It’s been a busy time over here at Couch Petito HQ. Busy in that I’ve been doing just about everything but managing the site and creating content these past few weeks; the year in the article headline really is a dead giveaway. Fortunately, the end of the year—or two weeks after the end of the year—always presents an opportunity to write about some things that were really good, so I went ahead and did just that.
Looking ahead there’s a pretty good chance the first post of 2020 (this one doesn’t count) will be about Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot—a movie Roger Ebert felt compelled to hand 0.5 out of 5 stars—but since I don’t like commitments to timelines and content, there’s an equally good chance that doesn’t happen at all. Interestingly enough, though, the one consistent thing about this blog—other than the Jean-Claude Van Damme content, of course—has been these end of year posts. So, right on time because deadlines don’t exist here, here is my list of some things from 2019 I thought were really good.
The Disco Biscuits are always good, but they were really good in 2019. Between Barber’s podcast, what appears to be Tractorbeam 2.0, and some great new tunes, it all seems to have pushed them to catch fire again. Winter tour turned out to be their best (and most consistently good) stretch of shows in recent memory, maybe even as far back as summer 2009. Unsurprisingly, I will be seeing these guys a lot in 2020; much like 2019 and the previous 18 years.
A little more than a year ago JCVD started using Facebook Live. About six months ago JCVD started using Facebook Live during every waking hour of his day. During this time I have seen just about every single second of it; from him doing roundhouse kicks on a commercial airplane, to dancing to James Brown with his chihuahua in a hotel room bathroom. For these reasons, JCVD’s Facebook Live Feed is something from 2019 that was really good.
I watched High Life twice, the second time directly following the first. Put simply, High Life is a scifi movie. Put less simply, High Life is a movie about a group of inmates sent into space to research black holes and the outer reaches of space to serve science, while also being about prison reform, procreation, loneliness, and the horrors and beauties of human emotions. High Life is really really good.
It’s actually not a terribly far-fetched plot. A hurricane hits a small Florida coastal town and, as a result, alligators begin attacking and eating people. Crawl doesn’t try to be anything bigger or more complex than what it actually is—a movie about people being attacked and eaten by alligators—and that’s what makes it so good. The CGI is really good, too.
I was especially interested in Robert Eggers’ follow up to The Witch, whatever it ended up being. It was actually a pretty tough call between another horror directors sophomore film; Midsommar from Ari Aster. Both movies have their fair share of weird and creepy, but The Lighthouse was elevated to an entirely different plane of existence because of the brilliance of Willem Dafoe. As much as I liked Midsommar, it was missing a standout acting performance.
The first thing you need to learn in Sekiro, and fast, is that it’s not a Dark Souls game. That is until you get to the Demon of Hatred.
About three minutes into my playthrough (maybe even sooner) I said to myself, “This is hands down the best Resident Evil game.” The franchise has gone through a bit of an identity crisis after Resident Evil 5 (though it’s tough to ding the idea of trying new things) but Resident Evil 2 doubled back flawlessly to the franchises core strengths. More than just a modern day facelift, Resident Evil 2 is what I hope will be the template to help guide any and all future Resident Evil games.
I read a good chunk of the comics, and with Eric Kripke at the helm, I didn’t have many doubts that the TV adaptation wouldn’t be good. Bloody, violent, and unforgivingly crude, The Boys comes at a time when the superhero genre could use a good kick in the teeth.
As short-lived as the Deadwood series was, it hit peaks in storytelling that most shows with the blessing of longevity could ever dream of hitting. The Deadwood movie was a long time coming, and it ended up being exactly what it needed to be, and more.
The hype is real.
At first I thought Ad Astra looked like pretty boilerplate scifi. Looking back I don’t think the previews and trailers were great representations of what it ultimately ended up being. All I know is that I walked out of the theater thinking this was easily one of my favorite movies of the year, and it was the complete opposite of boilerplate scifi.
Overall I was a bit disappointed a cleaning product didn’t make it onto the list this year, although it’s probably best I don’t purchase high-end vacuums just for the sake of potentially adding them to a list like this; four vacuums is three too many vacuums. If you’ve been following along this far, next up (or not), a rebuttal to Roger Ebert’s 1992 review of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Keep an eye out for it some time in early, mid, or late 2020—or never.