When I took a reporting job in Las Vegas six years ago, I knew I would report on some crazy stories. What I didn't know, is that I would meet someone who would introduce me to some of the greatest stories I'd ever read, watched, or listened to. My first week on the job, I worked with Kris Oman, a photographer with a borderline disturbing amount of pop culture, literature, music, and movie knowledge.
Over the next few years, at Oman's recommendation, I was reading everything from critically acclaimed works such as Pillar's of the Earth to vampire paperbacks like 13 Bullets. Since leaving Las Vegas, my bookshelves and ticket stubs have suffered and I've repeatedly asked him to quit his job and become my full-time guide to all things entertainment. For some reason he doesn't believe this would be a great career choice.
Instead, he came to San Diego for a visit and as a friend of the blog, is offering up his list of the 15 must see, must read, must listen to choices for all things books, movies and music.
1. Book you’d recommend to a stranger?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (author of Coraline) - “It’s got everything, horror, romance, all encompassing. It’s about being human, growing up, going through life and making changes.”
2. Best book you’ve ever read?
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov - “The book is a puzzle, a total puzzle. He creates this world within a literary device. It opens in a poem and more is revealed as you read.”
3. Favorite pop culture, or “easy read” book?
"Anything Steven King or Dean Koontz"
4. Last book that made you cry?
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach - “It was so moving in the end. The main character makes a full circle, falling in love and getting wants he wants in life, and then loses it - yet he grows up and becomes stronger because of it. And there’s characters that support him and love him, like a family. Whether you’re alone or not, there’s always people out there who support you. You have to remember that.”
5. Best book made into a movie?
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy - “It was such a literal interpretation, but came off so well. They captured the tone and narrative of the story without going overboard. It even ended like the book ended.”
6. What is the one movie you don’t want the next generation to miss?
Shawshank Redemption - “Way better than most movies in the 90’s. More profound than Pulp Fiction, a better movie than Forrest Gump, and shows the resilience of man. He’s a guy not guilty of his crime and not only did he make out better in the end, but he took another guy along with him.”
7. Movie you didn’t want to see, but ended up loving?
The Descendants - “Really wasn’t interested at first, but it was awesome. George Clooney’s best performance.”
8. Movie you loved, but don’t want to admit it?
Roller Ball - “I would never say I would see it again, but I liked it when it first came out.”
9. Favorite foreign/independent/no one has ever of heard of movie?
Upstream Color - “One of the greatest things I’ve seen in a long time. It’s an independent flick. One of the most brazenly original movies. It's science fiction rooted in a down to earth, human narrative.”
10. Movie you can’t wait to see?
American Hustle - “Easily American Hustle. I think director David O’Russell is on a roll right now, especially after Silver Lining’s Playbook and The Fighter. He brings out great performances in all his actors. Really an actor’s director.”
11. Favorite band in the last ten years?
Queens of the Stone Age - “They just rock. A great rock band with great straight ahead rock. Albums keep progressively getting better and better, I love them.”
12 The group that will keep playing long after we’re gone?
Black Sabbath - “Everyone says the Beatles, but my Beatles are The Black Sabbath. All the way.”
13. Who puts on the best live show?
U2 -”It’s the one band I recommend everybody should see before they die. They sing all of their greatest hits and those hits span generations. Everyone can see them and love them.”
14. Best music to chill to?
Cannonball Adderly -”It’s jazz, big fan of jazz. Johnny Coltrane and John Hartmen are good too. For classical you can go with Brahms Lullaby. In R&B, Maxwell Embrya is great to sleep too. Very relaxing”
15. The one song you can’t live without?
Little Red Corvette by Prince - “It’s one of the most perfect songs ever written. A great chorus, I don’t know, just a perfectly constructed song.”