It’s been a year full of ups and downs. I’m going to share some of my opinions of some pop culture things. I’m going to start things off by talking about the lows and then working out way up. Please note that this is not a complete list. There was a lot of ground to cover.

Lowlights:

Systemic Racism and Oppression

Okay, this isn’t exactly pop culture related, but it touches on everything else. It informs all of the decisions we make and the culture in which we live. You can try to ignore it, but even if it doesn’t directly impact you, you’re probably benefiting from it. I’m not going to preach, I’m just going to lay this out there because it ties into the next point.

All of the Gorram Whitewashing

It was 2015. Seriously. Why are we still casting white people in the roles of people from other ethnic backgrounds? We had white Egyptians, white Asians, and white everything else. Look, people, this is just ridiculous. Fortunately, the more egregious examples of whitewashing suffered at the box office. Unfortunately, it’s going to take Hollywood some time to learn their lesson.

Donald Trump

It’s not funny any more. It stopped being funny ages ago. That’s all I have to say about that.

Midlights:

Marvel’s Movies

They weren’t bad. I mean, I know bad movies. They just didn’t wow me this year. Avengers: Age of Ultron felt too rushed and too busy and Ant-Man was good but felt unnecessary.

Leonard Nimoy’s Death

I was on the road up to a LARP convention when I found out that Leonard Nimoy had passed. I sat there in the passenger’s seat of my brother’s car, looking out of the window and trying not to show that I was crying. My brother was either really oblivious or just very good at pretending not to notice. It was like losing a family member. Yes, we lost so many other legends last year, but his demise was the only one to make me really cry. LLAP.

Caitlyn Jenner

This year, Caitlyn Jenner presented herself to the world in all of her glamour and glory. Of course, the media jumped on the story. On the one hand, she’s done a great deal for visibility. On the other, her approach has been from a place of privilege that she’s yet to truly acknowledge. As the kids would say, the media’s fave is totally problematic.

Highlights:

Movies

Mad Max: Fury Road

I WILL RIDE ETERNAL! SHINY AND CHROME!

WITNESS ME!

Okay. This movie was something we didn’t know we needed, but something that was most welcome. It was well-written, well-crafted, and slickly edited by Margaret Sixel. It was definitely one of my cinematic highlights of the year.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

It makes me so sad that this movie didn’t get the audience it deserved. It’s witty, charming, and so very gay. I mean that in the best possible way. The two male leads have a completely serious argument about fashion and it is glorious. I’m looking forward to sitting my friends down to watch this with them.

Jupiter Ascending

This movie is beautiful, ridiculous, and a fairy tale I would have loved growing up. It might not always make sense, but the movie just makes me happy. I wish more movies were like it, full of original ideas and an earnestness most modern movies lack.

Inside Out

When feelings have feelings, everyone hurts. I mean that in a fantastic way, of course. It was a Pixar movie. Of course crying was inevitable. This movie is going to be a great resource for parents and their kids in the future. I know I’ll be looking forward to watching this with my future spawn.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I couldn’t get through a list about 2015 movies without talking about the starship in the room. I’ll be posting my review later this week, but damn. Just damn. This movie. I took my parents to see it on Christmas Day. It was the best way to spend the holiday.

TV Shows

“Galavant”

This show is a meta, self-aware, vaguely medieval musical adventure. It’s like it was created and designed with me in mind. It’s hilarious and just started its surprising second season. I’m hoping against hope that it miraculously gets a third. They essentially dared the network to cancel them at the end of the first season. We’ll see what happens this time. Fingers crossed!

“Empire”

While I haven’t kept up with the second season, the first one was captivating. One of my first thoughts upon finishing the first episode was how Shakespearean it was. It felt a lot like an updated King Lear. There’s a lot going on in the show. I love the scheming, plotting, and performances from the stellar cast.

“Agent Carter”

While Marvel’s movies may have suffered in 2015, its TV shows were something else. One of the stand-out shows, of course, “Agent Carter.” It was great to see Peggy start to come into her own. That said, it could benefit from a few things like more women in the writer’s room and a more diverse cast.

“Jessica Jones”

What can I say about this show that hasn’t been said elsewhere? Yes, “Daredevil” was fantastic, but there was just something about “Jessica Jones.” We got a complicated woman, flaws and all. There was a villain who made your skin crawl. At least it made mine crawl. There were close female friendships and a story of survival. It’s hard to watch, but oh so good.

“Sense8”

This show. I can’t even describe it. It’s got an amazingly diverse cast of incredible performers. It’s a beautiful and meaningful show with all kinds of twists and turns. I need to sit down and re-watch it one of these days.

Music

Beneath the Skin – Of Monsters and Men

I ended up snagging this album due to the trailer for The Good Dinosaur. They used “Crystals” and that song just spoke to me. The rest of the album is fantastic. This Icelandic group knows their stuff.

25 – Adele

We waited years for a new Adele album. Suddenly, “Hello,” we have one. Yes, she did another album of those slow, heartbreak ballads that she does best. How could I not enjoy it?

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + the Machine

Speaking of ladies with big voices, let’s talk Florence Welch for a little bit. Her latest album just hit me in “all of the feels.” I’ve used it for writing inspiration and for just sitting back and chilling. I love her range and creativity.

After It All – Delta Rae

This band is one of my most favorites of all time. The day “Daredevil” dropped, I went to their concert instead of watching the show. My friends chose otherwise. They were wrong, of course. As good as “Daredevil” is, it’s not nearly as awesome as seeing Delta Rae live.

Hamilton – Original Broadway Cast

2015 saw the Founding Father fandom return with a glorious, multicultural vengeance due to the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda. I would give so many things just to be able to see this Broadway musical live. This album is my “getting stuff done” music. It’s hip, it’s hot, and it’s on everyone’s lips. I’m also not going to lie: I’m giving serious thought to tattooing Hamilton lyrics on my person somewhere.