Thursday, February 05, 2009

January 2009: Media Consumed

A couple of years ago after reading THE POLYSYLLABIC SPREE by Nick Hornby, I was inspired to post a list of all the books I had read each month as well as the movies I viewed for the first time. I kept this up for just over a year and then stopped last year because I was so overwhelmed with teaching. I decided for 2009 that I would try it again. So, here's my list of books and movies from January 2009.

Books Read
*One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (play) Dale Wasserman
*Bus Stop William Inge
*You Can't Take It With You George Kaufman & Moss Hart
*Lend Me a Tenor Ken Ludwig
*Once Upon a Mattress Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer, Dean Fuller, et al.
** Superman, Inc: 1999 Annual Report Steve Vance, et al.
**Superman: Last Son of Earth, Book 1 & 2 Steve Gerber, Doug Wheatley, Chris Chuckry
** Batman: In Darkest Knight Mike W. Barr & Jerry Bingham
**Gotham By Gaslight Brian Augustyn, et al.
**Son of Superman Howard Chaykin, David Tischman, et al.
Holy Sh*t: The World's Weirdest Comic Books Paul Gravett & Peter Stanbury
Dispatches From the Tenth Circle The Onion
* = denotes a play
** = denotes graphic novel

I read several plays and comic books (graphic novels) in January 2009. I enjoyed all of the plays except Bus Stop. I'm not sure why this play is so well known because it's incredibly boring. The graphic novels were all elseworlds stories (what if?-type stories, e.g. what if Batman lived during the time of Jack the Ripper?). There were none of the batch that were terrible and overall most of them were rather enjoyable. They were a nice way to entertain myself on those days we were snowed in. As for the other books, Holy Sh*t is a collection of comic book covers with a synopsis and short history of some very bizarre and unusual comics. Dispatches From the Tenth Circle was a Christmas gift. It's a collection of Onion stories and is hilarious.

Movies Seen for the First Time
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Resident Evil: Degeneration
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Gran Torino
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

The only must see movie of the bunch is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It's a moving, life-encouraging film. The special effects are amazing. I cried a little. The film isn't the best movie of 2008, but it is one of the top three. It's kind of long, but it's well worth it.

Pi is noteworthy because it was a $60,000 movie that launched the career of director Darren Aronofsky, one of the most daring, visually-stimulating, and thought-provoking directors making movies.

Gran Torino is worth watching just for Clint Eastwood. He's basically the whole movie. It was panned by critics and didn't do as well as expected at the box office, but I enjoyed The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Valkyrie has some really good acting and is noteworthy for bringing this overlooked episode of WWII history to the public's attention. Lastly, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is hilarious and any film that stars Phil Silvers and Zero Mostel is a must see.

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