procrastinator’s picks – must see movies of 2016

And after a little extra delay, without further ado…

  1. Moonlight – So everyone has heard of this one by now and yes it’s good, the three sections combine to tell the story of a boy to man poignantly dealing with themes of identity, sexuality, race…
  2. Manchester by the Sea – Yep it’s a bummer and yep it’s worth watching, following Casey Affleck’s broken character as he returns home to care for his nephew.
  3. 20th Century Women – This one gets my coming of age vote for this year as Annette Bening turns to those around her to help raise her son, with a nice vibe set in ’79.
  4. Deadpool – I most enjoy Marvel when it’s good story, good action, and a good dose of humor and this one does just that, leaning heavy into the humor category, fun.
  5. Hell or High Water – Getting to know the bank robber brothers and the lawmen who follow them as things go down a path that they can’t return from, it’s hard to pick someone to root against.
  6. Hunt for the Wilderpeople – I wasn’t sure what I was getting into on this odd New Zealand boy and his foster father on the run from the law in the wilderness is oddly fun and touching.
  7. La La Land – I have noted this as the most overrated film of 2016, and while I was truly put off by the casting of non song and dance peeps in the leads, as well as a few other things, this still made an enjoyable escape via homage to musicals, though something like Sing Street was almost more fun.
  8. The Nice Guys – This buddy crime thriller flick has enough heart and humor to make the ride with Gosling and Crowe on their continued failures as they try to solve the crime that is of course more complicated without killing themselves or each other a bunch of fun.
  9. Arrival – As long as I don’t think too much about the plot of this film, I really appreciate the film-making and the slant on communication and humanity through a slightly new take on alien invasion (though yes big on aliens), it kept me engaged and intrigued.
  10. Nocturnal Animals – Ok I just watched this so that might be swaying me but I feel like this movie would be worth watching just for the visuals alone, though Ford also did a nice job weaving together the present ‘success,’ the naive past, with the fictional noir.

Order as always might be someone subjective and I have missed a few of the more talked about films this year (Lion, Fences, Hidden Figures, Paterson…) so no telling is those would make my personal list. For a gander at what other films critics are talking about check out Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes.

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procrastinator’s picks – top tv of 2016

So I’m still lacking or behind in a couple of networks so all things Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Hulu (other random ‘networks’ I don’t get) will be absent…

  • Atlanta/Better Things/You’re the Worst (Fx) – So apparently Fx can dominate comedies as well as dramas, though each of these shows brings beyond the standard sitcom, Atlanta (with Donald Glover making his mark) has probably gotten the most buzz with more irregularities that might bring higher highs but also a few lows, while Better Things sweet and slightly odd (as befits Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K.) is the one I was most anxious to keep watching; and while this season didn’t quite match last season’s amazing arc YTW still stands out for some perfectly terrible character mess.
  • Sweet/Vicious (MTV) – Don’t let the network cause you to prematurely dismiss this, this college vigilante team has a great mix of drama and humor and ass kicking, though I’m constantly worried about our fair heroines.
  • Happy Valley (Net) – Of the various English crime shows I tuned into (Broadchurch, The Fall, River, etc.) this one stuck with me the most for having just a great new protagonist Sergeant Catherine Cawood who deals with personal and professional drama that makes this rural England setting anything but happy.
  • The Americans/Orphan Black (Fx/BBCA) – Still two of the more amazing things on tv with brilliant performances in very tense situations be it spy drama or clone drama it all gets much better than the genre by the very real characters.
  • BoJack Horseman (Net) – This show continues to drive our primary character deeper into depressive situations and he continues to fail in a way that for some reason bridges the not likable but still desperately want him to stop failing but also clearly not wanting that because I want the show to keep going, and yes this is an animated show about a world where people interact with animal people, just go with it, it allows for unique funny and things like the magical underwater episode.
  • The Good Place (NBC) – Networks can still occasionally compete and this new look at a surreal world of the afterlife which somehow seems to move just quickly enough to turn each of the things I was worried about (and it was renewed!).
  • The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (Fx) – In what turned out to be a year of OJ this show (which will be followed by future American Crime Stories 2: Katrina and 3: Versace) may have particularly resonated because of the reminiscence to what was clearly a strong cultural event but also for the unreal reality of the situation brought to light by some impressive performances.

And for a look at what the critics looked at a few compilations by Metacritic and Uproxx (formerly HitFix).


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procrastinator’s picks – best books of 2016

I keep saying I wanted to read more so this year when the opportunity arose I joined a new book club! I was a little hesitant about the commitment and a little hesitant about the book selection but all in all I rate the year a success. Below is the list of what we read this year, plus a couple of additional vacation selections, in order of reading.

  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty – This was a unique and amusingly satirical take on race that was well worth a read and a think, great fodder for my first book club attendance.
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James – Super long and super challenging with the multiple POV entailing lots of Jamaican dialect, and while I appreciated it more than I enjoyed this fictional look surrounding politics and days of Bob Marley for an interesting read.
  • Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem – I am typically a big Lethem fan but there was something about this book that just never quite engaged me with the look at multi-generational dissidents who were interesting if not endearing.
  • The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson – I’m going to label this my favorite book of last year, as we move with the titles character through his unbelievable journey through North Korea, as fantastical as his story is the very real research grounded it.
  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang – This surreal and poetic mix of three points of view in a tale of a woman taking a turn in her life starting with visions of food, fell more on the appreciation than enjoyment side of the fence.
  • The Girls by Emma Cline – We picked this one for something a little lighter, in readability though not subject matter, I was entertained by if not totally brought on board with the psychology and situation around at a young girl who falls in with a cult-ish group.
  • Boy Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi – Although very readable the loose riff on Snow White never quite hits trying to do a myriad of styles and stories feeling like it’s not quite covering too many bases.
  • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann – This had been sitting on my shelf for ages so jumped at the chance to get this in the rotation and pleasantly surprised as the weaving together of various people’s stories brings a greater appreciation for each as well as their place in the time and NYC.
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen – This book may have suffered in my opinion by the fact that it was the one I didn’t finish on time and therefore was relegated to finishing in dribs and drabs, but while the communist double agent protagonist kept me interested in his trips from early Vietnam to the US and back again and yet not totally engrossed.
  • Funny Girl by Nick Hornby – This was the first of my vacation books, I’m a big Hornby fan in general always readable and amusing if not always amazing, this one that was a look at an early English comedienne was definitely enjoyable.
  • The Pesthouse by Jim Crace – I started into the backlog after reading Being Dead and this was an interesting look at this peculiar slice of remote world and people thrown together but not my fave.
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – This was the talk of the town for a bit and though I was left a little less glowing of the simplistic character and slightly overly coincidental series of events in the end I was won over by Ove and the people who won him over.
  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith – I’m realizing that I’m actually up to date on Smith having gone back to the backlog after favorite On Beauty, and though for me nothing else has matched that I enjoyed this journey with our unnamed and somewhat distant protagonist as she journeys through family, friends, work, romance, and politics.

A little tardy with my end of year lists, I’m also taking a pass on doing the critic roundups. Trying to find any good compilations but you can find a full rundown of all the year-end lists (which is a little overwhelming to be honest) at Largehearted Boy. And stay tuned for tv and movie picks!

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procrastinator’s picks – must see movies of 2015

A friend of mine and I were talking recently and wondering whether tv had just gotten better or if movies had also gotten worse. When I heard a critic say that there were a bunch of second best movies this year but not a best movie I thought that sounded appropriate. I was supposed to do my best movies list last week (or the week before, or the week before that…) but I just kept trying to watch movies to see if I was missing anything. Well I’ve seen my final addition to the list so here goes, order as always is somewhat arbitrary:

  1. Room/The Big Short – Together I think these might make up my favorite movie, the first I caught early before I knew anything about it or what anyone had to say (which for me almost always helps) and the performances by these two actors in a story that went beyond what you normally see on a kidnapped life was so moving, but what it had in small film amazing it might have lacked in big pic spectacle which I thought Big Short had in spades, a great ensemble cast bringing a big American moment to the screen in a way that was suspenseful and quite funny as it educated us on the crappy credit/housing market and I always love weird Christian Bale.
  2. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – I’m a sucker for a well done small coming of age story and this poignant story won me over as we look at friendship, cancer, and movies.
  3. Spotlight – I’m not typically a huge fan of historical based films but this look at the specific time and the way the story was uncovered as well as the set of circumstances that held it back from surfacing earlier, with a cast that brought the intensity, drew me in.
  4. Sicario – Emily Blunt as the idealistic FBI agent getting in way over her head on a task force in the war on drugs was tension filled from start to finish, and not that I’d thought about it before but don’t mess with Benicio Del Toro.
  5. Ex Machina – Programmer Domhnall Gleeson gets the opportunity of a lifetime but he has no idea what he’s getting into but can you really believe what you see or hear when you’re talking to Artificial Intelligence, or its creator for that matter, captivating.
  6. Ant-Man – I generally enjoy the bringings from the Marvel universe as well as an origin story, and the comedic take lead by Paul Rudd in what was basically a sci fi heist flick of fun, who knew tiny ant powers could be so powerful.
  7. Carol – From the moment Rooney Mara sees Cate Blanchett we fell for her and watching them fall in love in a time and situation that aren’t going to allow it makes you want to follow them on their journey.
  8. The Martian – I was dreading seeing another Gravity but the tension on this was mixed with not only humor (and no this was not a comedy regardless of what the Golden Globes decided) and some space MacGyvering made Matt Damon pretty entertaining to watch.
  9. Anomalisa – This is a movie worth watching just because Charlie Kaufman doesn’t disappoint in creating yet another super odd flick and not just because it’s stop motion,

For a look at a bit of an overview of what I’ve seen about check out the critics’ list. What were your fave movies of the year?


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procrastinator picks – books of 2015

You’ll note that I didn’t say best books, turns out I am continuing my literary decline. I even cheated by including a couple of items started but not finished in 2015. But still a couple gems to be found, here’s what I read.

  • Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon – I’d note this as the best book that I read last year, a journey into the small world in the summer of 2004, I fell for this pair of music lovers and their extended family of far from perfect people, he never fails to create unique characters and balance great language with readable page turning stories.
  • The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever – I’ve been reading this book for a couple years now, a few stories between novels and although I might have appreciated a less 700 page ‘best of’ I was impressed by the breadth of pivots of stories within his clearly defined style.
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – This kept me engaged while we followed a personal family mystery, though maybe not as compelling as Sharp Objects or Gone Girl, also soon to be a major motion picture.
  • Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen – Another irregular Florida crime drama, though these still keep me entertained they’re not exactly ground breaking fiction.
  • A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante – How can the wives not be suspects when it turns out there is more than one current, the close stories of each wife and the young detective looking into them is more revealing than the actual mystery.
  • How It Ended by Jay McInerney – Another collection of short stories in a clearly defined style and subject matter I’m always a fan of his vibe though also best for me with some time between them.
  • Saturday by by Ian McEwan – I picked this book up years ago and just couldn’t get into it, but with a little more time I was able to let the small and large moments sweep me in as we spend a day with our main protagonist where things take some odd turns.
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – A poignant tale of a family revealing itself as we learn about the death of their daughter that starts the book, their own personal struggles looking at aspects of race and identity are both personal and universal.
  • Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill – I can barely remember this apparent tale of marriage as the disjointed sections failed to capture me with its language and story.

A good start to this year so we’ll see what happens. Always looking forward to best book recommendations, please let us know your picks in the comments.

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procrastinator picks – top tv of 2015

I tend to internally mock critics who say they can’t narrow it down to 10, but seriously too much out there, it’s impossible. I kept it to ten but I did cop out this year and put them in alphabetical order. My caveats as usual, these probably aren’t the best shows out but ones that I personally enjoyed, and I can’t completely rate on just an individual season. Also my usual clarification that I don’t get high end cable so those shows might be on my to do list but they won’t be here, plus shows that I’m behind on like Mad Men and Rectify (which I love).

  • The 100 (CW) – The dynamics amongst all the factions in this post-apocalyptic world have increased in quantity and in stakes and it’s moved beyond the pretty young things CW slant, though certainly maintained the pretty people.
  • The Americans (Fx) – Spy mom and dad and great spy wigs sure keep getting in and mostly out of fixes, and the relationships with others keep getting more complicated, what are the chances that bringing in spy kids will go smoothly?
  • The Good Wife (CBS) – I didn’t love running for office Alicia but starting over yet again Alicia brought yet another new spin on this rich cast of characters that just keeps me entertained with the cases and the personal lives where there’s not always a real right.
  • Humans (AMC) – Lots of riffs out there on the androids taking over but this truly human look at a group of unanticipated aware and feeling synths and their interactions with each other, the humans around them, society as a whole and of course some ‘evil’ corporation kept me all in.
  • Jessica Jones (Net) – A new crop of great series on Netflix but this less Marvel-ish Marvel is the one that truly made me want to binge as I enjoyed the tough damaged lead and her fight against uber creepy villian with the help and hindrance of some good supports.
  • Justified (Fx) – The last season brought back much of what I loved about the series, Raylan was someone we all fell in love with as he fought the good fight in sometimes the wrong ways to hunt down folks as only a Marshall near his own Harlan, Kentucky hometown can do.
  • Mr. Robot (USA) – This is the show that put USA on the map this year and it was quite a big swing, the lead Rami Malek really should get much of the credit for carrying this peculiar character in a psychotic split between computer hacking, and well hacking, tempted to go back and watch again.
  • Orphan Black (BBCA) – This admittedly wasn’t my favorite season of this show but I love it so much even a dip in the distractions to the clone club from the boy clones couldn’t dampen my love for the performances of Tatiana Maslany and her band of supporters.
  • UnREAL (Life) – My fave new campy show this look behind the scenes of a Bacheloresque show had so many layers as we follow Producer Rachel trying to come back from her own personal drama while the manipulations on and off camera reach new highs, or should I say lows, and I’m not a Bachelor watcher.
  • You’re the Worst (Fxx) – The first season of this show won me over with a new twist on the rom com by playing into and out of the stereotypes as the characters were all a mess, and the second season delved into Gretchen’s mess/depression in a way that was able to include some truly funny moments in what was a dramatic and sensitive, amazing work by Aya Cash.

My honorable mentions were giving me too much stress so I’ve even eliminated those. What were some of your favorites from last year?

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critic’s picks – must see movies of 2015


Here’s a little round up of what some of the critics and award shows are saying are worth seeing. I’m trying to make up for lost time but not sure what I’m going to get to before I do my own top list, but in bold are what I’ve seen so far. Though I will tell you right now I don’t get why people are so on the Mad Max thing, I mean it was entertaining but… really?

  • 45 Years – SH
  • Anomalisa – DM, AOS
  • The Assassin – MD, FW
  • Beasts of No Nation – DM
  • The Big Short – MD, AOS, SH, CN, AA, AFI, BA, CC
  • Bridge of Spies – MD, AA, AFI, BA, CC
  • Brooklyn – DM, SH, BG, AA, CC
  • Call Me Lucky – DM
  • Carol – MD, AOS, SH, BG, AFI, BA, CC, CFC
  • Clouds of Sils Maria – Ti, CN
  • Creed – DM, AOS, Ti, CN
  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl – MD, SH, FW
  • The Duke of Burgundy – FW
  • Ex Machina – DM, BG, Ti
  • The Fool – SH
  • The Hateful Eight – DM
  • Hitchcock/Truffant – FW
  • I’ll See You In My Dreams – Ti
  • In Jackson Heights – MD
  • Inside Out – AOS, BG, CN, AFI, CFC
  • It Follows – BG, CN
  • Iris – Ti
  • The Kindergarten Teacher – MD
  • The Look of Silence – SH, CN
  • Mad Max: Fury Road – DM, MD, AOS, BG, AA, AFI, CC, CFC, FW
  • The Man from UNCLE – Ti
  • The Martian – MD, AA, AFI, CC
  • Mustang – Ti
  • Nasty Baby – FW
  • Out 1: Noli Me Tangere – AOS
  • Phoenix – Ti
  • Queen of Earth – FW
  • Results – AOS
  • Revenant – AA, BA, CC, CFC
  • Room – DM, BG, CN, AA, AFI, CC
  • Sicario – CN, CC
  • Sixty Six – MD
  • Son of Saul – CN
  • Spotlight – AOS, SH, BG, Ti, CN, AA, AFI, BA, CC, CFC, FW
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – DM, BG, AFI, CC
  • Straight Outta Compton – AFI
  • Tangerine – SH, Ti
  • Taxi – AOS
  • Timbuktu – AOS, BG
  • Truth – SH
  • Welcome to Me – AOS

AA – Academy Award Nominations, AFI – American Film Institute, BA – BAFTA Nominations, CC – Critics Choice Nominations, CFC – Chicago Film Critics, FW – Flavorwire, SH – Stephen Holden for NYT, MD – Manohla Dargis for NYT, BG – Bill Goodykoontz for The Republic, DM – Drew McWeeny for Hitfix, CN – Chris Nashawaty for EW, AOS – A. O. Scott for NYT,  Ti – Time Magazine

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critics’ picks – best books of 2015


Well the critics have chimed in and another year of many books I haven’t read, and though I’m reading fewer each year this will still help with my Christmas list for next year. Last year’s list added a couple to my shelf. And of course stay tuned for what I did read this last year.

  • The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende – PW
  • In the Country by Mia Alvar – HP, PW
  • A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson – Ti
  • Trashed by Derf Backderf – EW
  • A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball – HP
  • The State We’re In by Ann Beattie – PW
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty – HP, NYT, PW
  • A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin – FW, NYT, PW, EW
  • The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres – Ti
  • Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg – Am
  • Memory Theater by Simon Critchley – PW
  • Outline by Rachel Cusk – FW, NYT
  • The Meursault by Kamel Daoud – PW, Ti
  • Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick Dewitt – Ti
  • The Green Road by Anne Enright – PW
  • Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum – HP
  • The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante – FW, Am, HP, NYT, PW, Ti
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy – PW, EW
  • Purity by Jonathan Franzen – Am
  • Binary Star by Sarah Gerard – FW
  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – Am, HP, Ti
  • City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg – Am
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – Am
  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro – HP
  • Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson – HP, Ti
  • Counternarratives by John Keene – FW
  • Get in Trouble by Kelly Link – Ti
  • You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman – HP
  • Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas by Christian Kracht – HP
  • The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch by Daniel Kraus – EW
  • Beauty Is a Wound/Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan – FW
  • Get In Trouble by Kelly Link – FW
  • The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli – HP
  • The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra – HP
  • Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann – Am
  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain – Am
  • Against the Country by Ben Metcalf – FW
  • The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray – Ti
  • The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North – FW
  • Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich – Am
  • Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont – HP
  • The Door by Magda Szabo – NYT
  • The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard – HP
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson – Ti
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal – Am
  • The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson – EW
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – Am
  • Dietland by Sarai Walker – EW
  • Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins – HP
  • The Visiting Privilege by Joy Williams – HP
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – Am, HP
  • The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch – HP
  • Mislaid by Nell Zink – FW

Am – Amazon, FW – Jonathon Sturgeon and Sarah Seltzer for Flavorwire, HP – Huffington Post, NYT – New York Times, Ti – Time Magazine, WP – Washington Post

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critics’ picks – top tv of 2015


So there are more of these lists than one person could list, and there are a couple of great lists existing including HitFix critics’ tv poll and Metacritic’s Top Ten List. But for the sake of keeping on top of what’s the top here’s the list, maybe you’re missing a show or two worth considering. And of course stay tuned for my top ten list.

  • The 100 (CW) – MR
  • The Affair (Show) – BL
  • The Americans (Fx) – EN, JD, TV, AFI, TG, MZS, WP, AS, JP, MH, MR, TVL, JJ
  • Better Call Saul (AMC) – JD, AFI, BL, MM
  • Black-ish (ABC) – DF, AFI, CC, MZS, JP, MR, TVL
  • Bojack Horseman (Net) – EN, TV, DF, AH, MZS, MR, MM
  • Broad City (Com) – EN, MH
  • Catastrophe (Am) – EN, AH, CC, WP, MR, TVL, MM
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW) – EN, AH, BL, TVL, JJ
  • Documentary Now (IFC) – JJ
  • Empire (Fox) – AFI, CC, WP, TVL, MM
  • Fargo (Fx) – EN, JD, TV, DF, AFI, TG, BL, MZS, AS, MH, MR, TVL, JJ, MM
  • The Flash (CW) – BL
  • Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) – MR
  • Game of Thrones (HBO) – AFI
  • Getting On (HBO) – EN, TVL
  • Halt and Catch Fire (AMC) – TV, WP, JP
  • Hannibal (NBC) – EN, AH, MZS, MR, JJ
  • Homeland (Show) – AFI
  • How to Get Away With Murder (ABC) – TVL
  • Inside Amy Schumer (Com) – EN, MR
  • Jane the Virgin (CW) – EN, BL, CC, WP, MR
  • Jessica Jones (Net) – MZS, MR, TVL
  • The Jinx (HBO) – DF, BL, WP, JP, MH, MM
  • Justified (Fx) – DF, AS, MH
  • Key & Peele (Com) – EN
  • The Knick (Cin) – CC, MH
  • The Last Kingdom (BBCA) – BL
  • The Last Man on Earth (Fox) – CC, TVL
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) – DF
  • The Leftovers (HBO) – EN, TV, DF, TG, AH, CC, MZS, AS, JP, MR, TVL, MM
  • Louie (Fx) – EN, TG, MH
  • Mad Men (AMC) – EN, JD, TV, DF, TG, AH, MZS, AS, MR, JJ
  • Making a Murder (Net) – BL
  • The Man in the High Castle (Am) – TVL
  • Manhattan (WGN) – TV
  • Master of None (Net) – EN, JD, AFI, CC, AS, JP, MR, TVL, JJ, MM
  • Masters of Sex (Show) – BL
  • Moone Boy (Hulu) – MH
  • Mr. Robot (USA) – EN, AFI, TG, BL, CC, WP, MR, TVL, JJ, MM
  • Narcos (Net) – JD, BL
  • Nathan for You (Com) – WP
  • Orange is the New Black (Net) – EN
  • Parks and Recreation (NBC) – AS
  • Penny Dreadful (Show) – CC, MH, TVL
  • Playing House (USA) – TVL
  • Rectify (Sund) – DF, TG, BL, CC, MZS, AS, JP, MR, JJ
  • Review (Com) – EN, DF, AS, JP
  • Rick & Morty (AdSw) – EN, AH
  • River (Net) – JD
  • Scandal (ABC) – EN
  • Show Me a Hero (HBO) – JD, TV, BL, MZS, MM
  • Silicon Valley (HBO) – MM
  • Supergirl (CBS) – BL
  • Transparent (Am) – EN, TG, AH, BL, CC, WP, AS, JP, MH, MR, TVL
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Net) – EN, AH, JP, TVL, JJ
  • UnReal (Am) – EN, TV, AFI, TG, AH, BL, CC, WP, MR, TVL
  • Veep (HBO) – TG, TVL
  • Vikings (Hist) – BL
  • Wolf Hall (PBS) – MR
  • You’re the Worst (Fxx) – EN, TV, CC, MR

List of critics, note I took some liberties with a couple peeps who went crazy beyond ten:

AFI – American Film Istitute, CC – Critic’s Choice, JD – John Doyle for The Globe, DF – Daniel Fienberg for Hollywood Reporter, NG – Neil Genslinger for NYT, TG – Tim Goodman for Hollywood Reporter, AH – Alison Herman for Flavorwire, MH – Mike Hale for NYT, BL – Brian Lowry for Variety, EN – Emily Nussbaum for The New Yorker, JJ – Jeff Jensen for EW, MM -Melissa MAerz for EW, JP – James Poniewozik for NYT, TVL – TVLine’s Best Comedy and Dramas, WP – Willa Paskin for Slate, MR – Maureen Ryan for Variety, AS – Alan Sepinwall for Hitfix, MZS – Matt Zoller Seitz for Vulture, TV – Todd VanDerWerff for Vox

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procrastinator picks – must see movies of 2014


Looking back over this last year none of the faves really stood out for me so for my number one pick I went with what I remember actually enjoying. That’s not to say that if I made this list again any other day it wouldn’t come out quite differently. And though I didn’t see everything you can see what I did see from the critics’ picks.

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy – I generally like a good comic book romp but this movie unburdened by any knowledge of the characters or stories managed to draw me into the world of the band of misfits led by the charming Chris Pratt.
  2. Whiplash – Seriously uncomfortable, this was the movie whose performances most stayed with me raising questions of the tutelage of greatness, and insanity put to a nice jazz track.
  3. Bad Words – I dig a random Jason Bateman and this flick hit the nail right on the head with an inappropriateness that was laughable and surprisingly touching.
  4. Skeleton Twins – Wiig and Hader looked into the past and the present of these estranged siblings with a realness and a randomness that brings them beyond their SNL sketches.
  5. Big Eyes – The period setting in the lovely San Francisco made the look at this unbelievable artistic duo and the woman behind the man in this odd rise to fame all the more compelling.
  6. Selma – Beautiful portrayals of King and those around him in this look back at the pivotal civil rights, I appreciate an historic drama that has me in disbelief of the activities for the right reasons.
  7. The Imitation Game – Smart and socially inept has become all the rage but this look at the mathematicians behind cracking code and the social mores of sexes and sexuality kept me engaged, and who doesn’t enjoy some Cumberbatch.
  8. Grand Budapest Hotel – While this wasn’t my favorite Wes flick it had the beautiful visual style and quirkiest of characters that will always keep me coming back.
  9. Edge of Tomorrow – Who doesn’t like a good action flick, and while I’m not the hugest of Cruise fans this movie strikes a great balance of action and the progression of story by repeating it over again in a way that isn’t repetitive.
  10. St Vincent – Bill Murray as a curmudgeon has become how I think of him but the dysfunctional daily life that he and his somewhat willing circle of folks leads to somewhat unexpected bad and good sentimental journey.

Any standouts for you this year?

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