Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Year. A Review.

I've done this for a few years running, so why stop now? Y'all know the drill - this is nothing more than a list of the things about the past year that I took notice of - good or bad.

Best Movie That No One Saw:

Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. I think five of us saw it. Two of us loved it, the other three hated it. I fucking LOVED this movie. But I love anything PTA touches. And this time, he's touching Scientology's roots...and it's a bad touch, the kind you point out on a doll, in a courtroom scene on Law and Order. Delicious. Gutwrenching. And, yes, annoying. But Scientology IS annoying, so that's par for the course. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a revelation. Joaquin Phoenix makes up for his stupid behavior in real life, by putting in the performance of a lifetime. I didn't think he could be better than he was in Gladiator. I was wrong. He deserves an Oscar. He won't get it.

Most Unlikely Movie To Get No Promotion, At All:

Dredd 3D. What the fuck? Who makes a big, gorgeous, sprawling epic of a futuristic, comic-book-inspired movie that looks like it cost a hell of a lot to make, and then doesn't promote it in any way? This is the kind of movie that promoting films is all about. I promise you - I am not just saying this because Lena Headey plays the baddie (and she does a bang-up job as the sadistic Ma-Ma): this movie is actually REALLY FUCKING GOOD. Maybe the best film adaptation of a comic book I've seen. By all rights, this should have made a gazzillion dollars at the box office: Headey has a huge fan base, and she's especially hot, right now, due to Game of Thrones. Karl Urban has a decent following thanks to LOTR and the Star Trek Reboot. The movie incorporates some truly amazing visual effects, and makes the best use of 3D I've yet to see. Plus...COMIC BOOK GEEKS. This movie should have been pimped, and pimped hard. Instead, it opened and closed in record time.

Best Bit of Nonfiction I Read in 2012:

Eden's Outcasts. Ok, this was written in 2007, and won the Pulitzer in 2008, but I only got around to it a few months ago. This is my list, so live with it. If you know me, you know I'm a bit of an Alcott freak. Love, love, love this dual bio of Amos Bronson Alcott and his celebrated daughter, Louisa May, that pulls no punches. If you're a fan, this is a MUST.

Best Bit of Fiction I Read in 2012:

Ok, some back story is called for, in this case. I'd avoided reading The Hunger Games, or even finding out what it was about. Mostly because a lot of annoying people kept telling me that I HAD to read it. When the movie came out, I paid no attention, and never found out about the theme, the plot, the characters...any of it. I DID NOT CARE. And then I took up archery, and a friend - someone who isn't annoying, at all - brought up The Hunger Games, and mentioned that archery played a big role in it. She suggested I give it a try. So, yes, I was late to the game, and the annoying people were right. It's a great book. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say this: it is the best contemporary book for girls and young women to read, period. It is the book the world has been waiting for since 1868, when Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. Once upon a time, every American girl (and every English and German and Japanese girl...) read Little Women. I don't think that's so anymore. Sadly, what was radical and liberating for and about girls and women in 1868 is too often viewed as prudish, by today's standards. Worse, some people plain don't get it, can't place it in its context, and think Alcott's works are anti-woman, which couldn't be further from the truth. But I digress. If every little girl used to read Little Women, every modern little girl should be reading The Hunger Games. It's brilliant, and kind of beautiful, and it has a female protagonist who is - dare I say it? - a 21st century Jo March. Katniss Everdeen kicks ass. She's physically powerful, intelligent, humane, and a survivor. She does not give up, she does not accept the status quo, and she doesn't stand around, waiting for a boy to save her. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this. I loved it so much, I've got the next two books in the series, but haven't even started them, yet, because I want to savor them.

 Newest Fixation:

Archery. Why have I pined away for want of doing this since I was a kid, only venturing to try it out at 45? Saturday mornings, Golden Gate Park. I'm there. (No - that's not me in the photo.)

Most Addictive Clusterfuck of Terror that I Take Personally:

Season 1 of American Horror Story was really good. Season 2 - American Horror Story: Asylum - is fantastic. It's also the most scary, fucked up shit to hit the small screen, maybe EVER. You name the scary, and it's there: serial killers, sadists, Satan inhabiting the body of a young nun, the Angel of Death, alien abduction, ritualistic torture...oh, and I haven't even gotten to the truly scary part. None of that gives me nightmares, but the story of Lana Winters, a lesbian living in 1960s Boston, who is shoved away in an asylum  because of her deviant sexual nature, and subjected to all manner or emotional and physical torture? Now THAT sends me into a corner, where I roll up into a fetal position and rock myself to sleep every Wednesday night. Because the monsters Lana Winters faces every week are all too real, and her horror could conceivably befall any of us. I rarely cry. The scene where Lana is subjected to aversion therapy brought me close to tears. This show is so bad for my mental health, I'm sure of it. Yet, it's so well done, and so compelling...I can't NOT watch it. And Sarah Paulson is a heart-breaker, in more ways than one. Watch at your own risk. But watch.

Best On-screen Chemistry:

Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage as siblings Cersei and Tyrion. They're a joy to watch together. Any scene with Cersei and The Imp is worth watching over and over. I love them. I haven't read the Game of Thrones books but, so I have no idea what's to come. If Tyrion dies, I'm going to scream. I mean it. He's so awesome.

Most Pleasant TV Surprise:

The Dallas reboot is good. Really good. I'd assumed it would suck. I'd assumed they'd only use the old actors as background. I assumed it would be a mess that paid no mind to the Dallas cannon. I was wrong. The reboot is a gorgeous continuation of the original series, obviously written by folks who have great love for original, and who were determined that the classic characters be front and center, all the way. Josh Henderson, who got off to a shaky start as John Ross, ended the season looking and sounding every inch the heir apparent of J.R. Ewing. Honestly? The season one finale could not have been better. Viewers witnessed the birth of a monster in Henderson's John Ross, and he was 100% up to the job. I have big love for this series, and hope it can survive the sad passing of Larry Hagman.

Best Lesbian Thing All Year:

I'll readily admit that I don't actually know much about "lesbian things," because I don't like most of the books, movies, sports, music or celebrities people associate with lesbians. But I know good stuff made by lesbians, about lesbians, when I see it. The Throwaways, by Tellofilms  is really well-done, and worth seeking out.

Favorite New Not-For-Profit:

A is for... is  a very cool new organization whose mission is all about preserving and guaranteeing the rights of women through education and advocacy, and support of other woman-centric groups. I like these folks. They're cool, and they want the average woman to get involved in her own future. What's not to like about this?

Most Satisfying Personal Achievement - Major:

Complete dietary and lifestyle changes that have resulted in complete control of a chronic condition and changed my outlook on just about everything. Enough said about this.

Most Satisfying Personal Achievement - Minor: 

You're probably going to ask, "Is she kidding? THAT'S a satisfying achievement???" I just SAID it would be a minor achievement. It was more tricky than I'd thought it would be, so I was proud of myself for actually seeing this through to the end and sending it on its merry way to a young friend in L.A. I MADE THIS, YO.

Best New Blog:

The Gay Agenda: Free Dream Interpretation By A Lesbian With A Definite Bias. Yeah, I'm plugging my own shit. Deal with it.

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