My Favorite Things
Looking back at a year(!) of columns in this space, I worry that I may have been too negative, dear reader.
So today is dedicated to things I love and want you to love, too.
Best book: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
The title, I know, sounds morbid and problematic, but Eugenides weaves a discomfiting exercise in leering male voyeurism into a beautiful, poetic novel about the power of perspective. Every boy in the neighborhood longs to know more about the Lisbon sisters, but they can never break through their own fantasies to the women beneath the surface. It’s a very feminist book hidden beneath the misogyny. (Sofia Coppola also turned it into a wonderful movie.)
We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together.
Best TV show: Hannibal
Nobody thought this TV show would be any good.
And yet, Hannibal defied all the critics — a luscious, lavish show full of pregnant pauses, philosophical divergences, and pornographically tasty food. It begins as a police procedural and somehow, by the third season, morphs into a Byronic romance.
“We could socialize, like adults. God forbid we become friendly.”
“I don’t find you that interesting.”
Best movie: Watchmen
I cannot forget my enduring love for probably the best movie Zack Snyder ever made (or will make). It’s largely a panel-for-panel recreation of Alan Moore’s incredibly good graphic novel, but I love that it’s unapologetically dystopian, and that its heroes can exert themselves through brute force but are impotent in every other way that matters. It is the superhero movie where no one is a hero — and its lessons are forgotten in today’s hailstorm of franchises.
The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists, and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout, “Save us!”
And I’ll whisper, “No.”
Best video game: Final Fantasy XII
I love the high fantasy of Lord of the Rings, but it is rare to encounter that same sense of epic scale in a game. But Final Fantasy XII drops us in the middle of a world on the brink of war, where the average man’s quest to find himself honestly just doesn’t matter very much. And that’s the beauty of it. Couple that with gorgeous art direction, a top-quality script, a highly intuitive battle system and an endless amount of things to do, and you have the game I have long held closest to my heart. It finally is receiving an HD remake this year, and at long, long last, I can go home again to Ivalice.
Hating the Empire, getting revenge … it’s all I ever thought about. But I never did anything about it. I mean, I realized there was nothing I could do. It made me feel hollow, alone. And then … I’d miss my brother.