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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Monday, December 31, 2007

Final 2007 Movie List

Here's the full list of movies I saw for the first time this year. Lesson learned: watching fifty movies isn't nearly as challenging as reading fifty books. Not too surprising I suppose. None the less, I'll be trying this again next year as my Netflix list is growing faster than I can watch them :-p

Best new movie I saw: No Country For Old Men
Best new documentary: King of Kong
Best old movie I'd never seen: Mulholland Drive
  1. Curse of the Golden Flower
  2. Talladega Nights
  3. The Devil and Daniel Johnston*
  4. Little Miss Sunshine*
  5. Murderball
  6. Trekkies
  7. Scoop
  8. Da Ali G Movie: Indahouse
  9. Beerfest
  10. Reno 911: Miami
  11. Jesus Camp*
  12. Strangers with Candy
  13. 300
  14. Syriana
  15. An Inconvenient Truth
  16. Children of Men*
  17. Blades of Glory
  18. Babel*
  19. Match Point
  20. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters*
  21. What Happened To Kerouac?
  22. Stranger Than Fiction*
  23. Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus*
  24. King of Kong*
  25. Fearless
  26. The Fever of '57
  27. Big Rig
  28. About a Son
  29. The Fountain
  30. Idiocracy
  31. Pirates of the Caribbean 3
  32. The Pervert's Guide to Cinema
  33. American Shopper*
  34. Knocked Up*
  35. Pan's Labyrinth*
  36. Letters From Iwo Jima*
  37. Scratch
  38. Mulholland Drive*
  39. 21 Grams
  40. American Splendor*
  41. Once in a Lifetime
  42. The Simpsons Movie
  43. Hot Fuzz
  44. 28 Days Later
  45. An Unreasonable Man
  46. Superbad*
  47. Infamy
  48. The Good Shepherd
  49. Human Nature
  50. A History of Violence
  51. Death Proof
  52. You're Gonna Miss Me*
  53. Darjeeling Limited
  54. Broken Flowers
  55. Punch-Drunk Love
  56. Capote
  57. Beowulf
  58. No Country For Old Men*
  59. Air Guitar Nation
  60. Paris Je T'aime*
  61. Planet Terror
  62. Sicko
  63. The War Room
  64. I Am Legend
  65. Chinatown*

* - Highly recommended

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The last film on my '07 list was Chinatown.

My NetFlix rating: 5 stars
Jamie says: Classic. Jack Nicholson is a bad mo-fo.
RIYL: LA Confidential, Mulholland Drive, The Shining

Rotten Tomatoes reviews


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Final 2007 Reading List

Here is my complete reading list for 2007. 3 years running of fifty plus :-)
  1. Martin Dressler - Steven Millhauser
  2. The Boys From Old Florida - Buddy Martin
  3. An American Family - Harry Crews
  4. Profiles in Courage - John F. Kennedy
  5. What is the What* - Dave Eggers
  6. I Love You More Than You Know - Jonathan Ames
  7. White Noise* - Don DeLillo
  8. Fiskadoro - Denis Johnson
  9. US Guys - Charlie LeDuff
  10. Willful Creatures - Aimee Bender
  11. Decoding the Universe - Charles Seife
  12. Twin Study* - Stacy Richter
  13. The Complete Maus* - Art Spiegelman
  14. We Have Always Lived in the Castle* - Shirley Jackson
  15. The Cheater's Guide to Baseball - Derek Zumsteg
  16. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
  17. Baseball Between the Numbers* - Jonah Keri
  18. But I Like It - Joe Sacco
  19. Chuck Klosterman IV - Chuck Klosterman
  20. Watchmen* - Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  21. No One Belongs Here More Than You - Miranda July
  22. V For Vendetta - Alan Moore and David Lloyd
  23. The Dead Fish Museum* - Charles D'Ambrosio
  24. You Don't Love Me Yet - Jonathan Lethem
  25. Rant - Chuck Palahniuk
  26. Falling Man - Don DeLillo
  27. In the Heart of the Sea* - Nathaniel Philbrick
  28. A Feast of Snakes* - Harry Crews
  29. Complications - Atul Gawande
  30. Mere Anarchy - Woody Allen
  31. The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon
  32. Best of American Splendor - Harvey Pekar
  33. Chester Square - Jaime Hernandez
  34. Reasons to Live - Amy Hempel
  35. Surveillance - Jonathan Raban
  36. Scar Lover* - Harry Crews
  37. The John Fante Reader* - John Fante
  38. Palestine* - Joe Sacco
  39. The Braindead Megaphone*- George Saunders
  40. Facing the Music* - Larry Brown
  41. My Date with Satan - Stacey Richter
  42. I Am America (And So Can You!) - Stephen Colbert
  43. The Best American Comics 2007* - Various
  44. War's End - Joe Sacco
  45. Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson
  46. Death By Black Hole* - Neil deGrasse Tyson
  47. McSweeney's #23 - Various
  48. The Pugilist at Rest* - Thom Jones
  49. Like You'd Understand Anyways* - Jim Shepard
  50. Ask the Dust* - John Fante
  51. Body* - Harry Crews
  52. Clumsy - Jeffrey Brown
  53. In Cold Blood* - Truman Capote
  54. The Book of Other People - Various

* = Highly recommended

Previously: My 2006 reading list and my 2005 reading list.

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The Book of Other People

Book #54 on my reading list this year was The Book of Other People.

A benefit for 826 NYC, The BoOP is a collection of 23 stories edited by Zadie Smith along with excellent cover art by Charles Burns. A Lollapalooza of literature BoOP features a bunch o' my fave writers including Daniel Clowes, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nick Hornby, Miranda July, Jonathan Lethem, Chris Ware and George Saunders.

Much like an All-Star game the joy here is mostly in seeing all of these authors collected together, rather than in the performance itself. Several of the pieces have previously been published in The New Yorker, such as George Saunders' enjoyable "Puppy" and Miranda July's stellar "Roy Spivey". Of the ones that were new to me I most enjoyed Aleksandar Hemon's "The Liar", Chris Ware's "Jordan Wellington Lint to the Age 13", Vendela Vela's "Soleil" and Jonathan Lethem's "Perkus Tooth".


In Cold Blood

Book #53 on my list this year was Truman Capote's pioneering true crime novel In Cold Blood.

A real page-turner, Capote's classic is well worth the read. It's even better if you've recently watched Capote :-)

Interesting personal factoids:

1) All of my Interlachen friends will be surprised to know that Herb Clutter had a sister who was living in Palatka, Florida at the time of the murders. First time I've ever seen Palatka mentioned in a novel (and twice to boot!).

2) When talking to my Mom about the book I found out that my Grandpa knew the Clutter family. Made the book ring eerily more close to home after knowing that I had a personal connection.

Wikipedia entry


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Blog-o-versary to Me

Woot. Been keeping this blog going for three years now. That's one year longer than it took Tebow to win the Heisman for those who are counting.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Christmas Hoff

Have a Holly Hoffy Christmas!

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Monday, December 24, 2007


Book #52 on my list this year was Jeffrey Brown's autobiographical slice-of-life graphic novel Clumsy.

Clumsy is the story of a doomed long distance relationship as it blooms from its infancy through an abrupt fade into a bitter breakup. Honest, unflinching and emo-riffic.

"You can open to any page and find something unusually bare and honest about these stories. They're surprising, even though half the moments in the book are ones you've probably experienced yourself. Hard trick to pull off." -- Ira Glass
Bio and samples



Book #51 on my list this year was Harry Crews' tragi-comedy Body.

Classic Crews, Body is a window into the absurdist world of female bodybuilding. Starring characters with names such as Russell Muscle (who I'd like to think Ben Stiller used as a character study when filming Dodgeball), Motor and Nail Head it's a fantastical fable like only Crews can spin. I'd probably recommend Feast of Snakes or Scar Lover first, but can you really go wrong with anything Crews does?


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ask The Dust

For the third year running I've completed the 50 book challenge! This year's lucky no. fifty was John Fante's classic novel Ask the Dust.

It's a great book, you should read it, yada, yada, yada. Fifty! Woot, woot! Seriously though, Fante's the man.

John Fante article on Salon
Post Road Magazine review

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Like You'd Understand, Anyway

Book #49 on my reading list was Jim Shepard's National Book Award nominated Like You'd Understand, Anyway.

About as diverse a collection of stories as you'll find, Shepard's latest presents a new joy with each turn of the page. Daniel Handler's NY Times review provides a great analysis that far exceeds anything you'll find here, so get thee there and check it out. Hard to pick a favorite story, but two that blew me away were "Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead" and "Eros 7".

Esquire review


Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Pugilist at Rest

Behind on my book blogging again, so this'll be another short post. Book #48 on my reading list this year was Washington's own Thom Jones' The Pugilist at Rest.

Kicking off with the O. Henry award winning and spectacular titular story, The Pugilist is an impressive collection of gritty short stories that delve into the likes of war, boxing, philosophy and madness. I'll definitely be reading more of Jones' works, and if it stacks up at all next to this one he's sure to join my short list of favorite authors soon.

'Take a decidedly grim world-view, add a dose of existential slapstick, some Schopenhauer, an encyclopedic knowledge of pharmaceuticals, and a soundtrack by the Doors, and you have what may be the darkest, funniest, most urgent fictional debut in years." --Mary Park

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I Am Legend

Film #64 of my '07 list was I Am Legend.

My NetFlix rating: 3 stars
Jamie says: 80% awesome + 20% boring mega-plex crap = 3 stars. Seriously do we really need the 5 minute Mustang hunting montage at to kick things off?
RIYL: The Stand, 28 Days Later, That one good scene in Vanilla Sky

Official Site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


My new favorite nerdtastic time waster is TravelPod. Groovy.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

McSweeney's #23

Book #47 on my '07 reading list was McSweeney's #23.

Yet another solid addition to the McSweeney's library, issue #23 features ten new quality short stories, including contributions from Roddy Doyle and Ann Beattie. My favorites were Chris Bachelder's "My Son, There Exists Another World Alongside Our Own", Deb Olin Unferth's "Bride", and April Wilder's "The Butcher Shop".

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The War Room

Film #63 of my '07 list was The War Room.

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a political campaign. How cool is James Carville?!
RIYL: Bill Clinton, politics, fly-on-the-wall documentaries

Rotten Tomatoes reviews


Sunday, December 02, 2007


Film #62 of my '07 list was Sicko.

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: Depressing or inspiring? Depends on your mood.
RIYL: Michael Moore, France, Other people

Official Site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Planet Terror

Film #61 of my '07 list was Planet Terror.

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: Kickin' it old skool
RIYL: Sin City, From Dusk Til Dawn

Official Site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews