My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 10/30/20

I haven’t been in a writing mood this week. At least these weekly posts give me something to write even if no one reads them. Here is my week in reading and viewing.

Movies – We watched two movies this week. The first was M Night Shyamalan’s The Happening with Mark Wahlberg. This is an older movie we had missed when it was released. The general plot – something is making people suddenly freeze, talk nonsense and then kill themselves. Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel are a young couple in Philadelphia who flee the city to try to find safety. We both enjoyed it. We like Wahlberg and the story was interesting. The second movie was Playing With Fire. The plot – John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, and John Leguizamo play smokejumpers who rescue three kids from a cabin fire and then have to take care of them until their parent arrive. It was a cute family comedy and a good break from action and drama. I’m a fan of all three actors. The kids were good in their roles and Judy Greer was good as a scientist and love interest for Cena.

TV – Nothing groundbreaking here. We watched all of our normal shows. I watched Kentucky lose their football game and look bad doing it. We watched the season premiere of American Housewife. It was weird to have a new kid playing the youngest daughter, especially since the former actor was one of the best parts of the show. It will take a while to get used to it, if we ever do. I still enjoy the show, though. It has a very good cast and is consistently funny. We got back to the Canadian dance show, The Next Step, for the first time in a while.

Books – I finished two books this week

First, Kill the Lawyers by David Housewright – This is the latest in his Holland Taylor series. I had forgotten that he had this series in addition to the McKenzie books. I like McKenzie more, but Housewright is one of my favorite authors and I like all of his stuff. In this one, they investigate who has hacked multiple law firms, stealing notes and files that will be bad for all parties if revealed. It was a decent mystery with a good cast of secondary characters. I probably would have liked it more if I had not just read one of the McKenzie books.

Bye Bye Blue Creek by Andrew Smith – This is a middle grade book. Not my typical thing to read, but I am a big fan of Smith and Sam Abernathy, the main character, was in one of my favorite YA books, so I made and exception. This was the second middle grade book featuring Sam. This one leads up to his departure for the private boarding school from the YA book where he was introduced. It was a quick read, but I am ready for Smith to move on to new characters and back to the older YA material.

On Deck – I have the new episode of Superstore to watch. I want to try the new HBO show with Nicole Kidman, The Undoing. I will watch more of You when I’m alone. There will be a Kentucky and Baltimore football game to watch. We will have new episodes of our regular shows. Any movies will be whatever random one we find if we decide to watch one. I’m currently reading Providence by Max Barry.

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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.

Tater Talks TV Doctors

I watch the news a lot. Probably too much, even now when I’ve tried to cut don on news for the sake of my mental health. I’ve always been a little irritated with the TV doctors who pop up on the talk shows to discuss medical issues. With Covid, they are all over the place.

My attempt to have the lighter shows like Kelly Clarkson and Ellen on in the background while I work was interrupted today with a special report on Trump being released from the hospital today. The news was followed by NBC bringing on their three doctors to give the expert opinion. I have thoughts from that, but before I start two things to make clear:

I am not a fan of Trump.

I believe the virus is real and dangerous.

I don’t want anyone to interpret anything here as me saying anything different.

Ok, now, number one – I think it is irresponsible for a medical professional to go on TV to speculate about the health of patient they have not examined. They can give a broad opinion about the disease in general, but without examining the patient in question you really should have no opinion on their treatment or release.

Two – I find most TV experts suspect. I imagine you can find an expert to say whatever you want them to say if you pat them enough money. I imagine FOX News can find experts to say the complete opposite of that the NBC experts are saying. I trust no one.

Third – they actually brought Joseph Fair on to give his opinion. I wrote about him here. He is the NBC guy who was all over the Today Show talking about how he had a severe case of Covid an how he had to have gotten it through his tear ducts because he had been so careful. Problem was, he tested negative multiple times and also tested negative for antibodies. Was he sick? Yes, probably. Did he have Covid? Apparently not. Did that stop him from saying he did over and over again on TV? Nope. Did they ever admit that on air? Not sure. Does he still get to go on TV and be an expert on the disease? Apparently so. Why would I trust him now?

Don’t even get me started on Dr. Oz.

In a nutshell – I don’t think you should automatically believe someone on TV just because they have Dr in their name. Same goes for Twitter and Facebook posts. Do research. Gather facts. Don’t just believe people who are being paid to give an opinion.

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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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There’s New TV Tonight!

If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that I generally post every day of the new TV season about what’s on TV that night. There will be no official start to the season thus year, so I will post if there are significant premieres. There are some tonight.

NBC has a new episode of American Ninja Warrior. I don’t watch it regularly, but it is a decent way to kill some time.

ABC had Monday Night Football. I’m so happy football is back.

CBS has a new episode of Love Island at 9 and Manhunt:Deadly Games at 10. Manhunt is the story of the Atlanta Olympic bombing.

FOX has LA’s Finest at 8 and Filthy Rich at 9. LA’s Finest is a Spectrum show that has already aired. It starts Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union as LA cops. It is a spinoff of Bad Boys with Gabrielle Union reprising her role as Syd Burnett, Martin Lawrence’s character’s sister.

Filthy Rich is a soap starring Kim Cattrall about a mega-rich Southern family who made their money with a Christian television network. When the founder dies, three family members he had written intothe will appear.

HBO has the second episodes of Third Day and We Are Who We Are. I still have not watched the first episodes.

There are new episodes of Love it or List It on HGTV.

It’s nice to have some new TV back.

So Far This Week

It’s been a week. Here are the highlights

I aggravated a knee injury walking down the stairs at home. I was in serious pain for two days. It still hurts if I do too much.

The lens fell out of my glasses while I was driving.

Toxic places and people were at a high level of toxicity this week.

I finally forced myself to make the call to talk to a therapist only to be told by all so far that they have no openings. It’s like I’m back in high school trying to find a date to prom.

I got home from work today to find this in my yard

I knew it might come down soon, but expected it to happen on a windy day,

Working with only a hand saw, I got it to this

Now I have to figure out how to get rid of it.

At least tomorrow I get a day off to watch football.

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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