Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2017 Top 5 Lists

"Interesting times?"  We are here people!  If 2017 had been any more "interesting" my head would have exploded.  That said, my family is healthy, I had a great time in two Sonoma Arts Live productions, The Rainmaker and Inspecting Carol, and my radio show ALL KINDSA GIRLS is going on nine years.  There are also great movies, records, book and TV shows to be thankful for so as I have since 1999, I humbly submit my 2017 Top 5's:

I, Daniel Blake (bureaucracide)
The Florida Project (Moonee's world)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh's magnum opus)
The Big Sick (real American story)
Baby Driver (neat, neat, neat!)

Mustang (irreligious)
The Invitation (dinner party crash)
The Raid Redemption (mind-blowing bullet ballet)
Colossal (Kaiju/indie mashup)
American Honey (how the other 14.5% live)

Matthew Sweet- Tomorrow Forever (a master returns)
The Upper Crust- Delusions of Grandeur (let there be rocque!)
The Wellingtons- End of The Summer (Power Pop perfection)
Bash and Pop- Anything Could Happen (Tommy out-Pauls Paul)
Suzy and Los Quatro- Faster and Louder (Spanish Lady rocks!)

The First Bad Man- Miranda July (Cheryl's plight)
Sixkill- Robert B. Parker (RBP and Spenser, RIP)
Mrs. Fletcher- Tom Perrotta (empty nester)
Rage In Harlem- Chester Himes (For Love of Imabelle)
History of Wolves- Emily Fridlund (Minnesota masterpiece)

American Vandal (who drew the d*cks?)
Halt And Catch Fire Seasons 1-4 (true disruption)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Midge can do it)
Catastrophe Seasons 1-2 (marital hilarity, until Season 3)
Better Call Saul Season 3 (Shakespearean epic)
TV was the most competitive category this year- so many great shows on the streaming services it's hard to limit it to five.  While not all of the above came out in 2017, that's when I got around to them.  Please feel free to respond with your own lists- I'm always on the lookout for viewing/listening/reading material and maybe you'll see your recommendation on next year's list.  Here's hoping we all find a way to navigate the new normal- however abnormal it may be- in 2018!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Top 5 Lists

2016?!?  What can I say that hasn't already been said?  At best it was surreal, at worst terrifying.  On the plus side, the Love family remains healthy and we live in Sonoma, California.  My roles in We Players' Romeo and Juliet in Petaluma and Saratoga along with my Power Pop radio show ALL KINDSA GIRLS were also bright spots.  Thank God for the music... and films... and TV shows... and books that made this year better.  Back in January 1999 I started sharing my favorites in each category and the tradition continues as I humbly submit my 2016 Top 5's:

Hell Or High Water (who are the real bad guys?)
Sing Street /La La Land (Musicals are back!)
Green Room (RIP Anton Yelchin)
Manchester By The Sea (Lonergan's lament)
Moonlight ("a machine that generates empathy")

Everybody Wants Some! (grand slam)
Hunt For The Wilderpeople (Kiwi classic)
Force Majeure (man test)
The End of the Tour (Infinite Jest)
Experimenter/Stanford Prison Experiment (how Abu Ghraib happens)

Weezer- s/t (White Album) (California Kids!)
Nick Piunti- Trust Your Instincts (pronounced "pewn-tee")
Michael Carpenter- The Big Radio (Wizzard of Oz)
Cotton Mather- Death of the Cool (I Ching-errific!)
TUNS- TUNS (Oh Canada!) 

The Goldfinch- Donna Tartt (wish I had a Boris)
Everything I Never Told You- Celeste Ng (sins of the father... and mother)
The Whites- Richard Price (the master returns)
The Girls- Emma Cline (save our Evies!)
We Are Not Ourselves- Matthew Thomas (family first)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 1 (musical comedy gold)
The Leftovers Seasons 1-2 (sudden departure)  
Shameless (US) Seasons 1-6) (oh those Gallaghers!) 
Fargo Season 2 (mid-western massacre)
Rectify Seasons 2-3 (Free Daniel Holden) 

Fudged it on the "Top 5" a bit but I'm going to let it stand- plus they'd each make for an awesome double feature!  While not all of the above came out in 2016, that's when I came across them.  I'm always on the lookout for quality viewing/listening/reading material so please share your 2016 favorites- perhaps your selection will show up on next year's list.  Let's all try to be there for each other in 2017!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Top 5 Lists

Happy New Year Everybody!  2015 had its ups and downs.  On the upside, I had a great time in our local production of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins and my radio show ALL KINDSA GIRLS has been proudly purveying Power Pop for eight years now.  On the downside- my teenage children are killing me.  That said, everyone is healthy and once again my 2015 was considerably brightened by the many great movies, TV shows, music and books I saw, heard and read.   Now, in a tradition that dates back to 1999, I humbly submit my 2015 Top 5's:

Room (12x12 heaven/hell)
Inside Out (= 5 years of therapy)
It Follows (and you thought chlamydia was bad!)
Me and Earl and The Dying Girl (Greg gains)
Spotlight // The Big Short (systemic failures that couldn't happen again.... right?!?)

What We Do In The Shadows (vampilarious!)
Frank (=genius+mental illness)
Blue Ruin (revenge cuts both ways)
The Tall Man (parental nightmare)
'71 / Starred Up (Jack O'Connell has arrived)

Nick Piunti- Beyond The Static (back to Detroit)
Kurt Baker- Play It Cool (my Maine man)
Chris Stamey- Euphoria / Tommy Keene- Laugh In The Dark (the masters reign)
Reno Bo- Lessons From A Shooting Star (my Nashville music)
Hamilton Original Cast Recording (an American original)

Fourth of July Creek- Smith Henderson (social work)
Redeployment- Phil Klay (horror stories)
The Good Lord Bird- James McBride (little onion blossoms)
Purity- Jonathan Franzen (in praise of Pip)
All The Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doerr (spirit of the radio)

Bloodline Season 1 (family feud)
The Bridge Season 1 (over seriously troubled water)
Scrotal Recall (great series, HORRIBLE name)
Rita Seasons 1 and 2 (hot for teacher)
The Americans Seasons 1 and 2 (the couple that spies together...)

Yes I cheated on the "Top 5" a little but it was that kind of year.  Also, not all of the above were released in 2015 but this is the year I caught up with them.  Please send your own 2015 favorites- I'm always on the look out for quality viewing/listening/reading material and maybe your selection will show up on next year's list.  Here's to an awesome 2016!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Top 5 Lists

Wow, another year has passed- let me wish you a belated but heartfelt HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I can't say I'm sorry to see 2014 go, it was a challenging year.  That said, I was lucky to be cast in two musicals, The Full Monty and The Who's Tommy- both amazing experiences.  My radio show ALL KINDSA GIRLS is going strong into its seventh year.  Most importantly, Jaime and the kids are doing great and we are happily greeting 2015.  Challenging or not, every year of my life has been enriched by the movies, TV shows, music and books I saw, heard and read.  In an effort to share this wealth with all of you, a tradition started in 1999 (16 years ago!), I humbly submit my 2014 Top 5's:

Whiplash (what price perfection?)
Boyhood (this boy's life)
Snowpiercer (all aboard!)
The Babadook (you can't get rid of him)
Birdman (metatastic!)

We Are The Best! (punk rock lives!)
Short Term 12 (fostering care)
Oculus (mirror mirror)
Alan Partridge (radio gravy) 
Fill The Void (sisters lover)

Sloan- Commonwealth (the pride of Halifax, NS)
The Cry!- Dangerous Game (Rose City rock and roll)
The Rubinoos- 45 (proud power pop purveyors)
The New Pornographers- Brill Bruisers (more catchy Canadians)
Silver Sun- A Lick And A Promise (harmony heaven)

Skippy Dies- Paul Murray (spoiler alert!)
The Shipping News- Annie Proulx (long live the Quoyles)
The Dinner- Herman Koch (NOT a foodie book)
Swamplandia!- Karen Russell (what happens in the swamp...)
Painted Ladies- Robert B. Parker (the penultimate Spenser)

True Detective Season 1 (antinatal noir) 
Broadchurch Season 1 (subtitled for the non-Scottish)
Game Of Thrones Seasons 3 and 4 (winter came)
The Walking Dead Season 4 (most hardcore TV show ever)
Orphan Black Season 2 (a performance(s) for the ages)

Please feel free to respond with your own favorites from 2014 and maybe you'll see them on next year's list.  I can never get enough quality viewing, listening and reading material.  Here's hoping we all enjoy a happy and prosperous 2015!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 Top 5 Lists

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!  Here’s hoping 2014 finds you well.  Things are great in Sonoma- the family had a good year and my radio show ALL KINDSA GIRLS remains a fixture on Saturday nights at KSVY 91.3.  If you want to know what the show is all about head over to the blog and facebook pages.  Like every year, my life in 2013 was enriched by fantastic movies, DVD’s, TV shows, records and books that I watched, streamed, listened to and read.  Now, in a proud tradition that dates back to 1999, I humbly submit my 2013 Top 5’s:

Fruitvale Station (American tragedy)
Enough Said (man, it doesn’t get ANY easier)
Spring Breakers (ultimate bangerz)
(tie) Don Jon, Frances Ha (the pains of being pure at heart)

War Witch (hear Komona)
Smashed (working the program)
Warm Bodies (zombie love)
Umberto D (thank God for our dogs)
Pitch Perfect (long live Fat Amy)

Love Sign- Free Energy (more cowbell!)
Can’t Wait- Sugar Stems (Milwaukee’s finest)

The Art Of Fielding- Chad Harbach (we all need a Mike Schwartz)
Telegraph Avenue- Michael Chabon (welcome to Brokeland)
The Professional- Robert B. Parker (Mr. Parker, you will be missed)
In One Person- John Irving (a spinning top)

House Of Cards (smoke filled rooms)
Game of Thrones Season 2 (winter is coming...)
Orphan Black (Cosima is my favorite)
Walking Dead Season 3 (Michonne rules!)

Don’t get to enough live performances to give it a category of its own but Jaime and I saw A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder in New York last week and it was awesome! 

If you’d like to see any past Top 5 lists, I’ve put them up on the Rick’s Top 5 Lists Blog.  I’d love to hear your favorites from 2013 so please send them along- I’m always on the lookout for quality viewing, listening and reading material.  Here’s wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2014!!