Strange Angel TV series scene of rocketeers awaiting lift-off behind sandbags

Best & Worst Movies of 2018

…plus Best TV Series of 2018

‘Best Of’ lists are a dime a dozen and mean zilch anyway. But here’s a scoop – the TV series sleeper of the year, which has slipped under the radar in Australia. Read on…

As always, I’ve gotta state from the outset that I don’t take end-of-year best/worst movie lists seriously. In a nutshell, I think it’s invalid to compare apples with oranges. Besides, what constitutes a great movie for me clearly does not for many other reviewers, and vice versa – there’s no way to quantify artistic excellence in any precise universally accepted manner.

Frequently, I find myself swimming against the critical mainstream. For example, you won’t find The Shape of Water in my best films list (in my view, the weakest Best Picture Oscar winner since Slumdog Millionaire). Ditto Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Phantom Thread, Hereditary (seriously?), Isle of Dogs, You Were Never Really Here, A Quiet Place… yet these are pick-o-the crop for plenty of other reviewers. I say go figure (to be kind about it). They’d no doubt say the same to me.

I suspect I missed some gems due to being out of action for the last 3 months of the year on medical grounds. Factor that in.

OTOH, thanks to a tip from my switched-on mate Matt in Melbourne, I caught a ripper of a TV series that seems to have flown under the radar in Australia: Strange Angel. Based on the true story of Jack Parsons, brilliant blue-collar visionary and disciple of Aleister Crowley’s secretive Thelemite cult, who pursued his seemingly impossible dream of pioneering American rocketry in the 1930s. Worth subscribing to 10 All Access to catch – especially if you get in on their free 30 day deal, which expires at midnight tonight. You’ve been told. Miss this one and it ain’t my fault.

On with the show…

Best Movies of 2018 (alphabetical order, linked to my reviews)
God’s Own Country
Ladies in Black
Lady Bird
RBG – Ruth Bader Ginsburg (doco)
Sweet Country
Wajib – The Wedding Invitation

Near Misses
Darkest Hour

Worst Movies of 2018
Book Week
Swinging Safari
The Breaker Upperers

Dog of the Year
Swinging Safari

Best TV Series (alphabetical order)
Ozark Series 2
Sharp Objects
Strange Angel
The Split

Here’s to a stellar 2019 on the big and small screens.

Happy New Year all.

Previous Annual Movie Best/Worst ofs
Best and Worst Movies of 2017 – The Boomtown Rap
Best and Worst Movies of 2016 – The Boomtown Rap
Best and Worst Movies of 2015 – The Boomtown Rap
The Boomtown Rap: Movies of 2014 – Best, Worst etc
The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards For 2013
The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards For 2012
The Boomtown Rap Movie Awards For 2011
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2010
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2009
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2008
The Boomtown Rap Awards For 2007

2 thoughts on “Best & Worst Movies of 2018”

  1. We have similar tastes, sir. Agree with all your best-of picks that I saw (most). With you on ‘Hereditary’ too. Beats me what all the fuss was about with that one. Talk about overrated.

    Glad to say I’m not one of those you refer to who haven’t picked up on ‘Strange Angel’. Right up with my favourites of the year. Hanging out for season 2.

    You know, there are not enough reviewers prepared to call it how it is. You are one, and you can string a word or two together – rare enough, old son. I’ve been a silent long-term reader, but thought it was about time to pop up and and say something. Keep up the good work! There are still some of us who recognise good writing and criticism.


  2. Sorry about this delay in getting back to you, Snowz. Was working on a long post on skin cancer and then promoting it once published, and it just slipped my mind.

    Thanks a lot for your generous acknowledgement. Glad to encounter someone with similar taste. I sometimes feel like I come from another planet – or that other reviewers do!

    And great to come across someone else who has watched and rates ‘Strange Angel’. It’s a real pity that this one has not been picked up by Australian viewers. Oh well, they’re missing out bigtime. I did my best to alert ’em after my hip-to-everything-going mate Matt alerted me – what else can ya do?

    I completely agree that there are many, many reviewers who don’t “call it how it is”. I think part of the problem is there’s this sense of communal obligation within “the industry” to be kind rather than truthful, especially with Aust films. My attitude is be honest or be damned. I don’t think critics are doing the local industry any favours by lowering the bar. It’s patronising and dishonest IMO. Also, and this is going to sound elitist but I don’t care, there is a lot of shit taste out there. Seems to me that there are multitudes of people immersed in film, who know a lot about directors, actors, are hip to all the critic terminology (hate that word “tropes”, for example, and film critic terms like “the final girl”)…but who have SHIT taste. Then again, what is taste? This is not a discussion that can be had without a lot of thought and disclosure of critical framework, expectations of film, blah blah. So take my comment with a grain of salt.

    I suspect also that many reviewers feel that if they’re too harsh in their reviews, they might compromise their relationship with the agents who provide them with invitations to free media screenings. I used to ask agents when they put me on their list whether they preferred me not to review films I didn’t like rather than publish a bad review. To their credit, with one exception, in effect their responses were always that I should not compromise my integrity as a critic by gilding the lily, and that “any review is a good review.” I respect that. And I took them at their word. I’m not sure that’s the case with a lot of other reviewers, some of whom come across as sycophantic, no less. I hate that.

    Anyway, enough. You’ve opened a can of worms, and now is not the place for me to go on at length, so I’ll jam the lid back on and not subject you to further elaboration.

    Sincerely, thanks for your positive comments. A little kind, I think, but I often feel that I’m writing in a vacuum, so affirmations like yours are a big pick-me-up.


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