From weather to the movies, 2015 was quite a ‘douzy’

December 2015 has been a wild weather month. Who knew that we would be wearing shorts on a warm, muggy Christmas Day? El Nino has been visiting the continental U.S. wreaking strange weather in our neck of the woods and tragedy in Texas with powerful twisters. Of course being in winter means that what goes up must come down. We experienced temps in the mid-to-high 70s on Christmas Day and by New Year’s Day, a 30 degree difference – that’s enough to mess with anyone’s system making them sick.

With a crazy December, will we see a January, February or March to be the opposite? I cannot help but think back to the winter of 1993 when one week folks were out in the parks and the next week, we were under nearly a foot of snow in some places. Of course, the March 1993 Storm of the Century quickly thawed ushering in a warm spring and stifling hot summer. After this ‘spring preview,’ there’s no doubt that we all need to be prepared for the temperature drop and possibly wintry weather in the next few months here in the Southeast. If one recalls, we were caught by surprise in March 1993.

What’s not a surprise is the lack of original television viewing during the last two weeks of the calendar year. While things remain quite dark in the absence of new episodes of shows such as Scandal, there’s always something great on the streaming services like Amazon and Netflix.

Over at Netflix, I enjoyed Best of Enemies, which is a documentary on the cultural polar opposites of conservative writer/publisher/pundit William F. Buckley, Jr. and author Gore Vidal. With breathtaking historical film and video, the documentary features the pair’s gripping debates during both political conventions during 1968.

In addition to Best of Enemies, Cami and I stumbled upon River, a six-part British television drama series now streaming on Netflix. The series follows a detective who deals with the visions of his murdered partner. With Netflix, it’s typically the image icon that gets me to click on the choice which contains a short description. Going on little information, we have been pleasantly surprised with River.

With time permitting, I’m trying to get through viewing the well-received Showtime series Dexter which recently ended its run. This is a treat since I do not subscribe to Showtime so this offering is quite special. I have seen an episode or two of Dexter once in a blue moon, but never viewed the series from start to finish.

Streaming video services obviously keep one in the house too much. That’s where the movies come in, but that can get quite expensive. Cami and I prefer the early show-times which are markedly cheaper than matinees and night-time showings. We needed to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I confess that I have not been into the sci-fi film series since I was about 16 when the sixth episode was released. My interest in the genre was waning after enjoying parts four and five in my childhood and adolescence respectively. In fact, the George Lucas directed films inspired my friends and I to create our own sci-fi ‘thrillers’ when we were shooting Super 8 film shorts. ‘The Force Awakens’ re-awakened my childhood/teenage interest largely due to director J.J. Abrams who mad this latest Star Wars entry and the last Star Trek film installment more than ‘accessible’ – meaning entertaining for someone who isn’t really into sci-fi.

What really made my week was seeing The Big Short. This film is a departure for Director Adam McKay who brilliantly tells the story of the housing debacle that led to a major financial crash in 2008. While most of us hardly know anything about the ‘fiscal world,’ McKay does an incredible job at explaining some tough terms. Both Christian Bale and Steve Carell deliver stellar performances in this riveting movie.

There’s no doubt that 2015 ended with plenty of excitement and it’s certain that with incredible TV, film and the U.S. presidential campaign heating up, 2016 will be mind-boggling. 

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