Sunday, December 30, 2007

Greatest Hits, 2007

Okay, so this is the first time I'm posting in more than a month. Normally, that means that I would post some long e-novel, catching everyone up on what I have been doing, but I don't know if I really feel like doing that right now...I had a good Christmas break, and now I'm just getting ready to start school again. This is a picture of me holding my nephew--me and my brother were the only ones that were able to hold him (it took me the entire week to get him to warm up to me), so I thought that was pretty funny.

As for this next week, it should be pretty good. I'm going to get my haircut tomorrow, and I'm going out to dinner with a group of friends for New Year's. Since I know everyone is just dying to hear more about my life (...can you sense the sarcasm? I even posted on my blog saying it was on hold for awhile, and nobody even noticed...), I think I'll do a Top list from the past year---top movies I've seen, books I've read, and CDs I liked.

Top Movies (in no particular order):
1. The Bourne Ultimatum
2. Rescue Dawn
3. Ratatouille
4. Stardust
5. I Am Legend
6. August Rush
7. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

So I'm realizing that quite a few of these were action movies---I thought these were a cut above the rest (Transformers, Live Free or Die Hard). It's sad to see that the so-called "great" movies of the year were R-rated, so bleh...but I may add to this list once I see The Great Debaters.

Top Books -- okay, this may sound silly, but I don't think I read a new book that actually came out this year. So I'll write down some of the books that I read this past year, regardless of when they were published.

1. Les Miserables -- actually, I'm still reading it (it's now six months and counting---I only read it on Sunday afternoons, and even then it's only a few pages)
2. Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
3. Shipwrecked at the Bottom of the World, by Jennifer Armstrong (true story about Shackleton and his men getting shipwrecked in Antarctica)
4. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson
5. Moving Pictures, by Terry Pratchett (absolutely hilarious, and the satire about the filmmaking industry is spot-on)
6. The Landry News, by Andrew Clements
7. The Traveler, by John Twelve Hawks -- okay, trippy science fiction about conspiracy theories and what-not (i.e., an organization that tracks people's political views based on grocery shopping habits), but it manages to blend elements of the The Matrix, 1984, and A Brave New World into a fun story.
8. The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander
9. And of course, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows -- awesome ending to a fun series (and boo on that whole Dumbledore thing)

Top Movies (from classes, DVD rentals, etc.)

1. Offside -- an Iranian satire about women not being allowed into sporting events. Thought-provoking, funny, and unexpectedly touching.
2. Four Days in September -- I don't actually know what this is rated, because it was edited for content here on campus. It's a Brazilian movie about a group of terrorists that kidnap an American ambassador---you are on the edge of your seat the entire time, and it's even more intriguing when you realize it's all true.
3. Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles -- a Chinese movie about a man trying to complete his dying son's last project. Awesome story, great visuals.
4. Il Postino --I put it in italics because it's an Italian movie...get it? Okay, joking aside, this instantly became one of my top five favorite movies ever (Signs, The Truman Show, Life is Beautiful, and It's a Wonderful Life are the other four). It has comedy, and it has romance, but it's not really a romantic comedy. I saw it as an inspiring story that anyone--no matter how simple their lifestyle--can do something great.
5. Cinema Paradiso -- this one was also edited on campus (although there is a PG version available...I'll have to look into that). The ending scene was classic --
6. Pan's Labyrinth -- from CleanFlicks. Amazing cinematography, and an ambiguous ending that can either leave you crying or smiling silently to yourself, depending on how you see it.
7. Children of Men -- also from CleanFlicks. Great cinematography as well, but the characters are also very detailed and realistic.

Top TV Shows
1. Heroes--when Peter caught Nathan after the explosion, I was reminded why this is my favorite TV series.
2. Chuck -- a new series that has quickly become a favorite.
3. The Office -- "Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica."
4. Man vs. Wild -- it's like watching the story "Hatchet" play out in the desert, in the rainforest, in frozen tundras...Bear Grylls is awesome.
5. Planet Earth -- the only nature documentary that has kept me glued to the screen, amazed at how cool the world really is.
6. Lost -- As much as people talk about the whole "We have to go back!" thing, my favorites from this season were Paulo and Nikki with the spiders ("Paralyzed..."), and Charlie's grand finale. The episode where Charlie writes down the "greatest hits" (the highlights of his life) because he knows is going to die is one of the finest moments of television I have seen in a really long time.
7. Pushing Daisies -- it's quirky, it's fun, and I haven't seen an episode that hasn't made me smile.

Okay--i think that should be good for now.


Cocoa said...

Looks like I'll be reading The Traveler after Mistborn. Sounds like a great book. And I'll be adding some new movies to my NetFlix queue. Thanks, Jon!

Jackson said...

Good lists Jon. Althought Signs in your top 5 movies kind of disappoints me but the others are good.


You are foolish to call The Traveler simply a book of "trippy science fiction about conspiracy theories and what-not." You live on the surface of society and you accept the reality the world media feeds you, take a good hard look at society and you will come to find that the world John Twelve Hawks has created in his novels is more a vision of truth than you've managed to notice. If you have not gathered this from JXIIH's books [assuming you have read The Dark River and The Golden City also) then you have entirely missed the message JXIIH was conveying in his novels - a message he openly expresses and therefore is not my interpretation.

Don't be a drone, wake up and see reality as it is - not as you are accustomed to it.