Andy Williams had it all wrong. Christmastime is not the most wonderful time of the year — fall is. Award-quality movies, TV shows returning, sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes fill my heart with joy. The first time I feel that slight nip in the air, I can’t help but smile.
These past few weeks have been so exciting for a movie buff like me. Film festival season is like playoffs for a football nut. Films with such promise and prestige can turn out to be utter disappointments, and underdog films with no-name casts can surprise and become major Oscar contenders. Anything can happen, and like Fantasy Football, the movie-obsessed track their pick’s every move.
The Venice Film Festival wrapped up this weekend with a few films primed to be huge Oscar bait, getting some extremely mixed reactions. Most divisive of all was Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” starring Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet. The film, based on a Tony-winning play, takes place entirely in a single room and plays like a comedic version of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”
There is no clear front-runner for any of the major awards categories this year, making predicting the nominees even more of a challenge. But if I had to give it an early shot I’d predict the silent film “The Artist,” Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” or the post-Sept. 11 drama “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” starring Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks to take home Best Picture this year.
The return of fall is already making my TiVo feel overworked and exhausted. Not only are all my favorite shows returning, but there are some very promising new series ready to premiere. “The X Factor” reunites Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, and my anticipation could not be higher.
“Up All Night” starring Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph looks like it could be hilarious, and with that cast why wouldn’t it be?
Even harder to predict than the Oscars will be which new series is the first to be canceled. My vote goes to “Whitney” starring the “Chelsea Lately” regular Whitney Cummings. A show with a laugh track will feel completely out of place on NBC’s Thursday night lineup.
Returning shows also have a lot to prove this year. Will a Steve Carell-less “The Office” crumble without him? Will Ashton Kutcher be obnoxious or funny on “Two and a Half Men”? Will “Glee” ever be truly great again? All these burning questions and more will be revealed in the next few weeks.
For a preppy guy like me, nothing in my closet should ever go out of style. This is one of the biggest reasons I love fall so much. I am obsessed with sweaters. J. Crew’s cotton-cashmere V-neck sweater should be a staple in every guy’s wardrobe. I have one in almost every color, no joke. You can dress them up with a pair of khakis and a button-down underneath or keep it casual with jeans. I’m anxiously awaiting the day when the forecast says it’s chilly enough to make the trip to St. Louis to bring back my fall clothes.
Just last week I walked into Starbucks and immediately grinned from ear to ear. The pumpkin spice latte was back! It was still a bit warm outside to order a hot one, so iced would have to suffice. Pumpkin spice treats are my crack in autumn. Whether it’s bread, muffins, pancakes or pies, I just can’t get enough of it. But has anybody ever eaten a pumpkin by itself? If it tastes like it smells, these delicious treats have to be more spice than pumpkin. But whatever the ratio, I apologize to all my closest friends in advance for my pumpkin spice breath all season long.
By now it should be quite obvious that I am crazy for fall. I didn’t even get to mention football season, tailgates, leaves changing colors and the release of the iPhone 5. The things I love about this season are practically endless. My only gripe is that fall leads to a very dreaded winter.