This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
- Daniel Craig’s bonkers Knives Out performance.
- Nailed It! is back. What a treat!
- My favorite pop culture of the decade.
- Won’t stop praising Watchmen.
- Helena Bonham-Carter made me LOL.
It is the day after Thanksgiving and I will finally allow the Christmas season to begin, with no apologies to my sociopath friends who posted pictures of their fully decorated Christmas trees on social media last weekend.
But, you say, Thanksgiving is so late this year! Yes it is and whoop-dee-do. Last time I checked, Christmas is still on the same day of December and December starts on December 1st as usual. That means there are still 25 days of the Christmas season, and therefore no justification for putting up your Christmas tree in November, let alone four days before Thanksgiving!
Now that I’m out of breath from ranting my way up the hill that I will so tragically die on, let’s celebrate the appropriate arrival of the season with new episodes of Nailed It! Holiday! It’s such a wonderful, demented show. What a treat!
Netflix’s joyous homage to Pinterest fails, bad bakers, and the fun we had along the way has produced enough episodes now that there are signature hallmarks of the show for it to lean into for fans’ pleasure.
There’s the absurdity of the gold plated chef’s hat worn by round one winners; the delirium of host Nicole Byers’ cackling at every goofy, inedible concoction the bakers create; her hollering for luxurious-haired producer Wes, pronounced “Wh-es,” in two syllables and a swallowing of the “w” sound; and judge Jacques Torres’ whimsically French bemusement at the whole thing. But there are also new holiday season delights, such as Maya Rudolph and Jillian Bell as two of the most entertaining cooking show celebrity judges in recent memory.
This time of year is a slog for reasons I won’t bore you with, at the risk of striking up an orchestra of tiny violins. So instead let me say that nothing gives me more pleasure than passing my limited free time belly-laughing at Nicole Byer teasing amateur bakers’ monstrosities on Nailed It! Ho, ho, no!
(And if you’re in the mood for an old-timey Christmas variety special that has a little bit of a modern twang, I highly recommend the Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show on Amazon. The blessedly brief special brings the country star’s surprisingly pleasant and understated holiday album to life with guest stars Zooey Deschanel, Lana Del Rey, and Camilla Cabello; hilarious narration from Schitt’s Creek’s Daniel Levy; and a just-right level of corny Wes Anderson meets The Sonny and Cher Show vibe.)
If you follow TV and film critics and reporters on social media or have frequented their publications in recent days, you’ve seen that many either are working on or have already published their picks for the best TV shows and films of the decade. While it was disturbing to learn that we have already completed a second decade of this new millennium, it prompted me to consider what would be my own Best of the Decade list.
So here it is:
This is a joke, sort of. I wouldn’t presume, at least until an editor asks me to, to be able to fairly judge the greatness of all the pop culture I’ve taken in over the last 10 years. But I would say with certainty that Rose Byrne’s performance in Spy is probably my favorite thing this last decade, whatever that means and for whatever that’s worth.
If I were to compile other things that were for various reasons most memorable to me—again, by no means the greatest—I would probably mention Glee and Girls, two series that I probably spent more time watching, writing about, and, above all, thinking about than any others.
Tom Hanks’ performance in the last five minutes in Captain Phillips is something that was pretty astonishing to me. The Leftovers, what a show! Cynthia Erivo’s performance in The Color Purple is almost constantly on my mind, though when I think back at the decade in theater I’ll probably most remember not being able to afford to see Hamilton.
Toy Story 3 was the shit. I watch The Help every time it’s on TV, cry, and am not sorry about it! Annette Bening in 20th Century Women changed my life. I will never forget where I was the first time I saw Oprah slap—literally!—in The Butler. And Magic Mike, parts one and two? Hell yeah.
Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, and Happy Endings probably gave me more laughs than any other comedies this decade. None of these are the greatest anything and it’s pointless to rank any of this or imply that they are superlative, other than they were all entertaining to me.
I teased it last week, but that was one of the best hours of television I have ever seen. Just wanted to mention it again, in hopes that it will give those of you who thought that Watchmen didn’t really seem like it’s a show that would be “for you”—hi, it’s me—or who watched the premiere and found it maybe too confusing or political would give the show another shot, because the storytelling and visual payoffs in this episode are so worth it.
Asked by Andy Cohen what her last text was on Watch What Happens Live, Helena Bonham-Carter said she messaged her publicist asking why is she doing this show. It was all good-natured and everybody laughed about it, and anyway I thought it was delightfully Bonham-Carterish.
What to watch this week:
Knives Out: Putting it here as a formality.
Queen & Slim: Putting it here as a plea.
Project Runway: Still making it work after all these years!
Servant: Creepy and twisty and M. Night Shyamalany.
What to skip this week:
Bad holiday movies: There are 472 new Christmas movies on TV this year. Make! It! Stop!
The Two Popes: Truthfully, you’re all going to love it. It’s fun and adorable. But its cutesy treatment of Catholic leadership amid scandal really rubbed me the wrong way.