Everything I Saw That Made This Year Suck Less

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by editor Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.This week:What did Bradley Cooper do to you?All of my favorite things.The Best Things of 2023I spent some time curating a personal Best

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This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by editor Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

This week:

The Best Things of 2023

I spent some time curating a personal Best Movies, Best TV Shows, and Best Performances list. (As in: I spent hours on a Notes App poring over those things.) But when I looked at them, they didn’t reflect the joy I felt this year while covering pop culture. That made me sad.

Things are rough; they have been for years now. But there was so much joy to be had these last 12 months. So instead of those lists, here is a rundown of things that popped up in my mind when I thought, “What did I watch or see that made me happy this year?” It’s a nonsense list. Most of these things actually made me cry. But I thought they were beautiful moments, and they moved me. And this list, true to the prompt, made me really happy to write. I hope you enjoy, and reflect on your own picks as we head into a new year.

When Christine Baranski made that dramatic turn to walk down the church aisle at her sister’s wedding in The Gilded Age.

Rachel McAdams’ monologue about why she doesn’t see her parents anymore in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret., the best acting of the year.

Heléne Yorke and Josh Segarra having a relationship fight that felt realer than Marriage Story in The Other Two, a series so funny that it has also been called modern TV’s 30 Rock.

When the ghost of Princess Diana showed up in The Crown and I got to say, “Is that the ghost of Princess Diana?!?”

Jennifer Aniston lying vadge to butthole on Jon Hamm in their post-coital scene from The Morning Show, the perfect encapsulation of how the show is so wonderfully human-adjacent.

Every single Beyoncé mute video, including any taken from my section at MetLife Stadium when the girl behind me wooed immediately.

Gif of Beyonce performing in Hot Pink gown


The Renaissance tour movie being somehow better than the Renaissance tour, the best live show I’ve ever been to.

The gay pride episode of What We Do in the Shadows, particularly when Kayvan Novak returns from outer space naked.

Throw a dart at any scene from the final season of Barry, and that could be my favorite one.

Jonathan Bailey’s speech as Tim about love with no regrets delivered to Matt Bomer as Hawk in the finale of Fellow Travelers, the most I cried this year.

Watching Mrs. Davis, the series about nuns, AI, and Nazis, and having no fucking clue where the show was going at any moment.

Kelly Clarkson performing “Mine” specifically for me (in my mind) at her Vegas residency to heal my broken soul with her voice and lyrics.

Michaela Watkins’ supporting turn in You Hurt My Feelings, the undersung performance of the year.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel absolutely nailing its final season.

The atomic bomb sequence in Oppenheimer. (I whispered, “Wow.”)

When I saw the young actors from Theater Camp, possibly the movie I enjoyed the most this year, performing after its Sundance premiere.

When I watched Poker Face in its entirety while on a long flight, the most enjoyable travel experience I’ve ever had.

gif of Natasha Lyonne performing in Poker Face


Honestly, all the parts of Saltburn you all are arguing about.

Harrison Ford riding a horse on subway tracks in the latest Indiana Jones.

Tom Cruise parachuting off a cliff in the new Mission: Impossible.

The Broadway revival of Merrily We Roll Along, which was honestly as good as everyone said it would be.

Housewivesssss! (Why single out a moment from a franchise that is my light, my love, my family?)

When Janet Jackson whipped her gigantic high ponytail around at her concert.

Padma Lakshmi tearfully announcing the winner of Top Chef: World All Stars, possibly the finest season of a reality TV competition I’ve ever watched, hosted by the best there is.

Danielle Brooks breaking out into laughter to kick off the third act of The Color Purple, the grace note on one of the most formidable screen performances I’ve ever seen.

The ABBA Christmas SNL sketch, which made me start coughing because I laughed so much.

That video of Catherine Zeta-Jones rehearsing “All That Jazz” that went viral recently and left me spellbound.

The restaurant opening episode of The Bear, particularly Abby Elliott’s performance—I don’t know why I was so touched by it.

The sounds of Lady Gaga at her concert finishing the end of her Top Gun ballad as I was in a car driving away from the arena, having suffered a back spasm from being old and dancing and thus being forced to leave early.

That scene between J. Smith-Cameron and Kieran Culkin in the final season of Succession, but also every face Sarah Snook made that somehow reinvented the entire concept of TV acting in thrilling ways.

gif of sara snook in her role as Shiv on Succession


That sex scene in Passages.

Every second Sandra Hüller proved she was the year’s best actress in Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph delivering a performance I’m going to love rewatching each year over Christmas in The Holdovers.

Lisa Ann Walter as Melissa Schemmenti geeking out over the fire trucks on Abbott Elementary.

When Jamie Tartt and Roy Kent rode bikes in Amsterdam on Ted Lasso, as if I hadn’t already written that as fan fiction.

Teyana Taylor becoming an acting titan in A Thousand and One, an undersung movie more people should be talking about.

When I discovered that Found on NBC is the best new show of the year.

My nephews singing “Peaches” after watching The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Andrew Scott and Jamie Bell’s big scene in All of Us Strangers, which I’m still crying about.

The sixth time I saw Titanique.

Cher and Darlene Love singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” together at the Rockefeller tree lighting ceremony, a joining of three icons (the tree is the third, duh) performing my favorite Christmas song.

When Gwyneth Paltrow whispered “I wish you well” at the end of her ski trial.

gif of gwyneth paltrow on the witness stand.


Greta Lee hugging Teo Yoo at the end of Past Lives.

The last scene of Killers of the Flower Moon. (And not just because I really needed to pee.)

All of Barbie when I saw it a second time, but that time I was sober and could appreciate it.

Ariana Madix dancing to Britney Spears on Dancing With the Stars, which made me clap and say to no one in particular, “Yay for her!”

The tweet announcing that Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again are both coming to Netflix Jan. 1.

What to watch this week:

The Holdovers: This is a new holiday classic, and it’s now available to rent on VOD. (Now on VOD)

Only Murders in the Building: The charming first season is going to start airing on ABC, if you haven’t watched yet. (Tues. on ABC)

What to skip this week:

Berlin: Such a disappointing prequel to the really fun Money Heist series. (Now on Netflix)

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