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End of Year Media Wrap-Up
2022 favorite books, movies, etc
The Cherry Orchard ends its run on Sunday.
I begin officially living in my new house full time on December 23rd.
Although I have stuck to a strict every-other-Friday routine with this newsletter, the next one will go out at 11:59pm on December 31st because it will be my annual "Past Year's Accountability" roundup of my yearly goals.
End of Year Media Wrap-Up
It’s the time of year when we all take stock of the last, well, year. In two weeks I’ll publicly flagellate myself for not meeting the goals I set for myself last year, but now I’d like to do something more fun and talk about my favorite media of the year.
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
My favorite book I read last year was also by James McBride — Deacon King Kong — and at the time I said he reminded me of Mark Twain. Reading The Good Lord Bird this year has only reinforced that opinion.
Runners up: Boom Town by Sam Anderson and Women of Will by Tina Packer.
Who knew that a book about Oklahoma City could be this engrossing? Also I finally got around to reading Women of Will by my hero Tina Packer and it was just as enlightening as I expected but way funnier than I expected.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I bought the darker, grittier new Batman movie hook line and sinker. Loved (almost) everything about it. Saw it twice and played Nirvana’s Nevermind on repeat afterward. I am a fanboy cliche. I loved Pattinson’s damaged, emo take on Bruce Wayne and I loved the thematic strains of Moby Dick: revenge is illogical and helps no one but is often an inescapable pull.
Runners up: Rosaline and The Tragedy of Macbeth
Both of my runners up are Shakespeare. I adored the new comedy Rosaline with Kaitlyn Dever. It’s a bright, charming, Shakespeare-adjacent rom-com about Romeo’s first love before he meets Juliet. And of course I had to include Denzel Washington’s Macbeth. Not a perfect film by any means but one of those cultural touchstones that future adaptations will have to react to for years.
Favorite TV Show
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
This will come as a surprise to no one, but I am obsessed with the newest Star Trek series. It is a return to form in all the right ways, and innovative in all the right ways. Optimistic, episodic, with a likable cast of characters tackling new issues. It’s exactly what I wanted from a new Star Trek series, including amazing hair all around.
Runner up: Stranger Things Season 4
Stranger Things’ fourth season was fucking sick, and there was Metallica.
Favorite Theatre Production
FFS Hamlet directed by Victoria Rhoades and Malle Winters
Yes. A high school production was my favorite bit of theatre I saw all year. The production of Hamlet from the 34th annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare — an 11-show festival of Shakespeare plays put on by local high schools — was incredible. I can’t remember the last time I cried so much at a play.
Runner Up: The Head of Richard produced by DE-CRUIT
My friends Stephan Wolfert and Dawn Stern from DE-CRUIT produced three 1-hour, 2-actor adaptations of Shakespeare in NYC this summer. I was able to see the first and third, and of the two that I saw, their adaptation of Richard III was my favorite.
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
One thing about my media consumption that I noticed this year was that I have stopped listening to albums and instead listen to playlists. I remember the days of buying CDs and being excited to consume a cohesive piece crafted by the artist. Now I craft my own experiences by picking and choosing music from different artists and genres and albums that caters to my very personal tastes and moods, which is valid in its own way but is more isolating. So late this year I made more an effort to listen to some new albums start to finish.
My favorite of the newer albums I’ve listened to was the fourth album from Run The Jewels, the rap group composed of El-P and Killer Mike, both artists I’ve loved for decades but whose collaboration I’ve only ever casually listened to. This year I did a deep dive into their catalog and was blown away by how much better they are together than apart. This is not always the case — look no further than the forgettable 213, the “super group” of Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg, and Warren G.
So that’s my wrap-up. What books, movies, theatre, etc did you love this year?