what kirk saw

January 7, 2007
Ah, my annual narcissistic tradition: a review of the media I consumed over the last year.

FoSO and FoSOSO actually suggested I should have a permanent part of the front page dedicated to microreviews of this stuff, with a thumbnail, etc. I can't believe it would be interesting enough (or generate enough Amazon kickback) to make it worth while, but I did decide to write a little bit about the titles I put into italics, the "Strong Recommends". I mean, what's personal website like this for if not to try and plug things found to be worth plugging?

Movies at the Cinema: (9)
Night Watch, Block Party, The DaVinci Code, Prairie Home Companion, Click, Clerks II, The Devil Wore Prada, Superman Returns 2D/3D, Ant Bully

Ugh... no strong recommends. This seems to confirm my theory that going out the movies is usually more hassle than it's worth (especially if you've forked out for a happy A/V setup at home.) Prairie Home Companion was decent enough, but even that was at the second-run place.

Movies on DVD (85)
Triumph of the Will, 9 1/2 Weeks, Story of O, Baraka, Daredevil, The First 9 1/2 Weeks, Another 9 1/2 Weeks, Friday Night Lights, Dodgeball, The Island, Jeffrey, Mother Night, Spun, Jersey Girl, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Visions of Light, True Romance, Bonnie and Clyde, Drawn Together Season 1, Sleeper, From Here To Eternity, Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, Blues Brothers, Clerks: Animated Series, Batman Begins, Say Anything, The Pillow Book, The Wiz, American Pie: Band Camp, Raging Bull, Sliding Doors, Toy Story, Drumline, Ally on Sex and the Single Life, Hellboy, Tank Girl, Love, Actually, Con Air, The Aristocrats, Kentucky Fried Movie, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, City of Angels, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Shakespeare in Love, Poison Ivy, Without a Clue, 40 Days and 40 Nights, Aeon Flux, Good of Cookery, The Moral Tales (1+2), Where the Heart Is, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Paris, Texas, Pretty in Pink, Eraserhead, Poison Ivy 2, Walk the Line, Death Race 2000, Everything is Illuminated, Little Voice, 4 Weddings and a Funeral, Long Kiss Goodnight, Pirates, Green Card, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles: The Pluto Campaign, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, V for Vendetta, The Way We Were, Hulk, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Stick It, Deliverance, Sophie's Choice, Delta of Venus, Boys on the Side, King Kong, Backbeat, The Baxter, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, If these walls could talk 2, Boxing Helena, The Break-Up, The Break-Up, Robot Chicken

I just realized that most of the videos I really enjoyed this year (some are repeats from previous years) are things I reviewed for the Blender, I'll put in the Blender review link when I have it, instead of going straight to Amazon: Backbeat is all that and some great musical performances, Sliding Doors and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind both put forth some terrific philosophical ideas in highly engaging and emotional ways. True Romance is, in my opinion, great, but violent for some of the folks I watched it with. Love, Actually was very sweet. The Way We Were was of course a bittersweet classic, and The Baxter was a recent find, a formalistic comedy that I really loved and in some ways identified with.

Non-Blendered videos: the classic Raging Bull, the quirky but poignant Ukrainian joint Everything is Illuminated, and of course Blues Brothers has been the inspiration for bad jazz bands for decades. Finally there was Delta of Venus, like the other Blender-ish favorite Henry and June but with more sex and a bit less art.

Movies on TV (8)
Criminal, I, Robot, Dodgeball, Murder by Numbers, Postcards from the Edge, Wimbeldon, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hide and Seek

Bleh. Movies on TV were about as worth while as the trips to the cinema.

Video Games (7)
Alien Syndrome, The Punisher, Yoshi's Island, GTA: Liberty City Stories, Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy, Rayman Raving Rabids

These are the games I played all the way through, and not multiplayer games I enjoy so much with friends, but still; I don't think I'm as much of a gamer as my reputation implies. Of what I played The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction was the clear standout, a sandbox-y, mayhem-filled romp that really gave the sense of being this enormously strong, tremendously leaping monster at loose in city and desert settings.

Books (36)
The Cyberiad, The Book of Ratings, What Just Happened, Room Temperature, Smartbomb, Storm Front, Thud, Gun, with Occasional Music, Mortal Engines, Faith Without Certainty, Postsecret, The Discoveries, Be My Guest, Love and Other Near-Death Experiences, JPod, Ask the Pilot, The Minority Report and other classic stories, Robot Visions, Lockpick Pornography, The Polysyllabic Spree, Dungeons and Dreamers, Big Lonesome, Nothing's Sacred, Fool Moon, A Wild Sheep Chase, Living with Books, Anansi Boys, A History of The World in 6 Glasses, Paris in the Twentieth Century, Giggling into the Pillow, Monstrous Regiment, How I Became Stupid, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, The Hours, Sex and Other Sacred Games, Sex, Drink, and Fast Cars

The Cyberiad was an amazing blend of thought, scifi, and fantasy... Stanislaw Lem was really amazing. Room Temperature is... well, it's very Nicholson Baker; an intensely detailed, almost fetishistic, study in the minutiae of this life-- for this book, the details of caring for an infant. Gun, with Occasional Music was some nifty scifi noir. Love and Other Near-Death Experiences is by my favorite Mil Millington... I dig his books but the people I give them to (mostly women) don't seem to like the blend of relationship observation and embarrassment comedy. Anansi Boys was mythically brilliant. A History of The World in 6 Glasses and A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again are the only bits of non-fiction here; the former is a great study of how you can match phases of human history with what beverages folk had to drink, and the latter are essays so smart that it makes me intensely jealous. Finally, The Hours was a recommend from FoSO, and I liked it... and it had been so long since I'd seen the movie it still seemed pretty new .

Comics/Graphic Novels (26)
Any Easy Intimacy, Be A Man, JLA: New World Order, Mail Order Bride, The Golem's Mighty Swing, Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, Lone Wolf 2100 3: Pattern Storm, Transformers Generation 1: War and Peace, Penny Arcade 1: Attack of the Bacon Robots, Star Wars Empire 5: Allies and Adversaries, Strangers In Paradise, Star Wars Tales Vol 6, 99 Ways to Tell a Story : Exercises in Style, Miniature Sulk, Superman: Birthright, The Golem's Mighty Swing, I Am Going to Be Small, Reporter / Little Back, Every Girl is the End of the World for Me, Penny Arcade 2: Epic Legends of the Magic Sword Kings, Lost Girls, WE3, Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?, The Invisibles: Say You Want a Revolution, League of Extraordinary Gentleman Vol 1, League of Extraordinary Gentleman Vol 2

(Some nice preview links here...) I've always liked Jeffrey Brown, though Any Easy Intimacy is kind of going over some well-worn territory, but I Am Going to Be Small, a series of single panels, was really funny. Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed? by Liz Prince was a bit like some of the Brown stuff, but maybe even sweeter. The Golem's Mighty Swing is a stylistic bit of genius, about a novelty all-Jewish baseball squad from back when baseball leagues were very different. Finally, at the end of the year with two things by Alan Moore: The Lost Girls, which is some of the most interesting and thoughtfully literate pornography I've ever seen, and then League of Extraordinary Gentleman makes me understand why the movie is held in such poor regard. (I thought the movie was dumb, but ok for what it was... but it didn't hold a candle to the graphic novel.)