- Your summer watching list.
- One last Pride Month reminder.
- The best part of Stranger Things 3.
- A Beyoncé/Lion King update.
- Your annual dose of patriotism.
It is summer. It is hot. Going outside in New York City right now feels like walking through a sweaty armpit into an ass sauna. So why not... not go outside?
Hey, it is the halfway point of the year, and the perfect time to play catch up on the best TV shows and movies from 2019 so far that you most likely haven’t seen because, well, there’s just so much damn stuff to watch. The minute you finish watching one thing there are 47 more things to see and you’re so distracted you forget about that one thing you heard was good and meant to check out. (How fast do things move in pop culture? Game of Thrones has only been off-air for six weeks.)
Anyway, so what should you be watching? First and foremost, you better make amends with your creator and go see Booksmart, after egregiously letting that hilarious gem of a teen comedy flop at the box office. What is wrong with you asshats? Do you not like joy? Laughing? Good things?
Want to see the best performance of the year so far? Check out Elisabeth Moss in Her Smell. Want to see some ferocious acting? Check out Lupita Nyong’o in Us. Want to see Julianne Moore weather a midlife crisis while dancing to Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” as a character named Gloria? Go see Gloria Bell.
Other gems of the year that may have been too small to make it on to your radar but which you should definitely seek out: Claire Denis’ trippy High Life, the ace Sundance breakout Last Black Man in San Francisco, and the exquisite The Souvenir, featuring not one member of the Tilda Swinton family but two; we should be so blessed. The Aretha Franklin documentary Amazing Grace is resplendent. (I don’t believe I’ve ever used that word before. I like it!)
And, my god, we haven’t even started talking about TV shows. I keep a running Google Doc of all of the shows I see in a year that I think merit consideration for The Daily Beast’s Best TV Shows of the Year list each December. As of July 4, there are 59 TV series on that list. (I’m laugh-crying while typing that.)
To start off, if you haven’t watched Fleabag yet, frankly I don’t know what’s wrong with you. I know I live in a bit of a culture bubble, but even I know that people outside it haven’t shut up about how good season two is. Running a close second in that regard is Netflix’s Russian Doll.
I love a good comedy series binge because it is short! Want something more out there? How about What We Do in the Shadows or Los Espookys. The nearly flawless Hulu triumvirate of PEN15, Shrill, and Ramy all have seasons you can basically watch in a day. You could watch the entirety of Netflix’s Special before half of an Avengers movie is over.
I cannot recommend enough that you watch The Good Fight, which will delight you and make you feel a little less crazy as a person driven crazy by today’s crazy world. When They See Us is a hard watch, but a necessary one. And, honey, watch Pose! Pose is the best! Also good: Bodyguard and Homecoming, which will each give you anxiety in very different ways.
Then there’s a show that’s airing right now that you should all be watching: HBO’s Years and Years. Better yet, it’s only two episodes in so far, so you’re not that far behind! And roll your eyes all you want, but there is no TV show in 2019 that I was more steadfast in watching as it aired, when it aired than this year’s brilliant season of The Real Housewives of New York City.
There you have it! Enough content to carry you to (does some math on fingers) roughly August 2022. As they say every summer, there’s no better protection against the sun than a Netflix subscription.
LGBT Pride Month is over, all the rainbow flags have been packed away, and my time spent marching with the Real Housewives and the Bravo float is but a tipsy memory. But in the afterglow of last weekend’s celebrations, I wanted to bring attention one more time to my colleague Tim Teeman’s spectacular, moving, extremely important Stonewall 50 project.
He interviewed over 80 celebrities and public figures about the Stonewall riots and their legacy, and each person’s connection to their significance. No matter how you feel about Pride Month, the commercialization of it, queer liberation, and what pride means today, the package is necessary reading—especially if you don’t know much about the riots and why they’re still so important to the community today.
I like Stranger Things and its moody nostalgia, Scooby gang of kiddos, and CGI-assisted thrills. But also, sometimes during the long slog of a season, I think: “Meh.” Reliably, though, every time the series veers towards “meh” territory, David Harbour’s Sheriff Hopper arrives for a scene so delightful and perfectly executed that I’m right on board again. He is without a doubt the show’s secret weapon, and 100 percent the MVP of Season 3, which launched July 4.
We won’t spoil anything about the season here, other than to tell you to brace yourself for an amazingly garish Miami Vice-esque shirt Hopper spends most of the season wearing. But Harbour’s performance, already unexpectedly tender and emotional for a character that could have been the one-note gruff sheriff, ascends to new, heroic heights.
First one to blink has to explain how in the world the new Lion King is “live action.”
I’m corny as hell and love it. Bill Pullman, <3. Revisit it here, it’s so good. Happy Fourth.
What to watch this week:
Midsommar: It’s about a Swedish cult and murder and douchebag ex-boyfriends and, above all, is so, so pretty to watch.
Stranger Things: I mean, you’re all going to watch it anyway.
Spider-Man: Far From Home: Tom Holland is so much more charming in this role that we give him credit for.
What to skip this week:
Love Island: An American version of the trashy, addictive British hit arrives and airs FIVE NIGHTS A WEEK. I don’t have that time in my life!