#TopTenTuesday

Top 10 Favorite TV/Movie Cars:

1:   The Batmobile in Batman Begins.  This counts as a car, right?  I mean, who hasn’t wanted one of these when stuck in really bad traffic?  
2:   James Bond’s Aston Martin(s).  I can’t imagine a better car to be paired with the character of James Bond.  These cars are amazingly gorgeous anyway, and then you add Bond gadgets and the legal wishy-washy-ness of being able to drink in them, and I’m sold.
3:   Eleanor in Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000 version).  
With all the cars in that movie, this one is still my favorite.  I’ve always liked mustangs, and the silver/gray/metal look is perfectly sleek.  (Although, I have a horrific memory of clutching my seat belt while riding home with my dad after seeing that movie in the theater.)
4:   Mr. Frye’s Ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  It’s red and shiny and pretty.  Mostly, I like that they stole the car for a whole day, which I imagine is every teenager’s dream if their parents have a cool car… I never felt compelled to steal our Chevy Caprice.
5:   The Winchester’s Impala from Supernatural.  Okay, it doesn’t hurt who’s IN the car.  Or that I know what’s in the trunk.  But I love the growl of the car.  And you can’t go wrong with black.  Or the tape selection for the radio.
6:   The Volkswagen on Lost.  Yeah, the car itself – not the best.  But I remember how emotional and lovely the episode was when Hurley and the gang got the thing working, and all of these old buckets make me smile now.
7:  The Delorean in Back to the Future.  It’s a car that lets you time-travel.  That’s all I could ask for.
8:   The getaway MINIs in The Italian Job.  The getaway race/chase with a herd of these little guys looked fun, dangerous, and as adorable as a car chase can get.
9:   Richard’s classic Plymouth in Tommy Boy.  It’s not the car with this one so much as everything that happens TO the car.  Again, nostalgic reasons.
10: Jurassic Park’s Ford Explorer.   I remember as a kid liking the paint job before everything turned to chaos.  Since then, every time I’m in a vehicle with a sunroof, I imagine having to brace myself against it while something comes down to attack me.

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Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday

Top 10 Favorite Monsters:

1:   Vampires.  I refer here to more the Dracula version, not Twilight.  I’ve always been interested in immortality as a curse.  However… I read Rice’s Vampire Chronicles back-to-back-to-back and never left the house, at one point got hungry. and thought to myself, “I’m hungry.  I need blood.”  Too far.
2:   The Adipose.  Doctor Who monsters count, right?  Most adorable monsters ever.  But the tooth still makes them a little creeping – and, you know, the fact that they’re made in people’s fat.  (Sidenote: I have a stuffed Adipose on my desk that’s one of my favorite things I own.)
3:   Bigfoot/Sasquatch.  
Honestly, I don’t even care about Bigfoot that much.  But the frenzy with which conspiracy theorists pursue this legendary monster is hilarious to me, to the point that friends and I once made a spoof documentary called “I Dream of Sasquatch” where our characters hunted for Sasquatch out in the wilderness, failed miserably, and ended up paying a hobo with peanut butter cups to pretend to be a Sasquatch.
4:   Pale Man.  I was just “meh” about Pan’s Labyrinth overall.  But the one image of this guy holding his palms out with the eyeballs was haunting.
5:   Xenomorph Aliens.  I love that these things are just flat-out killer monsters.  There’s no reason to have sympathy with them.  Giger’s designs have a great mix of humanoid alien and bug-ness with something completely new thrown in, and I’ve always liked the look of their nests too.
6:   The Giant Squid.  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was one of my favorite adventure stories as a kid.  I find anything with multiple legs creepy (spiders are also a problem), and tentacles reaching up from the black depths of the sea is a nightmare every time.
7:   The Gentlemen.  As a teen of the 90s, of course something from Buffy has to make my list.  These smiling, hovering, voice-stealing monsters were and are still gents who make me go “Argh” (get it?  see what I did there?) every time I see a picture of them.  Something about the juxtaposition of a monster face paired with a nice suit is really effective.
8:   Jurassic Park Raptors.  Yes, the T-rex is terrifying.  But you can see it coming.  These “little” guys are stealthy and agile and could attack anywhere at any time.
9:   The Rancor.  It would be terrifying to be trapped in its cave/cage like Luke was, but I also kinda sympathize with the guy who lost his pet once Luke killed it.
10: Jaws shark.   I’m not sure if this fictional shark really counts as a monster, but it’s one of the things that gives me nightmares.  I love sharks.  I’d jump at the chance to swim with them in a supervised environment.  But a bloodthirsty shark who kills for fun, lurking down there in the unseen depths – that’s a monster that freaks me out a bit.

Pale_Man

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday

(Oops, okay, so I’m a day late)

Top 10 Favorite Fictional Crushes:

1:   Dean Winchester.  I love this character.  Yeah, he’s pretty, whatever.  But the vulnerable HUMOR is what gets me every time.  And I too love pie.
2:   The 10th Doctor.  A lot of people like Matt Smith better, but Tennant’s Doctor will always be my favorite.  (Sidenote: My boyfriend last Halloween went as the 10th Doctor, and that was when I knew I loved him. ….I wish I was kidding more than I am.)
3:   Peter Wiggin. 
To clarify, not the teenage version in “Ender’s Game” where he’s a homicidal jerk.  But as the character develops in the Shadow-ing sequels, the complexity of his character is fascinating to me.  I honestly end up liking him more than Ender.
4:   Michael Fassbender’s Young Magneto.  I always liked Magneto and the sort of “moral flexibility” involved in the character, but the flashback to young Magneto totally sold me.  Plus, Fassbender is amazing anyway (talent, I don’t just drool over pretty).
5:   Madmartigan.  I started early with the whole bad-boys-with-comedic-timing thing, apparently.  I watched “Willow” probably once a week as a kid, not just because of Madmartigan, but he was definitely my favorite.  I also vaguely remember being jealous of his hair.
6:   Galcon.  Okay, so listing one of my own book characters is probably cheating, but still.  I created Galcon during a time when I’d pretty much given up on men, and it’s through him that I sorted out what I wanted.  (Tip:  When in doubt, create your perfect crush.)
7:   Henry Gondorff.  If you haven’t seen “The Sting,” go fix that right now.  This is my favorite Paul Newman role.  Who doesn’t love a smart-ass with a lot of heart?
8:   Sirius Black.  There’s a point at which he gets kind of whiny in the books (I can’t even remember which one), but before that I really liked his character’s nobility.
9:   Lagertha, from Vikings.  Girl crush? Hero-worship? I just want my hair like that some days?  I don’t know.  But it’s an awesome character.
10: Robin Hood, the Fox.   I have no real defense for this one.  He was my first childhood crush, however, and so has to be listed.
robin hood

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday

Top 10 Favorite Indie or Small-Pub Books:

1:   Immanent Death.  It’s sad that this author is apparently not writing anymore.  The book is out of print, as far as I can tell.  My dad lost/ruined (I think) my copy.  But this book is absolutely the best I’ve read in terms of use of language and philosophy.  Read my review. 
2:   The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree.  If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower Series, this book series is a wonderful way to fill that void.  It’s smart and funny and clever and truly inventive.  I picked the first book for this list cuz, well, it’s the first.  I’m reading the third currently.  Read my review.
3:   The Distant Sound of Violence.   This is a book that hits you in the feels.  It wasn’t at all what I was expecting and twists into a deeply emotion story about consequences.  I had to pause after reading this one and not pick up anything new for a few days.  Read my review.
4:   Beautiful Death.  I suppose a vampire book should be a guilty pleasure, but this series is so smart and colorful that it’s a genuine pleasure.  The vampire world/culture is unique, layered, and complex.  Read my review.
5:   The Zombie Axiom.  I’ve read a lot of zombie books.  This one surprised me by having likable characters and a fantasy/sci-fi twist on the genre.  Read my review.
6:   The Phoenix Project.  I love dystopian novels that say something, and this one is packed with just as much heart as it is action.  It’s tense, but happy endings are a really refreshing thing in this genre.  Read my review.
7:   Mineko.  A lovely revenge story doesn’t seem like it should be a thing, but this qualifies.  It’s also wonderful to find a male writer who can write a female character so strong and so honestly.  Read my review.
8:   The Clock Strikes Midnight.  Mystery/Murder stories aren’t my usual thing, but this book was so emotionally gripping that I hardly put it down.  And I might have cried.  Read my review.
9:  The Hand That Feeds.  Now, this book I like the more I think about it and the farther I get away from actually reading it.  The main characters are infuriating.  I kind of hated the guy and wanted to yell at him almost every page.  But, boy, is that kind of the point.  Read my review.
10:   _______.  I’ve read a lot of Nicholas Sansbury Smiths books.  I’ve read an early version of something he’s working on, and it’s my favorite of the bunch.  Assuming he ever publishes it, it will be on this list.

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday

Top 10 Favorite Black & White Movies:

1:   The Thin Man Series.  I can never pick my favorite of the series – it depends on my mood at any given moment.  But William Powell and Myrna Loy are my favorite on-screen couple of all time.  The play between these two is mostly what I love about these movies, although the murder/mystery twists are great too.
Also, this was a Halloween costume one year:  
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2:   Casablanca.  The first time I watched this (which was way too late in life, I blame bad parenting), I was shocked to find that I knew over half the lines.  I mean, everyone knows “Of all the gin joints…” but there are TONS of lines that have slipped into everyday use.  It’s also a love triangle with much bigger things at stake, and that’s refreshing.
3:   The Philadelphia Story.   I like wit.  The combo of Grant, Hepburn, and Stewart is hard to beat.  I guess technically there’s more like a love “square” with the other guy thrown in, but the main thing for me is that it’s about Tracy finding herself and not settling.
4:   City Lights.  I have so much respect for early storytellers who didn’t use, you know, speech.  Emotions are conveyed with eyes or a heavy bodily sigh.  Chaplin might have been a perfectionist control-freak (directed, wrote, produced, starred), but the results is one of the sweetest movies I can think of.
5:   All About Eve.  Great cast – and the short surprise of Marilyn Monroe.  Movies like this are always super-creepy to me.  The idea of taking someone under your wing only to have them turn on you is terrifying.  It’s like “Mean Girls” meets “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”
6:   High Noon.  Love Gary Cooper.  Love Grace Kelly.  This isn’t a typical shoot-em-up, horse-chase-heavy kind of western, but the slow suspense is great, and the actor performances really draw you in.
7:   It Happened One Night.  This is just fun.  I’ve never thought Clark Gable is handsome at all, but the unlikely romance that develops here totally works for me.  There are several moments of outright hilarity.  And of course the famous lesson in hitchhiking.
8:   The Treasure of Sierra Madre.  I always like Bogart, but his character in this movie was different than a lot of what I’d seen from him.  I particularly like the way greed and betrayal destroy everything, even more than the external dangers.
9:   Lost Horizon.  This kind of blew my mind.  I love questioned utopias, and the way this movie builds and builds with suspense is great.
10:   Swing Time.  I think this was the first Ginger Rogers movie I saw.  With Fred Astaire, she’s amazing.  Also, it has the lyric, “You take romance, I’ll take jello.”  That’s really all I need.

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

#TopTenTuesday

(This is a new thing I’m going to do every Tuesday.
I like lists.  I love “favorites” lists.
So here we go.)

Top 10 Favorite Superhero Movies:

1:   The Dark Knight Rises.  Really, you could just lump the trilogy together and list it at my #1 spot.  I thought how this one ended made it the strongest of the three.  Batman has always been dark and gritty, and the brokenness of this trilogy mixed with a bit of hope and redemption fit exactly what I wanted.
2:   Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  This surprised me.  I don’t normally root for the boyscout type, but Captain America has a lot of depth that I really enjoyed.  I really, really enjoyed the partnership with the Black Widow and the fact that it didn’t cross into a love-interest territory.  And, so often a superhero movie can be crammed with way too much to the point that nothing makes sense together (I’m looking at you, Spiderman 3), but I thought this one was just right.
3:   Guardians of the Galaxy.   I don’t care who you are, this is a great, fun movie.  I first saw this on a 4th date when he was an hour late, the popcorn was stale, and the theater was one of the worst I’ve ever been in.  But, nothing spoiled this movie for me once it started.  I didn’t really know what to expect, and I’ve definitely never laughed so hard at a superhero movie.  Also, there’s no reason I should’ve cried about a raccoon and a tree, but there ya go.
4:   The Avengers.  I was mostly relieved by how well all the previously-established characters/storylines came together.  It was interesting to see so many characters who had already been fleshed out thrown together in one movie.  I’ve always been a Whedon fan, and it was fun for all those little, recognizable quirks too.
5:   X-Men: Days of Future Past.  They had me at the use of time-travel.  And, well, Fassbender.  The first three X-Men movies were never quite what I wanted, but I loved how this “corrected” a lot of that.
6:   Nightwatch.  The most hipster thing I ever say — “You probably haven’t heard of this.”  It’s a Russian film by Timur Bekmambetov. I know this is really more fantasy, but these people can move in and out of a dimension as the forces of Light battle the forces of Evil, and last time I looked Hawkeye doesn’t have powers that super.  This is a sequel, but I liked the end so much that I liked this one more than the first, Daywatch.
7:   X-Men: First Class.  Again,  Ijust love how much better this was than the original trio of X-Men movies.  And I love a good backstory.
8:   Thor: The Dark World.  Another Marvel franchise surprise.  I don’t really like Thor, honestly.  I think the world is cool and Loki is fantastic, but Thor himself I’m just “meh” about (cue women yelling at me).  But, I let go of expecting this to be good, and I found myself liking it a lot.
9:   Unbreakable.  It’s a mess at times, but I like the use of “reality” in this one.  I feel like this is what Hancock was aiming for — a superhero set in our real world — but the slower, deeper look at discovering superpowers here I liked better.
10:   Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  A childhood favorite, largely listed for nostalgia, but it’s still fun to re-watch.

Anybody have their own list?   Comment below!

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