Oh this is exciting news.
It’s with great pleasure that I’m happy to announce the first ever Giddys. Yes, the Giddys – awards in excellence across the vast culture landscape presented by Giddy Up America and that speciality pillow company that’s packaging features the inventor looking super stoked about his product. It does look like a pretty nice pillow. I’ll give him that.
The Giddys are presented to the people and places and things that helped make the soon-to-be-ending year tolerable. At face value, this would seem like a pretty low bar. Tolerable? No sweat. But then we remember that 2017 was a Goddamn grizzly bear of year; a year that might have finally proven the previously, casually-tossed about statement, ugh, everything is terrible.
In 2017 that statement became fact: everything was pretty much terrible.
Ah, but it all could have been so much worse if not for the winners of the 2017 Giddys. So without further ado, I’d like to present the winners of the first ever Giddys.
The Music Category
Best Effin’ Rock Song of the Year Despite What You Previously Thought About the Artist
“Kiwi” by Harry Styles
Young Harry pushed aside contenders from bands like the Foo Fighters, Royal Blood and several others to win this award and yes, Harry Styles more than deserves it. Have you heard “Kiwi?” More importantly, have you listened to “Kiwi” with a completely open mind about the gentleman performing it? That second part is almost more important than the first because it could be easy to get fooled by the One Direction-centric past of Styles’. Block that out though because apparently as Styles traveled around the world crooning pop ditties for youngsters he was biding his time listening to the best that 1970’s rock has to offer, as is evidenced by his solo debut and specifically the song “Kiwi.” This is more serious than when I realized I kind of liked Justin Bieber and perhaps further proof that we should be open to people changing.
Wow. Look at us learning something right off the bat.
Album Best-Suited to Listen to While in the Middle of a Car Chase
Royal Blood How Did We Get So Dark?
Of course being in a car chase is one of the several things that this second release from the British duo Royal Blood makes me want to do, but it’s the act that seems to be the one that sticks out the most. Royal Blood are just two dudes, but they sound like a ball-busting symphony of heart-pounding, foot-stomping mayhem-producing truck drivers of rock ‘n roll. They’re the kind of rock band that could trick you into thinking that rock music actually has a future, provided that future is governed by a band like Royal Blood.
Album Most Likely to Encourage You to Explore the Band’s Discography
Portugal. The Man Woodstock
Woodstock is the band’s ninth release, although that number could actually increase if you did some did some digging and unearthed some random EPs and limited releases. It had been four long years since their last album was released and during that time they worked with a variety of producers, had fits and starts and trials and tribulations before pulling Woodstock together, an album anchored by one of the songs of the year “Feel It Still,” which might be impossible to not like, even just a little.
Prior to this year Portugal. The Man were arguably the second most successful music group to come from the wilds of Alaska and were known in their own little circles, circles consisting of forward-thinking neo-hippies and Mike D of the Beastie Boys. And while they did have some recognition out there based on the strength on past releases, “Feel It Still” really crashed them in the mainstream. However, they are far from a one-hit wonder though and thanks to the beauty of something like Spotify, their history is easily accessible.
Come On, This Was the Album of the Year
Kendrick Lamar Damn
Because it was. Because it made you think more than any other 2017 release. Because it got you hyped, it got you somber, it got you mad and it got you to continually be impressed with the future of the rap game, Kendrick Lamar.
Just as in 2016 it was Beyonce’s Lemonade and then everyone else, 2017 was Damn and everyone else.
Album That Was 60% Great, 40% Not-So Great But We’ll Let That Slide Because the 60% was Like, Really Great
Calvin Harris Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1
So on the one hand, this album features three songs that made my list of the Best Hey Oh! Songs of the year and one or two others could have been on there as well. But with a path paved by “Rollin” and “Slide,” Harris’ latest album seemed like a can’t-miss. But here’s the thing, it kind of wasn’t. It got a little too DJish, more than I for one would have liked.
Yet the album will endure thanks to the strength of those first songs that were released and a handful others. It’s just not a lock from start to finish, which I think people assumed it was going to be. I’m not mad Calvin Harris, I guess I’m just a little disappointed.
The Television Category
Best Show That Made Me Think About My Dream House
Big Little Lies
If Big Little Lies was just an empty vessel gussied up with idyllic scenery and super sweet houses, it’d still be worth watching. So the fact that it was actually a gripping story and featured some amazing performances almost felt like a bonus. The real star of the show was the abodes the main characters were living in though, wonderfully spacious and near-perfect, luxury properties with the kind of ocean views you dream about.
However, I’m still luke warm on the idea of a second season, if only because I think the novel concept of leaving well enough alone is somewhat of a lost art these days. When it comes to season one though, I’d argue with anyone that it was one of the five best TV shows in 2017.
The Show That Made the 1970’s Look Effin’ Terrible the Best
At one point following an episode of The Deuce, my wife asked me if I liked it mainly because it was a David Simon joint, Simon being the one behind The Wire, which is my favorite show of all time. It was a fair question, but I said no. It definitely helped knowing Simon was involved, but I don’t consider myself a Simon-loyalist, someone who has blindly pledged my allegiance to him. I mean, I really like Generation Kill and I thought Show Me a Hero was a good, but not to the extent where I was then automatically on board with The Deuce because it was a Simon show. I was more inclined to give it a shot, but it wasn’t at the point where it was exempt from the two episode rule.*
*Any new show gets two episodes automatically. You can’t make a decision on whether to stick with it or not until you’ve watched the first two episodes.
I was interested in The Deuce because it looked entertaining and focused on time of noted upheaval in New York City. Any lingering connections to The Wire was strictly gravy. As it turns out The Deuce was everything I had hoped for and on top of that, it was generous in it’s tips of the hat to The Wire lore. It was the best of present, while being wonderful to the past. It also was a show that featured some remarkable dialogue, killer performances and was captivating in how small and intimate it felt. It was as far away from the sprawling vastness of a show like Game of Thrones as you could get and as a result, it was refreshing. I loved how other main characters would be there in the background of another scene featuring other main characters.
The Show That Also Made the 1970’s Look Effin’ Terrible, but Due in Large Part to Serial Killers
Mindhunter double-dipped on you and you might not have even noticed. On the one hand it was a slow-moving, intellectual deep dive into the psyche of the criminally insane and those that seek to study them. But on the other hand it was a fairly straight forward police procedural. If the show was just one or the other, I don’t think it would have had the impact it did, but because it was able to straddle that line and be both shows at once only helped.
The Show That is Still the Best Despite a Few Hiccups Here and There
Game of Thrones
Because Game of Thrones is still the big kid in class and that’s not going to change any time soon. No matter how many foolish zombie-hunting expeditions that are kind of a waste of time happen.
Hands Down, the Most Unpredictable Show on Television
The Good Place
They can reset everything on this show whenever they want and it wouldn’t seem forced or unbelievable because of how well they have set everything up. It’s the only show on television that when it starts, I have no idea what’s going to happen and when it’s over, have no idea where it’s going. The Good Place has that one thing that almost no one else on television has anymore: unpredictability.
And also Ted Dansen.
And Kristen Bell.
And the dude that plays Jason.
And fountains of mashed potatoes.
The Toughest Watch You Should Stick Around For
This true crime, docu-series about the murder of a nun that evolves into an expose into rampant sexual assault and abuse most likely committed by a priest and subsequently covered up by the church is a tough hang. I don’t know how you could watch more than one a night.
The Keepers is worth it though because it’s one of those stories of darkness that need to be shown the light. It also features two ladies that could figure out this whole Trump/Russia thing by Christmas if we asked them too.
The Movies Category
Most Frustrating, Yet Enjoyable Display of Naive Optimism
The Lost City of Z
So this dude becomes an explorer and becomes obsessed with Zed, the mythical lost city of Z that is hidden deep within the heart of Amazonia, or as he calls Aamah-zone-eyah. Charlie Hunnan is British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett and I’ll be damned if his endless determination to uncover a city that might not even be there isn’t endearing. His treatment of the natives he encounters along the way? Yeah, not as endearing, but I’ll give him a pass. Maybe.
Sweetest Movie That Features a Killer 9/11 Joke
The Big Sick
The story of how Kumail Nanjani and his wife met is in fact, incredibly sweet and the movie that they made about that story is just wonderful, a real treat and I say that in all seriousness. It also features what could only be considered the one joke about 9/11 that would be considered socially acceptable.
Best Movie of 2017 to Feature Tom Hardy Wearing a Mask to Cover Half of His Face and Garble His Speech
A year hasn’t officially hasn’t happened until Hardy appears in a movie that features him wearing some sort of mask and speaking in a way that at best, you’re able to understand every other thing he says.
The One Movie That We Can All Agree Was Pretty Good
Some people might love it, say it was amazing. Others might just say it was good, maybe it was okay. But through some level-headed debate and thoughtful discourse, a common ground of “pretty good” could be attained across the board.
The One Movie That I Didn’t See and Probably Won’t But It’s Okay Because We Saw Murder on the Orient Express Instead and While That Movie was Fine, It Definitely Wasn’t as Good as This Movie Most Likely Is
Yeah, but Murder on the Orient Express? It’s the straight up train porn for those diehard train enthusiasts among us.
Most Enjoyable Movie with the Most Confusing Plot
No really, she was an American, posing as an English spy, who had the Russians fooled she was a Russian spy?
How effin’ long was she undercover for?
Also, why do spy agencies always keep some kind of notebook filled with the names and addresses of all of their spies? That shit is always getting stolen! Learn from your mistakes, spies. Commit that shit to memory like a spy is supposed to.
The Best Sneaky Good Movie of the Year
You know, I thoroughly enjoyed that movie. Thoroughly. I’d watch it again, wouldn’t even think twice. Once it comes on HBO, all bets are off. It’s totally going to be the movie I watch at least a part of once a week.
The Obligatory Tip of the Hat to Get Out
I think it was the best movie of the year.
The Podcast Category
Most Effective Way of Keeping Me From Skipping the Commercials
Pod Save America
I still skip the ads sometimes, but I don’t skip them all the time and that’s not something I can say about every other single podcast I listen to. I appreciate the banter and the jib jab and the occasional needling of the sponsor and the ad copy.
Best Twenty to Thirty Minute Recap of the Previous Sunday’s Football Games
This Ringer podcast hosted by Michael Lombardi and Tate Frazier is like The Daily, but for football fans. They don’t go to in depth on any one game, but give you enough to be able to have a firm grasp of what went down on that one game you totally didn’t watch, but would like to feel like you did. I also like the rapport the hosts have, Frazier being the bright-eyed young buck and Lombardi, the old head who has been around the league and back again.
The Best Podcast That Could Be Considered A Little Much but is Actually Really Good
Young Charlie operates on two tracks, one set in the 1969, following the murder of Sharon Tate and company by Charlie Manson and the family, and one set in the decades leading up to that, painting a picture of how Manson came to be the deranged lunatic cult leader he was in 1969. The 1969 timeline is largely straight-forward, not many flourishes to be found. The historical timeline plays like a book on tape and is dangerously close to being comically over-written. But whereas it walks right up the edge, it never crosses it.
The Best Episode of The Daily
September 27, 2017
The episode explores the very real consequences of the fake news disaster zone we are currently living in. The Daily has been required listening almost every morning, but this episode was an outlier, spending the entire episode on one story and unspooling it like a true crime podcast. It was a welcome break and their best episode of the year.
The Podcast Most Likely to Inspire a Shitload of Imitations in 2018
The further away you get from S-Town the more you appreciate it. I think you also forget how great it was and how emotional it could be. It’s not the first re-listenable podcast, but it could be worth a second spin around the block.
1. Ever since my husband saw Harry perform “Sign of the Times” on SNL, I’ve had to wonder if he’s in love with him.
2. Eric Howk of Portugal, The Man is an awesome musician and a wonderful advocate for the disabilities community. I’m so glad you included them.
3. Is it possible for Kendrick Lamar to release an album that isn’t full of bangers? My guess is no.
4. I watched Big Little Lies just as I’d come home from the hospital from having my son and…. Adam Scott, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley were the only reason I stuck it out. I’d already read the book and I found it to be a bit dry as well. I know – it’s an unpopular opinion.
5. Lost City of Z was entirely fantastic. The loss of closure for the family reminded me of the same vacancy you feel at the ending of “Changeling” with Angelina Jolie.
6. The layers of “Get Out” were immaculate; the fruit loops and milk in separate dishes to represent the separation of “whites” and “colored” despite the need of the two to come together in unison for pleasurable consumption and the use of the deer metaphor (deer being pushed out of their habitats and run down by the vehicles of a forceful species) as comparison to the oppression of minority groups was subtle and wonderful.
7. Another wildly unpopular opinion: GAME OF THRONES IS AWFUL.
Thanks for the list! I quite enjoyed it. Best! Xoxo
Also, “Mindhunter” and “The Keepers” we’re also great.
Okay, I’m done now. 😉
Ha! Thanks for the comments!
Whoa, lots of hot takes there. But even still, I love Portugal the man. So original. And BLL could be dry but I think overall it was good. Thanks for reading!