My Week in Books, Movies and TV 4/12/19

I actually have a movie, a new TV show and a book to talk about this week. I’m sure everyone is very excited about that. Here we go

Movies – We watched Creed II this week. We recently rewatched Rocky 4 and Creed in preparation since my wife did not remember watching either movie. Creed II is a sequel to both as Creed is challenged to fight the son of Drago, the guy who killed his father in Rocky 4. If you are a fan of the Rocky/Creed series you will really like the movie. If you have not watched the Rocky/Creed movies, I’m not sure why you would watch this one. The only thing I thought could have been better in the movie is the portrayal of Drago and his son. I felt like there was a better story to tell there and it felt like they were headed in the direction of more nuance there, but then never went there. I thought we had learned that there can be nuance to the villain’s story.

TV – I’m me, so I watched a lot of TV this week. We did watch a new show last night – The Code. I don’t watch any of the NCIS shows with my wife and this seemed like an NCIS show in the previews. It didn’t get great reviews and the reviewer felt like it could have been another NCIS show. I was not hopeful, but I decided to watch anyway since it focuses on military lawyers and I love a good lawyer show. There was nothing groundbreaking here. It likely won’t win any awards. I liked it. I liked the cast. I liked their characters. They told an interesting story. I will watch it again. I am a simple man with simple tastes. I’m also getting old, so it was only a matter of time before I started watching CBS procedurals.

Books – I finished You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian. It is a collection of stories. One reviewer on Goodreads gave it a lower rating because she thought while the writing was good, it was very bleak. She’s correct that the stories are not feel good stories. Don’t read this if you are looking for upbeat stuff. There is no upbeat here. It is very good, though. I never considered moving on to a novel after finishing one of the stories as I usually do with collections. I would recommend if you can handle bleak.

On Deck – I have way too many movies from the library. I will not have time to watch them all. I’m sure I will watch whichever one my wife might have heard of which means Venom and maybe Instant Family. I will make a push for Green Book and The Girl in the Spider’s Web. I might need to try to stay up late or get up early to watch something alone. The big TV event is the Game of Thrones premiere. I have warned my wife that I will be watching live so she will need to decide what to do with herself. I don’t want to risk spoilers by waiting. Amazing Race also starts back up Wednesday night. I love the show and this one has Survivor, Big Brother and Amazing Race people competing against each other. It should be fun. I will probably also try Bless This Mess because I like Dax Shepard. That’s a lot on deck this week.


My Week in Books, Movies and TV 4/5/19

I had a little more success in both reading and viewing this week. I’m still going slower than normal with the reading, but at least I finished an entire book this week.

Movies – We only watched Equalizer 2 this week. I half watched/half slept. If you read my Friday posts regularly you know this is normal. I really need to get my wife to agree to start watching movies early so I can stay awake. I’m old. I liked what I saw of the movie, but  I do get tired of generic action movies even when they star Denzel Washington.

TV – I’m still spending most of my TV time working through shows on my DVR. I’m alternating between Doctor Who and True Detective when I’m alone and then the shows my wife also likes when she is home. I did watch Abby’s right after I finished last week’s post. I liked it. It was very much the “introduce the characters and set up the concept” episode, but I liked the characters so I will watch again. I was a fan of Cheers and I think this could grow into this generation’s version of Cheers. It’s my hope, anyway. I could use a new Cheers.

Books – I finished Bearskin by James A McLaughlin and A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti.

Bearskin – A man hiding from a drug cartel is working as a caretaker of property in Virginia. People are poaching bears on the property and he decides to track them alone instead of calling the authorities because of the drug cartel thing. I get the criticism I read that there is a lot of nature talk in the book. If you are just looking for a standard thriller/mystery this book isn’t for you. If you are like my son and enjoy nature and mysteries, it is the perfect book for you.

A Heart in a Body in the World – Anabelle is a teen in Seattle. She has suffered some sort of tragedy and one day starts running. She decides she is going to run across the country. Her grandfather follows along in an RV meeting her at the stopping point each day.  We slowly get the story of the tragedy as Anabelle recalls it while running. I liked the book. I think teens would like the book. I do get tired of the books that make you wait to find out what the big tragedy was. This is my second one this year that kept alluding to a tragedy while waiting to tell the reader. It can work, but it can also feel like a gimmick.

On Deck – We have Venom and Creed II on DVD. TV will continue to be catching up on shows on the DVR. I hope to finish either Doctor Who or True Detective this week. I don’t think there are any new shows this week. We are getting close to the big TV event of the year – the return of Game of Thrones. I’m reading You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian. It is a story collection. We will see if I can stick with it or if I get tired of it and want to read a full novel instead.

Save These Shows!

TVLine just did its yearly poll for which bubble shows their readers most wanted to be saved. Here is my list of the top five yet to be renewed shows I want to be saved:

All American – The based on a true story show about a football player from Crenshaw who moves to Beverly Hills to play for Beverly Hills High. It has the requisite CW teen drama, football, and a good mix of Beverly Hills drama and life or death Crenshaw issues. I’m very invested in the lives of the characters and want to see more.

Single Parents – A sitcom about a group of single parents. Great cast and consistently funny. Much better than most comedies on TV today.

For the People – A Shondaland show about federal prosecutors and public defenders. Love the cast and so far the drama focuses on the cases more than romance. If they can keep it that way it can be a very good show.

Whiskey Cavalier – It’s fun and funny. We need more fun these days. It leans way too far into the will they/won’t they trope, but I forgive them because I enjoy the show so much. Great supporting cast.

AP Bio – One of the funnier shows on TV. I like it. My kids like it. Not a weak point in the show or the cast.

There are more on the list that I watch and enjoy – Madam Secretary, Station 19, American Housewife, Speechless, Fresh Off the Boat – but the five above are the ones I would be most upset about.


My Week in Books, Movies and TV 3/29/19

It was a slow week for me. It wasn’t a week for focusing on a book for long. There was a lot of screen time, but mostly old stuff. So feel free to stop reading now.

Movies – We only watched one movie this week. We had the option of a movie we had not seen before and the bad remake of Point Break we had seen but my wife didn’t remember. She opted for Point Break. It was still bad. I spent most of the time looking at my phone, scrolling through Twiter. I’m fine with remakes. I didn’t think it was bad because I compared it to the old one. It was just bad.

TV – I’m desperately trying to keep my DVR from reaching capacity. There are way too many shows I’m saving for my daughter to watch when she’s home from college. I try to watch all of the shows I watch alone as soon as I can to keep some free space. That means most of what I’m watching is the new episodes of shows I already watch. I’m watching Grey’s as I write this. There were two new shows I wanted to watch this week. The TV version of What We Do in the Shadows and Abby’s. I did watch the first and hope to have time to watch Abby’s before I go to work today. I liked What We Do in the Shadows. It was funny, but I don’t know if it is something I would want to watch on a weekly basis. I think it would get old fast. I have high hopes for Abby’s and will report on it next week.

Books – I didn’t finish a book this week. That’s mostly because I was re-reading The Girl With All the Gifts for my work book club. I’m not someone who re-reads books. There are so many good books out there. Why would I spend time reading one I already read? This took me away from the new book I was reading, so I did not finish a new book this week. That is rare.

On Deck – Equalizer 2 is waiting for me at the library. I put all the rest of my movie holds on inactive status because our weekends have been filled with basketball lately. Soon I will have more movies than I can watch. Santa Clarita Diet and On My Block come back on Netflix today so any time I have away from the DVR clearing I will spend watching those. I should finish reading Bearskin by James A McLaughlin this week.

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 3/22/19

My screen time has been taken over mostly by basketball so I don’t have a lot to post about there. I do have an increase in books this week, but I’m still below my goal for the year.

Movies – If I watched a movie this week I don’t remember it. Eventually, I will find the time to go see Captain Marvel before Avengers opens. Normally, today would be the day for that, but I have plans with my couch and March Madness. I do need to start treating myself to a movie out on my Friday off again. I do enjoy going to the movies.

TV – My daughter was home for a couple of days, so we spent some time catching up on shows we watch together. When it was her turn to choose we watched Victoria. When it was my turn to pick we watched Legends of Tomorrow. Two very different shows. Legends of Tomorrow has become my favorite of the DC TV shows. I’m watching the season finale of All American as I type this. I don’t think it will get a second season which is unfortunate. It is a really good show, but probably not the right fit for the CW crowd.

Books – I finished three books this week:

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan – the first in a planned Irish mystery series. I should like it. I do like my Irish mysteries. It took me forever to get into the book and I never really cared about any of the characters. I felt like too much was added to the story as set up for future books. It wasn’t terrible, but I doubt I will read the next book.

The Black God’s Drums by P Djeli Clark – A  nice, short 100-page book that takes place in an alternate worldNew Orleans where the US split after the Civil War and New Orleans is neutral territory.  There are pirates in airships, mysterious weather weapons, gods and nuns. A lot for such a small book. I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I would have wanted to read more than 100 pages of it.

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Wier – Essie is a senior in high school and the part of a reality show pastor’s family. When her mother discovers Essie is pregnant, she is determined to marry her off fast to cover the shame, but she is unaware Essie is secretly pulling all the strings. It was a quick, easy read. I alternated between the audio and the print version. The audio was well done. I liked it, but it might have been a little too long for what it was.

On Deck –  At some point when basketball isn’t on my wife is going to make me watch the new version of Point Break. We also have Widows on DVD. I’m not sure when we will have time to watch that. I like Super Troopers, so I might watch  Takoma FD’s first episode since Tru TV is hyping it so much during the games. Abby’s, the new sitcom with Natalie Morales premieres Thursday. I really like her and Neil Flynn, who is also in it, so I will give it a try. I’m currently reading Bearskin by James A McLaughlin.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 3/15/19

An average week for me on all fronts. My TV portion of the week is slowly being taken over by college basketball and my Thursday-Sunday will be all basketball now until the end of March Madness. It should up my reading though as I will read during commercials and when games get boring.

Movies – I only watched Sisters Brothers this week and I was disappointed. I really liked the book and I was excited about a movie. The cast was good. The source material was good. The movie was boring. So boring. It takes talent to take a talented cast and a good book and combine them to make such a long, boring movie. Kudos.

TV – Nothing particularly exciting on TV this week. I’m still enjoying Whiskey Cavalier. I’m still watching Survivor every Wednesday when I get home from work. I’m not sure how I feel about this season. I hate the time they spend with the losers. I don’t watch Survivor to watch the annoying people who were voted off. I know more about the losers than I do about the people still in the game. That isn’t right. Also, the tribe swap didn’t really swap the tribes so the same people were back at tribal again. Not exactly an exciting result of a tribe swap. I’m sure I will like it more once we get to the merge, but I’m ready for something to happen to make the time with the losers worth it.

Books – I finished The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman. It was the 30 something book in the Alex Delaware series. I still enjoy reading about Alex and Milo. I like the characters and I like that they are still typically actual mysteries and not thrillers. I will keep reading them until he stops writing them. I am desperately trying to finish my book club book before tomorrow night. I probably should have read this one before The Wedding Guest. Sometimes I’m not very smart.

On Deck – I’m almost done with The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, the aforementioned book club book. I’m listening to The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir. I’m not sure about movies with birthday activities, book club, and basketball this weekend. I still need to find a time to go see Captain Marvel. Not sure when that will happen. TV will be mostly basketball and hopefully clearing some space on the DVR during non-basketball times. Saving shows for my daughter is putting us close to crisis time with DVR space.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 3/8/19

I had a more balanced week between books and screen. I need to figure out how to keep that balance up.

Movies – We watched two new movies this week. The first was Bohemian Rhapsody. It was only the second Oscar movie I’ve watched this year. I really enjoyed it. I’m a big Queen fan and I’m a Rami Malek fan. Malek did a really good job as Freddie Mercury. I’, not sure why so many people said they didn’t think the nomination was deserved. We also watched First Man. It was OK. I was kind of bored and thought it was really slow. I also dozed a lot, which is normal for me. In old movies – we watched Rocky IV so my wife would be ready to watch Creed II and then she told me she didn’t remember watching Creed, so we have more work to do.

TV – The only “new” show I watched was the first episode of the latest season of True Detective. Mahershala Ali is, of course, very good. I liked the first episode. I hope the rest of the season holds up. Station 19 is back. For the People is Back. AP Bio is back. The only one I can watch without waiting for my daughter is Station 19. I really like AP Bio and will be tempted to go ahead and watch it.

Books – I finished two books this week. If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin is an Edgar nominated mystery that starts with a suicide note followed by a woman coming to a police station to report she was carjacked and the carjacker ran someone over with her car. The victim is a popular senior at the local high school. The suspect is an unpopular kid at the local high school and the author of the suicide note. Did he do it? Was the woman really carjacked or did she do it and lie? I really enjoyed it and didn’t figure it out until close to the end. Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Joy Gilbert was a Stonewall honor book. I’m slowly working my way through the award winners from the Youth Media Awards. It took me a while to get into this one. I can’t say much about the story without spoilers. It centers around Danny Cheng, a high school senior in Cupertino, CA. He finds out some secrets about his parents and the book is mainly about him dealing with the fallout of these secrets. I did get annoyed at the beginning when he kept referring to some sort of tragedy he and his friends had faced before finally just telling us it was a friend’s suicide. I saw no reason to drag out that reveal. It was a well-written book. I just couldn’t really ever get really invested in the story.

On Deck – I’m reading The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman. It is the latest Alex Delaware book. I still enjoy this series. I have Creed to watch tonight and then tomorrow I should have A Star is Born and Sisters Brothers of DVD waiting for me at work. I don’t think there is anything new on TV this week. I will probably watch a lot of college basketball this week with conference tournaments starting.

Good Omens!

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite books of all time. I actually still remember the first time I saw the book. I was killing time in the mall in Lexington, KY while my girlfriend(now wife) shopped and found it on a display. I will admit that at the time I was not really familiar with Gaiman at the time. The book seemed interesting, but I didn’t have the money to buy books, so I made note of the title so I could eventually get it from the library. I am glad I did. I loved it. I’ve gone on to read more Gaiman and Pratchett, but only Neverwhere comes close to Good Omens for me. That might be because I read Neverwhere right before my first ever trip to London. I love the city and probably love the book a little more because of that.

I eventually made my wife go with me to a Gaiman signing at Joseph Beth in Lexington so she could get extra stuff signed for me. He signed both Neverwhere and Good Omens(and eventually more and the National Book Festival in DC later). I eventually moved to DC and, of course, my signed books moved with me. Some time after I moved to DC, The Washington Post hosted a few book events and one of them was Terry Pratchett discussing Good Omens. I signed myself up and after a slight delay from a random DC bigwig motorcade got to the venue to see him, signed Good Omens in hand. He was very pleased when I met him to see the book was already signed by Gaiman and signed a response to his. The book is now one of my prized possessions. I’ve been anticipating this show for a long time. I don’t think my family understands why I’m so excited about it. I don’t think they will read this to understand it. They will just have to suffer through me making them watch the trailer and me talking about it until it finally airs.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 3/1/19

In an odd week for me, I actually have more screen to report on than books. I’m not sure that is a good thing.

Movies – I watched Night School this week. My expectations were low. I wasn’t expecting much more than the usual Kevin Hart plays Kevin Hart, but without The Rock to help make the move better movie. It was, indeed, Kevin Hart playing Kein Hart. I’m pretty sure that’s all he will ever be able to do. It was also a lot of Tiffany Haddish playing Tiffany Haddish. If you like Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, this is the movie for you. If not, skip it. It did have a good supporting cast and there was more of a story than I expected. It wasn’t a bad way to kill a couple of hours on my morning off. It was better than cleaning toilets. They should make that the tag line.

TV – I recorded Whiskey Cavalier when it aired after the Oscars. The only part of the Oscars I watched was the Queen opener. I enjoyed the performance and I’m tired of people complaining who apparently think Queen should never perform again unless the can bring back zombie Freddie Mercury. We did watch Whiskey Cavalier. I like Scott Foley, Laren Cohan, Tyler James Williams and Josh Hopkins(a Kentucky guy!) and I’m a sucker for the romantic action comedy shows like this so I was predisposed to like it. Guess what? I did really like it. It was fun. I enjoyed Foley being the heartbroken romantic and Cohan being the hard, I don’t believe in love type. Tyler James Williams was good as the computer hacker they were both after and I’m glad he will be a part of the team going forward. It won’t win any awards, but I would recommend it. I’m watching the season finale of A Million Little Things while I write this. It has become one of my favorite shows.

Books – I didn’t finish a book this week I’m still reading How Long Til Black Future Month by NK Jemisin. Short story collections always slow me down. For some reason, it takes me a lot longer to read short stories than it does to read a novel. Probably because it’s easy to put it down once I finish a story and it’s harder to get into another story once I finish one I really liked. I am determined not to abandon it like I usually abandon story collection. I only have about 100 pages left. I can do this.

On Deck – I have Bohemian Rhapsody and First Man on DVD. I’m happy that AP Bio and For the People season premieres are this week.  After I finish the short story book I will continue reading If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin. I already had the physical book checked out and then got the e-book version when I found myself stranded somewhere without a book(a rookie mistake). I like what I’ve read so far and I’m looking forward to continuing the story.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 2/22/19

It’s another week where I don’t have a lot to report as far as the screen goes. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a new movie. This means I will probably get all of the new movies from the library at the same time. I do have one new TV show that I forgot until just now. So, here is my week:

Movies – I don’t think I even watched an old movie this week. AMC had some 80’s movies on President’s Day and I considered watching them but changed my mind. It’s possible I’m forgetting some random old movie I watched while trying to do nothing over my weekend off, but I really don’t think so. It’s weird for me to have a stretch like this with no movies. Maybe I should just go to the movies.

TV – I always watch a lot of TV. This week it was mostly focused on existing shows I had on my DVR. I would have finished season one of Manifest but my wife got sucked into it while she was supposed to be working so now I have to wait for her before I can finish the season. We did watch one new how this week. Proven Innocent premiered Friday night. It is Kelsey Grammar in a legal drama. I like him and legal dramas, so we watched it. The premise – Rachelle Lefevre plays a lawyer who was found guilty of murder as a teen, went to prison, was exonerated and became a lawyer. She now works to free others who were falsely accused, focusing on cases of the DA who sent her to prison, Kelsey Grammar. I will probably give it a couple of more episodes, but  I will be shocked if it isn’t canceled quickly. I’m not a fan of Lefevre as an actress, so I’m not sure how long I can stay with a show with her as the star.

Books – I finished two books this week. The first was The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams. It is the first in a series about Bobby Dollar, an angel living on earth and working as an advocate angel. His job is to argue the Heaven side for the recently dead’s soul. Odd things start happening with some of those souls and Bobby is caught in the middle of it. I enjoyed it and will probably try to remember to read the next in the series. I do think it was a little too long and would have been better if 50 or so pages shorter. I also finished An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Soloman. It’s hard to explain the plot so I will share the synopsis from Wikipedia – “On board the generation ship Matilda (named for the Clotilda),[1] where the passengers have formed a society stratified along racial lines such that those with dark skin are relegated to lower-deck lives of servitude and harsh behavioral restrictions, Aster Gray is a lower-decks healer who must discover the hidden connection between her mother’s suicide decades ago and the mysterious death of the ship’s Sovereign.” It will be an interesting discussion at book club tonight as I really enjoyed it and I saw that two of my friends from book club have it one or two stars. I’m curious why.

On Deck – I have the DVD of Night School waiting for me at the library. I will likely have to watch that one alone as my wife is not a fan of comedies. Whiskey Cavalier premieres this week and it looks fun. I really like Lauren Cohan and Scott Foley. I’ve been looking forward to this one. I just started reading How Long Til Black Future Month? by NK Jemisin. I’m not sure if I will finish. I tend to abandon short story collections.