Twenty-Sixteen. It doesn’t matter what your personal proclivities are, what your politics are, what kind of movies you like or books you like. In 2016, there has been something (more likely, many somethings) that has smacked you in the jaw, kicked you in the “Excuse me, sir,” or ripped out your heart, threw it on the floor, and stepped on it. Hard.
It’s been that kind of year. From an entertainment point of view, that’s been especially true. If you’re like me, and despite trying to keep the world of actors and characters separate, you get to know and love the actors, actresses, directors, musicians, and all the others who come together to make the movies and TV shows that we appreciate.
It’s difficult to see Alan Rickman in movie after movie and not just love that guy. Even when he plays the bastard. Especially when he plays the bastard!
Damn it. Played the bastard. All this damn past tense. David Bowie was. Prince did. Kenny Baker had been. Kenny Baker! God took R2-D2 back to heaven.
This year, man. This year. I can’t wait ‘til 2016 is past tense.
The “In Memoriam” segment of the coming year’s Oscars is going to be a defiant heart tug that will make the most macho of men weep like a 4-year-old who’s just lost the tastiest lollipop in creation.
I don’t have to tell you all the crap that’s happened. I think that, in the coming years, there will be documentaries about 2016. Or dramatizations, like on those unsolved mystery shows. There will be a personification of Death wearing running shoes, sweeping through places like Syrian civil wars and Ecuadorian earthquakes, taking a break every few days to trek to a celebrity’s house and rip his or her soul out. Death be not proud, but Death be swift and busy.
Sure, some of the years have had particularly catastrophic disasters, but the rhythm and regularity of 2016 has been particularly operatic. It has been a regular symphony of destruction.
The “In Memoriam” segment of the coming year’s Oscars is going to be a defiant heart tug that will make the most macho of men weep like a 4-year-old who’s just lost the tastiest lollipop in creation. From remembering the heart-rending deaths that we knew about to being shocked at the ones we missed (“George Kennedy!?!?! When the hell did that happen?!”), the Academy Awards 2017 ceremony is going to be a weepfest of massive proportions.
I am supposed to be looking forward to 2017 right now. Which I am. There are some really exciting properties coming to the big and small screens next year. Wonder Woman is going to be playing lead in the first female-led superhero movie from the DC/Marvel side of things. (I’m aware of Barb Wire from the ’90s, but I’m talking about from one of comics’ major two houses.)* And if you like Neil Gaiman in any capacity, you HAVE to check out the new American Gods show on Starz. There’ll also be a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, and I’m already in love with Baby Groot.
In fact, there were some really stellar moments in the past year. We found Dory, Captain America went to war with Iron Man, Alexander Hamilton received the greatest cultural revival any of the founding fathers has witnessed. Chewbacca mom, Fantastic Beasts, and that Boston College basketball player who just cried through his post-game interview. Those moments were great! They were heartwarming.
I remember the genuine joy I felt going to see Captain America: Civil War in the theaters. And Star Wars! There was a damn Star Wars movie that came out, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Seriously.
For the first time in history, the people who think Abe Vigoda is dead are correct!
These are the moments that will get thrown under the bus when we think about the fact that there will be no follow-up to Purple Rain, that the Goblin King will never be seen again, that there will be no Die Hard sequel in which you find out that Hans Gruber miraculously survived and has been living in Buenos Aires this whole time. And for the first time in history, the people who think Abe Vigoda is dead are correct!
Do better, 2017. The bar is set pretty low, so it shouldn’t be that difficult. Please don’t disappoint me.
So, when I wrote this and submitted it, it was just before Carrie Fisher was hospitalized for a heart attack that would claim her life on December 27. I now mourn the woman who was a part of an intergalactic space opera that helped shape my view of the universe and who also encouraged my appreciation for women (physically, spiritually, and intellectually). I was touting Star Wars as a redeeming factor for 2016, even though we lost R2-D2.
And now we’ve lost a princess. The Princess.
In my head, I realize there is a likely correlation between all these celebrity deaths and the heavy drug usage among people of a certain lifestyle. This will probably be the first of many years when people pass away younger than what you would consider “a proper age.” In fact, several of the people we said goodbye to this year were actually pretty up there in age. Leonard Cohen was 80, Zsa Zsa Gabor was freaking 99.
The point is, death sucks. Even though, as an empty slate, 2017 may be worse, it may be better. Either way, 2016 still is like an extraordinarily bad day at the office. At the end of the day, it still ends. And the promise of the next sunrise has awesome potential.
2016 had good news for all of us, too. Let’s latch on to the positives that come our way next year, and celebrate what we have and have had.
Keeping my fingers crossed for 2017.
*I realized on my own that I was totally forgetting Elektra (2005) and Supergirl (1984), but they were generally crappy and have more or less fallen out of the cultural consciousness. Rather than being an influence on things to come, they are lessons in what not to do.