Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sean's Best and Worst of 2018

Welcome to my annual list of the best and worst of the year. I still don’t understand how publications can share their best and worst of lists in November when there’s still an entire month of the year to go. That’s why I publish my list in late December. My apologies for any new books, movies, television shows, etc. that debut on New Year’s Eve.

Best song: High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco

My criteria for best song is that I have to feature the song in a separate post at some point during the year. For 2018, it comes down to High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco, Sober Up by AJR, and No Tears Left to Cry by Ariana Grande. (Lil' Jon and Kool-Aid Man also deserve an honorable mention for All I Really Want For Christmas.) I have a bit of an issue with pop music lately. It seems like everything is about the chorus. Sure, you get a first verse and second verse (though rarely a third verse), but it’s limited. All three of these songs follow this framework. Of course, I recently heard Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics from about 35 years ago, and there are no lyrics to that song (you’d think there would be since Annie Lennox travelled the world and the seven seas).

While Ariana Grande had a monster year professionally, my winner is High Hopes. I just love the positivity and the horns.

In hindsight, I wish I included Say Amen (Saturday Night) by Panic! since I really like that song more. If you told me this time last year that two of my favorite songs in 2018 would be by Panic! at the Disco, I probably would have laughed.

Worst Song: Meant to Be by Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line

I wrote about this several months ago, but the lyrics really bother me. In response to Bebe Rexha singing about awful past relationships and how she wasn't treated right, Florida (or Georgia) basically dismisses her by saying that she's beautiful, so she'll be fine. Jerk.

Best Movie I Saw In The Theater: Crazy Rich Asians

I saw a whopping four movies in the theater in 2018. That’s by far the most since I had kids. I should probably mention that the four movies I saw were Ferdinand, Paddington 2, Crazy Rich Asians, and The Grinch. Although Hugh Grant was great in Paddington 2, I’m going with the grown up movie. I'm pro Constance Wu, and I really want go to Singapore now.

Best TV Show: Speechless

I think that most readers will find this to be the biggest surprise on here. There are so many good shows out there like Killing Eve, Better Call Saul, and The Good Place. I also finally started watching The Americans in 2018 (I just finished season 2), and really enjoyed Barry and Mindhunter. The episodes of Black Mirror I watched were unlike anything I've seen. Full disclosure: I really need to start watching Atlanta, and I didn't see this season's Game of Thrones yet. With all of that written, the fact that I’m picking a standard sitcom is kind of amazing. It just seems like at least once an episode I laugh out loud at this show. John Ross Bowie is comedy gold.

Worst TV Show: Below Deck

I don't know why this is a show. Let's watch spoiled crew members who seem to fight constantly serve spoiled rich guests who spend probably hundreds of thousands of dollars on a luxury boat.

Best Book: Quackers by Liz Wong

I honestly didn’t read as much as I wanted to in 2018 and most of the books I read were good though not great. The one book I read over and over and enjoyed way more than I should have since I’m clearly not the target audience was Quackers.

It’s a cat who thinks he’s a duck until he learns he's a cat but still has his duck friends. It’s adorable!

Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell about Yankee Doodle who doesn't want to go to town or call a feather macaroni is also quite good.

Best Sports Moment: Belgium's Soccer Team

The second half of the World Cup round of 16 game between Belgium and Japan was unreal. After Japan took a 2-0 lead, Belgium tied it at 2. In stoppage time, Japan had a corner kick and a chance to win. Instead, Belgium countered and scored the winning goal.

I’ll give this a close second:

Worst Sports Moment: Tom Wilson

Being in the DC area, it was amazing seeing the excitement surrounding the Caps during its Stanley Cup run. Winning the Cup was good for the region and good for the sport. The only negative (besides the Caps defeating the Penguins) was Tom Wilson getting to celebrate and having his name inscribed on the Cup. What a jerk. He's even worse than the Florida Georgia Line guys.

Best Podcast: Planet Futbol with Grant Wahl

You’re probably seeing a soccer theme here. On his podcast this year, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl interviewed nearly every candidate for the US soccer presidency. Then, he did a podcast every single day during the World Cup, so a podcast for over 30 consecutive days. My personal favorite podcast was his interview with Abby Wambach. If you’re a fan of soccer, I highly recommend his podcast. (One word of caution. He had Bill Simmons on a recent podcast. I read everything Simmons wrote when he was with ESPN/Grantland and still listen to many of his podcasts, though not so much the past few months. I was excited to see that Simmons was on Wahl's podcast, but he just seem to whine the entire time. Wahl's interview with Katie Nolan was very good though.)

Best Blog: Josh’s World

I have no idea how Josh does it. He (allegedly) has a family and (allegedly) a full-time job, yet he cranks out post after post on a wide variety of topics. I enjoy his writing and am really curious to see if he actually slows down when his second child arrives in 2019. (By the way, vote for his child's name to be Sean!) Oh, here's the link to Josh's World.

Sean's Ramblings Best Blog Post: The Attack at Tree of Life Synagogue

This post is about as raw and emotional as I get. I'm still upset thinking about what happened at the synagogue of my youth and how little has changed over the last few months.

Sean's Ramblings Worst Blog Post: Trivia Wednesday

I'm done doing trivia posts. No one replies with answers or guesses.

Feel free to click here to see my best of and worst of the last few years and see if my picks hold up.

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