Since Hive Mind’s beginning, Eli McCann, Nick Morley, and yours truly (Meg Walter) have been meeting once a week to talk the latest and greatest in pop culture, from movies and podcasts to Lindsay Lohan dancing on a yacht. These conversations, delivered to you in the form of podcast episodes, are often more tangential than not and lead to Eli telling us he’s met Laura Linney 100% of the time. We enjoy a good chat and are allergic to structure. But in a break from our norm we, the Hive Mind hosts, used every ounce of organization and limited math skills we have to list our favorite media of 2018. Because you know what the internet needs more of this time of year? More best-of lists.
And so we humbly bring you our top five movies, tv, podcasts, and pop culture moments of 2018. Not ranked. Because that science would have been way too complicated. Just our five favorites in each category.
Of all the categories, the best movies of 2018 were the most difficult. A lot of the Oscar contenders aren’t even out yet. We’re not real critics. No one is sending us screeners. We’re seeing films at the same time as all you normies and sometimes later, because lazy. So here are our five favorite movies from 2018 that we’ve seen:
Eighth Grade is not a comfy movie to watch. It’s borderline traumatic for anyone who has been 13. But there’s also something healing about it. You are not the only person who felt weird in your body and unsure of your personality and embarrassed about something at all times as an early teen. That was most of us. And we empathize to the point of physical pain with Kayla in Eighth Grade, who is just trying to make it to ninth. It’s not a movie any of us will ever want to watch again, but it’s a movie we’re glad we saw.
No really. Paddington was cute enough for a Saturday outing with the kids, but Paddington 2 is a cinematic masterpiece that should be required viewing for every human. The simple premise– Paddington wants to buy his Aunt Lucy a popup book for her birthday– leads to a colorful crime caper, prison laundry mishaps, the greatest performance of Hugh Grant’s career, and an ending that left me sobbing. Don't sleep on this sequel.
Tully surprised us. The three of us loved it, because it was different, more complicated, and better than what we were expecting. To write too much about the story is to take the experience away from anyone who has not seen it, so I’ll keep it to this: as a mother, I appreciated the story it told and the risks it took.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Only Voldemort could watch the Won’t You Be My Neighbor trailer and not weep. The movie is everything the trailer promises and more. It’s a thoughtful look at a very sweet, goofy dude who believed kids deserved respect, and in turn gained the respect of kids everywhere. And now those kids are adults, sobbing through the documentary about that goofy dude.
Does Ryan Gosling act? Or is Ryan Gosling just being Ryan Gosling in every role? It doesn’t matter in First Man, because Claire Foy carries the film on her back in her portrayal of Janet Armstrong, a woman navigating the loss of a child and the possible loss of a husband when he signs on to fly a tin can to the moon. Foy’s performance and the depiction of space travel as a lethal endeavor make First Man worthy of accolades.
TV, however, is our very best friend who does not require leaving the house, finding a babysitter, or even wearing pants to be enjoyed. So we watch a lot of it. So much of it that our problem in this category was narrowing the list down to five. But we tried:
The Good Place
The Good Place is not a show one can start watching willy nilly. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and watch the latest episode. I’ll wait. Okay see what I mean? You have to start from the beginning and let yourself get sucked into Mike Schur’s vision of the afterlife and the characters that inhabit it. It’s a good binge and not a decision you will regret. The humor is sharp, the story is unexpected, and the actors feel like close personal friends. We’re three seasons in and not a single viewer could tell you where the show is headed, but all of us would be willing to take a bullet for any member of The Good Place gang.
TRAILER LANGUAGE WARNING. DON'T SEND ANGRY EMAILS.
Succession makes dreams come true by showing that actually yes, rich people are miserable jerks who hate their lives. It also weaves a tangled web of back-stabbing, infidelity, politics, and trying to pass a prostitute off as a legit girlfriend. There’s nothing more you could ask for from a television program. Plus it gave the world Cousin Greg, who should be president. It is an HBO series, and includes some – okay, a lot – of language not heard on network television. You’ve been warned.
Great British Baking Show
So long as The Great British Baking Show is on the air we are going to love it, watch it, and list it in our favorites. It’s beyond a show. It’s a long hug from someone who smells delightful. It deserves a category all its own because spending time watching TGBBS will cure what ails you. Having a tough time at work? Relationship on the rocks? Kids giving you grief? Take 40 minutes in the tent, where the only thing that matters is a proper proof and good bake. Even when a contestant fails, which they all do at one point or another, they’re told how great and wonderful they are and that things happen but it’s all going to be okay. It is all going to be okay for you, too. Paul Hollywood said so.
Salt Fat Acid Heat
I love food. And I love other people who love food. Therefore, I love Salt Fat Acid Heat creator and host Samin Nosrat A LOT. In her four part series she travels the world exploring the four elements that make food good- salt, fat, acid, and heat. But she doesn’t do it like some snobby Chef’s Table star with their nose in the air, believing their ability to poach salmon equates them to God. She does it like someone who is just really grateful to be tasting good parmesan. So grateful she cries. The series is both entertaining and informative. In the final episode she walks the viewer through her local, not at all fancy grocery store, and instructs us on the best food to buy to create the best tasting food. I liked it so much I bought the book.
Did you guys know Eli met Laura Linney?
Eli's best friend and Jason Bateman star in this gritty Netflix drama. I know, right? What? But it’s a well-written, well-acted show that offers a fresh perspective on the drug money laundering game and the effect it has on a family. As Nick says, “the first season was good, the second season cemented Ozark’s place as the best tv show of 2018.”
Bonus pick because I’m writing the list and no one can stop me and also because I’m the only one who watched it: Killing Eve
Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer, is the most compelling psychopath I’ve seen on television or maybe any screen. Not only does she live to kill, but she does it with pitch-black humor and a sexuality that manipulates everyone with whom she comes in contact, including Sandra Oh’s Eve, the British Security Services operative who is obsessed with finding Villanelle, or maybe just obsessed with Villanelle. The series is disturbing and beautiful, hilarious and troubling, and lets its two stars shine in ways they both deserve.
Podcasts have all but replaced books in our lives. DEAL WITH IT. They’re just so convenient. And free. And there are so many of them. So once again, our challenge was not in finding content worthy of our list, but instead keeping that list to five. Here’s our consensus:
Binge Mode: Harry Potter
Ringer writers Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion take a deep dive into each Harry Potter book and film. So deep that each episode, lasting over an hour, covers just 5ish chapters. There are A LOT of episodes, and yet we never tire of Mallory and Jason making inappropriate jokes about wands one minute, then crying over the death of a beloved character the next. It’s the podcast Harry Potter readers of a certain age have been waiting for, and for me personally, it’s reignited my love and adoration for the world JK built.
Reply All has become one of the most well-produced podcasts available. Each episode is related to some story or problem that came about because of the internet. The structure is varied and always entertaining, from the hosts spending an entire episode trying to make sense of one popular tweet to a super deep investigation into a scam that victimized a listener who wrote the show seeking help. Reply All is informative—it will help you understand what’s hip with the kids, teach you how to protect your identity, and entertain you along the way.
This Had Oscar Buzz
The hosts of This Had Oscar Buzz explore the movies whose creators had obvious intent to win an Oscar, but failed. They go into why the movie failed to win over the academy, and sometimes general audiences, and get granular. It’s not a podcast for everyone, but it is a podcast for film nerds looking for their tribe.
The Ringer’s Shea Serano is four episodes into hosting Villains and is already my favorite podcast host. His style takes a little getting used to, and he makes some unconventional choices, like interrupting his conversations to edit himself, but the overall effect is refreshing. Serano invites fellow Ringer staffers and friends to discuss the best movie villains from Hannibal Lecter to Regina George. He records a bonus episode, released every Tuesday, to answer episode follow-up questions from listeners via voicemail, so it’s like two podcasts in one.
How Did This Get Made
While watching a good movie is nice, watching an awful movie is the most fun human beings are capable of having. Then talking about what makes a movie so awful is a second helping of the best meal you’ve ever had. The How Did This Get Made hosts make the listener feel like a part of their conversations about Junior, Cross Roads, The Room, and all your other favorite bad movies. Thanks to this podcast, I watched Safe Haven and I have no regrets.
There were happenings in the celebrity world of 2018 that defied genre and delighted our souls. We picked the five that prompted the most conversation between us. Not the five most significant, mind you, because Me,Too doesn’t make for super cheerful content, but the five that intrigued us most.
This Is America
LANGUAGE WARNING. ALSO VIOLENCE. PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL US.
Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino broke the internet this summer with the release of This Is America. If I’m honest, my favorite movie of 2018 is the This Is America music video. I have yet to watch it and not cry. Not only is the song a banger, but the violent video forces the viewer to try and reckon with the state of America, the treatment of people of color, and the gun violence epidemic. I’m never quite sure how I feel watching it, but the point is that I feel.
The Bachelor post-finale breakup
America’s collective self-loathing was palpable the night we watched an unsuspecting Becca Kufrin get dumped by Arie Luyendyk after having just watched them get engaged. But no one could look away. As performative as the show feels most of the time, there was no doubt Becca’s reaction to having their relationship, one she believed was headed for marriage, called off in front of a camera crew was real and raw. And it cemented Arie as the most despised Bachelor of all time- a high bar to clear. Becca’s fine now, having “found love” as The Bachelorette over a very boring season. May we never stop hating ourselves for the voyeurism, and hoping for a similar ending soon.
Lady Gaga’s Ha-aaaaa-aaaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa in A Star Is Born
The three of us were too divided on A Star Is Born to include it in our favorite movies. We do agree, however, that Lady Gaga’s Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa that carries us over the bridge in “Shallow” is one of the best things to happen in 2018. I've been known to loop the song ten times in a row. What can I say? I'm off the deep end. Watch as I dive in.
Roseanne showing her Roseanne
Don’t misunderstand. We do not like racism. But we do like when racists are punished for being racists. It is not difficult to refrain from tweeting racist statements on Twitter, and yet Roseanne just couldn’t help herself. Which is kind of amazing. But even more amazing was ABC’s swift response, firing Roseanne and allowing her castmates to continue their careers without having to deal with her toxicity.
Thank U, Next
LANGUAGE WARNING. SERIOUSLY. DO NOT EMAIL US. WE ARE WARNING YOU.
Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande’s relationship was a mystery from the start. Cause, like, what?! How did this happen? How did they meet? What did they talk about? Did they have a similar sense of humor? Their breakup seemed inevitable, and indeed, no one was surprised when their romance ended, but we were surprised when Ariana released a kind of sweet ode to the men she’s dated and the men she will date next instead of a diss track. And she did it with a music video meant to warm the heart of the chick flick lover, which indeed it did.
Honorable Mentions For Our Favorite Bad Media
If there’s one thing we enjoy more than good content it’s bad content. Real bad content. Which is why we feel compelled to direct you to the two worst pieces of media to come out this year.
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom wants you to believe dinosaurs are akin to golden retrievers. They are not. If you listen to only one episode of Hive Mind, let it be our Jurassic World episode.
House of Cards Final Season
It’s just. I just. I mean. It’s like. No. Stop.
(Design: Josh Fowlke) (Editor: Rachel Swan)