Josh Liam Patrick-Riley

I used to write songs, now I'm trying my hand at writing books.

Category: Uncategorized

Top Movies of 2016

Hey everyone, with the Oscars tonight I thought it was time for another top ten list.

As a disclaimer I haven’t seen all of the movies from 2016 that I want to, and the movies that could make it onto here somewhere include:

Hell or High Water, Elle, Fences, Toni Erdmann, O.J.: Made in America, Nocturnal Animals, Hacksaw Ridge, Kubo and the Two Strings, Silence, The Red Turtle, Loving, I Am Not Your Negro, American Honey, and The Handmaiden.

Next up are the honorable mentions. Some of these were closer to making the top ten than others, especially the first two:

Doctor Strange, Jackie, Captain America: Civil War, Moana, Deepwater Horizon, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Southside With You, and Rogue One.

Then we have the runner up, almost made my top ten but just missed it:

Nice Guys – This movie is awesome. A classic buddy cop type movie but done in a way you haven’t seen before. It zigs when you think it will zag, and I especially loved not being able to predict what would happen next. Great, great writing and I wish more comedies were like this.

10. The Lobster – It’s very weird and definitely not for everyone (when I saw it in the theater multiple people walked out), but also very smart as it explores the depths that people will change themselves in order to win over others. Also, while it may be hard to believe but Colin Farrell is capable of being a good actor, this movie is proof.

9. Zootopia – More than just a great animated film, there’s a real element standing against prejudice and stereotypes. I’m hopeful the movie can influence the younger people who see it for the better.

8. Eye In The Sky – The best depiction of moral ambiguity I’ve seen, and a brutal reminder of the peripheral consequences when drone strikes are used to fight terrorism. A war movie for the 21st century.

7. 20th Century Women – As always I love Greta Gerwig, but this film has tha “Years later they would realize” type of narration that I haven’t seen done this well since Y Tu Mama Tambien. An instant classic about feminism, punk rock, and with characters that feel very real.

6. Arrival – Science fiction as it should be. I loved this and am hopeful we can have more movies like it going forward. Amy Adams is incredible.

5. Lion – I don’t want to spoil this movie even though it’s based on a true story, but if you can watch it without feeling anything then you are a robot. Pure and simple.

4. Hidden Figures – Loved everything about this, inspiring and a hard reminder that what we learn about history is only what those creating the narrative want us to know.

3. Moonlight – Very, very well done and it’s very easy to understand why this has been so well received. A little slower in its pacing which kept it from being higher for me, but I was blown away by the uniqueness and bravery of this movie.

2. Manchester By The Sea – One of the most powerful movies I’ve ever seen. The type of movie that you see once and sticks with you for years.

1. La La Land – I know this movie is divisive, but it’s been a few years since I loved a movie as much as I loved La La Land. The visuals, the score, the heartbreak, I loved all of it.

Thanks for reading and let me know your top movies!

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My 50 Favorite Things

I know that if I want to write interesting characters for my novel I have to also know myself, here are my favorite things in no particular order:

  1. Seeing a good movie
  2. Ice water with lemon and lime juice
  3. Popcorn with frozen Junior Mints or peanut M&Ms
  4. Laughing
  5. Writing a song
  6. Barbecue chicken
  7. Visiting another country
  8. Being around friends you love
  9. Steak
  10. Playing music for people
  11. Finishing a good book
  12. The smile of and being close to a beautiful woman
  13. A Manhattan
  14. An Old-Fashioned
  15. A good pilsner
  16. Hearing a great song for the first time or the first time in a while
  17. Good conversation
  18. People fighting for what they believe in
  19. Underdogs
  20. Chips and salsa
  21. A sandwich with a good sauce
  22. Garlic bread with marinara
  23. Great acting
  24. Great writing
  25. Being a geek
  26. Gin and orange juice
  27. Seinfeld
  28. Breaking Bad
  29. Star Trek
  30. Star Wars
  31. Lord of the Rings
  32. Indiana Jones
  33. Completing a task
  34. Groundhog Day
  35. Relaxing
  36. Elliott Smith
  37. Nirvana
  38. The Beatles
  39. The Who
  40. James Bond
  41. Gummi bears
  42. Actual bears
  43. Dogs
  44. The Great Gatsby
  45. Seeing work you did go to help feed an animal or help a plant grow
  46. Fresh fruits and vegetables
  47. The perfect song during the credits
  48. A night lit only by stars, streetlamps, or a skyline
  49. My family and especially my little brother
  50. Seeing how many things in the world are pretty fantastic

Project Cardinal

I woke up and couldn’t open my eyes.  A light warmed my eyelids but while I tried to pull them apart I wasn’t strong enough as there was something keeping them closed.  I didn’t know where I was, who I was, what year I was in and found that my legs and arms were secured to a bed preventing any kind of movement, but despite all this I felt an immense sense of calm.  My shifts in the bed must have been noticed as a few seconds later a woman’s voice said, “He’s awake, get the doctor.”

The voice was assertive but soothing, I knew I had heard it before but whatever time that was felt foreign and from another life.  At the very least from what she said I knew I was a man, but how old and what I looked like would have to come later.  For now while I couldn’t see I could hear and smell everything around me; the hum of the light making my eyelids look red, muffled voices behind some kind of wall, and a slight scent of perfume as one pair of footsteps stopped at a door that quickly opened and left the room while the other came closer to my right side.  There was a sound of fabric softly meeting legs as the perfume smell came closer and the woman knelt by me, then her voice spoke and said, “Good morning Rouge, I’m glad we get to meet again.”

So my name must have been Rouge, or at least that’s what I was being called now.  I could swear it was something else, but instead of answers a haze filled my mind with vague memories.  As I lay there turning my name over I heard the door open again followed by footsteps ending in front of my feet.  “Alright Rouge,” it was a man’s voice drawing out each word with precision, “Nurse Geneca, it’s time.”  Then the nurse brought her hands to my face, I felt the texture of powdered gloves with a smell of chemicals as her fingers pressed lightly to the corners of my eyes.  There was a lift of pressure and after a moment of resistance whatever held my eyes shut was lifted.  The voice of the nurse at my side then confided gently, “You can open your eyes now Rouge.”  Hoping that seeing the world around me would end the haze I had found myself in I opened my eyes, and the new freedom along with every color in the room was beautiful.

I met the eyes of the woman Geneca who had set me free; she was young with dark hair that fell down to her shoulders in waves.  She and the doctor wore light blue uniforms and as she undid the charcoal straps holding my arms and legs she gave me a slight smile.  The doctor was older with white hair and then walked to my side with a glowing device that he used to emit a soft green light into my eyes, after a moment he was satisfied and stepped aside as if to let me see the world.  There were all sorts of intricate tools on a table beside me, a mechanical being colored silver was where the doctor had been and made more analyses of my body before disappearing through the door.  I sat up a bit and saw I was wearing a shirt and pants made of a crimson cloth, brighter than any other color I had seen yet.  Through the window I saw sunlit clouds flanking a cyan and yellow sky behind hundreds of cars flying in both directions.   The feeling of wonder wasn’t something I remembered having before, that was a haze and these visions colors came through lucid and clear.  The doctor then spoke again, “Rouge how are you feeling?”

I didn’t know how to put it into words, every breath felt sweet, every sound melodious, and every sight a mending of textures and colors with each detail unique from the last.   “I feel…” I paused as I looked around again and breathed the air, “like I’m alive for the first time.”  I then looked over to the doctor who had picked up a rectangular device from the table beside me and made a note with enthusiasm.

He then said with a smile, “Glad to hear that Rouge, sounds like our improvements worked out perfectly.”

I searched my mind for an answer but again found nothing, so I asked, “What improvements?”

Then a second voice at the end of the room answered, “A chance for you to see the hope and beauty in the world that from what I believe you hadn’t seen before.”  The man was younger than the doctor but still looked to be somewhere in his 50s, unlike the others however he wore a suit and tie which would be a simple black and white if not for having a tie the same color of crimson I was wearing.

The man in the suit went on, “Doctor Flannikan and Nurse Geneca here have done a great job, and through this connector right here,” he tapped a finger to a device at his temple, “I’m linked to what you’re seeing right now and wow.  It.  Is.  Beautiful.”  He had a look of achievement as if a great project had been completed, but while I knew Geneca and Flannikan were my nurse and doctor I had no idea who this man was.  The man must’ve sensed this as he answered my unspoked question, “Rouge my name is Savillon Miller and you’ve been a special project of mine for oh about six months now.” I then noticed the patch on the pockets of Geneca and Flannika that said Project Cardinal as he continued, “Your name used to be James and like many others you only saw ugliness and suffering in your life, but now with the new bright vibrant way you’ll be seeing the world I thought the name Rouge would go well with all those colors you’re going to enjoy, don’t you think?”

At that moment was another clouded memory where someone was calling me James, but as fast as it came my mind changed back to the world around me and he went on.

“Rouge this is your chance to be reborn and live more fully than you could have ever imagined, that’s why I want to now welcome you to your world and life thanks to Project Cardinal.”  As he had been talking, Doctor Flannikan had handed over his device and the man called Miller had taken his place at my side.  There was a roughness in his voice but also a sense of confidence and knowledge, as if he had learned many lessons over the years but each one had come with a part of his youth.

I didn’t remember becoming a part of any of this but with how I knew it was different I had to believe something had happened, so I had to ask, “Mr. Miller?”

“Please, call me Savillon,” he answered.

“Mr. Savillon,” I said making a note to myself, “how is all of this working and changing the way I see world?  Why can’t I remember anything when all of this now is so bright and vivid?”

He knelt at the side of the bed as he picked up the bandage that had covered my eyes, “Rouge all of your questions will be answered in time, but for now all you need to know is we’ve given you enhancements so you can see how beautiful the world really is.”  He then picked up a mirror and said, “Here, I want to show you something,” putting it into my hand.  “Take a moment and look at who you are.”  I lifted the mirror to my face and I must’ve seemed baffled as Savillon said, “That means your implants are working, you’ll learn to control them in time I promise.”

I looked to Savillon and then back to the mirror but saw the same color, my eyes were glowing a bright green and I was about to find out why.