100 things I liked in 2018

  1. Adopting a cute little tabby cat named Ruby.
  2. Doubling down on being away from Twitter and starting my very own Mastodon instance, laserdisc.party.
  3. Starting a brand new long-term movie podcast with my friend Michelle where we put the IMDb Top 250 in a bracket and work out which one is best, single-elimination style. It's called Middlebrow Madness and it's great fun to do.
  4. The podcast actually gave me an excuse to rewatch a handful of masterpieces: Paper Moon, Unforgiven, Sherlock, Jr., Modern Times, Spirited Away, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Paths of Glory, Howl's Moving Castle.
  5. David Fincher's Gone Girl. I made the key mistake of watching this on Valentine's Day.
  6. Listening to “Plastic Love” by Mariya Takeuchi pretty much first thing at work every day.
  7. Turning 30. Had a smoked meat dinner with friends and loved ones. It was sweet.
  8. Mandy. My most anticipated film of the year, my favourite film of the year, and one of my favourite films of all time. Also the late, great Jóhann Jóhannsson's score for this movie is the stuff of drone-metal nightmares, it rules so hard.
  9. Attending the Fantasia International Film Festival as a badged member of the press for the first time. I swear I'm gonna frame that pass and lanyard and put it on my wall. Also everyone at Dim the House Lights put in incredible work: Michelle on The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot, Chris on Cam, Ross on Cold Skin, and yours truly on Relaxer.
  10. The aforementioned Dim the House Lights, the brainchild of me and my pal Juan, still going strong and nearly old enough to go to kindergraten.
  11. Live music! Seeing They Might Be Giants, one of my favourite bands of all time, at a tiny-ass venue with about 200 people there. Seeing The War on Drugs close out the Jazz Festival with a sea of fans.
  12. It was a good year for phone gaming. Florence knocked me on my ass. I sunk many hours into Pocket-Run Pool. Donut County was incredibly fun.
  13. Becoming a patron of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Quebec.
  14. The Jon Bois/Felix Bierderman team-up Fighting in the Age of Loneliness, an Adam Curtis-esque five-part documentary about the history of mixed martial arts. While I'm here I should also mention Bois' Chart Party video about March Madness and his output on Dorktown.
  15. Now that I think about it, SB Nation has been consistently putting out some of the best stuff on YouTube. Shout out to their shows Beef History and Rewinder.
  16. Going to an orchard and eating apples fresh off the tree.
  17. Sorry to Bother You. I can't believe something this off-the-wall and incendiary made it to multiplexes.
  18. Using what little handiness I have to turn a ribbit cage into a rat mansion. Thank you, extra-large roll of chicken wire from Canadian Tire!
  19. Doc Destructo (a.k.a. one half of the awesome WCW podcast The Greatest Podcast in the History of Our Sport) going long on the failed 90s fighting game Tattoo Assassins. Also his follow-up video on ill-advised FMV erotic thriller nightmare Tender Loving Care was the first Great Thing I saw in 2019.
  20. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
  21. Spencer Hall on Anthony Bourdain (RIP).
  22. Two podcasts from the Ringer network of products: one is The Watch (Chris and Andy are some of the most thoughtful people out there regarding pop culture) and The Rewatchables (fun civilian film-crit, curating what is basically a canon of “cable movies”).
  23. Finally buying derekgodin.com and making my own little Web 1.0 homepage.
  24. The Daily Beast's Jeff Maysh on the criminals that rigged the McDonald's Monopoly game for over a decade.
  25. The Strategist's list of the 100 greatest pens.
  26. Tarot apps: the Golden Thread Tarot, the Mystic Mondays tarot, and the Kawaii Tarot.
  27. Gizmodo's Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on the legend of the Doves type
  28. Watching so much Night Court while between jobs that I ended up using its theme song as my ringtone. Also it turns out I only really watch TV when I'm unemployed.
  29. Losing my job but getting a better job in the same field.
  30. Ty Segall's fantastic cover of Hot Chocolate's “Every 1's a Winner.” Here he is with his band playing it on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Actually, all of Freedom's Goblin was great.
  31. A nice spring jaunt to the city of Rimouski.
  32. Continuing the lineage of the American Band Championship Belt.
  33. Finding a pair of leather Chuck Taylors at a thrift store that fit my clown feet.
  34. The legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada.
  35. Flying Lotus and Claire Denis in the Criterion closet.
  36. A Star Is Born. Just about as perfect as a Hollywood drama can get. And “Shallow” fuckin' bangs too.
  37. The ongoing excellence of the All Fantasy Everything podcast. I wrote about it a little bit here.
  38. I got paid actual-ass American money to write about Basic Instinct. Shout out to Juan for getting me the gig.
  39. Eating at Denny's for the first time. They sure do know their way around a milkshake.
  40. The Ringer's Brian Phillips on Facebook.
  41. The Marvin Visions typeface.
  42. Windows96's excellent vaporsynth concoction One Hundred Mornings.
  43. JANK CITY. My friends and I get together and play Magic: The Gathering, except instead of playing good cards, we draft those 100-card repacks you get from the dollar store. It's the best thing.
  44. Semi-related: the New Yorker's Neima Jahromi on Magic: The Gathering's 25th birthday.
  45. Also semi-related: some of my pals opened up a game store! Shout out to the crew at the Silver Goblin.
  46. Still semi-related: MtG Arena going intop open beta.
  47. Joining a union.
  48. The ass-whipping delivery device known as The Night Comes for Us. These Indonesian stunt teams are something else. I gushed about this movie here.
  49. My conversion to the church of Bulk Barn.
  50. I got an owl kigurumi for Halloween and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't one of the more comfortable garments I currently own.
  51. The always wonderful Austin Kleon on third spaces.
  52. My friend Anastasia's borscht recipe.
  53. You Were Never Really Here. A startling piece of direction and performance.
  54. The I Don't Even Own a Television podcast. This is where bad books go to get dressed by by two smart, thoughtful dudes.
  55. The vegetarian poutine from Copper Branch.
  56. Onra's Nobody Has to Know, which is a continuation of my love of City Pop and... I guess “beat tape-core?” For my money, “Love Triangle” is the standout track.
  57. Desert Bus for Hope. Great community, great stream, great cause.
  58. I tried streaming video games a couple of times. It was fun!
  59. Jon Hopkins' Singularity. House music to wake up in the desert to.
  60. Leaning heavily into the side shave as my default haircut.
  61. Good show notes for podcasts.
  62. The infinite vaporwave radio station known as VaporFM.
  63. Plex has been a gamechanger in the way I watch stuff at home.
  64. Support the Girls. Between this, Results, and Computer Chess, Andrew Bujalski has made three of my favourite movies of the past five years.
  65. Taking longs walks.
  66. The great Dan Olson had a hell of a year, the crowning achievement of which was his three-part, 160-minute “lukewarm defence” of the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. (You can start with part one here.) His video on the use of metaphor in Annihilation is also quite good.
  67. Gritty, the freaky-looking mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers, becoming a weird leftist icon.
  68. Cooking with new cookware.
  69. The Cannes cut of Sergio Leone's swan song Once Upon a Time in America.
  70. The New Yorker's Hua Hsu on Environments
  71. Budget Bytes, the web site that has basically fed me and my family for the last few years.
  72. GQ's Zach Baron on Brendan Fraser.
  73. Jenny Odell's mind-melting article in the New York Times about sketchy Amazon storefronts.
  74. Captioning mistakes.
  75. The Secret Broadcast, a podcast that emulates numbers stations.
  76. Beefing up my copy editing shelf.
  77. Mission: Impossible – Fallout. I love silly spy shit and wackadoo stunts. That fight in the bathroom is a thing of beauty.
  78. Related: Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie lay the smackdown on motion smoothing.
  79. My ninth anniversary with Steph.
  80. Stephen Thomas Erlewine on “Weird Al” Yankovic.
  81. Going back and jamming a bunch of episodes of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
  82. Evan Puschak, aka Nerdwriter, put out the video that made me go back and watch all those Late Late Show episodes, which was released in 2015. But he put out a lot of videos this year that I liked, including ones about Rowan Atkinson and physical comedy, the armchair puzzle book Masquerade, and the use of film grain in Mandy.
  83. BlacKkKlansman. Exactly as fiery and polemical and excellently directed as I had hoped. Also features one of the most surprising needle drops of 2018. See if you can find it!
  84. The One Song Only podcast. Kanye X bracketology.
  85. Discovering this fantastic mini-set by the Moog Cookbook from 1996.
  86. Getting reacquainted with the Merlin Mann Podcast Universe, specifically the superlative trifecta of Back to Work, Do By Friday, and Roderick on the Line.
  87. Joining a fantasy hockey pool for the first time.
  88. The Verge's What's in Your Bag? feature.
  89. Becky Lynch cementing her legacy by brawling her way through a busted nose.
  90. John Carpenter's Starman. I can't believe it took me this long to get to a movie by one of my favourite directors, starring two of my favourite actors, all of them in their prime.
  91. A great holiday meal with my coworkers at La Khaïma in Le Plateau-Mount Royal.
  92. First Reformed. It is one Paul Schrader-ass Paul Schrader movie, with a career-best performance by Ethan Hawke.
  93. John Mulaney's hilarious comedy special Kid Gorgeous at Radio City.
  94. Paste's Graham Techler on the Blank Check podcast and the intersection of comedy and criticism.
  95. Long, empty days at work where all I really had to do was listen to Tatsuro Yamashita's double live album Joy over and over again.
  96. Making this list of my 200 favourite albums.
  97. Upgarde. Strudy, violent B movie fun. More of these, please.
  98. Collider's Matt Goldberg on the importance of movies on physical media.
  99. Gizmodo's 100 Websites That Shaped the Internet as We Know It.
  100. The RetroWeatherChannel Twitch channel, which pairs vintage Weather Channel bumpers with everything from period-accurate cuts to vaporwave to smooth jazz to ambient to Chet Atkins.