December 2019


His Dark Materials

  1. The Golden Compass (Northern Lights)
  2. The Subtle Knife
  3. The Amber Spyglass
  • Author:  Philip Pullman
  • Published:  1995  /  1997  /  2000
  • Publisher:  Scholastic
  • Pages:  300  /  400  /  518
  • First Line:  “Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.”
  • Last Lines:  “’The Republic of Heaven,’ said Lyra.”
  • Acclaim:  Carnegie Medal (Northern Lights), Whitbread Book of the Year (Amber Spyglass); Big Read #3
  • Film Version:  2007 (The Golden Compass – ***.5); 2019 (tv series)
  • First Read:  mid 2007

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Veronica, Thomas and assorted friends gather to watch Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.

I will start, aside from wishing Merry Christmas (or whatever your choice of holiday is) to everyone, by quoting two different things I wrote in my piece on Christmas Eve on Sesame Street five years ago.

The first is “I have no religious feelings centering around Christmas.  I love Christmas for the feeling of good cheer and happiness that tend to abound.  The two songs “True Blue Miracle” and “Keep Christmas With You” both center around those notions.”  That is the explanation for the title.

The second is “Most of all this special works because it is a reminder that what I love about Christmas is the feeling in the air (and it doesn’t think Christmas is the only holiday – there is a nice Chanukah greeting for Mr. Hooper), that we can all love each other, that we can find peace on earth.  It makes me think of my e-mail signature, a quote from RFK: “But we can perhaps remember – even if only for a time – that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek – as we do – nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.”  That is what I love about Christmas.  And Sesame Street was always like that – always a reminder that we should be nice to each other, that life is so much better that way.” (more…)

“Then Renton was hit by a wave of shock which threatened to knock him incoherent.  A girl came into the room.  As he watched her, a coldness came over him.  She was the double of Dianne, but this girl looked barely secondary school age.  It took him a few seconds to realize that it was Dianne.”  (p 145)

My Top 10

  1. Trainspotting
  2. The English Patient
  3. The Crucible
  4. Cold Comfort Farm
  5. Emma
  6. Hamlet
  7. The Birdcage
  8. Romeo + Juliet
  9. Mother Night
  10. Star Trek: First Contact

note:  A fantastic Top 5 and a strong Top 10 with a few more listed down at the bottom.  A rare year in that it’s also fantastic for Original Screenplay.  This year has the highest average score for the two Screenplay awards in history. (more…)

The 2010’s

A Decade in Review

With best of the decade lists popping up all over the place and me needing a quick post that could go up between awards notes updates, I decided to throw this together.  It’s true that I’m missing a lot of major films from this year, but hey, these kind of lists change all the time anyway.  So think of this as a rough draft for history.  It’s got a minimum of notes or commentary because of time constraints and because I feel it mostly speaks for itself.  Most of it shouldn’t be surprising given my Nighthawk winners in previous years.

Feel free to post any of your own best of decade lists in the comments field if you want.  All are welcome and I expect no one to agree with my lists anyway.

Films in red won the Oscar.  Films in blue earned Oscar noms.  In the Actor and Actress, the red and blue in genre are for the Globes.  If I list a “Worst Oscar Winner”, I thought the winner was a bad choice.  If I list the “Weakest Oscar Winner” it means that all the Oscar winners in the decade were at least pretty good choices.

The Ten Best Films:

  1. La La Land
  2. Lincoln
  3. Gravity
  4. Inception
  5. Birdman
  6. Lady Bird
  7. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  8. Dunkirk
  9. Carol
  10. The Favourite

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