At a glance, 2018 was a pretty shitty year. More mass shootings, more Donald Trump, more dying celebrities who shaped modern music and pop culture…
But on an individual level, my 2018 was fucking awesome. I’m buying a house (which technically isn’t happening until 2019, but this is my thing, OK? Just let me do it how I want to.). I got a new job. I finally finished my children’s book (which I still haven’t printed but it’s done so that’ll be a hop, skip, and a jump away). And so many other great things that I can’t even remember.
Oh wait! Yeah I can.
N.B. This definitely isn’t stuff that came out in 2018. This’ll just be a conglomeration of things that happened in 2018. Like I said, it’s my thing. I’m gonna do it how I want to.
The Best Book: The Metro Series
Metro caught my attention when I saw the trailer for the game set to release in 2019: Metro: Exodus. I started playing the original games that were remastered for PS4. The gameplay, story, environment…I fell in love with all of it. Then I found out that the games were actually based off of a book series: Metro 2033, 34, and 35. I immediately bought all three and began reading them. Just like the games, the books demanded and captured my undivided attention.
The characters were relatable. The plots and stories were ones that will stick with me for the rest of my life. And, although I’m sure there’s quite a bit lost in translation, the writing was some of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of creating a picture out of arbitrary symbols that we assign meaning to. I read a lot of books this year, but these three are the ones that have stuck with me the most.
The Best Movie: The Godfather Trilogy
When we first met, Kelsey and I had a list of movies to see with each other. You know the type: each person makes a list of movies that have made them who they are today, ones that the other person hasn’t seen, and they sit down and watch them one by one.
Well, we lost those lists long ago. But I started a new one. Movies that we need to see – movies that are so influential or iconic that they shape the course of film and storytelling history. Like what? Saturday we watched A Clockwork Orange because it finally became available on Prime video for free.
But one that had been on the list for a while was The Godfather I, II, and III. I’d seen I and II, but Kelsey was completely unaware of the awesomeness that was Al Pacino and his supporting cast of gangster misfits. One week this summer, Kelsey and I sat down and watched each and every minute of the iconic trilogy. It’s a simple, little thing, but getting to experience that with her was amazing, and it was probably the best week of the year.
I was a little hesitant to watch III. Mostly because I’ve heard nothing but terrible, terrible things about it for 27 years straight. But ya know what, it wasn’t that bad. That’s….that’s it. It wasn’t that bad.
The Best Game: Metro: Redux
Much of what can be said about Metro: Redux can be an exact repeat of my reviews of the books: the characters, scenery, and stories are all fantastic, and these have quite a lot to do with why these two games are taking place of other 2018 behemoths like Red Dead II and Fallout 76 (lol). But the thing that really set Metro apart from other games is its novelty. It was something different. It was a linear, story driven game that made me feel like I had a choice. It was a survival horror that made my heart race every time I turned a corner. The gameplay was so fantastic and different than other FPSs that I found myself mirroring its controls in other FPS games that I was switching back and forth do just because it felt so intuitive.
The third and final game in the trilogy comes out this upcoming February, and honestly I can’t wait to sit in a dark room by myself at 1:00 a.m. playing it, jumping at the slightest hint of noise.
The Best Album: Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino
I waited five long years for this album. Five agonizing, excruciatingly painful, new-Arctic-Monkeys-free years of my life passed until finally, Tranquility Base was released. I queued it up on my turntable. I poured myself a glass of whiskey. I sat down in the perfect midpoint of my speakers, roughly six feet away from them. And I listened. The sounds that came out of my speakers whisped around my body and slunk into my ear drums like a snake crawling inside a log. It just felt so…right.
If you want to read my review of Tranquility Base, you can do that, too.
The Best TV Show: King of the Hill
I am Bobby Hill. My dad, Hank. My mom is not so much Peggy, but god damnit we had quite a few Boomhauers, Dales, and Bills in my neighborhood growing up. This show, along with The Simpsons and Futurama formed me into the man I am today. For years I yearned to watch it again after it went out of syndication. For the better part of a decade, I yearned to feast my eyes upon its hyper realistic, satirical look at small-town South Texas. And sure enough…this year, it happened.
Hulu picked up King of the Hill a few months ago, and whenever I’m feeling down, out, nackered, or downright bamboozled, I sit down, turn on an episode, and get lost in my childhood. It’s even better than I remember it, and now that I’m an adult, I feel like I can appreciate it so much more. There’s so little that happens each episode, but that’s part of the magic. It’s not busy. It’s not constantly jump cutting back and forth between gags. The music that plays in between each transition says it all: it’s slow, it’s over quickly, and it’s country. Enough said.
The Worst TV Show: Nailed It
This doesn’t even deserve a link out. This show was absolute trash. Garbage. Garbage with a little accent over the second ‘g.’ Fuck this show. You want to watch a show where people are passionate about baking? Where there’s nothing but recognition for a job well done in store for the winner at the end of the series? Watch the Great British Baking Show. Now that’s some quality television.
2018 was nuts. Every waking moment that I haven’t been asleep or at work for the last two months has been spent at our house trying to get it ready for us to move in. Next week, we will move in. I will have a place of residence that doesn’t have a bed in the living room. And that will be glorious. I’ll be able to write more, hopefully. I’ll be able to play more video games, hopefully. And I’ll begin playing more live shows. That one I can guarantee. Because of all the things that happened in 2018, the most exciting was me going out and playing live music again. I’ve had so much fun doing it and I’ve only done it four times so far, but next year I’m going to be getting out there and playing my heart out. New music. New gear. New me.
Watch out, world. ‘Cause in 2019, I’m gonna hit it hard.