As this decade comes to a (blessed) close, GQ contributors past and present—alongside a few noteworthy friends—have built a virtual time capsule to celebrate some of the finest gems from the past ten years. Here are some of the pieces of culture from the ‘10s that we don’t want to be lost to time.
The Eyeslicer/Kati Kelli
As everything went online this decade, I found myself drawn to IRL experiences—but particularly ones that had an eye to the future. The Eyeslicer, an underground web series built around incredible short films and wild internet content, was one of the most thrilling things I saw—but even more so, one of the most thrilling things I experienced. Maybe you did too. Through the back half of the ‘10s, The Eyeslicer popped up in cities across the country, often in places like roller derbies and porn theaters. Screenings were parties, and somehow they were at once secretive and inclusive. The show’s taste is particular, but also prescient. Several of the filmmakers featured in the first season soon thereafter went on to make exciting feature debuts. The show’s second season was just released this summer, and somehow it was even weirder than the fist. The highlight, for me, was Kati Kelli, whose beauty influencer parody videos are some of this decade’s funniest, most cutting, and truly most bizarre works of art. Tragically, Kelli died this year, shortly before the season was released. The show was clearly trying to promote her work; I hope, at least to some extent, it can immortalize her.—Max Cea
Birds of Passage
This movie is great. All the juxtapositions of the traditional beliefs clashing with Western culture were done in a way that I had never seen before. And it was incredibly exciting and truthful and powerful. And also, it does great things with genre, where you feel like it's potentially going to be just a typical drug lord movie. But it's not: it becomes this family drama.—Robert Eggers, (director, The Lighthouse)
Storm Area 51
There is no use in predicting the next viral hit on the internet, for it’s a beast that can’t be dictated by lowly rules like reality and common-sense. Sometimes it’s a piece of pop culture or a song that makes the rounds online, and sometimes it’s a Facebook event about storming Area 51. More than two million people clicked “going,” and so a joke about wanting to “see them aliens” blossomed into one of 2019’s most wholesome, stupid memes. There were endless tweets about what rescue pet aliens, local news reporters said “Naruto run” on air, and the Federal Aviation Administration posted two temporary flight restrictions. For a brief moment, the Area 51 raid brought everyone together while sending the government into a chaotic frenzy—and that’s what encapsulates the best of the internet. In the end, about 150 people showed up to the entrance of Area 51, and that’s why you should never trust an RSVP on a Facebook event.—Iana Murray
Twin Peaks: The Return
I have to admit, I didn't watch all 23 hours—or however long the entire series was—of Twin Peaks on Showtime. But I found it to be one of the most radical and experimental and wildly original things that I've ever seen broadcast. So beautifully done. David Lynch is a groundbreaker. He was given a special Oscar at the Governor's Awards this year and he deserved it. He'd changed the range of possibilities of what contemporary narrative can be, and the stylistic language. And I think he did something that exceeded even his own remarkable history. There are parts of it that are almost like installations in a museum by contemporary artists. I mean, it was really out there and I really was just spellbound watching some of it. Some of the most radical experimental parts of it were the most beautiful. I think people dug it, but in some ways I think people didn't know exactly what to do with it. It's probably going to be something that will be reinterpreted and ingested for years to come. But that was a remarkable production.—Todd Haynes (director, Dark Waters)
Ryan Gosling’s Drive Jacket
Here it is. The most iconic movie garment of the decade. The best Halloween costume of 2011. The jacket that buried Ryan Gosling’s affiliation with the Mickey Mouse Club and The Notebook and cemented him as one of the most badass stars of his generation. We could say more (in fact, we already did), but suffice it to say that the silk scorpion jacket from Drive deserves to live forever, whether in a time capsule, a museum, or the never-ending closet of the mind.—Colin Groundwater
Hounds of Love
I have a movie. It's called Hounds of Love. It's an Australian film. Hardly anybody saw it because I'm the only one whose ever talked about it. But it's about these murders that happened in Perth in the '70s. It's one of the most amazing films and it's a first-time director. He worked with a comedian who's a murderer, an Australian comedian, and then this other actress, but it's so fucking good and you can tell how comfortable the actors are on set because of how insane they made it. And I saw it and I was like, "Holy... alright, well I saw a preview of murder." And I was like, "Hey, yeah. Yeah. You're going to do this." I'm always like, "How are you going to do this?" He did it so perfectly in a way that's like, oh, you don't need to show the graphic stuff in order for other people to get the picture.—Lorelei Ramirez (comedian, actor, Los Espookys)
There's something so serene about this Vine-turned-six-second-video. The joke is obvious, sure, and it makes me smile every time I watch it, but I also imagine a Walgreens (Algreens if you will) where "Let me... be the one you come running toooooo" plays on repeat through the store's speakers while I look for allergy meds. It's a warm, inviting rebrand Walgreens should seriously consider.—Alex Shultz
Kanye West’s Saint Pablo Tour
When images began circulating of Kanye’s Saint Pablo Tour, it was clear he had turned the arena experience on its head. The show looked less like a concert and more like an intergalactic performance art piece. Kanye hovered on a U.F.O-like stage, illuminating crowds in an otherworldly orange glow. By taking his show to the sky, Kanye fostered an environment where concertgoers could dance, move, and sing with one another like never before. The energy on the floor proved irresistible to even the most famous of attendees: Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, and the Kardashian family often skipped VIP in favor of the show’s famous mosh pits. Innovative in both visuals and experience, the Saint Pablo Tour stands out as one of the most unforgettable concerts of the decade.—Alex Wedel
“lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to”
“lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to” is a genre of music as much as it is an aesthetic ideal. Lo-fi hip hop is something you’ll probably recognize, even if you can’t identify it. It’s in every coffee shop and day-time bar in the country. Chill, mellowed out, hip-hop beats that lull you into a comfortable state. It’s the perfect salve for any college student who’s pulling their hair out, staying up all night to write essays. Accompanying the music are looping visuals—the most famous one being a person studying for a test and writing in a journal at a desk in their room filled with books and plants. They listen to music as they work, and their plump striped cat sits in the window, staring outside at the inclement weather, keeping them company throughout their work. It’s a miniature, idealized world to help people escape and get through their not-so-idealized one.—Gabe Conte
It Chooses You, by Miranda July
I'm a fan of anything and everything Miranda July does, but her book It Chooses You may be one of her most underrated. She wrote it while making her film The Future as a way to procrastinate and sidestep anxiety and confusion about the project. She ends up talking to a bunch of strangers, calling numbers from the classified ads of the local paper. The people she meets end up influencing the film, so I think of the movie and the book as one thing. In everything she does, there's the sense that she's following what the world shows her and translating it earnestly for the rest of us, disregarding expectations of form.—Lucy Dacus, (singer-songwriter)
Online pranks operated in a beautiful place in the early 2010s, take-proof and without irony. Now, everything is a prank. The late-2010s so wore us down that being irony-free is simply not an option. Hoaxes and lies are so hard to distinguish sometimes that the concept of harmless joshing just can’t compete anymore. Like Nathan For You taught us, a prank can’t be kept up forever. If I could tear anything kicking and screaming into 2020, it would be the idea that a man playing saxophone shirtless in a shopping mall could be the most engaging thing I’d see online that day, or that calling up a tired housewife and playing John Cena’s WWE entrance music over and over could end with a friendly roundtable discussion instead of a harassment lawsuit. I don’t think we’ll ever get pranks back; they were great while they lasted.—Tom Philip
This isn’t really a piece of culture and it’s kind of a stupid answer, but I really hope that wired headphones don't go away completely. I'm incredibly frustrated by constantly having to charge everything.—Robert Pattinson (actor)
If you’ve ever felt any kind of way about your dad—love him, hate him, don’t know him, never heard of him, heard too much about him—the 2013 movie About Time will fuck you up. Directed by Richard Curtis and starring Domhnall Gleeson (incredible here, as always) and Rachel McAdams (perpetually underrated), About Time is ostensibly a movie about time-travel, and the ability to change your past and take things back. But most of all, it’s a movie about cherishing the time you have with the people you love, and never taking a single second for granted. Only fitting that a movie quite literally about time finds its way into a time capsule.—Brennan Carley
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GQ's subjective look back at a year that just wouldn't stop.
Originally Appeared on GQ