Turner Classic Movies Film Festival 2019 Wishlist: Anniversaries

Once TCM announces a few of the movies playing at Turner Classic Movies Film Festival, it officially becomes TCMFF season (Rabbit season! Duck Season! Duck Season! Rabbit Season!). A few titles started rolling out late in 2018, which means, obviously, the game is already afoot. Here’s the list to date, which includes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, From Here to Eternity, and Gone with the Wind. In other words, some heavy hitters are already lined up for the festival’s 10th anniversary.

(By the way, passes still remain for the 2019 TCM Film Festival. If you feel like a trip to Los Angeles in April, hurry over to the TCM page and pick up a pass today. It’ll be your best purchase of the year.)

tcm film festival 2019

Of the films currently scheduled, I’m most excited for Sunrise and Hello Dolly! Why? I’m not sure, exactly, and it’s not always to explain. These just happen to be two films I’ve intended to watch and I can’t think of a better way to do it than at the TCMFF.

According to the website, “The TCM Film Festival 2019 will cover a wide range of programming themes, including our central theme Follow Your Heart: Love at the Movies.” From Here to Eternity, The Clock, Gone with the Wind, and Indscreet, certainly fall under that umbrella… and really anything you like once you include films about love and films that we love. The theme actually sounds a bit like a fortune cookie game, except we’ve exchanged “…in bed” for “at the movies.”

You will find love, if you look in uncommon places… at the movies. Lucky Numbers: 2, 6, 9, 12 and 19. 

Let’s talk about the fun part of the lead-up to the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival every year. The anticipation. The guessing. The prognosticating. Keep in mind that I have no inside connections or tip-offs, but you may narrow down potential choices by keeping in mind the stated theme and big round number anniversaries.

The following movies are ones I’d like to program for the TCM Film Festival 2019 based on those big round anniversaries. Last year I offered up a bunch of suggestions/predictions and nobody took them, but that won’t stop me from predicting again.

breaking away

Breaking Away (Peter Yates, 1979)

Snappy dialogue and surprisingly efficient performances. In a way, it’s a kind of traditionally-framed sports movie, yet that’s hardly the point. All the going around and around in circles is like life, you see… it’s the tedium of childhood and the need to escape your comfortable childhood stasis, while the overwhelming centripetal force pulls toward your origination. Maybe I’m digging too deeply into the psychology of a silly little “cycling movie.” Or maybe I’m digging just fine. Despite the contemporaneous affection for Breaking Away, Peter Yates’ film has slipped out of the general public consciousness — and would play like a blockbuster for the TCM Film Festival 2019 crowd. Unfortunately the great Peter Yates is no longer with us, but stars Dennis Quaid, Dennis Christopher, Jackie Earle Hayley, and Daniel Stern should be ready for a 40th anniversary reunion, right?


Support Your Local Sheriff (Burt Kennedy, 1969)

I watched this for the first time a few years ago, and it immediately shot into my top 25 or so comedies of all time. I had to pause the film to recover from and then rewatch a specific bit where Sheriff James Garner is forced to preside over a jail without walls. Not since childhood have I fallen in love with a film faster than Support Your Local Sheriff. It plays as a comedy and as a revisionist Western and would serve as a wonderful contrast to the already announced Winchester ’73. The supporting cast consisting of Walter Brennan, Harry Morgan, Jack Elam, Bruce Dern, and Henry Jones would create rousing in-theater applause. (Because these crowds clap upon the arrival of favorite actors, you see.) Also, can I be the only person who *always* wants to spell “sheriff” with two R’s?


The Tingler (William Castle, 1959)

1959 seems to be the year of the movies that should be shown in the midnight slot at TCM Film Festival. (See also: The Wasp Woman, The Killer Shrews, and The Giant Leeches) I know people who would buy a ticket JUST to see The Tingler among such a crowd — even minus the gimmick. Though I imagine that if TCM can recreate Smell-o-Vision (as they did for Scent of Mystery in 2016), they can do something to recreate William Castle’s original theatrical presentation of The Tingler, which involved a seat-based vibrating device called “Percepto!” This is pure fun, acid trip, pop-art horror, but it’s also a rather astute analysis of the horror movie experience — and it won’t put our butts to sleep at 1:00am.

edit: Alan Hait dropped the bomb that The Tingler played during the 2nd TCMFF. So, let’s course correct with the aforementioned…

The Wasp Woman (Roger Corman, 1959)

Less effective, but even weirder, The Wasp Woman would make for a solid midnight.



The Passionate Friends (David Lean, 1949)

Call this one a blind program. David Lean directing Claude Rains, Trevor Howard, and Ann Todd sounds like a must watch to me. I missed viewing this on FilmStruck (RIP), and I’ve since listened to multiple podcasts, including Pure Cinema Pod, lauding David Lean’s 1949 film as a masterpiece of romantic melodrama. Our ability to watch this film is currently being limited by the gatekeepers who’ve elected not to make this available on physical media here in the states. As far as I can tell our only option (without importing a foreign DVD) is a Criterion stream though Amazon. (Fingers crossed for the Criterion Channel to carry it when it officially launches.) I’m holding out hope, however, that it’ll appear at the TCM Film Festival 2019.


Midnight (Mitchell Leisen, 1939)

Director Mitchell Leisen made a trio of screwball comedies in the 30s and 40s that should be required viewing for any classic film fan. Remember the Night, Easy Living, and the best of the lot, a 1939 comedic retelling of the Cinderella story, Midnight. This slick under-the-production code farce puts on a school for screenwriters looking to avoid the heavy hand of the Hays office. A terrific script by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett is made more perfect by the rapport between Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche. Supporting cast includes John Barrymore, Francis Lederer, and Mary Astor. Out of all the essential screwball comedies of the 1930’s this is, in my opinion, the one that’s tragically the least known.

edit: And Ana Roland reminded me that Midnight played at a festival I attended! Wow. How memories get jumbled. So let’s swap it out for…

the saint strikes back

The Saint Strikes Back (John Farrow, 1939)

aka The Saint in San Francisco. This, the first of the SAINT films with Sanders, finds its groove in the scathing wit of the ever holier-than-thou Sanders – who shares an especially memorable scene with an Irish safecracker whom he steals into his employ and then punches in the face. He does this because it makes their story play– but also because he just really wants to punch this guy in the face I think. And that’s the crux of the character. His intentions are always purer than his motivations…


Stay tuned for another round of picks in the coming weeks when I’ll probably just start rambling about SH! THE OCTOPUS. 

James David Patrick is a writer. He’s written just about everything at some point or another. Add whatever this is to that list. Follow his blog at www.thirtyhertzrumble.com and find him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

1989 Flashback: The January Man

Nick Starkey : Frank, I got one thing to say to you, and it’s hard but I gotta say it. And if you can accept it, a lot of other shit’s gonna fall into place. Frank, Mom loved me more than you. That’s why I took the fall for you, Frank.

Frank Starkey : I wish you’d just fuckin’ die.

John Patrick Shanley’s Joe Versus the Volcano changes lives. No hyperbole. Just the facts. People who love Joe Versus the Volcano, myself included, speak of the film in spiritual ways. Shanley, a successful playwright, dabbled in Hollywood by way of winning the Academy Award for Moonstruck (1987) in 1988.

The little golden statue allowed him some room for experimentation. As a result, in 1989, MGM dared to make a noirish, romantic-comedyish, serial killer movie called The January Man. Despite starring the then red-hot Kevin Kline, fresh off A Fish Called Wanda (1988), The January Man made only $4million at the box office.

The ever gregarious New York Times critic Vincent Canby proclaimed: “The January Man is well titled. It’s a big-budget mainstream production that, in spite of its first-rate writer, director and cast, manages to fail in just about every department. It couldn’t have stood up to the competition from the slightly less bad films released in December.”

Vincent Canby and Bosley Crowther in their office at the New York Times.

Regarding The January Man, I agree with Statler and Waldof

In my mind, Vincent Canby’s either the Statler or Waldorf of film criticism, but in this instance he’s not spitting wildly over the microphone as he works himself into a froth (as I’d imagine him if he were podcasting all his reviews). It’s rather clear that what appears on screen couldn’t have been Shanley’s original vision — that the producers of the film didn’t trust a wild-eyed young buck that had a mind for merging mismatched genres in an anti-hero and social misfit named Nick Starkey.

Scandalized and disgraced former NYPD detective takes his wild, self-destructive talents to the fire department before being called back into service by his jerk-store police commissioner brother (Harvey Keitel) and the mayor (Rod Steiger). Apparently Nick’s the only man smart enough to catch a devious serial killer murdering socialites. And apparently his brother married Nick’s ex-girlfriend (Susan Sarandon), for which Nick still harbors emotions. Police Chief Alcoa (Danny Aiello) hates Nick’s laissez faire attitude, but goes along with the reinstatement because the mayor says. Nick’s painter friend (Alan Rickman) comes along as his assistant, because in this New York City even the comedic relief are more capable of solving crimes than the police commissioner. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio pops into the picture as friend of one of the victims and practically serves as the romantic interest that gets Nick’s eyes off his brother’s woman.

Together the trio of amateur sleuths recognize that the police are barking up the wrong leads. When they arrest the wrong man, the powers-that-be close the case. Nick, however, believes the killer will strike again unless he takes matters into his own hands. Tune in for amazing on-screen 1989 computer computations, underdeveloped subplots and characters played by major actors that just disappear.

Finesse, Lost in The January Man

John Patrick Shanley’s script aims for dark thriller with light comedy and some romantic melodrama and sometimes it works and most of the time it really doesn’t. But it could have. It’s like you set up the board for a game of Clue, placed all the pieces and then chucked the board. (I’m sure that’s a perfectly clear metaphor.)

Without knowing anything about the production (because nobody proliferated Interwebs with minutiae in 1989), The January Man feels like a movie that had a killer script and somewhere along the way a “committee” got ahold of it and made it palatable for the lowest common denominator. They didn’t understand the quirks and redlined what would have made it unique. Kline’s disgraced former police officer turned fireman and painter Alan Rickman make for a fun pair of non-detectives solving crimes, but alas, it should have been so much more. Ideas are all over this movie — all setups without punchlines. It’s a 97-minute act two. Everyone other than Kline feels like wallpaper, and the murderer doesn’t even reach wallpaper status. (Does that make him shelf paper?)

The January Man probably claims the most DNA in common with Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, an off-kilter murder mystery that wanders off in strange and unusual ways. Mismatched buddy cops. Love interests. Odd twists. Embrace the script at the level of character and let these characters find their own way — quirks, messiness and all. Shane Black knew how to direct a Shane Black script. Meanwhile Pat O’Connor (Circle of Friends) had absolutely no idea what to do with a John Patrick Shanley script other than herd it into a boilerplate serial killer movie.

God bless you, Alan Rickman.

The January Man Verdict

With a cast featuring Kline, Rickman (fresh off his breakthrough in Die Hard), Susan Sarandon, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Danny Aiello, Harvey Keitel and Rod Steiger, a viewer could almost weep for the movie that never was. Sarandon’s character clearly hit the cutting room floor — but structurally her role (like many other elements we’ll never know about) colored outside the lines.

Kevin Kline’s Nick Starkey was meant to be a portrait of a man, wronged by the institution and his family, with an acerbic sense of humor. He’s not outwardly angry about his unfortunate fall from grace, he’s just going through life as best he can, which is to say, emotionally stunted and free from material distraction. At home only among his eccentricities and his oddball friends. These filmmakers took all that messiness and all those rough edges and tried to sand them down into something that would make sense for everyone. As a result, none of it makes sense. We laughed a bit but mostly scratched our heads and wondered what else we missed.

At this point in his career, Kline’s a legitimate movie star on the verge of being a superstar. Leading man charisma, a devilishly handsome mustache and easygoing charm. He deserved a movie that embraced his ability to play light but be dark and brooding beneath the facade. Audiences may not have known what to do with John Patrick Shanley’s original vision for The January Man (and it may not have made any more money) but at least we could have held it up as an underappreciated genre-bending thriller that dared to be unique and eccentric.

The January Man might not be perfect but there’s enjoyable characters buried in a haphazard mess of a movie. The January Man is available on Blu-ray from Kino Studio Classics.

James David Patrick is a writer. He’s written just about everything at some point or another. Add whatever this is to that list. Follow his blog at www.thirtyhertzrumble.com and find him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.


80’s Flashback: The Lost Boys

Paul: Garlic don’t work boys.
Edgar Frog: Then try it with holy water deadbreath! 

the lost boys poster

The Lost Boys Elevator Pitch

One of the Coreys moves into fictional Santa Carla, California, which he soon learns has a vampire infestation. When his brother goes half vampire, Corey teams up with Corey and some other kid to break the curse. Lost Boys!

The Shame-Maker

Despite my love for all things 1980’s, I’d never seen Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys in its entirety. Chalk up another omission to the “I saw part of it on TV one day and… eh…” category. The Lost Boys also owns the distinction of being a film directed by Joel Schumacher, who, whether he knows it or not, has become my nemesis.

The feud began in 1990 (Flatliners), escalated in 1997 (Batman & Robin) and became a legitimate blood feud in 1998 (8mm) with many smaller transgressions in between.

I called a truce just long enough to face my Cinema Shame and order up The Lost Boys on Netflix DVD.

The 1987 Boys

If I had to pick the most 80’s year of the 1980’s, I would without hesitation choose 1987. If I were to pick the most 1987 movie from the year 1987, I might just pick The Lost Boys.

Joel Schumacher first worked in the fashion industry and broke into Hollywood as a costume designer. After writing a few successful screenplays he made his directorial debut on The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981). Schumacher directs like a fashion designer with foregrounded flash and spectacle and maybe something going on behind, but maybe not. Most likely not, but that’s irrelevant because LOOK AT THE FABULOUS LAPELS ON HIS LEATHER JACKET.

The Lost Boys Nostalgia

The Lost Boys looks and feels like a music video. A motorcycle chase scored my Lou Gramm’s (Foreigner) “Lost in the Shadows” gives the film its backbone. Elsewhere on the soundtrack find such clear-eyed aural vampire analogies like Echo and the Bunnymen’s “People are Strange” and Roger Daltrey’s version of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me.” These are not subtle cues.

the lost boys 1987

In turn, more narrative beats hit you through musical montage and wardrobe rather than dialogue and action. Schumacher ladles on superficial visceral thrills in place of downtime. The result is film as pop-culture. As a kinetic riff on 1987 popular culture, The Lost Boys would have felt hyper-stylized in the moment. Removed from the era of its manufacture, the film now feels reflective of our late 80’s nostalgia.

This is how we now remember 1987 — a compression of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” leather, bitchin’ power rock anthems, INXS, a little bit of neon, sunglasses, the Coreys, Hawaiian shirts as a fashion statement. Even the vampire mythology feels rooted in 1987. Pre-Anne Rice and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The Lost Boys Flashback Verdict

None of these things prevents The Lost Boys from being a good movie. On the contrary, these jolts of processed pop culture nostalgia seem to have some of the most adamant fans. They stand out precisely for the reasons highlighted above.

Due to my pre-disposed negativity for Joel Schumacher I watched The Lost Boys and yelled BINGO! after seeing all my favorite Joel Schumacher flourishes grace the screen before the half-hour mark. As a director, Schumacher’s a magician, a practitioner of misdirection, and The Lost Boys probably remains his crowning achievement. But instead of smoke and mirrors, he’s using rock anthems and Kiefer Sutherland.

If you loved The Lost Boys back in 1987, I’d wager that you’re still very much attached to the film. As a lover of all things 80’s, I understand the allure completely; it hits you like a 10-ton blob of hair gel.

Having viewed this film for the first time as a 40-year old manchild, the tone’s far more childish than I’d anticipated. Safe scares for prepubuscent horror-fans-in-training with Jason Patric as your James Dean rebelling with a cause, an excellent cause by the name 1987’s Jami Gertz. Light on vampire gore, but high on humor, mild tension and beautiful people.

jami gertz the lost boys

There are worse reason to love a movie — but understand that presentation in The Lost Boys is everything and if you peek behind the gloss, it’s mostly undead.

James David Patrick is a writer. He’s written just about everything at some point or another. Add whatever this is to that list. Follow his blog at www.thirtyhertzrumble.com and find him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

Disclaimer: I earn rewards from DVD.Netflix.com, which has thousands of movies to choose from, many that you won’t find on streaming services. I do this because the availability of physical media is important. The popular streaming notion of “everything available all the time” is a myth. We are always our own best curators. #PhysicalMedia #DVDNation #ad

4th Annual 30/007Hertz 2018 First-Watch Hertzie Award Nominations

My Letterboxd stats sheet suggests I watched about 293 new movies in 2018 (give or take a few that I forgot to log along the way). Of those 293 new movies, 239 were brand new-to-me watches. From King Arthur in the wee hours of the new year to our New Years Eve viewing of Blockers. If you’re in need of more interesting footnotes about my year in moviewatching (like Christopher Lee appeared in 6 different movies, and I watched 23 different French movies in 2018) jump on over to my Letterboxd account.

While everyone was out there discussing A Star Is Born, Black Panther and some other movie that didn’t really do it for me, I was probably watching through Louis Feuillade’s filmography. That sounds very #OldMovieWeirdo. I’m lobbying for guild membership this year. For the 4th year in a row, I’ve created my own awards ballot because I don’t feel like I’m all that qualified to competently discuss the real Academy Award nominations — I am, however, qualified to give arbitrary accolades to the 293 movies I did watch.

And while the Academy Awards still don’t really have a host lined up for the ceremony, I can always count on my mistress of ceremonies, Myrna Loy, to take up the microphone and give Hertzie readers their money’s worth.

Now presenting the 4th Annual First-Watch Hertzie Award Nominations.

Favorite Supporting Actress:

Ann Dvorak, Scarface
Mia Goth, Suspiria
Nastassja Kinski, Paris, Texas
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Lois Smith, Five Easy Pieces
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Commentary: Surprise nomination for Ann Dvorak causes a stir. Voters claim she’s never been better, but still — was that reason to include her in the same category as as these other ladies?

**WINNER** – Nastassja Kinski, Paris, Texas

Favorite Supporting Actor:

Charles Durning, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Tom Courtenay, A Dandy in Aspic
Ethan Hawke, Juliet, Naked
Christopher Plummer, Silent Partner
Jason Robards, Once Upon a Time in the West
Jack Warden, Heaven Can Wait

Commentary: Charles Durning soft-shoes his way to a nomination. Ethan Hawke wonders if he got nominated for the wrong movie. 

**WINNER** – Charles Durning, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Favorite Actor

Richard Dreyfuss, The Big Fix
Peter Falk, The In-Laws
Henry Fonda, The Ox-Bow Incident
Jeff Goldblum, Vibes
Laurence Olivier, Wuthering Heights
Harry Dean Stanton, Paris, Texas

Commentary: Voters cite Jeff Goldblum’s ability to act alongside Cindi Lauper as proof that he could do anything — and deserves to be in the same category as Laurence Olivier, Henry Fonda, and Peter Falk. Richard Dreyfuss is just happy anyone remembers The Big Fix.

**WINNER** – Harry Dean Stanton, Paris, Texas

Favorite Actress

Isabelle Adjani, Possession
Tony Collette, Hereditary
Marion Davies, Show People
Lily James, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
Vicky Krieps, The Phantom Thread
Merle Oberon, Wuthering Heights

Commentary: Early buzz has Isabelle Adjani running away with this category, but the inclusion of Lily James and Marion Davies has renewed talks of a required pre-ballot voter drug-test. Nevertheless, voters claim Lily James radiated ‘movie star’ in a surprisingly good sequel.

**WINNER** – Isabelle Adjani, Possession

Favorite Adapted Screenplay

Closely Watched Trains – Jirí Menzel
Juliet, Naked – Tamara Jenkins, Jim Taylor, Phil Alden Robinson, Evgenia Peretz
Night of the Demon –
Charles Bennett, Hal E. Chester
Paper Moon –
Alvin Sargent
Silent Partner –
Curtis Hanson
Wuthering Heights –
Charles MacArthur, Ben Hecht

Commentary: Ethan Hawke’s still wandering around the lobby asking everyone if they watched First Reformed.

**WINNER** – Paper Moon – Alvin Sargent

Favorite Original Screenplay

Big Deal on Madonna Street – Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli, Susan Cecchi d’Amico, Mario Monicelli
Brigsby Bear –
Kyle Mooney, Kevin Costello
Five Easy Pieces –
Adrien Joyce
The In-Laws –
Andrew Bergman
Paris, Texas –
L. M. Kit Carson, Sam Shepard
Peeping Tom – 
Leo Marks

Commentary: Kyle Mooney asked to be seated at Sam Shepard’s table, but Sam Shepard in turn requested that Mooney’s seat be occupied by a bottle of whiskey.

**WINNER** – Brigsby Bear – Kyle Mooney, Kevin Costello

Favorite Director

Jacque Becker, Le Trou
Alfred Hitchcock, Lifeboat
Sergio Leone, Once Upon a Time in the West
Jacques Tourneur, Night of the Demon
Wim Wenders, Paris, Texas
Andrzej Zulawski, Possession 

**WINNER** – Sergio Leone, Once Upon a Time in the West

Favorite Picture

Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958)
Closely Watched Trains
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Once Upon a Time in the West
Paris, Texas
Stop Making Sense 

Commentary: Rebecca Ferguson promised to attend in her Rogue Nation dress if Mission: Impossible got a Favorite Picture nomination. Only explanation.

**WINNER** – Stop Making Sense (1984)


Favorite “B” Picture

3615 code Père Noël (1989)
Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter
A Dandy in Aspic
Night of the Demon
Silent Partner 

Commentary: Nobody really has any clue what fits this category so the nominees just get tequila shots until one remains standing.

**WINNER** – Possession (1981)


Good luck to all of our 2018 Hertzie Award Nominees! The winners will be announced the evening of the 2019 Academy Awards on February 24th.

Best Songs of 2018

Just when I thought I wasn’t enamored with the music of 2018… I compiled my Best Songs of 2018 list and realized, well… that I wasn’t that enamored with the music of 2018. I fell at the feet of a few select albums and those albums consumed my year. My love for Arctic Monkey’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino forced me to re-evaluate the entire Arctic Monkey’s catalog. (It’s better than I remembered!) Of course I had a new CHVRCHES record, so I even had to grapple with my steadily increasing CHVRCHES fanboy tendencies (I’m incorrigible.)

Overall, however, 2018 was another year filled with highs and lows, just like any other. Even though popular culture continues to tout rap’s new directions, I can only shrug because what the hell is that even? What happened to beats, rhymes & life? You guys aren’t even trying to rhyme and god forbid we introduce a decent beat. Indie rock has fell back into an interminable mid-tempo cruising speed, proper rock & roll failed to leave a mark, and I even liked not one — but two country albums. (What?)

At the outset I made an effort to digest a wider variety of music styles. As a result I spent more time with soul, blues and modern jazz. Genres in which I tend to live in the past. Each year I tend to discover many great jazz records… made in the 1950’s. My list reflects those efforts in fits and spurts and I even found a few terrific jazz records made after 1960. (The hell you say.)

And now for my yearly disclaimer. I’m just one human listening to music and these selections reflect my year in music. I share my picks because maybe you’ll find some new favorites for yourself. I also carry on because my friend Michael Smith at bsidesnarrative.com have been exchanging lists every year since 2007.

Music sustains us through the tough times and improves the good ones. It gives us hope for the future and convinces us we’re more deep and soulful than we really are. Music is a constantly renewing life blood. Never stop listening to new music.

 The minute you stop listening to new music is the moment you become old.

best songs of 2018
  • 101. “Falling Into Me” – Let’s Eat Grandma
  • 100. “Mice” – Billie Marten
  • 99. “Birds” – The Shacks
  • 98. “How Can I Love You” – Yellow Days
  • 97. “True to You” – Deep Cuts
  • 96. “We Appreciate Power” Grimes (feat. HANA)
  • 95. “Anthem (To Human Justice)” – Logan Richarson
  • 94. “Make Me Feel” – Janelle Monáe
  • 93. “New Birth in New England” – Phosphorescent
  • 92. “Foundation” – Public Practice
  • 91. “The Bug Collector” – Haley Heynerickx
  • 90. “Once In My Life” – The Decemberists
  • 89. “Thread” – David Bazan & Kevin Devine
  • 88. “The Walker” – Christine and the Queens
  • 87. “Wild Blue Wind” – Erin Rae
  • 86. “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” – Ashley McBryde
  • 85. “Everybody Wants to Be Famous” – Superorganism
  • 84. “Bad Bad News” – Leon Bridges
  • 83. “My Friend the Forest” – Nils Frahm
  • 82. “Nearer My God” – Foxing
  • 81. “Honeymooning” – Holy Motors
  • 80. “It’s Alright” – Slow and Steady
  • 79. “Lemon Glow” Beach House
  • 78. “Meateater” – ALASKALASKA
  • 77. “Tokyo Bay” – Nick Lowe
  • 76. “Suspirium” – Thom Yorke
  • 75. “better alone” – Lykke Li
  • 74. “Straight Shot” – DeVotchKa
  • 73. “Fireworks” – First Aid Kit
  • 72. “MJ” – Now, Now
  • 71. “Paper Trails” – Celebration
  • 70. “Scream Whole” – Methyl Ethyl
  • 69. “Egyptian Luvr” – Rejjie Snow (feat. Aminé and Dana Williams)
  • 68. “You’re So Cool” – Jonathan Bree
  • 67. “Sure” – Hatchie
  • 66. “Believe” – Amen Dunes
  • 65. “Best Friend” – Belle & Sebastian
  • 64. “In a River” – Rostam
  • 63. “6&5” – Jesse Marchant
  • 62. “Me and Michael” – MGMT
  • 61. “Over and Over and Over” – Jack White
  • 60. “Taste” – Rhye
  • 59. “The Storm Won’t Come” – Richard Thompson
  • 58. “Pristine” – Snail Mail
  • 57. “Pearl Harbor (Remix)” – Wu-Tang Clan (feat. Mathematics, Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price, Tek)
  • 56. “Jeannie Becomes a Mom” – Caroline Rose
  • 55. “4Ever” – Clairo
  • 54. “Everybody’s Coming to My House” – David Byrne
  • 53. “Blue Girl” = Chromatics
  • 52. “Nobody” – Mitski
  • 51. “Don’t You Know” -Durand Jones & The Indications
  • 50. “Your Dog” – Soccer Mommy
  • 49. “Semicircle Song” – The Go! Team
  • 48. “Welcome to the Milk Disco” – Milk Disco
  • 47. “Gold Rush” – Death Cab for Cutie
  • 46. “Powder Blue / Cascine Park” – Yumi Zouma
  • 45. “Don” – Ocean Wisdom
  • 44. “Space Cowboy” – Kacey Musgraves
  • 43. “List of Demands” – The Kills
  • 42. “Far Behind You” – Lyla Foy (feat. Jonathan Donahue)
  • 41. “Fallingwater” & “Light On” – Maggie Rogers
  • 40. “Saturdays” – Twin Shadow (feat. HAIM)
  • 39. “Modafinil Blues” – Matthew Dear
  • 38. “This is America” – Childish Gambino
  • 37. “Rosebud” – U.S. Girls
  • 36. “Sense of Discovery” – Simple Minds
  • 35. “Know My Name” – Das Body
  • 34. “Jeannie Becomes a Mom” – Caroline Rose
  • 33. “Late to the Fight” – LUMP
  • 32. “Jeep Cherokee Laredo” – The War and Treaty
  • 31. “Oh No, Bye Bye” – Sunflower Bean
  • 30. “Confirmation” – Westerman
  • 29. “Give Up” – I See Rivers
  • 28. “How Simple” – Hop Along
  • 27. “Can’t Do Better” – Kim Petras
  • 26. “Honey” – Robyn

And now for my Top 25 portion of The Best Songs of 2018. Because I’m becoming more of a realist in my old age, I now recognize that nobody’s going to read 100 blurbs (we’re very busy Internet surfers). Instead of half-assing 100 blurbs, I’m only half-assing 25. You’re welcome. 

“Heaven/Hell” – CHVRCHES (from the Hansa Sessions)

Just another song on CHVRCHES solid 2018 LP Love is Dead soared on this acoustic version with a blast of strings and stripped down vocals. It’s an entirely new song. Go ahead. Close your eyes, throw your head back and sing along. #NoJudgment

“Twanguero” – Electric Sunset

The search for new surf guitar artists usually proves futile. Spain’s Diego Garcia paid back that investment tenfold.

“Formless and New” – Rubblebucket

Psychedelic arty dream-poppers took the same old same old and added big beats, brass and pitchy synth to make something familiar but f#cking fresh as hell.

“Emily” – Clean Cut Kid

Easily the best cut from Fleetwood Mac in 2018.

“Eva” – HAERTS

Epic dream-pop in four movements.

“Roll (Burbank Funk) – The Internet

Irresistible California funk. Lush instrumentation, groovy bassline, and honey-dripped vocals.

“I’ll Make You Sorry” – Screaming Females

Punk-lite vets peak with their seventh record? Not saying they did, just saying it’s an argument you could make that wouldn’t be weird. Marissa Paternoster has the best name and warble in the business.

“Wide Awake” – Parquet Courts

Indie-rock Junkaroo.

“Peach” – Broods

Trippy, electro-pop from New Zealand has pinpointed your pleasure center with dreamy vocals over block-rocking beats.

“Short Court Style” – Natalie Prass

June Christy + Booker T. = “Short Court Style”

“Boss” – Little Simz

I haven’t been this enamored with a female rapper since Ice Cube gave the world Yo Yo in 1991. The rolling bassline will make you believe that you’ve got moves, too.

“Letting Go” – Wild Nothing

Wild Nothing’s sound perfectly distilled into one individual song. They’ll never be a more Wild Nothing song than the jangly, melancholic “Letting Go”.

“Strange Embrace” – Kitten

This poppy, hook-laden confection makes me purr.

“Night Shift” – Lucy Dacus

Swallow-your-soul storytelling with beautiful, tortured musicality. If you don’t know the name Lucy Dacus, you should get acquainted. Immediately.

“Future Me Hates Me” – The Beths

Riot grrls had a strong showing on the countdown because more so than any other 2018 microgenre the ladies recognized the power of a well placed guitar riff and a hooky chorus.

“Over the Midnight” – Jonathan Wilson

The first song added to my 2018 Hits List survived the gauntlet to earn a spot in the Top 10. Lush soundscape with Cat Stevens lyrical stylings.

“She Remembers Everything” – Roseanne Cash, Sam Phillips

Haunting strings and hooky, soul churning lyricism.

“Me and My Dog” – boygenius (Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus)

If you would have said to me, “Jay, I charge you with creating the ultimate female singer-songwriter supergroup,” I would have chosen Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. Now that you mention it, I would have added Maggie Rogers, too, but who am I to quibble?

“Not Tonight” – Ten Fé

London duo’s irresistible candy-coated alt-rock. A Khan-worthy ear worm.

“May Your Kindness Remain” – Courtney Marie Andrews

Repeated refrains or song titles can become grinding and pretentious — or beautiful and meditative.

“Four Out of Five” – Arctic Monkeys

Until now I’d always lost the Monkeys’ lyricism among the bombast. Clever twists of phrase and irony have never been more lounge lizardy.

“Driving” – Grouper

I am a child
It is a gift that my mother gave me

Watching the pavement
Stretch out and fade
You gave me

Along the highway
They look to see
The nature of the crash
To see the body

And it is time
We’re on our way
I wonder
Whether you realize
How much I love you

Today, the land
Is slightly wider than the sky

And we are driving
Oh, life
Life in the tunnel
Made of the sun frame

“Helpless” – The Regrettes

Hamiltonian cover refashioned for hooky riot grrrlllllls with perfect pop sensibilities.

“Graffiti” – CHVRCHES

I won’t apologize for my Lauren Mayberry obsession — I stand by my assertion that this is some of her best songwriting.

“Love It If We Made It” – The 1975

I dismissed this song after first listen, but it’s off-kilter backdoor not-a-pop-song pop qualities wore me down until I couldn’t deny this band’s emerging greatness any longer. This is my best song of all the best songs of 2018 at this very moment. Check back tomorrow.

Previous ‘Best Of” Song Lists:

Best Songs of 2017
Best Songs of 2016
Best Songs of 2015
Best Songs of 2014
Best Songs of 2013
Best Songs of 2012
Best Songs of 2011

A bl-g about classic and not-so-classic movies, music and nostalgia by James David Patrick