Tuesday, December 29, 2009

End of the Year Musings...

From Paul Levine...

ONE PICTURE IS WORTH...A C IN TORTS: When I was in law school, I would find a secluded carrel in the library and pretend to study. Actually, I would spend hours browsing the bound editions of LIFE and LOOK magazines from the 1940's and 1950's. My own personal time machine. On display now at the Museum of the City of New York, hundreds of photos from LIFE. Here's a 1947 shot of Salvador Dali. Working, sort of.

RECOMMENDED READING: I'm thoroughly enjoying Gerald Posner's "Miami Babylon: Crime, Wealth, and Power," his non-fiction account of the growth of my former (and perhaps future) home. Sometimes, we forget how young the city is. In 1896, when New York City had 3.5 million people, the City of Miami had 300. Miami Beach, zero, but lots of mosquitoes.

HOLIDAY SWEETS: I can't spell Pffereneuse, but I sure like the cookies. Peppermint bark, too. I'm written before about the new rage, combining bacon with chocolate. Check out "Bacon Gets Its Just Deserts" for recipes for Chocolate Bacon Peanut Bark, Maple Apple Bacon Cake (pictured), and more.

I don't know about you, but I'm not keen to see Sherlock Holmes a scruffy, kung-fu action star. On the other hand, I was reluctant to see "Avatar," and the picture took my breath away. Astonishing. Other movies I've enjoyed this year:

"A Serious Man," the Coen brothers dry and deadly satire set in the Jewish suburb of St. Louis Park, MN in 1967. Lots of Woody Allen influence here. Existential questions raised, and the answers are grim. A kick-ass ending.

"The Hurt Locker," bomb disposal squad in Iraq. You'll dig your fingernails into the armrest. (Any critic who says "explosive" should be shot).

"Precious." Abused Harlem girl fights back. It's no day at the beach.

"Up in the Air," timely George Clooney vehicle in the era of downsizing.

"Brothers," Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman on the effect of war (Afghan) on soldiers' families at home.




  1. from Jacqueline

    Paul, I went to see Sherlock Holmes on Christmas Day, thinking that I would hate it. I did my best to leave Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett at the door, and went in ... and I have to say, I thought it was great. Very good depiction of the times, Lestat really did look like a mole. Downey was and was not Holmes - and you just had to take it for what it was. I don't think it would have been half as much fun without Jude Law as Watson, because the two of them really did make it seem like a huge bundle of fun together. No doubt there will be a sequel (after all, Moriarty is on the loose), but all in all, a good old romp through late 19th century Britain - and I think we needed a new spin on the old sleuth!

    Bacon and chocolate? Oh, dear ....

  2. Our mutual friend Les Klinger (author of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes) was a consultant on that film. He likes it, too.

    Love peppermint bark.

    Bacon and chocolate? What Our J said.

    I haven't seen any of those films but was surprised to hear a friend say he thought Avatar was anti-American. What gives?

    Tell me you're not moving away???!!!!

  3. Love your blog, of course, and enjoyed the inclusion of the bacon & chocolate article. Definitely going to make the chocolate & bacon brittle. Looking forward to reading Illegal.

  4. Jackie--Proof I should never review a movie I haven't seen.

    Patty--There's a lot of right-wing animosity toward the film, which can be seen as a pro-environment, anti military-industrial complex story. Well, actually, it is.

    For those who don't know, Janet Rudolph writes the incredible Dying for Chocolate Blog. Don't read it when you're hungry. http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/

    And...as per my comment about not reviewing a movie unseen....I won't diss chocolate bacon brittle uneaten.