In terms of ratings that I gave to films this year on the Flixster site, there would be a four way tie this year, between "The Dark Knight Rises", the final (?) part of Christopher's intelligent Batman trilogy, "Avengers Assemble" the first outing of Marvel's finest, and "Pirates: An Adventure with Scientists", which saw Aardman at its anarchic best, and the slow-burning "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy". If I were to include those films I saw on video, then perhaps "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" might be in with a shout, or even "Moneyball", which must have been good to allow me to overcome my antipathy to Brad Pitt. But I'm going to stick to cinema releases, and if pushed I would probably say that "The Dark Knight Rises" gets my vote, as the most complete and complex film of the last year. But the only film keeping "The Hobbit" out of the "Most Disappointing" category is the totally dreadful "Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger." All the signs were there in the title however...
After 2 plays at the Lyric being in the running for my favourite play of the year last year, sadly it was their version of Macbeth which would rate as most disappointing this year... And the show that I rushed out to see the next night as a means of cleansing my artistic palate, the New Lyric's "Fiddler of the Roof" would give most others I saw a run for the best of the year, despite being an amateur production... It had all the energy that Macbeth lacked. But it was a bumper year for theatre, getting to see the star-studded and hilarious "The Ladykillers" with the family in London, and a touring production of "Jason and the Argonauts" in a scandalously empty Stranmillis College Theatre during the Belfast Festival. But it is another touring production which I had wanted to see during its London run that gets the gong in my eyes... "One Man, Two Guv'nors" at the Belfast Grand Opera House, which, even though it had Rufus Hound in the lead role, still had me roaring with laughter. And this year, anything that could make me laugh must have been good...
BEST CONCERT/BEST CD
Shockingly, I only just realised that this has been a year where I don't think I've been to a single concert or bought a new CD... I will have to remedy that soon... Any suggestions as to what I should be investing my money in?
Usually try a variety of ales on holiday but this year, since our holiday was in Turkey there weren't that many decent ales on offer. I quite like their Efes Pilsner, although most beg to differ, but the best new ale I had this year (forgetting old favourites like Duvel and Hoegaarden) was Hilden Halt which I had in the John Hewitt earlier in the year... It tastes like alcoholic milk chocolate (very alcoholic at 6.1%) so it is to be sipped verrrry slowly... Since Living Social has now transformed to a voucher-site, I use Ratebeer to keep track of the ales that have taken my fancy... But its a bit serious for my liking, so if anyone has any other suggestions I'll be glad to hear them...
BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE
Last year I was lauding the Kindle as the best piece of technical kit I bought last year... Sadly... towards the end of the year my beloved Kindle Keyboard suffered the catastrophic screen problems that seem to be endemic in such items, causing much guffawing among wood-pulp-loving luddites, but even in 22 months I had got my money's worth out of it... in ink costs if nothing else, as I now rarely print anything. So I went to Amazon to see what they could do, despite it being out of warranty. Within 3 minutes of loggin my problem on line, they had phoned me back so I could speak to a real person, and had a new kindle en route at the reduced cost of 2 ink cartridges! It is the basic grey model, but if anything I prefer it to my previous one.
This customer service was a complete contrast to that experienced twice at the hands of Carphone Warehouse and Yodel... I won't go into details again for fear that my facebook friends unfriend me... and that I radically affect my bloodpressure.
This one is a bit difficult. My bloglist on the right is dominated by the big American blogs that everyone seems to be reading, though I largely have them there just to keep tabs on where American evangelicalism is is lurching, given that it disproportionately influences the rest of the world church. The best of the American crop, from my perspective is Rachel Held Evans, who has become almost ubiquitous on the blogosphere. There are friends like Stocki and Faith in Ireland consistently turning out great stuff from an Irish perspective, while Connexions is a constant companion on the journey... But my favourite funny recent discovery is the Anglican "Tea and Cake or Death"... Only came across it in the wake of the women bishops debacle... anyone that can find anything funny in that has to be good! (Sorry WhyNotSmile... distinct lack of regular blogging precludes you retaining your award this year, despite a late entry... though I am intrigued as to your promised plans for rectifying that!)
Anyway... that's it... Let me know what you think, or point me towards your lists of 2012...
And with that I'll probably take a break for a day or two... But I'll be back before we're too far into 2013.