Archive for January 1st, 2008

2007 Year in Review: Memorable Events

Back in 1996, I decided to make a list of the most memorable events of my life for the year. I came up with exactly 20 events and ever since then it’s been my annual exercise to recall the 20 memorable events of the year on New Years Day. Similar to Time magazine’s Person of the Year Award, “memorable” does not indicate a quality of good or bad, just significant moments in my life.

This year was a big one. Most prominent of course is the pregnancy and planning, birth, and the daily joy of our baby boy Peter who was born on November 1st. Also in the life-changing categories this year was our move from renting in Somerville to owning a condo in Jamaica Plain, another year-long process culminating in our move in late September.

The remaining 18 events pale in comparison, but are worth remembering anyhow. They are listed below in chronological order:

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Weekend in New York
  2. Participating in a side table for labor-management negotiations at the university
  3. Volunteering regularly at Haley House and Prison Book Program
  4. Palm Sunday retreat at Glastonbury Abbey
  5. Another Weekend in New York
  6. Jamestown 2007: America’s 400th Anniversary
  7. Revels pub sing at Doyles in Jamaica Plain where we meet some interesting people
  8. Pigeons lay eggs and raise squab on our porch
  9. I participate in a Summer Slimdown exercise program
  10. The ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC: reports from Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday
  11. Our Independence Day walk along the length of Washington Street
  12. Meeting our nephew Bailey for the first time
  13. Baseball travel to Southern California: San Diego and Los Angeles
  14. Our long weekend on Mount Desert Island
  15. Craig’s Rarely Annual Improv Party
  16. The Mets season comes to a calamitous finish
  17. The Jamaica Plain Historical Society tour of Forest Hills Cemetery
  18. I write this blog for a whole year and then some

Well, we can only hope that 2008 can be as fun and interesting (although no new babies or moving for now). :)

2007 Year in Review: Movies

Since I’ve been reviewing movies on Panorama of the Mountains all year, this is the first chance I’ve had to look back and make a list of all the movies I’ve seen in one year. In addition to listing and linking to the reviews I’ve also rated them on a five star system. Five stars in all-time classic, three stars is the baseline for an enjoyable film end-to-end, one star is a bad movie with perhaps one good sequence or performance. A film with no stars has no redeeming characteristics at all.

*** The Case of the Grinning Cat
*** The Departed
*** Mad Hot Ballroom
** Disappearances
*** The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
* Thank You For Smoking
**** Gimme Shelter
* Running With Scissors
*** Sideways
**** The Twelfth Annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival!
*** The Ladykillers
** Lost Horizon
** Garden State
**** El laberinto del fauno
***** Dark Days
**** The Wind That Shakes the Barley
**** Cane Toads: An Unnatural History
*** March of the Penguins
* The New World
**** The Mission
*** The Hollywood Librarian
*** Swingers
*** Brand Upon the Brain!
*** Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
*** Broken English
**** Punk’s Not Dead
** This Sporting Life
**A Man Called Horse
**** The Field
***** Wattstax
*** Sweet Land: A Love Story
*** The Simpsons Movie
**** Adaptation
*** Casino Royale
***** The Right Stuff
**** You Can’t Take it With You
*** His Girl Friday
*****Bringing Up Baby
***** Arsenic and Old Lace
* Mr. Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse
* The Brothers Grimm
**** loudQUIETloud: a film about the Pixies
** Barry Lyndon
*** The Nightmare Before Christmas
**** Children of Men
**** The Saddest Music in the World
*** The Longest Day
***** The Triplets of Belleville
*** The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Movie Review: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) tells a familiar story. A young man and woman, auto mechanic Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) and Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve) who works in an umbrella shop, fall madly in love. Guy is drafted into the army and Geneviève discovers she’s pregnant. In Guy’s absence, Geneviève is slowly convinced by her mother (Anne Vernon) to accept the marriage proposal of a wealthy jeweler (Marc Michel). Guy returns and lives a shiftless life of despair until finding love with his late aunt’s caretaker Madeliene (Ellen Farner). What sets this film apart is that all the dialog is sung in a operatic style and set among the gorgeous Technicolor of Cherbourg. While things get a bit corny at times, the film’s conclusion is surprisingly moving.

A fun game to play during the movie is to count how many umbrellas and sailors appear on the screen.  Cherbourg appears to be full of sailors and umbrellas (and sometimes sailors with umbrellas).  If only Guy had joined the Navy instead of the Army, this story may have ended differently.

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