Stuff I Liked (and Didn’t Like) in 2012

bettmandevilBack when I worked at a different magazine (no longer in business) we always did that thing that magazines do to fill space to inform the reader: the year-end review. I miss those halcyon days of arguing whether the year’s “Worst Plot Twist” was a child a woman didn’t remember giving birth to, or a the latest perfect doppelganger in town. So I’m going to indulge a little a make up a Best/Worst List of Stuff I’m Interested In – which, if you’ve been reading along at home, could be just about anything.

Worst Stalled Negotiations: Forget the so-called “fiscal cliff” – we still haven’t had any NHL hockey! I hope the league owners will realize what greedy idiots they have been in the coming days and back the hell off their unreasonable demands. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is the devil.

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The Kings Are Dead, Long Live the Kings

giants1230

©JOE DILIBERTO

My beloved New York Football Giants won their last game of the season today, but were eliminated from playoff contention when Chicago defeated Detroit. (Also, Minnesota beat Green Bay, but that was just overkill.) My brother and I were at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., this afternoon, cheering with our applause muffled by gloves as Big Blue plucked the hated Philadelphia Eagles, 42-7.

Of course the Giants were the defending Super Bowl champions, and now will not get a chance to repeat last year’s exciting run to the Lombardi Trophy. They just did not play well enough.
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Blink to the Future?

This is an amusing little animated mash-up of DOCTOR WHO and the Back to the Future franchise. It doesn’t really make much sense, but the cartooning style is fun and dynamic, and the little touches – like the Adipose, the (I suppose) Judoon Biff, “Auton Detailing,” the “Save the Clock Tower” badge on the Angel and the absolutely badass final image of the TARDIS team on the train (with K9 motoring alongside) goes a long way toward salvaging the whole enterprise.

2012’s Most Disappointing Movie Is…

The Dark Knight Rises really was not at the top of my must-see list for 2012 — it was closer the to the middle of the pack — but that’s no excuse for the film to be more disappointing than any other feature I screened this year. It’s particularly bad because the superhero flicks The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man turned out far better than I had anticipated.

This video clip sums up the more obvious sins of TDKR in about 3 minutes.


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Remembering Gerry Anderson

Gerry Anderson and pals

Gerry Anderson with his pals, the Thunderbirds

It just keeps getting worse as entertainment legends continue to die. I don’t want to write another one of these. On the heels of the deaths of Jack Klugman and Charles Durning comes word that Gerry Anderson — creator of SPACE: 1999, UFO, THUNDERBIRDS and so many more science fiction TV series — died Dec. 26 at age 83 after a battling Alzheimer’s disease.

Anderson created the instantly recognizable Supermarionation process, using stiff, jerky puppets on strings to bring to life such shows as FIREBALL XL-5 and CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS. Anderson embraced the limits of his inanimate “actors” and made many of the storylines as outrageous as the puppets themselves. Somehow, the wacky stories made more sense with puppets; it was almost like winking at the audience.
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Remembering Jack Klugman and Charles Durning

They say celebrity deaths come in threes, but when it comes to the passing of Jack Klugman and Charles Durning on Dec. 24, two is way more than enough for me. Both character actors were invaluable to Hollywood, and I loved the work each of them did.

Klugman’s was probably the more recognizable name, and he had more success on the small screen, as sloppy Oscar Madison on THE ODD COUPLE and as the dogged medical examiner on QUINCY, M.E. Durning’s most enduring movie moment was playing the scoundrel governor in film adaptation of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Durning’s show-stopping song-and-dance was so impressive it must be seen to be appreciated:


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Merry White Christmas!

We were treated to one of the rarest of events here in the hollowed-out volcano stronghold of “Read at Joe’s” — a white Christmas! Yes, it’s not much (and the evidence was disappearing before my eyes), but it’s something.

It snowed very lightly late last night — so lightly that I could not capture an effective image of it — but I was glad to see that at least some of the snow survived the dawn.

Happy Christmas to all!