My favourite movie moments were shared with my teenagers. The joy of sitting next to my daughter for Wonder Woman and the brilliance of her super power being enhanced empathy was poignant and thrilling. The Big Sick was a touching modern romcom worth it just for Kumail Nanjiani’s one man show explaining cricket to Americans and a killer 9/11 joke, but elevated by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano’s brilliant performances. Takai Waititi’s Thor Ragnorak finally treated the comic book movie like a comic book; funniest movie of the year was worth it just for Jeff Goldblum’s silent eye roll and Waititi’s scene stealing Kiwi rock monster. Honourable mentions go to Baby Driver, Logan and the scary thrills of Kong: Skull Island, but Get Out quite frankly kicked aside all comers for proving there’s nothing scarier than white folks. Jordan Peele (writer/director) tweeted (after a particularly insane Trump moment) that Get Out is a documentary.
Best of TV: Brooklyn Nine Nine (still makes me laugh), Glow, The Good Place and The Magicians (fantasy that’s an outrageous cack). However Atlanta bowled me over most of all; it led me up every black storyline trope, subverted it and then made me laugh out loud.
It was a great year for music with ripper albums: Villains Queens of the Stoneage, Colors Beck, Concrete and Gold Foo Fighters, Humanz Gorillaz, DAMN Kendrick Lamar, American Dream LCD Soundsystem, As You Were Liam Gallagher, Soulfire Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, Transient Lullaby The Mastersons and Prisoner Ryan Adams.
My favourite songs for the year were Shark Smile Big Thief, Humble Kendrick Lamar, Redbone Childish Gambino, Green Light Lorde, On Hold The XX, The Way You Used To Do Queens of the Stoneage, Deliverence Prince (illegally released but incredible – it’s out there find it) and A Little Crazy Nicole Atkins. Special mention to some great Trump protest songs that were so catchy you’d never know: La De Da Foo Fighters, Protest Song Broken Social Scene, Diamond Eyes Real Estate and Easy As It Seems The Mavericks.
Musically the highlight was Paul McCartney’s concert at AAMI Park in a year when I also saw a few more killer Springsteen concerts. I saw Springsteen in Perth with my brother as we relived our teenage obsession standing closer to that incredible band than a Sunday session at the Overflow, but I found it had less focus than previous outings without an album to promote (he ditched playing the full River album as he had in the US and Europe). At McCartney I was worried it had been over hyped by my Perth mates as I heard his old man voice quiver, but I blubbered twice trying to hold it together during Let It Be and a touching version of Something (played on George’s ukulele), which had never happened to me at a concert before and even though it probably had more to do with a childhood that suppressed emotions it was still magically powerful. You can read the setlist on paper, but nothing prepares you for the opening chords of the run of songs towards the end of the concert that is beyond childhood touchstones or the soundtrack to your life and more a testament to the power of music and incomparable song writing all done with only a killer five piece band: Band on the Run, Back in the USSR, Let it Be, Live and Let Die (how do you follow being floored by the massive fireworks display?), Hey Jude, (encore) Yesterday (cue a massive female sigh groan of thanks and a collective “I can’t believe I’m here” like I’ve never heard the like before), Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band, Helter Skelter, Mull of Kintire (yeah nah- too flogged in my younger days), Birthday, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End.