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Barack Obama 2019 favorites include Fleabag, Watchmen and Lizzo

A comic book reboot, a saucy British comedy, a surveillance book and songs by Lizzo impressed the former US president this year.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
3 min read

Watchmen tops Barack Obama's best of 2019 list.

HBO/Illustration by CNET

If you loved Watchmen, Parasite, Fleabag and Booksmart this year, you're in good company. Former US President Barack Obama revealed his favorite movies, books and songs for 2019 over the weekend, and the lists reveal some surprising choices.

"While each of us has plenty that keeps us busy -- work and family life, social and volunteer commitments -- outlets like literature and art can enhance our day-to-day experiences," Obama posted on his Facebook page on Saturday. "They're the fabric that helps make up a life -- the album that lifts us up after a long day, the dog-eared paperback we grab off the shelf to give to a friend, the movie that makes us think and feel in a new way, works that simply help us escape for a bit."

Superheroes, Fleabag and Korean horror


Director Bong Joon-ho's movie Parasite is explores the unusual relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

CJ Entertainment

"This year's list includes everything from explorations of class dynamics and relationships, to an inspired reboot of a classic graphic novel, to a portal back to one of the most special places in history -- an Aretha Franklin concert," Obama wrote of his favorite 2019 movies

"Of course, there's also American Factory, a film from our own production company, Higher Ground, that was recently shortlisted for an Oscar," Obama added. "It's our first offering in partnership with Netflix, and I'm excited about the other projects we've got in the works."


Jonathan Majors (left) and Jimmie Fails appear in The Last Black Man In San Francisco by Joe Talbot. It was met with acclaim when it premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Peter Prato/Sundance

Obama's eclectic movie list includes director Joe Talbot's The Last Black Man in San Francisco, a tale of an African-American man named Jimmie Fails who dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco.

The hit South Korean film Parasite also made Obama's must-see list. The unusual horror film directed by Bong Joon-ho is about class struggle, liars and family bonding. 

Obama also was impressed with director Martin Scorsese's crime tale The Irishman, Greta Gerwig's retelling of Little Women, Noah Baumbach's drama Marriage Story and Olivia Wilde's indie hit Booksmart.

Here's the full movie list.

Barack Obama

Obama also listed his favorite TV shows of the year, including Fleabag, Unbelievable and the comic book reboot Watchmen. This is extra hilarious when you consider the main character (and series creator) Phoebe Waller-Bridge masturbates to footage of Obama in the first season. 

Surveillance, sports and Melinda Gates

"Here are the books that made the last year a little brighter for me," Obama wrote on Saturday. "Most of them came out in 2019, but a few were older ones that were new to me this year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did."

Obama's top book recommendation is The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff. The nonfiction book explores the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control human behavior.

Barack Obama

Other books that made Obama's best of list include The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom, The Topeka School by Ben Lerner, Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates, and the collected works of Toni Morrison.

For sports fans, Obama also suggested the books A Different Way to Win: Dan Rooney's Story from the Super Bowl to the Rooney Rule by Jim Rooney and The Sixth Man by Andre Iguodala.

Obama previously listed his favorite books of the summer of 2019 here

Barack Obama

As for songs, Obama's favorites for the year include Juice by Lizzo, In My Room by Frank Ocean, Binz by Solange and Hello Sunshine by Bruce Springsteen. 

Barack Obama

Originally published Dec. 29.