literature


The amazing entryway to London Below.

The amazing entryway to London Below.

Neverwhere

  • Author:  Neil Gaiman
  • Published:  1996
  • Publisher:  BBC Books
  • Pages:  370
  • First Line:  “The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself.”
  • Last Line:  “And they walked away together through the hole in the wall, back into the darkness, leaving nothing behind them; not even the doorway.”
  • Film:  1996  (BBC – ***.5); Radio Drama (2013)
  • First Read:  2003

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"This house was the pride of the town.  Faced with stone as far back as the dining-room windows, it was a house of arches and turrets and girdling stone porches: it had the first porte-cochere seen in that town."  (The Magnificent Ambersons, p 9)

“This house was the pride of the town. Faced with stone as far back as the dining-room windows, it was a house of arches and turrets and girdling stone porches: it had the first porte-cochere seen in that town.” (The Magnificent Ambersons, p 9)

My Top 10:

  1. The Magnificent Ambersons
  2. Bambi
  3. Random Harvest
  4. Now Voyager
  5. The Glass Key
  6. Kings Row
  7. This Gun for Hire
  8. The Man Who Came to Dinner
  9. Mrs. Miniver
  10. The Pride of the Yankees

note:  Like in 1941, I have a Top 10 but no more. (more…)

Raymond Chandler meets Ken Kesey.  Or, film noir on acid.  Or, as Veronica put it, a Pynchon novel.

Raymond Chandler meets Ken Kesey. Or, film noir on acid. Or, as Veronica put it, a Pynchon novel.

Inherent Vice

  • Author:  Thomas Pynchon  (b. 1937)
  • Published:  2009
  • Publisher:  The Penguin Press
  • Pages:  369
  • First Line:  “She came along the alley and up the back steps the way she always used to.”
  • Last Line:  “For the fog to burn away, and for something else this time, somehow, to be there instead.”
  • Film:  2014  –  (**** – dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • First Read:  the day before it was released in 2009

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"Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine's lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied.  A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face.  Then Spade smiled."  (p 46)

“Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine’s lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied. A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face. Then Spade smiled.” (p 46)

My Top 10:

  1. The Maltese Falcon
  2. The Little Foxes
  3. Here Comes Mr. Jordan
  4. The Devil and Daniel Webster
  5. High Sierra
  6. How Green Was My Valley
  7. Hold Back the Dawn
  8. Meet John Doe
  9. Suspicion
  10. Pépé le Moko

Note:  I have a Top 10, but unlike 1940, my list doesn’t go any further than that. (more…)

The 1st Edition cover of the brilliant spy novel.

The 1st Edition cover of the brilliant spy novel.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

  • Author:  John Le Carré
  • Published:  1974
  • Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
  • Pages:  317  (Pan paperback)
  • First Line:  “The truth is, if old Major Dover hadn’t dropped dead at Taunton races Jim would never have come to Thursgood’s at all.”
  • Last Line:  “The gun, Bill Roach, had finally convinced himself, was after all a dream.”
  • Film:  1979 TV series  (****), 2011  (**** – dir. Tomas Alfredson)
  • First Read:  December 2011

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Still one of the best scenes in all of film history.

Still one of the best scenes in all of film history.

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 8 in each category, namely because that’s how many **** films there are, but only the top 5 actually earn nominations and in many categories there aren’t even 8 on my list.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. On the Waterfront  **
  2. Rear Window  *
  3. Forbidden Games
  4. A Star is Born
  5. Sabrina
  6. Gate of Hell  *
  7. Hobson’s Choice  *
  8. The Country Girl  *

Analysis:  There are many who would pick Rear Window but to me On the Waterfront is the easy winner here.  Gate of Hell is a close 6th place, but then there is a couple of points drop to Hobson and another couple to Country Girl.  Because I weight the BAFTA and Oscars the same, there is a glut of films tied for 5th place in the Consensus thanks to their BAFTA nom, including Rear Window, Gate of Hell and Hobson’s Choice. (more…)

Joad got out and stood beside the cab window.  The vertical exhaust pipe puttered up its barely visible blue smoke.  Joad leaned toward the driver.  'Homicide,' he said quickly."

“Joad got out and stood beside the cab window. The vertical exhaust pipe puttered up its barely visible blue smoke. Joad leaned toward the driver. ‘Homicide,’ he said quickly.”

My Top 10:

  1. The Grapes of Wrath
  2. The Philadelphia Story
  3. His Girl Friday
  4. Rebecca
  5. Pinocchio
  6. The Letter
  7. The Shop Around the Corner
  8. La Bête Humaine
  9. The Baker’s Wife
  10. Pride and Prejudice

Note:  I finally have, not only a full slate of 10, but films that I consider for my list and don’t make it, though that film is discussed below because it was nominated for the Oscar (The Long Voyage Home).  This is the best group of 10 to date, hands down.  The Letter is much better than any #6 so far except for Bride of Frankenstein.  Shop and Humaine, at the #7 and 8 spots would be in the Top 5 of any year to this date except 1935. (more…)

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