The Best (and Worst) Things I Watched and Read in 2018

Another year in the record books, another chance for me to share with you the best and the worst of my media consumption. (In terms of quality, not content.) I once again had a goal of reading a book a week, and I continue to be very grateful for that goal. It’s a stretch for me to fit it in along with everything else I do, but it’s like hiking in a way: I’m sometimes haggard at the end of it all, but I’m very glad I took the time to do it.

Anyway. A reminder of how I rate things. It’s on a 10 point scale, where 5 is neutral. If I give something a 5, it means I neither liked nor disliked it. It was a fine way to spend time, but ultimately I would have been just as well off doing nothing, instead. It’s not a bad thing, but not a good thing. Does that make sense? A “1” means I loathed the thing. A “10” means it was one of the best things I’ve read or watched.


I finished 94 movies and TV seasons over the course of the year. Of those 94 things, I awarded 8 perfect 10’s: Arrival, Coco, Napoleon Dynamite, Boardwalk Empire Season 5, GLOW Season 1, What’s Up Doc?, The Princess Bride, and Love Actually. Some of those were my second (or third, or seventh . . .) time watching them, but it gives you a sense of my taste (if you didn’t already have that already).

Since I’m just rattling things off, I thought it might be nice for me to give you the things I gave a 9, as well. There were 22 (I’m much easier to get a 9 from.) In order of consumption: The Big Sick, Newsies the Musical, La La Land, Boardwalk Empire Season 1, Boardwalk Empire Season 3, Get Out, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Joe vs. the Volcano, The Wedding Singer, GLOW Season 2, Warrior, The Post, Logan Lucky, The Sound of Music, The Good Place Season 1, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1, Elf, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Die Hard, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Return of the King.

Some of those are great. There was just one or two things wrong with them that keep me from giving a perfect 10, though in the case of repeat watches, I’ve noticed myself being a bit harder on things the second or third time through.

What were the worst things I watched? There’s not many of them. My time is valuable to me, and so if I’m not liking something, I generally turn it off. And I never rate something I haven’t read or watched to the end. But there were a few sub par media items that made it through.

Yongary (MST3K) got a 3/10. Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II (also MST3K) got a 3/10. Chappaquiddick got a 3/10. And that was it. There were also a few 5’s I gave out: Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (much worse than I remembered), Split, Valerian, The Commuter, The Expanse Season 2, Topper Returns, and Absolutely Anything. All full of Meh.


Of the 52 books I read, I gave 5 of them a 10: The Handmaid’s Tale, The High King, Fuzzy Nation, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, and Skyward (which I think actually should have an 11).

8 books got 9s: Divergent, Island of the Blue Dolphin, Zodiac, The Collapsing Empire, Taran Wanderer, On the Shoulders of Titans, Marathon Man, and A Case of Need.

I did give out some sub-par ratings, though I continue to withhold those out of professional courtesy. For the record, I read 18,699 pages over the course of the year. Not too bad.


Giving ratings continues to feel a somewhat arbitrary task, often dependent on how I’m feeling at a certain time when I watch/read/rate the item in question. But on the whole, it does a good job representing how I felt at the time of the rating and consumption, so I like doing it. I also like hearing people disagree strongly with me over ratings.

What things did you love (or hate) this year? Do share!


Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Leave a comment