My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 1/15/20

I still have at least another week before everyone is back to their regular living spaces. That means at least another week before I really know what my new normal might be, Will I read more or less? Will I watch more TV? Will I be able to get into a real routine? Who knows. Here is what I managed to read and watch this week.

Movies – We watched The King of Staten Island on HBO. This is the semiautobiographical Pete Davidson movie about a 20 something guy who has been unable to move forward in life since his firefighter dad died when he was a kid. He spends his days smoking weed with his friends and dreaming of becoming a tattoo artist. When his mom starts dating again(another firefighter) he is forced to deal with his grief. I really didn’t know what to expect going in. I like Davidson on SNL, but didn’t know if he could carry an entire movie. He can and he did. It was funny and moving. I highly recommend.

TV – We tried a couple of new TV shows this week. The first was Mr Mayor. It stars Ted Danson as a wealthy businessman who becomes mayor of LA. It was apparently meant to be a spinoff of 30 Rock with Alec Baldwin’s character, but was rewritten to become this. It got a lot of bad reviews, but I enjoyed it. It wasn’t a perfect first two episodes, but the cast is great and I laughed several times. Isn’t that what we want from a comedy? We also watched Call You Mother. This starts Kyra Sedgwick as an empty nester mom who relocates to California to be near her grown children. It was a good first episode. I think it could be a good one. It could also get old fast if the story can’t move past her need to be involved in the lives of her kids. We have been watching the Ken Jennings episodes of Jeopardy. I think he is doing a good job as host and hope he gets a fair shot at being the permanent host.

Books – I finished two books his week:

The Living Dead by George Romero and Daniel Kraus – a very long zombie novel started by Romero and finished by Kraus. It starts out telling the individual stories of various survivors around the country. A government employee in DC, a coroner in California who witnessed one of the first zombies, a teen from the Midwest, a Navy man from an aircraft carrier. Eventually, all of the stories come together and we get to the end game. I enjoyed the book. I think it took too long to get to where it was headed. Some individual stories were more interesting than others. I think fans of zombie movies would like it.

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson – I gave up reading all but the Cross books from Patterson and I still wonder why I’m still intent on reading the Cross ones. I had this one on hand for some reason, so I decided to give it a shot. It is better than most Patterson’s I’ve read recently. It has a decent plot. It held my interest. It did have the same problem I have with the Cross books. The main character was too good at everything. Patterson seems to be unable or unwilling to have a flawed protagonist. I doubt I will read the next Clinton/Patterson collaboration.

On Deck – I have two DVDs from the library, but I don’t really think I will get to them. My wife is home now so I’m sure we will do some catch up on our normal shows. I want to start WandaVision. I just need to find out if anyone else plans to watch or not. I need to find a new show to watch alone, but I can’t decide if I want a comedy or drama. I’m reading 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon. It is a nice YA romance to cleanse my reading palate of zombies and missing presidents.

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A Couple of Weeks in Books, Movies, and TV 1/8/20

The last two Fridays were Christmas and New Year’s Day so I didn’t do my regular weekly recaps. Let’s see if I can think of anything worth reporting over the last three weeks.

Movies – I watched American Pickle on HBO Max. It stars Seth Rogen as an immigrant worker in a pickle factory in New York who falls in a pickle vat and preserved for 100 years and then wakes up in modern day New York. Seth Rogen also plays his last remaining descendent. I expected it to just be about him trying to adjust to modern life, but it was not that at all. I really liked it, but I am a fan of Rogen and of Simon Rich who wrote the screenplay and the story on which it was based. We watched the new Wonder Woman movie. I liked it more than most people have reported, but I did feel like the ending was lacking something. Wonder Woman is still the best of the DC franchises. My son watched a lot of Marvel movies while he was with us so I saw pieces of Ragnorak, Ant Man, Spiderman, Infinity War and End Game. We did our annual watch of Miracle on 34th Street.

TV – Generally, regular TV viewing is replaced by random movies when the kids are home and this time was not different. I don’t recall a lot of TV shows we watched between the holidays. This past week, though, has brought us back to TV. We finished the latest streaming season of The Next Step. My daughter and I watched an old season of the Amazing Race. We are watching the final Alex Trbek episodes of Jeopardy. We tried the new TV show Call Me Kat. It was not good. I watched the premiere of Last Man Standing. They started mid pandemic but then flashed forward 2 years so the rest of the season is post pandemic. We watched the first episode of The Chase last night. It is a quiz show where contestants face off against one of the three Jeopardy GOATs. We love all three of them, so we loved the show. I like seeing the two chasers not playing commenting on the game. We will definitely watch more.

Books – I read three books over the last three weeks and fed one to the dustbunnies:

A Time for Mercy by John Grisham – This is the third book in the Jake Brigance series. In this one he is appointed to defend a teen who killed a police officer who was abusing his mom. It is about the case, but also about the fallout for Jake in regards to him defending the person who killed a popular police officer. Grisham is always good and that is the case here as well.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – A YA romance. Dimple has just graduated from high school and is going to Stanford. Her mom is more focused on finding her a husband. Her parents have payed for her to go to a summer program for aspiring web developers. Rishi is very traditional and has given up on drawing comics to go to MIT. He is very traditional and wants his parents to arrange his marriage. He is going to the program because his parents have arranged for him to marry Rishi. One problem – no one told Rishi. This is my second book I’ve read by Menon and I’ve loved both. I have a third in the TBR pile.

If it Bleeds by Stephen King – four new novellas including a new Holly Gibney story. King has been my favorite author since I was a kid and now I get his new book every year for Christmas. Reading the new King book is a great way to end the year.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline – This is the one I fed to the dustbunnies. I started it. Put it down and read another book. Tried again. got a good distance in and it was still just a ramble of 80’s references and set up with no real story. I gave up for good.

On Deck – We are watching another old Survivor season. This time it is Pearl Islands. When my wife returns we will have two episodes of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. I love that show. I have some DVDs at the library, but I’m not sure if we will watch any movies this week. I am reading The Living Dead by George Romero and Daniel Kraus.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 12/18/20

One week from Christmas. Doesn’t seem real. I’m attempting to write this on my iPad because my kids are home, they’ve taken all the outlets near me, and my laptop is dead. So this will be short and riddled with errors.

Movies – We watched Bloodshot with Vin Diesel. A standard action movie where Diesel plays a soldier who is brought back to life with supper powers. It was better than I expected, but I do like Diesel. If you like action movies you will like it. We watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Scrooged.

TV – we watched the finale of Amazing Race. I love this show, but this season was not great. The alliance ruined it and the finale was boring. Here’s hoping when it comes back it will be better. We watched more of our teen dance show, The Next Step. With the kids here my TV viewing is hit or miss. We watch stuff, but a lot of random whatever is on like Friends and such.

Books – I read one book this week – Some Kind of Animal by Maria Romasco Moore. It is a teen novel about a girl who has a secret twin sister who lives in the woods. She is the only one who knows about her until the day the sister attacks a boy and she has to convince people she is real. I liked it, but it took me way too long to get through it. It was not one that made me want to keep reading.

On Deck – more Christmas stuff like Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Rudolph, etc. I’m reading A Time For Mercy by John Grisham

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Tater’s 2020 in TV

This is not a best shows of 2020 post. This is the highlights of what I watched on TV regardless of the year of the show. I watched a mix of old and new this year. Here are my most memorable.

Tiger King – I followed everyone else into the tiger King craze. I probably would not have watched it without the pandemic. it would have been one of those shows that I always meant to get to but never would. Even with the pandemic, I’m not sure I would have watched has my son not come home for a few days. We watched together when he was too sick to do much else. It was a fascinating look at world I didn’t know existed. It is worth watching.

Community – A show I missed when it aired. I decided to use the time at home to watch since my son talked about it so much. I cant believe I waited so long. A great show with a great cast that rarely had a bad episode. I think I could have done without the last season.

Outer Banks – I watched this one at the suggestion of my brother, It is a teen adventure show that revolves around the disappearance of one of the main kid’s dad and a legendary missing treasure. We got hooked fast and watched every night until we were done with the first season. Another great cast.

The Next Step – A Canadian teen dance drama that we like way more than we should. We are on season 6 now. I miss the original cast, but I still enjoy the show We watched at the recommendation of our daughter and my wife is hooked. I wrote about it here

Cobra Kai – I am a big fan of the Karate Kid movies. I was skeptical of this show, but heard good things so we gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised that the episodes are short so it was easy to binge. I love the throwbacks to the movie. I love the nuance where no one is fully a villain or a hero(with one exception). I can’t wait for season three.

The Goldbergs – Another old one I missed. I needed a half hour show to watch during my lunch breaks. I decided to give it a shot. I’m now on season six. As an 80’s kid I love the references to things from my childhood. It’s funny. It has heart. It is the perfect family sitcom.

Ted Lasso – An Apple TV I would have missed if not for all the praise. The basic premise – a college football coach from Kansas is hired to coach a soccer team in England. It’s funny. It has heart. It is just the show I needed in 2020.

Hart of Dixie – A fun little dramedy about a NYC doctor who move to a small town in Alabama when she’s told she needs to spend time as a general practitioner to learn how to relate better to patients. When she arrives she discovers she was offered the job because the owner of the practice is her real dad who has since died and left his half of the practice to her. Great cast. Fun show. A nice way to spend an afternoon. I miss it and wish there were more seasons.

Old episodes of Survivor and Amazing Race – We were fortunate to have the new Survivor season during the beginning of lockdown. We got a new Amazing Race this fall. In between we watched old episodes of both on Hulu. Heroes vs Villains. Fans vs Favorites. The first seasons of some of our favorite players. Rob and Amber’s Amazing Race season. Colin and Christie’s first season of Amazing Race. It was a good way to spend time while stuck at home.

I’m sure I’m missing a few, but those are the ones that jumped out at me this morning.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 12/11/20

My last day off from work before my last day of work. One more day off when I assume my personal time will be interrupted multiple times by someone who cares nothing about boundaries and a work/life balance. I ignored one of those calls at 7 last night. Its hard to relax when people won’t let you have time off. I’m hoping next week will bring a calmer mind that will be more conducive to reading. I still can’t tell if I find it hard to get into a book because of the book or because of my state of mind. Here’s the week:

Movies – I don’t think I watched a movie this week. We do have a DVD from the library, but between football and work we never had a night to watch it. All of our other screen time was spent with TV shows. Now that HBO Max is on my TV and I will have more time, I expect this will change soon.

TV – The Kentucky football game was on Saturday night. Kentucky basketball was on Sunday evening. Ravens football was on Tuesday night. The rest of the time was spent with our regular shows. Magnum PI and Bkue Bloods were both back this week. I’m happy to see that they both seem to take place in a post pandemic world. They mentioned it, but in a way that makes it sound like it was in the past and no one is wearing masks. It will be nice to have more shows that seem somewhat normal. We watched one new shows – the Canadian show Nurses that NBC has purchased. I saw a lot of mediocre reviews for it, but I enjoyed it. We like medical shows and it has a good cast. I’m blissfully unaware of how medically accurate it is.

Books – I finished one book this week – Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. I love her book Trail of Lightning. It took me a minute to get into this one. It is a true fantasy book and sine I had read nothing about it, this was a surprise for me. That threw me off and then it took a little bit for me to invest in the world she was building. I kept going because I had heard so many good things about it and eventually got to the point where I wanted to keep reading. I will read the next book, but I wish this one didn’t seem like all build up for what’s next.

On Deck – My kids both come home Monday so we will catch up on all of the holiday shows and movies I’ve been saving for them . The finale of Amazing Race is Wednesday. I’m reading Some Kind of Animal by Maria Romasco-Moore.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 12/4/20

It’s December. One week before I’m done with my job. Three weeks before Christmas. This year was both extremely long and oddly quick. Anyway, here is my weekly recap of what I read and watched.

Movies – Thanksgiving week means the beginning of our viewing of Christmas shows and movies. This week we watched Home Alone and Elf. Home Alone is a favorite of my daughter. It is the first one she wants to watch each year. I still enjoy it, but it isn’t my favorite. Elf is one that I consider a favorite. I look forward to seeing it each year and would be sad if I missed it.

TV – We also watched one of our favorite Christmas shows, Year Without a Santa Claus. It is the one of the main ones we make sure to record and watch each year. We love the miser brothers. We did some catch up on shows this week as well. American Housewife, Amazing Race, Superstore. I was sad to see the news yesterday that this is the last season of Superstore. It is the best comedy on TV right now. Not much else to report on the TV front. Mostly trying to keep the DVR from filling up now that I am saving shows and movies for my daughter to watch when she comes home from school. We are at almost 80% full now.

Books – I finished one book this week: Fair Warning by Michael Connelly. It was a new Jack McEvoy book. McEvoy is the reporter from the books The Poet and The Scarecrow. In this one, someone Jack had a one night stand with is murdered and he is questioned by the police. When he looks into it he discovers the possibility of a serial killer. I like the characters in the series and for the most part the story was good. I thought the end kind of ruined the whole thing and dropped it to a 3 star instead of a 4 star book.

On Deck – We have the movie Bloodshot on DVD. There will be basketball and football to watch. I have so many shows on the DVR to watch. Blue Bloods is back tonight. I’m reading Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 11/27/20

I actually watched and remember two movie this week. I finished two books. That’s a banner week for me. Here’s the recap.

Movies – We watched two movies the first was To Hell and Back. It is the 1955 movie starring Audie Murphy as Audie Murphy. It tells the story of Murphy in WWII where he was the one of the most decorated combat soldiers. It’s always been one of my favorite movies. My wife had never seen it. I’m happy to report that she liked it and I also still liked it. We also watched The Hunt. The general plot – 12 strangers wake up in the middle of nowhere and discover they are being hunted. The twist – they are all “deplorables” being hunted by “liberal elites” It was 90 minutes of gore and satire. We all enoyed it.

TV – College basketball is back! This is good considering it is looking more an more likely that the Ravens game won’t be played this week. At least I have Kentucky basketball for now. We watched the first episode of Big Sky. I’m glad I didn’t see any spoilers for it. There was a twist at the end that I was not expecting. It got mediocre reviews, but I like the cast so I will give it a chance. Basic plot – two girls disappear on the way to visit one’s boyfriend. Boyfriend’s mom is a PI. She investigates with her partner and her ex. Her partner and her ex recently slept together. One note on people talking about TV – I’m tired of the trend these days of TV writers and others tweeting that they have anxiety when they watch non-pandemic shows and people are in crowds without masks. Either they have no ability to separate fiction from real life or they want to highlight how they are being so safe while others aren’t. Either way annoys me.

Books – I finished two books this week:

The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly – A new Lincoln Lawyer book. In this one Haller is arrested for the murder of a former client and has to prove his innocence. Bosch joins his defense team to help. As always, Connelly doesn’t disappoint. I love his books. I love the characters of Haller and Bosch It’s fun to have them together. I was not fond of the pandemic starting to become part of the story. I need a break. I want my fiction to be fiction these days.

Junk Boy by Tony Abbott – A novel in verse about a boy who lives with his dad in a house and world filled with junk. People at school call him Junk. A chance meeting of a girl in his school leads him on a path of hope. It was a quick read. I liked it, but it did seem to be lacking something. Maybe verse was not the right format for the story.

On Deck – Movies will go back to being random based on what we find or holiday themed. Same for TV. We will be watching a lot of college basketball. I’m currently reading another Connelly book: Fair Warning. This one brings back Jack McEvoy from Scarecrow and Poet.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 11/20/20

While I till haven’t quite hit the point where I feel the relief of the upcoming change, I do feel like I’m able to focus more on my reading. Even so, it took a while to read an 830 page book on my iPad. Here’s my week:

Movies – I don’t remember watching a movie this week. I feel like I possibly watched some movie I’ve seen before at some point, but if I did I don’t remember what it was. My wife did watch Godzilla: King of Monsters while I was in the room, but I watched TV shows on my iPad while that was going on.

TV – The reason we didn’t watch movies was because we watched a lot more TV shows this week. We finished Cobra Kai. I really enjoyed the show and am glad the new season starts soon. We watched all of our regular shows. I started watching Ted Lasso on Apple TV. I didn’t really know much abut the show when I decided to start watching it. I expected funny and it is funny. What I didn’t expect was for it to be just the comfort TV I needed at a stressful time. If you have access to Apple TV you should watch it.

Books – I finished two books this week.

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith – This is the new Cormoran Strike book from JK Rowling. Going in I knew that Rowling had been very publicly transphobic and I had heard that the book had a killer that dressed as a woman. Rowling is still a very good writer. I love the Strike books and this one is as good as the rest. I didn’t feel like the killer storyline was part of her views on the trans community. It was a very small part of the book and was not written in a way(in my view) was transphobic. But, I would love to hear thoughts from someone from that community.

Sanctuary by Paolo Mendoza and Abby Sher – This is a YA book set in a near future where the US is run by a xenophobic president who has been elected past the usual two term limit. All citizens are chipped and everyone is tracked. A deportation force is formed and undocumented citizens are being rounded up and forced into labor camps. Vali and her family are on their way to New York to get help getting to California where they ill be safe when her mom’s counterfeit chip malfunctions. Vali and her younger brother then have to try to make their way across the country alone. It is very good, but very dark and stressful.

On Deck – I have The Hunt on DVD. We have plenty of new episodes of TV shows on the DVR. Big Blue Madness(Kentucky basketball stuff) is on tonight. Kentucky football tomorrow. Ravens football Sunday. Actual UK basketball games Wednesday and Friday. I am reading The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 11/13/20

It’s been an interesting week. I did find the time to read and watch TV. Here’s my weekly recap.

Movies – My movie viewing is still stuck in a mediocre limbo of finding random movies on streaming. I’m sure there are plenty of good movies out there I haven’t watched. I’m also sure, given my wife’s love of action movies, I will never find them. This week we chose another Mark Wahlberg movie we had never seen: Mile 22. Wahlberg lead a team that was tasked with getting a mysterious police officer with sensitive information out f Indonesia. It was your standard action movie. The only interesting part was that Wahlberg played a not so nice guy this time and it did not have a nice, everything is fine, ending.

TV – We started watching Cobra Kai this weekend. We watched the entire first season in one day. We are now almost done with season two. It is the sequel show of Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio reprising his role of Daniel Larusso and William Zabka back as Johnny Lawrence. Johnny brings back Cobra Kai and they find themselves as rivals again. It is is really good show. I love that they make Cobra Kai more nuanced this time instead of them being complete villains. We watched the new episodes of Chicago Fire, Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy. They all have the pandemic as part of the story. I like how Fire acknowledged it, but didn’t make it the driving storyline. Station 19 was pretty god at that as well. Grey’s was very much a pandemic show. I’m not sure i will enjoy shows that are too much like real life right now.

Books – I’m still reading Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith. It is 830 pages and I’m reading on my Ipad. I’m finding that combination daunting. I might need to take a break from it until I get the physcial book.

On Deck – Movies will still be luck of the draw. We will finish Cobra Kai and watch our normal shows. A Million Little Things and FBI come back next week. We still have the new episodes of SWAT to watch.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 11/6/20

It was a slow week in both viewing and reading. Too much election coverage and too much falling asleep on the couch when trying to watch something.

Movies – We watched one movie. Well, my wife watched it while I dozed off and on on the the couch. It was Just Getting Started. Morgan Freeman plays an ex-mob lawyer in witness protection. Tommy Lee Jones is an ex-FBI gent staying at the resort Freeman’s where Freeman’s character works. Rene Russo is the love interest. The mob finds Freeman and sends people to kill him. It sounds promising, but it was not really that good. I was not sad to fall asleep for most of it.

TV – We did watch two new shows this week. First was The Undoing with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. They are a wealthy couple n New York. A mom at the private school their son attends is murdered. Grant’s character disappears at the same time. The police start questioning Kidman a lot about the situation. So far, so good. We also watched B Positive. It is a sitcom starring Thomas Middleditch and Annaleigh Ashford. He finds out he needs a kidney and at the same time runs into an Ashford who he knows from high school. She agrees to donate a kidney but she has to stay clean and sober for three months first. I’m not sure if I will stick with it, but I liked it enough to give it a few more episodes.

Books – I read Providence by Max Barry. It is a sci-fi about a crew of four on a ship mainly run by AI in a war against an alien race. It seemed like it took me forever to read it. It wasn’t bad, but I had trouble caring about the story. I’m not sure if it was the bhttps://ko-fi.com/taterook or my mental state.

On Deck – Movies will be again luck of the draw. Some TV shows start a new season next week. I will have a new Chicago Fire, Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy to watch. I am reading Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith. Galbraith is JK Rowling and there is controversy around her and a plot point in the book. It makes me sad because I love the Strike books.

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