Highlight Reel

Highlight Reel – December 2023

Really need to get better about making notes routinely. Maybe make that a goal for 2024.

Six Word summary

Shopping and wrapping finished early. Shocking!

Multimedia – Watching, Reading, Listening
  • Movies (blog links, not affiliate links)
    • The Holdovers – Very good, but not an exceptional example of the genre. Da’Vine Joy Randolph was the standout, though I’m quite impressed with Dominic Sessa’s film debut. He could definitely hold his own with both Randolph and Paul Giamatti. And the good thing about filming in Boston is that there are definitely areas where nothing has changed since the 1970s!
    • The Boys in the Boat – We were able to see a sneak preview of this movie a couple of weeks before it was officially released in theaters. It’s a solid sports movie, nothing particularly spectacular, but very enjoyable if you like the genre. I felt the story was lacking in some places, though. Really makes me want to read the book.
    • Disney’s Wish – Hmm. It’s okay. Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. Nothing really wrong with it other than the story was lacking. (Steve says he thought it was boring.) It had great potential (Chris Pine’s character especially, who they basically just motion-captured), but they didn’t expand on those opportunities. It felt more like an outline or story pitch than a fully realized story.
    • Godzilla Minus One – Wow, that was excellent! Less a stereotypical Godzilla movie, and more of a war drama where Godzilla makes a few appearances. The human performances were very… raw, I guess is the word. Extremely well done.
    • Ferrari – It’s a very well-made film. Good writing, well acted (Penelope Cruz is the standout, IMO), nicely filmed in some beautiful locations. Not amazing, but it’s a perfectly fine film, and I can find very little to complain about. Except the accents, which were sometimes so heavy that I couldn’t understand the dialog. I don’t mind heavy accents for people who actually *have* those accents. But for fake ones? They make me grumpy.
  • TV
    • LEGO Masters – Finished off Season 4. Enjoyable, as always, though I found some of the previous pairs of people more memorable.
    • Quantum Leap – Our only regular show that had enough episodes to make it to December. Really enjoying it so far this season.
    • What If…? – Season 2 started dropping daily episodes just before Christmas, so we binged the entire season on December 31 to keep us awake until midnight and ring in the new year.
  • Reading
    • The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes – Purchased to read after seeing the movie in November. Quick read, like the rest of the novels. Very enjoyable. Did help me understand the ending somewhat better, but not fully. Loved some of the additional details about Panem, though.
Good Times – Friends, Family, Fun

Christmas was great, as always.

Silver and Gold – Gifts and Purchases
  • Had to buy a new mouse after my old one died in late November. Tried switching to a Microsoft mouse, but that only lasted about 3 minutes before I was using said Microsoft mouse to order a new Logitech one (like my old one).
  • Clockwise from top left: this year’s Christmas Eve pajamas, my parents’ tree this year, the t-shirt we gave him when we went to see Godzilla Minus One, MY Disney 100th anniversary LEGO set (not Luke’s or Steve’s; mine!), the Mexican Train hub we gave to my father, my “yes, I’m 47 years old and I got 5 stuffed animals for Christmas and I adore them” collection, and Luke’s favorite gift: a reversible plush that changes from just a plain blue cat to a ninja cat
News Reel – Noteworthy Events
  • My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! Technically, the official celebration was back in June when we went to Alaska, but December is the official date.
  • Andre Brauer died at the age of 61. Such a fine actor in both dramatic and comedic roles. For me, he is particularly memorable in Frequency and Primal Fear.
  • Tom Wilkinson died at the age of 75. He has had an oddly varied career for such a classic character actor. I’ve loved him in everything I have seen him in, particularly The Full Monty and Shakespeare in Love (though he plays a fun villain in both Rush Hour and Batman Begins).
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Accomplishments and Disappointments

Click to biggify

  • I finally attempted my mother-in-law’s pecan recipe, though I used a store bought crust this time. It turned out well and was quite tasty, though it could use a few very minor tweaks.
  • I had everything purchased by the first week in December (most of it by the last week in November!), and had everything wrapped before December. Who am I?!
Daily Dispatch – the Everyday and Routine
  • So #DrunkChristmasUnicorns were not as cooperative this year and stayed in the same pose for several days, but I did get quite a few pictures of them and their exasperated Santa! My Facebook and Instagram friends seemed to really enjoy them.
Just Keep Swimming – Progress on Goals
  • Added a few more items to the list of those in progress for 101 Things v5. Still nothing completed yet, but it’s coming along!
Into the Unknown – Future Plans
  • I’ve chosen my word for 2024: Action. I spend too much time thinking and planning (which is important, but….), and not nearly enough time doing. I want more action this coming year.
  • I’m also going to try – yet again – to keep a journal. You would think keeping notes on my phone would be easier than paper ones, but I don’t seem to manage either very well in general, so back to another paper attempt this year.