A Year in Consumable Art

Thursday, December 30, 2021

In your many hours poring over the juggernaut that is the Internet, maybe you have stumbled upon this meme of the two identical twins, creepy but iconic I must say, from The Shining, standing straight facing you as they have always been with uncomfortable, chilling inscriptions: 2020 & 2021. If that ain't an accurate representation of the past two years, I don't know what is. We are basically still in that pandemic era whether restrictions are lowered down to several subterranean notches. People are still lining up to be vaccinated because the anti-vaxxers had a change of heart at the very last minute, just because their chances to socialize are thin to near nil. So yeah, the two years are identical twins, sharing the same frustrations, the same penchant for worries. 

So if there's one thing that is constantly changing, it's the plethora of consumable art in the forms of literature, motion pictures, TV shows, vlogs and the like. There is a wealth of boredom busters this year which I haven't really partaken to be honest because of my aversion to bandwagoning so I ended up consuming what created stirrings from years back. The thing about me is I have to wait for my mood and when it does ignites, there is nothing that will occupy my mind but that. 

So what I will be rounding up in this post is everything that made my year, art-wise. If you are expecting for some Gauguin and Van Gogh, this is not it. 

In order for me to remember everything, I used an organizing app called Notion because yes, even if we remember it all too well, it's also a year that we like to forget, only to cripple the pangs of the panini. 

1. The Hours | Michael Cunningham- There is a lengthy review about this book over at my personal Facebook account and I can't repeat myself here. All I know is that the ending took my breath away. I live to tell the tale and to shout to whoever is listening: Read The Hours, skip the movie version if you may, and understand why this deservedly won the Pulitzer. And for someone who hated reading award-winners, this changed my mind. The sentences here are too exquisite for words. 

2. Kissing in Manhattan | David Schickler- I once read of this book from a review by Jessica Zafra and imagine the shrieking when I found this lounging in the discount bins, unpicked by untrained eyes. THIS IS KISMET everybody! This is a delightful and acerbic short collection about the inhabitants of a certain Manhattan apartment who go about their twisted lives, entangle in the tethers of their relationships, and free-falling in the destiny that binds them. I read this for 3 days and for someone who can't commit to longform everything, this is a record! 

3. Convenience Store Woman | Sayura Murata- There is supposed to be a full-blown commentary of this book in this blog but I never get around to doing it because life happens but I managed to quip a droll riposte that I logged in at Notion: Deceptively simple tale of nonconformity that is anything but simple but always, always deceptive. I want to add more to it but the book is so slim, I'm afraid if I factor in few details, I am robbing you of the opportunity to check this out which will be a travesty. This is clearly my favorite book of this year. 

Other ongoing reads: The Virgin Suicides, Big Magic, Writing Down the Bones, Olive Kitteridge, Holes and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler. 

1. Miss Congeniality- You can always rely on Sandra Bullock to always deliver. 

2. Little Women- This adaptation had me questioning why I allowed myself to watch this only now when it's clearly magnificent in all the sense of the word. 

3. I Know What You Did Last Summer- I don't know about you but this 90s flick always gets me whether for swooning or pumping. Definitely, this slasher film is the latter. 

4. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer- Still as unsettling but did not live up to the gore of its predecessor. 

5. Marriage Story- If you are like me who pays particular attention to dialogues even with minimal movements, let's say movies with swashbuckling swords play, then this is for you. I would marry Adam Driver in a heartbeat. 

6. To All The Boys I've Loved Before: Always and Forever: The perfect ending to a trilogy that I love so much. I know for a fact that if I find myself at a crossroads of here and there, I'll always choose this beginning, middle and end. Obsessed with the soundtrack, too! 

7. Ponyo: You don't watch a Studio Ghibli and not to be gripped with overwhelming ambrosia of wonder. 

8. Flipped: This is a rewatch forever. I don't even need to justify this now. 

9. Sailor Moon Eternal: Go for the nostalgia, stay for the gorgeous visuals and storyline. 

10. About Time: It's an upgrade on the disappointing Time Traveler's Wife although I love the book. This one's a reality check without relying heavily on romance. 

11. Notting Hill: 90's Julia Roberts and the dreamy Hugh Grant are match made in heaven. This is a rewatch because it was on DVD the first time. Thanks to Netflix. I enjoyed this heavily because they don't make these kinds of movies anymore. 

12. Serendipity: First of all, that title is dreamy AF. I mean destiny could suffice but it's a tad too corny. Second, when Annie Lennox sang Waiting in Vain from one of the scenes, even if what's unfolding are not necessary tear-inducing, I cried. This is so silly romantic I can only love it. 


14. Jaws: This iconic blockbuster about a ravenous great white shark terrorizing the summer tourists of Amity delivered the thrills and the shrills!

15. Ruby Sparks: The first movie off our Friday Night Movie Club. what if you can conjure out of thin air who you are writing right now? How will you go about it? How will you control her? Are you fair to your character that you created? Can she be herself? This is the premise of this film and it is interestingly the movie, if you are a writer, the realization of your dream. 

16. Book Club.  Four respectable women formed the eponymous Book Club and read the salacious Fifty Shades trilogy to add pizzazz to their mundane lives. Although this is not as enjoyable as The First Wives Club. 

17. When Harry Met Sally: A charming film that stands the test of time! and oh, I'll have what she's having. 

18. Bride Wars: Nothing makes me happy than a beautifully realized chick flick!

19. Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Stars: I love it! Vanessa Hudgens is just soooo good. It's predictable I know but I want to be rubbed with holiday cheer so I really couldn't ask for more. 

20. All Too Well: The Short Film: It's 10 minutes of pure artistry and sheer emotional tour de force. 

21. Single All The Way: It’s a Christmas movie starring gay friends-turned-couple who needed to be nudged that what what they have is beyond friendship and their love story is right in front of them. What not to love? 

22. Love Hard: Bound to be a Christmas classic, just so you wait. 

23. Don't Look Up: The only disaster movie that I genuinely like. People describe it as satirical, I call it eye-opening. 

24. Holidate: Emma Roberts, who I love on the short-lived Scream Queens, has been too jaded about a prospect of love during the holiday season only to be swept by someone who's even more jaded. 

25. From Up on Poppy Hill: Definitely underrated especially in the midst of other great Studio Ghibli movies but I like to keep it that way. I want it to be eclipsed by say, Spirited Away ( my fave from the legendary animation studio) because I would like to maintain an almost spiritual attachment to it. I couldn't stop thinking about it even if months have passed since the last time I saw it. 

26. Whisper of the Heart: Much has been said about Studio Ghibli's masterful take on fantasy but their silent love stories are just as riveting. If you have a dream and you won't let others take it away from you because you are holding onto one promise by one person who gets you through and through, then this film is a comforting hug. 

1. Every Single Album, Taylor Swift: Nora Princiotti and Nathan Hubbard break down the entire discography of Taylor Swift with all the panache of collective Swifties. If you are not a fan of the artist that they feature (they are currently doing Adele), chances are at the end of each episode, you will definitely be. 

2. Ang Walang Kwentang Podcast with Antoinette Jadaone & JP Habac: What do you get when you pair two of the most engaging directors in the Philippines today and have them dish on popular culture, relationships-gone-wrong advises via Sta. Roselle Nava Tulungan Mo Po Kami which is equal parts witty and hilarious and just about everything that they like to shed light on? You get this podcast, schooled, learned while rollicking on the floor laughing. 

3. Switched on Pop: “Musicologist Nate Sloan & Songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture”. Their dissection of Butterflies by Kacey Musgraves made me even love the song more and I don't think for one moment it is possible. 

4. Sway by New York Times: Particularly the Nobel Prize Winner Maria Ressa’s episode because she’s one woman who never sways to fear. As we all should. 


1. Solar Power | Lorde: I am not really a Lorde disciple so I really did not dig this but it has interesting cuts which admittedly I have forgotten now. 

2. Star-crossed | Kacey Musgraves: Nothing to be compared to Golden Hour which is more accomplished, this album is a tragedy in 3 parts and it delineates all the situations that lead to the divorce. But it is a beautiful album through and through. 

3. Red (Taylor's Version)| Taylor Swift: There is a reason why critics considered this her best album. The 10-minute All Too Well is worth the wait and hype! Dayumm! 

1. Trese: Pinoy lore for worldwide audiences. This adaptation deserves a resounding applause for breaking the barriers of what is known to be dominated by Japanese and American. Yes, we can compete with the best of them. 

2. Big Little Lies Seasons 1 and 2: The book saved me last year during the pandemic. This series does not disappoint at all! The episodes that cover the 2 seasons are some of the finest hours in television! It's a masterclass on writing and acting and I'll laugh at you if you still haven't seen this. 

3. Ru Paul's Drag Race ( Seasons 4-13, All Stars 4-6) This is probably my favorite reality series of all time. I only have these words to say: This show is what? SICKENING! OKUUUUUR!

4. Schitt's Creek ( Seasons 1-6) This is the sort of TV show that you watch for just one episode and YOU ARE COMPLETELY PULLED IN FROM THE GET-GO AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT YOU ARE LAUGHING LIKE CRAZY HELL, CRYING EVEN WHEN THE SCENES UNFOLDING ARE NOT PARTICULARLY LACHRYMAL AND JUST MIRACULOUSLY HEALED. I slap myself silly for sleeping on this when this started back in 2015 so I consoled myself from the sting by just combing the ends of the cyberspace to learn everything that my midget brain could handle about it. This show is a gift wrapped in the most splendiferous of papers with ribbons and bows and all the frou frous. If you trust my taste, GO TO NETFLIX, SEARCH FOR IT, PRAY BECAUSE YOU KNOW MIRACLES ARE UPON YOU AND PRESS PLAY. You're welcome! 

This is quite a handful this roundup, I must say. But this is me paying homage to the creators of each piece of art that I mentioned above because hey, let's face it imagine our collective lives without books to read, movies and TV shows to watch, new albums and podcasts to listen to? You might as well be dead right? So consume art to live. You owe it to yourself. 

Happy New Year to you! 



Cover: Tom Mossholder on Unsplash

Notebook layout: Canva

Photos: Google Images, Pinterest. IMDB, Booklist