My Week in Books, Movies and Television

Here it is. My new weekly report on what I am reading and watching. Try to contain your excitement.

Books – My reading pace slowed down significantly this week. I finished American Heart by Laura Moriarty(discussed in last week’s post) and read Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. I never read the original novel and it’s hard for me to go back and read older books I missed  because I have a steady stream of new books coming to me from the library. It was nice to have the graphic novel version arrive so I could finally read it It is very good.

Movies – We watched American Assassin. I have never read any of the books, so I can’t speak to how it compared. It was a good action movie. Dylan O’Brien seemed a surprising choice for the lead role, but he did a good job. I think his star will continue to rise and he will be our next big movie star. Of course, I once thought the same of Shia LaBeouf, so my judgment is suspect. It was one action movie my daughter willingly watched with us because she loves O’Brien. If you like action movies you should watch it.

Television – Another week of watching a lot of shows on the DVR. Nothing outstanding to report. I’m still, three episodes in, trying to decide if I like Bill Hader’s show Barry on HBO. I like the premise(hit man decides he wants to become an actor) and it has a good cast, but I’m still not sold on it. I recorded the HBO documentary on Elvis, but I want to wait and watch it when I can force my family to watch and understand why I like him so much. We are getting close to the network upfronts and the announcements of next season’s TV schedule. I will have full reports then. Two shows appear to be headed to cancellation. Both Living Biblically and Taken have been pulled from the schedule. Both are mediocre and likely won’t be missed by many.

Hopefully, I will have a report on Noir by Chris Moore in next week’s post. I need to read more this week.

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My Week In Books, TV and Movies

Since my last attemt at a weekly post didn’t work, I decided to try something new.  My new weekly Friday post will be about what I have consumed media-wise over the week.  We will see how long it takes for me to stop following through on this one.

Reading – I am reading American Heart by Laura Moriarty. I decided to read it after I read about the controversy surrounding the book. Kirkus gave it a starred review and then took it back after complaints. People are apparently upset that the story is what they consider an offensive white savior narrative. The basic story is that in a world where Muslims are being sent to detention camps a 15 year old white girl has to overcome her prejudices to help a Musim woman escape. I’m about halfway through and my main complaint is that the story is too slow. I don’t have a problem with people not wanting to read the book. I do have a problem with people giving it bad reviews on Goodreads without reading it. I also have a problem with Kirkus changing their review based on complaints, especially since they say the reviewer who gave it the starred review was Muslim. I see the issue with a white savior narrative, but I also see why a white woman would likely tell the story through the eyes of a white woman.

Movies – I watched Wonder with my daughter on my day off on Tuesday. I never read the book, but I knew the general story. A kid with facial differences goes to school for the first time after being homeschooled and deals with bullies and making friends. It was a good movie, for the most part. I liked that they told the story from the perspective of a few different characters. I didn’t think they needed to tack on to the end that the school gave him an award at the end of the year. Wasn’t it enough of a feel good story that he made friends and was able to make friends and overcome the initial bullying? Did anyone else who watched it feel like it was the school saying “look at us. we gave an award to the kid who is different. Aren’t we special”? Or is that just because I watch and love Speechless where they routinely bash schools and organizations who do that sort of thing?

Television: I watch way too much to talk about it all. I will say that I am really enjoying Alex, Inc, but I think you have to be a big Zach Braff fan to like it. I started watching Station 19(the Greys’s Anatomy firefighter spinoff) and like it a lot more than I was expecting. I am a fan of Grey’s though, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m also watching Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix. It is Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in a sitcom where Barrymore plays a realtor who is now undead and has to eat people with Olyphant as her husband. It is very good and it’s fun to see Olyphant play a totally different character than his Justified tough guy.

Other media news:  I finally made the decision to change from the physical delivery of the Washington Post to a digital subscription with Sunday delivery only. I can still read the entire print version of the paper on my iPad, get my coupons, crossword and Sunday comics delivered and save several hundred dollars a year. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner.

I Don’t Know What to Write

I planned to post today since I took the day off and have plenty of time to sit and write post. I opened my laptop and then sat here for a while trying to decide what I wanted to write and never could settle on an idea. I considered writing about the movies and new TV shows I’ve watched recently, but I’m terrible at reviews so I didn’t really know what I would write about them. I will leave a list at the end of the post if anyone cares.

I considered writing a post based on the lyrics a Patent Pending song where they say they’ve got no f#$%ks left to give and how sometimes I wish I could really say I have none left to give and my problem is I care too much about things that don’t matter. I have a f#$%k surplus, but I could never get it quite right.

I considered a post about the Roseanne reboot and the question of someone’s personal beliefs and how it affects your ability to enjoy their work, but I’ve written about that before. Or the question of should the network reconsider the show because of her beliefs(I say no, let the viewers decide). But once again didn’t feel like I could do it right.

My last real post was the one from my trip to Philadelphia, so the obvious answer is that I should quit my job and become a travel blogger. I will propose that to my wife tonight. I’m sure that will go over well.

As promised, the list of stuff I’ve watched/am watching:

Movies – Black Panther and Ready Player One – both very good.

Nw TV Shows – For the People, Rise, Alex Inc, Splitting Up Together, Roseanne, The Resident, Good Girls, Deception

I really like Good Girls, The Resident, For the People and Alex Inc. The rest are OK, but I wouldn’t be sad if the others went away.

Some Short Wednesday Thoughts

I recently hit 200 followers on this blog. I would like to say welcome to the new followers and also I’m sorry for the inevitable disappointment you will feel when you read my posts regularly. There are some people I follow who start a blog and 6 months later they have a gazillion followers. I would like to meet all of these bloggers in person so I can punch them in the face.

I drove down to a local shopping center today to get lunch and buy a gallon of milk. Every single 4 way/all way/ 3 way stop was a practice in frustration as people sat and waited because no one knows how it works and so nobody drove. This includes the people who are coming in to the shopping center and are not supposed to stop. It’s really not that hard. Why don’t people know how to do this? I’m not sure what confuses people more a 4 way stop or a traffic circle. It is really annoying.

My library is about to announce who they have hired as our new CEO. I went to a meet and greet with the candidates where I talked to each of them in a group setting for 10 minutes. So, of course, I think I know exactly who they should hire. Why would I trust the people who have interviewed them all twice and have seen their resumes. My gut feeling is obviously better than actual work, right? I am trying to remind myself not to really think this way when they announce the CEO. I’m sure they will make the right choice regardless of who I liked best in a very causal, brief meeting(but I’m sure I’m right).

We upgraded our TV service recently and now I can record u to six shows at a time and twice as much can be saved as before. I know this seems excessive, but for someone like me who gets more excited about the network upfronts than they do the Oscars this is big. I can finally sample all of the random new shows that air without juggling my recording schedule. Maybe I will try writing a few reviews even though I suck at writing reviews.

That’s all for today. Happy Wednesday!

Tater Talks Television

My wife recently decided that our FIOS bill was too high and called to see if we coud get a better deal. I thought I was going to lose HBO and possibly other channels to lower the price. I know it’s cool these day to cut the cord, but I’m a TV guy and I need my cable. It turns out that by agreeing to a two-year contract we can reduce our price significantly and upgrade to the better DVR and faster Internet speeds.  I’m happy to upgrade, but that means we will lose everything currently on our DVR. We have a month to catch up on shows before they are gone. This made me think about which shows I care the most about. So, today I will go night by night and pretend I have to choose only 1 hour of TV to keep from the broadcast networks and tell you my choice. Very exciting right?

Sunday – This is an easy one because we really only watch one major network show on Sunday night – Madam Secretary. If it was on any other night it would lose. If I was also including cable networks it would lose to Walking Dead. My daughter loves it, though, so we watch it regularly.

Monday – We watch a few shows on Monday night. The Gifted and Supergirl are both very good, but they can’t come close to beating Lucifer. I love this show. The basic premise is Lucifer has left Hell and is living in LA. He ends up acting as a police consultant. It is a police procedural with an overlying story of Lucifer’s conflict with his dad, God.

Tuesday – Another tough one. I really like Flash and Legends of Tomorrow is getting better. I still love The Middle and Brooklyn 99 is one of the best comedies on TV. They all lose to Lethal Weapon. When I heard they were making a TV show based on the movie I was skeptical.  I was wrong. It might be my favorite show on broadcast television. The Wayans and Crawford and great as Murtaugh and Riggs. The supporting cast is very good. It is well written and very funny for a cop show.

Wednesday – I love the ABC comedies Speechless and American Housewife. Riverdale is very good. Blacklist is OK, but getting old. I would still choose Survivor. I still love it after all these years. I will miss watching it every week with my daughter when she goes to college.

Thursday – The NBC comedies are very good and if I was choosing on current quality alone I would keep Superstore and The Good Place, but I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy since the beginning and I will stick with it until the end at this point. I also life SWAT and Chicago Fire, but I”m sticking with my doctors.

Friday – An easy one. I only watch Blue Bloods and SHIELD and I would not be sad if SHIELD was canceled. I know Blue Bloods seems like an old person show, but I’m old, so…

Saturday – I got nothing.

 

Ice Ice Baby

Due to the threat of impending inclement weather my library closed at 1 today. I also had a free sandwich at Mission BBQ that expired today, so on the way home for my surprise free afternoon I also got a free sandwich. It was the perfect storm of good fortune. I did underestimate the traffic that would already be out at 1PM on a day when many offices and schools closed early.  I also underestimated the level of stupid in the other drivers. Also, I might have a slight issue with road rage.  Anywho, this means that I have time to write a rambling blog post about random stuff instead of reading my book.

We watched the Golden Globes last night. Well,  I watched most of the Golden Globes last night while reading my book. Well, I watched a good portion of the Golden Globes last night while sleeping with my book in my lap. I did see the Seth Meyers monologue and thought he did a good job. I have not seen most of the nominated movies, so I can’t really comment on those awards. I also have not watched many of the TV shows nominated. I was happy to see Aziz Ansari win. I love Master of None. I slept through the Oprah speech, but I will say that I am anti anyone from the entertainment world being our next president. If we keep going this direction, we might as well change the process and make it a reality show. On the plus side, if it was a reality show more people would probably vote. Maybe I’m on to something here.

As I write this, my daughter is watching Friends over and over again. I don’t get the binge watching thing. I can watch a couple of episodes of a show and then I’m ready to move on to something else. I get bored with the same thing over and over no matter how good it is. I need variety. I seem to have lost control of my TV. That’s unfortunate. I guess I will read my book with Friends as my soundtrack.

Happy ice day!

Christmas Viewing Musts

There are certain shows and movies that I try to watch every year during the Christmas season. Today’s post in the month of Tater is just a list of these in order of importance:

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

The Year Without a Santa Claus

Elf

It’s a Wonderful Life

Miracle on 34th Street

A Christmas Story(I will also try to watch the live one this year as well)

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Home Alone

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

I guess that’s it. I actually already watched Elf and Christmas Vacation last night and Santa Claus is Coming to Town is on tonight.  I don’t really care about Frosty, the Grinch or Charlie Brown. I’m sure they are all pretty high on other people’s lists.  I do consider Die Hard a Christmas movie, but I would watch that any time of the year, so it is not on this list. I will also watch other random Christmas shows if they are on, but I don’t feel like I’ve missed out if I don’t watch them.

Feel free to argue with my list and call me stupid in the comments.