Friday, January 3, 2014

December 2013 Recap and 2013 Year In Review

Happy New Year and hopefully everyone reading this had a good holiday season and made it through the New Year with nothing more than a slight hangover. Of course, followers of mine know that I didn't watch a single film in the month of December, however, I figured I'd still write this up, talk a little bit about the TV I've been watching and do a little year in review, because this time of year, everyone seems to be making lists.

ME vs. TV


The Blacklist - It's on a hiatus as I write this, but it ended in it's fall half of the season, in December, with a bang. Thing's are all screwed up now with Raymond on the run again and the FBI not knowing where he is. I keep wondering how long it will take them to pull the plug and just flat out say that Ray is Lizzy's father.

American Horror Story: Coven - Just caught the final two episodes before the winter break and I have to say, I'm not enjoying this nearly as much as I enjoyed Season 1 (Murder House). Maybe it's because I watched Murder House during a weekend, where I binge watched it in about 48 hours or so and with Coven, I'm having to wait week to week, but it's not doing much for me. I don't HATE it or anything, but it's disappointing. I will, however, finish the season.

Hostages - On winter break. I like it, but honestly, it's already run it's course and I won't be sad to see it go.

Also watching The Big Bang Theory, The Millers, Mom, Family Guy, American Dad on a regular basis. Mom has just become something I'm watching just because my wife is, but it's just okay. I continue to LOVE The Big Bang Theory and American Dad. In fact, I just caught the latest three episodes of American Dad and loved them all. The little montage of Stan dressing up as a woman to catch the person making fake ID's, meeting a boy and having a romantic night with him, accompanied by Fun's "We Are Young" was GOLD!

With all that being said, the two shows that are running my life right now are:

1) Untold Stories of the E.R. - Love, love, love this show and it's become something that me and my wife will DVR multiple episodes of and then just watch them anytime we have forty minutes or so to kill. If you have access to this show, check it out. Very interesting stuff.


2) The Twilight Zone - And I'm talking about the original 1959 version of the show. This show has been a favorite of mine ever since my brother introduced me to it when I was a teenager, but I never got around to getting the season sets. However, Christmas changed all that as my lovely wife got me the entire series on DVD. Let's do a quick run down of all the episodes I've watched so far:

a) Where Is Everybody? - Great opener to the series and something that set the tone for what the series would be about and that it would incorporate "never saw it coming" endings. This episode tells of a man wandering into a town and finding that he's the only person there.

b) One for the Angels - I love Murray Hamilton, who plays Death in this episode, but this one was kind of a stinker. More sweet, than scary, suspenseful or exciting. In this episode, Death comes calling for an aging salesman.

c) Mr. Denton on Doomsday - This is a Western episode of the Zone, with Dan Duryea (Silver Lode, Winchester '73) playing the town drunk and former "fastest gun in the West", who accidentally killed a kid and turned to the bottle. He is given a new lease on life when fate steps in, in the form of traveling salesman, Henry J. Fate.

d) The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine - Probably the worst episode I've seen so far stars Ida Lupino (The Bigamist) as an aging movie star (think Sunset Boulevard), who still lives in the past, by watching her old movies over and over. Silly ending, which I won't ruin here.

e) Walking Distance - I'd heard a lot of good things about this episode (apparently Time named it the ninth greatest episode of all-time), but I was a little disappointed. It was good though, I guess. In it, a man stops for gas and notices a sign pointing to the nearby town of Homewood, where he grew up as a child. It's only "walking distance" so he decides to give it a visit, while the mechanic checks out his car and finds that the town hasn't all.

f) Escape Clause - Silly episode, but I liked it well enough. David Wayne and Thomas Gomez were both great as the principal actors and it even had a (sort of) twist ending that worked for me. The episode tells of a hypochondriac man who is visited by the Devil and offered the chance to live forever. Soon he realizes that immortality may be worse than mortality.

g) The Lonely - One of my fav's from the first few eps. that I've watched. This one stars Jack Warden as a prisoner being held in solitary confinement on an asteroid. He is visited every three months by a team of men, who bring him the supplies that he needs to survive, but all he really wants is companionship. Therefore, the captain of the three man team takes it upon himself to bring the prisoner a robot woman (who looks just like a real woman). The first stand out episode, if you ask me. I loved this one.

h) Time Enough at Last - The very popular episode (Time's #1 episode) starring Burgess Meredith as a bookworm, bank teller who just can't find the time to do a little reading. When an H-bomb is dropped, wiping out everyone and everything, except the bookworm, will the man finally find time to read? It is a great episode, but it's one that I've seen so many times it just doesn't have as much impact anymore.

i) Perchance to Dream - Another episode that you never really hear about, which I loved. All I'll say is that it's (sort of) a precursor to "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and I have to wonder if Craven was influenced at all by this episode.

j) Judgment Night - Another bad episode, in my opinion. Nehemiah Persoff was really good as the lead, but I just couldn't get into this one. A man finds himself on a ship, barely able to remember his name or where he's come from. After a while, the ship falls under attack by an approaching submarine.

k) And When The Sky Was Opened - Another one that I really liked, despite having never seen it before and never hearing about it. A group of three men return home from a space mission gone wrong. During the mission the spaceship goes off the grid for a while and then reappears, making a crash landing.

There you are, quick thoughts on the first eleven episodes of the series. I'm gonna keep watching them and if I can find the time, I'll try to recap every episode here in the monthly recaps.



**All lists are in no particular order**  **Includes NON-1001 films**

TOP 10 Discoveries of 2013:
1. Le Trou (1959)
2. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
3. There Will Be Blood (2007)
4. Apocalypto (2006)
5. Smoke (1995)
6. Amour (2012)
7. The Collector (1965)
8. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
9. Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
10) Catfish (2010)

TOP 10 Re-Discoveries of 2013:
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. Misery (1990)
3. Buffalo 66 (1998)
4. The Apartment (1960)
5. Trainspotting (1996)
6. The Wrestler (2008)
7. Blue Velvet (1986)
8. Taxi Driver (1976)
9. Raging Bull (1980)
10. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

TOP 10 Disappointments of 2013:
1. True Grit (2010)
2. Double Indemnity (1944)
3. Angel Face (1952)
4. Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
6. Ariel (1988)
7. Shine (1996)
8. Day of the Dead (1985)
9. Three Colors: Red (1994)
10. The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

TOP 5 Actors That Grabbed My Attention in 2013:
1. James Mason
2. Tony Leung
3. Henry Gibson
4. George Sanders
5. Rex Harrison

TOP 5 Actresses That Grabbed My Attention in 2013:
1. Toni Collette
2. Maggie Cheung
3. Penelope Cruz
4. Juliette Binoche
5. Emmanuelle Riva

TOP 5 Directors That Grabbed My Attention in 2013:
1. Pedro Almodovar
2. Wong Kar-Wai
3. Martin Scorsese
4. Robert Altman
5. Krzysztof Kieslowski

Well that about wraps it up for this month and the year 2013. Now we move into 2014 and if I had to guess, I'd say that I'd be back here, rattling off the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" list sometime in February. Which means that by March, another TOP 20 list should be ready for your eyes. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the Twilight Zone recaps and all the lists. Happy New Year!

January 3, 2014  11:32am


  1. Good morning Andrew..
    Good to see you still posting.
    I'm afraid just about all those TV shows I've not heard of, so no comment. I do enjoy the occasional 'Big Bang Theory', but on one of those channels that just shove them out haphazardly, so I lose any chronology. I have sort of cooled off on Family Guy - and not just in protest against Brian's death (even if he will come back). You commented you were a little surprised I liked it. I do find Peter Too much of an irritating idiot at times.

    Sad to see some of the films in your 'dissapointed with' list.. Double Indemnity, and Angel face I probably said at the time i think are great.. DI especially, I'd have that in a top list.

    Last year at Marianbad I can fully understand people not liking. I don't really know why I like that one so much.. I've always felt some affinity for it, despite not knowing what the heck was going on.

    I feel delighted that 'The Collector' has made it to the discovery after I strongly seconded it as a recommendation. I think you took some persuading.. but (was it William who first raised it??) we got you to try it! I see 'raise the red lantern' made it to that list as well.. despite a run of otherwise dissapointing Chinese / Hong Kong / Taiwan films.

    1. Maybe disappointed is too harsh a word...All I mean by disappointing as that they weren't as good as I expected or wanted them to be. I still really enjoyed Double Indemnity, but I expected it to be an easy '10' and a shoo in for that particular TOP 20 list and it wasn't. Others, like "Angel Face", I didn't really enjoy, when I fully expected to.

      It's a shame you can't really follow "The Big Bang Theory" as it's easily my favorite comedy going today and is head & shoulders funnier than any other comedies that I've seen. Still, at least you get some here and there episodes, so that's good.


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