Dilettante's Diary

Notables of 2006

Who Do I Think I Am?
Index: Movies
Index: Writing
Index: Theatre
Index: Music
Index: Exhibitions
Artists' Blogs
Index: TV, Radio and Misc
APRIL 23, 2021
MARCH 12, 2021
FEBRUARY 13, 2021
JANUARY 5, 2021
Autumn Mysteries 2020
Aug 12/20
May 25/20
Apr 30/20
March 12/20
Dec 6/19
Jan 29/20
Nov 10/19
Oct 24/19
Sept 30/19
Aug 2/19
June 22/19
May 26/19
Apr 22/19
Feb 23/19
Jan 15/19
Dec 20/18
Dec 3/18
Oct 3/18
Sept 9/18
Aug 9/18
July 19/18
June 2/18
May 14/18
Apr 23/18
Feb 22/18
Dec 13/17
Nov 22/17
Nov 3/17
Oct 5/17
Sept 21/17
Aug 3/17
June 16/17
Mar 21/17
Feb 26/17
Feb 9/17
Jan 30/17
Dec 19/16
Dec 11/16
Nov 20/16
Sept 17/2016
Aug 21/16
July 17/16
June 29/16
June 2/16
Apr 23/16
Feb 28/16
Feb 1/16
Jan 27/16
Winter Reading 2016
Dec 15/15
Nov 19/15
Fall Reading 2015
Oct 29/15
Sept 16/15
Sept 4/15
July 29, 2015
July 1, 2015
June 7/15
Summer Reading 2015
May 19/15
Apr 30/15
Apr 19/15
Spring Reading 2015
March 23/15
March 11/15
Winter Reading 2015
Feb 20/15
Feb 8/15
Jan 29/15
Jan 20/15
Highs 'N Lows of 2014
Dec 19/14
Dec 2/14
Nov 10/14
Oct 29/14
Fall Reading 2014
Sept 17/14
Summer Reading 2014
Aug 22/14
Aug 8/14
July 11/14
June 16/14
May 28/14
Apr 30/14
Apr 16/14
Apr 2/14
March 21, 2014
March 13/14
Feb 11/14
Sept 23/13
Favourite Works: 2004-2013
Two Novels by BARBARA PYM
Sabbath's Theater by PHILIP ROTH
July 18/13
Summer Reading 2013
June 19/13
May 30/13
Spring Reading 2013
May 10/13
Apr 18/13
Mar 29/13
March 14, 2013
The Artist Project 2013
Feb 25/13
Winter Reading 2013
Feb 7/13
Jan 22/13
Jan 12/13
A Toast to 2012
Dec 19/12
Dec 16/12
Dec 4/12
Fall Reading 2012
Nov 17/12
Nov 6/12
Art Toronto 2012
Oct 23/12
Oct 4/12
Sept 28/12
Summer Reading 2012
Aug 26/12
Aug 8/12
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2012
July 14/12
June 28/12
May 27/12
May 20/12
May 4/12
La Traviata: Met's Live HD Version
Apr 21/12
Apr 6/12
Mar 22/12
Mar 9/12
The Artist Project 2012
Academy Awards Show 2012
Feb 26/12
Feb 11/12
Jan 23/12
Jan 15/12
Jan 7/12
Dec 20/11
Dec 12/11
Nov 27/11
Nov 18/11
Nov 7/11
Art Toronto 2011
Oct 22/11
Oct 17/11
Sept 30, 2011
Summer Reading 2011
Aug 11/11
July 28, 2011
July 19/11
TOAE 2011
June 25/11
June 20/11
June 2/11
May 14/11
Apr 29/11
Toronto Art Expo 2011
Apr 11/11
March 24/11
The Artist Project 2011
March 11/11
Feb 23/11
Feb 7/11
Jan 21/11
Jan 17/11
Dec 21/10
Dec 6/10
Nov 11/10
Fall Reading 2010
Oct 22/10
Summer Reading 2010
Aug 9/10
Aug 2/10
TOAE 2010
July 16/10
The Shack
June 27/10
June 3/10
May 5/10
April 17/10
Mar 28/10
Mar 17/10
The Artist Project 2010
Toronto Art Expo 2010
Feb 22/10
Feb 3/10
Notables of '09
Jan 11/10
Dec 31/09
Dec 17/09
How Fiction Works
Nov 24/09
Sex for Saints
Nov 11/09
Oct 22/09
Oct 6/09
Sept 18/09
Aug 23/09
July 31/09
July 17/09
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2009
Toronto Fringe 2009
Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate
June 28/09
June 6/09
Myriad Mysteries 2009
May 10/09
CBC Radio -- "The New Two"
April 14/09
March 24/09
Toronto Art Expo '09
March 1/09
The Jesus Sayings
Feb 8/09
Jan 26/09
Jan 10/09
Stand-outs of 2008
Dec 24/08
Dec 4/08
Nov 16/08
Oct 27/08
Oct 16/08
Sept 26/08
Sept 5/08
July 21/08
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 08
July 5/08
June 23/08
June 4/08
May 18/08
May 4/08
April 16/08
March 26/08
Head to Head
Feb 26/08
Feb 13/08
Jan 30/08
Jan 17/08
Notables of 2007
Dec 30/07
Dec 8/07
Nov 22/07
Oct 25/07
Oct 4/07
Sept 18/07
Aug 29/07
Aug 8/07
Summer Mysteries '07
July 20/07
June 28/07
June 8/07
May 21/07
May 2/07
April 14/07
March 23/07
Toronto Art Expo 2007
March 8/07
Feb 16/07
Feb 2/07
Jan 24/07
Notables of 2006
Dec 27/06
December 11/06
November 28/06
Nov 8/06
October 14/06
Sept 22/06
Ring Psycho (Wagner on CBC Radio)
Sept 6/06
August 12/06
July 18/06
June 27/06
June 9/06
May 23/06
Me In Manhattan
May 2/06
April 12/06
March 17/06
March 9/06
Feb 16/06
Feb 1/06
Jan 11/06
Dec 31/05
Dec 12/05
Nov 25/05
Nov 4/05
Oct 24/05
Sept 7/05
Sept 16/05
Sept 1/05
Aug 10/05
July 21/05
Me and the Jays
July 10/05
June 15/05
May 18/05
April 27/05
April 18/05
April 8/05
March 21/05
Feb 28/05
Feb 21/05
Feb 4/05
Jan 28/05
Jan 19/05
Jan 5/05
About Me
Dec 20/04
Dec 5/04
OTHER STUFF: Art Exhibitions, Concerts, etc.

It’s getting a bit late for the kind of "year-end-wrap-up" that has already appeared in most of the media. But we do things differently here, don’t we? That’s why you read Dilettante’s Diary: you know you’re getting a different approach to things.

NOTABLES of 2006

I always think these "best" and "worst" lists are pretty fatuous. I mean, who can claim to make such absolute judgements about works of art? But it occurred to me that it might be fun to list the books and movies that I found most notable – for good or bad reasons – in 2006. The exercise might draw your attention to something worthwhile that you missed earlier. (I’m not including the other art forms – plays, concerts, etc. – because I don’t attend enough of them to give a fair sampling of the year’s offerings.)

No question about My Favourite Movie of 2006. Everybody who follows Dilettante’s Diary knows that Little Miss Sunshine led the pack by a mile. (See review DD Sept 6/06) I came to the movie virtually unprepared, so it was a delightful surprise for me. Unfortunately, that’s probably not possible for you now. There is always the danger that people will expect too much of a movie that’s been highly hyped. Still, several readers of Dilettante’s Diary who saw the movie after my recommendation agreed with my rave review. A few people were less enthusiastic. That’s ok. You’re allowed to disagree with the opinions expressed here, as long as you don’t mind being wrong.

Another movie that I loved and That You Might Not Have Noticed was a Belgian film L’Enfant. (DD April 12) Gritty, touching and unexpected.

For Crass Fun there were: Matador (with Pierce Brosnan’s scum bag character, Feb 16) and Borat (I need say no more, Nov 8).

And there was Very Good Viewing in: A Prairie Home Companion (Robert Altman’s swan song, June 27), The Queen (Helen Mirren, of course, Oct 14), The History Boys (a teacher-student love-in but with superb acting, Dec 11), The King (a weirdo played by the charismatic Gael Garcia Bernal, June 9), Stranger Than Fiction (Will Ferrell’s stunning debut as a serious actor, Dec 11), Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones trying to solve the murder of a Mexican wetback, March 9). And two very successful showbiz bios: Walk The Line (Joachim Phoenix as Johnny Cash, Feb 1) and Dreamgirls (about a group like The Supremes, Dec 27).

The Most Notable Movie Failure for me was Brick (May 23). Apparently, you were supposed to know that this treatise on kids and drugs was made by a bunch of young people on a shoestring. You were supposed to applaud their efforts. Even the New Yorker critic took this indulgent (condescending?) approach to it. Me, I just take a movie for what it is. It doesn’t matter what the movie makers were trying to do. All I care about is what they have accomplished.

Which gives me an opportunity to rant about the approach to film criticism/appreciation that has mainly to do with what the film makers intended. Many people admire a movie on the basis of where the directors or writer is coming from. I guess they consider this to be the sophisticated approach. They’ll applaud the director’s attitude. Is she politically correct? Does he provide much-needed roles for middle aged women actors? Great, then we’re all for his or her movie! Is this a movie by a woman who is delving into issues that have never been explored in film before? Then, good for her, we’ll promote her film. It doesn’t matter whether she explores them effectively or whether she has created a good film. The point is that she’s in the right place as a person.

This was my problem with The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (Sept 22). We were apparently supposed to sit in reverential awe at this lengthy (oh-so lengthy!) and solemn depiction of Inuit culture. It didn’t matter that the story-telling was a mess, that you could barely tell what was going on. The important thing was that this was a very noble effort.

No. I don’t evaluate movies that way. To me, it either works as an on-screen drama or it doesn’t. No amount of preparation or background regarding the director’s intentions is going to convince me that an unwatchable film deserves my praise.


Turning to books and writers, the Outstanding Discovery was definitely Raymond Carver for two collections of short stories Where I’m Calling From and Cathedral, both reviewed on the November 8 page. (I’m only about 20 years late with this find.) I’ve never met a writer who serves up life so raw and fresh, just as it is.

The Most Enjoyable Read award goes to John Katzenbach for The Analyst (July 18). One of the best mystery/thrillers I’ve read in a long time.

A couple of the Most Engaging Non-Fiction books I read this year were Misquoting Jesus (May 23) and Skeletons on the Zahara (Aug 12). I had some questions about the veracity of the latter but it makes for a fascinating look at an aspect of human experience that’s barely imaginable for most of us.

The Glad-I-Didn’t-Give-Up award goes to If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (March 9) – strangely off-putting at first but very rewarding in the end.

In the Hilarious Non-Fiction department The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid edged out Too Close to the Falls. The latter started out great but began to sound too contrived towards the end.

Other notably Good Reads in the fiction department were: Everyman (Nov 28), Terrorist (Nov 8) The Sea (Nov 28), Saturday (March 17), Paula Spencer (Dec 27) and At Mrs. Lippincote's  (Dec 27).

My Most Disappointing read of the year would have to be A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (Dec 27). Seems I just don’t have a Ukrainian sense of humour.

you can respond to: patrick@dilettantesdiary.com