New Year’s Blogging

  • Book Reviews – I’ve been able to post one book review a week and that seems like a good pace to keep
  • Movie Reviews –  The past three years I’ve been working on a lot of movie projects, averaging about 5 movies per week! So I’m going to scale it back a bit. But, I still have a couple of projects:
    • 90 Movies in 90 Days – I’m going to kick off the year watching and reviewing a movie every day for the first three months of 2023.  All the movies will be 90 minutes or less, naturally.
    • 50 Movies, 50 Years – I will be turning 50-years-old this year, so I’m going to watch one movie for each year from 1973 to 2022.  The only requirement is that is a movie I haven’t reviewed before.  Recommendations welcome!
  • Music Reviews – I did pretty well at writing a review for a new Album of the Week each week in 2022, but I don’t think I had time to do justice to them (or even listen to them again, in some cases).  So I’m going to nix Album of the Week this year.
    • Song of the Week – I will continue posting one song per week for 2023.
    • Album of the Month – I’ll still post reviews of 1 to 3 albums per month from February to November, with special highlight posts of albums I missed in June and December.
    • 50 Albums, 50 Years – Just like my movie project, I will review one album per year from 1973 to 2022 that I haven’t previously reviewed.  Recommendations appreciated!
  • Creative Writing – Something I’ve been wanting to do on this blog is to experiment more with fiction writing.  I know there are a lot of Flash Fiction challenges around so I’m going to try to start with some of those.

Some other projects for 2023 will include the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge in April, a major Music Discovery, and an ongoing TV series review.  So hopefully it will be a good year of blogging!

Sweet Sixteen

Panorama of the Mountains was born on December 4, 2006, which means I’ve been blogging for 16 years!  Crazily enough, that is close to a third of my life!  How did that happen?  Aren’t blogs and the internet still new things?

Welp, I guess I’ll see if I can make it to 17. If you feel moved to write something you like about my blog, please let me know in the comments.


TV Draft

The past month I’ve been participating in a TV Draft.  It sounds complicated but it’s basically just a bunch of bloggers taking turns writing up a description of their favorite TV series.  Take a look at the complete list and see a wide variety of great shows!

I wrote about four different shows as part of this project:

Thanks to Max at the PowerPop blog for hosting the TV Draft and for Lisa at Tao Talk for inviting me to participate.

Midway through the A-to-Z! #atozchallenge

In my 7th year of the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge, I think I’ve finally figured out how to do this right. This is the first time I had all my A-to-Z posts written and scheduled before April 1st!  I also have been doing better to hop to the blogs of other A-to-Z participants to leave comments.  I made a goal of visiting 5 new blogs every day, so as of today I’ve commented at least once on 75 different blogs.

But enough about me!  Here are some A-to-Z blogs I’m reading and enjoying that you should check out.

My Favorite A-to-Z Blogs Thus Far:

My Blogging A-to-Z Posts So Far:

Previous A to Z Challenges

Classic Movie Project II Progress Report

16 months ago I introduced a project to watch and review every movie on three lists of greatest films ever: AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies (2007), The Sight & Sound Greatest Films of All-Time (2012), and Cahiers du Cinéma Greatest Films of All Time (2008). I’d to complete this project before the end of 2021, but here is where I stand:

So, I have just three movies to watch and review.  But they are three doozies!

  • La Maman et la Putain (#23 on Cahiers du Cinéma and #61 on Sight and Sound) – a 3 hour 40 minute film not available to stream or rent online and also not on DVD at any local libraries.  It is on YouTube, but I’m hoping to find a better source to watch it.
  • Histoire(s) du Cinéma (#49 on Sight and Sound) – an 8-part film project of Jean-Luc Godard’s that totals up to 4 hours, 26 minutes.
  • Shoah (#30 on Sight and Sound) – a 9 hour 20 minute documentary about the Holocaust.

I suspect that I will get to these early on in 2021, but effectively I will no longer be posting weekly Classic Movie Reviews on this blog.

AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies List (2007 Edition)

I have officially watched and reviewed every movie on the AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies List (2007 Edition)!  Here are the movies with my links to the reviews.

1 Citizen Kane 1941 *****
2 The Godfather 1972 ****
3 Casablanca 1942 *****
4 Raging Bull 1980 ***
5 Singin’ in the Rain 1952 ****
6 Gone with the Wind 1939 ***
7 Lawrence of Arabia 1962 ****
8 Schindler’s List 1993 ****
9 Vertigo 1958 ****
10 The Wizard of Oz 1939 *****
11 City Lights 1931 ****
12 The Searchers 1956 **
13 Star Wars 1977 ****1/2
14 Psycho 1960 ****
15 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 *****
16 Sunset Boulevard 1950 *****
17 The Graduate 1967 ***
18 The General 1926 ***
19 On the Waterfront 1954 ****1/2
20 It’s a Wonderful Life 1946 *****
21 Chinatown 1974 ***
22 Some Like It Hot 1959 ****
23 The Grapes of Wrath 1940 ****1/2
24 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982 ****
25 To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 ***1/2
26 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939 ****1/2
27 High Noon 1952 ****
28 All About Eve 1950 ****
29 Double Indemnity 1944 ****
30 Apocalypse Now 1979 ****
31 The Maltese Falcon 1941 ****1/2
32 The Godfather Part II 1974 ***
33 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 1975 ****1/2
34 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937 ****1/2
35 Annie Hall 1977
36 The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957 ****1/2
37 The Best Years of Our Lives 1946 *****
38 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948 ****1/2
39 Dr. Strangelove 1964 *****
40 The Sound of Music 1965 ****1/2
41 King Kong 1933 ****
42 Bonnie and Clyde 1967 ***
43 Midnight Cowboy 1969 ***
44 The Philadelphia Story 1940 ****
45 Shane 1953 ***1/2
46 It Happened One Night 1934 ****
47 A Streetcar Named Desire 1951 ****
48 Rear Window 1954 ****1/2
49 Intolerance 1916 **
50 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001 ****1/2
51 West Side Story 1961 ****
52 Taxi Driver 1976 ***
53 The Deer Hunter 1978 **
54 M*A*S*H 1970 **
55 North by Northwest 1959 ***
56 Jaws 1975 *****
57 Rocky 1976 ****
58 The Gold Rush 1925 ***
59 Nashville 1975 ****
60 Duck Soup 1933 *****
61 Sullivan’s Travels 1941 ****
62 American Graffiti 1973 ***1/2
63 Cabaret 1972 ***1/2
64 Network 1976 ****
65 The African Queen 1951 ****1/2
66 Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 *****
67 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966 ****
68 Unforgiven 1992 ***1/2
69 Tootsie 1982 ***
70 A Clockwork Orange 1971 ***
71 Saving Private Ryan 1998 ***1/2
72 The Shawshank Redemption 1994 ****
73 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969 ***1/2
74 The Silence of the Lambs 1991 **1/2
75 In the Heat of the Night 1967 ****
76 Forrest Gump 1994 ***1/2
77 All the President’s Men 1976 ****
78 Modern Times 1936 *****
79 The Wild Bunch 1969 ***
80 The Apartment 1960 ****
81 Spartacus 1960 ***1/2
82 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans 1927 ***
83 Titanic 1997 ***1/2
84 Easy Rider 1969 ***1/2
85 A Night at the Opera 1935 *****
86 Platoon 1986 ***
87 12 Angry Men 1957 ****
88 Bringing Up Baby 1938 *****
89 The Sixth Sense 1999 ***
90 Swing Time 1936 **1/2
91 Sophie’s Choice 1982 ****
92 Goodfellas 1990 ***1/2
93 The French Connection 1971 ***1/2
94 Pulp Fiction 1994 ***1/2
95 The Last Picture Show 1971 ****
96 Do the Right Thing 1989 *****
97 Blade Runner 1982 ***1/2
98 Yankee Doodle Dandy 1942 ***1/2
99 Toy Story 1995 *****
100 Ben-Hur 1959 ***1/2

Hamilton and other theatrical productions I have seen

On Thursday night, I took my daughter to see Hamilton at the Providence Performing Arts Center (there’s a nice review from The Providence Journal). We’d watched the filmed version of Hamilton on Disney+ and listened to the cast recording countless times but this was the first time we attended a live performance.  It was nice to get the wide view from the First Dress Circle where we could see the intricate choreography of the ensemble cast.  I was also impressed with the lighting design.  And it was interesting to see the different takes the actors had on the characters from the original cast.  Not related to the show, the Providence Performing Arts Center is a lovely theater although a bit short on leg room.

Anyhow, it got be thinking of what other theatrical productions I’d seen in my life.  So I brainstormed a list with the help of some old ticket stubs I’ve collected.


  • Annie (early 1980s) at the Alvin Theatre – I remember getting autographs from the young cast members outside the theater although those weren’t saved. Sarah Jessica Parker might’ve been in the cast at the time.
  • Barnum (early 1980s) at the St. James Theatre – A musical about the life of P.T. Barnum long before The Greatest Showman. I remember being impressed by a woman purportedly supposed to be George Washington’s nurse singing a bluesy tune.  Also, jugglers and acrobats performed in the audience before the show.
  • Peter Pan (early 1980s) – A revival of the 1954 musical starring Sandy Duncan.  She flew out over the audience at the end of the show.
  • Lost in Yonkers (December 29, 1992) at Richard Rogers Theatre – A nostalgic comedy-drama by Neil Simon. Didi Conn played the main role replacing Mercedes Ruehl, much to the disgruntlement of my sister.
  • Jelly Roll (January 10, 1995) at 47th Street Theatre – A biographical musical about jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton.  I remember that it was performed by the second cast much to the disgruntlement of the guy behind me.
  • A Funny Thing Happened on Way to the Forum (March 19, 1997) at St. James Theatre – Whoopi Goldberg starred in the lead role that previously had been reserved for a man.
  • Once Upon a Mattress (March 19, 1997) at Broadhurst Theater -Sarah Jessica Parker was definitely in this show.
  • The Lion King (January 22, 2000) at New Amsterdam Theatre – Some friends convinced me to get SRO tickets for this show although I was resistant to Disney musicals at that point in my life.  I ended up liking it.
  • Monty Python’s Spamalot (November 19, 2005) at Shubert Theatre – As a long time fan of Monty Python and Tim Curry, I was eager to so this show and was severely disappointed.  Maybe because the cast felt like they were phoning it in the whole time?


  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (early 1980s) at Radio City Music Hall – This production was made long before Disney movies were routinely adapted into Broadway musicals.  My dad took us to this show because he felt we needed to see something at the great Radio City Music Hall.
  • The Fantasticks (January 1995) at Sullivan Street Playhouse – Saw world’s longest-running musical when it was in the 35th year of its 42-year run. It was great.

West End

  • The Mousetrap (February 28, 1998) at St Martin’s Theatre – Since I’d seen the world’s longest-running musical in New York I had to see the world’s longest-running play of any kind in London.  This is a famous Agatha Christie murder mystery.
  • An Inspector Calls (February 28, 1998) at the Royal Theatre  – The second show I saw on the same night that featured people impersonating police officers.  This one was a satire of Edwardian society.

Touring Productions

  • Les Miserables (August 2, 1990) at National Theatre – The summer I went to a high school program at Georgetown University, I learned that big, bold, Broadway musicals are good actually.
  • 42nd Street (February 7, 1993) at Chrysler Hall – Part of a series of shows my Mom and I went to see when I was in college.
  • Last of the Red Hot Lovers (May 9, 1993) at Chrysler Hall – This production starred Don Knotts and Barbara Eden!
  • Camelot (October 24, 1993) at Chrysler Hall – I’ve loved Camelot since watching the filmed version of the 1982 revival so I was eager to see a live performance. Robert Goulet, who played Lancelot in the original production, starred is King Arthur.  This was a bit of a waste of his big voice since Arthur’s part was written for a lesser singer, but it was still fun and inspiring.
  • Rent (August 26, 1997) at National Theatre – The musical that brought a 1990s sensibility to Broadway.  I saw this with some friends in Washington and then listened to the cast recording for the next year.

Repertory, Community, and College Theaters, etc. 

  • Fiddler on the Roof (late 1980s) – My childhood parish had a community theater called the St. Catherine Players, although the performers weren’t generally members of the congregation.  Anyhow, I first saw this terrific musical about Jewish people in Russia in the basement of a Roman Catholic church.
  • Broadway Bound (August 1990) at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse – This is the third in a trilogy of Neil Simon’s plays after Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues (which I only saw as movies).
  • Antigone (August 1990) at Tisbury Amphitheater – This was a modernized take of the Sophocles’ play performed in a lovely wooded setting on Martha’s Vineyard.
  • All the King’s Men (Autumn 1991) at William and Mary Theatre – Robert Penn Warren’s fictionalized story of Huey Long was set to music by Randy Newman.
  • Once Upon a Mattress (October 16, 1992) at William and Mary Theatre – I saw this on a bad date.
  • Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat at Matthew Whaley School – Sometime, I some group perform this at a public school in Williamsburg.  It was good, I recall.
  • Godspell (April 1993) at St. Bede’s Catholic Church Parish Hall – The Catholic/Episcopal Covenant Players performed this at William & Mary.
  • Night Sky (November 19, 1993) at William and Mary Theatre – A play in which the protagonist suffers from aphasia after an accident.  This was part of a much better date to celebrate my birthday.
  • Working (April 1994?) at The Fellowship Hall at the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church – Another Covenant Players production of a musical by Studs Terkel.
  • Into the Woods (January 20, 1994) at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall – The Sinfonicron Light Opera Company performed this Stephen Sondheim musical.  I remember feeling it was mean-spirited and feeling very depressed after watching it.  I’d probably like it better if I was in a better mind.
  • Helene (April 14, 1995) at William and Mary Theatre – I know this has something to do with Greek mythology, but I have no recollection what it was about.
  • Junebug/Jack (September 9, 1995) at The Arts Center Theatre – Another show I don’t clearly remember but it looks like something I would like.
  • Jim Crow Gotta Go (April 13, 1996) at William and Mary Theatre – I think that this was a touring production based on oral history experiences of people in a Southern town during the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Walk Together Children (1996) – This was a production that took its inspiration from Jim Crow Gotta Go to specifically focus on the stories of people in Williamsburg.  My good friend and housemate worked on producing this show.
  • Crazy For You (October 17, 1997) at William and Mary Theatre – A romantic comedy musical with Gershwin brothers songs that I thought was funnier than my date did.  But it was still a good date.
  • Angels in America: Part One (April 18, 1998) at William and Mary Theatre – A production of Tony Kushner’s groundbreaking drama about the AIDS crisis in the gay community was still controversial in Williamsburg 23 years ago
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (May 11, 2000) at Turtle Lane Playhouse – The main thing I remember about this production is that they made Mary Magdalene look like Monica Lewinski.
  • Blue Man Group – “Tubes” (September 8, 2000) at The Charles Playhouse – Got to see this show free-of-charge for participants of the Boston -> New York AIDSRide.  A Blue Man spat a piece of chewed-up Toblerone in my hand.  It was gross.
  • Miss Folk America (May 19, 2001) at Somerville Theatre – A comedy about the Boston area folk scene starring some of our favorite singer/songwriters at the time as fictional versions of themselves.  Extremely niche.
  • Nixon’s Nixon (March 2002) at Huntington Theatre – I volunteered as an usher and got to watch this comic drama of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger on the last night of Nixon’s presidency.
  • Blithe Spirit (February 19, 2004) at Walpole Footlighters – A colleague of Susan’s was involved in this production of the Noël Coward comedy.
  • The Birthday Party  (March 2004) at American Repertory Theatre – A very strange and very uncomfortable Harold Pinter play with the set’s furniture slowly being pushed into the center of the stage.
  • The Sweetest Swing in Baseball (2006?) at Cyclorama – A woman artist adopts the persona of Darryl Strawberry and becomes a success painting pictures of chickens.  Surprisingly it works.
  • Pippin (September 21, 2018) at Footlight Club -I’d long loved the music from this show but it wasn’t quite expected.
  • The Haunted Life (March 23, 2019) at Merrimack Repertory Theatre – An adaptation of a autobiographical Jack Kerouac novel about growing up in Lowell.


  • Macbeth (Summer 1992) at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall – This was part of the Virginia Shakespeare Festival.  The star of the show also taught a theater course I took at William & Mary that summer.
  • Twelfth Night (February 25, 1993) at William and Mary Theatre – I played Sir Toby Belch in a high school production of Twelfth Night, so I love this comedy, but I don’t remember this William & Mary production at all.
  • Richard III (July 22, 1995) at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall – Another Virginia Shakespeare Festival production.
  • Measure for Measure (July 28, 1998) at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall – The main thing I remember about this Virginia Shakespeare Festival production is that they emphasized style over substance and I really hated it.  Also, music by the Gipsy Kings.
  • Twelfth Night (Summer 2001) at Boston Common – The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of Shakespeare on the Common set Twelfth Night in the early-60s JFK/Camelot era.
  • Macbeth (2003) at Boston Common – Another Commonwealth Shakespeare Company production that moved the Scottish tragedy to Juan Perón’s Argentina.  Memorably, the three witches remained on stage for the entire show, pulling strings in the background.
  • Hamlet (2005) at Boston Common – In this production, the Danish prince had a swimming pool, I think?

Opera, Light Opera, Ballet, etc.

  • Romeo and Juliet (October 20, 1991) at Chrysler Hall – This was the first ballet I ever saw performed by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  However, the main thing I remember about this performance is that my sister mistook a Navy officer in his dress uniform for an usher.  Welcome to Norfolk!
  • Patience (January 19, 1995) at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall – Another Sinfonicron Light Opera Company performance.  This made me realize that I really don’t like Gilbert & Sullivan
  • La Boheme (January 21, 1997) at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall – Having seen Rent, I saw the original with my Mom. Mimi has a strong voice for someone with consumption.
  • The Magic Flute (1997?) at Harrison Opera House – My first opera, also in Norfolk.
  • The Nutcracker (December 30, 2005) at The Opera House – Amazingly, I’ve only seen this ballet once, performed by Boston Ballet.  Maybe next Christmas?
  • Semele (September 28, 2006) at New York State Theatre – This was an adaptation of an oratorio by Handel that made the main character in Marilyn Monroe.
  • Urban Nutcracker (December 16, 2006) at John Hancock Hall – Another Christmas classic I need to see again.
  • Madama Butterfly (April 22, 2007) at New York State Theatre – A treat from my mother that I saw with Susan in the last months before we became parents.
  • Così fan tutte (March 24, 2018) at Metropolitan Opera House – My first show at the Met set the Mozart opera in a Coney Island-style beach resort. Broadway star Kelli O’Hara made a nice transition to opera.

I’ll add more if I remember them.

At last, a 4,391st post!

On December 4, 2006, I posted for the first time on Panorama of the Mountains.  Blogs were a relatively new things at the time although perhaps already on the way to being old hat.  I thought it would be fun to write online regularly about – something – and fifteen years later I still haven’t found a theme.  These days I mostly post movie reviews, but I’m sure in the future it will be something else.  And that’s fine.  Not too many people read this blog and only a very few comment on it, for which I’m always appreciative.  Mostly though, this blog has always been an outlet for writing about what I’m thinking about, and a good resource to look back at when I’m trying to remember how I was thinking about something back then.  So, I’ve been blogging for 15 years, which is close to being a third of my life so far, and it looks like I will continue blogging for some time to come.


A Favorite Movie For Every Year I’ve Been Alive (Part III)

A Favorite Movie For Every Year I’ve Been Alive (Part I) brought you from the year of my birth to 1988,  A Favorite Movie For Every Year I’ve Been Alive (Part II) covered 1989 to 2004, and today I am going to bring it up to the present day.

2005. 49 Up

I should note that I love the entire Up Series, but 2005 was the year that I binged Seven Up to 42 Up on DVD and then went to see 49 Up in in the cinema.

Honorable mentions:

2006. Pan’s Labyrinth

Honorable mentions:

2007. Chop Shop

2008. My Winnipeg

Honorable mentions:


2009. The Secret of Kells

Honorable mentions:

2010. Toy Story 3

Honorable mentions:

2011. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

2012. Brave

Honorable mention:

2013. 12 Years a Slave

Honorable mentions:

2014. Virunga

Honorable mentions:

2015. The Big Short

Honorable mentions:

2016. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Honorable mentions:

2016. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Honorable Mentions:

2018. Eighth Grade

2019. The Farewell

Honorable mentions:

2020. Wolfwalkers

Honorable mentions:

2021 (so far). In the Heights

Honorable mentions:

  • Minari
  • Raya and the Last Dragon


Thoughts on doing this project:

  • some years have far better movies than others. I think some of my favorite movies of the year might not make it to honorable mentions in other years.
  • there are still a lot of movies I haven’t seen that may make this list in the future.
  • revisiting old movies might make me reevaluate whether they still belong on this list or if they were unfairly excluded.
  • but this is a little snapshot of my favorite movie from each year I’ve been alive as of the summer of 2021!

A Favorite Movie For Every Year I’ve Been Alive (Part II)

A Favorite Movie For Every Year I’ve Been Alive (Part I) brought you from the year of my birth to 1988.  Today we’ll continue with another 16 years of my favorite movies.

1989. Do the Right Thing

Honorable mentions:

1990. Paris Is Burning

Honorable mentions:

1991. Delicatessen

Honorable mentions:

1992. The Crying Game

Honorable mentions:

1993. Tales of the City

Honorable mentions:

1994. The Lion King

Honorable mentions:

1995. Toy Story

Honorable mentions:

1996. When We Were Kings

Honorable mentions:

  • Fargo
  • Trainspotting

1997. Good Will Hunting

1998. Next Stop Wonderland

Honorable mentions:

1999. Genghis Blues

Honorable mentions:

  • Beau Travail
  • 42 Up
  • Being John Malkovich
  • Outside Providence

2000. Best in Show

Honorable mentions:

2001. Donnie Darko

Honorable mentions:

2002. Lilo & Stitch

Honorable mentions:

  • Amelie
  • Bloody Sunday
  • Gigantic (A Tale Of Two Johns)
  • Lost in La Mancha

2003. Finding Nemo

Honorable mentions:

2004. Mean Girls

Honorable mentions:

Stay tuned for the third and final part.  Well, hopefully not final.  Just bringing it up to the present year.

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