Raphael. The first onscreen representation I saw as a little kid about what it meant to be angry all the time — and kind of an asshole — and still be part of a family.
I love you Raph, always and forever.
If you’re looking for something fun to read, I highly recommend this trilogy.
I warn you, every time you sit down and start reading you might lose the next few hours of your life jumping around between Londons with Kell and Lila. Good writing, immensely fun world building, thrilling story, and believable and interesting characters make these are the sorts of books that grab you and don’t let go until you run out of pages. Although, once you do run out of pages you’ll just wish there were more pages.
I’m on my way through the third book now. Its release Feb. 21st was too tempting for me and I broke a self-imposed book buying hiatus. It was a great decision! Shut up, you have a book buying problem.
The only bad news about these books is that apparently Gerard Butler just came on to produce the adaptation after Sony won a bidding war for the adaptation rights. That certainly dampens any excitement I might have had about seeing these characters travel from the page to the screen.
There are very few things in this world that make me happier than movies.
When you take movies and add in lists and achievement trophies to the mix you have a tailor made obsession machine for me. That’s what they do at iCheckMovies
iCheckMovies is a film nerd’s dream. An aggregation of list after list of history’s greatest and most important films according to various websites, critics, publications, film groups, and sundry.
It’s a great way to fill in blind spots and omissions in film knowledge, gleefully charge down rabbit holes of genres and subgenres, or even just decide what to watch next.
The first thing I do whenever I watch a new movie is head over and check it off. It’s super fun and I highly recommend it.
If you love movies and you don’t have iCheckMovies, you should remedy that and start checking movies immediately. If you do have it and we aren’t friends yet, you should find me and let us join movie nerd forces.
I loved the first one, and this one looks better with each new trailer.
Seriously, guys, if this movie sucks you’re going to need to check on me to see if I’m ok.
I’m sharing this because, while the video essay played out, I just kept worrying, “Please don’t leave In the Mood for Love off this list.” And then, they go and make it #1, those smart, charming bastards. And there is sense and justice and meaning in my world again.
Long live Wong Kar-wai! Long live international cinema!
I really need to pull the trigger on my planned deep dive into cinema. Fair warning to my friends who read this blog, once I go down that rabbit hole I might not be around for a while.
How could I not be excited about this? First, Denis Villeneuve’s absolutely brilliant Arrival, then Gosling’s pitch-perfect performance in La La Land, followed by this trailer. Yeah, I’ll be there in October. Get my seat ready Alamo Brooklyn.
The fact that 2016 has been terrible is no secret. If the only bad things that happened this year were losing Bowie, Prince, Leonard Coen, and Phife Dawg in the same year it still would have sucked, but somehow that is just the tip of the giant shitberg this year has been.
Fortunately, there is still awesomeness to make me feel better, and I wanted to share a few of those things with you — ‘Five Things’ style.
1. Baby Fucking Groot
The second trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy — released a week ago at this point, this post took me way too long to get around to finishing — showcased more of the comedic energy fans expect from the series. I’m assuming anyone who cares about this at all will have already seen it at least once. Still, it’s too great to not have it up on RtM, just for posterity. I loved the first Guardians so much, and this one continues to look like it will easily win my heart next year.
A growing baby Groot is even more amazing that I could have hoped.
2. Awaken, My Love!
Is Donald Glover the messiah? He might be. I just don’t see how an ordinary human can give the world Atlanta and Awaken, My Love! in the same fucking year. HOW?! There are plenty of talented people who might release two things that good in their career… but in the same year?! Say what you will about 2016 — it was fucking awful — but Donald Glover certainly did more than we could have hoped in an attempt to salvage it.
Have you listened to this album yet? Did anyone see this coming? Were we aware Childish Gambino was capable of creating a neo-soul masterpiece?
When Questlove — a bonafide pop music historian with an encyclopedic grasp of all things soul — freaks out and wakes D’Angelo at 4 a.m. to listen to an album, you should take note.
Here is a fun interactive video of Gambino performing “Me and Your Mama” at his Pharos concert event.
3. The Girl Who Drank the Moon
The people who live in the Protectorate believe a witch lives in the woods. They believe they must sacrifice a baby to her every year to avoid her wrath.
A witch does live in the woods, but is nothing like the blood thirsty monster she is imagined to be. Confused why babies are annually abandoned in the wilderness, she rescues them and takes them to loving families far away, feeding them starlight to nourish them on the journey. During one of these trips, the witch accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, enmagicking her.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a book about identity, about the power story has to nurture or destroy, and it is about truth and lies and the way the powerful distort the narrative to maintain the status quo. It’s also about love and family and the way courage and compassion can change the world.
It’s lovely and well-written, full of wisdom and lines I wanted to go back and reread multiple times.
You should read it.
Good news: The guy who wrote the screenplay for Kubo and the Two Strings is supposedly the one adapting this book into a screenplay. More on Kubo if I get around to making my own 2016 lists.
4. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
I know, I know — I barely write on RtM anymore and when I do, half the time it’s about how much I love Taiki Waititi. Well, what of it? I do love Taiki Waititi.
A friend recently asked people on Facebook to give a list of their favorite films since 2012, and I listed What We Do in the Shadows; not just because of my affection for that film, but because I needed a representative of Waititi’s work.
His films are so full of charm and joy and sweetness, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople is no exception. Plus, I’m a sucker for stories about people who come together and make weird nontraditional families. It deserves all the inclusion it has gotten on various lists of underrated or underappreciated films of 2016.
Speaking of underappreciated, when people talk about Hunt for the Wilderpeople they always mention What We Do in the Shadows but not Boy. Watch Boy!!!
Taiki for life!
I bet some people are unreasonably disappointed when they visit New Zealand and it’s not actually Middle Earth. I’m probably going to be unreasonably disappointed if I ever go because everyone doesn’t talk like a character in a Taiki Waititi film.
5. End of Year Lists
Hopefully, I’ll find time to make some of my own this year, but either way I am so excited that it is time for people around the internet to curate lists of their favorite things of 2016.
I love curation, both doing it myself and when others do it well. There is so much to learn by experiencing what other people get excited about with an open mind. It expands my life and my perception and offers me new things to enjoy.
Some of the stuff won’t be for me, but I might find a new favorite thing. There might be an amazing album or movie or book I would have otherwise missed, or I might be inspired to finally check out some show I’m sleeping on, or I might be encouraged to look at something I didn’t enjoy in a new light. Either way, my world will get bigger and brighter.
All year, as more info came out about the third season of Black Mirror, I’ve been worried.
My question: is it possible to maintain the previous quality after doubling the length of a season with the move to Netflix?
Even if it turns out that every episode isn’t a winner, the trailer for the new season has gone a long way in calming my fears.
If you were curious about Leviathan Wakes (and The Expanse series in general) when I wrote about it back in September, but you aren’t into the whole reading thing, you can soon take it all in via a new SyFy show.
Technically the show begins in December, but they’ve released the pilot online a bit early.
You can watch the entire episode here on YouTube.
The show could still go either way, there are things I’m not entirely sure about yet. Yet, the scope is huge, the source material is solid, and the pilot has enough going for it that this could be really good.
I’m assuming they’ll take the Game of Thrones route and that each season will be a book in the series.
Here’s the trailer.