Archive | December, 2012

What a Year for a New Year

31 Dec


It’s finally here: New Year’s Eve.

Break out the bubbly and let’s all thank God.

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What Were My Top 12 Blog Posts of 2012?

27 Dec

12-ballThe interwebs is a funny place — especially when you’re a blogger.

You write all kinds of posts, hoping people will read and enjoy (and share) them.

And you make them as optimized as possible, with great headlines and plenty of cross-linking, so search engines will put them at the top of the page when people go looking for related topics.

And then, when the dust settles, you look back and see which posts actually got traffic and which ones didn’t. The results are often surprising.

Such is the case for me in 2012. Continue reading

Don’t Get Carried Away with Your Retribution

24 Dec

django-unchained-posterThe D is silent, but not much else about Quentin Tarantino’s new film is.

Django Unchained is the gleefully violent story of a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who teams up with a German bounty hunter named Schultz (Christoph Waltz) to track down and kill some slave owners and other bad men, then convinces Schultz to help him find and free his wife, Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington, and yes, that’s really her character’s name), from plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

It’s the funny, bold, bloody, and oh so very cool revenge fantasy that Inglorious Basterds should have been — with a killer soundtrack to boot.

It’s also QT’s best film in years, and one of the best of 2012.

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Should You Take Your Mama Out to See These Movies?

23 Dec

It sounds like a double feature from hell.

Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, and Barbra Streisand starring in two movies with similar plot lines: Older Jewish parents have a hard time connecting with the younger generation.

Both films are aimed squarely at a mainstream crowd, and are being released within days of each other.

Should you see them as a double feature, is one of them enough, or should you skip them both altogether?

Here are my reviews.

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2012 Was a Masterful Year for the Movies

21 Dec

You know it’s been a good year when creating a list of your favorite movies can’t be limited to just 10 — and two films jockey back and forth for the top spot right up until I hit “publish.”

And yet, rules are rules are rules, and tough decisions have to be made.

So without further ado, and with the full knowledge that Jeff Wells may call me a “beefalo,” here’s my list of the 10 best and most enjoyable movies I saw this year — as well as some honorable mentions and the 10 worst ones too. For my full reviews, click on each of the movie titles.

(Note: At the time of this blog post, not all the films have been officially released in Boston. I’ll add links when those reviews are published.)

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Whatever Happened to the Old Me?

20 Dec

thisis40-posterYou’ve heard me say this before, but it’s so much better to be 38 than it is to be 40.

That’s exactly how Debbie (Leslie Mann) feels in Judd Apatow’s new film, This Is 40.

On her 40th birthday, she has her husband, Pete (Paul Rudd), put 38 on her birthday cake, and she puts the wrong birthdate down when she goes to the doctor.

When Pete takes Viagra so he can please her on her birthday without pressure, she freaks out: “We are young people! We don’t need medication to have sex.”

Nope, turning 40 is not easy.

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Yes, I Hear the People Sing. Please Make Them Stop

19 Dec

les_miserables_french_posterI had a dream Les Miz would be … so much better than the movie it is.

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but despite all the hype that would lead you to believe the big-screen adaptation of the beloved musical Les Misérables is the best thing since sliced bread, the movie left me feeling lukewarm.

And I don’t say that lightly. Like so many others who grew up in New York, Les Misérables played a significant role during my formative years. I first saw it in 1987, in London, on a trip with my grandparents. I also saw the show on Broadway, and I heard songs like “On My Own” over and over in talent shows at summer camp and in school, and at other performances where young girls got up to sing.

So suffice it to say, I had a bit of history going into this one, and expectations were high.

Oh well.

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33 Songs That Defined My 2012

17 Dec

fun-2012There’s a reason why everyone is falling over themselves to shower praise on Bruce Springsteen, Frank Ocean, and fun. right now.

It’s because they released damned good albums this year, ones that many of us are still listening to.

But they weren’t the only ones who put out great tunes in 2012. There were plenty of good singles and albums, and a good number of those really resonated with me.

Sure, it wasn’t all good: The eagerly awaited release from Fiona Apple (the one with the really long and crazy name), which I was looking forward to, barely made a blip on my radar. And I had had enough of Psy’s viral smash “Gagnam Style” within about 30 seconds of hearing it for the first time. But lets’s stay positive, alright?

Here, in no particular order, and with commentary where I have something to say, are 33 (mostly) new songs that I couldn’t get enough of this year — with apologies to #bFlat, who just missed the cut — and a Spotify playlist so you can relive my year in music with me.

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3 Movies You Should Skip Before the End of the World

7 Dec

2012 movie posterIf the Mayans were right, then we are just two weeks away from the end of the world.

On that day — December 21, 2012 — a series of cataclysmic, catastrophic events are predicted to occur, such as the arrival of the next solar maximum, an interaction between Earth and the black hole at the center of the galaxy, or Earth’s collision with a planet called “Nibiru.”

In layman’s terms, we’re talking a disaster of Biblical proportions. Dogs and cats living together. That kind of stuff.

Of course, the end of the world has been predicted before, and we’re still here.

But on the off-chance that this time it’s actually going to happen — and there have been signs that this is all legit — I don’t wanna waste any of my remaining precious few hours.

If the world will, in fact, be ending on December 21, here are three movies I will definitely not be rewatching — and you shouldn’t, either.

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The Ultimate “Very Marty” Holiday Spotify Playlist

4 Dec

My blog readers have landed on Santa Claus and Hanukkah Harry’s “Nice List” this year.

So as my present to you all, I’ve compiled what may be the ultimate “Very Marty Xmas” playlist, using Spotify.

That right: It’s three hours of some of my favorite holiday songs — I say “holiday,” because the playlist does include some Hanukkah and New Year’s songs too. (Screw you, Fox News.)

Nearly every track from my best-of compilation is here, as are a bunch from other years, plus a few tracks that never made it on to a mix in all my 10 years of making them.

Unfortunately, some tracks had to be excluded because they’re not on Spotify. Specifically, that includes what may be the best version of “O Holy Night” I’ve ever heard, the one Trombone Shorty did on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Oh well. I’ve embedded the video below because this wouldn’t really be an “ultimate” playlist without it.

(I also wish the Stephen Colbert/Jon Stewart duet “Can I Interest You in Hanukkah” was on Spotify, but maybe that was hoping for too much.)

So without further ado, here’s the mix. Hopefully you have a Spotify account so you can enjoy it. Continue reading

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