This is not a round up of best of things in 2010 but rather a few things I’m glad I saw, read and heard in the past year. They may not have been new in 2010 but they were new to me. :)
I’m Reed Fish starring Jay Baruchel. He’s such an unlikely lead but I have grown to like him in most of his movies. Reed Fish is a romantic comedy but it’s quirky and entertaining. Rom-coms are fluff but if they are well done, they accomplish the goal of most movies – to entertain for an hour and a half.
Winter’s Bone starring Jennifer Lawrence. A drama set in southern Missouri, down in the Ozarks. It is amazingly realistic in its character portrayals. I have encountered (briefly) people like this and the OAM has known folks who could have been the inspirations for the portrayals of family life in this movie. The uncle (?), Teardrop Dolly, is played by John Hawkes, who I now see in every other movie I watch it seems. He’s an excellent actor.
Schuyler Fisk, who I saw in I’m Reed Fish. Sissy Spacek’s daughter. She has a sweet voice and seems to be pretty talented at song writing.
The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Sword and sorcery fiction, heavier on the swords than on the sorcery. Some of the best written descriptions of battles and action that I’ve read. Lots and lots of unflinchingly bloody action.
Memorable characters, which is good and bad. Good in that I want to read more about them. Bad in that their stories have kind of mostly been told by the end of the trilogy. In a way I’m glad he didn’t put them into his next book as lead roles since I do hate to see the inevitable end of characters I like reading about. I don’t like to see Batman get old, if you know what I mean. I just started Best Served Cold and while he’s elevated secondary characters I wasn’t particularly drawn to in the First Law books, it’s still a good read so far. EDIT: Having finished Best Served Cold, I would probably not recommend it. The characters are even more hopelessly nihilistic than in the First Law books and Abercrombie has decided to go whole hog on gratuitous sex, which wasn’t at all in appearance in the First Law books. I don’t mind a steamy sex scene but I want it to further the story or the characters and it didn’t seem like this did either. :)
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. I think I’ve mentioned this book in comments on other blogs, but not here. It’s a lovely little comedy of manners with a dash of romance thrown in, but nothing like Aggie’s “bodice rippers.” :) The characters are well drawn and compelling, the portrait of an English widower struggling with emergence into a new social age while still attempting to maintain the manners of a previous era is at turns humorous and moving.
What about you? Anything you read, saw or heard in 2010 that you’d recommend?