Nine for Nineteen

The final year of the decade was, once again, another year dominated by Disney as the company had eight of the top ten highest grossing movies of 2019. Of those eight movies, five were franchise sequels, two were remakes, and one was the origin story of a character for a larger cinematic universe (essentially a prequel). Despite Disney's dominance in the theaters, Netflix continued to invest in and digitally release a slew of prestige motion pictures. Movies like The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes, were eagerly watched and discussed by critics and the general public. And not just were these things watched, they were rewarded with awards and nominations.

So what do we make of all this? People are clearly still going to the theaters to watch I.P. infused special effects theme park ride extravaganzas, and (a lot of the same) people are still watching thoughtful and original motion pictures by independent storytellers. From my estimation, it seems like a film's genre is having a direct impact on the format in which people feel like they need to see it. Marriage Story may be a great film, but do I really want to put on real clothes, drive in the snow, pay 12 bucks, and then sit next to a mouth-breather who keeps asking their spouse about plot details – all in order to watch a really well-acted marriage fall apart? I'm not so sure anymore... Now, do I want to do all those things to watch Thanos evaporate? Absolutely. 

As we head into 2020, I think movie theaters are going to be fine, but I think we are officially saying farewell to the time when your average melodrama could played in a multiplex and be profitable. I'm not 100% convinced that this a bad thing, because going to the theater can really be a drag. But I worry that my ambivalence might be padded by Netflix's willingness to invest in original storytelling. If/when that ends, I might have to light my hair on fire. But until then I think I'm becoming more comfortable with being comfortable and realizing that prestige drama might really just be better viewed in your pajamas at home. 

The Lance Corporal Blake Honorary Top Nine Movies of 2019*

  1. Parasite
  2. The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  3. Marriage Story
  4. Uncut Gems
  5. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
  6. The Irishman
  7. Us
  8. Richard Jewell
  9. Midsommar

The Dougie Jones** Honorary Top Nine TV Shows of 2019

  1. Watchmen (S1)
  2. The Mandalorian (S1)
  3. Chernobyl
  4. Barry (S2)
  5. The Boys (S1)
  6. Russian Doll
  7. Fleabag (S2)
  8. Undone
  9. Santa Clarita Diet (S3)
                And now some music...

                For my music selections I am continuing my tradition of just picking individual songs. We are firmly entrenched in an album-less world where Imagine Dragons is consider a rock band, and I've lost my fight in my thirties – so I'm just embracing the madness. Instead of doing a ranking, I went ahead and arranged my songs as a mixtape (a relic from the 90s). So the order is based on what I felt was a "good flow." I hope you enjoy them!

                The Steve Lacy Honorary Top Nine Songs of 2019

                • iMi by Bon Iver
                • Sleepwalkin' by Better Oblivion Community Center
                • Crowded Table by the Highwomen
                • Noboby by Mac DeMarco
                • Slip by AMA
                • WIN by Jay Rock
                • Follow God by Kanye West
                • thank u, next by Ariana Grande
                • Sunflower (feat. Steve Lacy) by Vampire Weekend

                * – Still Haven't Seen: Doctor Sleep, Honey Boy, Toy Story 4, Waves, and Yesterday 
                ** – The best thing I saw this year was David Lynch's Twin Peaks: The Return. Unfortunately I couldn't list it, because (1) it came out in 2017 and (2) it completely broke any distinction between film and television – so I wouldn't know which list to put it on. It was essentially an 18 hour movie that would be nearly impossible to view in a theater, but in no way conformed to the medium limitations or organizational principles of a television show. The Return was one of the most engrossing experiences I've ever views and it's final two episodes still linger with me as I try to decipher what I watched. The best part about it was how deftly Lynch handled the tightrope of fan service and telling an amazing story in the TPCU. It will definitely make my list for top ten of the decade and I highly recommend it.

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