Fat Dog 2018 Roundup - Spoiler Free

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When I thought about doing this, I truly did consider ranking it all, but I just can’t do that. There’s no way I could weigh Sorry to Bother You against A Star is Born. It’s apples and oranges, yeah, it’s all fruit, but you can’t make me choose. You make me choose and I’ll ask for fruit salad—every time. Therefore, both of these lists are done in no particular order. I wanted to keep it to five titles per category, otherwise this article would be super long.

Unfortunately, books didn’t make the list; 2018 has not been too conducive to reading for me. These are the movies and TV shows that I’ve had the most fun with this past year—they may not be the best to come out, nor is this an all-encompassing list. It’s purely just rated on how I felt while taking these things in. Did the movie excite me and keep me guessing? Did the show make me binge the entire season? Those were the criteria.

Now, without further ado, here are the ten pieces of media I enjoyed most in 2018.


Movies


What I’m Watching

Sorry to Bother You by Boots Riley

From IMDb

In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed.

Why it’s Dope

Sorry to Bother You was one of the freshest movies I’ve seen in a long time. Partially because it’s told from a different point of view, partially because it tackles social issues in a glorious way, and partially because of that fucking ending. There’s no way to talk about it without spoiling it, but there’s no other movie that I can think of that blends tropes, influences and personal style into such an original, rewatchable movie. It’s reminiscent of classic stories but remains it’s own beast the entire time.

Highlights

Lakeith Stanfield’s performance. His eyes sell anything he does. This is the first of his two appearances on this list for exactly this reason. 

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What I’m Watching

A Star is Born by Bradley Cooper

From IMDb

A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Why it’s Dope

The heart in this movie is pure. The story clips along, always growing and changing. It makes you feel for Ally like her father does, it makes your heart break like hers does, it makes you hate Jackson, but love him like she does. It’s a portrait of a dysfunctional relationship fueled by love and skewed by addiction. It really did take my breath away.

Highlights

Bradley Cooper’s direction. That fella better at least get nominated for an Oscar. I loved how the movie was shot, how it was put together, and the not-so-musical-musical approach to it.


What I’m Watching

Venom by Ruben Fleischer

From IMDb

When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego "Venom" to save his life.

Why it’s Dope

Okay, okay. I hear you. In a year that Black Panther and Infinity War came out, how can I have Venom on this list? Simple: Marvel is very intense lately, and Venom was a silly buddy movie that made me root for a dude that bites heads off. Tom Hardy is bae, and he is an expert when it comes to solo performance and dual roles—of course I’m going to put this on my list. You can sit down with anyone and watch Venom, where as Infinity War felt like the world’s first completely inaccessible blockbuster with ten prequels to explain even the first scene.

Highlights

Eddie Brock. I may be alone here, but Venom was the first superhero movie that made me think, before the title character even showed up, “I’d watch an entire movie about investigative journalist Eddie Brock.” That places it on it’s own mantel in my head when it comes to the comic book movie pantheon. ,

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What I’m Watching

BlacKkKlansman by Spike Lee

From IMDb

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

Why it’s Dope

This is the doooooopest movie of the year. If there was a ranking to the list, this would be number one. I don’t give a fuck what I said earlier. Adam Driver is bae, and John David Washington completely kills this movie. The fact that it’s a Spike Lee joint only enhances the naturally compelling story into a stylistic two hour and fifteen-minute gut punch to the social consciousness.

Highlights

The ending. It ties the events of the story, which are based on an autobiography by the real-life Ron Stallworth, to the very real events of the past few years. It’s a stark reminder that white supremacy is everywhere, and in a lot of places, government sanctioned.


What I’m Watching

A Quiet Place by John Krasinski

From IMDb

In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.

Why it’s Dope

A Quiet Place is a riveting movie that forces you to watch it and deafens you with it’s silence. Several times while watching it, I felt myself holding my breath, staggering the exhale like the characters on screen had to. The sound design is amazing—purely the reason to have seen it in theatres, but to be honest, I can’t wait to watch it with headphones.

Highlights

The chemistry between Krasinski and Blunt. I feel because the two of them are actually married and have children together that the terror is, on an extra level, real for them.  It’s what sold the movie to me.

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TV Shows


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What I’m Binging

Better Call Saul on AMC

From IMDb

The trials and tribulations of criminal lawyer, Jimmy McGill, in the time leading up to establishing his strip-mall law office in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Why it’s Dope

Bob Odenkirk is not only one of my writing idols, but one of my favorite performers of all times. Who knew the goofy, perpetually-50-year-old man from Mr. Show would play the most compelling character in my life right now? Season four came out this year and it was incredible. It made me binge it in a matter of two days, and the final scene hit me like a fist to the mouth.

Highlights

The ever-approaching fold in to Breaking Bad. As the series moves along, you begin to see him create the bridges he crosses in Breaking Bad, the connections and sources of knowledge. For a crossover nerd like me, I’m loving it.


What I’m Binging

Atlanta on FX

From IMDb

Based in Atlanta, Earn and his cousin Alfred are trying to make their way up in the world through the rap scene. Along the way they come face to face with social and economic issues touching on race, relationships, poverty, status, and parenthood.

Why it’s Dope

Since it’s first season, Atlanta has been both a sitcom and an anthology series. There’s a loose arc to it all, but the non-committal approach to it’s own story is what makes Atlanta something really special. 2018 saw the addition of Teddy Perkins to the pop culture landscape. The 41-minute episode was aired without commercials, and (in my mind) cemented both Donald Glover and Lakeith Stanfield as hugely versatile players, though, mainstay director Hiro Murai killed it as usual with this one.

Highlights

Lakeith Stanfield and Brian Tyree Henry are the highlights of my life at this point. I will watch anything that these two do. The best moment of the series happens at the beginning on an episode early on, when Paperboi is dreaming of his mother, and her singing becomes the vibration of a cellphone that wakes him up. I got chills watching that scene for the first time.

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What I’m Binging

GLOW on Netflix

From IMDb

A look at the personal and professional lives of a group of women who perform for a wrestling organization in Los Angeles during the 1980s.

Why it’s Dope

There are two things I am a real sucker for in GLOW: an all-women rag-tag team of misfits, and Marc Maron. The story is amazingly written, and season two packed an angle and a punch that I didn’t see coming. The single complaint that I have with Jenji Kohan’s newest Netflix baby is that it doesn’t come out fast enough. It’s everything I loved about Orange is the New Black, condensed and set in the eighties with wrestling as the centre piece. I love this show.

Highlights

The men on the show. As weird as it is to say, Sam and Bash are two of the most complex characters on the show. A single question runs through the season, something about a minor character from last season, and somehow, the writers snowballed it into one of the most profound moments of the season.


What I’m Binging

Patriot Act w/ Hasan Minhaj on Netflix

From IMDb

In this weekly show, Hasan Minhaj brings his unique comedic voice and storytelling skill to explore the larger trends shaping our fragmented world.

Why it’s Dope

The weekly approach on Netflix allows the show to respond in real time to what’s happening—and the seven-episode season is indicative of that. The topics mirror the headlines from those weeks, and episodes even continue to update on the things they’ve touched on.

Highlights

Hasan’s fast talking, his soft brown eyes and amazing hair. “Hasan bhai” is a phrase he says a lot in his special, Homecoming King, but in my house, it’s “Hasan bae.”


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 What I’m Binging:

Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist on Netflix

From IMDb

The extraordinary story of the "pizza bomber heist" and the FBI's investigation into a bizarre collection of suspects.

Why it’s Dope

If this was written as a fiction, it would be garbage. The pure fact that this shit actually happened is what makes this one of the best mini-series I’ve ever seen. As it unfolds through the six-episodes, the portrait of mental illness becomes clearer and clearer and exposes a side of life we’d prefer not to acknowledge: sometimes the people who need help the most, manipulate us into believing they don’t need any help at all.

Highlights

The involvement of Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong in this series is what legitimizes it to me. I’ve seen this in a few documentaries now, including the podcast Atlanta Monster, which heavily features phone calls with the accused from prison. If this trend is going to continue, I am on board 100% of the way


Special Mention

Nanette by Hannah Gadsby

I’ve never seen such a powerful, mind-changing one-person show. It’s easily mistakable as a stand-up comedy special, as Gadsby is, herself a stand-up—but instantly, she engages in the deconstruction of comedy, and lays out her feelings towards it. What follows is a heart crushing plea for empathy from “the straight white male,” and an explanation of self-loathing brought on by an existence in a world not made for her. She speaks clearly and powerfully, and I don’t know if I’ll ever stop watching it. She’s a pillar of vulnerability and strength and by the end of the hour, she had become my hero. Her feminist napalm is what the world needs. More so than anything else I’ve mentioned, I recommend Nanette, if you want your heart opened for you.

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