Apart from building sets for the Neuse Little Theatre, I have no longtime hobby, which is to say my interests change with time.
In my 30s, I was an avid collector and reader of contemporary Southern writers Clyde Edgerton, whos a hoot; Howard Owen, a fellow journalist; and Randall Kenan, now an associate professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Later, baseball became a passion. One summer, between the Carolina Mudcats, Kinston Indians, Durham Bulls and Wilson Tobs, the Bolejack family must have seen 30 baseball games. We still see about 10 a year.
For a brief while, I enjoyed cooking, especially baking, though I never got particularly good. Id like to get back in the kitchen if I can ever find the time.
Lately, my hobby has been movies, especially well-reviewed films, though the kid in me cant resist Iron Man and Star Trek, and Ill be the first in line for the next Star Wars film.
For reviews, I rely heavily on The New York Times, which is useful because it tries to review every new release. I have also found reviews in that paper to be reliable. Another source for reviews is The Wall Street Journal; any movie well received by both the Times and the Journal is sure to be on my must-see list.
In 2013 (and early 2014), I must have set a personal record for movies seen in a year. This past weekend, my wife and I completed our quest to see every Best Picture nominee; we caught The Wolf of Wall Street, a good but lengthy film. My wifes personal favorite among the nominees was American Hustle; I was partial to 12 Years a Slave.
Captain Phillips was suspenseful, and Tom Hanks probably deserved an Oscar nod. Gravity was intense, Her was a bit odd, Philomena was heart-wrenching. Matthew McConaughey was great in Dallas Buyers Club; ditto for Bruce Dern in Nebraska and Sandra Bullock in Gravity.
Not every good movie this past year got an Oscar nod. In particular, my wife and I enjoyed The Spectacular Now and The Way, Way Back.
Im not sure how long my movie hobby will last; its possible to have too much of a good thing, I suppose. But 2013 was a good year for films, and Im glad I went along for the ride.