My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 4/9/21

I capped off my week by running my Keurig without first getting a cup to catch the coffee. I think I might need more sleep or more coffee. Let’s see if I can coherently reap my week in reading and viewing.

Movies – I watched one movie this week – Kong vs Godzilla. I enjoyed the movie. I have always been a fan of the monster movies. The fights between Godzilla and King Kong were very well done. The human characters didn’t really add anything to the movie. They were mostly there to react to the fights and occasionally tell someone else why Kong or Godzilla was not the bad guy. I’m OK with that. We watched the movie to see Kong fight Godzilla and we got plenty of that. If you don’t care about Kong fighting Godzilla you probably shouldn’t bother watching the movie.

TV – My DVR is getting dangerously full. I’m at 87% full now and too many shows scheduled to record and none I want to give up. The problem is there are too few that I watch alone these days. I have a lot of shows I save to watch with my daughter and a few I save to watch with my son. I need a few shows to go on break. In addition to watching shows on the DVR to try to avert disaster we watched the newest episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I really like this show. They make a good pair. It’s got action, drama, and humor. Everything I like about Marvel. We also watched the first episode of Kung Fu on the CW. If I get the chance today I might write a longer review of it. We enjoyed it. I didn’t watch the original so I don’t know how it compares to it. If you like martial arts action stuff you should check it out.

Books – I finished two books this week.

The Project by Courtney Summers – Lo Denham is seriously injured in the car accident that kills her parents. While she is in the hospital her older sister joins The Unity Project, a secretive religious community, leaving Lo to live with an aunt she hardly knows. Years later, Lo has the opportunity to gain access to the Project and does so in hopes of reconnecting with Bea. This is a story in two parts. We follow Lo in current day trying to find her sister and getting closer to the Project and we follow Bea from her decision to join the Project up until the story joins Lo’s. Is the Project a dangerous cult or a misunderstood community that only wants to do good in the world? Where is Bea and why does she not want to see Lo? Who keeps calling Lo without speaking? This is a compelling read that I highly recommend. You should also read Sadie by the same author.

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh – a novel in verse that tells the story of Ada – the daughter of an immigrant father and an African American mother – and her struggle to find a place for herself in America and her family. We bounce back and forth between Ada’s current struggle to adapt to college life and her struggles to fit in in elementary and high school. Her mother is an addict. Her dad is overprotective and religious. Ada finds herself when she finds a dance class that is much more compelling than the accounting class she is struggling to pass. It is a nice quick read. I enjoyed it, but it felt a little undone.

On Deck – I will have Freaky on DVD from the library today. I also have Tesla on DVD. Fear the Walking Dead comes back this week. At this point, it is better than the original. I still want to watch the first episode of Rebel. A new episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available. I need to work on clearing shows off the DVR. I am reading The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony.

Tater on Commercials

I usually don’t watch a lot of commercials. I record all of the shows I watch and then fast forward over the commercials. I usually only see commercials in the morning when I’m watching the Today Show and when I am watching live sports. With March Madness on TV the past few weeks I’ve seen way too many commercial way too many times. Maybe it’s because I don’t see them regularly, but it seems commercial are way more annoying right now and several have music that gets stuck in my head for hours and annoys me all day long. Here are two of those

This one that prompted this post where I rewrote the song

And this one that is even more annoying

There’s the less annoying iPhone commercial with the guy cooking that plays constantly

The worst of the worst is the one with the woman trying not to drop her phone

Not all ads are bad. I still like the AT & T commercial with Lily and enjoyed her segments “explaining” basketball

And the best commercials on TV right now are these

Now that basketball is over I will go back to only seeing commercials during the news and Jeopardy and the occasional baseball game when the Braves are on TV. Hopefully, by the time football starts and I’m back to watching live sports regularly, the trend of annoying music and sounds will be gone and we will get more like the last two.

And now back to your show…

Saturday Afternoon Musical Interlude – Can I Get an Amen by Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts

I decided I would start randomly sharing some videos of songs from lesser known artists I enjoy. This is the song that had me singing while I did yard work today. Ryan doesn’t like it when people say it has a Bon Jovi vibe, but I think it does.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 4/2/21

I can’t believe it is April already. This year is flying by. One more weekend of basketball and then the only sports I will watch will be when the Braves are actually on TV. Here’s my week in reading and watching.

Movies – I did not watch a new movie this week. Between watching basketball and being sleepy because I stayed up late watching basketball a movie was not in the picture. I did watch Happy Gilmore Wednesday afternoon because I was tired and didn’t want to think.

TV – Basketball was on all day Saturday and Sunday and then Monday and Tuesday night. That took most of my TV time this week. We did finally watch the first two episodes of Falcon and the Winter Soldier last Friday. I love the Marvel movies and Bucky is one of my favorite characters. Not surprisingly, I really liked the show, I wish there was going to be more than six episodes. We tried the new CBS comedy The United States of Al last night. It was fine. It has potential, but could also get old fast if they don’t expand past the premise(a former marine arranges for his Afghani translator to move to the US and live with him). I will give it a couple more episodes to see where they are taking it. The cast is pleasant. I didn’t watch as much of The Fosters as I would have because the new Hulu update does not work on the Fire Stick and they don’t seem to have the ability to fix it. I watched on my iPad some, but would have watched more if using the TV. I watched the Braves opening day game yesterday.

Books – I finished two books this week.

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman – Ash is a high school football player living a good life. God friends, popularity and a chance at a football scholarship. In the first game of the new season after a hard hit on the quarterback he feels weird and then realizes the world has changed. It starts small. Stop signs are now blue. The next game the hit changes things a little more. As each hit changes the world and Ash more Ash begins to see things through different eyes. Can he figure out how to get his world back? My daughter read this one first and immediately said I should read it. It is very good. Suspenseful, interesting way to show how your view of the world change when you see it through someone else’s eyes. Highly recommend.

Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman – A would be bank robber flees and takes a group of people hostage at an apartment open house. A father/son duo of police officers investigate as the bank robber has disappeared after the hostages are released. The story goes back and forth between the investigation, the events during the hostage situation, and things in the past that connect some of the characters. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I liked it nearly as much as the people who recommended I read it, I think Bachman has voice that appeals to some more than others. I am on the outer edge of those to whom it appeals. I would recommend it, but I can’t say for sure that you will like it.

On Deck – We plan to watch Kong vs Godzilla tonight. I have the season premiere of Manifest to watch today. The new shows Home Economics and Rebel start next week. They both look promising, but I think my daughter wants me to wait for her to watch the first one. I still want to try the new Mighty Ducks show, but my wife says she might want to watch it so I have to wait for her. I am reading The Project by Courtney Summers.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 3/26/21

I had two options today – write a short, quick recap before I have to leave at 8 to drop the dog at the vet or write after I return from the vet and the grocery store. I opted for the quick one now. Luckily, I don’t have a lot to report on this week since a lot of it was filled with basketball.

Movies – I did not watch a movie this week. All of the times I would have watched a movie were filled with basketball.

TV– Thursday through Monday were filled with basketball. Basketball started at noon and ended around midnight. I watched all the way through. After basketball was over we watched a few of our stored shows. I needed a new show to watch alone. I chose The Fosters because I heard good things about it and I hear the spin off Good Trouble is also good. I am a few episodes in and enjoy it so far. The general plot – a couple is raising the one mom’s biological son and the twins they adopted. They take in a foster kid who was just released from juvie. They also end up taking in her little brother. The show deals with the drama within the family, at high school and with family issues with the moms and their parents. The only problem I have with it is that the new Hulu update sucks and it keeps buffering.

Books – I finished two books this week

Smoke by Joe Ide – this is the 5th book in the IQ series. IQ has left the city to escape a gang that wants him dead. He settles in a small town in the hope of leaving all the bad that comes with his detective work. That is short lived when a young man who has escaped from a psychiatric facility breaks into his house and say a serial killer is coming to town. There are also side stories in the city with regular characters Dodson, Deronda and Grace, In this case I think I enjoyed their stores ore than the main one. I love this series and all of the characters. I think it would make a good TV show. I recommend starting with the first book, IQ.

The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune – Linus Baker works for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He is sent to investigate a house where six highly classified, possibly dangerous magical youth live. He learns there is more to the children and the man who runs the house than can be learned in a file. This is a great book about prejudice, belonging and finding your place in the world. I highly recommend it.

On Deck – We will probably watch Godzilla vs Kong this week. More basketball starts tomorrow. I will watch more of The Fosters. Manifest comes back this week. I have not yet decided what I plan to read next.

My Week in Books. Movies, and TV 3/19/21

My daughter was home for a few days this week for spring break. This meant a different schedule than usual and watching shows that she watches. I stayed up way too late and still woke up way too early. I’m very sleepy, but with the basketball tournament this weekend that won’t change any time soon. Here’s my week:

Movies – We watched two movies this week. The first was Coming 2 America. I’m a big Eddie Murphy fan and I loved the first movie. This one did not disappoint. It was funny. It had throwbacks to the original movie. The new additions were very good. Jermaine Fowler was excellent as Eddie Murphy’s son. I’m not a huge Leslie Jones fan, but she was good in this. Wesley Snipes was the best new addition as the leader of a rival country. I loved it. The second movie we watched was Hillbilly Elegy. My daughter and I both read the book. She’s been wanting to watch it for a while but we kept forgetting. We liked the movie. It’s not a fun movie, but it was well done. The cast was good. The bounce back and forth between time periods was done well. I think people who read the book will like it more than people who did not.

TV – I did the Netflix “play something” thing and it picked The Crew for me to watch. You can read my review of it here. We caught up on our recorded episodes of Call Your Mother. It has gotten bad reviews, but we think it is funny. We caught up on American Housewife, one of the best sitcoms on TV right now. We watched a couple of episodes of The Chase. My daughter cheers for the chasers because she loves all of the Jeopardy GOATS. We watched a season of The Great British Baking Show. I’m sad to see they are taking old seasons off of Netflix. I watched the first episode of Letterkenny. I’m not sure if I will watch more.I watched a lot of basketball yesterday.

Books – I finished two books this week

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh – This is a collection of comedic, autobiographical, and illustrated essays. It has stories from her childhood, stories about her pets, and other parts of her life. It was OK, but by the end I was reading to finish more than I was reading for enjoyment. It all started to sound the same. It was a quick read, though.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth – There were two different stories here. 1902 at The Brookhants School for Girls where two girls have died and current day where they are making a movie about Brookhants and the possible curse/haunting. I feel like there was potential for a good book here. I enjoyed the current day story more than the 1902 story. I usually am OK with flipping back and forth between time periods, but this one always took me out of the story when there was as switch. It was too long. The author seemed to think she was more clever than the really was. It was disjointed and the story switched at terrible times. I think she was going for cliffhanger anticipation with some of the cuts, but I just found it annoying.

On Deck – I have four days of basketball starting today. I need to decide if I’m waiting for my daughter to watch Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I have some shows on the DVR to watch alone and then I need to find a new show to watch alone. Basketball will probably mean we will not watch a movie this week. I am currently reading Smoke by Joe Ide.

I Watch TV So You Don’t Have To: The Crew

The premise – Kevin James plays a NASCAR crew chief whose team is challenged when the owner steps down and puts his daughter in charge. She wants to shake things up and modernize and the team wants everything to stay the same.

I knew this show existed, but never really thought about it. I like Kevin James, but it was not on my radar. Then I finished a show(that I still need to write about) and didn’t know what to watch next. I tried the Play Something tool on Netflix where it picks a show for you and it gave me the first episode of this one. I was surprised when I discovered that it is a standard sitcom with a laugh track. It was not what I was expecting from Netflix. I don’t like laugh tracks and wish shows would stop using them. I know when something is funny. I don’t need a cue to laugh. If you need a laugh track for your show to seem funny maybe hire better writers. Despite the laugh track, i gave it a chance. It’s only 10 half hour episodes, so it isn’t much of a commitment. I just finished watching the last episode.

I wasn’t sold on the show after the first episode, but I like Kevin James and Gary Anthony Williams, so I watched again. It turned out to be a pretty solid workplace sitcom that didn’t need the laugh track to be funny. The cast works well together. The crew seems like a crew that has worked together for years. There is a chemistry there, especially between James and Sarah Stiles. Jillian Mueller is good as Catherine, the new boss. Freddie Stroma plays dumb, pretty boy athlete perfectly. The only weak link in the show is the wooden performance of Paris Berelc as the young, female driver Catherine wants to hire as the new driver. Luckily, she is not a featured character.

It isn’t perfect. It won’t win any awards. It is a good way to spend 30 minutes. It made me laugh. Isn’t that the job of a sitcom?

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 3/12/21

I spent all day yesterday thinking it was Friday. It might be because Kentucky played(and lost) an SEC tournament game yesterday. Since they are usually one of the top teams they always play their first game on Friday. It really messed up my sense of time. Maybe I should use that as an excuse to pretend it is Saturday and watch movies all day. Since it is actually Friday today, it is time for my weekly review of what I read and watched in the last week.

Movies – I watched three movies last Saturday. The first was The Replacements. I love this movie and watch it whenever I find it on TV. I’m a sucker for inspirational sports movies. I then watched Hot Fuzz. I watched Shaun of the Dead the week before. I’m recording the third of their movies, The World’s End to watch this weekend. That night we watched Judas and the Black Messiah on HBO Max. It is the story of Bill O’Neal who infiltrates the Black Panthers for the FBI to avoid going to jail. It is a very good movie. The cast is excellent. The story is compelling, especially if, like me, you didn’t really know anything about it. There are clips from an interview with the real O’Neal at the beginning and the end. I would highly recommend.

TV – I watched two new shows this week. We watched Debris on NBC. It is a sci-fi show about debris from an alien spacecraft falling to earth and causing mysterious effects. Two agents from different countries work together to investigate. I still have mixed feelings about it. I find it interesting enough to keep going, but I’m not completely sold on it yet. I’m also afraid it will be another one that is canceled before the story is done. I watched the entire first season of Ginny and Georgia on Netflix. Georgia had Ginny when she was 15. She has a second kid with someone else. We start with her latest husband dying and Georgia, Ginny, and Austin moving to a house he owned and his first wife contesting the will. Ginny and Georgia make friends and start to settle in in the new home. Ginny deals with new friends and new relationships. Georgia schemes to stay afloat and date the mayor. There is a mystery concerning the death of the husband. I liked it. I finished it in a week. I know there has been talk about the portrayal of Ginny’s race(her dad is black) and how the show handles racism. I can’t speak to that. You will have to make you own decision there. We watched the Station 19/Grey’s crossover last night but it wasn’t really a crossover. Grey’s did continue the story from Station 19, but like the rest of the season you could have watched one without the other. I watched the latest episode of Million Little Things this morning. I’m curious how it will be received as they are just starting a Covid storyline right when it seems like we are nearing an end.

Books – I only finished one book this week:

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry – Set in the late 80’s, we follow a field hockey team in Danvers, Massachusetts who discover that the witchcraft of their ancestors might be the key to a winning season. They have never had a winning record until they start to sign onto a pact at summer camp. Suddenly, they start winning on the field and off. We follow them through their senior season and finish with a reunion 30 years later. It took me a bit to read the book. I liked it, but it isn’t one you can breeze through. I enjoyed the story and it was well written. I was happy to have the reunion at the end to see what happened to each girl after high school. I can see why it was on an award list.

On Deck – I hope to watch Coming 2 America this weekend. My daughter will be home for spring break this week so we will watch the shows she watches. There will also be more dozing on the couch while she and my wife watch the Great British Baking Show. The NCAA tournament starts next week so there will be a lot of basketball watching. I am currently reading Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 3/5/21

It was a back to normal week for me as my daughter is back to school. My viewing was no longer focused on shows that she watches. I had more time alone to read and watch TV alone. Here’s my week.

Movies– I don’t think I watched a movie this week. I know I’ve browsed the guide on FIOS multiple times during off hours to try to find an old movie to watch. I did land on Love Me Tender at one point, but I didn’t really watch it. We were more focused on catching up on TV shows this week.

TV – While my daughter was still home we watched all of the episodes of Snowpiercer that were on the DVR. This season is very good and I’m sad that I have to wait for my daughter to watch the rest. I finished Greek. I wrote about it here. I watched the first of the bonus epiosdes of The Walking Dead. I know a lot of people have given up on it, but I still like revisiting the TWD universe, I’m looking forward to seeing how Maggie and Negan living in the same town works out. We watched the season premiere of New Amsterdam. I was happy that they did a montage of the hospital dealing with Covid, but then moved ahead in time instead of focusing on it for the season. I think it’s more interesting to see the issues facing a hospital post-Covid. I got up early today to watch the finale of WandaVision before I had a chance to see spoilers. I think it was a good finale. It completed the story and had end credit scenes that set up the next story for at least one character. It was a very good show.

Books – I finished two books and gave up on one this week:

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee – This is an account of a group of young second-generation Japanese American citizens in San Francisco whose lives are changed by the mass US incarcerations of World War II. The story is told through the eyes of different teens as were move from the rumors of “evacuation” after Pearl Harbor into the incarceration camps. We follow their lives in the camps. We follow two of them to the front lines of the war as they fight to prove their loyalty to the country. We follow some families to a more secure camp after they refuse to say yes to a loyalty contract. We eventually follow them back to San Francisco after the war. It is very good.

Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler – This is the one I stopped reading. It got very good reviews. That’s why I got it from the library. It is about a woman who finds out her boyfriend is secretly running a right wing conspiracy theory social media account. We then flashback to when they met and then forward again to after she finds out. I gave it 90 pages and I just didn’t care about the story. I didn’t enjoy reading it. I don’t have time to waste on bad books. There are too many good ones out there to read. I still counted it on my books read list because I gave it several days.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang – I love Yang’s work and this one is just as good as his other books. Yang taught at Bishop O’Dowd in Oakland. The basketball team has gone to the state championship game multiple times and lost. In 2015 they had their best shot yet of winning. Yang decides to travel with the team and write a graphic novel about the season. I am a big basketball fan, so I was pretty sure I was going to love it and I did. I think people who aren’t basketball fans will also enjoy it. He tells the story of the team, but also includes a lot of historical details about the game.

On Deck – There are several movies streaming that I would like to watch – Judas and the Black Messiah, Coming 2 America, Boss Level. I’m not sure which ones we will watch. I think my wife will want to rewatch Coming to America before watching the sequel. We should probably watch Judas first since it will leave HBO Max soon. I still want to watch the new NBC show Debris soon. I have decided Ginny & Georgia on Netflix will be the next show I watch alone. I’m currently reading We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry.

The podcast below is another not connected to a current post. I played with adding music and did an episode about finding new bands via my love for Bowling for Soup.

Edit – apparently you can only listen to the episode below in the app and this only plays the terrible recording I made about using anchor. Oops.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/26/21

My reading has slowed down this week. My writing has also slowed down this week. I wonder if they are connected. I did watch two movies and two new TV shows. Here’s my week:

Movies – We watched two movies this week. The first was Honest Thief. Liam Neeson plays a bank robber who got away with over $9 million. When he meets and falls in love with Annie(Kate Walsh) he decides to turn himself in to begin a new life. He is double crossed by two corrupt FBI agents and has to fight for his new life. It is a standard Neeson action movie. I think I dozed a little, but didn’t feel like I missed anything important. My wife who loves standard action movies liked it a lot. We also watched Tenet. It is a timey wimey action movie starring John David Washington. I’ve been a fan of Washington since his days on the HBO show Ballers. I’m glad he is getting big roles. As my wife put it – It’s very good if you stop trying to think about all of it and just enjoy the movie. It is a very good movie but can break your brain. It is also 2.5 hours long. It was a challenge for someone like me who tends to doze during movies. This is not one where you can doze or be distracted and not miss something.

TV – I watched two shows this week and wrote reviews of both. Clarice and Superman and Lois. Click the links for my thoughts on those. My daughter has been home this week so we caught up on the shows she watches. We are now current on All Rise and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. We watched the first couple of episodes of season 2 of Snowpiercer. It is still very good. I watched the second episodes of Kenan and Young Rock. They are both still pleasant enough to keep going. Young Rock is better when it focuses on one time period. Once I am too tired to stay awake for a full show my wife and daughter watch the Great British Baking Show. I stay awake long enough to have favorites. So far all of my favorites have made the final three but have not won. I’m getting close to finishing my rewatch of Greek.

Books – I only finished one book this week

This is My Brain in Love by I. W. Gregario – Jocelyn Wu is a junior in high school. Her parents own a Chinese restaurant in Utica. When her dad says they might need to move back to NYC so he can work for family there she tries to help bring the restaurant to modern times to save it. Will Domenici is a junior at the local private school who wants to find a paying summer internship. Jocelyn hires him to help with marketing the restaurant. They, of course, fall in love. It is complicated by Jos’s parents’ prejudice, Will’s anxiety and Jos’s possible depression. I always like a good YA romance and this one was very good, if maybe a tad bit too long. It was nice to have diverse characters – Will’s mom is Nigerian, the Wu’s are Chinese, Jos’s best friend is Indian-American – and characters dealing realistically with mental illness. I would recommend.

On Deck – I’m reading We Are Not Free by Traci Chee. I have no movies on DVD. I would like to watch Judas and the Black Messiah, but I think I ha better odds of getting my wife and daughter to watch the Tom and Jerry movie that hit HBO Max today. I need to watch the new episode of WandaVision today. New seasons of Walking Dead and New Amsterdam start this week.