Theater Masks

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

End of Year Sum Up of entertainment

Last year, around this time, Caitie got me to form a spreadsheet to keep track of books read and movies seen. I set a goal - 25 books over the year (about two a month) and 100 movies watched. I'm happy to say I reached both goals successfully - barely, but I did it!.  So, here are the six best books I read and the ten best movies I saw.  Keep in mind, these just happen to be things I experienced this year (in the case of both, not necessarily for the first time either), but still my favorites in each category. These are in no particular order.

BOOKS

1. The Golem and the Jinni - a really interesting read with a great story that made me feel like I was reading a story from when I was a kid with an adult twist. I'm looking forward to more from this author.

2. The Princess Bride - yes, it's older, but it's one of my favorite books of all time and will be reread several more times.

3. Speak/The Impossible Knife of Memory - during the summer we went to LeakyCon and got to hear Laurie Halse Anderson speak. The woman is incredible, and her writing matches her personality. Her books are deep, moving, and extremely intelligent. Both of these were fantastic - definitely worth picking up.

4. The Magician's Land - We also got to see Lev Grossman at Leakycon. I loved the first two books. This third one was strange, for sure. The first half tells one story which he basically drops to finish the series in the second half. The first half is okay, but the second half is an epic and excellent conclusion to the series.

5. The Blade Itself: The First Law Series - first book in the series. I found Joe Abercrombie through a series of short stories and decided to try his novels. The book is very well written and, while not necessarily paced the best (it takes a while to get going), it's a very enjoyable read. I'm currently partway through the second book in the series.

MOVIES
1. Her - an incredibly thought-provoking sci-fi movie from last year. Brilliant story-telling with great performances.

2. Twelve Angry Men - it's a classic I've seen several times before, but it's always gripping and, incredibly, edge of your seat tense.

3. North by Northwest - another classic I've seen before, but, like the last movie, very tense and brilliantly acted. When I have the patience for Hitchcock, this is one of my favorites.

4. 22 Jump Street - surprisingly, just as funny as the original. We laughed through the whole film - definitely a classic in the making.  I hope there's a 23 Jump Street coming...

5. 12 Years a Slave - it took us till halfway through the year to watch this, but holy crap did it deserve that best movie Oscar!

6. 1776 - A yearly ritual for me and a perpetual favorite movie.

7. The World's End - surprisingly very funny (not the biggest fan of Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz) - I really enjoyed this. WTF!

8. Big Hero Six - Disney's still got it! Baladaladalala

9, Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part One - For the third movie in a series, based on half a book, it was surprisingly gripping and smart. Looking forward to the last movie in the series.

10. Into the Woods - best movie of the year for me. Best movie musical in probably the last half century (barring Chicago). Absolutely worth seeing and I hope it doesn't get forgotten come Oscar time. Of course, I'm biased because, well, it's one of my favorite musicals of all time, but it could so easily have been so bad - and it wasn't. I dare you to watch Agony and not crack up. I dare you to watch James Corden during the "No More" moment and not tear up. I dare you not to love Meryl Streep and I dare you not to be thrilled during The Last Moment or not get chills during Stay With Me. I could go on, but it is a FANTASTIC movie. Totally worth seeing.

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