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:

TOP 5 MOVIES
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")

TOP 5 DVD'S/STREAMS
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)

TOP 5 ALBUMS
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!) 

TOP 5 BOOKS
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)

TOP 5 TV SHOWS
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:

TOP 5 MOVIES
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?!?)

TOP 5 DVD'S/WEB STREAMS
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)

TOP 5 ALBUMS
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)

TOP 5 BOOKS
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)

TOP 5 TV SHOWS
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:

TOP 5 MOVIES
Whiplash (what price perfection?)
Boyhood (this boy's life)
Snowpiercer (all aboard!)
The Babadook (you can't get rid of him)
Birdman (metatastic!)

TOP 5 DVD'S/WEB STREAMS
We Are The Best! (punk rock lives!)
Short Term 12 (fostering care)
Oculus (mirror mirror)
Alan Partridge (radio gravy) 
Fill The Void (sisters lover)

TOP 5 ALBUMS
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)

TOP 5 BOOKS
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)

TOP 5 TV/CABLE/WEB SHOWS
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:

TOP 5 MOVIES
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)

TOP 5 DVD’S/WEB STREAMS
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)

TOP 5 ALBUMS
Love Sign- Free Energy (more cowbell!)
Can’t Wait- Sugar Stems (Milwaukee’s finest)

TOP 5 BOOKS
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)

TOP 5 TV/CABLE SHOWS
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!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 Top 5 Lists

New Year’s greetings to you all!  I hope you had an enjoyable 2012.  I’m happy to report that even though I was fake stabbed to death numerous times while playing Julius Caesar on stage, in the real world I had an injury-free 12 months!  And my radio show ALL KINDSA GIRLS is still going strong (check out the blog and  facebook page).  As always, 2012 was chock full of great movies, DVD’s, TV shows, records and books I thoroughly enjoyed watching, streaming, listening to and reading.  So, in a proud tradition that dates back to 1999, I humbly share my 2012 Top 5’s:

TOP 5 MOVIES
The Sessions (breathing lessons)
Headhunters (literally!)
Young Adult (you can’t go back)

TOP 5 DVD’S/WEB STREAMS
Pariah (AG indeed)
Coriolanus (Shakespeare/Fiennes)
Point Blank (nurse nightmare)
Chronicle (growing pains)
Tomboy (boy’s life)

TOP 5 ALBUMS
Ignition- Shoes (Zion’s finest are back)
Falling Off The Sky- The dB’s (triumphant Tar Heels return)
Soundshine- David Myhr (merrymaking)
Tre- Green Day (third time’s the charm)

TOP 5 BOOKS
Ready Player One- Ernest Cline (virtual unreality)
The Fault In Our Stars- John Green (amazing Hazel Grace)

TOP 5 TV/CABLE SHOWS
Game of Thrones Season 1 (Stark outlook)
Sons of Anarchy Seasons 1-4 (something is rotten in Charming)
Hell On Wheels Season 1 (home on the range)

Please feel free to share your favorites from 2012.  I’m always on the lookout for quality viewing, listening and reading material so it would be great to hear from you.  Here’s wishing you all the best in 2013!!