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My Top Five Favorite Films of SXSW 2018

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by Andrew Osborne

The 2018 South-by-Southwest Film Festival featured 130+ movies over the course of nine days, making it literally impossible for anyone to see more than a fraction of the premieres and festival favorites available for review. For strategic reasons, then, I skipped the high-profile, jam-packed A-list screenings of Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs”, Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One”, and John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” (which I’ll be able to see at theaters near me starting 3/23, 3/29, and 4/6, respectively). And, as it turned out, I didn’t wind up seeing this year’s narrative feature grand jury winner (“Thunder Road”, directed by Jim Cummings) or the SXSW documentary feature winner, “People’s Republic of Desire”, directed by Hao Wu).

But in addition to the titles above, here are five more films to watch out for, representing the tippity-top of SXSW’s 2018 cinematic iceberg.

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2018 SXSW Film Festival Preview

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by Andrew Osborne

“Analysis paralysis” is slang for an inability to make a decision.

When the condition becomes chronic, it’s known as aboulomania.

And when it involves 132 feature films screening for a week-plus in March (alongside shorts, TV episodes, virtual reality, musical and comedy performances, gaming and interactive exhibitions in a haze of relentless day drinking) it’s called the South by Southwest Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas.

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Best of 2017: Movies

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by Andrew Osborne

Honestly, nothing I saw at the movies this year came close to any two episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return (or even just Episode Eight all by itself) and I won’t have a chance to see The Post (which, unless I’m shockingly disappointed, seems like a Best Of lock) until after I…y’know, post this list.  But aside from those two outliers, here are the 10 big screen titles that gave the small screen a run for its money in 2017!

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Best of 2017: TV

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by Andrew Osborne

In general, television continued kicking cinema’s butt in 2017 as the dominant art form in terms of quality, creativity, and diversity in the pop culture food chain with a show that transformed the medium 25-ish years ago somehow doing it yet again, and even network TV offering some programs as clever and groundbreaking as their smartypants cable and streaming competitors.  ON TO THE LIST!!!

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Best of 2017: Books

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by Andrew Osborne

I never get to read as much as I want anymore, which is why the only books on my shelf in 2017 were the following certified page-turners: 

1. 50 Foot Drop by Philip Freeman

Sexy femme fatale?  Check.  Shady old friend with a simple plan for a can’t miss heist?  Check.  And yet, while the basic elements are familiar, 50 Foot Drop avoids crime noir clichés thanks to music writer Philip Freeman’s lived-in rock-and-roll spin on the genre.  His protagonist, Taylor Bailey, is the smart, likable front man of a bar band on the come-up with an indie label record deal and a growing fan base until the group’s tour bus takes the titular plunge off the edge of a curvy road, shattering bones and career momentum in a sudden sharp shock of misfortune.  It’s all downhill from there, of course, as Taylor winds up recovering from his injuries back home in the rough Jersey town he’d briefly managed to escape, and that tantalizing prospect of a brighter future growing ever further out of reach with each new bad break and misstep tightens the story’s overall sense of anxiety like a pulsing, ominous backbeat.

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Best of 2017: Theater/Live Performance

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by Andrew Osborne

A good theater year for me these days is simply seeing enough live shows to fill a Top Five list.  A great year is when all the shows are as noteworthy as those listed below:
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Best of 2017: Audio

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by Andrew Osborne

So, before the end of net neutrality makes it impossible for anyone to find my blog, “tax reform” makes it impossible for me to afford a computer to blog from, and North Korea nukes us all back to the pre-blog stone age, here’s part one of my tribute to the nice, non-political parts of my year — starting with the the audio that rocked my world in 2017.

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