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J's Picks
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Favorite Movies
Good Will Hunting Matt Damon & Ben Afleck wrote this and won the Academy Award for it!
A heartwarming drama about blue-collar genius trying to overcome his troubled past. Shows my sentimental sappy taste.
Dead Poet's Society

Another bearded- Robin Williams (read sappy) film, about an English teacher who infuses a New England boarding school with a defiant energy, outlook and creativity. This came out the year I graduated college and I almost became an English teacher myself after seeing it.

Usual Suspects Unbelievable characters, dialog, and story. Plus, my all-time favorite "reveal" at the end.
Memento The best thing I saw at Sundnce 2001 and in the past few years period. Watch it at least twice. Truly original in format by Director Christopher Nolan. Loved it. If I write any more, I'll forget where I started... (and, Lenny has been my best Halloween costume now for a few years).
L.A. Confidential Rock-hard-boiled mystery about three cops' lives intertwining as they investigate multiple murders. This gritty-yet-glamourous portrait of postwar Los Angeles' corrupt underside is a must for noir fans. Stellar performances from a stacked cast.
When Harry Met Sally The is the all time classic and reference standard for relationship issues, and memorable one-liners.
Shawshank Redemption Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman at their best. Heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time.
Rocky A must in any video library. "Yo Adrian, where's your hat?!"
The Jerk Never fails to make me laugh. "All I need is this thermos..."
Carlito's Way One of my favorite Pacino roles, even if the critic's disagree. Sean Penn is also phenomenal, showing his range. One of my favorite love scenes with Penelope Ann Miller, when she defies Pacino to enter her apartment. Great line: "Charlie, where's my cheesecake?"
The World According To Garp John Irving's classic is so solid even the translation to film stands as solid entertainment on any scale.
L.A. Story For all Steve Martin junkies this is pure brilliance.
Donnie Brasco Johnny Depp takes you on a journey, and you won't be able to fuhgetta boutit.
Spanish Prisoner David Mamet, all time fave, does it again with a twisting psycho thriller plot that keeps you hanging til the very end.
Glengarry Glen Ross Mamet flexes his dialog muscle, every word is profoundly perfect.
House of Games Classic Mamet - plot turns, his famous dialog, and Joe Mantegna!
3 Days of the Condor Robert Redford, resourceful, romantic, and ruddy as ever.
Victory Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Pele, and Max Von Sydow. Hogan's Heroes meets World Cup Soccer. A great combination of artful soccer scenes, and Sly's thug-head repertoire. Where else can you see Pele explaining that he learned to play soccer in the streets of Trinidad with oranges. I loved it.
Crazy People David Paymer steals this picture. Hilarious scenes and humor that is still as timely as ever. Too bad Volvo has started to round out their lines.
Return of the Pink Panther Inspector Clouseau is a comedic hero. "Not now Kato", "Does your dog bite", "Do you have a room", "Minky", and my all time favorite -- "That was a Louis XVI Vase?... Not anymore."
Favorite Books
A Prayer for Owen Meany,
John Irving
What I remember most about reading this is that anyone who had read it felt like they were in the "I love this book" cult. A bonding conversation point.
Don Deilo
A (long) masterpiece. Brilliant opening section for all you baseball fans.
Ender's Game,
Orson Scott Card
You don't need to be a science fiction fan to appreciate this incredible story. Winner of the Nebula award for good reason.
Mila 18,
Leon Uris
Powerful account of the Warsaw Ghetto Jews surviving the Nazis.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being,
Milan Kundera
Kundera is my favorite author. Period. I list my three favorites here, in the order I recommend reading them. "Slowness" is also a beautiful work by him.
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting,
Milan Kundera
You'll lose yourself in these characters and stories.
Laughable Loves,
Milan Kundera
I Read this while in Prague this summer (2001), and laughed out loud too many times to count, and also had to break out the hankerchief.
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage,
Alfred Lansing
My #1 favorite action/thriller/Man vs. Nature book of all time. Friggin' unbelievable. Shackleton is my hero. I use the word "Shackletonian" now with utmost respect. I lost many hours of sleep during an epic snow storm in Tahoe last year, because I couldn't put this book down. My friends thought I was crazy.
The Long Walk,
Slavomir Rawicz
This will captivate and inspire you, much like "Endurance."
A remarkable story of the escape from a 1939 Soviet labor camp in remote Siberia, and the incredible journey thereafter.
Essential Atlas of the World,
Dorling Kindersley Publishing

My favorite travel accompaniment. This is the perfect, compact, paperback world atlas. Great maps, additional reference information, and index. I searched high and low and this is the pick of the litter. From T'bilisi to Ougadougou to Ljubjana to Nuuk. Hours of fun and learning.

From Beirut to Jerusalem,
Thomas Friedman
A definitive work on the middle east conflict and the history of the region (up to 1994). Friedman was the NY Times correspondent and bureau chief in Beirut for 10 years. He provides a concise, comprehensive background and a fascinating viewpoint. Required reading!
The Lexus and the Olive Tree,
Thomas Friedman
Friedman's views on Globalization, and the order and structure defining the new (post-cold-war) world.
Longitudes and Attitudes,
Thomas Friedman
A collection of Thomas Friedman's NYT Op-Ed columns on the middle east immediately before and after 9/11. If you missed them in the Times, here they are all in one place, and with an additional diary section. More required reading!
Stephen Bury
Combine technology, big brother, and politics, and you get this twister. Great vacation reading.
Snow Crash,
Neal Stephenson
The quintessential sci-fi look into the future, that seems to be getting less and less far-fetched. The seminal work by Neal Stephenson.

High Fidelity,
Nick Hornby

Plain old hilarious. The movie doesn't come close.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,
Dave Eggers
Despite the hype and shortage of modesty, this book lives up to it. Another cult.
Code of the Woosters,
P.G. Wodehouse
Fine British humor.
Poetry of Robert Frost,
Robert Frost
My favorite professor at Connecticut College, George Willauer, taught a seminar on Frost & Dickenson. This was our text for Frost, and is still my favorite collection of his poetry.
Paradise Lost,
John Milton
"Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden tree..." C'mon, with an opening like that, how can you resist? The tale of FREE WILL. Showing my English Major true colors. This was another favorite from college, and many re-readings. "The mind is it's own place, and can make a heave of hell, a hell of heaven." I'll say!
The Little Prince,
Antoine de Saint Exupery
As long as this is on my bookshelf or night table, I'll never feel too grown up.
Favorite Music
What 15 CDs would I bring to a deserted island?   (You bring the Classical please).
Rock Jazz
Neil Young - After The Gold Rush Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Ella & Louis
Police - Regatta De Blanc Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto
King Crimson - Discipline Nat King Cole - After Midnight Sessions
Sade - Lover's Rock Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Joni Mitchell - Blue John Coltrane - John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman
Bob Marley - Legend Ray Charles - Genius + Soul = Jazz
Genesis - Selling England By the Pound Buddy Guy/Junior Wells - Drinkin' TNT 'n Smokin' Dynamite
Led Zeppelin - Song Remains Same Diana Krall - Love Scenes
Toad the Wet Sprocket - Dulcinea Frank Sinatra - The Capitol Years
B-52's - Wild Planet The Manhattan Transfer - Swing
Soul Coughing - Ruby Vroom Count Basie & Oscar Peterson - Satch & Josh
Freedy Johnston - This Perfect World Dave Brubeck - Time Out
Guster - Goldfly Pat Metheny - Travels
Orishas - A Lo Cubano Joe Pass - Joe Pass at the Montreux
Tom Petty - Greatest Hits Grant Green - Idle Moments
Favorite SF Restaurants
House (415) 682-3898   1269 9th Ave. @ Lincoln CA/Asian.  My favorite Sea Bass in SF.
Il Borgo (415) 255-9108   500 Fell St. @ Laguna Italian.  Casual.   Try the "Lasagnetta"!
Grandeho's (415) 759-8428   943 Cole St. @ Carl
Sushi.   Try the "Bincho Maguro" (albacore)
Slow Club (415) 241-9390   2501 Mariposa St. @ Hampshire SF.   My favorite burger in the city!
Eos (415) 566-3063   101 Carl St. @ Cole Fine. Try the Mushroom Dumplings app.
Cafe Kati (415) 775-7313   1963 Sutter St. @ Fillmore
Just plain awesome.
The Meeting House (415) 922-6733   1701 Octavia St. @ Bush Down home and delicious.
Parma (415) 567-0500   3314 Steiner St. @ Chestnut Italian. My favorite lasagna in the city.
Eric's Chinese (415) 282-0919   1500 Church St. @ 27th Chinese to die for. Try the Shang Hai Chicken!
Boulevard (415) 543-6084   1 Mission St. @ Steuart
Special occasion. Incredibly good.
Delfina (415) 552-4055   3621 18th St. @ Dolores Trendy and fun. Great for a date.

© 2010  Jonathan Shambroom.  Feedback