Reviewing 2015 via Bullet Points

I had big plans to sum up the three areas of popular culture I engage most with — music, movies, and books — into three expansive, individual posts. But who wants to read that? And do I really want to write that? Not really. So I thought I could cover the same ground with just some random bullet points.

  • The first recording worth mentioning is called Ritual Rising, from the band Swamp Ritual. Yeah, my kid is the drummer, but the CD kicks ass and I’m proud of him and Dustin (Fugere, the bass player; the band is a heavy bass/drum duo).
  • John Vaillant and Kim Heacox both wrote novels I really enjoyed (The Jaguar’s Children and Jimmy Bluefeather, respectively), but the one I had the most fun with was probably Koko the Mighty by Kieran Shea.
  • If my records are correct, I saw 29 of 2015’s movies. The first one of the year I saw was Selma. The last was The Hateful Eight.
  • I loved staying in the Goat Chalet at the North Fork Hostel in Polebridge not once, but twice.
  • Last fall, Iron Maiden, Slayer, and Motörhead all released new records within weeks of each other and they were all fantastic.
  • I read a total of 101 books in 2015. They weren’t all 2015 releases. 16 were eBooks. 11 were poetry, which is probably more than in all years prior combined. 46 were fiction. 44 were nonfiction.
  • My second favorite movie of the year was Mad Max: Fury Road. The soundtrack is also excellent and has gotten heavy rotation during my periods of writing . . . like right now.
  • I enjoyed having my father-in-law help me stalk Jim Harrison‘s house in Patagonia, Arizona.
  • Bonnie Jo Campbell‘s Mothers, Tell Your Daughters and Matt Pavelich‘s Survivors Said were my favorite short story collections.
  • If my records are correct, I purchased 25 of 2015’s musical releases. The first was Ryan Bingham‘s Fear and Saturday Night. The last was South Broadway Athletic Club by The Bottle Rockets.
  • My favorite movie of the year was Creed (aka Rocky VII). I cried from beginning to end the first time I saw it. I hope Stallone gets a supporting actor Oscar. This movie probably deserves a blog post of its own.
  • I walked out of the theater early during Furious 7 because it was so bad. And as bad as Jupiter Rising was, I think The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II was worse.
  • The best live show I saw was Nikki Lane at The Filling Station in Bozeman. Great band, fun show, and she kissed me on the cheek afterward.
  • Should I mention TV? I suppose. I really only watched three things. The most recent season of Game of Thrones (HBO) nearly jumped the shark for me, but pulled it together by the end. True Detective (HBO) was fun to heckle but probably doesn’t deserve another season. Surprisingly, Daredevil and Jessica Jones were both excellent (and both Netflix originals) and a lot of fun to watch.
  • For poetry, Mary Oliver and her book Felicity gets the nod, while I also dug Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall.
  • In my final year of work travel, it was fun to visit all the monuments in Washington, D.C. at 3 AM.
  • I don’t usually go to horror movies, but It Follows was excellent. And I usually hate comedies, but I laughed my ass off during both Spy and Trainwreck.
  • The closest my head came to exploding this year was when Dita Von Teese posted a picture to her Instagram account of herself holding Grumpy Cat.
  • Chris Stapleton got all the country music industry love for his Traveller record, which is awesome because it’s a great record and it isn’t pop country bullshit, but for countryish music my nod goes to John Moreland and his High On Tulsa Heat record.
  • Documentary films Meru, Cartel Land, and Jumbo Wild were excellent.
  • My favorite listen of the year was Psychic Warfare by Clutch. Honorable mentions go to Dying Surfer Meets His Maker by All Them Witches and Berlin by Kadavar. Which is weird, because I feel like I am losing my interest in rock, but these are all rock records.
  • In the nonfiction category (arguably my favorite overall), I really loved Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah by Anna Badkhen, and Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer, the latter not so much because it is an entertaining read as it is one that I think everyone should read.

And that’s probably enough. I hope 2015 was good to everyone; at least we all got through it. Here’s to a fantastic 2016.

Winter Solstice, Missoula
Winter Solstice, Missoula, 2015

Author: Chris

Chris La Tray is a writer, a walker, and a photographer. He lives and travels from Missoula, MT.

8 thoughts on “Reviewing 2015 via Bullet Points”

  1. Oh, I love this so very much. Great stuff here, both things I know and plenty to go run and look up. What I will comment on right now is Spy and how hard I laughed as well. Very surprisingly so. I love Melissa McCarthy, but let’s face it, her movies are often lacking. But when I spent Christmas Eve with my sister, she happened to have that from Netflix and we laughed our asses off. That was some great, well-needed levity. Her scenes with Rose Byrne (who was fabulous) were so fantastic.

    Anyway, thanks for this bunch of awesomeness. For the record, I would read the hell out of three separate posts.

    Kickass tat!

    1. Thanks, Lauren. I thought the trailers for both of those comedies looked awful. But when they were getting good reviews once they hit theaters, we took a chance. I’m glad we did. I’m glad you enjoyed Spy as well, I know you need some chuckles in your life wherever you can find them these days.

      1. I don’t even recall seeing a trailer for it, and if I did I’m sure I dismissed it out of hand. That’ll learn me. I will have to look up Trainwreck as well. And it’s funny, as much as I love a good laugh, and I DO, I still gravitate towards the serious gritty stuff. There’s gotta be a psychosis in there somewhere…

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