Archives for category: Books


I googled “pop culture” and this came up. Actually this came up because I googled “entertainment”.


I quite like both and I think I’ll be going with the “I’m feeling lucky” approach to images for the rest of the year because searching and formatting is such a huge time suck.

Last year – well it was last year. There was a huge dip in my consumption for a lot of different reasons we don’t need to get into here. In the spirit of the starting anew and clearing out the old I’m going to just list the movies and books of 2015. No reviews – otherwise this wouldn’t be happening at all. What I am going to do for 2016 is add the TV shows I’m watching/streaming because I am definitely watching a lot.


1 – Wedding Crashers
2 – The Odd Couple

3 – Singin’ in the Rain

4 – It Follows
5 – Woman in Gold

6 – Edge of Tomorrow
7 – Finding Vivian Maier
8 – Atari – Game Over
9 – Mad Max: Fury Road

10 – Best in Show
11 – Non-Stop
12 – Spy
13 – X-Files – Fight the Future

14 – John Wick
15 – Minions
16 – Inside Out
17 – Inside Llewyn Davis
18 – Stanley Kubrick – A Life in Pictures
19 – The Winning Season

20 – The Babadook
21 – Inside Man
22 – Drag Me to Hell
23 – The Giver
24 – Trainwreck
25 – Joan Rivers – A Piece of Work
26 – Man from U.N.C.L.E.

27 – Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation
28 – The Source Family
29 – Muscle Shoals

30 – Who Killed the Electric Car?
31 – Black Mass

32 – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
33 – American Sniper
34 – The Martian

35 – Spectre


May – really, I didn’t read anything until MAY, the dates are when I finished
1 – Simon vs the Homo Sapiens/Becky Albertalli
2 – Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnance
3 – What to Expect When You’re Expecting
4 – The Messenger/Lois Lowry
5 – Wonder/RJ Palacio
6 – Son/Lois Lowry
7 – Diaper Free/Ingrid Bauer
8 – Stories I Only Tell My Friends/Rob Lowe
9 – A Wrinkle in Time/Madeleine L’Engle
10 – Love Life/Rob Lowe
11 – Ready for a Brand New Beat/Mark Kurlansky
12 – A Wind int eh Door/Madeleine L’Engle
13 – Modern Romance/Aziz Ansari

Out of this whole list the only entry I didn’t remember is Non-Stop. Liam Neeson is an air marshall trapped on a plane with a forgettable story line. There you have it. One big thing I check off my to do list. Happy New Year!


1 – State of Wonder/Ann Patchett
2 – Give Me Everything You Have/James Lasdun
3 – Run/Ann Patchett
4 – Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls/David Sedaris
5 – Case Histories/Kate Atkinson
6 – Life After Life/Kate Atkinson
7 – In the Pleasure Groove/John Taylor (Duran Duran)
8 – Frankenstein/Mary Shelley
9 – The Picture of Dorian Gray/Oscar Wilde
10 – The Importance of Being Earnest/Oscar Wilde
11 – Fodor’s China
12 – Frommer’s Ireland
13 – Rick Steves’ Ireland
14 – Picture This – This is How Pictures Work/Molly Bang
15 – Hyberbole and  a Half/Allie Brosh
16 – The Book of Life/Deborah Harkness
17 – Two Weeks in the Midday Sun/Roger Ebert
18 – Bel Canto/Ann Patchett
19 – The Pot and How to Use It/Roger Ebert
20 – Wicked/Gregory Maguire
21 – The Giver/Lois Lowry
22 – Cat Sense/John Bradshaw
23 – Gathering Blue/Lois Lowry
24 – Yes Please/Amy Poehler

Robert Duvall as Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Robert Duvall as Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird.

I’ve never really understood the magnanimous praise heaped on the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. To be honest, I’m not even that Read the rest of this entry »

For your consideration: Joe Keenan’s 1988 screwball comedic novel Blue Heaven for the screen. But how? When to set it? With whom?


After Mr. Lousy’s reading list was published, followed by the shocking (to Lousy) revelation that Doris W and I had dined with the book’s author Joe Keenan, I dug around the house for my own dog-eared paperback copy, which I found nestled between some film review compilations by Pauline Kael.

I re-read the novel (personally autographed – I had no idea that I’d brought it to dinner!) for the first time in 20 years, and perhaps as my copy spent at least a decade on a shelf fermenting with Pauline Kael, I have been Read the rest of this entry »

december 2012

So this is how it ends. I think my December is a fairly good reflection of all the movies I like – classics, documentaries, heavy dramas, smart comedies and those movies I just never got around to before. I thought about coming up with something insightful and clever about my movie habits. But I don’t feel like it. I’m feeling very optimistic for 2013 and dwelling on 2012 seems antithetical to that purpose.

I will say this – I’ve never kept track of how many or which movies I watch. I always knew I saw more than most but even I am surprised to find that I watched 134 movies. That’s 11.16 movies a month, 2.58 movies a week. I’m surprised I’ve managed to do anything else. Because I know I also watch an awful lot of television and I’d like to think I read a fair amount. As a holiday bonus, I’m listing the books I read this year too. So here it goes – the last list for 2012.

120 – Street Fight – politics + race = scariness
121 – Trespass – Schumacher must stop
122 – 50/50 – not too goofy
123 – Waltz with Bashir – harrowing, frightening, gobsmacked
124 – Mulan (Disney) – cute little dragon
125 – Hitchcock – fun, light, entertaining
126 – Looking for Richard – Pacino’s gross ponytail
127 – The Killers – Lancaster is foxy
128 – Shaun of the Dead – smart, funny z-story
129 – State and Main – so that happened
130 – Lincoln – DDL is god
131 – Skyfall – best Bond cinematography
132 – This is 40 – it kinda is
133 – Life of Pi – reading the book
134 – Central Park Five – depressing power abuse

My Books – 2012 – Don’t Judge, It’s Just a List

1 – My Lucky Star/Joe Keenan
2 – E-Myth/Michael E. Gerber
3 – James and the Giant Peach/Roald Dahl
4 – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?/Mindy Kaling
5 – The Graveyard Book/Neil Gaiman
6 – Spain/Rick Steves
7 – Tale of Sand/Jim Henson
8 – Shenzhen/Guy Delisle
9 – The Hunger Games/Suzanne Collins
10 – Moneyball/Michael Lewis
11 – Neverwhere/Neil Gaiman
12 – Divergent/Veronica Roth
13 – The Book Thief/Marcus Zusak
14 – Matched/Ally Condie
15 – Insurgent/Veronica Roth
16 – Eat, Pray, Love/Elizabeth Gilbert
17 – American Gods/Neil Gaiman
18 – A Discovery of Witches/Deborah Harkness
19 – Act Like a Man, Think Like a Woman/Steve Harvey
20 – World War Z/Max Brooks
21 – Shadow of Night/Deborah Harkness
22 – Fifty Shades of Grey/EL James
23 – I Feel Bad About My Neck/Nora Ephron

So about 2 books a month. Again, I don’t really know how much other people read but I feel pretty good about that number.

Overall I think 2012 was a better year for movies than 2011 and I generally liked the books I read this year. There are always some stinkers but I finished them all and liked more than I disliked. You can’t really complain about that.

2013 – bring it.


Frank Langella used his eyes, tousled hair, and a turtleneck to seduce you with ease. His youthful seduction has been exchanged for an aged gravitas. He’d rather not have to look at the gradual transformation.

Frank Langella recently said in an interview on NPR that he doesn’t like to look at his movies. He made the analogy of going up into an attic and paging through photo albums, which forces you to look at your own aging over the years – and, as I extrapolate – the loss of the past, which is now contained only in a fragile image and perhaps an even more fragile memory.

For me, I don’t have to page through photo albums. Just watching old films, especially ones from childhood, sometimes brings me an acute sense of time passage and loss. Since I associate movies, TV, and music with specific periods of my life, I am often Read the rest of this entry »

After compiling my personal ballot of candidates to play the role of Mags in the upcoming film adaptation Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire, I knew I was still missing key players, even those in my relatively narrowed field: actresses over 80, like the character Mags, who could hold the Read the rest of this entry »

How do you envision Mags?

So I’ve just read that Melissa Leo has been under consideration for the role of Mags, the oldest District participant in Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games.

In Suzanne Collins’ book, Mags is in her eighties and cannot speak due to a stroke. She needs help keeping up, though she’s still sharp as a tack despite her difficulty communicating and still knows how to survive in the arena. It’a a good role, not a great one, and it should go to a performer who is at least as Read the rest of this entry »

Watching The Thirteenth Floor was for me sort of like going back in time, but not skipping alternate realities like in this movie – going back in time to the nineties video store in Chicago that was housed in the garden apartment on Read the rest of this entry »

Dollhouse doesn’t have a lot of good times. Let’s celebrate this one, even though it’s provoked by the accidental and possibly catastrophic release of a chemical agent that has the potential of a weapon of mass destruction.

In working my way through a second viewing of the series Dollhouse, I believe I have now reached the point at which Mr. Lousy and I can finally now watch episodes in tandem.  This might be just the right spot for our summit.

“Echoes” is one of my favorite Dollhouse episodes.  I won’t say favorite because I’m re-evaluating as I make my second trip, and I don’t want to be presumptive, especially about my own tastes.

I know the episode has notoriety for its humor: everyone goes on a weird drug trip and it’s hilarious.

True and not true.  There is a lot more going on besides straitlaced control-freaks flipping out on something between highly potent weed and LSD.  The weaving of the comic, the tragic, character revelation, and partial exposition proves that the series could produce not only a fantastic episode, but also an episode that would move the Read the rest of this entry »