Only three things are certain in life: death, taxes and end-of-the-year “best of” lists.
The Avenue staff decided to continue this time-honored tradition because we believe nothing is more important than sharing curated lists about good entertainment. So, here are a bunch of college students’ thoughts on the best movies, TV shows, albums, fashion trends and, of course, memes from the last 10 years.
Cassandra — “Baby Driver”
There are plenty of movies where good-looking guys drive fast cars, but few have as much charisma and star power as Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver.” Starring Ansel Elgort as a young music-loving getaway driver emboldened to escape a life of crime after meeting the girl of his dreams, this flick has it all: witty dialogue, dynamic editing and a killer soundtrack.
Christopher — “Moonlight”
Movies, at their best, can show the viewer the world through the eyes of another human being, no matter how different that person’s circumstances might be from their own. Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” does just that, sketching a sensual roadmap to the soul of a South Florida native as he grows from a neglected child into a misunderstood man. It dissects homosexuality, racial tensions, class separation and growing up in the digital age all in one film.
Cassidy — “Game of Thrones”
There’s a reason why this is considered one of the biggest shows of all time— it’s just that good. “Game of Thrones” is based on the book series, "A Song of Ice and Fire," and follows powerful families competing for the “Iron Throne.” The show kept tens of millions of viewers coming back every week for the gripping storyline and attachment to the characters, even if a few beloved characters were lost along the way.
Nick — “The Leftovers”
It’s not too often a TV show can completely subvert your expectations as “The Leftovers” does. It was created by Damon Lindelof, co-creator of the TV drama series “Lost.” “The Leftovers” revolves around the aftermath of “The Sudden Departure,” a mysterious event where 140 million people vanished into thin air with no explanation. Lindelof constructed a world paralyzed by grief and struggling with characters who are trying, and often failing, to cope with the unexplainable. Throughout the 28-episode journey, you are fully on Lindelof’s rollercoaster. The story is in his complete control, full of so many crazy twists and turns that you stop trying to guess what’s going to happen next. With “The Leftovers,” Lindelof pushes the limits of television as an art form, and in the process, has created what I believe is the best TV show of all time.
Christopher — “Breaking Bad”
Though Vince Gilligan’s drama "Breaking Bad" thrived on ambiguity, moral and otherwise, there’s no questioning its greatness. The show's reach is long, including a stellar spin-off for one breakout character and a meditative epilogue for another. More than six years after it wrapped, Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of Walter White’s descent into underworld boss still haunts the conversations of TV buffs and even casual fans.
Cassandra: Lorde —“Melodrama”
No one does teenage angst quite like Lorde. Heartbreakingly authentic and masterfully cohesive, Lorde’s second studio album, “Melodrama,” is a huge leap forward from an already stellar debut, making her an indie-pop virtuoso for years to come.
Christopher: Kendrick Lamar — “To Pimp a Butterfly”
When Kendrick Lamar released his third studio album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” he spoke about the title’s contrast between a butterfly— delicate, bright and free— and a “pimp” — often thought of as aggressive, deviant and exploitative. The album itself is a dance between this dichotomy, one that black Americans know all too well: between pain and beauty and what happens when one is informed by the other. With his sharp and empathetic lyrics, he gives us the playfulness and joy of “King Kunta,” the frustration and didacticism of “The Blacker The Berry,” and the plain hope of “Alright.” The album discusses police brutality, facing your own mortality, alcoholism, religion, hope and hopelessness.
Cassidy: The 1975 — “The 1975”
The self-titled studio debut album by The 1975 sparked my love for the band. The album touches a variety of genres from rock, indie and pop, making their sound unlike anything I heard before them. It also didn’t hurt that 14-year-old me had a major crush on lead singer Matthew Healy.
Samantha — Bucket hats
The return of the bucket hat trend in this past decade has made a great addition to fashion. They are fitting for all kinds of settings ranging from a Saturday football tailgate to a day at the beach.
Cassidy — High-waisted pants
High waisted pants are a trend that will always come and go. Their popularity surged in the ‘80s and again in this decade. They are way more flattering than the low cut style popular in the early 2000s, plus they help add the illusion of height on short people.
Cassandra — “This Is Fine”
This two-pane image of a smiling dog seated at a dinner table, reassuring himself that everything is fine despite the rest of the room being doused in flames, procures one common response in college students far and wide: “mood.” Taken from KC Green’s webcomic “Gunshow” and popularized in 2016, the “This Is Fine” meme has withstood the test of time and is especially relevant in this time of finals.
Christopher: Kermit the Frog sipping tea — “But that’s none of my business”
In the olden days, passive aggression was a craft that had to be practiced and honed through years of precisely arched eyebrows and glances. We, as a society, needed a new way to brutally undercut someone while still maintaining an air of detached superiority. Enter the Kermit-sipping-tea meme. It is perfect for the detached humor that is in every popular show, from “Arrested Development” to “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” We live irony. “What’s the tea?” and “Spill the tea,” are all extremely popular phrases that have outlived the meme but carry on the passive-aggressive torch.