Guest Editor’s Note: Like a long-awaited Festivus present, the second column in our series on the pop culture which helped us survive 2016 comes from regular Clarissa editor Amy Mackelden! Here, she runs down a list of the shows, albums and events which, for her, made 2016 something other than a never-subsiding tsunami of absolute garbage – however briefly.
For some, 2016 has been a complete shitstorm comprised of celebrity deaths and crank politics. While I agree that Brexit is fucking stupid, for me personally, 2016’s been a year of total hell that included my Mum dying, which is why those RIP [insert the name of a famous person you previously didn’t care about] Facebook posts really narc me. Each to their own though, fuckers.
However, there are some things we should all agree on. For instance, Passengers makes the top 5 scariest movies of 2016 list, easy, and when Santino Fontana left Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the show stopped making sense. Am I right? I’m right.
But when it comes to greatness, it’s an understatement to say that the year’s been lacking. Here are the things that helped me cope when I couldn’t cope, and I don’t expect anyone to agree. In fact, I couldn’t give a shit. I’ll make no apologies for the pop culture that’s propped me up this year, and you shouldn’t either.
1. THE OA
The reviews are mixed but, seeing as the masses think a Netflix ‘80s rehash is a masterpiece (I never cared about Barb, either), the reviews are wrong. Brit Marling’s a flooring storyteller, whose vision, and penchant for collaboration, has helped her make some jawdropping indies you may not have seen yet. If, like me, you thought The OA was a sumptuous, serial killer-lite, mind-fuck of amazing, you should also watch Sound Of My Voice and Another Earth, like now.
2. THE AFFAIR
Imperfect, but fascinating, The Affair isn’t afraid to time-jump the fuck out of its narrative, and as for playing the long game, there really isn’t better. I’m meant to hate Noah Solloway, but I don’t. Joshua Jackson’s Cole might be your Montauk Prince in Crabshack Armor, but Dominic West is endgame, and you know it.
3. PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
Does it piss me off? Yes. Is the plot consistently ludicrous? Obviously. But, boy do I want to see that Ezria wedding, and I don’t care if that makes me sick.
4. THE ALTER BY BANKS
5. BEULAH BY JOHN PAUL WHITE
Live, JPW is perfect. See here.
6. THE NEON DEMON
Nicolas Winding Refn’s fucked up film is as surgical as it is dreamy. Part exploration of virginity, part feminist satire/denigration/dissection, The Neon Demon is satisfying, especially when it shouldn’t be. Keanu Reeves at his career best.
7. POP STAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING
Dear The Lonely Island. Please make a sequel. Ta very much.
I thought I’d be bored, but this was total kick-ass, and The Rock rapping continues to make my day.
9. HATERS BACK OFF
To anyone that disagrees: I dare you to fight me.
10. AMERICAN HONEY
Shia LaBeouf deserves all of my love, forever and ever, Amen. Andrea Arnold’s latest is the all-engrossing, sublimely soundtracked, roadtrip movie you didn’t know you needed.
11. A SEAT AT THE TABLE
Lemonade might be on your list. Solange’s album is on mine. The slow seeping decadence of her music videos, and the creeping death march in songs like “Cranes In The Sky” should convince anyone that she’s the Knowles sister that matters most. Not sorry.
It doesn’t always work, but when it does, the reality streaming service is brimming with some of the slickest content around. Million Dollar Listing New York has saved my life more than once, and I’m not remotely joking.
Stephen King tweeted about it, Netflix was smart enough to release it. If you love horror like everyone at Clarissa does, then Hush is for you. Breaking its own rules, the fun really begins when the villain unmasks himself. Stomach-churning, tense, and intense, Hush is everything I want in a horror film, and some spare.
14. THE BOY
More horror because it’s 2016, after all. The trailer made me laugh out loud, and the film surprised the fuck out of me. An unguessable ending, and begging for a sequel, The Boy was one of the best movies of the year because it flipped the inescapable horror movie tropes, and told a much worse story than anyone expected. “Kisssss…”
15. I LOVE DICK
…and I am an extremely immature Guest Editor – AJ
I might just renew my subscription when Kathryn Hahn’s on Amazon Prime full time. I don’t want to look at Jeremy Clarkson’s face ever again, but the streaming service could win me over since they’ve ordered this imitable pilot to series.
What do you think? Have we missed out any of the things which made 2016 bearable for you? Then tell us about it in the comments – or, better yet, submit something of your own to our specially-extended 2016 post-mortem at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Amy Mackelden is an Entertainment Writer at Bustle, and has written for heat magazine, New Statesman, Kinkly, The Independent online, xoJane, and Hello Giggles. Her book, Adele: The Other Side, is out now.
Amy co-founded poetry magazine Butcher’s Dog, and is co-editor of Clarissa Explains Fuck All. Her new theatre show, MS Is My Boyfriend, is funded by Arts Council England, and she’s a recipient of the Artists’ International Development Fund Round 13. Ian Harding is a bird watcher?