The Fun Is Over: 2019 Was Probably The Best Year Ever For Movies and TV | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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The Fun Is Over: 2019 Was Probably The Best Year Ever For Movies and TV

Enjoy it now because 2020 will be a bloodbath...

Dec 31, 2019 By Steve King Web Exclusive
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While everyone is writing their end-of-the-decade lists, I'd like to focus on just this past year. It was a year of franchise endings and new beginnings. With both movies and TV, 2019 was an embarrassment of riches. There was too much good content out there to spend your days angry at whatever the Dennis Duffy president tweeted this morning or what the loser Democrats said last night in their five-hour, "wine cave" debate. Just think of the awesome stories that ended this year. But beware, there be spoilers below, so skip over any films or TV shows you have yet to finish.

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

Lets face it: none of us will live to see the end of Star Wars. Those movies will be made forever, but this was supposedly the end of the Skywalker saga. They'll bring it back every 10 or 15 years or so in one bigass form or another, and I'm okay with that. I like all of the Star Wars movies. The Rise of Skywalker isn't perfect but neither is the franchise. It got the job done. My boy Palpatine was in it. Is it motivated reasoning? Yeah. Who cares? The movie was good enough... for Star Wars.

So... could you guys please stop bitching about it!? I'm so sick of the debates. Y'all  debate more than the Galatic Senate (RIP). I'd never even heard of the term "mary sue" until 2015. I don't want to think that kinda weird, gender-hating shit. And god forbid a 40-year-old franchise engage in "fan service."

You hate The Force Awakens. You hate Last Jedi. You love Last Jedi. You hate Zach Snyder. You scream for a Snyder Cut. You like Game of Thrones. You hate the last season. Suddenly every idiot with a Facebook page is the new F. Scott Fitzgerald of garbage movie reviews. Mother pin a rose on you!

It's space wizards, you guys! Lighten up. Loving sci-fi means enduring a lot of junk. You have to take the sour with the sweet. You know your taxes are paying to put kids in cages, right? Okay. So we all agree these conversations are bullshit.

If you don't like the story, write your own. Until then, in the immortal words of Larry David, "We're always told 'the customer is always right,' and in fact, the customer is usually a moron and an asshole."

I don't know. The Force Awakens had drive, and The Last Jedi felt a little closer to the original trilogy, in that it plodded along and couldn't develop momentum. I think J.J. Abrams is god and Rian Johnson is overrated but fine. Let's make a deal and cut the Baby Yoda in half. Get Taika Waititi to direct the next trilogy. Everybody wins. And hey, if not, come watch Star Trek. The water's always warm.    

Avengers: Endgame

Endgame really blew my mind. I watch it every couple weeks. Multiple realities and time travel is the quickest way to my heart. Honestly, it was almost too smart for the normal crowd. I don't think the MCU reached its full potential until Phase 2 or 3, with Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, but wow, son, this was a cinematic event. They actually pulled off a decade of planning, and it paid off better than Star Wars, if the internet is to be believed. The MCU really surfed the zeitgeist. It started with a cocky war profiteer in the Bush years and ended with an eye-popping examination loss, pain, creeping monotheism, and fascism, and was accused of virtue signalling during the Trump Administration. I'll take virtue-signalling and false altruism over nazi propaganda any day of the week. That's wild. It's the biggest movie of all time (for now) and it's well-deserved, no matter what stuffy old Hollywood Boomers have to say.

IT Chapter 2

Being a King "Constant Reader," I'd like to welcome all of you to the Stephen King Adaption Expectations Game. Yeah, they don't all work out the way you hope. You spend years waiting for the movie and then it bites you right in the booboo. I liked it fine. It's not the end of the world. But I'm eager to see what the planned, extended, spliced together bluray will be like. Anyone who's read IT knows what I'm talking about. 

Deadwood: The Movie

It took over a decade but we finally got the bittersweet ending we deserved. It was made even more impactful because of David Milch's recent Alzheimer's diagnosis. This was his goodbye. Deadwood is probably the greatest story ever committed to television and David Milch is too good for all of us.

Game of Thrones

You either love the final season or you're wrong. I don't care. So they made Dani go too crazy without the buildup, but come on, they did the writers' groundwork for years. I'll allow it. They gave the audience exactly what they had promised and people were still bitching. Either way, it's over and it was one of the best television productions in history. Audiences are becoming harder and harder to please, and bitchy outrage is the force that gives our lives meaning in 2019. I mean, it was a pretty sweet ending for a show that had a dead kid in the first five minutes (before the damn title sequence), and then kept killing kids. What the fuck did you people expect?! The final twist was the fans wanting to kill the thing they had loved for a decade. The savagery of the audience eclipsed the story toward the end, but I'm sorry: Fuck the audience. 

Broad City

This one probably should have ended a couple seasons ago, but they mostly stuck the best landing they could, considering how uneven the show was. We could probably lose a few hours of Star Wars and a season or more of Game of Thrones too. Thrones didn't need Dorne, and Star Wars didn't need Jabba The Hut or the casino planet or Benicio Del Toro. Broad City probably should have ended after season 2.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Rachel Bloom's demented and catchy brainchild lasted just long enough, didn't overstay it's welcome, and went out on top.

Other franchises that meant a lot to people ended this year as well:

The Good Place

The OA (the people still watching this abomination didn't believe it was over)

BoJack Horseman

The Man in the High Castle

The Affair

Fleabag

Mr. Robot

Veronica Mars

Veep 

The Big Bang Theory

Orange Is the New Black

Ballers

The Deuce (no one cared)

Empire

You're the Worst

Silicon Valley

Veep

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Downton Abbey

3 From Hell (lol, I didn't even know that this happened when it did... Rob Zombie is not what he used to be)

X Men: Whatever (no one cared)

Catastrophe 

If all of those insane stories coming to an end didn't blow enough air up your skirt, look at the new hot shit that gave us mindgasms. I'm talking prolonged, tantric galaxy brain here, people.

Euphoria

What can I say about Euphoria that I haven't already said to anyone with the misfortune of being around me when I'm thinking about it? Euphoria had the greatest first season since The Knick and honestly connected with me on a personal level that hasn't happened since Mad Men. And the music... I can't. I do not feel I am worthy enough to write about this show, so just watch it. The best HBO shows, no matter the content, are about human frailty. Which brings us to...

Watchmen 

I'm writing this the day after the season finale and my brain still hasn't recovered and I'm quietly going insane. My mind is a puddle of liquified meta-human material right now. It was so wild that Major Colvin was in it and we forgot. Despite all the articles telling us that this was all we would be talking about, nothing could prepare us for the story Damon Lindelof told. HBO straight up Murdered It this year.

And Bob Benson from Mad Men was in it, preaching evil ass bullshit gospel for the hateful. So, we all thought we were about to see Bob's ham... maybe in another reality... It's also really cool how the multi-ethnic Star Wars, Euphoria, and Watchmen go out of their way to have white men as the villains. Here for it!

It had an evil liberal utopia, race memory, Jeremy Irons, literal hubris, The Beatles, Squid Pro Quo, the idea of arresting a U.S. President, and a satisfying happy-ish ending. 

This is what Westworld wants to be, and I love Westworld. It was a multiplatform, multiverse, transdimensional, time paradox traversing ride of a generation, even if it's still not as scary as our current reality. And after everything, the audience is left in perpetual suspense, as we don't know how or even if the story will return.

And I don't even know where to begin with the music in Euphoria and Watchmen. Here at UTR we put a premium on good music... and that's only the Trent Reznor part of the story... This is prestige, legacy shit.

The Report

This was Best Picture for most of the year. The Bush torure policies were the greatest crimes committed by the last Republican administration, and before now had never been made into an effective fictionalized story. The worst parts of this movie actually happened. It was a hell of a thing to watch. The only way this movie could have been better was if Adam Driver had taken out that big ol' honkin' lightsaber. We all wanna see it. But seriously though, torture is bad and a war crime. Bush and Cheney are war criminals.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

 A Quentin Tarantino buddy movie. Who woulda thunk it? But damned if it wasn't comparable to Inglorious Basterds in its suspense and alternate history genius. 

 Joker

I love how comic movies became something the old guard of Hollywood had to speak up about only after they took over the top of the box office charts. Give me a break! Joker was a virtuoso, white-knuckle masterpiece ride to Hell and, god, it felt great.

Us

Jordan Peele is a visionary and this was the first obvious Oscar nominee of the year. Lupita Nyong'o will definitely be nominated again. Get Out, for all its perfection, was a simple story compared to this. Us is on some whole other shit.

Look at the rest of this list: 

Chernobyl

Jojo Rabbit (omg, Taika Waititi)

Booksmart

Wine Country

My Name Is Dolemite

The King 

Hustlers

Bombshell

Captain Marvel

Stage Fright

Velvet Buzzsaw

The Perfection

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2

Mindhunter Season 2

What We Do In The Shadows TV Series (heart Taika Waititi)

Succession (Apparently good but I haven't seen it and I probably won't. Stop telling me I will love it. We're already dealing with one ruthless billionaire family. I don't need to watch it in my fucking leisure time.)

Twilight Zone

True Detective Season 3

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 3

The Mandolorian

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson had good year)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (this movie was about Ted Bundy, not the president. Confusing, right?)

Horror had a great year, literally and figuratively. If you told me as a child that 2019 would be the greatest year for movies and TV, I would have said, "fuck yeah!" But there's a catch: you have to live through a terrible time that's so bad, the mind rebels and thinks it's an alternate reality.

Let's be honest, we've all been watching and loving The Impeachment Show. Yo, I'm the Politics Editor, you didn't think this was just about fiction, did you? Framing impeachment at the end of the year is classic Pelosi genius. That way 2019 ends with a bang. 2020 starts with Republicans acquitting Trump, it riles everybody up, and 2020 becomes a referendum on defending the indefensible. I'm sick of this fucking so-bad-it's-good politics. I'd like a little prestige politics again, thank you. 2019 was probably the last great year. Now, at the end of our lives, it's nice that we had a year of good entertainment. This won't be the final battle. But it will feel that way for many. 

After 2019 being a year of endings, 2020 promises some good stuff but will either be a year of rewarded faith, or truth and reality laid waste. This is an "Avengers, Assemble!" type moment. It's time to cut the shit. Win or die. Whatever it takes... So anyway, 2019 was an equally devastating and fun time. Fuck you, 2019. And thanks. It's been a hoot.

-Regina King Is God-

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