Like with my Favorite Books post (2016 is here), I’ve made a Favorite Movies post both in 2014 and 2015, and this year is no different. Once I had put together this list, I did notice that 2016 wasn’t a year when movies I watched became favorites immediately (with the exception of one), which has happened in the past. The movies that do pop up below were stories that stuck with me long after I watched them and may have been different from what I normally watch. Just like with the Favorite Books posts, these are movies I saw for the first time this year and not necessarily films that came out this year.
This year felt like a light reading year for me. Funnily enough, three of my four favorite books I read in 2016 were assigned for school reading, and my overall schedule actually allowed me to really read them when I needed to. I definitely had a lot of reading slumps this year, even happening as early as January, but I’ve gotten a lot better about only finishing a book if I’m really invested in the story. The online book community can go a little crazy about reading as much as possible in a year, and while I may not have read as much this year as I have before, a lot of books read in 2016 just stuck with me in that very rare, special way.
You can check out this year’s favorites below, and I also have posts on past years’ standouts as well (2014 and 2015). Remember, these books weren’t necessarily published in 2016; I just read them for the first time this year.
To be honest, the films I can get away with watching in December are some of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. Every year, once I finish finals, the week leading up to Christmas is full of bingeing all of the holiday films. A tradition I kept through all of high school and some of college was watching Notting Hill on the afternoon of my last final, and while I still usually end up watching it right before Christmas because Richard Curtis movies just make me feel all the feels, I wanted to share my favorite, solely holiday-themed films that I love to watch this time of year.
It was so fun sharing some of my own book-to-movie casting choices here and here that I couldn’t help but write about even more of the actors I pictured as certain characters when reading their stories!
1. Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo as Ifemelu and Obinze (Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
“Ifemelu was not sure when something happened, but in those moments, as Kayode talked, something strange happened. A quickening inside her, a dawning. She realized, quite suddenly, that she wanted to breathe the same air as Obinze.”
There’s a line Meg Ryan says in You’ve Got Mail that warms my heart every time. She plays a bookstore owner (can I run a bookstore when I’m retired someday?) and says, “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”
Nothing rings truer to me than this line. Obviously books from early childhood always stay with you no matter how old you are, but even more important to me are the books I chose to read from about fourth through eighth grade. At this point, you’re developing your taste in books and figuring out what you like, and if you’re anything like me, the books from this period are the ones you reread constantly.
One of my biggest pleasures is reading the physical weekend papers of The New York Times. I have an online account with the Times, so when I’m at school, I check its site on a daily basis for both breaking news and feature articles. I pass its office building in Manhattan a lot, and get a bit of chill whenever I see the newspaper’s classic font sprawled above the entrance. When I’m home, going through all of the special weekend sections is the perfect way to start my day. My favorite sections include the Sunday Styles, Arts & Leisure, Travel, and Metropolitan, and I love the “What I Love,” “Sunday Routine,” and “Modern Love” series. While I obviously appreciate NYT for the hard news it covers, its profiles of people are my absolute favorite things. I’ve talked a little bit about my love of well-written profiles, and longer profiles in magazines are great, but nothing beats a short and sweet profile in The New York Times.
I was that weird twelve-year-old who had no problem watching the nearly three-and-a-half-hour long film Fiddler on the Roof. I’ve talked about my history with the musical before, but given that I’ve not watched the film in so long because of its length, I wonder what about the film made me so captivated. There’s always that one thing you love when you’re young that’s just weird or totally unexpected for your age – for me, it was probably fairly bleak movie musicals and Shirley Temple movies. It was likely the sisters’ relationship and the joyful music that hooked me.
I’ve wanted to see the most recent Fiddler on the Roof Broadway revival since I knew the production was happening. The earliest I remember hearing about it was probably winter 2015 – maybe even towards the end of 2014? I’ve followed its cast members on Instagram, watched the Broadway.com vlogs by Adam Kantor, and read or watched any tidbits related to this production.
I’d gladly classify myself as a bit of a theater geek, so I snatched up the chance to see as much theater as possible when I studied in London last fall. In addition to seeing three musicals in my free time, I took a Shakespeare class, which included seeing three plays performed at three different London theaters.
When comparing Broadway and the West End, my winner when it comes to experience would lean towards New York, because I just think it’s on a much grander and faster scale than London. You just can’t get more theater than seeing something on Broadway.
I found London’s theater district more low-key than its American equivalent, which was a common description of London life in my experience. The people I’ve met who do find London overwhelming usually come from smaller towns or cities further away from Manhattan – meanwhile, New York City is what I grew up with, and London almost felt peaceful to me after knowing New York so well. When I was there, a lot of West End shows had Broadway duplicates, so there wasn’t much I had to see because of availability – all of the musicals I ended up seeing were also on Broadway at the time.
In the last nine years or so of regularly watching award shows, a lot of ceremonies inevitably blend together. When an Emmys ceremony once again has Jimmy Kimmel as host – or any late night comedian, for that matter – it feels like something we’ve seen one too many times. Is it because, even if it’s only happened once before, any late night host at an award show is a safe and familiar prospect? Does our (perhaps daily) habit of watching their interview or viral clips give us the feeling that we’ve seen any and all things a host is capable of?
I found Jimmy Kimmel to be a strong host of Sunday night’s 68th Primetime Emmy Awards. I’ve given up on truly critiquing an award show host simply because, in today’s TV climate, I feel that the same old jokes will be recycled, no matter who is on that stage. This leaves me with no judging system besides equating host success to few cringe-worthy moments.
No matter how old I get, the start of school is still one of my favorite times of year. It’s definitely the Hermione Granger in me, but nothing delights me more than that moment when I’ve registered for a new semester of classes and a perfectly arranged timetable appears in my student account. Returning to my campus for senior year means perks like a short walk to get iced coffee and little bumps such as the Internet not connecting in my townhouse.
However, I kicked off Wednesday morning with a visit to the IT office, so now I should have Internet access despite my location – which means more opportunities to find things for a News Worthy post!