Our Top 10

It was a crazy year. There were times when each one of us thought we wouldn’t make the 50. There were times when we wanted to quit. But we all stuck it out and accomplished 50 books and 50 films each! Here are our top 10s:

Pete’s Top 10 Books:
1. Scott Pilgrim (Volumes 1-6) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
2. Cairo by Chris Womersley
3. Sin City series by Frank Miller
4. Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast’s Guide to Brewing Craft Beer at Home by Sam Calagione
5. NOS-4R2 by Joe Hill
6. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
7. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott
8. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
9. Kick Ass series by Mark Millar & illustrated by John Romita, Jr.
10. Death And The Penguin by Andrey Kurkov

Pete’s Top 10 Films:
1. Only Lovers Left Alive
2. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
3. Oblivion
4. The World’s End
5. Jack Reacher
6. The Lego Movie
7. Wild Target
8. The Grand Budapest Hotel
9. Searching For Sugar Man
10. Moonrise Kingdom

Brigette’s Top 10 Books:
1. Girlfriend In A Coma by Douglas Coupland
2. The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
3. Sorta Like A Rock Star by Matthew Quick
4. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
5. The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest For The Courage To Settle Down by Andrew McCarthy
6. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
7. The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey
8. The Witch Of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
9. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
10. Your Voice In My Head by Emma Forrest

Brigette’s Top 10 Films:
1. Only Lovers Left Alive
2. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
3. Jack Reacher
4. Wild Target
5. The Lego Movie
6. Nancy Drew
7. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy
8. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
9. The Grand Budapest Hotel
10. Searching For Sugar Man

Morgan’s Top 10 Books:
1. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
2. The Listmaker by Robin Klein
3. Out Of The Woods by Lyn Gardner
4. The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
5. The Prophet Of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau
6. Wednesdays In The Tower by Jessica Day George
7. Turtle In Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
8. A Tangle Of Knots by Lisa Graff
9. Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
10. The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

Morgan’s Top 10 Films:
1. The Lego Movie
2. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
3. Nancy Drew
4. Saving Mr. Banks
5. Maleficent
6. Ramona and Beezus
7. The Croods
8. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
9. The Addams Family
10. Muppets Most Wanted

Gable’s Top 10 Books:
1. The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders
2. Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket
3. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
4. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
5. The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket
6. Pippi In The South Seas by Astrid Lindgren
7. Spiderweb For Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright
8. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
9. Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography by Lemony Snicket
10. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

Gable’s Top 10 Films:
1. The Lego Movie
2. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
3. Back To The Future III
4. Night At The Museum 2: Battle Of The Smithsonian
5. Paris When It Sizzles
6. The Goonies
7. Elf
8. Ramona and Beezus
9. On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
10. Vertigo

This will be our last post. We have decided not to do another year of fiftyfifty.me. We’re all really glad we did it, but felt it left little time for other pursuits. We will, however, be keeping up our Facebook page where you can join in on our annual Oscar party and keep up with what we’re reading and watching.

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The Family Reviews The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy

The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy


Pete: It was great to see this story the way we did: Almost 12 hours of epic cinematographic wonder viewed in one day by my family on New Year’s Eve. There can be no triumph without loss. No victory without suffering. No freedom without sacrifice. Recommended ales (Preferable drunk at either The Prancing Pony or The Green Dragon Inn): The Fellowship of The Ring: Plank Town Brewing’s Hobbit’s Habit Olde Ale, The Two Towers: Fish Brewing Company’s Hobbit Series Gollum Precious Pils and The Return of the King: Jester King Brewery’s Noble King Hoppy Farm Ale.

Brigette: I was really excited to share these films with the girls for our New Year’s Eve movie marathon. And after watching The Hobbit films, I am committed to reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 2015. I loved The Hobbit book and felt that the film didn’t do it justice. I can only imagine how much I will enjoy these books based on how much I love the films. Now when the girls don’t want to do something I say, “Would you rather take the ring to Mordor?”

Morgan: This trilogy was – in my opinion – better than Star Wars (which we watched New Year’s 2013). I will say that most of it was taken up by terrible wars but that’s besides the point. These films incorporated fantasy, action, humor, horror, romance and drama into three long but worth it installments. In parts, it became a little scary, in others; thrilling and in others it was even a little funny. I think these films were perfect for our annual New Year’s Eve movie marathon since they were all quite long but all still had you at the edge of your seat. I now feel the urge to read the novels to see how alike they are to the films. I have to say that I had a few favorite characters in these films. I appreciated Sam’s determination and how he stuck to his promise the whole way through. Without him, I don’t think the ring would’ve ever made it to Mordor. I though Legolas was pretty awesome (I mean, skateboarding on a shield down steps whilst shooting people with arrows isn’t like the height of awesomeness?) and Strider’s knowledge and leadership kept everyone going, I think. These films are perfect to show how war and sacrifice can change a person and how friendship can help you through almost anything…even getting the ring to Mordor.

Gable: I watched these on New Year’s Eve in a marathon and I enjoyed them all a lot. My favorite characters were Strider and Legolas but my least favorite was Frodo Baggins. Frodo wasn’t as brave as he needed to be and his flashes of evil were quite violent and unnecessary. It was still a great trilogy, all in all, and I think, although I have never read Tolkien’s books, they did a better job on these films than on the Hobbit ones.

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Morgan Reviews The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall


This is a re-read for me but I still enjoyed it as much as I did the first time around. This book is a charming story of 4 modern-day sisters aged 4, 10, 11 and 12 who go to an estate called Arundel for the summer with their widowed father. There, they make friend’s with the owner’s son and have many an adventure. This book is a great summer read with plenty of action, humor, charm and wit. I now own this book and will probably wind-up re-reading it a thousand times over.

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Pete Reviews V For Vendetta

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore


I’ve seen the Hollywood adaptation of this graphic novel. They are different versions of the same idea but the 24 years between the book and the film meant that the film was always going to that much more polished. I enjoyed the gritty nature of the book immensely and am now seeking out more of Alan Moore’s work. It raises many questions about freedom, identity, and politics. It is a must read for anyone who thinks that an individual has no influence on the government. I strongly suggest that you enjoy a Speakeasy Ales & Lagers’ Vendetta WCIPA whilst soaking in the culture of V. V’s shadow gallery is without a doubt the architectural highlight.


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The Family Reviews The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies


Pete: A film that ticks all the boxes as far as entertainment goes. I agree to it being an over-cooked version of the book, but it was far more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I’m taking this opportunity to say how much I love Yarraville’s Sun Theatre. The seats (in The Barkly Cinema) are the most comfortable I’ve ever sat in. I’d recommend drinking Epic Beer’s Mayhem Strong Ale whilst watching this 2 hour and 24 minute long movie.

Brigette: This is the only film I’ve seen in at the theater this year. This was only due to the fact that we wanted to finish up the Hobbit films before watching the Lord Of The Rings trilogy for our annual New Year’s Eve movie marathon. I have to say it was more of a relief that it was all over than a satisfying conclusion. I found that the films really cheated the book. I would recommend reading The Hobbit and giving the films a miss.

Morgan: This third episode was my least favorite of the Hobbit films. It was nothing like the book and personally I think it took too long. Towards the end, it became sad and I became teary. I am glad, however, that they included the ending of the novel at the ending of the film and that it was at least accurate to the book. I would suggest watching the film first so that you don’t have to bother the other people who are watching this film with you about how inaccurate the book was compared to the film.

Gable: The rating of the film was the only thing I didn’t think made any sense. It was only a little scary and I think rating it M is a very drastic decision. The film was intense, exciting, and saddening all at once with the concepts of war and losing loved ones heavily mentioned. But it still had a bit of humor, which is just what one needs in such a situation.

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Pete and Brigette Review Love Actually

Love Actually

love actually

Pete: I’m a proud fan of this film. It has become a tradition for my wife and I to watch it on Christmas Eve. My favorite character is Colin Frissell and he has the best line: “I am Colin! God of Sex! I’m just on the wrong continent, that’s all.” I’d recommend drinking at least a couple of Brewery’s Christmas Ales whilst watching this modern-age classic.

Brigette: This is the film I watch every Christmas Eve. I look forward to it every year. And one year I will learn to make banoffee pie.

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The Family Reviews Elf



Pete: One of the best Christmas films you could ever watch mostly because it is more about discovering one’s true self than it is about Christmas. I’m a huge Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel fan so seeing them together on the screen made it ten times better for me. My favorite quote is from Leon The Snowman: “This might be the golden opportunity to find out who you really are.” Buddy was undoubtedly my favorite character. I would suggest sipping on Rogue Brewing’s Santa’s Private Reserve Double Hopped Red Ale whilst watching this brilliant and hilarious film. Despite Buddy’s size, the house he grew up in was quite well proportioned.

ELF archi detail

Brigette: Every year on Christmas Eve, we watch a Christmas movie with the girls. We saw this one in 2010, but they didn’t remember it and decided to revisit it. I’m glad they did. It has an excellent message of keeping a bit of child-like fascination with the world no matter how old you get. It allows you to love easily, maintain a constant state of joy and really experience Christmas spirit. If you need a reminder, I suggest this little book.

Morgan: This film was perfect for Christmas! It had plenty of humor and magic for the whole family! It had a good message too: keep a little bit of a childish air about you –especially at Christmas– as it eventually brightens everyone’s day. The cast was great and it had a sweet and silly cheeriness to it that felt just like Christmas. A perfect film to watch with your family on Christmas Eve.

Gable: I recommend this film for Christmas Eve family time, like I used it. I had watched it before when I was far younger so I forgot most of it. I decided to watch it again. I soon realized that was a very good idea. It was a hilarious film and it had many things that made me tear up, made me relate, made me think, made me smile, made me cringe, and made me laugh. It was a sweet film, too, and a meaningful one, not just because it was about Christmas but because it was about joy.

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Morgan and Gable Review The Penultimate Peril

The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket

pentultimate peril

Morgan: This distressing penultimate book is probably the most confusing, upsetting, saddening and confusing book in the Series of Unfortunate Events. There is a most horrific, accidental death which I actually cried at, lots of action and mystery and an EXTREMELY disappointing ending in which you are unsure if the Baudelaire’s are noble volunteers or notorious villains. My favorite character would have to be either Dewey or Kit because they were both noble volunteers and kind human beings. This book is a great book for children or young adults who feel alone in the big, scary world or who have just entered it alone and confused. It was tough for me to read because I am almost a teenager and am a little scared of entering the world; alone or not. I would NOT suggest this book for a Christmas read as it the total opposite of merry and bright. In this case, I would take Mr. Snicket’s advice and skip reading this book. Instead, sit back and relax by your favorite pond with some quiche.

Gable: This book didn’t really answer all the questions I had about V.F.D. and the previous books in the series. It kept saying it would reveal all but it never did. It just answered questions I had never thought of asking and added more questions to the list of ones I wanted to find answers to. The book itself was the best of all the books mashed into one, which made it my favorite out of them all. It was tragic, funny, witty, exciting, scary, intense, and nostalgic, all in one. In other words, this book was horrible in some ways, but wonderful in others, just like the members of V.F.D.

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Gable Reviews Shouldn’t You Be In School?

Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket


I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It was a great way to finish up this year of reading. I will miss this challenge but I will also very much enjoy my big break. This book has something for everyone; it has romance, it has mystery, it has intensity, it has excitement, it has horror, it even has a bit of fantasy! It had me hooked from page one. It also has some really nice quotes and very poetic speeches. It’s a wonderful, meaningful, and exciting story for everyone to enjoy.

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The Family Reviews Penny Serenade

Penny Serenade


Pete: I’m still trying to figure out where the title of this film came from. It was a little drawn out and one of the most tragic stories I’ve seen from that era. It also contained one of the weirdest scenes I’ve ever witnessed when Julie Adams attempts to bathe her daughter for the first time. Being over 70 years old I wouldn’t mind seeing a modern remake of this classic. I’d recommend sipping Rhoenbrauerei Dittmar’s Rhöner Simco Serenade whilst viewing this melodrama. It was quite a shame what happened to their house in Japan.

Penny Serenade Rogers House in Japan

Brigette: This is yet another classic film screaming out to be remade. I found it a bit heavy and it made me want to hug my girls a little tighter. As a film about a marriage weathering many storms, I found it very relatable. My favorite character was Applejack; I wish we had a friend like him. Highly recommended to parents, especially adoptive ones.

Morgan: At first, this film appeared a little dull but as the it went on, it became a heart-touching story about a woman who played the records that she had been given and had bought throughout the evolution of her relationship with her husband. The ending was the most wonderful part of the film and the things before it tugged at your heartstrings and caused lumps in your throat. I liked the format of this film because it was creative, interesting and inventive…even though it was an old black-and-white film. I would recommend this film to anyone who is married or who has raised a family or who are Cary Grant fans. Even though the title doesn’t make much sense to the film, it was still quite a good film.

Gable: This film was much more interesting than I thought it would be. It was a comedic romance film for the whole family to enjoy. You never were totally sure what would happen next or how, but all the more exciting. I enjoyed the concept of how each record represented a different stage in her life and I would very much enjoy creating a modern adaptation of this film. I highly recommend this film to couples who adopted only one child and couples who are currently thinking about adoption or children of any sort but it really is a film for all.

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