A Year Watching Pictures: The Best Films of 2012


The past year has been discussed as a marvelous year for cinema, one that showcased some of the finest work that’s been done since the banner year of…2007. That’s a five year gap between epic years of celluloid, with ’07 bringing forth such spectacles as No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Into the Wild, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Longest Movie Title in History, Ratatouille, Juno, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Tim Burton’s Mind…okay, so the first two were fantastic, and there were a bunch of other great movies, and something about a guy who can only blink through the entire movie, but his blinks are in French! which makes it awesome. Oh, and that was also the year that gave us Academy Award nominee Norbit.

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One Last Ride on the Wheel of Time: Review of “A Memory of Light”


Imagine, if you will, that you are cordially invited to the opening of a new theme park. Let’s say for the purposes of this metaphor that this new wonderland of amusement is called “Robert Jordan’s Fantasyland”. You arrive at this theme park eager to check out all of the new rides, having been to previous such parks as Middle-Earth, Narnia, and the World of Shannara. In this particular theme park, there are fourteen rides and one ducky pond (helpfully titled “New Spring”) for your enjoyment, but while visiting this park, you must ride the rides in a prescribed order, so as to fully maximize your experience. At the same time, some of the rides are continually under construction, so you don’t really have a choice except to follow the park’s guidelines (even though you can see some of these rides from a mile off and already know what’s up). Also, each ride has a boarding cost of $7.99, except for the mysterious ride #14, which is $34.99, but from what you can see from the street, looks incredibly awesome.

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Breaking Down the Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 Ballot: A Lack of Results

Earlier today, the BBWAA made a strong statement regarding the Steroid Era by choosing not to elect a single member to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In the process, they also rejected 37 candidates for election to the Hall.

You might say that those two statements are one and the same. Well, after doing some thinking about the subject, analyzing several differing articles and opinions online, and drawing my own conclusions (opinions, I realize, but opinions grounded in educated facts), it is my conclusion that the two are unrelated.

Allow me to explain.

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Recorded Conversations: New Favorites from 2012

Welcome to “Recorded Conversations,” an occasional feature where all the Addison Recorder editors contribute their thoughts about a question, idea, or prompt. Everyone will chime in, and then we see where the conversation wanders.

To ring in the New Year on the Recorder, we look to our recent past and ask “What new thing (or things) that you discovered in 2012 has become one of your favorites?”


I’ll be honest right off the bat: 2012 sucked. Well, sucked might be too strong of a word, but it was less than I would have hoped for.

With that being said, I did get to experience a great many new things, and enjoyed most (if not all) of them. One thing I’ve noticed while reading Alex’s and Andrew’s responses is that while we’ve all experienced a great deal of the new over the last year, a great deal of it is centered in our love of all-things nostalgia. And there is nothing wrong with this; there is so much amazing output of artists in any given year, it is utterly impossible to take it all in, let alone the works that were put out in years prior. One of our missions here at the Addison Recorder is to highlight works that we feel might not get their proper praise, while illuminating more popular works in a way that they might not have been properly exposed in modern media culture.

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I Dreamed a Dream…Kind Of: Two More Responses to “Les Miserables”

(Note: The following reactions are recorded here because somehow myself, Andrew, and Alex all went and saw this movie on the same date. Needless to say, we all had differing reactions and viewpoints. Andrew’s response can be found here. I have since taken the liberties of providing Alex’s response, for reasons that should be immediately understandable. You’re welcome, Earth.)


1) I came into Les Mis a complete virgin to the musical. I was aware of the plot, and had seen the 1997 movie with Liam Neeson, Geoffery Rush, and Uma Thurman, or as it’s collectively known amongst theatre people, the one based on the book that otherwise has nothing to do with the stage show. (Work that out in your heads as you will.)

Consequently, I approached this with a fresh eye and a mostly fresh ear. I must admit, I’ve heard “I Dreamed a Dream” before several times, but I knew that it dealt with how sucky it gets to be Fantine during that first third of the movie. In addition, I’d had the epic trailer shoved down my throat several times as I took in several movies this year. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having Anne Hathaway shoved down your throat, but there’s only so much of a starving waifling that I can take before it starts to get mildly irritating. Because of this, I feel like I came into the movie with a mindset prejudiced against any possibility the film had of succeeding.

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Breaking Down the Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 Ballot Part 3: Once and Future Kings


The wonderful, and terrible, about the Baseball Hall of Fame is that it inspires instant debate and conjecture about the relative worthiness of present-day players for consideration. All it takes is ten seasons of play to be eligible for the ballot, though you do have to be nominated by two members of the committee in order to receive such a distinction. As we’ve seen with the current edition of the ballot, this is more often than not the hardest honor to receive (Rondell White, you guys!). I would like to make a note that it is, in fact, a great honor just to be on the ballot, and means that you must have done something of note during your ten years in the leagues.

The problem with projecting players into Hall of Fame consideration is that a great deal of it is based upon forecasting statistics, which necessarily requires throwing several tangible and intangible factors out of the window. A player might get horribly injured, losing his fastball; a player might prematurely age, losing his ability to catch up to a fastball; Albert Pujols might get traded to the Rockies, leading to a gabillionty more home runs than he would have otherwise hit.*

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Breaking Down the Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 Ballot Part 2: The New Blood

A good portion of my reasoning for breaking down the Hall of Fame ballot this year (beyond providing reasonable analysis for all twenty of our devoted Recorder readers) is strongly driven by nostalgia. Ballots from the past years have slowly started featuring the players that I identified with growing up (Barry Larkin! Barry Larkin! Barry Larkin!), and when I look over the names appearing on this ballot for the first time, the realization strikes me that I was up in arms about every single one of the players for one reason or another. Whether it was making cracks about Julio Franco’s age while he was still producing at a reasonable clip for the Braves or wondering exactly how many Flintstone’s Vitamins I would have needed to take to look like Sammy Sosa (Answer: All of them, only replace chewable vitamins with testosterone pills shaped like Dino the Dinosaur.), these are the players of my youth, and a sign that we are all sure as shootin’ getting older. Call it the Boys of Summer Effect.

Which is why the fact that these are the ballots the Steroid Era is mildly upsetting to me.

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Breaking Down the Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 Ballot Part 1: The Old-Blood

The NFL Hall of Fame is in Canton. The museum is rather fun, and the hall enshrining the individual busts of players past and present is appropriately filled with dim lighting. It’s like an old gallery of ancient Rome, if all Romans were hulked-out on ‘roids, overweight, or just downright psychotic. (Maybe not too big a stretch to think about.) The Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame is somewhere in Massachusetts, and should receive a great deal of credit for enshrining, well, everybody. That being said, the Hall itself leaves much to be desired. I hear that the NHL has a Hall of Fame, where they can someday lay the carcass of the NHL when the sport’s owners have finished pilfering the body for vital organs and valuables. And let’s not get started on golf.

In all of American sports, there is only one Hall of Fame that truly weighs heavily over the entire sport that it is devoted to, a grand building situated in an idyllic town in upstate New York that can only be reached by driving through rolling hills and leafy forests. It is one hour from any major airport and features one massive hotel; there are more than enough accommodations in small cabins and bed and breakfasts surrounding the beautiful lake, as well as wide array of museums and small town charm. (I once took part in a peaceful protest against the Iraq War out front of the local post office!)

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Something’s Fishy in Miami: An Addison Recorder Editorial

It feels like the baseball season ended (months ago) just yesterday, but already the winter spree of free agency and mega-trades has begun. Torii Hunter will now roam (right/left) field for the Tigers, while David “Who?” Ross has joined the Red Sox as their back-up catcher.

All right, it was a slow week for news. Beyond that election thing and some football nonsense.

However, it’s never too early in the season for a Major League franchise to make professional fools of themselves.

Currently, the Miami (Florida) Marlins have completed a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays that would give the Marlins shortstop Yunel Escobar and a small horde of prospects in exchange for the contracts of shortstop Jose Reyes, the expiring contract of John Buck, utility speedster Emilio Bonafacio, starting pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buerhle, mascot Billy the Marlin, three cases of Louisville Sluggers (weighted 34 ounces), a couple of boxes of pirogues, and a cast recording of “Sunday in the Park with George” from 1985, featuring Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patimkin.

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Our Place in Time: Reviewing ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Skyfall’

Getting out to the movies at this time of year can feel a bit like a crapshoot. It can also feel immensely overwhelming because of the glut of studio product that gets dumped out in time for Oscar consideration. Consequently, those of us who are less on the affluent side are forced to pick and choose between the wealth of cinematic offerings available at your local multiplex. (Similar to what happened with Chicago theatre in the fall season, where at any given point, Sunday in the Park with George, Black Watch, Sweet Bird of Youth, Metamorphoses, and Good People were all playing, amongst dozens of other offerings. Chris Jones attributed the outpouring of high quality theatre to there being ‘something in the water’. I attribute it to a bunch of quality theatre artists working in concert all at once in an effort to collectively blow the minds of the patrons attending these wonderful institutions, all the while dynamiting my checking account with discount offers that are just fine if you’re seeing one or two shows, but not between five and ten. Coincidentally, there will be spaghetti for dinner at my household for the next week and a half.)

Therefore, when I was presented with both a day off and a discounted price for attending a matinee and not just one but TWO high profile releases, I was presented with my first conundrum of the fall season: should I attend Steven Spielberg’s latest docudrama Lincoln, featuring Daniel Day-Lewis and a host of character actors reenacting the last third of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s wonderful biography Team of Rivals? or should I attend the 23rd James Bond movie Skyfall, featuring Daniel Craig as the venerable 007 going up against the psychotic Javier Bardem on an island off of Macao?

The short answer was simple: why not both? And so that is what I did. Tickets in hand, I stepped into the River East multiplex in Downtown Chicago, popcorn at the ready, to take in these two winter offerings.

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