality where love is required and humans can evolve into certain animals. It’s a that easily fits into the Charlie Kaufman canon and is full of quirky, hysterical performances that confuse as much as they delight. Doesn’t that sound like 2016 bundled up? Sure does.
Still Need To See:
I know, I know: I missed a lot of good shit. These will get coverage by my eyes in 2017!
• Don’t Breath
• American Crime Story
• The Wailing
• Under The Shadow
• 10 Cloverfield Lane
• 20th Century Women (FOR GRETA.)