Category: 2011

2011, Movies

The Ordinary Skier (2011, Constantine Papanicolaou)

This is a “TV quality” documentary about the extreme skier Seth Morrison that is very clearly made by someone who makes ski films and not documentaries. (It was produced by Oakley so maybe I should say “brand-sponsored promotional film quality” instead.)

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

You Are Not So Smart (2011) by David McRaney

I got this book years ago, when I still listened to this podcast. And the problem is that, due to this very podcast, I started reading a lot more pop psychology and psychology than I already was. And so, in the interim between this book coming into my possession and reading it, I learned a …

2011, Movies

A Separation [Jodaeiye Nader az Simin] (2011, Asghar Farhadi)

The is an unrelentingly bleak tragedy about the dissolution of a marriage in Iran that leads to a misunderstanding that compounds into a destructive feud between two families. It is well shot, well constructed, and well acted and it was a chore to watch as a result. (I mean that as a compliment.)

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, TV

Parks and Recreation (2009)

This is a good-hearted but often hysterical situation comedy that it took me entirely too long to watch. I’m not sure exactly why but I guess I was at least slightly aware that it was a little bit wholesome and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t into wholesome in, like, 2011. Anyway…

2011, Movies

How to Die in Oregon (2011, Peter Richardson)

This is not a particularly interesting film as a film, it’s a pretty typical documentary in terms of form and style. But it’s subject matter is extremely vital – looking at the lives and decisions of terminally ill people who are trying to decide whether or not to end their lives legally in Oregon. (With …

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman

S0, I made the mistake of reading The Enigma or Reason before I read this much more famous book. That’s a mistake because the central argument of The Enigma of Reason is that the dichotomy (or tichotomy) of the brain is an illusion, that it doesn’t fit evolution. Whether it was philosophers or current psychologists, …

2011, Movies

Moneyball (2011, Bennett Miller)

This is an enjoyable dramatization of the Oakland As’ 2002 season, from the perspective of their General Manager, who was trying to win games with the lowest budget in baseball. I say dramatization because there is a lot of poetic license here, and because the most important players on that team are barely even acknowledged.

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Movies

Riley’s Best Films of the 2010s

I am an avid movie watcher. I have seen something like 5,000 movies in my life as well as countless hours of movie-quality TV. But my pace has slowed somewhat in the last decade, as life has gotten in the way. Moreover, because I see so few movies in theatres outside of my annual TIFF …

2011, Movies

Carnage (2011, Roman Polanski)

This is the first time I’ve seen a Roman Polanski film I haven’t seen previously prior to what you might call my “maturity” regarding the crimes Polanski has fled the United States for. I have known about these crimes since I don’t know when – probably since I discovered who he was (so 20-something years …

2011, Movies

Cafe de Flore (2011, Jean-Marc Vallee

This is one of those maddening movies that eschew conventional narratives but lack the visuals, editing or other techniques to make the lack of story compelling. That’s not to say there isn’t a narrative here – there are two – but it’s fractured to bits and the hooks the audience are given are character development …

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Music

The Bob’s Burgers Music Album (2017)

Much like The Simpsons (at least back when I watched it) music plays a very significant role in Bob’s Burgers. In fact, it plays an even more significant role, given the singing propensities of multiple characters in the Belcher family. This album collects the featured songs from the show, as well as a few covers …

2011, Movies

Cowboys and Aliens (2011, Jon Favreau)

Many years ago, in my teens, I had a habit of writing down every movie idea I had, as I dreamed I would one day be a filmmaker. One such idea was a western film in which aliens showed up part way through. However, a key part of the idea – perhaps the key part …

2011, Movies

BloodRayne: The Third Reich (2011, Uwe Boll)

This is a pretty awful film that seems intent on reviving the Naziploitation films of the ’70s that everyone fondly remembers. (Oh, you don’t fondly remember them? You think they’re offensive? That’s weird.) I can’t say whether or not this is a fond tribute to those films, as I’ve only ever seen one of them, …

1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1966, 2011

The Best of RPM and Kent Recordings (2011) by BB King

This disc compiles some of King’s A-sides for both the RPM and Kent labels throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s.

2011, Baseball, Books, Fiction, Sports

The Art of Fielding (2011) by Chad Harbach

This is an excellent debut novel, featuring a richly constructed world and (mostly) believable characters. It works as both a baseball novel and a college novel. It has been a long time since I cared about characters this much.

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011) by Steven Pinker

If you watch the news today, you will be told the world is awful. Even if, like me, you do not have cable, you can still get enough news of the awfulness of the world from your antenna or the internet. The news is an endless barrage of controversy and tragedy; controversy over the supposedly …

2011, Movies

Big Boys Gone Bananas (2011, Fredrick Gertten)

Regardless of what you think of Fredrick Gertten’s Bananas!* – a film I was skeptical of in part because of the film itself and, likely, in part, because of Dole’s campaign of defamation against Mr. Gertten – I doubt you believe that it should be censored (especially if you’ve never seen it). I have seen …

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

The Violence of Financial Capitalism (2011) by Christian Marazzi

It has been a long time since I’ve read a book this dense. A long time. Maybe grad school, maybe in the years after grad school when I tried to re-read or finish lots of books that I felt I hadn’t spent enough time with in school. Either way, I don’t think my brain is …

2011, Movies, Politics, Society

Better This World (2011, Kelly Duane, Katie Galloway)

This is an important film that is really, really worth your time. What starts off seemingly as a portrait of some well-intentioned youths that got into some bad shit – and feels, perhaps, like an apology for such behaviour – soon reveals itself to be the story of something so much worse. Though it’s weird …

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, TV

Mad Men (2007)

I watched Mad Men over an even longer period than most of you, so my memory of the individual episodes is not perfect. I know there were some weaker ones in there, and there even parts of seasons – perhaps even whole seasons – that I didn’t enjoy on the level of the best parts …

2011, Movies

Battle for Brooklyn (2011 Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley)

Note: I wrote this before seeing the light on YIMBYism. I’m not sure if my views on the quality of the film would change. I have always had problems with the concept of eminent domain, or at least ever since I flirted with anarchism in my early 20s and developed my civil libertarianism. I don’t …