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.

So, with that in mind, my personal discoveries of 2012:


Wes Anderson (Specifically Moonrise Kingdom and Royal Tenenbaums): I have been on record in the past as not caring for the works of Wes Anderson. While it’s an interesting mingling of theatrical and cinematic narrative that he puts onscreen, everything he’s made to date has always felt a little self-serving. My most favorite piece of his is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which is commonly held by those in the know to be one of his lesser works. (Well, phooey on you).

And then I saw Moonrise Kingdomand fell in love.

Alex has written about this effervescently charming movie to greater extent than I feel to go on here, so I’ll talk a bit about me and Royal Tenenbaums.

When I first saw Tenenbaums, I was living on a friend’s couch in Bowling Green, Ohio for the summer following my freshman year of college. I was strung out after both a break-up and a shut-down from my respective paramours at the time. While bored one night at 1 am, I chose to watch this movie I’d heard about from so many people. And I watched it. And felt that I didn’t like it. In fact, I didn’t like it so much that I was forced to walk around town at 4 in the morning trying to make sense of why I didn’t like it. When that failed, I took a short drive up to a diner in Detroit, where I tried to make sense of it again. (Back in the day before gas was $3.50 a gallon, you know. Also, I tend to make grand statements like ‘I drove for an hour and a half to a different state just to try and make sense of The Royal Tenenbaums.’ You’re all lucky I didn’t follow my impulses after watching Into the Wild the first time.) What I grasped at the time was that I saw far too much of myself in the movie at the time, and couldn’t handle it.

Now that I’ve lived a bit, and am able to distance myself better from movies (which are, after all, just movies), I find that it’s one of the most striking visual tapestries I’ve seen committed to film, wickedly funny, and horrendously heartbreaking. I just can handle it now, because like Royal Tenenbaum, I’ve become a part of my world rather than trying to pull something together against its will.

Or something like that. Where’s the nearest diner in Wisconsin?


Learning to Love Lebron James: That giant clicking sound you just heard was all of our Cleveland readers tuning out of the Addison Recorder.

Hear me out: Lebron James is the greatest basketball player of our time. Best since Jordan? Arguable. However, what cannot be argued is that in this age of the free market economy, he has every right to play wherever and with whomever he wants. Was ‘The Decision’ a bad way to go about leaving his hometown team? Probably. However, in Miami, he has been given a chance to make a basketball dynasty that we can mention in the same breath as the Shaqobe Lakers, the ‘90’s Bulls, and the Celtics and Lakers of the ‘80’s. Note that I said ‘a chance’, not a guarantee. He’s still got to win at least two more titles to be declared a dynasty leader. However, I will say that watching Lebron play basketball is at times awe-inspiring. Think back to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals last year, when he went absolutely bat-shit. In time, he’s going to be the kind of guy where we watch and say “well, I may not agree with his choices, but damn is he fun to watch.” Your move, Lebron.


Perks of Being a Wallflower: I’ll talk more about this in my “Best of 2013 in Film” piece that I keep talking about writing, but never doing. Needless to say, go see this movie if you were ever a teenager.

And, last but not least, I discovered pie. Yes, pie. More so a newfound appreciation for apple pie with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. It’s absolutely delicious. Get it. NOW.

Travis J. Cook

Travis J. Cook is the Editor-in-Chief and one of the original founders of the Addison Recorder. He writes about baseball, movies, and music, among other topics. He resides in a hole in the ground near Wrigley Field.

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