Favourite Old Movie I had not seen before: Chimes at Midnight- Orson Welles’ tale of Falstaff combining Henry IV parts 1 and 2 and Henry V may by the most impressive Shakespeare adaptation I have ever seen. Welles creates vivid imagery, and his Falstaff is full of pathos. For those of you who think “Citizen Kane” is the only great film Welles made, think again, Welles also mentioned this was his personal favourite. Released in Criterion
Honorable Mentions: “L’Avventura”, “Detective Story”, “Le Chienne”, “Lady Snowblood”, “Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance”
Favourite Television Show I saw: Mad Men Season 7- Having finally caught up with the final season of my favorite television drama ever, “Mad Men” did not disapoint. Basically I binged through the whole series getting to season seven which was one of their best. All characters had some sort of closure, and all seemed the more fitting. “Mad Men” contains some classic episodes, but this season felt like the most emotional, none more so than the penultimate episode “Milk and Honey Route” which just floored me. Jon Hamm finally received the Emmy he so rightfully deserved so all is right with the world. “Mad Men” may be the most dense television series ever, and is worth repeated viewing, I loved this show, may it reign supreme.
Honorable Mentions: “Archer” season 6-7, “Stranger Things” season 1
Favorite Book I read: “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin- I read this late September as the Presidential election was heating up, so much so I couldn’t bear watching any of it, and decided to retreat into this wonderful novel on the political life of Abraham Lincoln, how he established his cabinet of people who equally supported and opposed them. Together they would establish a historic political legacy. I had read a biography of Lincoln a few years back, and found so much to admire in him, he is honestly one of my heroes, and it gave me hope to hear about a politician who was kind hearted, thoughtful, and above all patient even with the weight of the Civil War on his shoulders. Goodwin weaves a labyrinth of stories that brought Lincoln to power and established his most historic accomplishments. But this would also go into great detail on the greatness of his Secretary of State William Seward, who started off as Lincoln’s chief rival, and his Secretary of War Edwin Stanton who at first hated Lincoln but grew to love him in the end. A fascinating political history.
Honorable Mentions: “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert, “Emma” By Jane Austin, “TV: The Book” By Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz, “Pure Drivel” by Steve Martin, “My Life and Films” By Jean Renoir
Favorite Song That I Heard for the First Time This year.
“If you Knew My Story” from the “Bright Star” soundtrack: This year I was able to go to New York for the first time. I’m sure “Hamilton” is as great as everyone says it is, and while I hope to see it some day, the one Broadway show I was most excited to see was “Bright Star” mostly on the basis that it’s story was written by Steven Martin and his collaborator Edie Brickell. I fell in love with the laid back tunes of Martin’s banjo and Brickell’s lyrics. Not to mention the wonderful voice of Carmen Cusack who made me fall in love with her. In a lot of ways the music here feels slight and simple, but it was probably the most optimistic music I heard this year, and just made me feel good. The play was pretty good too. I bought the soundtrack as soon as I got home from New York.
Honorable Mentions: “You want it Darker” Leonard Cohen, “Searching for Sugarman” Rodriguez, “When you get to Asheville” Edie Brickell/Steve Martin, “I Wonder” Rodriguez