The best novel so far this century.Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

  • Author:  Susanna Clarke  (b. 1959)
  • Rank:  #22
  • Published:  2004
  • Publisher:  Bloomsbury
  • Pages:  846
  • First Line:  “Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.”
  • Last Lines:  “They kissed once.  Then he turned upon his heel and disappeared into the Darkness.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Acclaim:  Man Booker Prize Longlist; Time Novel of the Year; Hugo Award
  • Film:  2015 BBC (****)
  • First Read:  Fall, 2005

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42 years after Metropolis and true greatness finally returns to Science-Fiction.

42 years after Metropolis and true greatness finally returns to Science-Fiction.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  2. The Lion in Winter
  3. The Producers
  4. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  5. Rosemary’s Baby
  6. Belle de Jour
  7. The Battle of Algiers
  8. Closely Watched Trains
  9. The Two of Us
  10. War and Peace

Analysis:  The adjustment into Oscar-eligibility years hurts several films: Belle de Jour and Battle of Algiers would be Best Picture nominees in their original years and War and Peace would be the #5 film if not for the five films in front of it from other years.  But what we have is a fantastic Top 5 and Top 10.  The #2 through #5 all earn the same rating and Belle is only point below (Belle ties several other films for the third best #6 film to date).  War and Peace is a ***.5 film, but a top-level ***.5 film.
This is also a rare group for its genre variety; there is the first Sci-Fi film to win, the first to even earn a Top 10 finish since 1956 and the first time that a Top 10 has featured a Sci-Fi, a Western and a Horror film. (more…)

The 1st Edition cover to King's terrifying novel.

The 1st Edition cover to King’s terrifying novel.

It

  • Author:  Stephen King
  • Published:  1986
  • Publisher:  Viking
  • Pages:  1093
  • First Line:  “The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”
  • Last Line:  “Or so Bill Denbrough sometimes thinks on those early morning after dreaming, when he almost remembers his childhood and the friends with whom he shared it.”
  • Film:  1990 TV film (***)
  • First Read:  1990

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They're young.  They're in love.  They kill people.  They are also the stars of the best film of the decade and one of the best films ever made.

They’re young. They’re in love. They kill people. They are also the stars of the best film of the decade and one of the best films ever made.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Bonnie and Clyde  *
  2. The Graduate  *
  3. In the Heat of the Night  **
  4. Persona  *
  5. In Cold Blood
  6. Point Blank
  7. Cool Hand Luke
  8. Two for the Road
  9. A Fistful of Dollars
  10. I Live in Fear

(more…)

I'm 40, so this is where I'm at.

I’m 40, so this is where I’m at.

All right, the books are all unpacked and I’m actually back to working on 1967, but I’m not close to finished because Thomas is out of school.

But, I had meant to post something about this before.  You may have heard that Maggie Gyllenhall was turned down for a role as being “too old” when the actor was 55.  She’s 37.  That’s ridiculous.  She’s incredibly sexy and a fantastic actress and she should always be hired.  That also fits into Amy Schumer’s hilarious Last Fuckable Day.  The ageism (and sexism) inherent in this is ridiculous.  So, I was prompted to find this article, which I wrote four years ago for Sex Week over at CC2K.  A major point of the article was that actresses can be sexy no matter the age.  Appreciate them at whatever age they are.  Go watch one of the movies beginning at 50 and appreciate an older sexy woman.  Then go watch any film with Maggie Gyllenhall because she’s a FANTASTIC ACTRESS AND IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW SEXY SHE IS!  More on a story idea down below that’s relevant to this. (more…)

10984501_10153469234544255_7576488785518705977_nWe’re still cleaning stuff from our apartment and unboxing stuff in the new apartment, so I’m nowhere near getting a film or book post done.

In the meantime, well, when we moved here in 2005 this was the only state in the country where gay marriage was legal.

And as for below, well, not only did I not think anyone should own a gun, I don’t even believe the Constitution gives you that right.

10311943_10152054948346179_9167250763171488170_n

This picture is the only one where 1 - am not squinting from, 2 - am smiling and 3 - don't look like I'm standing apart from the rest of the family.

This picture is the only one where 1 – I am not squinting, 2 – I am smiling and 3 – I don’t look like I’m standing apart from the rest of the family.

It’ll be a while before I can get another post done.  Last weekend I flew out to the Bay Area as a surprise for my oldest brother’s 50th birthday. (more…)

"A-15.  UPPER LANDING OF STAIRCASE (FROM BELOW).  Phyllis Dietrichson stands looking down.  She is in her early thirties.  She holds a large bath-towel around her very appetizing torso, down to about two inches above her knees.  She wears no stockings, no nothing.  On her feet a pair of high-heeled bedroom slippers with pom-poms.  On her left ankle a gold anklet."

“A-15. UPPER LANDING OF STAIRCASE (FROM BELOW). Phyllis Dietrichson stands looking down. She is in her early thirties. She holds a large bath-towel around her very appetizing torso, down to about two inches above her knees. She wears no stockings, no nothing. On her feet a pair of high-heeled bedroom slippers with pom-poms. On her left ankle a gold anklet.”

My Top 5:

  1. Double Indemnity
  2. Gaslight
  3. Arsenic and Old Lace
  4. Laura
  5. Ministry of Fear

Note:  That’s it.  My whole list for the year.  But it’s also a year where only 8 films rank above *** and the other three are original.  Not a good year for film. (more…)

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