2005: Working it like Jake Gyllenhaal

So the first day of the rest of your life has just ended. January 2nd is about 11 minutes old as I write this and you’ve already ruined your New Year’s Resolutions by eating a whole tub of Strawberry Cheescake ice-cream and making snide comments non-stop as your family tried to watch Coronation Street. Don’t feel bad though. Let us act like the last few days haven’t happened and we’re still in 2005, where handsome Jake is still famous for Donnie Darko and not for gay cowboys (as if that has ever happened!) and Gulf War heroes.

Did you know that there was a hacking scene in Sleepless in Seattle? The little boy’s little girlfriend hacks into the airline software to rob an air ticket to New York. Why are the nerds not out there wearing t-shirts with Meg and Tom’s silhouette printed on them? If Hackers and Sneakers and Anti-Trust (my personal favourite) are laughable cool, then give it up to the rom-com pioneer geekoids. The King of Nerds commands you!

I am the King of Nerds by the way. Even more than Potato, who seems like a brainy nerd, in a good way. He claims that my woman’s website is the funniest Irish blog. This entry, which is one of the best, if you ask me, was highlighted for special attention. The kid with the Women Priests book has since become one of my favourite students. I kind of feel guilty that he is, unknown to himself, immortalised on an effective stranger’s website.

Also, Tom Hanks lives on a houseboat in Sleepless in Seattle. Just like McGyver. Give it some love people. Also, the little boy is called Jonah and lives on a boat. I hope there is a secret director’s cut where he gets eaten by a whale.

As far as I know, only one of my colleagues knows about this site. If others know, they need to tell me during a long seaside walk later this week. But he lives on the northern tip of this island where for 8 months a year, the light of culture doesn’t shine. He and his buddies make Best-Of lists at the end of every year, cobbled together from whatever imported magazines and smuggled books they have been able to get past the Bible-belt brigade. Darn it if I don’t just love their moxie so I am going to copy them this year and force, unrequested, my best of lists onto you, Mr. Deserving Reader. Or Ms.

5 Books I Read That You Should Read
Summer was drawing to a close when the cultured member of my work team gave me Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller. Not since Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace? has a Christian book struck such a resonant note with me. I love it. Everyone else loves it. Even Neuro. I know some readers have already heeded my advice and stocked up on the Don Miller good stuff but if you haven’t- do.

Coming at you in fiction are two books that weren’t written by Cecilia Ahern. When people saw me reading “We Need To Talk About Kevin“, they laughed. But it is one of those books that is so well written that it takes your breath away. You will race through its 400 pages and feel really pissed off that you didn’t take longer to savour it. The Kite Runner is a book that you could mine 100 weekends for sermons. I know that for sure because Trevor Morrow seemed to reference it every time I heard him speak this summer and a recomendation from him is worth 14.63 thumbs-up from Zoomtard.

Over Christmas I suffered a phenomenally painful trapped nerve (the divident from years of slouching over my computer pretending to programme and more lately, pretending to read brainy websites) and I had to stay in bed and all I could do was read and so I ended up reading most of Miroslav Volf’s new book, Free of Charge. What a day! It is astonishing. I would happily give Blue Like Jazz to anyone, regardless of what they believe. The same can be said of Free of Charge. Read the sample I linked to so as to get a better idea but the picture Volf paints of God as the unreceiving giver is so beautiful that it should come with a health warning on the cover. This one might make you change your perspective.

Finally, although I will have to read it and reread it and read it again before I get it all, NT Wright’s Resurrection of the Son of God is the best book I have read this year. I can’t compact the argument into a paragraph (by CS Lewis’ standards I therefore probably don’t understand it) but it is, amongst other things, a historical assessment of the likelihood of Easter having actually happened. Wright’s ultra-convincing argument is based on the historical fact that a bunch of Gallillean fishermen started talking crazy about a carpenter who had conquered death and somehow managed to convince enough people to believe in it that within a few centuries, they would be blamed for the downfall of the Roman Empire. Why’d that happen? There is no plausible explanation beyond the fact that those Gospel records might be telling the truth.

I would love to do him more credit and I doubt that any of you will spend the fortune on the 740 page tome because some web-based opinion peddler told you to, but maybe you could visit the well named NT Wright Page and check out some of his many papers.

So with the books accounted for, let us roll on to film.

The 4 Movies I Feel Like Talking About
I won’t besmerch the delightful Merry Christmas by writing its title in pig latin, or whatever they are calling French these days, but this movie rocks in all the ways you want it to. It makes you cry over the heroism of veterans, cry over the futility of war, cry over the power of music and finally cry that not enough people will get to see it.

Narnia is an even better film. But I am biased. And I could bore myself over it.

I saw Descent with a busload of my closest friends while on holiday in Galway. Man it was great. It is so scary and action packed and funny and bitchy and all nodding and referencing to other Horror classics and it made Teragram cry with a delighted fear that she may not yet realise is delighted. But next Friday, get some pizza and beer and watch it in the company of your friends. Then send me some nice chocolates as a thank you for the tip-off.

Finally, the worst movie I have seen this year beats back the fiercely disappointing Everything Is Illuminated and Gus Van Sant’s snooze fest Last Days and in its sheer pointlessness I question the sanity of the reviewers who acclaimed it around the world. I wrote about You, Me And Everyone We Know here so you don’t have to waste time on it.

The 3 Best Concept Albums of the Year
Sufjan Stevens amazing Illinois is the kind of musical experiment that doesn’t feel like you, the schmuck listener, is the subject. Let me not add to the 1000s of column inches other web nerds have already gushed on it.

Although William Shatner’s Has Been was released last year, I only got it this year (many of these things here listed are from previous years). When you run out of illustrations or allusions from The Kite Runner, just start ripping off The Shat. I know he is held up as the paragon of ironic iconic cool but hand-on-my-heart, I think the guy is a genius. Ben Folds wrote the music. The Canadian wrote the lyrics and then speaks them. They are touching and honest and funny and brave. I love it. The cover of Common People captures the empty anger of a life lived for no good reason far better than Pulp’s ever did.

Finally, I love Aimee Mann and The Forgotten Arm is an Aimee Mann concept album. The concept album’s renaissance is complete. Forget The Floyd, 2005 is the year of stories hiding out as albums. Click on this link if like me you think it funny that one of America’s finest song-writers would be interviewed by Elle Girl. Those 14 year olds who were looking for make-up tips will be disappointed with well crafted melodies and razor sharp observations. Maybe I’m just being a snob though. If I am, blame Ddmmyy who has returned recently. Yay!

Now that I think about it, Magnolia is like an Aimee Mann concept album in the form of a movie.

The 2 Things We Will Hate 2005 For
Although we could blame the years he was in the army for not seeing him killed in a tragic galloping foot-rot accident, 2005 brought James Blunt to my attention and yours too. I only have the for-free Irish stations so the crazy fog thing hasn’t affected me. Blunt and his curly-haired face and his whiney voice and his truly preposterous lyrics and his ever-present status on the wireless has made me thank God that 2006 has come, freeing us from the grip of the insanity. Now though, misery on misery, the new romantic comedy about an architect who falls in love with a ghost has it as its trailer soundtrack. 2006 at least has the dignity to get its annoying crap out of the way in January. (Come back Sleepless In Seattle, all is forgiven) Maybe Karma will pop into existence sometime this year and kill Mark Ruffalo, Reese Witherspoon and Corporal Blunt in a horrible cheese smothering incident. Here’s hoping.

The absolute most annoying thing about 2005 has to be Tom Cruise. There was the Oprah craziness. There was the water-in-the-mic prank tantrum. There was the denying psychiatry exists interview. There was the truly creepy Katie Holmes affair. And all this on top of the Scientology insanity. If Cruise actually ever dies (maybe he’ll just transport himself to Venus someday), the biography that details what drives this guy will be fascinating. While he is still alive though, I hope he does a Sly Stallone on us and fades into obscurity because he is a little scary.

I still love his movies though.

My One Best Girl of 2005
Neuro.

I hope 2006 brings a Dutch victory at the World Cup, some movies about straight cowboys killing each other and a great Douglas Coupland novel. But until it starts delivering, I’m going to stay firmly so last year.

Your Correspondent, Never Leaves His Best Girl Home On A Saturday Night

3 Responses to “2005: Working it like Jake Gyllenhaal”

  1. neuro-praxis says:

    We always take my car cause it’s never been beat
    And we’ve never missed yet with the girls we meet
    None of the guys go steady cause it wouldn’t be right
    To leave your best girl home now on Saturday night

    I GET AROUND!

  2. BETA says:

    Jake is sooo over. 2006 is all about the Ledge.

  3. Orthoperplexis says:

    Saw Brokeback Mountain. Lovely film. Very moving. The fact that the gay cowboys are gorgeous definitely helps matters. Apparently Christians were demonstrating outside the Golden Globe awards about the ‘Gay Cowboy’ film, as well as other Hollywood blockbusters that are undermining family values. Honesty is obviously a threatening concept.