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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Yo, 2015, You're Cool!: a look back at my favorite entertainments of 2015

Wow!  What a shitty year for everything except entertainment!  While society crumbled around our feet, Big Entertainment kept us all gleefully distracted with pretty colors, fun characters and gruesome depictions of fictional gun violence!  2015 was such a great year for entertainment, I can't stop using exclamation points!!!

Seeing as this is the last day of the year, I thought you, gentle reader, might enjoy a peek into my favorite entertainments of 2015; one last look at the year before we plunge over the falls into 2016, the year things turn around for the better.  Or the worse.  Or nothing changes.  Who knows?!?  Psychics maybe.  Time travelers visiting from the future definitely.

Anyway, here are some of the things I enjoyed this year!

A podcast co-host--I don't remember who or even from what podcast--summed up my feelings perfectly earlier this year: "If I see a movie I like more than Mad Max: Fury Road [in 2015], I will consider this the greatest movie year of my life."  Well, that happened to me, so I'm here to officially declare 2015 the GREATEST MOVIE YEAR OF MY LIFE!  In truth, I have chosen to name Fury Road and Inside Out as co-winners of the top spot on my year end, "Best Of" movie list because I'm a weirdo who makes lists.  But, man, these two films are straight up masterpieces, pure cinematic gut punches to my soul that affected me on a profound level.

My official Favorite Films of 2015 list will appear, per usual, on Oscar Night, so stay tuned for that, but in the meantime, here are a few more films I saw and enjoyed in 2015: It Follows, Ant-Man, Creep, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.  I also wanted to mention The Peanuts Movie, which I found immensely charming.  In a perfect world, it would've come out next year and easily collected the Best Animated Feature Oscar based on it's endless charm alone.  This year though, it will certainly be crushed under the boot of Inside Out.  Oh, hey, I also enjoyed Jurassic World.  I'm not going to lie, I'm a sucker for dinosaurs.

Oh, and I haven't seen the new Star Wars, The Revenant or Hateful Eight yet, so this list is not complete.  I have seen the Ridiculous Six though.  Yup.

A lot of you probably think I watch nothing but Guy's Grocery Games, Chopped reruns and FailArmy compilations on YouTube, and you're mostly correct, that is what I'm usually watching.  But I like other things too.  Promise!  In fact, there were 5 shows I absolutely loved this year, which I've listed in no particular order after this colon: Fargo (Season 2), Master of None, Nathan for You (Season 3), W/ Bob and David and Making a Murderer.  I also finally got around to watching the second season of Broadchurch, watched the first episode of Jessica Jones (which I liked and will get back to in 2016, you guys, geez!) and re-watched The Birthday Boys.  Goes without saying, I recommend all of these things, especially Making a Murderer, which is engrossing, maddening, depressing and insane in equal measure.  I've recommended it to my parents, but I know they won't watch it.  I don't even know why I try anymore.  Sigh.

Look, guys, I still like all the podcasts I always have, so I'm not going to bore you with all of that this year.  Instead, I'd rather highlight the new podcasts I've started listening to in 2015:

*Doughboys: 2 funny dudes discussing/rating chain restaurants, both fast food and casual family dining.

*Black Tapes Podcast & Limetown: Kinda like Serial but scary and fake.  Limetown features better acting and a more coherent story, but both are super intriguing and creepy.  I'm still not entirely sure I won't die in a few months from hearing the Unsound.

*Again With This: Beverly Hills 90210: I didn't watch Beverly Hills 90210 when it came on, but Again With This is appointment listening as far as I'm concerned.  In fact, as soon as a new episode of this pod drops, I stop whatever I'm doing (listening to another podcast, eating, reading a bedtime story to my daughter, making love to my wife, etc) and listen.  From the Extra Hot Great gang, Again With This is endlessly entertaining and funny, and has even inspired me to watch 90210 on Hulu.  Yay?

Awwwwwww, I can't do it!  I can't NOT acknowledge my favorite podcasts at least a little.  I mean, I took the time to keep track of my favorite episodes throughout the year.  But first, I gotta name this year's Comedy Bang Bang MVP...Mike Hanford.  Congratulations, Mr. Hanford.  Your John Lennon makes me laugh, and hard.

So, here are some podcast episodes of note.  Be warned: I wrote these episodes down on my phone, sometimes with a short description, but often just an episode number, over the course of a year, so, listen at your own risk.

"Lil Dab'll Do Ya'" (With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus) 
"4/17/2015" (The Best Show's Half Hour of Power) 
"Episode w/ Joe Wengert" (With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus)*
"#355" (Comedy Bang Bang)
"#342" (Comedy Bang Bang) 
"Kevin Corrigan Ep" (The Best Show)
"#151" (Harmontown)
"Paul Rudd Ep-6/16/2015" (The Best Show)
"President Obama" (WTF)
"#1621-Anthony Rapp" (Never Not Funny)
"North Pod w/ Santa and Ho-Ho:1 & 2" (With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus) 
"#361" (Comedy Bang Bang) 
"DCM 17 - Part 1" (Improv 4 Humans) 
"#372" (Comedy Bang Bang)**
"#373" (Comedy Bang Bang)
"#CHIOPS"; "Eucalyptus Story"; "Haunted Hayride" (Harmontown)***
"#388" (Comedy Bang Bang)****
"#399" (Comedy Bang Bang)

I just listened to a bunch of old stuff like I do every year.  I expressed a desire several times to various people to purchase the new Grimes album, which I plan to do in 2016.

If it hadn't been for last night's early birthday present from my wife, my only theater experience of 2015 would have been a middle school performance of Seussical Jr, a production that ran the gamut from "pretty bad" to "whoa, Mama, did that suck."  But the wife surprised me with tickets to The Book of Mormon, a show I've wanted to see for many years now and tried to get tickets for last year.  Anyway, we went, I've seen it and I LOVE IT!  Kind of pings all of my non-sexual erogenous zones. I can't wait to purchase the soundtrack and not listen to it with my 4-year-old.

* I believe Lapkus and Wengert did 2 together.  I'm recommending the one about window salesman.
** Features CBB MVP Mike Hanford as John Lennon.
*** 3 different episodes.  "#CHIOPS" is actually the name of one of the episodes and I think the other episodes are the two that come after it.
**** The return of CBB MVP Mike Hanford as John Lennon.  Drums!

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