Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cha Cha's Stuff of 2009: Entertainment Edition

I'm home. And I have a wretched cold. And I had to spend an hour shoveling my driveway before I could get my car in the garage and the stuff and the dogs out of the car. Pooooor Cha Cha!

So, let's not dwell on my mucus situation or the state of my driveway. Let's talk, instead, about what was kick-ass (and not so kick-ass) about 2009.

Keep in mind that this isn't necessarily stuff that came out new this year. It's stuff that I experienced this year. And I'm lame and not cool and certainly not hip, so that might mean this is old stuff that's just new-to-me.

And yes, I totally cribbed this post concept from last year. But I'm high on cold medicine. Cut me some slack.

Best memoir
The Kids Are All Right. The Welch kids were orphaned in 1985 and then basically split up. The story is horrifying, but the book is a statement on resilience and the power of family. Plus, since each for the four kids wrote sections of the book, it's a unique comment on memory, perception, and what we will ourselves to forget.

Best adventure
Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure. I seriously loooooved this book. Imagine - a world where former presidents have no Secret Service detail and think they can just take a road trip across the country. Well, that's how it was in 1953. Harry and Bess loaded up the Chrysler and took off, and then were surprised by all the attention their little trip garnered. This book is a gem.

Best nonfiction book(s)
I listen to a lot of books on CD, even though I call them "books on tape" because that just seems to roll off my tongue a lot easier than "books on CD." Anyway, I'm at the mercy of the library's CD selection and therefore listen to some stuff that I wouldn't usually read. I suppose this is good. This year, I really enjoyed listening to several of Jimmy Carter's books. I guess I've had a thing for former presidents lately.

First of all, he reads them and I love his sweet Georgia drawl. Secondly, dude has had a fascinating life! He tells of his adventures with a deep respect for the people he meets and a deep sense of responsibility to do all he can to make the world a better place. We should all be so lucky ... and so responsible and loving.

Best new "Ohmygod I have to read everything she's written" author
Cathy Lamb. I've read her three novels. The latest was published four months ago. Think she'll publish another one, say, next week? Because I'm ready.

Best surprise by a previously disappointing author
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells. I loved Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, but found Wells' other two books to be, well, shitty. However, my mom brought this book to Florida and in our book trades back and forth, I read this in one glorious poolside day. Great story. Loved it. Not gonna win any hoity-toity awards, but I liked it.

Best book that I thought would be fluff but was a serious novel that was good. Real good.
Firefly Lane. Yes, it's about these women and their friendship and blah blah blah ... but it's also about how folks evolve as individuals and in relationships, what women sacrifice and what they gain from those trade-offs.

Wow - I keep adding books to this list. Guess I really do like to read. Yes, I'm an English major!

But, I also like to watch moving pictures.

Best based-on-a-true-story movie
The Blind Side. I know I've written about this movie quite a bit lately, but I just totally loved it. I will now do you a giant favor and refrain from a) talking about this movie AGAIN and b) telling you about the latest dream I had featuring characters from this film. You're welcome.

Best based-on-a-blog movie
Julie and Julia. I sort of wanted to kick Julie in the head sometimes, but I also came away wanting to learn more about Julia and her lovely husband. I have a couple of books checked out about the Childs but haven't had a chance to dig in yet. Perhaps those books will appear on my 2010 list. Stay tuned.

Best use of a national treasure in a movie
The Proposal. Not because it was super awesome in every way (just in some ways), but because it brought Betty White to the big screen. I love her. And I'm not just saying that because I watch more Golden Girls reruns than the average octogenarian. I'm saying it because she's got brilliant comedic timing and it's just funny to hear grandmas talk about the S-E-X.

Best holiday movie
You know it, I know it, and yet I still feel compelled to point it out: Trading Places. Again.

Worst movie ever in the history of movies
Funny People. I hated this movie. It was too long. It was about people you don't give two shits about. I hate Jonah Hill anyway because he plays the same guy in every movie he's in. And I got a migraine during this movie but didn't ask My Guy to leave because I thought he was loving the movie, only to find out later that he hated it, too. This movie is dead to me!

Most disgusting new TV show
Hoarders. I've learned that you can't watch it while you're eating. I've also learned that it's awesome to keep an episode on your DVR for when you need inspiration to clean your damn house already. Yikes.

Best TV as a drinking game
Steven Seagal: Lawman. Now, I wanted to love this show just on principle alone. What could possibly make better TV than Steven Seagal being a real-life cop? Sadly, the answer to that is complicated ... because he's not really a real cop. He's a reserve deputy sheriff. Which means that he does training on marital arts and self defense, but other than that ... he rides along with real deputies and says stuff like, "Get 'em, Johnny!"

Oh, the disappointment.

However, My Guy and I determined that Steven Seagal: Lawman is actually a perfect drinking game. You just take a drink anytime he mentions his years of experience in the martial arts ("With more than 40 years of experience in akido, I'm one of the world's master instructors") or anything Zen ("When you shoot your weapon, don't pull the trigger - push the air, like a Zen archer when he pushes the arrow.") I don't know about you, but those quotes alone make me want to drink.

Best funny-all-the-time show
30 Rock. Again. And not just because I want to be Tina Fey when I grow up. But because her show is damn funny.

Up next: Cha Cha's Stuff of 2009: This is Your Life Edition. Stay tuned!

7 comments:

SCREAMING FOR CHOCOLATE said...

Why not just say Audio Book? That would work. Steven Segall....gag. I used to think he was hot about a 100 years ago. His constant bragging about his CIA and martial arts experience is a snooze. And how he let himself go. Last I saw of him...hair still long, big gut, arms like twigs with no muscle definition.

I think I will have to check out some of the books you read.

Hopefully your 2010 will be much better than 2009. I know you were dealing with residual garbage from the ex fiance. However, you had a marvelous breakthrough when he came whining back.

You go girl. 2010 will ROCK.

PS....I LOVE LOVE LOVE Trading Spaces. You can see Eddie Murphy's characters brain working in this movie. He is so brilliant.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oooh, you reading is SO eclectic. I adore it! And taking notes on your list. I laugh at your drinking game--Steven Segal reminds me of Jean Claude Van Damme--they just keep cropping up, don't they?
Hoarders? That beats your old fave: rock bus of love!

Iron Needles said...

My book list consist of bargains from the friends of library book sale. Sometimes I get lucky (snort!). Which is a nice lead-in to the grandamas talking about sex. I am a grandma and it so totally grosses out my kids, and I torture them with it. Sometimes. Because I can! (Mwahahaha!)

Here's to getting over the cold and to fresh starts and new years.

Glad to have made your acquaintance, ChaCha!

Dorrie said...

Hey, I listen to a lot of books on 'tape' too, although I am trying to get in the habit of saying 'audio book'. Happy New Year! Wishing you a great 2010! Hope you feel better soon!

sherilee said...

Wonderful list--I always like seeing what other people (well, usually just people who I think know what they're talking about!) are reading... I went straight for my Kindle and downloaded a sample of the Welch kids' story, and am curious which of Cathy Lamb's you'd recommend for a first-time reader?

And I'm with you on all three of your movie recommendations--loved the Blind Side so much.

I haven't watched the Hoarders since I'm pretty sure it would be one of those guilty/sanctimonious pleasures, and I don't need to add to that list in my life...

Happy New Year, Cha Cha. I love your blog and am so glad to have found you in 2009. You're a gem.

Madge said...

I loved Julie and Julia, but I think I liked the book better.

and I HATE Hoarders. What is wrong with this country?

Molly said...

Oh man. I want to be Tina Fey. And I also still call it Book on Tape. As does my mother. Because whatever, at one time the book was on a tape.

Also, am totally reading like 5 of your reccomended books as soon as I can get them! This is awesome because I have a B and N gift card!