Best of 2019

what I liked best in movies, books, plays, and games

Everyone’s looking forward to 2020, but I’m still looking back (which is at least incredibly on brand). Not sure if this is something y’all are much interested in, but here’s some stuff I loved in 2019!

Top Movies

2019 releases, ranked
Above are the top fifteen 2019 movie releases I watched last year, ranked. If you’d like to know all the 2019 films I watched, you can look at the full list here.

Adrenaline shot: Uncut Gems
Beautiful movement: Anima & Shadow
I cried: Little Women
It is what it is: The Irishman
It is trans: Alita: Battle Angel
Oh THAT’S how we could use CGI: The Irishman & Gemini Man
Surprised me most: A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
Throw away your pans: Dark Waters

And here’re some short things I wrote about a few 2019 films:
Uncut Gems
Atlantics
I Lost My Body
Dark Waters
Captain Marvel
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Top 10 first views in 2019 that weren’t released in 2019, alphabetically
8 1/2 (1963)
The Assassin (2018)
The Beaches of Agnès (2008)
Bound (1996)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
The Great Dictator (1940)
Metropolis (1927)
Modern Times (1936)
To Be Or Not To Be (1942)
Honorable mention because I’m cheating to include this in there: Night Nurse (1931)

There’s no space to say the things that should be said about these. Poetic cinema, masterful art, etc etc etc.

Top First Reads

Top 5 Novels/Novellas, alphabetically
Ancillary Series by Ann Leckie
Autumn by Ali Smith
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

The year I finally read Le Guin and Leckie and fell in love. Ali Smith taught me about an artist I’d never heard of, and Calvino will always satisfy my clever-structures-for-stories itch.

Top 5 Plays(ish), alphabetically (first time seen or read)
Betrayal by Harold Pinter, seen at 4615 Theatre
The Invention of Monsters / Plays for the Theatre by C. Dylan Bassett
Red Bike by Caridad Svich
Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris
Theatre: A Love Story by Caridad Svich

Red Bike might be my favorite piece of theatre right now. The Invention of Monsters / Plays for the Theatre is a compelling mix of poetry and play, and deserves to be performed in some form. I wish I could’ve seen more of these, instead of read them.

Top Games

Top 5 Tabletop, Card, & Board Games, alphabetically (first time played)
afab? more like BEEN STABBED (micro-LARP)
ECH0 (TTRPG)
Ex Libris (board)
Misspent Youth (TTRPG)
Monikers (cards)

*I had to edit this after sending it because I realized I forgot Ex Libris!
Really all I have to say here is play more indie-rpgs! They’ve provided me with peace and introspection AND are often Plain Fun Games that can hit specific topics you’re interested in better than forcing those topics into a well-known game that’s not made for them.

Top 5 Video Games, alphabetically (first time played)
Arcade Spirits (2019)
Breath of the Wild (2017)
Civilization VI (2016)
Sayonora Wild Hearts (2019)
Untitled Goose Game (2019)

Arcade Spirits gave me the option to change my protag’s look and pronouns in a way that was mostly fulfilling (let me be fat!!!)

Zelda is still waiting for me as my completionist ass tries to find every shrine there is. (Why have FUN when I can check off a to-do list???)

I’d never played a Civ game before last year, so Civ VI quickly filled the need-to-expend-anxious-energy space that Everything used to cover.

Sayonara Wild Hearts is just SO PRETTY and SATISFYING and honestly same for Untitled Goose Game (or maybe more petty and satisfying)

I wanted to play Neo Cab last year, but will have to save it for this one. And Kingdom Hearts 3 gets an honorable mention because my childhood, my stories.


Britt A Willis writes this newsletter and is a playwright, game writer, and designer in Washington, DC. You can find out more about their work at brittawillis.com or follow them on Twitter @feelingfickle.