A movie, a show, and a team. The three best things I watched in 2019.
I wanted to start writing more, but I didn’t want to limit myself to writing about one topic. So I decided to just write three things. Anything from culture & food to sports & long thoughts. It’s open ended and that’s on purpose.
1. What the hell is going on? — Seeing the Lighthouse
I try to see a lot of movies. Some of my favorite sensations include munching on popcorn in a dark room with strangers. I don’t mind watching movies in my apartment, but I’m 24 and will inevitably spend time on my phone, so for the movies that are worth my full attention, I make sure I buy a ticket.
This movie is so much more than I was expecting or prepared for, honestly. It’s very arthouse, and it feels like things keep happening loudly and dramatically with no time to catch a breath from the time Robert Pattinson kills the seabird (spoiler) until the very end. This movie was so close and booming and horrifying and confusing, but in the way that you know it’s well made.
If the actors in this movie had toned it down even a half-step, the movie would be corny and uncomfortable instead of masterful. Pattinson and Willem Dafoe’s unabashed descent into madness is what transport you into the lighthouse with them, feeling like you’re drinking and singing sailor tunes alongside them. Like Sean Fennessey of The Big Picture podcast says, I just want movies to make me feel something at this point. Even if it’s an anxiety attack. And boy, did this movie really shake me.
2. Can’t get enough — Watching Schitt’s Creek
I generally don’t watch television comedies, but every so often one will come around that I can’t watch enough of. Schitt’s Creek has been a show that I feel like every person has been telling me I’d love since it came out, and even though I had no concept of what the show was about, I passed it off.
Well, at some point this year, I ran out of shows I was watching — or more accurately rewatching — and decided to throw it on. I figured I’d watch half of the pilot before turning it off. Fast forward 5 days, and I’m tweeting about how it’s basically a crime that I have to wait for more episodes.
The show centers on a wealthy family that loses their money and is forced to move to a town they own called Schitt’s Creek. There, they try to maneuver with the everyman despite being extremely out of touch with reality. The show starts there, but over the 5 seasons, it developed into a very charming and endlessly entertaining program about a characters you care about deeply.
One of the highlights is how they cover queer characters. One of the main characters, David (ew, David), is queer, and it’s brought up a few different times. There’s a scene in season one where Stevie tries to use a wine metaphor to ask David about his sexuality and he says he cares more about the wine than the label. And later we see him fall in love with a masculine presenting gay man.
Ten years ago, or even, dare I say it, in an American show, I feel like David’s sexuality would have been a major conversation or a point of contention in the hick town they’re stuck in. Instead, members of the town don’t even bat an eye and celebrate when he gets engaged (spoilers). The show is heartwarming, funny as hell, and wildly important. Can’t wait for more.
3. Hockey in the desert heats up — the Arizona Coyotes.
I’ve been following the Coyotes since I was 2-years-old. Since they, and I, both moved to the desert. I’ve celebrated the high highs (2012 playoffs, of course) and endured the low lows (just the entirety of 2017). They had just hired a new coach in the 2017–2018 season, and in the first half, they had set a NHL record as the worst team in history.
They were a puzzle of good pieces that didn’t know what the picture was. On paper, they should have been amazing, but they were mostly fumbling. Around the beginning of 2018, they started putting it together. The Coyotes had the best record in the NHL in the month of March, but it didn’t matter because of how bad the first half had been.
Come the 2018–2019 season, spirits were high, and entering 2019, fans were watching a playoff push for the first time in 7 years. The boys were playing harder and smarter than I had seen them in a long time. Every game felt like it mattered, people were paying attention to points and other teams, and games felt electric. In the end, they finished just 3 points shy of the playoffs. And that's with the most injured players on one team in the whole league.
In the off season, GM John Chayka made two huge moves: he acquired power forwards Carl Soderberg and Phil “the Thrill” Kessel. It seemed impossible to me at the time that players of that caliber were coming to Arizona. Those players help teams win Stanley Cups.
Now I’m not saying the Coyotes are going to win the Stanley Cup — chances are they’re not even close. I am a cautiously optimistic fan at all times. But watching Garland and Schmaltz consistently light up the lamp as a one-two punch, the second best goalie in the league Darcy Kuemper have a .929 save percentage, trading only prospects for 5-time All-Star Taylor freaking Hall, AND having a pretty healthy team, I have to say...it’s been fun!
They are making clear plays, they’re switching up lines to find the right flow, and they’re playing like a team. It’s not perfect — they still play defeated a little too early in the game sometimes and they have a really difficult travel schedule — but they’ve reached the #1 spot in the Pacific a few times this year and it is exhilarating.