That was a hellscape of a year, huh?
By God's grace we're still here, Marilynne Robinson likes to say, but I'd add a lot wearier for the effort. It wasn't all bad, I have to remind myself, which I did by compiling some year end lists.
The following favorites weren't necessarily published or released in the calendar year (or millennium), but I either discovered or fell in love with them during the past 12 months of Constitutional crises, so I'm calling them 2017 favorites.
- Lady Bird
- Phantom Thread
- Call Me By Your Name
- God’s Own Country
- The Square
- Get Out
Runners up: Girls Trip, Your Name, Wonder Woman, and Blade Runner 2049
*OK, I lied. I see a lot of movies. All of these came out in 2017, though I'd bump one out to add Krisha if I didn't constrain myself by release dates for this category.
- Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin
- The Story of a New Name, Elena Ferrante
- What Light Can Do, Robert Hass
- Close Range, Annie Proulx
- Selected Poems, Czesław Miłosz
- Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, Elena Ferrante
- Anything Is Possible, Elizabeth Strout
- The Story of the Lost Child, Elena Ferrante
- An Odysessy, Daniel Mendelson
- Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
I try to read a book a week every year and came pretty close: 43, which I'll excuse for having to move four times. Anyway, wow. Have y'all heard of Elena Ferrante. G-d damn the Neopolitan series knocked me out. She replaced Knausgaard's spot as my *current* favorite author, who in turned had bumped out Marilynne Robinson in 2016. I expect Marilynne could be back when I read What Are We Doing Here? and finish my annual consumption of Housekeeping.
- Ctrl, SZA
- Mental Illness, Aimee Mann
- Martha Wainwright, Martha Wainwright
- The Dreaming, Kate Bush
- No Shape, Perfume Genius
- Now, Shania Twain
- The Valley, Betty Who
- She's So Unusual, Cyndi Lauper
- Live Through This, Hole
- Up Where We Belong, Buffy St. Claire
Do I even read Pitchfork? (I do.) Have I heard a straight white male artist in a year? (At work, unfortunately.) Can I even talk to kids these days? (Unclear.) This list is a lot of oldies, I realize, but I'm behind on things! Courtney Love! Where were you when I was a lost child in Texas? Cyndi too, and Kate Bush, and hell all of them. I'd say this was a year for women for me, but it's always only women and a few queer boys on my Spotify history. Shout out, Janet Jackson too. I just found you and couldn't be happier.
- Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
- Local Pittsburgh drag queen, lipsyncing "All I Really Want" by Alanis Morissette
- Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
- Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
- Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman
- Glenn Close, Sunset Boulevard the Musical
- Timothée Chamalet, Call Me By Your Name
- Cate Blanchett, The Present on Broadway
- Aimee Mann, singing about loneliness by singing about a cat that looks like a snow cone
- John Early, Search Party Season 2
Honorable mention: The moon for bringing about totality in Nashville.
This is a post script following Lady Birdgate at The Academy Awards. That film should've swept, or at least earned Laurie Metcalf one of the 700 awards she deserves. We might've seen this coming after Haddish was overlooked for even a nom, but we as a species continue to hope against hope, don't we? I will also bar-fight anyone who doesn't acknowledge Reese Witherspoon carried every minute of Big Little Lies with her microexpressions, and am now ready to go on record and say that an Alanis drag performance eclipsed the 2017 solar eclipse. (I saw both on a road trip.)