Taunting us, yet again, with memories of a world in which one of the planet’s most powerful people was not a guy who considers Fox News paired with burnt steaks slathered in ketchup “a real hot date night,” Barack Obama released his annual list of his favorite pop culture of the year today. It is, unsurprisingly, a pretty good one, and we’re not just saying that because he agreed with most of our picks for the best movies of the year.
For instance: There’s our official favorite, foreign language delight Burning, getting the former-presidential credit it deserves. The list also includes a pretty nice mixture of festival darlings and popular features, from Black Panther to Minding The Gap, with stops for stuff like Eighth Grade, The Death Of Stalin, and Cannes winner Shoplifters. Obama also highlighted films like Annihilation, Blindspotting, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Roma, which we have to assume feels like a pretty big coup for Netflix. (Oh, and also the Mr. Rogers documentary, because not even a former president can stand up to that particular emotional juggernaut.)
Obama’s book picks tended toward non-fiction, including a winking nod to his wife Michelle’s Becoming (“obviously my favorite!”). His songs of the year, meanwhile, would probably make for a pretty kickass mixtape or Spotify playlist; we’ve got Prince, Chance, Janelle Monáe, The Carters, Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile, Cardi B, and a whole bunch more contemporary artists, along with the occasional old-school reprise.
Anyway, just a pretty good ranking of the year’s pop culture highlights, from a random guy who has good taste in music, maintains an interest in foreign film, likes his wife, and, you know, reads. There’s no reason for that to be nearly as depressing as it actually is, regardless of whatever job he used to have, or which illiterate, TV-binge-ing mook is occupying it now.