Best of the Best

Over the years, our family has published a yearly newsletter during Christmas that highlights the best of the year’s media. Here is a summary of our favorites grouped by appropriate categories in the order that they were reviewed (most recent at the top).

Adult Movies/TV

Dune (2021)

The Crown (2016-21)

The Good Nurse (2022)

Hustle (2022)

Collateral Beauty (2016)

Summer of Soul (2021)

The Courier (2021)

Teen Movies/TV

The Boy and The Beast (2016)

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

American Underdog (2021)

Dear Evan Hansen (2021)

Enola Holmes 2 (2022)

Ms. Marvel (2022)

Thirteen Lives (2022)

The Ride (2020)

Family Movies/TV

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022)

Sing 2 (2021)

King Richard (2021)

Davey Crockett (1955)

Rise (2022)

Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

The Brady Bunch (1969-74)

Adult Books

Prayer in the Night by Warren ‘21

Discovering God Through the Arts by Glaspey ‘21

Visible Hand by Hennessy ‘22

Fish Out of Water by Metaxas ’21

Kid/Teen Chapter Books

Finding Buck McHenry By Slote ‘93

The mother daughter book club By Heather Vogal Fredrick**

Mr. Bacon is Fakin By Gutman ‘20**

Kids Picture Books

The Pirates Next Door By Duddle ‘12

If I Built a Car By VanDusen ‘07**

What the Dinosaurs Did at School By Tuma ‘17

**Others recommended in series

Adult Movies/TV

Most Reluctant Convert (2021)*

Man of God (2021)*

Pig (2021)*

Respect (2021)

Like Dandelion Dust (2009)

Tolkien (2019)

The Professor and the Madman (2019)

Foster (2018)

The Jesus Music (2021)

Lupin (2021)

Teen Movies/TV

Crash Landing on You (2019)

Violet Evergarden (2018)

Black Widow (2021)

Shang-Chi (2021)

Spiderman: No Way Home (2021)

The Rescue (2021)

Family Movies/TV

The Chosen (2017)*

Young Sheldon (2017)

The Mysterious Benedict Society (2021)

Soul (2020)

Luca (2021)

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

The Sandlot (1993)

Vivo (2021)

Peter Rabbit 2 (2021)

The Wonder Years (2021)

All Creatures Great and Small (2021)

Adult Books

Sex and the City of God by Weber ‘20*

Irreversible Damage by Shrier ‘21

Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

                by Hadfield ‘13

When the Church Was Young

                by D’Ambrosio ‘14

Kid/Teen Chapter Books

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

                by Robinson ‘71

Friends Forever by Hale ‘21**

A Return to Christmas

                by Heimerdinger ‘96

Unicorn Diaries by Elliot ‘19

Kids Picture Books

Big Book of Amazing Lego Creations

                By Dees ‘21

Dig Dogs Dig by Horvath ‘13**

Wolfie the Bunny by Dyckman ‘15

If I Built a School by van Dusen ‘19**

Cop’s Night Before Christmas*

                by Harrison ‘10*

* Review on

**Others recommended in series


“fur-gurator”         refrigerator

“mahtch-ka”         mamochka

                (little mama)

“bow-shka”           babushka

                (little grandma)

Adult Movies/TV

Richard Jewell (2019)

Belgravia (2020)*

Harriet (2019)

Greyhound (2020)

The Banker (2020)

Chernobyl (2019)

Ford Vs. Ferrari (2019)

Teen Movies/TV

Words on Bathroom Walls (2020)*

Cobra Kai (2020)

Mandalorian (2019)

Arranged (2007)

Family Movies/TV

Little Women (2019)

Emma (2020)

Groundhog Day (1993)

Arthur Christmas (2011)

Elf (2003)

The Love Bug (1969)

The Karate Kid (2010)

Superbook (2013)

Swallows and Amazons (2017)

Treasures of the Snow (1981)

Adult Books

Surprised by Oxford by Weber ‘13

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Callahan ‘19

Teen Chapter Books

Cry the Beloved Country by Paton ‘03

Mother Daughter Bookclub by Frederick ‘08**

Land of Stories by Coffer ‘13**

Kids Picture Books

Asterix by Ferri (1969)**

Avatar by Yang (2012)**

The Other Side of Town by Agee (2012)**

The Good Egg by John (2019)

Princess in Black by Hale (2015)*

**Others recommended in series


“by ax-ily” unintentionally

“cuz of coronaverus” multipurpose explanation

liter-ah-lly” adverb used to punctuate every statement

“braf-room” bathroom

“Hoey Insurrection” Holy Resurrection

“dem-bember” I remember

Adult Movies

Mr. Pip (2014)*

The Command (2018)

The Highwaymen (2019)

Unplanned (2019)

Green Book (2018)

Marshall (2017)

Operation Finale (2018)

Gosnell (2018)

Dickensian (2015)

Teen Movies

Instant Family (2018)

Wonder Years (TV-‘88-’93)

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (‘01-’03)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse

Family Movies

Biggest Little Farm (2019)

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood*

Klaus (2019)

Carmen Sandiego (TV-2018)

Sandy Bottom Orchestra (2000)

Mirai (2018)

Apollo 11 (2019)

Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (‘60-’90)

Adult Books

Being Santa Claus by Sal Lizard*

The Color of Water by James MacBride

Death and Life of Great American Cities

By Jane Jacobs

Kids Chapter Books

The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds**

Boys Start the War by Naylor**

Adventures of King Arthur by Punter

Journey to Center of Earth by Verne (Great Illustrated Classics)

Kids Picture Books

Truth About Crocodiles by Maxwell**

Samarai Santa by Pingk

King Baby by Beaton

Goodnight iPad by Droyd

**Others recommended in series


“afta communion” later, dude

“literally” multipurpose adverb

“took-e-a-lookie” alright!

“hoe-ee insurrection” Holy


“unt-zum” I want some

Adult Movies
Black Panther (2018)
Man Called Ove (2016)
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)
Gifted (2017)
12 Strong (2018)
All Saints (2017)
The Post (2017)
Darkest Hour (2017)
Last Flag Flying (2017)
Only the Brave (2017)


Teen Movies
Gagarin (2013)
Next Gen (2018)
Hidden Figures (2016)
Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)

Family Movies
Christopher Robin (2018)
Peter Rabbit (2018)
The Star (2017)
Leap! (2016)
Coco (2017)
Pelé (2016)

Adult Books
Saxon Savior by Murphy ‘95
Hiding Place by Ten Boom ‘71
Into the Silent Land by Laird ‘06


Kids Chapter Books
Penderwicks by Birdsall ‘05**
Vanderbeekers by Glaser ‘17**
Capital Mysteries by Roy**
Phantom Tollbooth by Juster ‘61

Kids Picture Books
The Red Racer by Wood ‘96
McFig and McFly by Drescher ‘08
Smash Crash by Scieszka ‘08**
Choo Choo Clickety-Clack by Mayo ‘05
Santas Secrets Revealed by Solheim ‘04

**Others recommended in series


“eee-guppy-ga” word for everything
“muck” milk
“cup” ketchup
“ow-tide” outside
“broom-broom” car
“tutu-twain” train
“panky-awfuls” pancakes & waffles
“fudgedator” refrigerator


Adult Movies
IP Man (2008)*
The Founder (2016)
Baby Driver (2017)
The United Kingdom (2017)
Hell or High Water (2016)
Patriot’s Day (2016)
Loving (2016)
Everest (2015)
Concussion (2015)
The Walk (2015)
Sully (2016)


Teen Movies
The Crossing (2000)
Wonder Woman (2017)
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
The Shack (2017)
I’m Not Ashamed (2016)

Family Movies
Wonder (2017)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
Queen of Katwe (2016)
Lego Ninjago (TV-2011)
Trolls (2016)
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Boss Baby (2017)
Moana (2016)

Victoria (2017)
Turn (2014)


Adult Books
Little Golden America by Ilf & Petrov ‘36
Passages Through Pakistan
by Marilyn Gardner ‘17
You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith ’16

Kids Chapter Books
Dance Class (2013)*
Malala by Corey (2016)
How to Build Your Own Country
by Wyatt (2009)
The Underground Abductor
by Hale (2015)
Child Soldier by Humphreys (2015)
Emma’s Journal by Moss (1999)
Off to Class by Hughes (2011)


Kids Picture Books
Emma and Julia Love Ballet
by McClintock (2016)
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors
by Stone (2013)
Sybil’s Night Ride by Winnick (2000)
The Boy Who Loved Math
by Heiligman (2013)
Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Povlova by Snyder ’15

*Others recommended in series

Dr. Strange (2016)
Marie’s Story (2014)*
The Letters (2015)
Life of a King (2013)
Race (2016)
A Brilliant Young Mind (2016)
Learning to Drive (2015)
Believeland (2016)
Little Boy (2015)
The Iran Job (2016)
Risen (2016)
The Young Messiah (2016)
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
Antman (2015)
The Imitation Game (2014)
The Crown (2016)
Marvel’s Daredevil (2016)

Restless Heart (2012)
Ender’s Game (2013)
42 (2013)
American Sniper (2014)
The Soloist (2009)
McFarland, USA (2015)
Jordon Rides the Bus (2010)
Linsanity (2013)
Babette’s Feast (1987)*
Great Expectations (1999)*

Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
The Monuments Men (2014)
Ragamuffin (2014)*
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)*
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)
Underdogs (2013)
The Jewish Cardinal (2013)
Quartet (2012)
Blue Like Jazz (2012)
The Intouchables (2011)
Class Dismissed (2014)

Winnie Mandela (2011)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Kon Tiki (2012)
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Lincoln (2012)
Argo (2012)
Hunger Games (2012)
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)
The First Grader (2010)
For Greater Glory (2012)
The Well Digger’s Daughter (2011)
All Things Fall Apart (2011)

Born in the USSR (2012)
Downton Abbey (2012)
A Better Life (2011)
Mozart’s Sister (2011)
The Help (2011)
Moneyball (2011)
Mao’s Last Dancer (2010)
Gifted Hands (2009)
Today’s Special (2009)
Wit (2001)

The King’s Speech (2010)
After the Wedding (2006)
The Ron Clark Story (2006)
Skin (2008)
Like Dandelion Dust (2009)
Lifted (2010)
Of Gods and Men (2010)
Queen to Play (2009)
The Dinner Game (1998)
The Fighter (2010)

Invictus (2009)
Doubt (2008)
Kinamand (2005)
Creation (2009)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
The Lottery (2010)
The Chosen (1982)
The Stone of Destiny (2008)
More than a Game (2008)
The Secret of Kells (2009)

The Monastery: Mr. Vig & The Nun (2006)
Live and Become (2005)
The Syrian Bride (2004)
Baran (2001)
Avenue Montaigne (2007)
The Color of Freedom (2007)
The Class (2008)
Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing (2005)
Last Chance Harvey (2006)
Moliere (2007)

The Island (2007)
The Lives of Others (2007)
The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio (2006)
Take the Lead (2006)
Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
Becoming Jane (2007)
The Great Debaters (2007)
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
The Queen (2006)
Noelle (2007)

The Child (2005)
Hotel Rwanda (2005)
Something the Lord Made (2005)
Freedom Writers (2007)
Amazing Grace (2006)
Anna and the King (2000)
Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)
Ushpizin (2005)
Miss Potter (2006)
The Story of Us (1999)

Family Movies
Zootopia (2016)
The Peanuts Movie (2016)
Disney’s Robin Hood (1973)
More than Honey (2012)
The African Doctor (2016)
Flight of the Butterflies (2016)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Mary Poppins (1964)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Inside Out (2015)
The Incredibles (2004)
The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend (1991)

Adult Reading
Alexander Hamilton by Chernow ‘04
Hamilton: The Revolution by Miranda ‘16
Parenting Toward the Kingdom by Mamalakis, ‘16
Unashamed by Lecrae ‘16*
Brothers Karamazov by Doestoevsky 1880

Anecdotes of Destiny by Dinesen ‘58
Perelandra by Lewis ‘43
Christ the Eternal Tao by Damascene ‘99

Can a Renewal Movement be Renewed?
                  by Kinnamon ‘14
The Latin letters of C.S. Lewis ‘09
Caleb’s Crossing by Brooks ‘12

Short Trip to the Edge by Scott Cairns
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Gurus, the Young Man and Elder Paisius by Dionysius Farasiotis (2008)
Home by Marilyn Robinson (2008)
In the World but not of it by Brett Grainger (2008)
One Flew Over the Onion Dome by Fr. Joseph David Huneycutt (2005)
Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose (2009)
Joker One by Donovan Campbell (2009)
Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto (2009)
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (2002)
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (2007)
Highest Duty by C. Sullenberger ‘09
Stones into Schools by G. Mortenson ‘10
Son of Hammas by M. H. Yousef ‘10
The Pastor as Minor Poet by Barnes ‘09
Diary of Anne Frank
Story of My Life by Helen Keller
God and Evolution by J. Richards ‘10
Mountains Beyond Mountains by T. Kidder, ‘03
The Way of the Heart by H. Nouwen ‘81
Pachomian Koinonia trans. by Veilleux
Every Day Saints by Shevkunov ‘12
Platform by Hyatt ‘12
Inner River by Markides ‘12
God and Charles Dickens by Colledge ‘12
Grand Entrance by Humphrey ‘11
Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Butterfield ’12
Delighting in the Trinity by Reeves ’12
Alone Together by Turkle ’12
Breaking Old Rhythms by Brown ’13
A Life Observed by Brown ’13

Picture Books
* All books by this author or in this series recommended *
Use Your Words, Sophie by Wells ‘15**
Dear Santa, please come to the 19th floor by Yin, ‘02
Detective Little Boy Blue by Metzger ‘11
That’s Not My Reindeer by Watts ‘13**
Zin! Zin! Zin!: A Violin by Moss ‘95
Dojo Day Care by Tougas ’14**
The legend of Hong Kil Dong, the Robin Hood of Korea by O’Brien ‘06
The Brick Bible by Smith ‘11**


Send for a Superhero by Rosen ‘14
Cowboy Sam by Griffin ‘01
Mrs. Frizzle’s Adventures by Cole **
Little Ballet Star by Geras ‘08
A Walk in Paris by Rubbino ‘14*
Train by Cooper ‘13
Bad Kitty Christmas by Bruel ‘11
Princess Super Kitty by Portis ‘11
Tale of Tsar Saltan ill. By Spirin ‘96
Fix this Mess by Arnold ‘14
Magic Porridge Pot by Dickens ‘08 *

Turn of the Century by Jackson ‘98
Philadelphia Chickens by Boynton, ‘02
Balloons Over Broadway by Sweet, ‘11
Bug Patrol by Mortensen ‘13
Brother William’s Year by Pancheri ‘13
Drummer Hoff by Emberley ‘87
Goldilocks and Just One Bear
by Hodgkinson ‘12
Creepy Carrots! by Reynolds ‘12
The King’s Day by Aliki ‘89
Pirates vs. Cowboys by Reynolds ‘13
Too Many Toys by Shannon ‘08
Tornado Slim by Langdo ‘11
Little Chapel that Stood by Curtis ‘03

The Listening Walk by Paul Showers
Goodnight Moon
Curious George
A Farm by Philippe Dumas
One Green Apple by Eve Bunting
Rocks in his Head by Carol Otis Hurst
Some Friends to Feed by Pete Seeger
America at Home by Rick Smolan
Choo Choo Clickety-Clack by Margaret Mayo
Tractor Day by Candice F. Ransom
Circus by Roxie Munro
Cinderella Ill. by K.Y. Craft*
Fancy Nancy Series by Jane O’Connor*
Priscilla and the Pink Planet by Hobbie*
The Sailor Who Captured the Sea by Deborah Lattimore ‘91
A Walk in New York by S. Rubbino ‘09
I Wonder as I Wander by G. Swain ‘03
Swan Lake by Nancy Ellison ‘00
Thunder Rose by J. Nolen ‘03
Pancakes for Supper by A. Isaacs ‘06
Knuffle Bunny by M. Willems ‘10*
Crepes by Suzette by M. Wellington ‘04*
Pirates of the Sea by Brandon Dorman ‘11
Snow Bow by Yukido Kido ‘11*
If You Lived Here: Houses of the World By G. Laroche ‘11
A Walk in London by S. Rubbino ‘11
A Book for Black-Eyed Susan by J. Young ‘11*
The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C.M. Mille ‘10
A Family for Old Mill Farm by S. Crum ‘07
Glory by N.W. Carlstrom ‘01
Minette’s Feast by Reich ‘12
Hog, Hog, & Hog by Palatini ‘11
My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by McAllister ‘11
Bear Feels Scared by Chapman ‘08*
Prairie Christmas by Steenwyk ‘06
If I Built a Car by Van Dusen ‘05*
Auntie Claus by Primavera ‘02
Cindy Ellen by Lowell ‘00
Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero by Cottringer ‘09
The Wonderful Happens by Cynthia Rylant ‘00
Moe the Dog in Tropical Paradise by Stanley ‘99
Hogwash by Wilson ‘11
I’m Dirty by McMullan ‘06*
Old Penn Station by Low ’07
Locomotive by Floca ’13
Captain Abdul’s Pirate School by McNaughton ’94
Breakfast at Liberty Diner by Kirk ’97
My First Little House Books (series)
Snowed In by Barabara Lucas
Fanny by Holly Hobbie*
Creaky Old House by Linda Ashman*
Hush: A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho

Young Chapter Books
Roll of Thunder by Taylor, ‘76*
Mr. Lemoncello by Grabenstein*
Diary of Lydia by Lowry *
American Girls: Molly *

Jason and the golden fleece by Zeff, ‘04**
Who was Abigail Adams? by Kelley ‘14**
Magic Tree House series by Osborne**
Aesop’s Fables, by Watson ‘03**

Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
All-of-a-kind Family by Taylor ‘51
Marie Antoinette by Daynes*
Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan
Little House in the Big Woods by Wilder
Little Women by Alcott
Number the Stars by Lowry ‘89

World (general news)
Touchstone (cultural commentary)
Salvo (cultural commentary)
Road to Emmaus (pilgrimage)
The Orthodox Word (spiritual life)
Nature Friend (science)
No Greater Joy (family)


“Joy to da Wurt” – Joy to the World
“Pan-kiss”-  Pancakes
“Pan-king” (archaic) – Pancakes
“Tank-u” – Thank You

“Hoy-ee Oyo” – Holy Oil
“Pray-gun”- Playground
“Pears”-  Prayers
“Wif Dus”- With Us

“Goofy Hour” – After Church social; a.k.a. Coffee Hour
“Watit” – Water
“Nuppins” – Buttons
“Snickers” – Sneakers
“Ahstorant” – Restaurant
“Ruhl” – Real
“Nexter” – Closer
“Ya no dat?” – Did you know that?
“When it bees…” – When it is…
“Li-berry” – Library
“Beed-out” – Without
“Brundibars” – Granola Bars
“Accuse me” – Excuse me
“Pan-king” – Pancake
“Pupcake” – Cupcake
“Stample” – Staple
“Fodder” – Father
“Ober Dare” – Over There
“Kray-Kray” – Cracker
“Nut-kray-kray” – Nutcracker
“Gram-kum” – Grandma
“Gram-kum” – Grandpa
“A-member” – Remember
“Star-a-bess” – Stewardess
“Cough-ession” – Confession
“Lurley” – Really
“Slurpers” – Slippers
“Es-Cray” – X-ray
“Some-king” – Something
“Rep-acee” – Recipe
“Basik-ball” – Basketball
“Grills” – Girls
“Dolts” – Adults
“Dum” – Them

16 thoughts on “Best of the Best

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  2. “Nexter” is simply a neologistic genius at work, and “Dolts” is a truer name for most of us adults at more of our moments than any of us would like to care to admit. Mendicant genius.

    Haven’t seen most of these movies, either. Always glad for your lists; miss your year-in-review of film media posts.

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