Year in review

Highs, lows — and a graceful exit

It's my final column of the year and, for that matter, the new millennium — not to mention of all time.

Unless it isn't.

I'm so confused.

Anyhow, let's look at the highs and lows of 2012 — not that you have much choice if you're going to continue reading. And thank you for that — for continuing to read since 1984 (!).

•My 10-or-so favorite movies of the year: "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Flight," "Lincoln" (I also liked "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"), "Moonrise Kingdom," "Not Yet Begun to Fight" (documentary at Florida Film Festival), "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," "Ruby Sparks," "The Sessions," "Seven Psychopaths."

•Most boring and/or disappointing movies of 2012: "Prometheus," "Magic Mike," "The Master," "Hyde Park on Hudson," "Arbitrage," "The Deep Blue Sea." The latter won a New York Film Critics Circle award for Rachel Weisz, playing a stupid, weepy woman who chooses poorly in both husband and lover categories.

•Movies I did NOT want to see this year: "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Avengers," "The Amazing Spider-Man," "Men in Black 3," "Twilight" stuff, "John Carter," "Wrath of the Titans."

•Best older movies I saw in 2012: "Liberty Heights" and "The Last Picture Show," "Black Orpheus" and "Tokyo Story." I'd seen "Picture Show" many times but never with Cloris Leachman, one of the stars, present (during the film festival). The other three I had never seen, and I loved them all.

•Favorite movies of all time: "Fargo," "Auntie Mame," "L.A. Confidential," "Hoosiers," "Songcatcher," "All About Eve," "Moonstruck," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Aliens," "Nashville," "Notting Hill," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "Departures," "Paper Moon," "A Passage to India," "Pelle the Conqueror," "The Purple Rose of Cairo," "Rebecca," "Shakespeare in Love," "The Remains of the Day," "Born Yesterday," "Ragtime," "Splendor in the Grass," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Short Cuts," "Some Like It Hot," "Strangers on a Train," "Babette's Feast," "E.T.," "The Silence of the Lambs," "Secrets and Lies," "Schindler's List," "Tootsie."

•Favorite actor of all time: Bette Davis.

•Favorite TV shows: "The Amazing Race," "Breaking Bad," "CBS Sunday Morning," "Downton Abbey," "Enlightened," "Episodes," "The Good Wife," "Homeland," "The Hour," "Jeopardy!," "Justified," "Mad Men," "Parenthood," "Real Time With Bill Maher," "Revolution," "Smash," "Treme," "The Walking Dead."

•Favorite TV show of all time: "Lonesome Dove."

•Favorite live shows: cabaret acts at Winter Park Playhouse; "Carousel" as part of an Orlando Philharmonic series; the Civil Wars; Iris DeMent; Patti LuPone; Cirque du Soleil's "La Nouba" (for the umpteenth time); John Prine.

•Coolest new club: Jazz Tastings in Maitland (of all places).

•Favorite local plays: "Sunday in the Park With George," "Next to Normal," "August: Osage County," "Billy Bishop Goes to War" and "The Pitman Painters" at Mad Cow Theatre; "Cymbeline" at Orlando Shakespeare Theater; "Songs for a New World" at Theatre Downtown; "Fosgate, Ferret Loan Officer" at the Fringe Festival.

•Favorite New York plays: "Peter and the Starcatcher" and "The Heiress."

•Not-so-good local play: "Hedda Gabler" at Mad Cow.

•Not-so-good touring show: "La Cage aux Folles."

•Favorite restaurants: Hillstone, Chipotle, Brick & Fire, 903 Mills, Truffles, Theo's, Prato, Enzo's, Antonio's, Infusion Tea.

•Dining trends that make no sense to me: food trucks and cupcakes.



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