December 2012

I hope you all enjoyed 2012.  We actually spent the whole year in one place, a place we like living in, so that alone was good for us.  And Thomas is having a much better time now at the end of the year than he was having during the start.

So, if you come to the blog to read about Thomas and to follow what he’s doing, we’ll try to keep updating it in 2013 as much as we can.  Meanwhile, now that Veronica and I both have iPhones, we’ll be trying to put more videos of him up on YouTube.  If you keep watching after the first video, it will keep playing them.  Or you can find them all here.

But, if you are here for the posts about film and literature and other random things that I feel like writing about, keep reading after the jump. (more…)

Still the best animated film of this or any other decade.

Still the best animated film of this or any other decade.

2000  –  2009

Total Films I’ve Seen:  1296

Films That Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  48

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  No Country for Old Men

Film of the Decade:  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Worst Film of the Decade:  Captivity

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  The Blind Side

Worst Film of the Decade Made by a Top 100 Director:  What Planet Are You From (more…)

IMG_1493Well, it’s Christmas.  I suspect you might have already known that.

That pile under the tree has now pretty much been devoured.  We have eaten our eggs, coffee cake and sausage and we have our croque monsieurs and chicken cacciatore to come.  We are watching Pixar Shorts Vol II (though last night we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and Christmas Eve on Sesame Street and we watched Mickey’s Christmas Carol while opening presents), which Thomas got for Christmas.  And tonight it will be all about the new companion on the Christmas episode of Doctor Who.  Though before that, we’ll go out in the snow (yes – we actually have received the gift of a white christmas – at least it’s a gift to Erik).

Thanks to everyone who sent Thomas things – except for the pile in the back, everything under the tree was pretty much for him.  And he has been enjoying it all this morning.


IMG_1483“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Reading J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t teach me a love of reading.  Even at the age of 5, I already had that.  But, in the summer of 1980, after I had made it through the Chronicles of Narnia, my brothers decided to hand me The Hobbit and then The Lord of the Rings and see what would happen.  What happened, of course, is 33 consecutive years of reading both (sometimes more than once a year).

For a long time, this was a love that I had, but it wasn’t necessarily an overwhelming passion.  I had The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and a few reference books (The Complete Guide to Middle-earth and The Atlas of Middle-earth).  And I knew a lot about Middle-earth.  But it could all easily fit in a shelf.  Now it can’t even fit in a single bookcase.

“This tale grew in the telling . . .”

What happened?  Well, a passion for collecting that began to focus happened.  And the films happened, at a time when I was working at the world’s largest bookstore.  There was suddenly a lot of Tolkien books (and Tolkien related books) around and suddenly I had more money than I had before for this kind of collecting.  So, this took off, slower than Faulkner, but at a good pace.

And what has happened in the years since I left Powell’s?  It has only continued to grow.  In fact, I now own more copies of Lord of the Rings than I own of The Sound and the Fury.  And it continues to grow because they continue to release new editions of the books and I just can’t resist. (more…)

The versions I first read, growing up - the first authorized U.S. paperback Ballatine edition.

The versions I first read, growing up – the first authorized U.S. paperback Ballatine edition.

The Lord of the Rings

  • Rank:  #5
  • Author:  J.R.R. Tolkien  (1892  –  1973)
  • Published:  1955  (U.K.),  1956  (U.S.)
  • Publisher:  George Allen & Unwin  (U.K.), Houghton Mifflin  (U.S.)
  • Pages:  1137
  • First Line:  “When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.”
  • Last Line:  ” ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”
  • Acclaim:  3rd Best-Selling Novel of All-Time; Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century
  • ML Version:  None
  • Film:  1978  (*);  1980  (TV – **.5);  2001, 2002, 2003  (****)
  • First Read:  Summer, 1980


Kathryn Bigelow, the first female to win Best Director, directs a scene in The Hurt Locker (2009)

The 82nd Academy Awards for the film year of 2009.  The nomination were announced on 2 February 2010 and the awards were held on 7 March 2010.

Best Picture:  The Hurt Locker

  • Inglourious Basterds
  • A Serious Man
  • An Education
  • Up
  • Up in the Air
  • District 9
  • Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side

Most Surprising Omission:  Invictus

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Broken Embraces

Best Eligible English Language Film Not Nominated:  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Rank  (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #24 (more…)

Michael Fassbender makes, shall we say, a costly error, in Inglourious Basterds.

Michael Fassbender makes, shall we say, a costly error, in Inglourious Basterds.

My Top 20:

  1. Inglourious Basterds
  2. The Hurt Locker
  3. A Serious Man
  4. An Education
  5. Broken Embraces
  6. Up
  7. Up in the Air
  8. The White Ribbon
  9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  10. District 9
  11. The Informant
  12. Sin Nombre
  13. Crazy Heart
  14. Coraline
  15. Revanche
  16. Precious
  17. (500) Days of Summer
  18. A Single Man
  19. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
  20. Duplicity

note:  There has been a slight change since I first posted this, because I finished re-watching film for Best Picture and dropped District 9 a few spots and moved Up up a few spots.