Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And Angels in America

Forgot Angels in America. Sigh. Let's just make it a top 13 list.


Dear California license plate, HVNZENT,
First of all, it took me a mile to get your plate. Second, you're a douche. Unless, of course, no one took HVNSENT and you decided to use the Z anyhow. Then your douchiness is so far above all others, it's kind of awesome.

Note: Why isn't precautious a word? If I'm taking a precaution, aren't I being precautious? Food for thought.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

two glaring omissions

I realize I made a major mistake in my top 10 TV list. Band of Brothers and Planet Earth--event television in every sense of the word--should have made it in and could quite easily knock half the other shows out. If you've never seen Band of Brothers, go buy it. Don't rent it. Just buy it. You'll want to have it as a possession. If The Pacific, which is coming out next year, is only half as good, it'll still probably be the best thing on the air next year, minus the Lost finale, natch.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Payback is my book of 2009. A masterwork analysis of debt--anthropological, literary, ecological, psychological, sociological, and so on. To call it thought-provoking would be the smallest praise. Should be required reading.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ten best TV shows of the decade, and then some

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (started in the '90s, but still)
West Wing
The Wire
The Office (UK/US)
Arrested Development
30 Rock
Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart and Colbert Report

also great: Friday Night Lights, Big Bang Theory, Brothers and Sisters, Carnivale, Chuck, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Damages, Deadwood, Weeds, Six Feet Under, Californication, Alias, Will and Grace, Friends (more '90s, really), How I Met Your Mother, New Adventures of Old Christine, and the hardly-seen, gone-too-soon shows The Winner and Privileged and Pushing Daisies

I think for the next decade Community and Modern Family could make it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

belated photos from Buenos Aires

I finally have some time off, so I'll post these photos from Buenos Aires while I hunker down in my parents' house for the storm's duration. I was in NY the last few days, and the cold was such that it made my nipples stand up and ask, "Hey, you got any ice that needs sculpting?"

All the pictures were taken from my phone--I didn't have a real camera there.

This is the Ateneo on Avenida Santa Fe, the ultimate bookstore in Argentina--and it used to be a theatre.

This is the Floralis Generica at the United Nations Plaza.

Photos from the Recoleta Cemetery.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

best movies of my decade

Everyone's doing it, so I'll jump in.

To be fair, this only really works if you've seen all the movies made in the last decade. I haven't. But I've probably seen more than your average Joe. I don't like a dark, spare film, so take heed. Any films coming out now-ish are not in the mix.

in no particular order...

Monsoon Wedding
No Country for Old Men
City of God
Spirited Away
Kill Bill
Zoolander (whatever you think, I don't know if I have ever laughed harder, not even at The Hangover)
Night Watch (despite choppy editing and confusion--helps to read the book)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Pan's Labyrinth
Monster House 3D

Most underrated film of the decade: The Darjeeling Limited

Most awesome contributor to film this decade: Clint Eastwood, specifically for Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River (despite the heinous accents) and, perhaps, Invictus, which looks great.

Other great films: District 9, Wedding Crashers, Wall-E, Memento, Monsters, Inc, Little Miss Sunshine, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Cooler, Coraline, Almost Famous, The Emperor's New Groove, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Spider Man, Dirty Pretty Things, The Triplets of Belleville, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

There were certainly other great movies, but either my ardor has cooled for them over time (Slumdog and Crash I still love, but I have other movies I prefer to fight for) or the minor flaws have just become too large in my mind (Leo's overacting in The Departed). Other movies I realize I loved only because of an actor's performance, not the film as a whole (re: Helen Mirren, Ryan Gosling, Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Johnny Depp, Amy Adams). And Milk would be on here if its structure was a little different.

So take it as you like it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

End-of-the-year movies I want to see

The Young Victoria. I want to hate Emily Blunt, but I don't.

Sherlock Holmes.
For all the reasons any 26-year-old girl has for wanting to see it. Also, I quite liked Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Also, I read most if not all the Sherlock Holmes stories when I was a kid. And I used to live off Baker Street when I was in London.

A Single Man. Oh, Colin Firth.

Up in the Air. Though all the fawning is giving me the Juno jitters.

An Education. Sarsgaard is good at being creepy and fey and still somehow sexy all at the same time. I imagine some might find him icky.

The Princess and the Frog. Initially thought it looked, well, not racist, but maybe not of its time? But I love that kind of animation--I'm a child of Disney, after all.

Julie & Julia. I know it's on DVD now. Still want to see it, so I can move on from that whole weird phenomenon.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? Actually looked funnier than anything either SJP or Grant has done in a while.

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. I'm thinking I won't like it, but it's a must-see for obvious reasons surely.

There are other movies, but these are the ones that I would actually try to see.

It's Complicated because Nancy Meyers and Meryl Streep together is just too much. Old people smoking pot comedy is so boring. In fact, after I see Julie & Julia, I'm going on a self-imposed Meryl Streep strike.

Avatar. It's the blue. I'm sorry. And I have never been on the James Cameron train.

Nein. Looks self-indulgent, and I've also never really been on the Daniel Day-Lewis train either. Might watch it on DVD someday.

There are other movies I really don't want to see, ones starring chipmunks and Jeff Bridges pretending to be Mickey Rourke or something, but they're hardly worth mentioning.

My favorite books of 2009

I'm hoping to read a few more before December comes to a close, specifically Shah of Shahs and I'm Dying Up Here, at the least, but since everyone's already listing the best books they read this year, so shall I.

So shall I.

1. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre. Being something of a post-Cold War, baby, it's historical fiction for me, but it's also a spy story that holds up well, even after overexposure to all the twists and curveballs that have come since.\

2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Dense and weird, but completely absorbing. Whatever you're expecting, it's not it.

3. Zazie in the Metro by Raymond Queneau. Funny, surprising, little French book about a girl with a passion and a mouth and the cadre of irrational adults around her. Made me rethink my feelings on French literature.

It's a short list. I could add some other books, but these were the three that I would recommend to anyone without reservation.

Merry my sister's 23rd birthday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

great morning

Had a fantastic morning in my lovely Sherman Oaks. Walked to Maxson's to drop off Christmas cards, went to the grocery store to get whipped cream for the chocolate coconut cream pie I made last night and saw Nick Lachey and his g/f, and then I went to Nola Ice for some crazy yummy hot chocolate and met former publicist Jillian DeFrehn, one of the owners, who was really friendly and gave me some great advice on how to get a job. If you go, and you should, I suggest getting the mint and milk chocolate combo with a toasted coconut marshmallow.

Now I am carbed out. I literally have nothing healthy to eat in the house. Must go back out for lunch.
In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen