Posted in Pop Culture

Best of 2013

This is the post where I tell you what books and movies I loved this year and hopefully you will want to read or watch them. If you want to see if have we similar tastes, check out my 2012 post. You are in for many post Christmas treats so I hope you are prepared:

Books

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This is the year I embraced my nerdiness. And Mr. Gaiman is a nerd superhero. He is most famous in the mainstream for his book that was turned into a movie, Coraline. But his creativity spans from books for little ones (Odd and the Frost Giants) to graphic novels (The Sandman) to adult fairy tales like The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

This is the story of a man in his 30s who goes home for a funeral. When he arrives at his childhood home he is flooded with memories which leads him to the house next door. He then relives a fateful event from when he was young. The story is so different from anything I have ever read that I struggle to come up with adjectives to describe it other than it’s AWESOME. They say that nothing original can be written but Mr. Gaiman proves that wrong 10x over.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

I am a faithful young adult reader for the most part but I do like to get out of my element every once in a while and read a different type of book. When I kept reading over and over how good The Light Between Oceans was, I decided to give it a shot. It is a historical drama set after WWI in Australia. A man takes a job as a lighthouse keeper and lives there with his wife. They struggle to conceive a child and when a deceased man washes up on shore with a newborn baby, they take the child and claim her as their own.

This book is powerful in the sense that nobody is clearly the villain and you can’t help but feel pain for everyone that is involved. I couldn’t stop picturing the story as a film and have learned that it is currently in development. 

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

When I heard the story of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park and how a Minnesota school district made the decision to ban her book because the book was too “racy”, I immediately had to read it. It tells the story of two teens who fall in love through music and comic books in 1986. They aren’t the popular kids in school, they are awkward, and they know they will not have a happy ending. And that is exactly why I loved it. It lead me to read her newest, Fangirl, which I loved also. She is a unique young adult novelist that I will continue to follow. I look forward to her next release, Landlines. 

Movies

Much Ado About Nothing

Over the summer Joss Whedon released a tiny film called Much Ado About Nothing. The script is from the Shakespeare play of the same name. It was a limited release so I had to wait for the Blu-ray. It was filmed in two weeks at his house with a handful of actors that are from the Whedon universe (Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, and Alexis Denisof). What first got my attention was the house. And all I can say is, “OH MY GOD.” The house is a beautiful California Spanish style that will take your breath away. Glass double doors galore, amazing wrought iron railings, sprawling greens, and arched doorways all made me drool with envy. If you aren’t proficient in Shakespeare (which I am not) and don’t know the story (which I do) it can be hard to follow. But the acting is flawless, the costumes are classy, and the music sets the perfect romantic tone. The movie stayed with me for days and I had the song “Sigh No More” (featuring Joss’s brother Jed) on repeat long after. 

Gravity

Whoa Nelly. That is what you will be continually saying to yourself as you sit and experience Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. Because this movie, with Sandra Bullock as an astronaut trying to make her way home after an explosion in space, is not just to be watched. It is a roller coaster of a ride that will make you unsteady when you attempt to get to your feet. I was emotionally drained from the visuals that astound and the highs and lows that Bullock’s character goes through. If you are one of the few that have still not seen it, get thee to a movie theater. This one is not to be watched at home. 

About Time

Director Richard Curtis is one of my favorites. He created Love Actually and Notting Hill which I love. So when I saw the trailer for About Time with romance queen Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson (He’s a Weasley!), I couldn’t wait for its release date. And it was the sweetest romance I have seen in a long time. McAdams and Gleeson have an easy chemistry but my favorite was Bill Nighy as Gleeson’s father. He is funny and loving in a way that will make you cry and laugh at the same time. 

So that’s my favorites for the year. If you try one of them and like, love, or hate it please let me know!

Posted in Pop Culture

Movie Trailer Monday: Cloud Atlas

Since it is Christmas break and nothing but reruns are on, hubby and I are catching up on movies. One of these movies is Cloud Atlas. And at 3 hours long, a seemingly convoluted plot, and hideous makeup, I can’t say that I was stoked to watch it. But, as what usually happens when hubby makes me watch something new, I LOVED it. It’s like watching 5 movies in one. It’s lofty and overly ambitious. I had to show patience with the direction that the film took. But I am so glad that I did. It has soul. This story of various characters (played by Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, and Jim Broadbent just to name a few) connecting over the past, present, and future, wants to change the world. That is the best way I can describe it.

Here’s the trailer for Cloud Atlas that was released by the Wachowski siblings in October of 2012. And if you know anything about them, you know they are faithful to the mantra, “Go big or go home.”

Happy New Year!

 

Posted in Pop Culture

Post Television Stress Disorder

If you didn’t watch season six’s finale of Sons of Anarchy last week, then you can not feel the utter anguish I am still experiencing after those last few minutes. Tara Knowles’s death at the hands of her mother in law Gemma Teller was one of the most brutal things I have ever witnessed in my TV watching history. A case of mistaken information led to this climax and it will be many, many nights before I recover. So in the spirit of Buzzfeed and to give myself some much needed therapy, I am going to count down the most gut wrenching deaths in recent years on the boob tube. Lets get started, shall we??

  1. Terry Bauer’s death on 24-Jack Bauer’s estranged wife met her demise at the hands of Nina Myers, Jack’s lover and the mole. Terry discovered over the 24 hours that she was pregnant. And in the season finale Nina shoots Terry in the stomach, thus killing Terry and her unborn child in the last two minutes of the season ender. I wasn’t even a mother at that time and the death crippled and haunted my dreams for at least six months afterwards.

  2. Sophia’s death on The Walking Dead-I jumped on The Walking Dead crazy train the summer of 2012, before the premiere of season three. I was and still am a fan of the comics. So I decided to give the show a second chance after snoozing through the first episode when it hit the air. And let me tell you something about this show. You have to be PATIENT because holy bejeez this show is slow. I did a marathon viewing of the two seasons that July. And when Rick and the gang finally opened Hershel’s barn door (after searching for her all season) and Sophia (Carol’s daughter) walked out with her fellow zombies, the wind was knocked out of me. After that “NO!” inducing moment, I was invested in every single one of those characters. Even though it continues to be a slow paced show, I hang in there because it always pays off.

  3. Hershel on The Walking DeadThe Walking Dead, not unlike Game of Thrones has no problem killing off it’s main characters. Hershel’s death by beheading in the mid season finale was no exception. Others died (good riddance Governor!) but the good guys losing their best good guy had me doing the ugly cry. The Governor had to try three times before Hershel lost his head to Michonne’s sword while his daughters Beth and Maggie watched in agony. This death followed Hershel watching Rick redeem himself as leader of the group by telling The Governor that they all can change, no matter what they have done. The pride in Hershel’s eyes was like that of a father’s. The effects of his death will be felt tenfold as he was their moral compass and hope.

  4. Dr. Greg Pratt on ER-Yes, it has been four years since this medical drama concluded its long run. But Mekhi Phifer’s Dr. Pratt was my favorite doctor on the show. So when an ambulance blew up and he felt the impact, I figured he would recover. I never dreamed that I would see him on the gurney, with pure terror in his eyes, as his life drained from him. It was shocking to say the least and I still miss the mix of his cockiness and arrogance on the hospital floor.

  5. Lexie on Grey’s Anatomy-If you are a loyal watcher of Grey’s (as I was up until recently), you know you need to be prepared when you sit down to watch a season finale of Shonda Rhimes’ show. Bombs, explosions, miscarriages, and shootings are all par for the course. But when a plane carrying the doctors in 2012’s closer crashed and Meredith lost her beloved little sister Lexie, the devastation was felt. Meredith lost ANOTHER family member and Dr. Mark Sloan lost his true love. He realized this while holding her hand as she lay dying under the plane. We felt the pain for both Meredith and Mark and it was brutal. 

So now that I have brightened up your day, lets all go have some Christmas cookies and Egg Nog. Cheers!

Posted in Pop Culture

Movie Trailer Monday: Jupiter Ascending

The Matrix trilogy. Speed Racer. Cloud Atlas. The Wachowski siblings are not shy about their love of the future and science fiction. With their new feature, Jupiter Ascending, we get more of the same. But it is easy to assume that a film set in the future with Channing Tatum sporting elf like ears as our hero and Mila Kunis as his damsel in distress is at least interesting. Eye popping visuals and action sequences round out the trailer. With a July premiere date, it appears the movie is set up to be a blockbuster. Hopefully it will succeed like The Matrix and not bomb like Speed Racer.  

Blu-ray or Theater: The promise of a summer blockbuster=family night at the drive in. Can’t wait!