Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 3) (2017)

Since its inception there’s always been something a little off about this Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom. It’s not just the story itself that makes it unusual (although I can say with some measure of confidence that there are no other sitcoms about an escaped cult victim re-entering modern life), but the humor and the show’s…

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season 6) (2010)

It almost goes without saying that most (if not all) of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”‘s many seasons are excellent. After all it’s a show that was developed by a hyper-talented, multi-hyphenate cast and production team, and one that has somehow managed to stay ahead of every pop culture and socio-political developments over the year,…

Marc Maron – Too Real (2017)

One of the most immediate and accessible of Netflix’s excellent set of comedy specials, this Marc Maron special holds up to its predecessors: Maron himself seems to be channeling both Tommy Chong and George Carlin here, living up to his reputation as an articulate, thoughtful and sympathetic curmudgeon. It’s the kind of special that will…

Sun Kil Moon – Universal Themes (2015)

After being familiar with Sun Kil Moon only from his previous album, 2014’s “Benji”, I entered this album with an open mind but was faced with the same reaction as my first exposure: I respect the aesthetics and the straightforward nature of the lyrics, but there’s just something so patently earnest yet emotionless and flat…

What Happened, by Hillary Rodham Clinton (2017)

Like millions across North America (and the globe, really), I followed the toxic 2016 American presidential election with equal parts fascination and repulsion, stunned by its mean-spiritedness and unsure of its direction. Perhaps that’s why I found Clinton’s book so fascinating from the first few pages: It pulls back the curtain on a year-and-a-half long…

Björk – Homogenic (1997)

The Icelandic artist’s third solo studio album represented a vivid, surprisingly potent shift: Gone was the playful, electric sound that had defined her first two albums, replaced by a somber gloominess that occasionally threatens to engulf the entire album’s sound. However, in Björk’s extraordinarily capable hands, the album comes together thanks to its lyrical and tonal…

The Exorcist (Season 1) (2016)

On the one hand, calling this Fox series the best thing in the Exorcist franchise since the original feels reductive, because really, none of the sequels managed to be particularly good. That’s not the case here: Although it’s “inspired by William Peter Blatty’s novel,” there’s no denying that this is essentially “The Exorcist 5” as…

The Final Girls (2015)

Not unlike what 1996’s “Scream” accomplished, director Todd Strauss-Schulson’s valentine to 1980s slashers deconstructs the conventions of the genre, but goes further than “Scream” by dropping its characters literally in the middle of “Camp Bloodbath,” a “Friday the 13th”-like slasher. This allows Strauss-Schulson to play fast and loose with his movie, moving the timelines around…

Cooties (2014)

Fans of “Shaun of the Dead” or Peter Jackson’s “Dead-Alive” should track down this horror-comedy hybrid as soon as possible. Although it obviously has a smaller budget and scope than the aforementioned movies, it shares their glee at the destruction of the human body in the name of both horror and comedy, and moves at…

Piranha 2: The Spawning (1981)

No better or worse than the 1978 original, this barely related sequel was James Cameron’s first movie (although he later stated that he was fired after two weeks, with Ovidio G. Assonitis taking over). It’s got plenty of weak moments and strange elements that, I think, are intended to be humorous but come across as…

Blondie – Eat to the Beat (1979)

This is one hell of a rock album. Between “Dreaming,” “Atomic,” “The Hardest Part” and, my personal favorite, “Union City Blue,” what more could a rock listener want? It’s the type of album that is now beyond reproach, having been dissected and praised for decades already, to the point where it’s hard to discuss anything…

SZA – Ctrl (2017)

Somewhere between R&B and indie rock, this debut album by SZA is memorable for all the right reasons: The lyrics are effective and poignant, the music is the type of slow-groove that only grows better after each repeat, and SZA herself is an engaging singer, with a remarkably dexterous range. The album itself sometimes feels…