My Week in Books, Movies and TV 9/13/19

It’s been an off week for me. This is my first original post since Sunday. I never could get any words out when I had time to post. It feels like I had an odd schedule this week but my hours were the same as any other week. I did finish several books, so I obviously had time this week. It just felt like I didn’t.

Movies – We watched The Sun is Also a Star. I read the book and liked the book. The movie wasn’t terrible, but, like most adaptations, I feel like I would have liked it more if I had not read the book. We started Godzilla, King of Monsters when both kids were home, but then realized we didn’t really have time to finish if the kids were going to leave when they wanted to leave so we stopped.

TV – I watched a lot of sports on TV this week. Kentucky football. Ravens football. Braves baseball. Other random football games. I think that’s why I read more. It’s easy to read during the random games and still know what is happening in the game. I watched the first two episodes of the new season of 13 Reasons Why. When my daughter judged me for this I told her that I was invested in these kids lives now and had to see how it turned out. It’s true. I like the characters and I am invested in their stories now. I just need more time to watch all of the stuff I want to watch. When is someone going to pay me to stay at home and watch TV?

Books – I finished three books this week:

Murder of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah – a Hercule Poirot book. It was OK. I found it too slow and never really was invested in the mystery. I didn’t read a lot of Agatha Christie. Maybe Poirot fans would like the book. I don’t know.

Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg – A collection of fictional(obviously) texts and calls from famous literary characters. It was OK. Some were really good. Some so-so. I listened and the audio was well done, but sometimes my yelling at other cars distracted me from listening.

Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O’Neill – O’Neill was hired to write an article for Premiere magazine and became obsessed with the case. The article never happened. Many years later the book did. The Manson stuff was interesting and brought up a lot of unanswered questions. The CIA stuff was not so interesting and it was a stretch trying to tie it to Manson. In the end, he had no new answers at all. Only read it if you are as interested in Manson as I am.

On Deck – We will try again with Godzilla. I have Rocketman on DVD so we might watch that. We are now working our way through the latest season of Agents of SHEILD. I need to start reading the teen books for Books for the Beast next month. I guess the facilitator of the discussion should actually read the books. I’m starting with And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 9/6/19

After a full day of cleaning on Saturday, I was able to just relax for the rest of my three day weekend. You would think that would equal more finished books. You would be wrong. There is an explanation for that, though, that will come in the book section.

Movies – I did not watch a new movie this week. I had one new movie from the library that will go back unwatched today. Instead, the movies we watched were old movies we had seen before that were on TV over the holiday weekend. We watched White House Down – the superior people taking over the White House movie. I don’t get why Olympus Has Fallen got two sequels instead of this one. I still really like it. My wife watched the new version of Total Recall while I read and half paid attention. We watched Doc Hollywood. It was a nice pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I like new movies, but sometimes it’s fun to relax with an older movie you enjoy.

TV – We finished season one of Jack Ryan on Amazon. It was very good and I can’t wait for season two in November. I’m staying current on the shows I’m recording from TV in an effort to keep my DVR in shape to record all of the new shows that are less than a month away. Yes, I still have cable. I will always have cable. I love TV too much to not have the new network shows in real-time. I also have Netflix and Amazon and will probably try to convince my wife that we also need Disney Plus. If we get the package I’ve read about that might also add Hulu as well. I may never read a book again.

Books – I did finish one book this week. It was one of the Tor novellas, but it counts. It was The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle. It is a revisiting of Lovecraft’s The Horror at Red Hook from the viewpoint of a black man. It won the  2016 Shirley Jackson Award for best novella and was a finalist for various other awards. Needless to say, it was very good and I would recommend it. It is also less than 200 pages which is refreshing in the days of the 400 and over page books. I actually read quite a bit over the week but didn’t finish another book. I started reading Chaos, a book about the Manson murders where the author tries to prove Bugliosi’s “race war” motive in Helter Skelter is wrong. I got halfway through that and then focused on reading the book for the mystery book club at work. That book is The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah. It is a new Hercule Poirot mystery. Do we really need someone else writing these? It is not my favorite. So, the switching books has slowed me down in finishing even though I spent a lot of time reading this week. Now I have another book I need to finish for my personal book club next Saturday. Too many assigned readings!

On Deck – We will watch The Sun is Also a Star and Godzilla King of Monsters with the kids this weekend. I also have The Last Black Man in San Francisco I will try to watch at some point. We will likely finish the last season of Flash while my daughter is at home. I need to watch more Mr Mercedes before it is due back to the library. I will continue reading the two books mentioned above.

Actors I Will Always Watch

I’m watching The Righteous Gemstones. This is the first episode with Walton Goggins. It made me think about what actors will always get me to watch a show or a movie. So, here’s a list.

  1. Walton Goggins – This is a relatively new one for me, but I’ve loved him n everything he’s done. I will watch The Unicorn this fall only because he is the start. The premise of the show with any other actor would probably make it a skip for me.
  2. Timothy Olyphant – I loved Justified. Olyphant and Goggins were really good in it. Like Goggins, Olyphant is also very good at comedy. I’m looking forward to his next project.
  3. Gary Cole – I watched Fam last year because of Gary Cole. The rest of the show was pretty terrible, but I watched because his scenes were so funny. I never watched Black-ish. I did watch some of Grown-ish. I will likely watch Mixed-ish this fall in part because of Cole’s involvement.
  4. Mark Paul Gosselaar – This one isn’t so much about the actor as much as it is his talent in picking good projects. It’s at the point now where if I see he is in a show I assume it will be pretty good. The was a recast and he is now the dad in Mixed-ish. With him and Gary Cole involved, it is a must-watch for me.
  5. Emma Stone – I know some people find her annoying, but I really like her and will watch what looks like a bad movie if she is in it. My favorite is still Easy A.
  6. Amber Stevens West – I watched another bad comedy last year hoping it would get better because I liked the stars. She was one of them. I will watch her next show no matter what it is. Hopefully, it will be better.
  7. Damon Wayans, Jr – He was the other star of the above show. I watched because I love the two of them. I enjoyed them on the show, but the writing was terrible. I wanted it to get better, but it didn’t. What a waste of talent.

I’m sure there are more, but that’s who I can think of right now. I left off a lot of major stars like The Rock, Keaunu and the like because it’s not exactly a revelation that someone would watch stuff because of them. Do you have people you watch no matter what?

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 8/30/19

I’m back on track a little with my reading. An audiobook on my 2-hour drive on Thursday helped with that some. My TV viewing has been adversely affected by my new sleep pattern of going to bed early because my dog won’t sleep past 5am.

Movies – We watched The Predator. It is a new sequel to Schwarzenegger’s movie from the 80’s. We enjoyed it. It’s not going to win any awards, but it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. I think sometimes the critics forget that it’s OK for a movie to just be a fun distraction. I don’t need an award-winning movie al the time.  My wife never wants to watch award winners. She finds them boring. The loves dumb action movies, so The Predator was perfect for her.

TV – We started watching the Jack Ryan series on Amazon this week. I was a big fan of the first few books in the series so I’m always interested to see how the new adaptations work.  I’m enjoying it so far. I think Krasinski is good as Jack Ryan and I like Wendell Pierce in everything he does. We will keep watching. I watched the first episode of the newest seasons of Mr. Mercedes and Dear White People yesterday. I’m looking forward to watching more. Only a few weeks until the new TV season. I also need to clear some space on my DVR soon.

Books – I finished two books this week.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – It is weird and could be hard to follow when I was listening instead of reading, but I really liked it. It’s hard to give a basic premise, but I will try. There was a man who might be a god who adopted some kids and taught each of them a specific skill(healing, language, fighting, etc) with a rule that no one was to study outside of their catalog. We start with the “dad” missing and possibly dead. Add a plumber/thief who might have a connection to the “family” and a legendary soldier/now Homeland Security agent and you get a weird, but an enjoyable mystery.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe – I agree with a friend who rated it on Goodreads with 5 stars for the message, three stars for their enjoyment of it. I’m glad the book exists. I’m glad I read it. I didn’t think the writing was that good.

On Deck – I have Little waiting for me at the library and now that I know my daughter will come home next weekend I will also get my copy of The Sun is Also a Star to watch with her. I’m sure we will watch more episodes of Jack Ryan and I will watch more Mr. Mercedes and Dear White People. I’m in the middle of The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavelle and then I will read Chaos, a book about the Manson murders.

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 8/23/19

It’s time again for my recap of what I’ve read and watched this week. I’m sure everyone is extremely excited.

Movies – I have three movies for the week. The first was a rewatch of Endgame since my wife and son had not seen it yet. It was still good. I’m sad that Spiderman will no longer be a part of the MCU. We also watched The Mule. I’m impressed that Eastwood is still acting and directing. I liked the movie. I think I could be a drug mule. I’m an old white man with a spotless driving record. Where do I apply? I watched Long Shot alone because my family tends to not care about the comedies. I’m a Seth Rogen fan, so I was predisposed to like it. I think a lot of people will be surprised at how good it is. Rogen plays a journalist who knew the Secretary of State when they were kids. She hires him as a speechwriter They fall in love. Charlize Theron and Rogen have great chemistry and the relationship is believable. It was a fun movie.

TV – I watched the first episode of The Righteous Gemstones. It stars John Goodman, Danny McBride, and Adam Devine as father and sons televangelists. John Goodman is good as always. Danny McBride plays Danny McBride. Adam Devine is great as the younger brother. Edi Patterson is funny as the sister who feels left out. I think it would have been better as just a comedy about the family, but they threw in a blackmail storyline that seems like it will be the main story for the season. That’s a little disappointing. I do like the cast enough to keep watching and Walton Goggins shows up soon.

Books – I didn’t finish a book this week. I was listening to a book on part of my 4 hours of driving yesterday but did not realize it had not completely downloaded until t stopped playing. I was driving so I couldn’t fix that. I also forgot to take a bok with me to read during the time I had to kill before it was time to go to the funeral home. So, it was an all-around fail day for me and reading. I’m way behind in my reading this year.

On Deck – I have Tolkien on DVD, but I don’t think anyone else wants to watch it. I will probably start the new season of 13 Reasons Why this week. I still need to watch the latest seasons of Luther and Dear White People. I will have a lot of time alone now that my daughter is going back to college. I should use that to catch up on my reading as I’m way behind this year, but I’m sure I will use that time to watch TV instead.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 8/16/19

It’s been a long week. I had to go back to last week’s post to see what I said was on deck so I could maybe remember what I did this week.

Movies – I went to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood last Friday. I’ve always been a Tarantino fan so I expected to like this movie and I did. DiCaprio and Pitt are great as the leads. I especially enjoyed Pitt in the movie. The ending was unexpected, but I really liked what he did with it. I would highly recommend you see it as soon as possible. We watched Detective Pikachu Sunday night. I did not expect to like it as much as I did. It was actually pretty funny. You don’t need to know anything about Pokemon to enjoy it.

TV – I’ve watched 1.5 episodes of BH90210(I’m watching episode 2 as I type this) and I am enjoying it. It’s not a reboot. It is the 90210 actors playing versions of themselves considering a revival of the show after reuniting at a convention. It’s fun to see all of the actors together again. The story sounds dumb, but it works for me. You have to be a fan of the original, I think, to enjoy it. My daughter has started watching Downton Abbey and I’ve seen pieces of it here and there. I never considered watching it because it didn’t seem like something I would like but I almost feel like I want to go back and watch what I’ve missed.

Books – I finished one book this week – Raised in Captivity by Chuck Klosterman. It is a collection of very short fiction. Each story is 10 pages or less. I didn’t know how I would feel about stories that short, but it worked. It was easier to read short stories knowing each one would only take a few minutes to read. You didn’t get so absorbed in one that it was hard to move to the next and a bad one didn’t ruin the experience. The stories are all very weird.

On Deck – I have two movies on DVD – Cell and Long Shot. Cell is the one based on the Stephen King book. I never got around to watching it and feel like I would like it. Not sure I can convince anyone to watch it with me. I’m also not sure I can convince anyone to watch Long Shot. I’m the only Seth Rogen fan in the house right now. TV this week will be trying to finish a couple of shows on the DVR before my daughter goes back to school. I have two books I need to read for book clubs by August 28 and 31. That is going to be a challenge. I tried reading them at the same time but decided that wasn’t working. Too bad I can’t find audio for either one of them.

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 8/9/19

It was back to a somewhat normal week. My daughter came home on Friday. My wife came home on Sunday. I finished a couple of books, but they were books I had already started. Other events of the week did not make for a calm enough mind to sit and read. I did watch a lot though.

Movies – I watched one of the four movies I had from the library. My son came home Sunday specifically to watch Shazam with us. We all really liked the movie. It was nice to have a light, funny DC movie for a change. They did a good job with it. Zachary Levi was great as Shazam. Mark Strong was a good villain. Jack Dylan Grazer was really good as the best friend of the kid who became Shazam. A good cast and a good script make for a good movie.

TV – We watched the second season of Derry Girls last weekend. It is a very funny show. If you haven’t watched it yet, do it this weekend. It’s easy to binge. Two six-episode seasons and each episode is only 25 minutes or so. You can watch the entire run without a break. It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve watched in a long time. While my daughter was at a wedding I started watching Friday Night Lights.  I knew it was supposed to be a good show, but I never got to it while it was on Netflix. It is on Prime, so I decided to give it a shot. I watched six episodes while she was gone. I have not watched more mainly because I haven’t had the time home alone. I did really like it, but there are a lot of episodes and the new fall season is starting soon, so it might take me a while to get to the rest. If you have the time and like football/high school drama I would recommend it.

Books – I finished four books this week.

Neon Prey by John Sandford – I started listening to it because the CD was at the library where I work. I hated the reader. I stopped at my local library to pick up a movie and the had a print copy available in their 7-day collection(I love this idea. New releases available for a one-week checkout with no holds). I then alternated between the audio and the print. I generally like the Lucas Davenport books. This one was OK, but not my favorite. I’m not sure if it was the story or the reader that made me like it less than the others.

All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred Taylor – This is the last book in the Logan family series that started with Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. The Logan kids are now adults. The story covers WWII to the early 60’s with the now adult Logan kids moving north and still dealing with racism. I enjoyed it. It is a very good look at historic civil rights events through the eyes of the Logans. It was a little long and a lot of time was spent on Cassie’s first love story. I felt like that could have been trimmed down quite a bit. I would recommend it though.

Short and Skinny by Mark Tatulli – a middle-grade graphic memoir about the author’s time as a short and skinny middle schooler. It was a nice, quick read and perfect for upper elementary and middle schoolers.

I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib –  A memoir about growing up the daughter of a mother from the Philippines and a dad from Egypt and figuring out who you are. I probably would have liked it a lot more if I had not read it when I was stressed out and angry. It’s probably not a good idea to try to read a book in that mood. I should read it again.

On Deck – At some point this weekend I will watch Detective Pikachu with my kids. We might force my daughter to watch Top Gun tonight since she’s never seen it. I plan to go see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood this morning. I will watch BH90210 this afternoon while others are out shopping. We need to finish watching Flash and Deadly Class before my daughter goes back to school soon. I’m reading Raised in Captivity by Chuck Klosterman and then I need to get to reading my books for my work and personal book clubs.

 

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 8/2/19

I can’t believe that date I just typed is an August date. What happened to summer? I did not read nearly as much this summer as I usually do.

The week as a different week than expected. We got a call Saturday that my MIL was in the hospital. My wife and daughter headed to Kentucky Sunday morning and have been gone all week. You would think that would increase my reading and watching, but all it did was increase my time sleeping on the couch. Here’s what I did manage to read and watch.

Movies – I did get lucky with this one. My family told me they would not watch Pet Sematary with me. It came in while they were away so I watched it last night. I had to fight falling asleep during the movie. I have not slept well when I’m actually supposed to be sleeping this week. I managed to stay awake and thought that it was one of the better Stephen King adaptations. I don’t remember the original movie, so I can’t say how it compares. I like that it was nice and short and they didn’t try to add a lot to the story to stretch it out. I like that there was no Hollywood contrived happy ending. I would recommend it.

TV – It was a very bad TV week. I watched the Lifetime adaptation of VC Andrew’s Heaven Sunday night. I loved the books when I was younger. My expectations were low for a Lifetime movie. They should have been ower. It was bad. Real bad. I will still watch the next in the series. I was looking for a funny show to watch Monday night. I asked friends on Facebook for recommendations and then ignored them all and watched a random show. It was Catastrophe on Amazon. The premise is a guy has a one week stand with a woman he meets while on business in London. She calls after he’s home to tell him she’s pregnant. He moves to London to be with her. It was funny. I liked it. I’m not sure if  I will watch more. I can’t say why. I just never feel the need to start it up again. I watched Beat Shazam and played along as always. This time I actually did well and beat all of the teams except the one that won. I was very proud of myself. I watched(and dozed during) the two nights of debates. I think it’s time for all but around six of the candidates to drop out.

Books – I finally finished Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. It is almost 800 pages long. It starts with a young girl who starts sleepwalking away from her house, Her sister can’t ae her up. She keeps walking and is soon joined by others. The book is about the CDC trying to figure out why while a white supremacist group decides to use them as a tool to spread a message of hate. You actually find out the why halfway through the book. I liked the writing. I liked the characters. The story was compelling, I liked it up to the end. I hated the ending. It’s a bummer to read almost 800 pages, like most of what you’ve read and then hate the ending. I should sue!

On Deck – I still have Shazam. I’m not sure how we are going to watch it with everyone in different places and getting home at different times. I might need to get my son to come home Sunday to watch with me and then have my wife watch alone after she returns from Kentucky. I have more movies(Alita: Battle Angel, Missing Link, Cell) but I’m not sure I will get a chance to watch them. Dear White People and Derry Girls both have new seasons on Netflix today I know what I will be watching on TV this week. I should finish reading Neon Prey by John Sandford and All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred Taylor this week.

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 7/26/19

I’m glad I went back and looked at last week’s post. I thought this was a light week, but then I looked at what I said I had on deck this week and realized I watched a lot this week that I thought I watched last week. I’m old and forgetful.

Movies – We watched two movies this week. When my son was home Saturday my kids wanted to watch Sandlot: Heading Home. They loved the first two movies and when they found out there was a third they insisted I get the DVD. It wasn’t terrible, but it was not nearly as good as the first two. The basic plot is that a retiring baseball player who has a reputation for being a jerk who only cares about himself gets hit in the head and goes back to his days playing on the Sandlot where he learns to be a team player. Squints and Benny the Jet return as adults. We also watched The Public. It is the Emilio Estevez movie set in the Cincinnati Public Library. During a cold spell, a group of homeless patrons refuses to leave the library.  A librarian stays with them and defies the police order to leave. I liked it. My wife and daughter liked it. It has a good cast and has several humorous moments. I would recommend it. Librarians might like it more than normal people. Librarians might hate it more than normal people.

TV – I finished Stranger Things season 3. I thought it was a good season. I think we deserve a spinoff of the further adventures of Robin, Steve, Dustin, and Erica. I agree with Drew’s rant about the ending.  Don’t read that unless you want spoilers. We spend a lot of time watching HGTV. If you had told me a year ago that I would happily watch HGTV shows for hours I would have laughed at you. They really suck you in. House Hunters, Love it or List It, Fixer Upper all draw me in quickly and I’m invested in which house rando strangers choose to buy. They are also good shows to have on while you read. I need noise when reading. I can read some during these shows and more during commercials. Having HGTV on increases my reading time. Other channels distract me too much. I also enjoy watching Chopped on Food Network and Buying the Beach on Destination America.

Books – I’ve read 448 pages this week without finishing a book. That’s because Wanderers by Chuck Wendig is 780 pages long. Maybe I will finish it next week. I’m pretty sure I will not make it to 100 books this year.

On Deck – I have Shazam! waiting for me at the library but I told my son we would wait for him to watch it. That means we have to wait until next weekend for that one. I have no other movies on DVD. We have a few on our DVR that I would like to watch, but no one else seems interested. I might not watch a movie this week. Like many other people, I read VC Andrews when I was younger. I liked the Heaven Casteel series more than I did Flowers in the Attic. Lifetime starts a series of movies based on these books tomorrow night. I will be watching them. My family thinks it is weird. I don’t care. I’m sure the movies will be terrible. I don’t care. I will still watch. I will continue reading Wanderers and I’m now listening to Neon Prey by John Sandford.

 

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 7/19/19

My first week back in the real world after vacation combined with terrible, extreme heat was tailor-made for me to sit on the couch and watch TV, so that’s what I did. I’m hoping the reading part will pick up once it is cooler and I can sit outside where there is no screen to distract me.

Movies – I almost made it through the week with no movie watched. I wasn’t going to count the dumb action movie my wife watched while I read/slept on the couch, so I had no movies on my list until last night. I had recorded The American President before we went to Kentucky because I thought my daughter would like it. We watched it last night. I told her that I thought she would like it because she loves The West Wing. I told her that without realizing Aaron Sorkin also wrote the movie. I was correct. She did enjoy the movie and I still liked it as much as I did when I first watched it. There were a lot of West Wing actors in the movie. If you are a West Wing fan you should definitely watch it.

TV – I watched more Stranger Things. I’ve got three more episodes of season 3 left to go. I just need to find the time home alone to finish. I think I might like season 3 more than season 2. We will see how I feel when I get to the end. The final season of Suits started this week. It’s not nearly as good as it was in the early days, but I still enjoy it. I’m curious to see how they end it. I’m watching the first episode of the spinoff, Pearson, as I type this. I’m not sure I will stick with it. Jessica Pearson was my least favorite character on Suits so the rest of the characters will need to be really interesting for me to want to keep watching.

Books – I finished one book this week, The Fifth Season by NK Jemison. I really wanted to like it more than I did. I can see why it won awards and why so many others like it. There’s just something about her writing style that doesn’t connect with me. I felt the same when I tried to read her short stories. The story was interesting, but I felt the structure of the book took away from my enjoyment of it. I can’t say more without spoilers. I did figure some stuff out early, so the aha moments hundred of pages later didn’t really have the punch I’m sure they were meant to have. You should read it, though, because I’m one of the few people who feel this way. I’m weird.

On Deck – I have The Public, Mid90’s and Sandlot: Heading Home on DVD. My kids apparently didn’t know that Sandlot movie existed and want to watch it tomorrow. I’m hoping people show up at the library today for my movie matinee so I can get paid to watch The Public. I hope to finish Stranger Things this week. I still need to decide if I care enough about Season 2 of Big Little Lies to go back to it. I have started reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig last night. It is almost 800 pages long, so I doubt I will finish it this week.