May 2011

If you killed his father, you should probably prepare to die.

My Top 20:

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. Au revoir les enfants
  3. Hope and Glory
  4. Empire of the Sun
  5. Broadcast News
  6. Manon of the Spring
  7. The Dead
  8. The Last Emperor
  9. Matewan
  10. Full Metal Jacket
  11. Jean de Florette
  12. House of Games
  13. The Untouchables
  14. Roxanne
  15. Radio Days
  16. My Life as a Dog
  17. River’s Edge
  18. The Big Easy
  19. Raising Arizona
  20. Evil Dead II (more…)

The Modern Library cover for Possession by A.S. Byatt

Possession: A Romance

  • Author:  A.S. Byatt  (b. 1936)
  • Rank:  #41
  • Published:  1990
  • Publisher:  Chatto and Windus
  • Pages:  555
  • First Line:  “The book was thick and black and covered with dust.”
  • Last Line:  “And on the way home, she met her brothers, and there was a rough-and-tumble, and the lovely crown was broken, and she forgot the message, which was never delivered.”
  • ML Edition:  Gold hardcover  (2001)
  • Film:  2002  (*** – dir. Neil LaBute)
  • Acclaim:  Booker Prize, All-TIME List
  • First Read:  May, 2002 (more…)

Elias (Willem DaFoe) and Barnes (Tom Berenger) - the light and darkness of Platoon.

The 59th annual Academy Awards for the film year 1986.  The nominations were announced on February 11, 1987  and the awards were held on March 30, 1987.

Best Picture:  Platoon

  • Hannah and Her Sisters
  • A Room with a View
  • Children of a Lesser God
  • The Mission

Most Surprising Omission:  Blue Velvet

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Blue Velvet

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #15 (more…)

the brilliant ee cummings says it all in a caption from hannah and her sisters

My Top 20:

  1. Hannah and Her Sisters
  2. Platoon
  3. A Room with a View
  4. Blue Velvet
  5. Stand By Me
  6. Mona Lisa
  7. My Beautiful Laundrette
  8. Aliens
  9. The Decline of the American Empire
  10. Something Wild
  11. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  12. Salvador
  13. The Sacrifice
  14. Little Shop of Horrors
  15. Peggy Sue Got Married
  16. The Assault
  17. The Color of Money
  18. True Stories
  19. Vagabond
  20. F/X (more…)

The Modern Library Classics box set of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time

In Search of Lost Time  (Á la recherché du temps perdu)

  • Author:  Marcel Proust  (1871  –  1922)
  • Rank:  #42
  • Published:  1913, 1919, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1927
  • Publisher:  Grasset and Gallimard
  • Pages:  4651  (Modern Library Classics)
  • First Line:  “For a long time I would go to bed early.”
  • Last Line:  “So, if I were given long enough to accomplish my work, I should not fail, even if the effect were to make them resemble monsters, to describe men as occupying so considerable a place, compared with the restricted place which is reserved for them in space, a place on the contrary prolonged past measure, for simultaneously, like giants plunged into the years, they touch the distant epochs through which they have lived, between which so many days have come to range themselves – in Time.”
  • ML Edition:  see longer note below
  • Film:  1984 – Swann in Love  (***), 1999 – Time Regained, 2000 – The Captive
  • Read:  Fall, 2003 – Winter, 2004 (more…)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Mike Mulligan - two absolute classics

I had these 10 and I couldn’t figure out how else to write about them.  But I couldn’t not write about them.  They are 10 of the great picture books of all-time.  Not all of them were books I read as a child.  But some absolutely were a vital part of my childhood.  Others have become a vital part of my interactions with my son.

They all relate directly to the whole notion I created with my For Love of Books posts.  How will you read to your children?  I can understand people flocking to e-books who just go through disposable books.  If what you read is the monthly Harlequin or the latest James Patterson as soon as it released, why bother with buying an actual book.  Will you ever read it again?  Is it something to treasure or a pleasure to be gotten through once and then move on to the next one?

Great pictures book are definitely the former.  Will you try to stretch out your Kindle to make the screen larger so your child can sink into the illustrations?  Will you hand over your piece of (expensive) electronic equipment to your two year old so they can flip through the pages?

I will stand on the side of the books themselves, physical objects I can pull off the shelf and curl up with my son to read in his little reading corner.  Or he can grab them off the shelf anytime he chooses and look at them himself.  There is always that option. (more…)

Thomas Pynchon's amazing and hilarious The Crying of Lot 49

The Crying of Lot 49

  • Author:  Thomas Pynchon  (b. 1937)
  • Rank:  #43
  • Published:  1966
  • Publisher:  J.B. Lippincott Company
  • Pages:  183
  • First Line:  “One summer afternoon Mrs Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary.”
  • Last Lines:  “Passerine spread his arms in a gesture that seemed to belong to the priesthood of some remote culture; perhaps to a descending angel.  The auctioneer cleared his throat.  Oedipa settled back, to await the crying of lot 49.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film:  none
  • Acclaim:  All-TIME List
  • First Read:  July, 2000 (more…)

The hairwashing scene in Out of Africa (1985)

The 58th annual Academy Awards, for the film year 1985.  The nominations were announced on February 5, 1986 and the awards were held on March 24, 1986.

Best Picture:  Out of Africa

  • Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • Witness
  • The Color Purple
  • Prizzi’s Honor

Most Surprising Omission:  Ran

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Ran

Best Eligible English Language Film Not Nominated:  Blood Simple

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #43 (more…)

the land is unwisely divided among the sons in Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1985)

My Top 20:

  1. Ran
  2. Blood Simple
  3. The Purple Rose of Cairo
  4. Kiss of the Spider Woman
  5. Brazil
  6. Back to the Future
  7. Witness
  8. The Color Purple
  9. Prizzi’s Honor
  10. After Hours
  11. A Private Function
  12. Queen Kelly
  13. The Official Story
  14. The Breakfast Club
  15. Silverado
  16. Plenty
  17. The Sure Thing
  18. Cocoon
  19. Dance with a Stranger
  20. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (more…)

the Ralph Steadman illustrated version of George Orwell's Animal Farm

Animal Farm

  • Author:  George Orwell  (1903  –  1950)
  • Rank:  #44
  • Published:  1945
  • Publisher:  Secker and Warburg
  • Pages:  128
  • First Line:  “Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes.”
  • Last Line:  “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film Version:  1954;  1999 (tv film)
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century #31; All-TIME List; Hugo Award (retroactively)
  • First Read:  Fall, 1991 (more…)

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