6 December 2019

Best of the Internet 2019

Everyone knows we love books, but the second true love of our lives? We consume a lot of content be it shows, movies, podcasts, reviews, articles, blogs, etc. and we thought we would diverge from our usual programming to share with you all 10 things from the internet this year that we absolutely loved.

I finally got to see what everyone was talking about with Fleabag season 2!! I had no idea I was sitting on an Amazon Video trial for MONTHS, otherwise I would have gotten to this much earlier. Meg and I watched season one and then season 2 while I was in Ontario for work. The 6-episode second season lives up to the hype. The hot priest is hot, and the chemistry between Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Adam Scott is out of control. This show is so clever and well written, and I can't recommend it enough. As soon as I got back from Ontario I watched the second season again. I have been sourcing pinafores since I finished watching.

This is my favourite show I've watched all year. I feel poorly for not getting into it earlier because a number of people (including Meg) told me I'd like it, but for whatever reason 2019 was the year and I fell hard into it. It's about a snobby rich family that has to move into a motel in a tiny town after their financial planner ruins their fortune. I love the writing. I love the dry humour that exists only in the characters' facial expressions. I love the characters themselves (David, Stevie, and Alexis are my favourite, in that order). It's so sweet, funny, Canadian, and it's extremely easy watching. I will admit it's hard to get into, it seems a little hokey off the top, but once you're in you'll love it. There's 5 seasons on Netflix, and the 6th season will be it's last (wah!). Episodes are only 25 minutes so everybody has the time...

This podcast makes me laugh every single week without fail. My boyfriend is a massive fan of the podcast Cum Town (can barely type this seriously..) and so I spend a lot of my evenings at home hearing comedian Stavros Halkias cackle on our speakers. He and fellow comedian Sam Morril have their own podcast focused only on the NBA called Pod Don't Lie. Topics have included: Infidelity All Stars, Kardashian Starting 5's, and my favourite Bar Fight All Stars.

Stav and Sam are so good at riffing. Sam is a die-hard, life-long Knicks fan and I love listening to Stav tear him to pieces. I have stopped listening to the Ringer's NBA Show and exclusively get my news from Pod Don't Lie... and by extension Black Sports Online.

We saw the movie that was adapted from this article at TIFF this year and it was so good but also devastating. The article itself, written by Matthew Teague for Esquire, is just as painful to read but it's also somehow so sweet. I love to read men write about their partners, but even more than that I love male friendships (the movie Paddleton was close in the running for this top 5). I have thought about this article a lot since I read it and we saw the movie, and it was made even more powerful by seeing Matthew Teague come out on stage at TIFF clearly still healing from this whole experience. It's one of my favourite things I found on the internet this year and you can read it here.

One of my top five favourite movies of 2019 was definitely James Gray's Ad Astra. Starring Brad Pitt, the space-set story centres on a strained relationship between an absentee father and his son. I thought Brad Pitt was incredible in this... I am still haunted by his confrontation with Tommy Lee Jones. But what I've been thinking about the most since seeing this movie was IndieWire critic David Ehrlich's review which you can read here. The entire review is worth reading but he starts by recounting a joke Neil Armstrong said during a press conference, and how it connects to Ad Astra: 

"Neil Armstrong, a man better remembered for being first than he is for being funny, once said that his greatest regret was that 'my work required an enormous amount of my time, and a lot of travel.' It's a bittersweet line from a taciturn giant who always tended to find the right words; an admission of deep sadness coated inside the candied shell of a solid quip. But while no one expects an Armstrong quote to make them laugh, some people - especially filmmakers - only seem to hear the pain underneath the astronaut's punchline."

I think this is such beautiful writing and it reminds me of how some of the best critics are artists in their own right.

I love to read blogs and I have a solid 10+ that I read every morning while I have my coffee. I go through phases with bloggers I like or don't like, and even though I've followed Ashley's blog The Gold Hive for a few years now, I feel like I only really got into it this year. I would consider The Gold Hive an interiors blog, but it's also a lesson in sustainability, restoration, and living simply. She writes a lot of organizational tutorials and ways to salvage things you may have thought were garbage, but she also has a really unique sense of style (especially artwork) that I love, and she isn't like, crunchy about her environmentalism either. If you like old houses, thrifting, the environment, or are a type-A organizational freak then I would highly recommend checking her blog out. Reading her posts have quickly become a highlight of my day.

Damon Lindelof's (creator of The Leftovers, Lost) HBO adaptation of the Alan Moore graphic novel Watchmen is one of the best things I have seen on TV this year. I am a massive television fan but didn't want to spend my entire list ranking my favourite shows of the year.. so I decided to include this 3-part podcast instead. The Official Watchmen Podcast is released after every three episodes air on HBO. It is hosted by the creator of Chernobyl Craig Mazin, who also hosted a podcast for his show when it was airing. Each of the three episodes also has Lindelof on to break down the last couple of episodes. I love this podcast because Menzin's experience as a showrunner adds an extra layer of competence and shared experience when he's interviewing Lindelof. I would seriously recommend you check out Watchmen and then pair it with the official HBO podcast. I hope HBO continues to do this with their original programming!

I still wouldn't say I'm like, into podcasts, because I find most of them way too long and pretty boring, but everyone here knows how into Michael Lewis' writing I am and I got really into his podcast towards the last half of this year as well. I think it's fairly new (there aren't that many episodes yet) and it's all about justice and the role of a 'referee' in everyday life. The episodes vary from sports (where he's obviously comfortable) to student debt to art appraisals. I find them incredibly interesting and the best part is that they're usually under an hour which is the perfect length to both keep my interest and demonstrate some depth. Lewis is a fantastic narrator and the episodes remind me a lot of his writing style but for subjects that maybe weren't beefy enough for a full novel.

One of my favourite movies of the year is Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. It's set in the 19th century on a remote lighthouse in New England and follows two lighthouse attendants who gradually start to unravel. The movie was actually shot in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where I spend a ton of time for work. Soon after it came out Ben showed me a parody of the trailer but with the characters from Spongebob Square Pants. Make sure to check out the movie but also enjoy the parody here!

Two TV shows is perhaps a lot for this list but Scott and I binge watched season 1 of this on a whim last month and we have not stopped talking about it since. I've also made a handful of other people watch it since because it's jaw-droppingly unbelievable. I've never watched anything so uncomfortable on television in my life (perhaps the stabbing scene in Zodiac, but I can at least chalk that up to acting). If you don't know the premise, four couples go on the show and spend time in houses with singles to see if they can resist temptation. I have no idea if every season is as insane to watch as season 1 but wow was it was a ride. It's sort of every single quote I've internalized about relationships spit back at me in a practical "this is what this looks like" type of way. I know I sound insane because it's reality TV but the season has had a massive impact on me. I highly recommend you watch it and then please send us a message here at the blog so we can discuss it in detail.

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