Friday, January 1, 2010

Leaving behind a year of sharks and tornados

George Waters column for Sunday, January 5, 2014:

There is a tendency at this time of year for publications to create "year in review" lists, so that its readers can be aware of the best books and movies they won't be getting around to next year either. As if we needed another reminder of just how much we didn't have time for as our lives drew ever shorter.

The frenetic pace and ginger-infused gluttony of the holidays are past, which is good because in stores it is already Valentine's Day. I call this retail effect "chocolate whiplash."

But any "year in review" list rarely has value, because it is so completely subjective. I have always felt value was overrated, however.

Best movie of 2013: "Sharknado."

A "perfect storm" of great writing, acting and special effects this movie is not. I loved it anyway, because, you see, up front you have the shark aspect, which is fantastic, because who doesn't fear sharks? O.K, the informed. But they did not make this movie for the informed. They made it for popcorn-chomping goobers like me.

Secondly, you have the "nado" aspect. "The Nado Aspect" would actually make a great Matt Damon title. But in this movie, sharks are sucked up into a hurricaney tornadoey thing (it's never clear) and then deposited like malevolent, razor-toothed rain on Beverly Hills or Van Nuys (it's never clear.)

The fact that the ultimate goal of the movie is to get to Van Nuys makes this a true horror film. The fact that a man dives into the mouth of a shark, chainsaw-first, on purpose, makes it a classic. I hear a sequel is due next summer, set in Manhattan. Pity the street pretzel vendors is all I can say.

Best book of 2013: Well, I finally read "Moby Dick" this year, and "Uncle Tom's Cabin." "Catcher in the Rye" too. Some Mark Twain. Willa Cather. It all sounds very high brow until I admit the one I most enjoyed was "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." Harriet Beecher Stowe could have taken a page from that book. Vampires, like sharks, are a literary spice you can never over-use. (See? Totally subjective.)

A "best of" list containing only two items is uncommon, I admit, but brevity is the soul of wit, and the name of a vodka, I think. Or a comic strip. I get those two confused. Happy New Year anyway!