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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Wordless Wednesday – Meeting Famous People

For wordless(kind of) Wednesday, my photos of meeting famous people.

Me with Henry Winkler
Me with Kelly from The Dollyrots
My son at his first concert with Jaret from Bowling for Soup
My son with UK basketball coach John Calipari
Me with Christopher Moore

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My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 7/10/20

Here, once again, is my weekly recap of what I read and watched since last week’s post. I never remember to take notes, so it is a memory exercise for me.

Movies – The big movie for us this week was Hamilton on Disney Plus. We were lucky enough to see the play in person on Broadway, but the original cast was already gone at that point. It was nice to be able to see it with them in the roles. It is still very good, but I don’t think I will be one of the people who will watch it over and over again. I had a three day weekend last week so I had plenty of time to find random movies to watch alone. I watched part of There’s Something About Mary since it was on, I was bored, and I had not watched it since the first time years ago. I watched Friday Night Lights. I think I had watched it before but remembered nothing about it. I was surprised to see two of the actors from the TV show in the movie. I never realized there was carryover. I think that is all of note. At least it is all I can remember.

TV – We watched episodes of our regular shows: Stargirl, Snowpiercer, Yellowstone. I watched more old Amazing Race with my daughter. She wanted a season where she would like the eventual winners. I couldn’t guarantee that so I looked up lists of what people considered the best season, thought the winners there were decent and we started season 5. It is a fun season. We started and almost finished Love, Victor, the spinoff of Love, Simon It was OK. It is only 30-minute shows so it is easy to binge. We watched the first three episodes of Next Step on Hulu last night because my daughter has watched it and really liked it and thought we would. It is a Canadian show about a dance studio. It was better than I expected. We watched a couple of episodes of Warrior Nun on Netflix. We do plan to watch more.

Books – I finished Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells. It is a YA fantasy book. It has dragons and prophecies. The basic plot: when her girlfriend is taken by the Aurati on their visit to town, Meren plots to infiltrate the dragon fortress, steal a dragon, and rescue her girlfriend. I enjoyed it but was disappointed as I always am when it ended without an ending and I have to wait for book two to finish the story.

On Deck – There are three new movies streaming that I want to watch. Andy Samberg has a new movie, Palm Springs,  on Hulu with a Groundhog Day type plot. He has been stuck living the same day over and over. It takes place at a wedding. On one of those days, the maid of honor gets stuck in the loop with him. I like Samberg and the premise sounds promising. Charlie Theron’s Old Guard is on Netflix today. It is an adaptation of a graphic novel. Theron plays a member of a team of immortal mercenaries who are suddenly exposed and must fight to feel their identities secret. My wife will like that one. The new Tom Hanks WWII movie Greyhound is on Apple TV. I’m still in my one-year free preview, so we will be able to watch it. We will watch more of our normal TV. I still need to find a show I will watch alone when I am awake for hours while my family is still asleep. I am reading The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix.

Alms for the mediocre blogger

Tater Takes On Guilty Pleasures, Reviews and Anything Else That Pops Into His Weird Mind

Another throw back post that popped up in my memories today. I still strongly agree with all of these takes. I’m sure everyone is happy I still agree with myself.

Guilty Pleasures: I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I read, watch and listen to plenty of things people will make fun of. I recently had that happen with my love of the Hamilton soundtrack and musicals in general. Around this same time someone mentioned something being their “guilty pleasure.” I don’t understand the concept of a guilty pleasure. If you enjoy something why would it make you feel guilty. Unless, of course, that “pleasure” is illegal or immoral. If this is the case then, yes, you should feel guilty. I freely admit to things that others would call a guilty pleasure with no shame at all. I love musicals. I watch Grey’s Anatomy. I watched Gilmore Girls regularly when it was on TV. I read sparkly pink YA book meant for teenage girls. I got addicted to the Game Show Network while at my mom’s house and wish I was home in the afternoon to watch Chain Reaction. I watched the soap opera Santa Barbara from the first to the last episode. I’m currently watching Live with Kelly and think Fred Savage should become the permanent co-host. I’m addicted to Facebook and spend a lot of time on social media. Does any of this make me guilty or ashamed? Nope. Why would I be ashamed to send time watching or reading things that make me happy? I don’t feel the need to pretend to be something I’m not. I don’t care if book, movies or music(80’s and pop punk) get good reviews. I only care about how they make me feel.

Reviews: I recently read a review of a comedy movie. Inside the review, the reviewer says you will laugh hard several times. The reviewer then goes on to give the movie a bad overall review. So, a comedy film is funny but is considered a failure? If I go to a comedy, I am going because I want to laugh. If I laugh a lot and hard isn’t that a success? Does it matter if the overall story is great? Are people really going to Neighbors 2 because they wanted a deep, meaningful story? Do reviewers even understand why people go to the movies?  There are some movies in every genre that are dependent on a strong story, excellent acting, score, etc in order to achieve what they are attempting. Some movies, like Neighbors 2, are just meant to make you laugh. Did it make you laugh? Mission accomplished. Stop reading so deeply into things that aren’t meant to be deep. Same goes for TV shows. Also, once you no longer like the medium you should probably stop reviewing it.

Performing the Beatles, Prince, Queen, etc : I was already tired of hearing people opine that people should never attempt to cover the Beatles and was reaching that point with people saying the same about Queen. Now, I’ve already had someone on the Today Show(who makes sure to mention regularly that Prince was a friend) say the same thing in response to the Madonna and Stevie Wonder performance last night. There are a lot of bad covers out there. I agree on that point. My feelings, though, are if you are doing a tribute or making the song your own, then cover away. Most will never be as good as the original, but no one is un-coverable.

Rain: Hot take: I’m tired of it. Please stop.

Watching Until the End

I came really close to not doing day 10 of the Month of Tater. I feel weird doing the blogging thing when people are around. My family does not understand why I do it and look at me weird when I say I am writing a blog post. I’ve not been alone all day, so I was leaning toward not doing it. I did, however, say I was doing this every day this month, so here it goes. I had two thoughts on what to write today. A very shallow post about long running TV shows I’ve watched beginning to end or a deep, introspective post inspired by a line of dialogue on one of those shows. I’m going shallow.

There are a handful of long running shows I’ve watched from the first episode to the series finale. I’ve given up on a lot of shows because I lost interest. A lot of shows get canceled early. These shows lasted a long time and held my interest for the entire run. I’m probably forgetting about some older shows, but these are my memorable ones.

  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I remember when they announced that Joss Whedon was doing a TV version of the movie. I was very excited and people thought I was weird(I am) for being excited about a TV show based on a mediocre movie. Turns out I was right to be excited. It is still one of my favorite shows ever, even though the Riley and the Initiative storyline was terrible. I also watched the entire run of Angel, but it was a shorter run. I’m sad that I can’t get my kid to watch it.
  2. ER – This is one that almost lost me. As time went by, most of the original cast was gone and they finally hit a season that inspired me to write a blog post that ER was crashing, but I kept watching. Every medical show I’ve watched since has been compared to ER and have come up short. I’m not sure anyone will ever do one as good.
  3. Gilmore Girls – I almost didn’t include this one because I wasn’t sure I watched from the beginning. I realized, though, that I had to have started from day one because I didn’t have access to old episodes easily back then. I have always unapologetically loved this show that most men wouldn’t admit watching. The dialogue was great. I loved the characters(until they destroyed Rory in the Netflix revival). It was a great show.
  4. Santa Barbara – I watched soaps with my mom. I loved Days of Our Lives, but Santa Barbara was my favorite. I watched the first episode and the last episode and most of the ones in between. I doubt I got all of them as I went to college in the middle of the run. I did, however, find other Santa Barbara fan in my dorm and we watched together whenever we could.
  5. Grey’s Anatomy – The show that inspired this post. I was watching the 300th episode this morning and thought about other shows that I’ve watched from the beginning. I love that they still have 4 of the original characters on the show after 300 episodes. I like a lot of the new characters. I hope it’s true that this season will be lighter and funnier. I think it is a better show that way. I don’t plan to stop watching any time soon.

Do you have any shows you started on day one and watched to the bitter end?

“I Don’t Like Winona Ryder” and Other Stranger Things About My Wife

Last night my wife responded to my suggestion that we watch Stranger Things with “I don’t like Winona Ryder.” This is not quite as bad as the fact that she doesn’t like The Breakfast Club, but for me, it’s close. Heathers is one of my favorite movies ever. I also love Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. It’s likely I would like those movies just as much with someone else in the role, but my love for those movies cemented my love for Winona Ryder long ago. I shouldn’t be surprised. I should be past the point of being surprised that she doesn’t share my pop culture loves. She likes action movies and cares more about explosions and car chases than plot and dialogue. I’m fine with action movies, but I prefer movies that have a plot and a good script. Or comedy. I also love a good, dumb comedy. She hates most comedies. I’m not sure how she can live with a guy that is full of dumb jokes.

When it comes to TV, she likes formulaic procedurals. NCIS, Hawaii 5-0, Chicago Fire, etc.  I like a good sitcom, superhero shows, medical dramas and HBO/Showtime stuff like Shameless, Game of Thrones, etc. I will admit to getting sucked in to Chicago Fire episodes when she watched them. We do share a love for The Walking Dead, though it took her a long time to admit that she liked it. She also shares my love of medical dramas and will watch Code Black with me, but refuses to watch Grey’s Anatomy. The one area where I guess I’m the weird one is binge watching. She binge watches and I like variety in my viewing.

Musically, we both like 80’s music like most people who are 80’s kids. The difference is, I will seek out new music and have found bands like Bowling For Soup. The Dollyrots, Patent Pending and Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts that I love(some claim I like them because they are 80’s like). I will also listen to The Hits station on Sirius to stay aware of what new music is out there and will pick up some new stuff that I like. She sticks to the 80’s music and has little interest in finding new stuff.

Books – I love to read and read over 100 books a year. I read a lot of different genres written for both teens and adults. She reads 1 or 2 books a year and really only wants to read medical mysteries. If there is no new Robin Cook or Michael Palmer book out, she struggles to find something to read on vacation. I think she actually prefers to just read work papers than a book for enjoyment. That is even weirder than not liking Winona Ryder.

I guess it really is true that opposites attract.

Pop Culture Police

Yesterday, I came across this article from Kentucky about two librarians who decided they would refuse to give a tween a book because they decided it was “pornographic”.  Today, I decided to read Tom Shales, even though I don’t like him and think he should not write about TV when he seems to hate the medium, and see he is mad at Syfy for showing scary movies that could damage children.  It appears that we have regressed to the days of Tipper Gore when others have decided parents are too stupid, too apathetic or too busy to parent so they have to do it for them.  I am a parent and there are movies, books, etc. I consider inappropriate for my children, but I am the one to make that call.  Not everyone has the same values and beliefs.  You do not have the right to force yours on others.  If you don’t like it don’t read it, watch it or listen to it and have your kids do the same but don’t try to make others do the same.

UPDATE:  Just found this article via Google Reader: Someone crossing “dirty words” out of books in the library