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Entertainment Weekly


16 pop culture faves we're thankful for this Thanksgiving

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Taylor Swift/Youtube; Justina Mintz/A24 Films; George Kraychyk/Hulu

What we're thankful for this Thanksgiving

The past year has brought a lot of disturbing revelations about the entertainment industry, more depressing diversity statistics, and some truly grim box-office receipts. But as the holiday season arrives, there’s still plenty to be thankful for. This Thanksgiving, we’re celebrating female directors telling powerful stories and powerful actors telling directors’ stories; we’re grateful for both the terror of living in The Handmaid’s Tale’s Gilead and the joy of gossiping in The Bold Type’s fashion closet; we’re listening to “Despacito” as well as “Look What You Made Me Do.” Ahead, we give thanks for the year in pop culture.
Clay Enos/Warner Bros.

Wonder Woman

I am so thankful for so many moments in Wonder Woman. The scene where she single-handedly fought her way through No Man’s Land made my heart swell, but the moment I keep coming back to is her delight at seeing a baby for the first time. It was so wonderful to get a hero who could also be a human. — Dana Schwartz
Justina Mintz/A24

The Disaster Artist

You know what’s not tearing me apart? The Disaster Artist (out Dec. 1). Nine years ago, I read in Entertainment Weekly about the Citizen Kane of bad movies. I had to see it for myself, so shortly thereafter my friends and I gathered to watch The Room. The next few hours were filled with laughter, disbelief, joy, confusion, and a lot of shots of Tommy Wiseau’s bare ass. Substitute Wiseau’s behind for James Franco’s and that’s the exact same feeling I had watching The Disaster Artist, Franco’s masterpiece about the production of The Room. Come for Franco’s tour de force performance as Wiseau, stay for Zac Efron’s scene-stealing, beanie-wearing cameo. Ha Ha Ha. What a story, Derek! — Derek Lawrence

Super Mario Odyssey

I'm grateful for the release of a new Super Mario game. I'll be honest, I'm a little obsessed and have neglected my friends and family over Odyssey, but there are just so many power moons to collect that I live in this world now. And for that, I am thankful. — Natalie Abrams
Patrick Harbron/Netflix

Holt McCallany on Mindhunters

As FBI agent Bill Tench, McCallany brought heart to David Fincher's brainy serial killer show. With his raspy voice and his square shoulders, Tench initially comes off like an old-school clock-punching lifer, smoking cigarettes and golfing like everybody's dad used to do. But he's an ideal foil for Jonathan Groff's Holden: A world-weary mentor with a paternal side who's also a little freaked out about where his younger colleague's curiosity can lead. McCallany radiates decency, but there's a dark humor in the performance, too. I could watch him interrogate maniacs all day. — Darren Franich
Universal Music Latino

The Latin Music Boom

It had been a while since Latin music made a ripple in American radio, and then 2017 happened. Ever since I can recall, Latino music has been a part of my life and of the best memories I’ve ever made. Hearing songs like “Despacito,” “Havana,” “Mi Gente,” and “Chantaje” play on the radio and claim No. 1 spots in the charts made me very happy. But most of all I’m thankful for artists like Daddy Yankee, Shakira, Luis Fonsi, Maluma and Selena Quintanilla shining a bright and proud light on Latino culture. — Ernest Macias

Original Stories

To anyone in 2017 that made an original TV show or movie that was not a remake, a sequel, a prequel, a spin-off, a reimagining, a movie-to-TV adaptation, a TV-to-movie adaptation, or a live-action version of an animated classic, thank you. Thank you for giving us original stories to consume, even if it does occasionally result in a Geostorm. Also, thank you for Geostorm. — Dalton Ross
Jim Dyson/Getty Images

John Carpenter in Concert

Over the past couple of years, we have sadly lost several Masters of Horror: directors Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, and George Romero. So, what a treat that John Carpenter is not only alive and well but touring the country with his band, performing music from the soundtracks to his classic films, including Halloween, Escape From New York, and The Thing. To quote the late Roddy Piper in Carpenter’s They Live, the filmmaker has come to chew bubblegum and kick ass — and he is all out of bubblegum. — Clark Collis
Merie Wallace/A24

Movies Directed by Women

This year, I’m thankful for the many brilliant movies directed by women to have graced our screens. As sexual misconduct allegations in Hollywood continue to be made public, it’s been gratifying to see both newer filmmakers like Greta Gerwig and Margaret Betts and veterans like Kathryn Bigelow and Dee Rees make major statements with their work, asserting their voices and telling vital stories. Their movies are completely different from one another in genre, but works like Mudbound and Lady Bird, Novitiate and Wonder Woman, are all threaded by a sense of empathy and authenticity. Collectively, they’re an implicit, empowering rebuke to the industry's pervasive misogyny which continues to be exposed. — David Canfield
George Kraychyk/Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale

I’m thankful to The Handmaid’s Tale for scaring the bejesus out of me. It was gorgeous and creepy and terrifying and so on point for the state of our country right now. I had to stop watching it before bed (or chase it with a few episodes of Bob’s Burgers to cleanse my soul) because it actually gave me nightmares. Elisabeth Moss does more acting with her face than many other actors do with their entire body. (The “touching hands” scene between her and Max Minghella? Oh my god. Sexiest thing on TV this year, and they were fully clothed — andshe was in her usual Gilead regalia, so she was very clothed.) The series is complex on micro levels as well as macro ones — the relationships are complicated (Aunt Lydia’s love for Janine comes to mind — she’s responsible for her deformity but also very much loves her; and while we’re on the topic, can we get a “praise be” for the gem that is Ann Dowd? And Alexis Bledel is her most nuanced, mature role to date?). Everything about this series was perfect, down to the music that played at the end of every episode. Many of us had already read the book before watching the series, and yet it still surprised at every turn. I’m waiting for season two with bated breath — and antianxiety meds at the ready. — Carla Sosenko


Reading the disturbing accusations swirling around Roy Moore and the Alabama senate race, I keep wishing to hear one man’s perspective: John B. McLemore. Alas, the eccentric protagonist from the S-Town podcast died by suicide in 2015, two years before the podcast became a must-listen. But his perceptions of rural Alabama helped humanize a region I don’t necessarily understand. McLemore himself was a series of contradictions, and his ambivalence about his home state made him both a clear-eyed critic and a true son of the South. Fortunately, S-Town keeps John alive. — Jeff Labrecque
Justin Coit/Freeform

The Bold Type

I’m so thankful for my three new BFFs: Sutton, Kat, and Tiny Jane from The Bold Type. They really get me. — Breanne Heldman
DC Comics

Mister Miracle

Amidst this dark and tempestuous year, I find myself very thankful for DC’s new Mister Miracle comic. The title character is a superhero escape artist, originally created in the ‘70s by the late visionary Jack Kirby. But in this series by rising talents Tom King and Mitch Gerads, Mister Miracle faces his greatest challenge yet: escaping the “life trap,” the various indignities and complications of modern life that pile around us all to trap us. Scott Free doesn’t quite know what’s happening to him anymore (following a suicide attempt, he’s been drafted into an interstellar war), but he knows something is wrong with the world, and can no longer keep track of who’s a friend and who’s an enemy. He’s adrift in the life trap, but at least he has his powerful wife Big Barda by his side. It should all feel powerfully familiar to anyone feeling overwhelmed by the madness of 2017. We’re only four issues deep into the planned 12-issue run, but Mister Miracle is still the most cathartic piece of pop culture I’ve encountered this year. — Christian Holub

Taylor Swift

No one else is going to stan for Taylor Swift, so allow me: reputation is great, full stop. This is an album of songs created with radio airplay in mind, but with an edgy twist. Reputation jumps around genres and styles with Swift as the malleable showwoman at the center of a three-ring circus of her own creation. And while I'm not here to relitigate the wrong takes about lead single "Look What You Made Me Do," the song's bridge ("I don't trust nobody and nobody trusts me...") ranks with the highest of the high on the list of 2017 things that didn't suck. — Christopher Rosen
Bettina Strauss /The CW

Betty Cooper

Veronica with her bon mots and sleek style is the flashier of the B&V Riverdale duo. But as an optimistic girl-next-door I’m eternally grateful for Betty Cooper and her ability to embody that trope while also subverting it. From “Dark Betty” and her mental health challenges to her skills as a mechanic to her Nancy Drew tendencies to her relationship with Jughead, which makes a rare go of pairing the girl-next-door with the sensitive, vulnerable outsider “weirdo” rather than the boy-next-door jock, Betty Cooper is a triumph for girls-next-door everywhere — a chance to show the world we’re so much more than our cardigans and Peter Pan collars while never faulting us for our outward pale pink milkshake demeanor. Betty Cooper is not to be underestimated, and for that refreshing take on her decades-old character, I am so deeply grateful. — Maureen Lee Lenker
BBC America

A New Doctor Who

It’s about time. After 54 years, the Doctor — who has, until now, exclusively been played by white men despite being an alien with the ability to change faces and travel space and time in a box — will be played by a woman. Just knowing that Jodie Whittaker (so stellar in Broadchurch) will pilot the TARDIS has been a light at the end of the 2017 tunnel since her casting was announced in July, which prompted heartwarming videos of excited young girls reacting to the news. The next generation found a superheroic role model in Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman this summer; now, they get a science-loving Time Lord who uses her words to save the day. That’s a future worth visiting. — Kelly Connolly
BBC America

Girl-Powered Pop Music

Not a day goes by in which I’m not grateful for immaculately produced girl-powered pop music, but I give thanks for the sparkliest genre of them all with extra enthusiasm this year. From Camila Cabello’s triumphant secession from Fifth Harmony to Charli XCX’s “Boys” and its utterly transcendent music video to Carly Rae Jepsen’s irrepressible “Cut to the Feeling” and even woke Katy Perry and vengeful Taylor Swift — I love them all. Above all, however, I give thanks for Kesha, her Rainbow, and its lead single “Praying” — for its power, its grace, and that insane high note. — Mary Sollosi