My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 10/23/20

Another one of those weeks where everything runs together and I have to re-read last week’s post to determine what I did since then. Maybe some day time will seem normal again.

Movies – I can recall one movie I watched this week: Vampires vs The Bronx on Netflix. The basic plot – a group of young friends from the Bronx start the movie trying to save their local bodega from closure due to gentrification and end up fighting to save their neighborhood from vampires. It was a little like a kid-friendly horror version of Attack the Block. It was an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes or so. It was a good cast and a fun movie. Nothing groundbreaking, but we really don’t need groundbreaking for a Friday afternoon movie on Netflix.

TV – Not really a lot to report on the TV front. We watched all of our regular shows: Transplant, Coroner, LA’s Finest, Swamp Thing and my Walking Dead shows. I finally started watching the second season of You. We are back to watching Jeopardy regularly. I’m happy to have it back, but it seems like the quality of contestant was diminished now that they are only using California residents since travel is hard now. We have also started watching Family Feud a lot because it is on around Jeopardy. I enjoy it a lot more than I remember.

Books – I finished two books this week.

Half Moon Bay by Jonathon and Jesse Kellerman – This is the third book in the Clay Edison series. Clay is a coroner. In this book he is called to a construction site at Berkeley when bones are found. The bones are those of a child. Based on the placement and construction history they are from the early 70’s. Clay then received a phone call from a man saying it might be his sister. It’s obvious they aren’t as the bones are from a male. This sets off two mysteries Clay investigates – who is the child in the construction site and the private case he takes on to find the man’s missing sister. It’s an interesting mystery as there is a chance no real crime was committed, I like Clay as a character. I would recommend for mystery fans.

Charming as a Verb by Ben Phillipe – A YA book I stumbled upon at work. Henri is a senior at the prestigious FATE Academy in NYC with dreams of going to Columba. Corinne Troy is an “intense” classmate who seems immune to his charms. When she blackmails him to help her change her image after discovering his dog walking scam they discover that they really like each other. It is just a nice teen romance that I need on occasion in between my death and disaster books. Well written, well developed characters. I recommend to those who like a good teen romance.

On Deck – Movies will again be a luck of the draw thing. If we decide to watch a movie, we will scan various streaming services until we find something we can both live with. TV will still be just watching the latest episode of the shows we like. I will watch You when i have TV time alone. Baseball is over and the Ravens are on a bye, but I still have Kentucky football tomorrow and random NFL games to watch Sunday. American Housewife and Superstore come back this week, but I will have to wait to watch them when my daughter is back at home. I am reading First Kill the Lawyers by David Housewright.

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My Week in Book, Movies, and TV 10/16/20

I went back to verify what I wrote about last week because I was sure I talked about the movie we watched this week. I was wrong. I’ve lost all track of time. Here’s my week:

Movies – I can remember one movie we apparently watched this week even though I was sure I wrote about it last week. It was Hubie Halloween with Adam Sandler on Netflix. I was surprised when my wife said she was OK with watching it. She’s not really a Sandler fan. Sandler’s character in this one is a lot like The Waterboy. There are a lot of connections to old Sandler movies. Julie Bowen is back and her character’s name has the same initials has the same initials as her character in Happy Gilmore. There is an O’Doyle kid who is a bully and yells O’Doyles rule. Kevin James, Colin Quinn, Steve Buscemi, and Rob Schneider are all back. Ben Stiller cameos as his Happy Gilmore character. The movie itself was dumb, but fun. If you like Sandler and his friends you will enjoy it.

TV – The NLCS started this week, so most night we have been watching the Braves beat the dodgers. Wednesday night when the Braves were already down 13-0 by the time I had the time to watch I watched TV shows instead. Since my wife was working late, I watched The Masked Singer and The Weakest Link. Some days it’s nice to have shows like this to watch. Entertaining, but not anything you need to really focus on too hard. I’m trying to find another show to watch alone that will hold my interest. I watched the first episode of Veronica Mars yesterday, but my enjoyment of it was marred by constant texts about work when I was supposed to be off work. Have I mentioned how much I hate my job?

Books – I read two books this week.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell – I read this one for my mystery book club at work. It tells the story of an undisclosed murder, alternating between characters advancing the story to the crime interspersed with interviews with suspects and witnesses about the crime. I was wrong in my assumption about who was murdered and why. It’s always nice when a mystery fools me. It was well written and I enjoyed the characters and the story.

From the Grave by David Housewright – The Rushmore McKenzie series is another of my favorites. McKenzie is a former cop who quit so he could collect a large reward for finding stolen money. Now wealthy, he works as an unofficial detective when friends need help. In this one, his friend Shelby is at a psychic medium’s show when she says the dead man she speaks to keeps saying McKenzie’s name. The man is someone McKenzie shot and killed when he was a cop. He had stolen over half a million dollars and was on the run, when it happened. His son was arrested and sent to prison. The money was never found. McKenzie begins the hunt for the money. I enjoyed it. I love all of the characters in the series. They are fun and light. This one had the possibility of ghosts and such. That was new. I recommend the entire series.

On Deck – Any movie will again be a luck of the draw type thing. We will have Braves baseball, Kentucky football and Ravens football to watch. We still have some Fargo episodes, Swamo Thing, Next, Transplant and Coroner recorded. There will be a new SNL, Fear the Walking Dead and Walking Dead: World Beyond. The Conners returns this week. It’s nice to have some real TV again. I am about to start reading Half Moon Bay by Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 10/9/20

It was a nice full week on TV. Movies are still suffering from the lack of new DVDs from the library. Reading has slowed a bit. Details below.

Movies – We watched two movies this week. The first we found while browsing various streaming services. It was Precious Cargo starring Mark Paul Gosselaar and Bruce Willis. I like the two actors, so I was willing to watch a brainless action movie. And it was brainless. he best thing I can say about it is that it was short and it was free. That’s it. We also watched Summer School the old Mark Harmon movie. My wife is a big NCIS fan and loves Mark Harmon. She didn’t remember this movie so I got it from the library. Basic plot – Mark Harmon is the PE teacher who gets roped into teaching remedial English summer school. He connects with the kids and gets the attractive new teacher to help him learn to teach them. I still enjoyed it. Nothing groundbreaking, but a pleasant way to spend an evening.

TV – We watched the new episodes of LA’s Finest, Filthy Rich, Transplant and Coroner. We finally watched the first episode of the new season of Fargo. I liked it. I had trouble keeping track of who was who sometimes, but I’m sure that will get easier as we move along. We watched the first episode of Swamp Thing. I dozed a lot during it. Not because it was boring, but because I was very tired that night. I did like what I saw and will watch more. I’ve watched several episodes of The Weakest Link. I still like the premise of the show and Jane Lynch is good as the host. It’s good to have another quiz show on TV. I also watched the new SNL. All of the hype was about Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey and Maya Rudolph as Trump, Biden and Harris, but I thought the cold open with them was mediocre. The skit that made me laugh the most was the one below about a Covid outbreak at the building where people go for name changes.

Books – I finished one book this week. It was The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed. It is a teen book set in LA after the police officers are acquitted in the Rodney King case. Ashley is a black teen living in a wealthy area of LA and attending a private school. Her sister has moved out and is living close to the riots. There is some normal teen romance stuff, but the book mainly deals with Ashley’s feelings about the situation in the city and her relationship with hew lifelong white friends and the other black kids at the school. It took me a bit to get into it, but I did enjoy it.

On Deck – Movie tonight will once again be something random we find on streaming. Or we will skip a movie and watch more Fargo. Football and baseball will take up a good portion of my week. I’m sure we will watch more of the shows mentioned above. Amazing Race comes back next week. Even though I typically watch with my daughter, I have told her I will watch without her and then save it to watch with her later like I do Survivor. Otherwise, I will find out who was eliminated before I watch. I’m reading two books right now. Watching You by Lisa Jewell for work and From the Grave by David Housewright for me.

And now the “begging for donations” portion of the program. Will blog for coffee.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 10/2/20

It’s October already. How did that happen? I’m glad I changed my reading goal during lockdown. I’m way down this year. Here’s my week.

Movies – We watched two older movies this week. The first was the sequel to The Cutting Edge. In this one the daughter of the original duo is a skater who moves to doubles after an injury. Her partner is a skater she met while on vacation. It’s very similar to the first movie. Not as good, but we enjoyed it. The second movie was Knockaround Guys with Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Barry Pepper and Andy Davoli as the sons of mobsters trying to prove they are ready to take over. It also starred Dennis Hopper and John Malkovich. My wife is a big Diesel fan. I like Seth Green and John Malkovich. It was the perfect storm of actors. We did enjoy the movie. Whatever happened to Barry Pepper?

TV – We watched LA’s Finest and finished the latest season of Lucifer. I finished Hart of Dixie. I really liked that show and would highly recommend it. Masked Singer is back! I tried the new show I Can See Your Voice and have decided it is not worth my time(until Joel McHale is a guest judge) I watched a few episodes of Daybreak on Netflix. It is kind of Ferris Bueller meets the zombie apocalypse. I like it, but it was canceled. I watched a lot of football.

Books – I finished The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. I’ve only ever read Zone One, his zombie book. Nickel Boys tells the story of Elwood Curtis, who is sent to the Nickel Academy, a juvenile reformatory. We first see the academy in present day when bodies are being unearthed from the grounds. We meet Elwood before he is arrested, see his time at Nickel and pieces of his adult life. It is very good. The best I’ve read in a while. Read it.

On Deck – Movies will once again be whatever we find on streaming. TV will be more LA’s Finest, Coroner and Transplant. There is a new SNL tomorrow night. I’m very exited about that I’m reading The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 9/25/20

Note – writing this on my iPad because my wife scheduled people to come work on carpet repairs so I’m hiding behind closed doors with the dog and my laptop is in another room. I’m sure this will mean there will be multiple typos.

We finally have a week with a few new TV shows and we have dates for the return of some shows that have resumed filming. This makes me happy, especially since the stream of new movies on DVD from the library is dry right now.

Movies – We watched a couple of movies on Netflix this week. The first was The Take. It stars Idris Elba and Richard Madden. Elba is CIA, Madden is a pickpocket. Madden’s character steals a backpack that contains a bomb and is caught on camera after he discards it and it explodes. They team up to track down the real terrorist. I enjoyed it, but there were multiple times people we speaking French when there were no subtitles. I don’t think I missed much, but it was annoying. The other movie was my choice and was Mr Deeds. It is one of the few Adam Sandler movies I had not watched. I liked it. I like Sandler and this one was less goofy than normal. I would recommend both.

TV – I’m still watching at least one episode of Hart of Dixie most days. I still watch an episode of The Goldbergs when I eat lunch. The Masked Singer returned this week so I watched it. It’s dumb, but I like it. We watched the new episodes of Transplant and Coroner. The nice thing about Coroner is that it already has two seasons, so even though this week was the finale the new season starts on October 7. We also watched the first episode of LA’s Finest. This is another show that has already had two seasons, so we should have plenty to watch. This is the spinoff of the Bad Boys movies with Gabrielle Union reprising her role from the second movie. Union and Jessica Alba are partners. Alba is married to the acting DA and has a stepdaughter. Union is single and not interested in settling down. Each has some sort of secret connection to a cartel. It’s pretty standard buddy cop stuff, but Alba and Union are very good and have great chemistry as partners. I will watch more.

Books – I finished one book this week – A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight. Amanda, a rich woman in Park Slope, is murdered. Her husband is the suspect. He calls a law school friend for help. The law school friend is working at a prestigious law firm because her husband is an alcoholic who crashed his car into a business so she had to quit the DA’s office to make more money. The story alternates between present day Lizzie investigating the murder and Amanda in the days leading to her death. There may be someone stalking her as time countdowns to a party where couples tend to swap. It was an intriguing story with one twist I didn’t see coming, but the reveal of the murderer was underwhelming. Still a good read, though.

On Deck- My wife is a big fan of the movie The Cutting Edge. I discovered they made more Cutting Edge movies and recorded one of them. We will likely watch that tonight. Kentucky football is on tomorrow and Ravens football Monday night. We will watch the next episode of LA’s Finest and will eventually try the new show Filthy Rich. I will probably watch the new edition of Weakest Link because I like trivia game shows. I’m reading Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 9/18/20

The “new normal” means that I am not getting many new movies from the library. There’s no new network TV season. I don’t have as many books checked out because my days in the library don’t lend themselves to browsing the shelves. I don’t like to have to think to find my entertainment.

Movies – It took me a minute to remember if I watched a movie. every day I browse the guide to see if there are movies I want to record to watch after work. Most days I find nothing. Last week I did find Escape From New York. I don’t know that I had ever watched it before. I can see why it was popular when it was released, but it seemed really dated. I liked Kurt Russell but felt like the rest of the cast’s acting was stilted. It’s possible my enjoyment was hampered by me being distracted while watching.

TV – As expected, I watched a lot of sports. The Braves played the Nationals and the Orioles, so they were on TV every night. Unfortunately, they did not play their best against the O’s. I also watched NFL football and a little college football. We watched the latest episodes of Transplant and Coroner. Both very good Canadian shows filling spots while other shows are still off air. I watched more Hart of Dixie. I’m happy to see dates for return of some of my shows next month and November.

Books – I finished two books this week:

The Hollow Ones by Guilermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. It starts with two FBI agents responding to a case of a man on a rampage who is heading to his house to kill his family. When they arrive, one of the agents subdues the suspect but then goes to kill the last kid, forcing his partner to shoot him. While she is on suspension, a retired FBI agent directs her to a strange man who can help her with her case. He tells her there are beings out there who inhabit a body and go on murderous rampages and he can stop them. I enjoyed it and I hope that I am correct that there will be another one.

Long Bright River by Liz Moore – I found this one while checking in books at the library. Mickey is a cop in Philadelphia. Her sister Kacey is a drug addicted prostitute who has gone missing at the same time there is a string if murders of women in their neighborhood. The story is told in then and now segments so we see Kacey and Mickey grow up and how they became who they are. Their stories are compelling. The murder mystery is well done, I would highly recommend it.

On Deck – Still no movies from the library. The Invisible Man is on HBO tomorrow nhttps://www.paypal.com/paypalme/theycallmetateright so I will record it. I recorded two shows that premiered on HBO Monday night: The Third Day and We Are Who We Are. I will attempt to try them this week so if I know if I should keep recording them. I have a copy of The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead from the library to read.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 9/11/20

It is 9/11, a day that no one will ever forget. I wrote about my memory of the day before so today I will still do my regular recap of what I watched and read this week. Maybe 9/11 will remind people that we can come together in times of trouble instead of what we have done in the face of a pandemic. OK, on to the post.

Movies – We watched on movie this week – 28 Days Later. We had watched it before, but something made me think of it and then I saw the DVD at the library so I checked it out. It was as good as I remembered. I guess now we should watch 28 weeks later again. I do love a good zombie movie.

TV – Nothing groundbreaking on the TV front either. We watched the latest episode of Transplant. I watched more Hart of Dixie. I still watch The Goldbergs during my lunch while working from home. We finished the episodes of The Resident we had recorded from March and April. We are working on finishing up Stumptown and FBI:Most Wanted. I like Stumptown. I could do without FBI: Most Wanted, but my wife likes it, so I watch with her. The story lines are OK. The cast is terrible. I was very happy to watch football last night. It almost felt normal.

Books – I read Rose Gold by Walter Mosley for my mystery book club at work. I had never read an Easy Rawlins book before. I enjoyed it and might go back to read an earlier book in the series. I was happy that it was a book you could read without feeling like you missed much by skipping the rest of the series. The plot was decent, but it really was a character driven book and easy is a very good character. I also need to watch the movie version of the first book with Denzel as Easy.

On Deck – Not a lot on deck. I have no movies from the library. There are no movies streaming that we will definitely watch. New TV is still a month away. I will probably watch a lot of sport. The Braves are playing the Nationals this weekend, so all of the games will be on TV. There is college football all day Saturday and NFL football all day on Sunday. No need for anything else. I am reading The Hollow Ones by Guilermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 9/4/20

I can’t believe it is September already. I don’t feel like I really had a summer. I lost my days of reading at my MIL’s house while my wife and kids pay cards with her. I sometimes use that time to go see a movie. I’m done with 2020. Anyway, here is my week.

Movies – We watched two movies this week. The first was The Way Back. It was on HBO Saturday night. It stars Ben Affleck as a former high school basketball star who walked away from the game and now is an alcoholic construction worker. He is offered the job of coaching the team at his former high school. It is very much a drama. A little basketball. Some bits of humor, but not a light movie. I did like it. Affleck was very good. We also watched Get on Up, the Chadwick Boseman movie about James Brown. It is one of the few movies of his I never watched. He is very good as James Brown, but I discovered I didn’t really care all that much about James Brown’s life.

TV – We finished up the latest seasons of SWAT and Seal Team. We watched the finale of Tough as Nails. We watched the Canadian medical show Transplant on NBC. It looks promising. I did find a show to watch alone. Hart of Dixie on Netflix. The general premise – Zoe Hart moves from NYC to Bluebell, Alabama to take over a GP practice. It deals with her trying to adjust to small town life. She befriends the mayor and a bartender and is attracted to a local lawyer who is engaged to her medical practice partner’s daughter. I really like it.

Books – I read one book this week – Masked Prey by John Sanford. It is the latest book in the Lucas Davenport series. In this one Lucas is called in when a senators daughter finds her picture on what seems to be an alt-right website. Some take it as a call to action to kill the kids of senators. Not the best Davenport, but I love Sanford’s writing and the characters, so I still enjoyed it.

On Deck – I got 28 Days Later from the library today because I’ve been in the mood to watch it. We are now catching up on Stumptown and have an episode of Coroner to watch. I will watch more Hart of Dixie. I will watch the Derby Saturday. I am reading Rose Gold by Walter Mosley.

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Why So Long?

I saw a tweet today that said “Your TV episode doesn’t need to be 67 minutes long. I had bee thinking about a post on this lately. That prompted me to go ahead and write it.

Movies are too damn long. Most movies these days are two hours or longer. Some movies need to be that long to tell the entire story. Most don’t. I liked Bad Boys for Life, but it didn’t need to be over two hours long. I’m old and tired. If I start even a short movie too late I’m likely to fall asleep. As movies get longer I have to convince my wife to start movies earlier. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can go back to the nice, easy 90 minute comedy or action movie. I’m so happy when I get a movie and see it is barely over 90 minutes long. For me that is a perfect length for a movie just meant to entertain. As we get closer to two hours in comedy and action movies the more I want to just let myself fall asleep. It usually means there have been unnecessary scenes that made my interest lag. I’m more likely to start looking at my phone or “rest my eyes.” I don’t know why movies are trending longer, but I don’t like it.

The same has happened with books. Thrillers and mysteries can run over 400 pages. Sometimes it seems the more popular an author gets the les likely the editor is to cut unneeded pages I don’t mind reading long books. I’ve read plenty of books that run 800 pages or longer. I just think some books could be edited to a more reasonable size without hurting the story.

I don’t necessarily mind the longer TV show, but it is nice to have a good 20-40 minute show to watch on Netflix.

Maybe I’m just old and cranky. Maybe things need better editing Maybe both.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 8/28/20

My first week of TV and movies that is not dependent on what my daughter wants to watch. I most squandered it and spent a lot of time distracted by my iPad instead.

Movies – I didn’t really watch a movie this week. I did watch the part of Little Women that I missed because I fell asleep. I liked it, but it loses something when you watch it in bits and pieces. My daughter loved it. HDNET has been showing Elvis movies in the morning, so I had Paradise, Hawaiian Style on in the background while I worked from home on Wednesday. I do love my Elvis movies. I need to see if Blue Hawaii is on again soon. That’s about it for movies this week.

TV – We started watching the shows we have had recorded since March. We finished Agents of SHIELD. I thought the final season was very good and that it was a good end for the story. The show got much better when it detached itself from the movies. I do hope they find a way to get Coulson back in a movie at some point. We have been watching Tough as Nails. It is a reality show hosted by Phil Keoghan, best known as the host of Amazing Race. It is a competition show where blue collar workers compete in team and individual challenges for cash. The challenges are all blue collar type jobs. I didn’t think I would like it, but I am invested now. We have watched some SWAT and Seal Team as well. I still need to find a show to watch alone.

Books – I read one book this week. It was The Third Twin by CJ Omololu. I found it on our shelves at home. I think someone gave it to my daughter. The plot – adopted twins Lexi and Ava used to make up a “third twin” named Alicia to blame for the things they did wrong. Now in high school, they sometimes go out as Alicia to date boys they wouldn’t normally date. When one of them is killed and other odd things start to happen Lexi is left with two possible scenarios – Ava is a killer or Alicia is somehow real. I figured out part of the mystery about halfway through, but was wrong about who was killing people. I always enjoy when I am surprised by the identity of the killer. It was one of the few books recently that made me want to keep reading.

On Deck – I still have The Invisible Man on DVD. I should watch that this weekend. The Way Back is on HBO tomorrow night. I might watch that. A British medical show, Transplant, premieres on NBC next week. I like medical shows so I will try it. Lucifer and Cobra Kai are both on Netflix now. I still need to find a show to watch alone. I’m reading Masked Prey by John Sanford.

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