Hey everybody! Super excited to make a debut on the GateCrashers website. If you don’t recognize my name, fear not—I was only very recently featured in the Pokémon episode at the beginning of the month. Thrilled to be here, my friends.
As you may have guessed, I’m Amanda! I work as a children’s book editor by day and dream of voicing animated characters at night. I read way too much fanfic, play video games almost exclusively to watch the cut scenes, and regularly cry about Tony Stark. I am 90% pasta.
Without further ado, let’s get cracking on that top ten of 2020 (in no particular order), shall we?
Beetle and the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne
A middle grade (ages 8-12) graphic novel by the incredibly talented Aliza Layne, Beetle, and the Hollowbones follows Beetle as she struggles to free her new friend, Blob Ghost, from the force that binds them to their dying mall while coming to terms with the fact that her friendship with her old friend, Kat, might be coming to an end…
All at once sweet, eerie, and delightfully queer-inclusive, I absolutely fell in love with Beetle and her friends. While I had the privilege of reading an early copy, you can grab this 2020 release wherever books are sold. I promise it’ll keep you warm in 2021.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), directed by Cathy Yan
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see many movies this year (and didn’t get to indulge in my favorite holiday vacation past-time of taking myself to see five movies in one weekend), but what I did get to see was simply pure magic. Birds of Prey was uproariously funny, wonderfully kick-butt, and the exact kind of fun I’m looking for when I walk into a comic film. Margot Robbie is my queen!
Palm Springs, directed by Max Barbakow
Anyone who’s spent five minutes with me knows how absolutely pumped I was about this movie. Time loops??? Irreverent characters who are soft on the inside??? Shenanigans??? ANDY SAMBERG????? That’s all I have to say on that. I’ve watched this movie so many times my Hulu account is comprised of nothing else.
folklore by Taylor Swift
In a year where I have very few places to travel to, it’s simply a crime that I don’t have as many opportunities to blast this album from my car stereo as it deserves. I am a newly minted Swiftie and this is the album that did it. The first time I heard “the 1”, I transcended from this mortal coil. I go to sleep thinking about this album. I wake up thinking about this album.
Don’t even get me started on evermore. We don’t have all day.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
I cannot stress this enough: I have played this game every. Single. Day. It is the ultimate Turn My Brain Off and Have a Good Time game. I’ve demolished and rebuilt my island six times since March. I have logged almost 1,000 hours on this thing. I have destroyed many a sleep schedule. I cannot be stopped.
Please come visit my island: DA-3658-3184-1448
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
If you were one of the many who were obsessed with Farmville on Facebook or Stardew Valley, then you’ll understand why I can’t stop playing Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town. It’s a farming sim that is, once again, an impeccable Turn My Brain Off and Have a Good Time game. (It’s also the only other game that comes close to the number of hours I’ve logged on ACNH.)
Turtle Creek by Rants Hemlock
I must address the elephant in the room: This not a real Netflix series. That’s because it’s actually a fake Netflix series based on a very real book. Told via SMAU (social media alternate universe). Which is just someone on Twitter making fake social media posts to tell a story. Why, yes. I certainly did put a fanfic on my top ten of 2020.
Turtle Creek tells the story of Richie Tozier who, after shooting to fame on a sitcom, joins the drama series Turtle Creek at the last minute, which infuriates the show’s star Eddie Kaspbrak, and leads to love and shenanigans. Yes, these are Stephen King characters. No, I haven’t read or seen IT. I will not be taking questions at this time.
The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott
While The Martian did, in fact, come out in 2015, that hasn’t stopped me from replaying this movie over and over and over throughout the year. It has been my go-to comfort film for when my anxiety is spiking. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Wong are just… very soothing. On top of it is a stunning display of the kindness and empathy that we, as human beings, are capable of, the entire tracklist is simply *chef’s kiss*
Days Are Gone by Vin Diesel
Listen… Vin Diesel said, “I’m gonna release some music now” and I very happily sat my bottom down and said, “Sing to me, Vin.” The star of arguably the greatest franchise of our time (The Fast & the Furious, for those not in the know) can do whatever he wants! He’s Groot! He’s the Iron Giant!
Also, I just think it’s a bop.
The Umbrella Academy 2, showrunner Steve Blackman
I was a big fan of the first season of Umbrella Academy; it was fun and irreverent and had character dynamics that I absolutely loved. But season two blows it out of the water for me. I loved the shift in sibling dynamics and how much richer they felt, especially between Vanya, Alison, and Klaus; I loved watching Five be taken down a peg or two while still maintaining his boyish arrogance and his fraught relationship with Diego; I loved Ben; and they finally made Luther interesting. I’m so looking forward to the third season but, in the meantime… perhaps I’ll go pick up the graphic novels while I wait.