Category Archives: Best of 2016

Heather’s Top Two Movies Of 2016

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“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

– Meister Eckhart, German Christian mystic

2016 was a challenging year for me personally, for many of my loved ones, for my students, for our country, for the world.  I want it to be sealed with a kiss of hope and happiness, so My Favorites posts are expressions of gratitude for the people who created things that made me happy this year.  I hope they make you happy, too.

 

These are the best of the movies I saw in the theater in 2016.  They were memorable for the sheer “butt travel factor,” because they took me away from my regular life for a couple of hours in powerful ways.  For a year that had many ups and downs, it was a gift to visit these strange places and witness the stories unfold:

 

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Take tissues, fyi.

 

Arrival – I had no idea what to expect from this movie because I’d only seen the previews and I’m grateful I went in as a blank slate for this gorgeous movie. For a film about linguistics and the power of words, the dialogue is elegantly sparse and utilitarian.  It’s beautifully-shot and the message is pitch-perfect as we embark on a Trump presidency.

 

 

 

 

 

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A great escape!

 

Rogue One –  A stand alone film that functions like a novella between Episode 3 and Episode 4, this installment is full of Easter eggs and connections that are fabulous for an OG Star wars fan like me.  There’s great action, beautiful scenery, wonderful chemistry, and a Jimmy Smitts cameo (swoon!).  This almost makes up for the messes that were Episodes 1 and 2.

 

 

What are your favorite movies from 2016? Please share in the comments!

Heather’s Favorite Reads of 2016

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“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

– Meister Eckhart, German Christian mystic

2016 was a challenging year for me personally, for many of my loved ones, for my students, for our country, for the world.  I want it to be sealed with a kiss of hope and happiness, so My Favorites posts are expressions of gratitude for the people who created things that made me happy this year.  I hope they make you happy, too.

This first post is about my favorite books.  It’s hard to write about all of them, so please follow me on Goodreads to see what else I loved.  In the meantime, here are two of the most memorable:

 

 

 

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay: If I were to write a horror book, it would be like this: contemporary and full of pop culture allusions.  I stumbled upon this page-turner on my Kindle one night.   It was on sale for $2.99 and with a blurb from Steven King, I thought I’d try it.  It’s part psychological drama/mostly horror about a teenage girl who may or may not be possessed by a demon.  The point of view expertly switches so the readers sees things from different angles.  As a high school teacher and former teenage girl, I am acutely aware of the mood swings that might only be described as possession.  The movie comes out in 2018 starting Robert Downey Jr, but don’t wait until then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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He could read the alphabet for 80 chapters and I’d buy it.

 

Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen:  “Uncle Brucey,” as The Boss calls himself in one part of the book, reads to me every day in my car and it is the epitome of delightful.  As a huge fan of his music, it’s amazing to hear his life story unfold in his voice, to hear the timbre darken when he talks about his father and to catch the light  when he talks about his mother.  I don’t often re-read books (so many books, so little time), but once I finish listening to this as a fan, I’m going to buy a hard copy and read it as a writer, mining it for his wisdom about the creative process, the business of art, and perseverance.

 

 

 

 

What are your favorite reads from 2016? Please share in the comments!

Heather’s Top Two TV Shows of 2016

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“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

– Meister Eckhart, German Christian mystic

2016 was a challenging year for me personally, for many of my loved ones, for my students, for our country, for the world.  I want it to be sealed with a kiss of hope and happiness, so My Favorites posts are expressions of gratitude for the people who created things that made me happy this year.

I hope they make you happy, too.

This second post is about the best TV I watched in 2016.  I was able to escape from life courtesy of  Downton Abbey, Justified, American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare, Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards, Scandal, Modern Family, The Goldbergs, and more, but these two stand out and deserve some extra applause:

 

 

Sense 8 (Netflix, drama) –  My husband and I are only six episodes in, but it’s so good already that I would be remiss to not write about it.  This is one of the few TV shows I d0n’t want to binge on because it’s so, so good. I want to enjoy it in small doses, like running my finger through icing on cake, in little tastes.  It’s the story of eight people around the world who are figuring out they are psychically and physically connected.

The Wachowskis combine gently unfolding storytelling with their fast-paced action in a way that is wonderfully balanced. The cast is richly multi-ethnic, which is used to great effect in scenes of their cities, their culture, their clothing, their music – it’s all very sensual, a play on the title. One of the leads is a transgender woman, another display of diversity on TV that offers more faces and stories to learn from. Oh, and all of the main characters are talented and absolutely gorgeous and their chemistry is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on TV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crazyhead (Netflix, horror/comedy) –  These two female British demon hunters in their twenties are just trying to get through their quarter life crises without being killed  a la Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Broad City. I stumbled across this show one night and gave it a play without knowing anything about it.  The opening sequence turns out to be not at all what you think it is and once you figure it out, the British dry, dark humor takes over and you’re off to the demonic races.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What TV made you happy in 2016?  Please share in the comments!