#25: Read 10 Classic Books

I was always an avid reader. I was that kid who read everything she could get her hands on. Yes, that included every book that was assigned. I found some I never would've read that I really enjoyed (The Count of Monte Cristo, All Quiet on the Western Front) and others I found horrid (Siddhartha). Okay okay. I didn't finish Siddartha. I finished Anna Karenina for AP English my junior year out of spite. I wanted to prove that I could do it. Especially once most of my class didn't finish it. I HATED that long, long book. I wanted to read ten classic books before I turned 30. I wanted to pick a mix of books that were on English teachers' book lists, things a lot of people I knew had read in middle or high school and classic works by black authors.

This list was just like a trip back to school. There were some I loved and wished I read earlier and others I never want to even think about again. Let's start with the highs. Number one hands down is.... PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!!!!!! I love this book!!! I want to read it again and again and again! It's so awesome!! I also loved Their Eyes Were Watching God. Awesome. The Grapes of Wrath. I did NOT expect to love this book! I was marginally optimistic about the first two but this was the sleeper hit! So good! I'll tie these at number two! The top three are COMPLETELY different books set in different times, different countries but they have one thing in common: they're all incredibly well-written.

I really liked Oliver Twist but it would come in fourth on the list of the ten books I read. Invisible Man was the most thought-provoking for me, though it got off to a slow start. After the first 150 or so pages (there were 400 more), it was quite good.  It's number five. Coming in at number six, Uncle Tom's Cabin. It was just there for me. I liked it at times, other times didn't. Overall, it was fine. Number seven: Lord of the Flies was similar but more toward the don't like side.

Number eight is Catcher in the Rye. Not at all my kind of book. Overly-indulged rich kid goes around doing whatever he wants. Stream of consciousness. It made me exasperated with people who relate to this book. No thanks. Number nine is The Great Gatsby. I know! It's a true classic. Whatevs. I couldn't connect with the characters or relate to them. That normally doesn't matter to me. But in this case, the characters all felt frivolous. Number ten is Catch 22. I picked it because I've seen the cover blown up to poster size on the walls of Barnes and Noble. It took me months to read. MONTHS. No more picking books like that. Yech.

Overall? This was a great goal! AND my reading bug is officially reignited! For my 35 before 35 (LOLOL), I'm going to read 35 more classic books that I've never tackled. I only need 5 more. Suggestions?


5k Comparisons

After running two 5ks, I'm definitely hooked on racing! I love the camaraderie, the energy and trying to hit a new personal record in some goal or another!  So let's do a side-by-side review of this race and the first one.

My first 5k was at the beach and therefore absolutely BEAUTIFUL! We didn't run on the actual beach, but rather along it and the intercoastal waterway. I couldn't see the beach during the run but I could smell it and enjoyed it before and after.
Result: Draw

Size & Atmosphere
Race one had about 350 people competing in a 5k and a 10k. Race two had about 3500!! Amazing to jump tenfold!! It was so cool seeing so many runners out and about.  It was also a holiday-themed race and I saw Mrs. Claus AND an elf!  At race number one, there was certainly a greater feeling of camaraderie even though I was running with people I knew at race two. The small size and friendliness of the volunteers at race one really helped.
Advantage: Race 2

Race one had free massages and delicious fresh bagels! There were lots of excited people around so that was fun! But I was most excited about the oyster festival. Unfortunately it was a horrible bust with limited oysters. WACK. The times were posted as people were coming in so it was cool to see your times as you came in and unwound. Plus it was my first race so I was SUPER excited!

Race two had lots of food but because of the crowd, there were way too many people in long lines trying to get to it. There were yummy Panera bagels and hot chicken and rice soup. Delicious. But there were no race times and no info on where to find it. What? Why? This was so incredibly frustrating. Even more so because we started at different times.
Result: Draw

Race one was FLAT which was wonderful! I didn't even realize how wonderful until I started training on hills in the weeks after the race! And though it was at the beach, the course was pretty boring.  It looped back before the first mile so I got to see all of these way who were way faster pass me in the first 10 minutes. Pretty demoralizing. But I quickly got over it.

Race two was hilly but near my normal route so I'd run it a few times. It was cool! And really pretty! I enjoyed it! It looped back later in the race so that was easier to take! Plus the last part of the route was mostly downhill which helps you really fly in the home stretch.
Advantage: Race 2

At race one, I got a medal. Who cares about the rest of it? I'm not running any more races without a medal.
Advantage: Race 1

This was the single biggest factor in my race. Race one went off without a hitch. It was on time. It was fun. I was ready to run! Race two? It started 30 minutes late without sufficient explanation. I found out later it was because they didn't shut down pre-race registration when they said they would and there were hundreds of runners still registering when the race was supposed to start. Thirty minutes doesn't sound like much but I got there at 7:25 for a race that was supposed to start at 8:35. It was 40 degrees outside and you see what I was wearing. It was fine for me to start running but not for me to be standing out there for an hour and a half. I couldn't feel my toes for the first 3/4 of a mile. That is not cool. I had also planned my food and water for an 8:35 start so by the time I started I didn't feel appropriately fueled or hydrated. So not cool. This category was a no-brainer.
Advantage: Race 1

While I loved the size and Christmasness of race 2, the organization killed it for me. I like things to be decent and in order. I'm feeling about done with 5ks. For a while at least. (Unless you know of a free local one...) I'm ready for my first 10k in March!
Advantage: Race 1


Christmas Movie Clichés

With the help of watching 20 (so far) new (to me) Christmas movies this year, I've come to recognize some well-worn themes. With this list, I will never torture myself with (so many) horrid Christmas movies again! Despite some moments of torture, I'm still delighted to enjoy the magic of Christmas via film!

1) The workaholic. This is by far one of the most prevalent Christmas themes. The workaholic learns the magic of the holiday.
2) Santa injured/under fire/lost. Let's call this my least favorite Christmas cliché. Wait. So Santa has amnesia? Pass the peas. (I don't know why I said this either.)
3) Christmas in Peril. Sometimes this is forgetful Santa's fault, sometimes it's the Scrooge's. Whoever's at fault, we've got to save Christmas!
4) The Terrible Christmas leads to a sad season for some lovable person. Oh man. This is a person in deep need of learning the true meaning of Christmas! You've had a rough go of it at Christmas, eh? Well I guess that's why you need us!
5) Love fixes Christmas. This is actually my favorite Christmas cliché. Rom com and Christmas? Count me in!
6) Dead or deadbeat parent and/or the widow(er). A person who hasn't known love since their beloved dies finds it at Christmas. The struggling kids get a new parent that they finally learn to love at Christmas. I do not like this one at all. It's so unbelievable. I can't stand you but at Christmas I suddenly realize the error of my ways? Even as a surly teenager? Right. About that...
7) Absentee Mrs. Claus. Where is Mrs. Claus in these movies?? I saw so many Christmas movies with a santa but no Mrs. Claus. Bizarre.
8) A new Santa. Santa's retiring or dying and we've gotta find a new one! Now this one is also related to Christmas in peril because sometimes the search for a new Santa means if he's not replaced, Christmas DIES!!
9) Christmas wedding. Another fave! Everyone loves a Christmas wedding in the movies! In life I've never seen or known anyone who had one. Hmm...
10) Be careful what you wish for on Christmas... a little magic might make it come true. I like this one, too! But I like it better without the "magic" sounds. You know it. It also sounds just like a fairy getting her wings.
11) Big city guy/gal learns an important lesson in a small town. This is an important theme for all well-worn cliché-filled spectacles. Don't you know people in small towns are more real? And people in big cities only care about money and all things temporal? If not, you learned it in this magical money.
12) The Scrooge. There's always a person who thinks Christmas is terrible. This one is often rolled up into four or more other Christmas clichés. Its closest cousin is big city guy/gal learns an important lesson, the true meaning of Christmas, the workaholic and be careful what you wish for on Christmas.
13) The True Meaning of Christmas. Ah. The cliché to end all clichés! If at the end of the movie, you don't know love is at the heart of the true meaning of Christmas, then I guess you don't have a heart or a soul or you just weren't paying attention!


The Definition of Fall Back

Sometimes people don't know how to leave well enough alone. Or how to mind their own business. This... is the definition of fall back. Long story short: I was good friends with a guy, we dated, broke up, talked a few times then I ignored him for a couple of years. He got the hint and hasn't attempted to talk to me in over a year. I got married this year and so did he. Cool.

We have a mutual friend who thinks ex & I need to be friends again. Wait. What?The two of them are actually much closer than her and I probably ever were. Me and this girl now talk about television occasionally. Like three times in a month via facebook and then nothing for months. Once a year or so, she brings the ex up to me. Monday was my lucky(ish?) day. She tells me she's not sure how we left things but she thinks ex needs his bud and we can probably talk about newlywed things.

Hol up ma'am. So ex and I haven't talked in years but because it crossed your mind and we got married in the same year, you think we should... What? Alright then. Do I attempt to tell you how to raise your children? Did you think about that message before you sent it? I assumed you didn't REALLY think about it which is why I didn't bother to address that with you. I'm pretty sure the newlywed stuff I need to discuss can be discussed with any of the FOUR 2011 newlywed couples I actually have a relationship with or...OR... and this is a long shot. Stick with me. I think I could talk to my favorite newlywed... my husband.

*drops mic*


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 128

1)  I've been internet ghost. Here's why. I called AT&T to remove auto-pay from my account to pay manually. They marked it as a disconnect. I call to have them fix it on Friday and talk to 7 people in an hour and a half. One told me it would be back on by 6. Another said he would find out what happened and have me compensated and he'd call me back. Never called back. Weekend w/o internet. PISSED. Last Monday after another half hour on the phone, I'm finally told they'll shut down that account and create a new one to give me the promotional rate which is $30 less per year than what I'm currently paying. BUT the internet will still be off until December 21st, TWELVE days later. Guess who has zero love for AT&T now. One guess.
2) I hate when cards are addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Rashan (last name). I promise my name is not Mrs. Rashan. It's Jameil. Promise. My mom doesn't get it. "You 21st century women." I am. I'm okay with that. The Last Names? Cool? Mr. & Mrs. Rashan & Jameil? Great. Mr. & Mrs. Rashan last name? Fail.
3) If you're over 25 and you think you can eat whatever you want and drink whatever you want and still have a good workout, you're wrong. If you don't drink water, you will cramp. If you don't eat things other than fast food, you can't perform at peak.
4) My mom suggested a Christmas fish fry. Y'all know I'm open-minded when it comes to food but, lady, you have lost your mind. Christmas Eve fish fry? Let's do it. Post-Christmas fish fry? It's on. But no to Christmas. THEN she mentioned SEVEN desserts for 4 people. One of them has diabetes, another high cholesterol and EVERYONE is watching their waistlines. I shut all of that down with a QUICKNESS. Yes, I'm the kitchen crazy at her house because everyone wants me to cook. Furthermore, if I don't take charge, we'll eat whatever my mom thinks of Christmas afternoon after I beg her to cook. Not on my watch.
5) Was Next Iron Chef awesome? Or was it awesome??? Loved it! And now I want to do a goat cheese-brussels sprouts puree for Christmas!
6) If you saw that movie post from the last two weeks, I've been on a Christmas movie binge of late. Tis CRAY. It's been so crazy that it's prompted a list of Christmas movie cliches. Thursday 13.
7) I want to make a beef wellington...
8) I wish I could eat parsnips. I see SO MANY great recipes! But last Thanksgiving I had an INSANE reaction to them. Itchy throat and snot faucet for HOURS. Carrots make my throat itch but parsnips (carrot cousins) make my body attack. :(
9) My favorite thing about watching food shows is calling out the unusual foods before the narrator can. :)
10) Rashan brought home chocolate-dipped sugar cookies topped with crushed peppermint. WHAT?!?! I could've easily eaten the whole bag! And I might have eaten 7/8 of it...
11) In some ways, Stacey and I are the same person and it is an awesome and hilarious experience talking to her. Can't wait to visit her in New York and rob the city of as much of its food as possible. LEGGO!!!
12) I've cooked three meals and prepared a salad dressing from one of my Rick Bayless books in the last week. So yummy! That man is ON IT!
13) I love my husband. BUNCHES! Tis all...

Hm... looks like I might be ever so slightly obsessed with food... I wonder if I could create a class on the evolution of food journalism... methinks I could and it would be awesome. *Mind twerks*

Movies 2011: Weeks 49 & 50

*I apparently forgot how to count at some point in this journey toward millions of movies. Oops! You know what I meant. :)

December 4-10, 2011
202) Beginners. A graphic artist comes to grips with his father's death just a few years after learning the elderly man is gay and wants to act on it publicly. That's what the movie is billed as, anyway. And the moments where Christopher Plummer is on screen are wonderful. But too few. Quiet, sad indie film. It was very well-liked by many others. I was only lukewarm to this film. 3.3 stars
203) Mother is a Freshman. 1959 movie about a mother who enrolls in college and finds herself crushing on the same man as her daughter. Cute movie. A short and fun watch! 3.9 stars
204) In the Meantime, Darling. World War II-era film about a well-to-do woman who marries a military man and finds herself out of place when living on the base. Cute if propagandistic and a bit vapid. 3.7 stars
205) Easy. Indie film about a loose girl who always sleeps with the wrong guys. She then meets two nice guy contenders when she decides to impose celibacy upon herself. The gratuitous nudity was annoying but the story line was pretty good. 3.5 stars
206) Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Silent film about the ups and downs of married life. I was very surprised to be into this story from the beginning. It was intriguing from the start and kept up the excitement despite being silent. If you look at Netflix, don't be alarmed. The film is 95 minutes. Their disc just includes two versions. I enjoyed the soundtrack version. 4 stars
207) Super. A husband fights crime after his wife leaves him for a drug dealer. This film stars Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page and Kevin Bacon. As strange as you would imagine. Moments of interest and wondering how it could possibly end. Outlandish. 3.4 stars
208) The Change-Up. Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds star as best friends with opposite lives (one married, one wild and single) accidentally switch lives. Some terrible and unnecessary computer-generated graphics. An outrageous amount of gratiuitous cursing and nudity. Just ridiculous. You expect a certain amount of unbelievability in a movie about a magical switch but this took things way too far. Worse, it was far too long. Almost two hours for a comedy??? Really??? Why?? 2 stars

December 11-17, 2011
You might notice a slight changeover to Christmas... :) I have no problem suspending parts of my sometimes snobby filmmaker-ness for Christmas. But only SOME parts... as you'll see.
209) 12 Dates of Christmas. A woman bent on winning back her ex-boyfriend is forced to relive a blind date 12 times until she gets it right. So cute! Even Rashan enjoyed it! 4 stars
210) Santa Incident. Two kids save Santa and nurse him back to health after his sleigh is shot down by a military plane. But they also have to enlist the town to protect Santa from agents bent on imprisoning him before Christmas. Blech. Some relatively amusing parts but really only a child will like this. And then only if they're younger than ten. 2.4 stars
211) Farewell Mr. Kringle. Christine Taylor stars in this Christmas movie about a widowed writer who's given up on love and Christmas until she's assigned to cover a town dedicated to Santa Claus. Probably overly mushy. I might listen to it if there was nothing else on but I would prefer to watch something else. 2.9 stars
212) Santa Who? A newsman tries to help an apparently homeless amnesiac find his family. Santa has amnesia! Extremely sappy. Leslie Nielsen is awesome as Santa, though. 2.8 stars
213) Eve's Christmas. Le sigh. Elisa Donovan stars in this film about an ad exec who wishes on a star to be able to fix things with her ex-fiancé. So Lifetime movie sappy. Do not want. 2 stars
214) Secret Santa. A reporter (Jennie Garth) goes in search of the Secret Santa who anonymously helps a small town. I'm sure it's heartwarming to someone. I drowned in sap. Here lies Jameil. 2.9 stars
215) Larry Crowne. Tom Hanks stars as a man downsized in the economic downturn who decides to go to college for the first time. He ends up falling for his professor (Julia Roberts) in this film at the confluence of several modern events-- foreclosure, texting in class, downsizing leading to a calling. Just okay. It's one of those films you can pay some attention to but you could also have running in the background and not miss much. 3 stars
216) A Holiday Engagement. A woman hires a man to pose as her fiance when she goes home for the holidays. Shelley Long plays a caricature of a mom in a very strange role. Just okay. 3 stars
217) A Princess for Christmas. A duke wants to finally meet his orphaned, estranged children so their caretaker aunt might as well come along. Looks like somebody's gonna be a princess for Christmas! Plot wasn't airtight but it was enough to be entertaining. 3.5 stars
218) Our First Christmas. Julia Sugarbaker (that's her real name) is the nervous family matriarch in a newly-formed family of a widow and widower and their children. Predictable... which is to be expected in Christmas movies. But with stilted acting and poor dialogue all over the place, it was absolutely wearying. 2.5 stars
219) A Christmas Proposal. Opposing counsel and one-time loves battle over the creation of a ski resort in their hometown. Not good. 2 stars
220) Christmas in Boston. Two longtime pen pals each send their best friends to pose as them when they meet for the first time. You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle & When Harry Met Sally rolled up into one. So cute! 4 stars
220) Annie Claus is Coming to Town. An elf interferes with Santa's daughter to make her fall in love. But there are two men competing for her affection. Cute. 3.4 stars
221) Unknown. Liam Neeson stars as a man who wakes up from a coma in a German hotel and no one knows who he is because someone's assumed his identity. Pretty awesome thriller. 4 stars


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 127

I'm in internet purgatory. The sordid details coming later in the week but for now, Monday Mindspacing on Tuesday...

1) Etsy sellers who go on vacation around Christmas? Not bright.
2) Rashan and I decided Robert California can't last on "The Office" at this rate. He's getting too ridiculous. Not as bad as Will Ferrell last year but still. Those episodes are unwatchable.
3) You'll be pleased to know the Christmas menu is officially underway! There was great difficulty because no one has anything they must have for Christmas except dressing and sweet potato pie. Ummm... what? How do I narrow down a menu like that? Do better, people.
4) I wish I could block profanity from my twitter timeline. It would really help my quest to keep cursing out of my life.
5) My favorite thing about my new phone is app exploration. This week's fave is Pulse because it exposes me to news sources I wouldn't ordinarily see. Least fave? iPhone-only apps. Fix.
6) Did you hear about the proposed (essentially imminent) post office cuts? It will make mail even slower. Mine already gets here after 6 if at all. So wack.
7) I ran 3.5 on Thursday and 3.6 Sunday at faster than ever paces and felt AMAZING both times!!
8) I'm going to be saturating myself in Christmas music and movies for the rest of the month!! Can't wait!!!!!! I never let my filmmaker sensibilities get in the way of jolly Christmas films! Okay that's not totally true. I don't particularly like kiddie Christmas movies. I love a good romcom Christmas! Love it! There are 29 unwatched Christmas movies on the DVR and I've already watched for others!!
9) Have you ever seen a perfume spritzer just randomly spray someone in a store? Matter of fact, have you ever seen a person in the store spraying perfume on people? I'm convinced both of these only exist in the movies and on television.
10) I secretly want an arm full of slim diamond bracelets one day. I don't care if it's gaudy. The secret's out. Boom.
11) I love gifts in triplicate. I really don't think gifts should exist without at least two sidekicks. They don't have to be huge but those gifts need friends!
12) Christmas has made me remember I have cookbooks I've never cooked from. I've fixed that with two books since Thanksgiving and I still have at least SIX to go. But I still want a slow cooker cookbook... I have at least 150 recipes saved on my computer. I could use only saved recipes and those from cookbooks I own for at least 18 months without repeating. Out of control.


Christmas List 2011

The theme for this year's Christmas is RUNNING! Surprised you, didn't I? LOL Those are the most reasonable things and turns out I really want them. I've gotten a few early Christmas gifts so that's extra exciting!
  1. Running shoes!!!  This is number one for a reason!  I want this MOST of all! Done! Thanks Rashan!
  2. Registration for this 10k or this half marathon.   I want these second most!
  3. An arm holder for my phone/i.d./key, a Black Girls Run! t-shirt (Got a sweatshirt, thanks to Mom!), running clothes (pants, jacket in indigo grey, long-sleeved shirt in black or fuschia, jacket in black or fuschia, running headband) compression socks, a head lamp & running gloves. A foam roller.
  4. Other random workout stuff like a ball, a medicine ball and a kettle bell
  5. A job. What? God sees Christmas lists, too! :)
  6. A stand or hand mixer. I currently mix everything by hand. Yeah. Nuff said.
  7. Apple Corer. Chain pie weight. Both from Crate and Barrel. I'll probably use my gift card to get these for myself. Merry Christmas to me!
  8. A slow cooker cookbook like this one primarily and this one secondarily.


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 126

1) HGTV has clued me in to something: I don't like futuristic toilets. Tell me that toilet is not scary-looking. I think most of all I hate its squareness. Why does that toilet look like a box? But I'm also amused to think one day that might be a relatively basic/normal toilet.
2) I bet my mom's blood pressure skyrockets every time she thinks about her latest interactions with her mom. She always starts yelling. It's insane.
3) I ran my 2nd 5k on Saturday! But it was just okay... I felt like I could've run faster. :/  I was trying to stay with my running partner. But I did like my festive attire. I'll do a comparison with the first 5k later. For those of you who are in training, how's it going????
4) Rashan and I have been married 5 months AND we only recently realized we'll be married 6 months on New Years Day!!! Awesome! To bring in our 6 month anniversary every year, we get fireworks, champagne and a giant party! I couldn't have planned it better if I tried! And our actual anniversary is 4th of July weekend? PARTY EVERY SIX MONTHS!!!
5) I think I want to start painting my nails regularly again. I want OPI's Big Apple Red.
6) I only liked the first season of Dexter a little. Not enough to continue. But I'm really enjoying the current season.
7) I've started playing a game with Rashan. I do something big, noticeable and wait for him to notice. I put up a wreath inside and switched the one outside. He didn't notice until I mentioned it. I put a rather large sleigh full of gold and red Christmas ornaments on the DVR. He missed it for the first 2 hours he was home... watching tv. I had a bunch of papers I was organizing covering a large section of the living room that I put away. I had to call his attention to it. It cracks me up!! I can't WAIT for tonight! :)
8) I have lots of goals I need to accomplish before the end of the year. I'm on my way but I have to focus. I'm ready. I approach my goals like I approach a race. Head down, enjoy it as you go but most of all, FINISH.
9) I love watching Zakarian freak out every week on Next Iron Chef. I never expected him to become one of my faves! And I certainly didn't expect to not love Samuelsson as much as I once did. OR to really really like Faulkner!
10) I love my husband. I have a blast with him! He delights me, he supports me every step of the way, he adores me. That last one is why my mom loves him. He doesn't care who sees it. One day we'll be those parents embarrassing the mess out of their children with their love!
11) One of my mom's high school classmates doesn't have email. In 2011. Fix yourself. Right now.
12) Can you believe I haven't really thought about my Christmas menu? I'm pretty sure I'm going to cook whatever is on sale at my fave (Harris Teeter) that week. Ooh! I forgot I get to go to Trader Joe's since we'll be in Charlotte. There, too! :)


Movies 2011, Weeks 44-46

I've been reading a lot so movie-watching is falling out of favor. I can't seem to get into a rhythm of doing both regularly. I suppose next year is the year of that.

November 6-12, 2011
193) American Teen. Documentary about teenagers at a high school in Indiana.  It was an interesting story to watch and I really felt for some of the characters.  It seemed like an accurate high school story for I'm sure many teenagers but without more diversity than a black kid with 2 lines, of course it could only go so far for me.  Still enjoyable.  3.7 stars
194) The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls. The story of singing comedic lesbian twins from New Zealand is a concert film with touches of their activism.  The comedy was enjoyable in spurts.  I guess I was expecting less of a concert film and more of an exploration of the women.  Beautifully shot but the story just fell a bit flat for me.  3.2 stars
195) Blair Witch Project. Wow. I hadn't seen this movie because so many people talked about how horrible it was. I already knew I wouldn't be afraid of it because it's one of those movies people either say "I was terrified" or they blank stare you.  I'd be in the blank stare category.  Pass.  2 stars
196) The Big Clock. This noir film is about a private detective who finds himself solving a murder where he is the suspect.  Very interesting and a fun watch!  The best thing about noir films is the irreverence for the characters.  ANYONE is fair game to die. When you say it like that, it sounds terrible! But for films? It's great! 4 stars
197) The Harvey Girls. Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury star in this musical about a mail order bride who joins a group of waitresses at a new whistle stop restaurant when her marriage plans fall through.  Then the towns puritans and rougher element battle for control.  Amusing enough.  3.4 stars
198) CatchingHell. OMG. The longest documentary in the entire world about a single fraction of a second event.  I didn't care anymore about SteveBartman being a scapegoat for the ChicagoCubs losing a trip to the WorldSeries in 2008.  Unless you are the ultimate fan and you feel some need to relive this forever and in excruciating detail, I don't know why you would need to watch this film. 2 stars

November 20-26, 2011
199) HappyThankYouMorePlease. Josh Radnor (Ted on "How I Met Your Mother) directs and stars in this film about a struggling writer (I know) who finds and keeps a foster kid he finds on the train until he can figure something out (I know) and the women in his life and the intertwining relationships.  As it unravels, some nice things happen in the plot.  But there are some loose ends he never quite ties and others he ties too neatly to feel real or worthy. And still it's a nice movie to watch. 3.7 stars
200) Sarah's Key. A journalist finds her family history is entangled with the story of a Jewish French girl whose family was murdered by the French during WWII.  Very moving story. The writer got lazy at some parts, relying on clichéd and overused language to push a story that really didn't need any pushing. There were times where I knew the exact line that was coming next. But for the most part, it was quite good if at times unbelievable. 3.7 stars

November 27-December 3, 2011
201) Due Date. Robert Downey, Jr. and Zack Galifianakis star in this film about two strangers who wind up driving across the country together after an airport mishap. I am SHOCKED by how much I laughed during this movie! And RDJ is PERFECT for this role! It got overly ridiculous after the first hour (of course) so that dropped it down a bit but still quite funny. 3.5 stars