Dec 28, 2016

Listmania: Miscellaneous of 2016

Scene from Suicide Squad
Every year, a lot of random things happen. Nobodies knows where they come from or what exactly they're here to do. While most are easily classifiable by genres such as politics, movies, and such; there are those that you likely won't hear about because, well, nobody really knows what to make of them. For the sake of this year's annual Miscellaneous, we're here to honor those achievements in pop culture that deserve your attention. The following is 20 categories that are worth mentioning, but lack a Top 10 worthy of their own post. Prepare for the excitement, because 2015 was surely a wacky year.

Weirdest Movie Trend

Recipient: Disney loses a bunch of kids in the wilderness.

The one thing that can be said is that this was a banner year for Disney, whose mix of remakes and original films turned this tumultuous year into something that's a little more tolerable. However, they still set a precedent that was rather unsettling. The Jungle Book, The BFG, Pete's Dragon, and Finding Dory all told tales of children being abandoned or kidnapped with central stories based around them trying to find their way back to civilization. While it would be fine in one film, it's weird that it was at the core of this year's most heartwarming line-up of films. One can only imagine what will happen next year. Will there be more missing kids in Disney's future? I don't know, but clearly they don't want you to keep yours.

Most Dated Movie

Recipient: Weiner

Every year brings with it a couple of documentaries that are defining of their time. Weiner was one that stood initially to serve as a cautionary tale of ego, social media, and how personal lives can be ruined by scandal. It is a message that this 2016 presidential election kept attesting to. However, Weiner's cautionary tale proved to be increasingly ironic as subject Anthony Weiner seemed to work on a sequel over the past year. With more scandals - including some that impacted the election - the documentary feels like it is lacking details that could've made it greater. It's not the filmmaker's faults. It's the man whose career continues to lay in ruins by his own hands. 

See Also: Michael Moore in Trumpland

Best Reason to Go Outside

Recipient: Pokemon Go

While there may be better video games out there, the impact of Pokemon Go is undeniable. Its take on augmented reality helped to temporarily change how society operated. People were going outside and walking around. The health boom was starting to peak again. While it lead to some of the year's most bizarre stories, it also created an addictive experience that ended up uniting enthusiasts that otherwise wouldn't have met each other. It may be a joke now, but it still shows promise in bringing people together while playing video games. That's something that very few programs can even boast of doing.

Newest Way to Netflix and 'Chill

Recipient: The Crown

It seems like it would've happened years ago, but Netflix finally got into the British period drama game with The Crown. Chronicling the life of Queen Elizabeth II, it also told a tale of her conflicting relationship with Winston Churchill. For fans of royal history, there were few examples as blissful as seeing the two spar off in their petty fights over control of England's future. With beautiful sets and elegant acting, The Crown added a touch of class to a streaming service mostly known for dealing in hard hitting contemporary dramas. With this series already receiving Golden Globe nominations, it's hard to think of it going anywhere anytime soon.

Future EGOT You're Likely to Have the Most Fun With at a Party

Recipient: Lin-Manuel Miranda

By this time next year, there is a high chance that Lin-Manuel Miranda's work on Moana will have earned him an Oscar and fulfill his status as the latest EGOT. With that said, his 2016 was full of great highs. He bid farewell to his Hamilton! role with class (he even released a book detailing how he created it). He continues to get ridiculously high profile gigs. Moana is one of the most infectious movie musicals in years. "The Hamilton Mixtape" (minus the gag-inducing Jimmy Fallon track) is pretty fun. Don't forget those double digits of Tonys. Yet the sign that he's likely going to fit in at your kegger is Drunk History, in which he recited Hamilton while getting intoxicated and calling people randomly. Miranda seems like a great guy who spent 2016 doing a victory lap, but what a victory it was. Anyone who can make battle scenes into hilarious gargle noises is fine by me.

Best Subtitle

Recipient: Neighbors 2:: Sorority Rising

The idea of naming a film has sort of lost its art form. While The Fast and the Furious has done a decent attempt at making them inept, few sequels actually have fun with them. It's not every year that something as catchy as Breaking 2: Electric Boogaloo comes out. Yet the Neighbors sequel Sorority Rising may very well be one worthy of putting in your back pocket. It's catchy and singular in ways that the best subtitles are. It also works in ridiculous situations. Imagine seeing X-Men: Sorority Rising. Now that would be a film worth checking out. Whoever came up with that title is a genius and worthy of decades of aptly applying to other films as a joke.

Best Character in a Terrible Show

Recipient: The Punisher in Daredevil

While Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are keeping Netflix's Marvel deal seeming promising, the returning series Daredevil does throw a cautious wrench into the gears. While the first season was good, its second one involved a lot of convoluted mythology and strange plot devices that didn't add up. While it did feature a promising newcomer in Elektra, it still was a show that didn't have any idea what it wanted to be. However, The Punisher preparing for battle to "Shining Star" may be one of the best moments to come out of Netflix's three comic book series. Jon Bernthal expertly plays the role as a man suffering from PTSD. The only issue is that this isn't his show and that it sometimes doesn't give him much to do. Hopefully he'll get something worth two cents in the years to come.

See Also: Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman:: Dawn of Justice

Profession Most Likely to Be Annoyed by Game of Thrones

Recipient: Doormen

There were a lot of powerful moments in this season of Game of Thrones. However, there is one that is likely to resonate thanks to its brevity: "Hold the door." To viewers, this phrase is both heartbreaking and a joke on par with last year's "Shame." However, it's hard to imagine how doormen feel about the series knowing now that bratty teenagers will be going to hotels and asking the doormen to "Hold the door" without actually needing it to be hold. One can imagine them laughing at the one guy who doesn't have HBO (odd since most hotels have it). He will not understand why everyone is being so abrasive over such a dumb request. When they find out, they will grow to loathe the show for mistreating their courtesy.

Most Racist Movie

Recipient: Yoga Hosers

There is nothing wrong with Kevin Smith wanting to be friendly to the True North. However, his latest strange concoction maybe takes advantage of his friendliness and playful ribbing. What could just be an occasional silly accent choice turns into a barrage of content on par with the blackface of yesteryear. The accents are bad. The countless Canadian-ized products feel forced. Everything about the film is supposed to be lovingly silly, but comes across as a guy wanting to poke fun in a way that takes the heart out of an entire country. Maybe it's not the most offensive film of the year, but the way that it profiles Canadians is particularly awful and lazy. Just be thankful that Canadians are nice. They didn't cry when South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut did this same shtick better, so odds are that they'll just brush this off with more dignity than Americans would've done if reversed.

Best Reason That Tilda Swinton Should Play Every Role Ever

Recipient: Hail Caesar!

In case you were concerned, Tilda Swinton had a pretty solid 2016. While her role in Doctor Strange may have inspired unfortunate criticism, her work in A Bigger Splash managed to show that even without a big speaking role she could carry the film. Even then, Hail Caesar! was her true shining example of what she could do. Playing dual roles, she managed to add a perfect sense of madcap comedy to the film. Now that it has been explored, the question should be asked. How many characters should Swinton play in every movie she does from here on out? Some say that two is enough, but consider what she can do with nothing more than a wardrobe and a camera. Why she could win every Oscar ever with the charisma that she displays in Hail Caesar!. Make it happen, Hollywood. I have faith that you'll do the right thing.

Weirdest Moment Involving the Holocaust

Recipient: X-Men:: Apocalypse

Whether or not you loved X-Men: Apocalypse, there is one thing that likely stood out. There was a scene in which Magneto went to the concentration camps in Auschwitz. Encouraged by mutant Apocalypse, he is told to destroy the camp that filled his life with torment. It's a moment that manages to be striking and down right bizarre, going for symbolism that would be powerful if it wasn't such an off the wall idea to begin with. With that said, it's about as memorable as superhero films get in 2016. If the rest of the film was this insane, then maybe it would've been the best of the X-Men series. Instead, it's really, really, really weird.

See Also: Pokemon Go

Best Tribute to Prince

Recipient: Childish Gambino - "Awaken, My Love!"

Donald Glover had a banner year while managing to reinvent himself after leaving Community. Atlanta is one of the best new series of the year. However, his music career is even more striking. Considering that his past few albums have focused around rapping, it's bizarre to see him go into a full on singing album that is among the funkiest works out there. With that said, it's another great work by Glover that manages to turn his modern pop culture mindset into a traditional album full of ambient grooves that will make you nod along and even get grooving. It may not be entirely representative of what Prince stood for, but the energy definitely is there in ways that no other mainstream album really achieved in 2016.

Most Unique Depiction of Queen Elizabeth II

Recipient: The BFG

One thing is obvious. The Crown is arguably the best depiction of Queen Elizabeth II in 2016. She had such class and dignity that nobody even came close. Then there was The BFG, whose Queen of England had less of a familiar story. Proving to be a director who likes to break new grounds, Steven Spielberg's tale about big friendly giants went above and beyond by having the protagonist have an afternoon meal with her. The only issue is that the beverages that they drink are rather gaseous. Along with Corgis scooting across the floor with green clouds behind them, the flatulent depiction of the Queen is one of the most bizarre images in a family film this year. If nothing else, it's a sign that there's still places to explore when it comes to England's royal family.

Best Double Feature

Recipient: Storks, Sully

Every year there seems to be way too many films to see and even less time to see them. However, there are few double features likely to be as hilarious as the one proposed back in September in which the animated film Storks was paired with the Sully Sullenberger story Sully. If the joke is lost on you, just know that the former involves flying birds and the latter involves flying birds colliding with plane engines. It's a dark joke, and one that is made funnier by the timing of these two movies. The only disappointment is that this pairing really didn't take off and inspire some of the weirdest Fall viewing of the year.
 
The Citizen Kane of Useless Superheroes

Recipient: Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad was supposed to be the film that turned the worst superheroes ever into icons. To a varying degree, this happened. People still talk about Harley Quinn and Deadshot as being memorable performances. Even The Joker has received plenty of conversation, even if he's considered the worst depiction of the character ever. However, there is one character in particular who definitely is among the worst superheroes eve. Captain Boomerang doesn't make sense. He throws a boomerang, sure. But what does he really do? He doesn't really do much of anything in Suicide Squad besides grab beers and steals plush unicorns. Everyone else contributes to the team, but he doesn't really do anything worthy of being there. He's not even really a captain of his domain. If there's a more infertile superhero out there, then let's hope they never make it to the big screen.

Most Inspiring TV Show Moment

Recipient: Cindy Stowell in Jeopardy!

When one thinks about game shows, they don't usually think of memorable moments. However, December managed to squeeze one more silver lining into a year full of dread. Contestant Cindy Stowell died of cancer a week before her episode aired. She didn't provide any press about if she even so much as won a game. Yet she managed to beat a seven day champion and win for the next six days, becoming a Jeopardy Champion along the way. Her success is the perfect underdog story and only becomes better when considering that she planned to donate a large portion of her winnings to cancer research. She is the best of what society has to offer, and while it's sad that she's gone, it's great to know that her story could make an impact.

Best Troll

Recipient: Frank Ocean

It has been YEARS since we last heard from Frank Ocean, whose "channel ORANGE" proved to be one of the best albums of the decade. Then there was the follow-up. The question soon became if there would even be a follow-up. Ocean is a fairly private man whose output is meticulous and released on his schedule. For months there were so many false reports that his album would be released that it seemed like a hoax. Then came Endless, which was a cryptic music video. It seemed like that would be the end. Then came "Blond," which was just as good as Ocean's previous work, if not better. Still, his work managed to be painstakingly personal while also being secretive in other respects. If there's one troll that 2016 was glad to have, it was Ocean. At least his art is worth the frustration.

The Marketing Was Better Than the Movie

Recipient: Deadpool

If there is one film that made the experience of interactive media more fun, it was Deadpool. Thanks in large part to Ryan Reynolds' desire to have the merc with a mouth do anything, the film was everywhere without being obnoxious about it. Speaking as the film is all about breaking the fourth wall, the marketing definitely managed to play up that aspect, even creating an Honest Trailer that was hijacked by Deadpool himself. In fact, it's almost worth buying the DVD if it just features all the marketing. With that said, the film isn't bad. It's just hard to live up to a renegade campaign that made life a lot more fun by removing the pretentious text and just having fun with selling a product.

Why White People Need to Chill

Recipient: Beyonce - "Formation"

The one song that was inescapable this whole year was Beyonce's "Formation." Along with being the centerpiece to the excellent Lemonade, it proved to be controversial since its first announcement. She performed it at the Super Bowl, where audiences protested her riotous nature. Then came the music video with striking imagery and some unflattering things about Red Lobster. It even came up when the Republicans tried to pin spicy lyrics on Hillary Clinton supporting immoral behavior. "Formation" was a song that was greatly misunderstood (by white people). It was one that made Beyonce stand out as a defiant force. It made people wonder why a black singer should have so much authority. Mind you, this is all from white people who feel threatened. Just accept that not everything is for you. It'll help you sleep better at night.

Last Good Album of the Year

Recipient: Run the Jewels - "Run the Jewels 3"

In a year that seems to have too many harrowing tragedies, it's nice to know that the last week of the year at least has a new album that you can download for free. If you're looking to get some aggression out, it's a good use of your time. The only thing that's unfortunate is that the famous lunch between Killer Mike and Bernie Sanders didn't wind up as a collaboration on this album.

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