I don’t watch nearly enough movies, listen to enough albums, or read enough books to write a proper year-end list of my own … there’s always something I missed out on. So I usually spend the first month of the new year pouring through other people’s lists. It’s a great way to discover hidden gems and find new things to consume. Here are some of the lists I found that stood out, along with a few of my own recommendations.



Movies


  • The Best Movies of 2018

    Thrillist

    I think the Rolling Stone list does a better job of ranking this years films, but it only has 20 movies. Thrillist ranked 55 movies, which is great for finding lesser-known films that you might have missed.

    Read on Thrillist

  • The Best Documentaries of 2018

    Polygon

    This is a nice little list of 13 documentaries to check out. Polygon has a bunch of other 2018 lists, including a really good one for the best comics.

    Read on Polygon

  • A24 on Kanopy

    Kanopy

    Kanopy is free with your local library card, and you can watch up to 5 movies a month with it. They have the entire A24 catalog availble to stream ... I recently enjoyed The Florida Project and First Reformed.

    Watch Online

  • Ace in the Hole

    Billy Wilder

    Kirk Douglas turned 102 years old in December. I still can’t get over that. I think that Ace in the Hole is one of his finest performances, and the themes in the movie are particularly relevant almost 70 years later.

    Watch the Trailer

Music


  • The 50 Best Albums of 2018

    Paste

    I feel like Paste hits on all my Dad vibes ... it's hard to find a list nowadays where I've still heard of half the bands. I'm still nostalgic for the old CD sampler they used to ship with the magazine every month...

    Read on Paste

  • The 40 Best Country and Americana Albums of 2018

    Rolling Stone

    I listen to more Country and Americana than any other genre, and Rolling Stone Country seems to have the best grasp on it nationally. Texas is well represented on their list, as it should be.

    Read on Rolling Stone

  • How Our Cruelty Killed Hootie and the Blowfish—and Damaged Our Souls

    Esquire

    I’m going to see Hootie this summer, and I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. From the article: “We thought that our neighbors thought that Hootie was no longer cool and, afraid of appearing uncool ourselves, we threw them overboard. We began constructing and altering our tastes and personalities for public consumption. No wonder reality television and Instagram were right around the corner.”

    Read on Esquire

  • Electric Black Man

    Eric Mercury

    I came across Eric Mercury listening to Crate Digger’s Gold over on KOOP radio. I can only describe his music as a crazy combination of soul, psychedelic, funk, and even a little bit of country.

    Listen on Spotify


Books


  • NPR’s Book Concierge: Our Guide To 2018’s Great Reads

    NPR Books

    This is a nice little microsite that NPR does for their year-end book list. Some of my favorite categories include Comic & Graphic Novels, For Music Lovers, and Mysteries & Thrillers.

    Read on NPR Books

  • Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion

    Robert Gordon

    One of my favorite reads of 2018. Not only do you get to read about the rise of aritsts like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and Booker T. Jones - but the story of Stax also parallels the civil rights movement.

    Buy On Amazon

Design


  • 10x18

    Various Artists

    I’m starting to think you could convince designers to do anything if it involves making a playlist. In all seriousness, I’m really glad that people are still making things for the internet just because it's fun. The site, the artwork, everything is top-notch.

    Browse 10x18.co

  • 2018 Staff Favorites

    CSS Tricks

    It’s still hard to believe that CSS-Tricks is a free website. Getting an end-of-year cheat sheet from some of the web’s smartest people is such a gift. They also recently re-designed their website, and it is straight 🔥.

    Read on CSS Tricks

  • Artwork Personalization at Netflix

    Netflix Technology Blog

    The Netflix development team posted a popular Medium article a few years back about A/B testing their artwork. Now they can personalize artwork based on the user’s viewing habits. Fascinating or kinda creepy?

    Read on Medium

  • The Extraordinary Album Art by Mozelle Thompson

    Flashbak

    I had never heard of Mozelle Thompson. He tragically passed away in 1969, and was the first and only African American to illustrate album covers within the first 15 years of their existence.

    Read on Flashbak

Texas


  • H-E-B Forever

    Eater

    I visit the H-E-B down the street about 2-3 times a week. I waited in line for the grand opening of the one in my hometown. I think we all take for granted just how lucky we are to be able to shop there. It’s the quintessential Texas shopping experience, and this article by Priya Krishna hits on all the feels.

    Read on Eater

  • The Conspiracy Theory That Alex Jones Is Actually Legendary, Long-Dead Texas Comedian Bill Hicks

    Texas Monthly

    I stumbled upon this old theory recently, and I must admit it made me laugh. I did not watch the 33 min “irrefutable proof” video because it’s total nonsense, but I will plug the 2011 documentary about Hicks and the upcoming Richard Linklater biopic.

    Read on Texas Monthly