Pop Of King (92) – Wishing and Hoping – (23 stycznia 2009)

I no longer make New Year’s resolutions – it’s too easy to break ’em. But wishes and hopes are essential parts of the human condition, and since this is my first column of 2009, I thought I’d share some of mine with you.

First, and maybe most important, I wish for a year during which no talented young actors or musicians die before they can realize their full potential. No Heath Ledgers, please; what a sickening shock it was to hear that on the radio. No David Foster Wallaces, either. We need all the bright lights we can get, because the world is too dark already. Following along with this (like a dependent clause at the end of a sentence) is the wish that 2009 will be the year when Amy Winehouse finally gets it right.

I hope Fox and Warner Bros. will settle their nasty cat-fight over Zack Snyder’s Watchmen movie. I think Snyder’s tremendously talented (I just watched his Dawn of the Dead remake to see if it holds up – it does), and Watchmen is one graphic novel that cries out for a film adaptation. That one has been made and I might not be allowed to see it seems absurdly unfair.

I wish that Steven Spielberg would make another big, loose, everything-goes slapstick comedy like 1941. Or a big-screen remake of Duel, that’d be nice.

I wish for the last Michael Crichton novel to be published, and for it to be the best Crichton. One 2008 Web post (on Yahoo! Answers) suggested that the last one was in the Jurassic Park mode. It might not be true, but if it is, how cool would that be?

I wish for a rock & roll renaissance – probably a vain hope in an American Idol-dominated decade where too many singers (both male and female) sound like 1985-vintage Michael Jackson, but is it impossible to think some neo — E Street Band might capture a rock-deprived generation stuck with Kanye West and the Pussycat Dolls? Do I really have to face the fact that three-chord rock is dead? Man, I hope not.

I wish for new novels by three very different but equally great American voices: Elmore Leonard, Cormac McCarthy, and Joyce Carol Oates. None are young, but all are (at last report) in good health. So come on, you guys.

I’ll have a book coming out in the fall, and since it’s over a thousand pages long, I sure hope people like it.

I wish an American network would run the British Life on Mars, one of the greatest limited-run (16 episodes) television series I’ve ever seen – it shuts the American version down completely. As boss cop Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister in the British version) might say, ”Trust the Gene Genie on this.”

I hope my two favorite returning cable series will kick ass: Damages on FX and the incomparable Breaking Bad on AMC. I’m also wishing for more answers than questions on Lost, and a season of redemption for 24…although I have to tell you, Uncle Stevie has not been encouraged by the advance trailers.

I wish that the final six episodes of this year’s Prison Break won’t be the final six episodes ever. Come on, Fox, if you can run that silly Sarah Connor Chronicles thing, surely you can find it in your corporate heart to give me one more helping of Michael, Lincoln, and the immortal (not to mention immoral) T-Bag.

Last, I wish that every appreciator of the American pop cult – and I count myself very much in that number – will remember that books, music, movies, and videogames are important…but not all-important. There are millions of people in the world who are more concerned with getting their hands on enough to eat than they are with whether or not they’ll be able to score a new-generation Kindle or Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for their Nintendo. I know that all the fight-hunger, work-for-peace Bono blah-blah can get a little old, but none of the bad stuff is going away soon. So in 2009, I’m going to contribute a buck to some useful charity like Save the Children or Physicians for Social Responsibility for every one I spend on movies, DVDs, or iTunes downloads.

Jeez, I guess I made a New Year’s resolution after all.

And I wish that you, dear reader, would do the same. If you can’t, I understand – 2009’s shaping up to be a horror show – but I can wish. Because wishes are how every good thing starts.