Prematurely Introducing 2020: The Year YOU Control Nathan Rabin

Illustration by the great Felipe Sobreiro, illustrator of The Weird Accordion to Al book.

Illustration by the great Felipe Sobreiro, illustrator of The Weird Accordion to Al book.

One of the ways I have survived forty-three years of wrestling with Depression and Anxiety and twenty-two years working in the depressing and anxiety-provoking field of pop culture media, the last four and a half as a full-time freelancer, is by continually giving myself something to look forward to. When the day is long and hard and perilous, being able to concentrate on a distant goal can make a bleak world seem more bearable. 

That was part of the genius of The Weird Accordion to Al. For two and a half years it gave me a huge but realistic goal to work towards. Then it gave me something to be proud of and something to monetize in the form of an upcoming book that is going a long way towards keeping me out of the poorhouse. 

I was almost unbecomingly proud that I finally managed to finish The Weird Accordion to Al this year. I’m almost as proud of the way the second My Year of Flops is going. I still love writing the column nearly thirteen years on (next year is the site’s Bar Mitzvah year), it’s still a wonderful challenge and, judging from the page-views and comments y’all apparently still dig it as well. 

In 2019, I introduced and executed the second My Year of Flops and finished The Weird Accordion to Al and adapted the column into a nifty book coming out November 27th of this year. But 2019 was also not so secretly the year of Control Nathan Rabin 4.0 as well. 


You constantly need to reinvent yourself if you want to make a living as a full-time pop culture freelancer in 2019. Your choices are stark and clear: evolve or die. I’ve had to continually introduce new ideas just to stay at the same level of popularity and profitability. Without the regular influxes of income Control Nathan Rabin 4.0 pledges provide I would have worked incredibly hard in 2019, executed a bunch of ambitious, challening projects and ended the year making substantially less money than I did the year before. 

That, as you might imagine, is not an appealing prospect, particularly since I rely upon the Patreon income from this site to live. It’s not walking-around money; it’s the money I use to pay my mortgage and the bills.

To that end I am very prematurely announcing a very big idea I am very excited about sharing with y’all, in part because it’s the most inclusive, participatory idea I’ve ever had. 

Basically, 2020 will be the year YOU Control Nathan Rabin on both a macro and a micro level. Last year I did a series of theme months I really loved and got a great reception, most notably Rodney Dangerfield Month and Corey Feldman Month. AND of course I love Control Nathan Rabin 4.0 because it brings me closer to y’all and provides essential income for the website. 


2020—The Year You Control Nathan Rabin brings these two ideas together. You can still, of course, pay between one hundred and seventy-five dollars to have me watch, and then write about a movie of your choosing for Control Nathan Rabin 4.0. But in 2020, and only in 2020, I am introducing a new wrinkle and a new feature. 

Basically, for the low, low price of 99 dollars (so much cheaper than a regular Control Nathan Rabin 4.0 pledge!) you can nominate a theme for a Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place theme month. I plan to do twelve theme months in 2020 and I do not plan to half-ass it either. No, every theme will have between five to seven meaty articles devoted to it along with other Happy Place content

I will also be nominating a series of potential theme months. The idea is for my ideas for themes to go up against yours in a poll that begins today and officially ends December 31st, 2019. 


Here are some of my nominations for theme months to get us started and provide a sense of what kind of themes would be appropriate for this feature: 

Phil Hartman Month 

Direct to Video Sequels month 

Mismatched buddy cop month 

Hip Hop Movie month 

Podcast Month 

Jeff Goldblum month

If you choose the 99 dollar “Controller” pledge you can either write a paragraph to convince Happy Place patrons why they should vote for your choice, make a short video or just introduce your selection without an explanation. The quicker you make a “Controller” pledge the more time you have to wrack up votes. 

AND, if we end up using your nomination for a theme month, you get to choose the first entry! It’s a real twofer.

I’m obviously hoping this pumps some desperately needed income into the site’s Patreon but I’m hoping this will also be a way for me to have an even closer bond with you, the reader. What do you want me to write about in 2020? What would you love to see me cover? What is this website missing, in your estimation? How can we go from great to almost inconceivably amazing? 

Think of this as the listener request month from We Hate Movies on steroids. And LSD. On MARS! 

2020 is an election year and I am campaigning hard. Like a Presidential candidate I want your enthusiasm. I want your passionate investment. I want your vote but I also want your money, or rather need it in order to keep the lights on and feed the family doing what I love, which is also, not coincidentally, the only thing I know how to do professionally. 


So please do participate in this awesome experiment! I would love for there to be a vigorous debate as to what 2020 should look like here so please do consider taking part in 2020: The Year You Control Nathan Rabin because without YOU this project just doesn’t make a goddamn lick of sense. 

Will this succeed? I have absolutely no idea but I’m eager to find out!

Make a Controller (or any other level) pledge over at