Monday was Star Wars Day. It’s that day of the year where every card-carrying geek sets out to prove their geek status by mentioning it as much as possible. I mean, if you don’t post as many Star Wars Gifs as possible are you even a real fan? Speaking of real fans, it’s also a day where the hardcore fans get to moan about how much the franchise has been ruined over the years. But has it really? We get it. The loyal fans who were there at the start don’t want to embrace change. They don’t want to admit that their way isn’t the best it can be anymore. They want to say awful things about Rian Johnson on the internet because they have nothing else in their life. If it makes you feel better then go for it. But, come on, are the more recent films in the Star Wars series really that bad? I set out to solve this once and for all by definitely ranking them from best to worst. Now, I did only use the main episodes in the Skywalker saga because we have to be honest, Rogue One would have beaten most (if not all) of them had I included it. So, it didn’t seem fair to count that. Even if it does include the single greatest Darth Vader scene in the franchise’s history.
Last week’s Friday Favourites post came out of a social media challenge that I was forced to take on board. This week is a similar thing. This time the challenge was:
Post a still from a film that’s influenced me over the next 10 days. Every day I’ll nominate one person to do the same.
Normally if someone tags me on a Facebook thing I just pretend I didn’t see it and walk away. Selfie challenges, Ice Bucket challenges, you name it, I’m avoiding it. But I haven’t got to where I am today by missing the chance to show off my love of films. So I did it. Even though I knew that trying to whittle down the list down to just 10 films would almost beak my brain. But I did it? Did anybody care? Nah. But nobody really cares about this blog and I’ve been doing this for nearly 10 years. It’s part of my charm.
You’ve probably seen that Bill Clinton Swag thing going around Instagram, right? You’ve probably even been tagged to do it. Well, yesterday some absolute bastard tagged me to do it. Now, I’m a very indecisive person. Although, I’m not actually sure I’d describe it as indecisive. I just don’t like the idea of ranking the things I like. Why should one thing be superior to the rest? It depends on the context. Why is everyone so obsessed with finding out what my favourite book or film is? I have loads. I love Goodfellas but it’s not the kind of film I’m going to want to watch all of the time. I love The Monk but it can be a bit much to read at times. That’s why we have collections. But I decided to try and play ball and it was going well until I was thrown another curve ball. Another friend made a point about everyone picking male artists and I realised I’d picked 4 albums by male artists. So, I went back to the drawing board to make it more even. But I still had too many to decide between. At least it gave me a Friday Favourites idea. I had to limit myself or I’d have been here forever but I think this is a pretty cool list.
I currently have a lot of streaming services on the go and it means that I never really know what I want to watch. Normally it means that I just watch the same old thing over and over again. Take this week for instance. I didn’t know what to start so started watching a random series of Buffy. Unfortunately, the one that Amazon recommended to me was season 7. Yes, I still watched it but I didn’t exactly enjoy it. Is there anyone out there that enjoyed season 7? Why the show didn’t stop after season 5 is still a mystery. But it got me thinking, which season did I really think was the best. And as it’s Friday, I only went and ranked them. Initially, I was just going to do it based on how attractive I find Giles. I think he peaks around season 5 for me. But then the singing in season 6. God, the singing. But I’m getting away from the point.
I appear to be having a bit of a Tom Hanks moment right now. I reviewed Sully the other week, A Beautiful Day in the NeighborhoodA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Tuesday, and Splash on Thursday. I decided that I might as well embrace it by picking my favourite Tom Hanks films. Though, I quickly realised that I’ve not watched a great deal of them and, of those that I have watched, I don’t like many. I think Saving Private Ryan is just messy even though Hanks gives a great performance. I think Big is creepy. Forrest Gump isn’t as good as everyone says that it is. As a person who gets bored by romantic comedies, I can only just appreciate his films with Meg Ryan. So, I really started to worry that I didn’t really have any favourite Tom Hanks films. But I have no other ideas for today’s post so what the hell. There are a few that I’ve missed off not because, though they are good films, I didn’t quite enjoy them as much. This isn’t just about quality. We can’t only love Oscar-worthy films, you know.
2019 was definitely the year of Marvel. I know that there were countless great films released last year but Endgame was a movie event like no other. Whatever you think about the film in general, you can’t deny that it was one of the biggest film moments in the last decade. It was the culmination of so many years of work and saw a whole host of characters come together for the biggest superhero film of all time. There’s a reason that I keep crying every time I see the portals scene: all of our favourite characters in one place trying to save the world. It was something that we never thought would work but it did. So, 2020 has a lot to live up to. Can anything next year bring people together in the same way? There are plenty of films coming up next year that I’m really looking forward to so it made sense to discuss them during this week’s Friday Favourites. Obviously, this isn’t all of them but I could have added loads to this list. 10 seemed like a sensible amount.
What were your favourite audiobooks in 2019?
I’ve never been a huge fan of audiobooks if I’m being honest. I’m too easily distracted by what’s around me. Like a baby or a puppy. If anything were to happen near me or if I spotted anything, I was doomed. And don’t get me started on listening to them in bed. Anyone who can stay awake when they listen to Audible needs to tell me their secret. If I tried to listen to an audiobook, I’d just be forever skipping back to the start of the chapter. But towards the end of this year, I started listening to one audiobook every weekend. Not only was it a really lovely way to relax when I had nothing planned but it got my reading numbers up even further. By the end of 2019, I’d got through 10 audiobooks. So, without them, I’d not have got to my reading total. When it came to listing them, I wanted to do a top 5 but, in the end, couldn’t decide between a few. So, I went with a top 6. I know what you’re thinking, why not just put all 10 in order? Laziness. I’ve already written two top 10 lists already tonight. I didn’t fancy another. So, here we go.
What were your favourite reads in 2019?
2019 has been my best year for reading so far. I had originally set my target as 30 but managed to smash that a while ago. I then upped it to 50. I hadn’t thought that I’d done very well in December but, upon looking back, it turns out I got through 6 books. Much better than I’d expected and something that means that I finished the year with 58/50. I know compared to many people this isn’t a lot but, for me, this is a massive achievement. Something that I want to discuss later. I know that the number of books isn’t a very good metric to use to measure success though. I’ve never been a fan for competitive reading and sometimes it feels as though Bookstagram is basically a way for some people to brag about it. Though, as in all walks of life, it’s all about the quality rather than the quantity. In 2018 I had four 5* books and four 4.5* ones. This year, I’ve not had as many of those top books but I’ve had far fewer lower scores. This year there has been an abundance of 4 and 3.5* reviews. This means it was really difficult deciding which books would make my top 10. In the end, I went for enjoyment over the writing style. Although, most of the times these two went hand-in-hand. So, without further ado, here are my top 10 books of 2019.
What were your favourite films in 2019?
Looking back on my favourite films of 2018 has been tough. I definitely think I was a little generous with some of them. I mean, what was I doing putting Solo in my top 10? When I remember that now, I only remember bad things about it. I might have to rewatch it to make a final judgment. But I certainly think my ratings have been harsher this year. Last year I gave out 5* reviews as if it was an end of season sale. This year, I still don’t think I’ve quite cracked it but I think I’m getting there. Though I did end up with an awful lot of 4* films. 9 in total. I should have written a separate list of those films. And they were all films that I did really enjoy but, I guess, it wasn’t quite as much as these 10. But that’s the joy of criticism. It’s a personal preference that you offer to the world. I’m never one to suggest that my analysis of a film is the only way to look at it. I just like writing it down. Maybe some of you will get something from that but probably not. It won’t stop me doing it. Anyway, I’m starting to babble, so I’d better get on with it. Here are my top 10 films of 2019.
What were your favourite reads in 2018?
You may have noticed that I didn’t post a Sunday Rundown yesterday. That was mostly because, after a bad night’s sleep, I fell asleep before writing it. But it was also a tactical choice. After all, it’s that time of year when I need to start posting my Top 10 lists of the year. So, instead of wasting your time with a rundown of the week, I’m going to waste your time with a rundown of the year. Yep, what a 12 months it’s been. I’ve turned 30… not sure I mentioned it. I’ve also managed to read 34 books. It’s not the greatest number, I know, but it’s quite good for me. It’s been a mixed bag of books but there have been some absolutely fantastic novels that I’m so happy I read. So take a look at my list below and please comment with your favourite books too.