RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,
RS
rainbowstevie

2020 Reading/Movie List

Standard rules apply: Bold means I loved it, italicized means I really liked and would recommend it, plain text indicates anything from "good" to "meh," and strikethrough means it was awful. Titles link to my Goodreads reviews.

* = reread or rewatch. [NF] = nonfiction

BOOKS

January (4)
1. A Glitter of Gold - Liz Johnson. 2019. [1/5]
2. The Last Woman in the Forest - Diane Les Becquets. 2019. [1/11]
3. The Red Leather Diary [NF] - Lily Koppel. 2008. [1/17]
4. People Like Us - Dana Mele. 2018. [1/23]

February (7)
* 5. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott. 1868. [2/2]
6. Good Omens - Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman. 1990. [2/15]
7. A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett. 1905. [2/16]
8. This Is Home - Lisa Duffy. 2019. [2/26]
9. I'd Rather Be Reading [NF] - Anne Bogel. 2018. [2/27]
10. Dear Mr. Knightley - Katherine Reay. 2013. [2/28]
11. Rubbernecker - Belinda Bauer. 2013. [2/28]

March (10)
12. The Swiss Affair - Emylia Hall. [3/3]
13. Lady and the Tramp - Ward Greene. 1954. [3/4]
14. The Mother-Daughter Book Club - Heather Vogel Fredericks. 2007. [3/11]
15. Little Men - Louisa May Alcott. 1871. [3/14]
16. Love At First Bark - Debbie Burns. 2019. [3/21]
17. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett. 1910. [3/23]
18. 100 Best Books for Children [NF] - Anita Silvey. 2004. [3/27]
19. The Mermaids Singing - Val McDermid. 1995. [3/28]
20. Much Ado About Anne - Heather Vogel Fredericks. 2008. [3/29]
21. The Wire in the Blood - Val McDermid. 1997. [3/31]

April (13)
22. The Last Temptation - Val McDermid. 2001. [4/2]
23. Horse - Talley English. 2018. [4/5]
24. The Torment of Others - Val McDermid. 2004. [4/10]
25. A Sparkle of Silver - Liz Johnson. 2018. [4/12]
26. Beneath the Bleeding - Val McDermid. 2007. [4/13]
27. Fever of the Bone - Val McDermid. 2009. [4/16]
28. The Retribution - Val McDermid. 2011. [4/17]
29. Cross and Burn - Val McDermid. 2013. [4/21]
30. The Possibility of Now - Kim Culbertson. 2016. [4/23]
31. Rob&Sara.com - P.J. Petersen & Ivy Ruckman. 2004. [4/24]
32. For Real - Alison Cherry.  2014. [4/25]
33. Splinter the Silence - Val McDermid. 2015. [4/27]
34. The Summer After You + Me - Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. 2015. [4/30]

May (10)
35. Everyone Is Beautiful - Katherine Center. 2009. [5/2]
36. Nature Girl - Jane Kelley. 2010. [5/3]
37. Insidious Intent - Val McDermid. 2017. [5/5]
38. The Lost Husband - Katherine Center. 2013. [5/9]
39. The Shadow Year - Hannah Richell. 2013. [5/10]
40. The Coming of Saska [NF] - Doreen Tovey. [5/17]
* 41. Mandrake Root - Janet Diebold. 1946. [5/19]
42. You'd Be Mine - Erin Hahn. 2019. [5/25] (I CAN'T BELIEVE I LET THIS DUD RUIN MY EXCEPTIONAL READING MONTH)
43. Juniors - Kaui Hart Hemmings. 2015. [5/28]
44. Lion Boy's White Brother - Alden G. Stevens. 1951. [5/31]

June (12)
45. Path of the Jaguar - Vickie Britton & Loretta Jackson. 1989. [6/1]
46. Mascots: Military Mascots from Ancient Egypt to Modern Korea [NF] - Fairfax Downey. 1954. [6/2]
47. From You to Me - K.A. Holt. 2018. [6/3]
48. The O.C.: Spring Break - Aury Wallington. 2005. [6/4]
49. Cats in the Belfry [NF] - Doreen Tovey. 1957. [6/5]
50. Sorry Not Sorry [NF] - Naya Rivera. 2016. [6/7]
51. Burying Water - K.A. Tucker. 2014. [6/14]
52. How The Dead Speak - Val McDermid. 2019. [6/16]
53. Echo Island - Edward Karlow. 2017. [6/17]
54. Confessions of a High School Disaster - Emma Chastain. 2017. [6/18]
55. Happiness for Beginners - Katherine Center. 2015. [6/25]
56. Semiprecious - D. Anne Love. 2006. [6/26]

July (8)
57. Kentucky Daughter - Carol J. Scott. 1985. [7/8]
58. What They Always Tell Us - Martin Wilson. 2008. [7/9]
59. Bobby's Watching - Ted Pickford. 1993. [7/10]
60. The Visitors - Simon Sylvester. 2014. [7/17]
61. Powwow Summer - Nahanni Shingoose. 2019. [7/21]
62. Dandy's Mountain - Thomas Fall. 1967. [7/25]
* 63. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares. 2001. [7/29]
64. The Princesses of Iowa - M. Molly Backes. 2012. [7/29]

August (9)
65. The Distance From Me To You - Marina Gessner a.k.a. Nina de Gramont. 2015. [8/5]
* 66. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood - Ann Brashares. 2003. [8/8]
67. Becoming Rain - K.A. Tucker. 2015. [8/9]
68. The Guest List - Lucy Foley. 2020. [8/19]
69. Living Large in Our Little House [NF] - Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell. 2016. [8/24]
70. Where Have All the Tigers Gone? - Lynn Hall. 1989. [8/25]
71. And Both Were Young - Madeline L'Engle. 1983 edition (1949 originally). [8/26]
72. I'm Your Biggest Fan [NF] - Kate Coyne. 2016. [8/27]
73. The Other Side of Lost - Jessi Kirby. 2018. [8/29]

September
74. The Vow - Jessica Martinez. 2013. [9/4]
75. Moon and Me - Hadley Irwin. 1981. [9/9]
76. Littler Women: A Modern Retelling - Laura Schaefer. 2017. [9/12]
77. Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls - Lynn Weingarten. 2015. [9/16]
78. Behind The Attic Wall - Sylvia Cassedy. 315 pg/1983. [9/20]
79. You Deserve Nothing - Alexander Maksik. 2011. [9/25]

October
80. History Is All You Left Me - Adam Silvera. 2016. [10/6]
81. The Museum of Heartbreak - Meg Leder. 2016. [10/17]
82. Adrift [NF] - Tami Oldham Ashcraft w/ Suesea McGearheart. 1998/2018 edition. [10/26]


================
MOVIES

January
1. Little Women, 2019, PG, 2:15 [1/7, 1/28]
I'm still working through some feelings about it. But I tentatively think it is the thing my heart had needed ever since the magic of the '94 edition was broken when I realized I recognized all the characters as famous actors.

2. Poseidon, 2006, PG-13, 1:38 [1/25]
Titanic 2: Cruise Ship Boogaloo. (But on a serious note, that was STRESSFUL and I had to cheat and peek ahead on Wikipedia while watching. Terrifyingly good effects in terms of both the ship going down and the very-borderline-for-this-rating bodies strewn everywhere.  And bonus Mike Vogel/Emmy Rossum face pairing! Even if the former hasn't quite grown into his full adult Rugged Handsomeness yet. I can't believe I never heard of this movie when it was new.)

3. The Remains, 2016, R, 1:32 [1/26]
The reviews are horrible, but I really enjoyed it? Some of the acting/dialogue was cringe, but I got so spooked I had to stop watching toward the end and come back in daylight. Plenty of the scares and things I like in haunted house movies. Also, bonus Samuel Larson looking weirdly fetch as a Bad Boy boyfriend. I also really loved the teenage daughter, despite her being what I normally hate about teens in fiction.

February
March

4. A Little Princess, 1995, PG [3/8]
I wish I had the same childhood attachment to it that so many do, but it was a lovely little story. That took lots of liberties with the original material. But again, cute story, thanks!

5. Fluke, 1995, PG, 1:36 [3/9]
Is the story good? Not really. But the dogs are SO BEAUTIFUL and expressive and Nancy Travis is in it and I love her too.

6. The Tribes of Palos Verdes, 2017, R, 1:44  [3/13]
About what I expected: a feel-bad film, but one with beautiful cinematography, a vaguely 70s feeling to the wardrobe and set design that is hard to pin down but very pleasant to see, and Jennifer Garner being excellent (along with brief cameos from several other excellent adults).

April
7. The Collector, 2009, R, 1:27 [4/2]
Death House! Death House! But also 85 minutes of awful, gruesome, and irreedemable torture porn that I only watched because apparently Josh Stewart's association w/ Criminal Minds was enough to make me love him here, despite my not caring about him on that show.

8. The Secret Garden, 1993, G, 1:41 [4/3]
Even without a childhood attachment, it turns out I love this. Where ALP had a clear wide-release Hollywood feel to it, this had the cozy warmth of a true family film, the kind I checked out constantly as a kid. The sets were gorgeous inside and out and the cast was stronger. It was a joy every minute, not to mention moving a bit faster than the book while otherwise being relatively faithful, and I felt any changes were for the better.

9. The Outcasts, 2017, PG-13, 1:31 [4/5]
MY FACE HURTS FROM SMILING.

10. Band of Robbers, 2015, unrated (possibly PG-13?), 1:35 [4/6]
Bizarre. I respect the take on modern-day Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer (now with extra murder), but Modern Tom was so irritating he dragged down the TV-star-studded cast. I will say that Melissa Benoist plays a darling Becky Thatcher and Matthew Gray Gubler gets to do what he loves best: be an absolute weirdo.

11. Sun Dogs, 2017, PG-13, 1:30 [4/7]
Another and worse film where Melissa Benoist is by far the best part of it. I loved her sweet and naive trailer park character and I'm gonna have to find myself a novel to cast her in. The rest is varying shades of boring and annoying.

12. Rogue, 2007, unrated but would be PG-13 + a few F-bombs, 1:39 [4/8]
That sure is a Big Crocodile movie all right. But the special effects are good, plus Michael Vartan's hot and there is a cute dog and one of them survives, so! All in all, a serviceable action/suspense film. P.S. wow does young Mia Wasikowska look like Greta Thunberg, to the point of distraction.

13. 68 Kill, 2017, THE HARDEST R, 1:36 [4/15]
This is an irredeemable piece of garbage which unfortunately has one redeeming feature: Matthew Gray Gubler in every type of scene you could possibly want from a wide-eyed, pure of heart and lovestruck naif (who is unfortunately guided by his dick), including a number I am not ready for.

14. Jusqu'au déclin (The Decline), 2020, R [4/22]
Oof. That was...that was a scary and quick devolve into hellbent murder, wasn't it. I guess I would recommend it as a suspense/thriller film, though the dub is annoying, but I hate the unreliable rules by which non-American movies play[spoiler for a death](ANTOINE WAS CLEARLY SET UP TO BE OUR ENDURING HERO? WTF?? You can't just change leads in the middle like that?? She should have led from the start, is what I'm saying, as the far more charismatic character).
----------
15. Lost Girls, 2020, R, 1:35
[4/24]
A bit heavy-handed in its message, and maybe not the most awesome idea to make a true crime movie where the serial killer has yet to be identified (yes I know the point was to focus on the victims/this family; still works better if you know), but some superb acting all around, especially from my new fave youngster, Thomasin McKenzie. (also JESUS the continuing real life tragedy in that family...)

16. The Bad Nun, 2018, R [4/26]
Shut up, shut up, shut uuuuup with your annoying noises and stop taking 47 seconds to stare at a door or exit a room. This movie is so, so stupid and horribly acted.

17. Extraction, 2020, R [4/29]
Yes, this was certainly a movie that happened. With nonstop murder and other violence but without anything interesting.

18. Billy Boy, 2018, HARD R [4/30]
Such a dumb/gross/weird movie that is utterly horrible except for every scene that Melissa Benoist is in, being the definition of sweetness and light and pulling off ADORABLE young love.

May
19. Dangerous Lies, 2020, PG-13 [5/2]
SO GOOD! Did not love the relationship, but otherwise, holy crow what is everything awesome a film could have. Suspense, action, a gorgeous old house (later inherited by windfall in my favorite trope), Elliot Gould, Sasha Alexander...

20. Open Graves, 2009, R [5/3]
So it's like Jumanji...but more bloody. Excellent premise and a couple of great faces, undercut by the unnecessary amount of gore and generally stiff acting.

21. The Falling, 2015, unrated but probably R [5/5]
WTF was that, other than slow, boring and/or annoying?

22. Across the Hall, 2009, R [5/7]
A trio of splendid actors almost makes this exciting to watch, but it ultimately forgoes suspense in favor of a jerky timeline and too many artsy shots that drag the pacing down. Still more worth a watch than not, but only if you really like Brittany Murphy, Mike Vogel and/or Danny Pino.

23. Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, 2016, PG, 1:46 [5/9]
YES! That is the kind of movie I needed. Horses, an otherworldly realm, a young girl on a magical quest, lots of great actors, and a beautiful soundtrack. Super disgusting bad guy, but otherwise, at age 9 this would have been my favorite movie ever.

June
* 24. The Help, 2011, PG-13, 2:27 [6/9]
I'm not great with the being told not to do things, so I immediately decided I was in the mood to see this again after all, and it was even more enjoyable than I remembered. Every character is golden.

25. Time Trap, 2017, PG-13, 1:27 [6/10]
DUDE. That was epic. I wanna see this on the big screen.

26. Step Sisters, 2018, PG-13, 1:48 [6/17]
Not 100% sure if it made good or bad points about race/equality/appropriation, but it was hecking fun and I got to see a lot of really awesome dance, Eden Sher being her trademark awkward adorable self in the strangest context, and a whole bunch of super pretty ladies being great. If you've run out of Bring It On and/or Pitch Perfect movies, this should definitely be your next watch.

27. Legends of the Hidden Temple, 2016, PG, 1:08 [6/17]
Really wish I had ever seen the game show this is based on, rather than only heard of it. Because this was already a fun way to spend an hour or so on a slly kids' movie, but it sure feels like a super-on-point translation from game to script, and I bet I could have been even more delighted by the tie-ins.

* 28. Secret Obsession, 2019, PG-13 6/20]
After reading Burying Water, I simply needed to relive the whole "Mike Vogel + injured amnesiac love interest" thing directly in front of my eyes. I felt exactly the same way as before: it's a terrible movie that is made delightful to watch because he's in it.

29. 12 Strong, 2018, R, 2:10 [6/20]
Pretty enjoyable, though the horses were not as prominently featured as I had hoped and without Chris Hemsworth I don't think I would have had a good time. I agree with the reviews saying it's too long/repetitive, plus the execution scene seemed very gratuitous.

July
30. Good After Bad, marked 2017 but really 2020, PG-13 [7/17]
Technically I did not enjoy the scenes without Billy Burke as much as the rest, and yet...it was all that I wanted, it was more than I thought it could be. There were so many hugs and Excellent Faces and Emotions. Be a star that shines like a fire at night!, I hoped against hope, and it WAS. You're a supernova, supernova, glad to know ya. (Now if someone could just get me a copy of that song, and/or a steadier-voiced cover, I would at last be content.)

31. Do You Know Me?, 2009, PG-13 [7/18]
Had some trouble buying 29-year-old Rachelle as 22 at first, but a whole movie of her being gorgeous and wearing even more gorgeous clothes? Hell yes; also please give me 25 more hours of her and Izzy bein' adorable sisters.

32. Prom Wars: Love is a Battlefield, 2008, R [7/18]
Cute but silly nonsense (rated R for F-bombs mostly) that I think you have to be younger to genuinely enjoy. Way too many montages. However, it is jam-packed with pretty people, including Rachelle Lefevre, although I think she's trying to play even younger here than in the above movie (I never really understood who Sabina was supposed to be -- a neighbor/former classmate & public-school girl?) and she is definitely not convincing as a teen.

33. McCanick, 2013, R [7/18]
This movie is so slow. And boring. And weird. Mike Vogel gets taken out a third of the way through and aside from one brief worth-it hospital shot afterward, that is where I recommend you quit also.

34. Ticket Out, 2011, PG-13 [7/19]
While serviceable as a thriller, the thrills are mostly muted. Abusive Dad (hey there Billy Burke) is menacing but doesn't do enough on screen to make you understand the impulsive and wild crime spree his ex-wife goes on to escape, no matter how many thrashing nightmares cute bb Colin Ford has.

35. The Captive Nanny, 2020, PG-13 [7/24]
Exactly what you'd expect from a terribly written and acted Lifetime thriller like this, but I enjoyed watching Karynn Moore run around looking like an Amy Adams impersonator, basically as wide-eyed and naive as AA in Enchanted.

36. Fear Island, 2009, PG-13 [7/26]
HARPER'S ISLAND: COLLEGE EDITION, IS THAT YOU?? I mean, slightly less high caliber. But only slightly. No less entertaining.

37. My Teacher, My Obsession, PG-13, 2018 [7/27]
Oh my god this is my crack. My exact brand of crack.

38. Knives Out, 2019 [7/27]
Waaay too slow to start, but eventually it gets as exciting as people say. Though I did expect more knife action.

39. Triple Frontier, 2019 [7/27]
That is indeed a fine group of well chiseled rugged ex-soldier-type men, doing action-y stuff. Way more successfully than the two I've recently seen Chris Hemsworth in. Charlie Hunnam is kicking you soundly, sir.

August
40. Little Women, 2018, PG [8/2]
OH MY GOD. This is not technically as impressive as the wide-release film of 2019, but I swear, this modern-day setting brought me no less joy.

41. A Champion Heart, 2018, G [8/3]
Because sometimes you just want to watch B-grade acting and lots of very pretty horses in a paint-by-numbers kids' horse movie.

* 42. A Knight's Tale, 2001, PG-13 [8/25]
SIMPLY THE BEST! After all this time, always. Lines permanently imprinted on my brain.

43. Fantasy Island, 2020, PG-13 [8/31]
Slow start, with way too many gross party scenes, but eventually it amps its way up to fairly exciting, if confusing. I actually forgot I rented this movie 60% because of Mike Vogel, and when he showed up I was all a-squee, though I had to laugh a little because OF COURSE he was playing a soldier.

September
44. Gaslight, 1944, PG equivalent [9/5]
I can't believe I watched an entire SUPER OLD black and white movie, voluntarily, and enjoyed it...but it was on TV and Mom started watching it, and Ingrid Berman is really pretty, and before long I just wanted to punch that dude so hard in the face, I simply couldn't leave until he got his come-uppance. (also: baby Angela Lansbury! Who nevertheless definitely seemed older than 18)

45. Session 9, 2001, R [9/6]
Didn't realize how old this was, so SURPRISE DAVID CARUSO: Tolerable In The Face Department edition! For that aspect alone, I bet I would have liked this movie more in college. Otherwise: incredible setting, decent premise, not so great in the character department (bunch of crass blue collar dudes on a work crew = zero personality; also that boring ol' chestnut, demonic possession).

46. The Lost Husband, 2020, PG-13 [9/8]
Pretty faithful adaptation, at least in the beginning (by the midway point it feels like they realized they were running out of time and had to cram in a lot more pages per minute). Casting nothing to write home about aside from the aunt, but serviceable.

47. Dolittle, 2020, PG [9/11]
Extremely goofy and silly. But IDK, I feel like this charmed me in a way not dissimilar to how Paddington charms everyone else. I can get behind RDJ as a lovelorn widower, especially with Michael Sheen as a theatrical villain. Also the put-upon squirrel. ("REVENGE.")

48. Leave It To Blondie, 1945, G equivalent [9/12]
HOW did I manage to watch TWO black and white films this month?? IDK, this as one was just super slapstick and amusing. There was a cute dog. And at least half my time was spent with furrowed brow, wondering if this could possibly be related to the Blondie and Dagwood comic strip, to which I thought "surely not, how could this be based on or even have inspired a comic strip I read in the 90s??" but it definitely is. That comic is almost 100 years old at this point and APPARENTLY STILL GOING. And this was apparently just the 15th (!) in a long line of movies based on it.

49. All You Ever Wished For, 2019, PG [9/29]
ACCURATE TITLE IS ACCURATE. Sure, it's silly and cheesy - it's supposed to be - and the love interest is meh, but Darren Criss wandering around an Italian village with fluffy curls and shinier heart eyes than even Blaine Anderson is a sight to behold. And that's not even including his earlier Super Downtrodden Divorced SadBoy In Business Suit self whose dream of opening a B&B was crushed along with his dreams of happily ever after monogamy.

October
50. Adrift, 2018, PG-13 [10/4]
"This really is a love story as much as it is a survival story." Accurate, so all right I'm just gonna go cry for the next three hours. What a wonderful emotional journey.

51. 13 Ghosts, 1960, PG equivalent [10/7]
Wildly fun combination of slapstick comedy and a bit of genuine spookiness; caught it on TV and so glad I happened to have 3-D glasses handy! You can more or less see what the ghosts are without them, but they're way clearer and more detailed with them.

52. Septembers of Shiraz, PG-13, 2015 [10/21]
What an intense, incredible film. Had to give myself a history lesson before I could start (I still really don't understand what prompted the revolution), but there were so many parallel overtones to what I see about "eating the rich" on Tumblr/ONTD that it made it extra-spooky. I don't normally like Adrien Brody, but an already underfed scarecrow certainly makes for a more sympathetic prisoner.
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