Not Just Books: August 2018

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks

mv5bndvkyju0mzctmwrmzi00ntkxltgwzwetowvhyjzlyjllymu4xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynta4nzy1mzy-_v1_TV Show: “Friends”

This is a definite guilty pleasure for me! I was late to this bandwagon (and probably just too young to be interested), so I watched this originally sometime during college and blazed through it. I don’t even typically watch sitcoms, but the amazing chemistry between every single member of the cast is truly what made this show stand out to me. And so, this month which has been filled with more exhaustion and illnesses than should be allowed in summer, this was a natural choice when I just need some comfort TV watching. Sure, some of the jokes don’t age well, but I don’t care, I’ll give it a pass all day long and have no regrets! And it took several episodes for me to re-gain my deafness to the laugh track. What a weird thing that existed?! And watching comedies now without it and going back to it? Very bizarre! But I’ve still been enjoy the heck out of it. #ChandlerAndMonicaAreTheBestCouple!

mv5bytdhnwmwytmtnzq3oc00odzjlwi0yzqtyjvlodziowvlytjlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynta4nzy1mzy-_v1_sy1000_cr007071000_al_TV Show: “Luther”

This one comes with a massive caveat: DO NOT WATCH PAST THE SECOND SEASON! But those first two, quite good! Of course, the main reason for me to tune in was Idris Elba, cuz, duh. But I’m also a fan of detective mysteries and the fact that it’s a BBC production just made it all the more appealing. Plus, when the police don’t have guns, the action is much more fun to watch than you see in the typical America-based crime stories. Luther is an interesting character himself, living just on the line between good cop and slightly crooked (as far as doing what is morally right, but maybe not legally right), which added a lot of interesting depth to the story telling. And then season three happened…my husband and I were watching it and honestly started wondering whether the writers were drunk when they were scripting it? It’s hot trash, especially if you’re at all familiar with crime investigations. The disbelief is impossible to suspend. But those first two seasons, go for those!

28354-default-lLocation: Boundary Waters

Before said exhaustion/illness set in, my husband and I got in one more great summer vacation. This time we stayed in Minnesota but headed north to the Boundary Waters, a gorgeous natural wilderness that is part of the Superior National Forest. It’s made up of tons of lakes that you can canoe through, then pack up your canoe and portage (hike) over to the next lake, and thus and so criss-cross your way to some of the remote camping locations. We went for a three night trip and it was an absolute blast. I’ve grown up loving to hike and camp, but I had never been on a lake canoe trip like this, so it was definitely a unique experience. I’m sure we’ll be going again in summers to come!

Kate’s Picks

mr-mercedes-poster-mr-mercedes-tv-series-40549124-182-268TV Show: “Mr. Mercedes”

When I heard that they had turned the “Bill Hodges” Trilogy (all reviewed here) into a TV series, I was excited. When I heard that Brendan Gleeson was playing Bill, the retired cop trying to solve that one last case, I was ecstatic! But when I found out that it was on Direct TV, my heart sank, because I knew I’d have to wait. But I waited, and when it came out on DVD I got it from the library, and plowed through it. The first thing to love is the casting. Brendan Gleeson aside, you have Mary Louise Parker as his love interest Janey, Justine Lupe as my girl Holly Gibney, and a sinister and creepy Harry Treadaway as the villainous Brady Hartsfield. But this show also does a great job of showing the ins, outs, and quirks of small town life, making it feel grounded and focused in spite of all the upsetting and scary moments.

shawntaker“Sport”: Professional Wrestling

Back when my husband was a little kid, he LOVED pro-wrestling. Recently he started up watching the ‘big’ matches like the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, and what started as me keeping him company has turned into a full on enjoyment, especially of old school matches. I like the soapiness, I like the characterizations that are so over the top and entertaining, and I like the actual acrobatics that some of these guys and gals do. Add in a local bar that serves excellent Mexican food AND shows vintage wrestling on the TVs, and you have a new mindless and fun past time for me and him. Sometimes we are on opposing sides (I’m team Undertaker and he’s team Shawn Michaels, so that match was contentious), but it’s really fun just taking in the dramatics and enjoying the show together.

mv5bmjmzmdyxnza3mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwndazndq4ntm-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Hulu Show: “Castle Rock”

We got our second Stephen King show on here, and let me tell you, “Castle Rock” is phenomenal. I had been on pins and needles waiting for this show to come out, and once it did it immediately hooked me. Henry Deaver returns to his hometown of Castle Rock, Maine (one seen many times in King lore), after the warden at Shawshank Prison committed suicide and a mysterious man was found caged in an abandoned cellblock. The man specifically asked for Henry. And this man may or may not be a demon, whose captivity kept possibly Castle Rock safe. The cast is phenomenal, with some King favorites, like Bill Skarsgård, Melanie Lynskey, and the amazing Sissy Spacek, and the King Easter Eggs are plentiful and fun to spot. Plus, the mystery itself is compelling. Who is The Kid, what is his deal, and what does Henry Deaver’s past have to do with it? It’s addictive, it’s chilling, and it’s SO very Stephen King (what with a prolonged act of violence playing out to the tunes of Roy Orbison). King fans should watch it, but so should fans of thrilling, mysterious plots.

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