Stuff I liked in 2012.

It’s the end of another year, and time for yet another year-end list.

I love year-end lists. Seriously. What books and movies did I miss? Who died? What was great?

I will say, though, that my local paper – a once-great institution of real journalism – really sucked up the joint with its online photo gallery of people who died this year. The gallery kept showing different photos of the already-listed folks. So, according to the paper? Whitney Houston died 4 times this year. Who knew?

Anyway. I will stop being a curmudgeon and share the stuff I liked this year. Not necessarily new stuff, just new-to-me stuff. Also? I will refrain from listing the same items multiple times (ahem, local paper).

Best show my husband made me watch; also, best proof that I might be turning him into a democrat
The Newsroom. This is the first Aaron Sorkin show I’ve watched – yeah, yeah, I know, I live under a rock. But I’m not typically into dramas, and it takes a something pretty great to make me commit to an hour-long show. The Newsroom was so worth it. It’s well-written, even if it can be a little heavy-handed. Sorkin can write dialogue. I know that’s totally Earth-shattering commentary on my part, but dude.

Best change
My Guy and I joined the same gym. Duh.

Scariest outcome of best change
We’re going to the gym more. I have been spending more time on the treadmill. For the first time in my entire life, I have been … umm … jogging. Voluntarily. For, like, 3 minutes at a time. OK, really more like 2 minutes at a time. But still. Running! What the hell?

Best album
I have no idea. I have clearly fallen off the new music cliff in 2012. All I know is that the Foo Fighters didn’t release an album this year and I hate every musical guest on SNL. Because I’m usually home on Saturday nights. Shut up.

Movie that had me pumping my fists
Argo. It’s a great script and a super-interesting story. But there’s something almost intangible about the film that just puts it over the top. The music and the acting and the editing create this tension that was practically palpable in the theatre. Plus, the filmmakers really captured the feel of the time – the clothes and hair and set decoration were amazing.

Best movie surprise
James Spader in Lincoln. Poor James Spader. I’ve hated his guts ever since Pretty in Pink, when he played evil rich kid Steff with such insolence. Like Lawrence Fishburne, who will always be Ike Turner to me, James Spader will always be the mean guy who was cruel to Molly Ringwald.

Anyway. I was not prepared for James Spader to be in Lincoln. But he is. And his character is hilarious. He’s pretty slimy, but watching him is a joy. Like, he is so surprised at meeting the president that he actually says, “Well, I’ll be fucked!”


Best movie I’m glad we watched on DVR
The King’s Speech. I realize that My Guy and I were the last humans on Earth to see this movie. But I’m so glad we watched it when we could pause it and discuss the historical background. Quick discussions to figure out who was prime minister and just when certain stuff happened made the viewing experience more robust. Plus, we both ended up going down Wikipedia rabbit holes after seeing the movie. So much to learn!

Also, it’s a great movie. And Colin Firth is just … well, you know.

Biggest disappointment
Let us not speak of the 2012 college football season.

Best surprise of the 2012 college football season
One of my college friends is the uncle of 2 players on the Iowa State football team – including the kid who is the big stud and heart and soul of the team. Seeing my pal’s Facebook posts has made my heart glad. They range from random ISU crowd shots to picks of a tiny grandma in head-to-toe Cyclone gear. Families are awesome.

Best nonfiction book
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. I’ve gone on and on about this book before, but dangnabit – I freakin’ loved it and think the whole world should read it. It’s got sports and World War II and triumph of the human spirit and ohmigod, just read this book already.

My Guy’s favorite book of 2012
11/22/63: A Novel. My Guy has this to say about Stephen King’s novel: “It was good. What? You know that’s the extent of my book reports.”

Best Target dollar-aisle finds
While they are usually dressed as reindeer / disco bison, this year, the doxies mixed up the costumes a bit.

Santa was in the house, lookin’ all manly.

As was his elf … who really felt like more of a Vegas pirate than an elf, but whatever.

So. What did I miss this year? What books / stuff / movies / shows / dog costumes made your year?

Psst … when you purchase a book through my links, Amazon throws some spare change my way. This enables me to pay my library fines, stay out of library jail, and keep entertaining you with my hard-hitting literary criticism.

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