Not Just Books: December 2017

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!

NOTE: Yes, we know that this isn’t the last Monday of the month and this isn’t a scheduling snafu. Instead, we’re working on a super special and exciting post for next Monday that also happens to be Christmas Day, so keep your eyes out for that!

Serena’s Picks

1487358575482TV Show(s): ALL the HGTV home make over shows

Look, I’m not proud of it, but there’s a good reason for this pick, just hear me out. As Kate knows (as in, this is all she’s heard about for a year now), my husband and I have been finishing the basement of our house. It started as “partially finished” (read: moldy wreck), and over a year we did demo, leveled the floor, added in-floor heat, tiled the floor, re-structured and laid out rooms, built walls, added a reading nook under the stairs, added built-in book shelves, installed a gas fire place, etc etc. And we finally finished this month. And ever since, we’ve been enjoying the new TV room by doing absolutely nothing but veg out in front of it re-living our trauma through the various home makeover shows on HGTV. Seriously, I think we have PTSD, but we can’t stop watching and triggering ourselves. It’s a sick obsession at this point.

mv5bodk2yme5mjetmmqzny00mzzjltgxndatytgzmthlztg1m2e3xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjiwnti1mtm-_v1_sy1000_cr007061000_al_Netflix Show: “Glitch”

This seems to be one of those Netflix shows that is largely unknown by people. The first season came out two years ago, and yet somehow I never really looked at this one, and I’m not sure why. Set in Australia, the story rotates around 7 people who have mysteriously risen from the dead. No bells or whistles, they’re just back, and no one knows why. What’s even more strange is that they’re all back from different time periods, some as recently as a few years, some who have been dead for centuries. As the season progresses we learn more and more about each of these character’s lives and the suspense grows around the mystery of their return. I’ve really been enjoying binging this show and part of it is simply the fun of listening to their accents. “Come this way, mate. That’s right, now just take it easy” all in the classic Aussie drawl.

Movie: “Miracle on 34th Street”

 (I WILL RE-POST THIS ONE EVERY YEAR, I DON’T CARE!) Obviously this falls under the category of old movies we’ve “discovered,” but even that’s not true! Let’s be real, I watch this movie EVERY Christmas. It’s a classic for a reason and there is something to love for just about everyone. You have the romance, the friendship, the family, the humor, the villains, the court room action, and the feel goods. Not to mention, the adult in me loves this movie even more now than I did as a kid, with its main message being that even adults should believe in Santa Claus! And the larger message, that whether or not he was actually Santa Claus was beyond the point: Christmas is about loving and caring for everyone, and in that, Mr. Claus was the epitome of Christmas.

Kate’s Picks

search-party-s2-key-artTV Show: “Search Party Season 2”

So the first season of the darkly hilarious “Search Party” involved a group of New York Hipsters trying to solve the mystery of a missing girl. Dory (Alia Shawkat) is sucked into the disappearance of a college acquaintance named Chantal, and is convinced she met foul play. The season ends with them finding Chantal alive and well and vapid as ever…. except Dory and her friends accidentally killed a man who had been helping them look for her. Season 2 is dealing with the fallout… And yes, it’s still hilarious. My favorite character remains Elliott, played by the snide and snarly John Early, whose mild sociopathy and need for self preservation send him on a disconcerting, but also pretty amusing in some ways, mental breakdown. For those who like their humor dark, give “Search Party” a try, and know that Season 2 is pretty amazing.

23755322_130283744328423_6702880009203054438_nPodcast: “Bigfoot Collectors Club”

I have a fun little obsession with the supernatural and cryptozoology. My favorites include Mothman, El Chupacabra, and The Jersey Devil, and while I’m solidly a skeptic who wants to believe, it’s fun hearing stories about this stuff. Given this interest, I was pretty happy to discover the podcast “Bigfoot Collectors Club”. Hosted by Bryce Johnson and Michael McMillian (one of my faves), this fairly new podcast tackles strange and unnatural events, as well as tales of cryptids, aliens, ghosts, and personal experiences of the unexplained. While I may not be as true blue believing when it comes to Sasquatch, their enthusiasm and earnestness is contagious.

jingle_all_the_way_posterMovie: “Jingle All The Way”

So last year I talked about the movie “Scrooged”, but that is just ONE of MANY Christmas movies that I like to watch this time of year. This year I’m going to talk about the SMASH HIT HOLIDAY CLASSIC “Jingle All The Way”. Is it a good movie? No, not really. But it’s one that my husband and I HAVE to watch every year because 1) We love Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2) it takes place in Minnesota and treats both Minneapolis and St. Paul as interchangeable cities, and 3) Phil Hartman is treasure, may he rest in peace. The plot is flimsy, it feels like one long toy commercial, and it’s super dated and actually pretty problematic in a number of ways, but hey, we can’t deny a cheesy and stupid movie such as this? Put the cookie DOWN!! NOW!!!

What non books have you been enjoying this month? Let us know in the comments!

Not Just Books: November 2017

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:

mv5bmjaxota2mjc3mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmtmxmzixndm-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Netflix Show: “The Crown”

I’ve been staring at this as it continually shows up on my recommended viewing list for the last year or so on Netflix. For some reason, I never got around to watching it. What was wrong with me?? I mean, I love me some historical mini series. Perhaps it was my general lack of knowledge of the Windsor family as a whole. But once I finally started it, I was hooked! And I’ve found that my lack of knowledge might actually be making me enjoy it more. It’s gotten to the point now that I sometimes watch the show with a laptop open on my lap so I can Google the various different historical facts that come in the show. Was Prince Philip really an insecure prat? What about that fog?! Did Winston Churchill really burn a portrait of himself? These may be commonly known things to others, but I’ve tremendously enjoyed diving into this political drama and highly recommend it for fans of historical shows or fans of Queen Elizabeth. Yes, her corgis make appearances.

mv5bmtu2nja1odgzmf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmtm2mti4mje-_v1_sy1000_cr006661000_al_Movie: “John Wick”

Alas, yet another one where I am late to the game! But I do get there, you have to give me that. I’ve always been a fan of Keanu Reeves. Sure, his dialogue can come off as slightly stilted, but there’s no denying his success as an action movie star. And at its core, that’s all the movie “John Wick” is about. The plot is simple: jerk crime lord son (of course the actor who plays Theon Greyjoy in “Game of Thrones” was cast in this role. That poor actor, is he now just type cast as “weaselly, horrible, ultimately cowardly and insecure, villains?”) steals John Wick’s car and kills his dog (this was truly traumatizing for me, even though I knew it was coming!) Then the entire rest of the movie is a straight forward revenge plot with John Wick taking out anyone who gets in his way. And it was excellent! Other movies could learn a thing or do from this movie. Your story doesn’t have to be crazy complicated to be good.

mv5bmjuwmdgzotg3nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwnti4mdk5mzi-_v1_sy1000_cr006691000_al_Netflix Show: “Stranger Things 2”

Obviously “Stranger Things 2” had to make it on this list for me! I was one of those people who was practically counting down the days and then binged watched it immediately after it came out. Kate and I were talking about casting our friends as characters in it the other day (we’re nerdy like that, but that’s nothing new), and she was like “As long as I’m not Steve…” And my response was “What?!?! You obviously have watched the second season yet! Get on that girl!” Cuz, let’s be real, Steve was awesome. Alongside so many other new and awesome things! Eleven’s whole journey, Will’s more active presence within the show, the ever expanding and more terrifying Upside Down. There were a few bumps in the road, but in my opinion, season 2 was a complete success. And now I can happily go and binge watch both seasons back to back while I start up yet another countdown to season 3.

Kate’s Picks:

r-11021239-1508398177-4205-jpegAlbum: “John Carpenter: Anthology”

I am a gigantic fan of John Carpenter’s movies, as his range is huge and his stories are compelling. From “Halloween” to “Escape from New York” to my personal favorite “Starman”, Carpenter has created many worlds of horror, wonder, and even sometimes joy. He also tends to write the music for his movies (with a few exceptions, such as “Starman” and “The Thing”), and each theme has been compiled for his album “Anthology”. I was lucky enough to see him perform a number of the songs from this album in concert, and it was a serious pleasure to watch this icon rock out on stage with his synthesizer and back up band. I’ve been blasting the album ever since.

thedisastorartistteaserposterTrailer: “The Disaster Artist”

As a connoisseur of bad movies, it is one of my great shames that I have never seen “The Room”, the “Citizen Kane” of bad movies. This film is so notoriously bad that it has a cult following devoted to its awfulness. It was written, (sort of) directed by, and starred the enigmatic and strange Tommy Wiseau. The making of it was so bizarre that Greg Sestero, cast member and close friend of Wiseau, wrote a book about the experience of being in this movie. And now that has been turned into a movie starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau. Apparently its getting RAVE reviews on the independent and film festival circuits. I am so excited to see this movie (a review of the book will be here in the near future), I have been watching the trailer in anticipation. It looks strange, funny, and oddly a bit sweet. Sign me up.

mv5bmjmyndkzmzi1of5bml5banbnxkftztgwodcxodg5mji-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_Movie: “Thor: Ragnarok”

Trust and believe, it was kind of a toss up between this and “Justice League” (as yes, I did enjoy that movie), but ultimately the Taika Waititi factor made this one the winner. As a DC Girl, that says a lot. Thor has always been my favorite member of the Avengers, if only because his stories don’t seem to take him TOO seriously. Add in the director of one of my faves, “What We Do In The Shadows”, and you get a really fun, really funny, and sugar blasted ride. Not only did we get much loved returns of Loki, Heimdall, and Thor himself, we also got some great new characters. While Valkyrie was EXCELLENT and Hela was BADASS, it was Jeff Goldblum’s quirky and dramatic Grandmaster who cemented this movie as a serious winner.

Not Just Books: October 2017

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

220px-supernatural_season_13TV Show: “Supernatural” Season 13 Premiere

“Supernatural” is one of my favorite shows and at this point, it is one of those strange things that I’ve watched longer than I’ve known good friends/husbands, have lived anywhere ever, etc etc. I mean, 13 years is a lot. So it’s no surprise that this is the second time I’ve highlighted it here, and it probably won’t be the last. This season’s start came after one of the largest “mass killings” of characters the show has seen for a while. We lost Crowley, Mamma Winchester, and Castiel all in one fell swoop. It’s not an exaggeration to say the boys are at the lowest they’ve ever been. And that’s saying a lot for a series that has sent both of these guys to hell itself on more than one occasion. But of course they can’t just be left to grieve! Oh,  no, nothing can be easy. And this season’s challenge comes in the form of Jack, the son of a human mother and Lucifer himself. Dean’s instinct is, of course, to shoot first, ask questions later. While Same wants to, of course, talk to Jack about his feelings. They’re going to be the worst “parents” ever, and I can’t wait to watch it all!

150442_aaMovie Trailer: “Pacific Rim: Uprising”

I love disaster movies. And I love action movies that walk the fine line between swagger and cheesiness. So it’s no surprise that I very much enjoyed the original “Pacific Rim,” questionable main character acting or not! I’m a simple-minded girl when it comes to my action movies, and robots punching monsters is fine by me. So I was very excited when I heard there was going to be a sequel, even more excited when I heard that John Boyega was going to star as the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost, and now, at excitement extreme after watching this trailer. Particularly, I love that they went all in on what was my main take away from the first film: physical weapons like swords and such are WAY more badass, and, importantly, effective, than those silly guns. I can’t wait to see what craziness this movie has in store!

mv5bmjmwodyzmzazmf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmtq1mtk5mde-_v1_Mini Series: “Death Comes to Pemberley”

I have a rotation of Jane Austen mini series and movies that I routinely cycle through when needing to decompress. The obvious ones like the BBC version of “Pride and Prejudice” are all there, as well as the more controversial ones like the late 2000s version of “Emma” which some claim strayed too far from the book (I don’t care, Johnny Lee Miller is Mr. Knightley! Say no more!). But “Death Comes to Pemberley” has managed to wiggle its way on to this list as well, starting from the severely disadvantaged position of not being, well, based on a Jane Austen novel! However, it does everything right in every other way. The acting is superb, the mystery is well-drawn, and it does what would have seemed impossible and created a believable sequel to “Pride and Prejudice.” In particular, Darcy’s struggles to really “walk to the walk” that Elizabeth has modeled for him are well-explored. Sure, she has introduced him to a new way of thinking and behaving, but when unexpected and threatening events occur, it’s not surprise that he falls back onto old habits. This is the perfect mix of romance, mystery, and historical fiction and well worth a watch for any Jane Austen fan.

Kate’s Picks

lore-tshirt-artPodcast/Amazon Show: “Lore”

I’ve had multiple people tell me that I should listen to the “Lore” Podcast. It’s both history and folklore, scary and interesting, as Aaron Mahnke researches and tells tales from history about unexplained and/or creepy things. I don’t know what took me so long to finally start listening, but now that I have I’m hooked. And for those of you who may like watching more than listening, it is now a show on Amazon Prime as well! From the history of H.H. Holmes to Robert the Doll to faerie folk tales from around the world, “Lore” approaches scary and unsettling things from a very calm and research driven perspective. The show is a bit more expanded than the podcast episodes, and gives us dramatizations of some of the most beloved podcast episodes… which ends up being very, very upsetting sometimes.

wolf20creek-season-1-postersTV Show: “Wolf Creek”

Those of you who are familiar with the “Wolf Creek” movie series know that they’re definitely not for the squeamish. They’re pretty much just Psycho Killer Mick Taylor (based on actual Australian serial killer Ivan Millat) tearing through unsuspecting tourists in the bloodiest ways possible. But then the TV show came out, and spun that idea on it’s head. Mick Taylor is still killing people, but after he kills the entire family of college student Eve, she decides that she is going to hunt him down and take her revenge. It’s a fun reversal, as now we watch as Eve and Mick stalk each other throughout the outback. John Jarratt is back as Mick, and Lucy Fry plays Eve with the perfect mix of determination, grief, and blood thirst. On top of it all, the cinematography is breathtaking, making Australia look both beautiful and daunting.

mindhunter-696x324Netflix Show: “Mindhunter”

I highlighted the trailer when it first dropped a couple months ago, and now the show is finally here and it was worth the wait. As someone who has always liked crime procedurals, I was expecting it to be kind of along the same lines, but instead “Mindhunter” is more philosophical in its approach, having its characters suss things out about the minds of serial killers through conversation. Jonathan Groff is a shining star as Agent Holden Ford, a young agent who wants to try to understand the minds of serial killers in hopes of being able to predict their behavior. At times he seems naive, at other times he seems incredibly insightful, and at all times he is dedicated and intrepid. The scenes between Ford and serial killer Ed Kemper are disturbing and fascinating and are alone worth the watch.

Not Just Books: September 2017

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:

mv5bmjm3mjq1mzkxnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwodk1odgymji-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “Baby Driver”

The name alone is confusing for this one. Add to that a very low level marketing scheme for a summer movie, and you couldn’t be blamed for blinking in confusion at this entry. But let me tell you, if you enjoy action movies, especially ones with good car chases ala “The Bourne Identiy,” this is the movie for you. It’s all about Baby, a young man with some definite driving skills who gets caught up in a criminal underworld filled with unhinged bank robbers. Beyond the superb action scenes, this movie has a killer soundtrack. And without spoiling the movie, the soundtrack doesn’t exist to simply backup the movie’s action, but plays a rather pivotal role in the story itself. Sound ambiguous? Good! Check it out and find out what I mean!

mv5bmtewmduymzgyndveqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mdq3odu3odiy-_v1_sy1000_cr006661000_al_TV Show: “Outlander”

Droughtlander is over! Finally! It’s been almost two years since Season 2 ended with Claire and Jaime being torn apart by the centuries that exist between their own time periods. Confession: I didn’t even finish Season 2 until just this summer purely because I knew that it ended on, essentially, a cliffhanger. And since it took forever and a day for this third season to make it to our screens, I feel like this was the right choice. My other confession is that I haven’t read the books this series is based on. But from a non-reader perspective, this show definitely stands on its own, full of historical drama, romance, and two outstanding lead characters. If you like period piece dramas with a heavy dose of romance (and can stand some heavy stuff, cuz this show definitely doesn’t shy away from that), definitely check out the first two seasons, and now the few first episodes of season three, of “Outlander.”

mv5bmtcynteyoty0m15bml5banbnxkftztgwotaynzu3mdi-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “The LEGO Batman Movie”

This is late coming, but I sadly missed getting to see this while it was in theaters, so I’ve been patiently monitoring my Netflix DVD queue to move it up to the top once it was released. And I’m glad I did! As we all know, here at Library Ladies, we’re definitively Team Superman. But, in many ways, that’s what makes this movie so perfect for me! My biggest complaint about Batman, and especially the more recent movies with him, is the overly serious take they had on this hero. Not so here. All of Batman’s flaws are played perfectly and hilariously! It’s also chock full of references to other iterations of Batman that we’ve seen in comics, TV, and movies. I’m sure I didn’t catch them all, but those I did were great. Robin and the Joker were great foils to Batman, and in many ways, these relationships had much more heart than we’ve seen in any relationships given to us with past versions of the character. Definitely worth seeing if you (like me) have been living under the rock for the last 6 months and somehow missed this one.

Kate’s Picks:

mv5bmtg2mzi0ntq3ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwodmymzc1mde-_v1_uy1200_cr9306301200_al_TV Show: “Bob’s Burgers”

Last summer I binged through the first couple of seasons of the hilarious and actually kind of heartwarming show “Bob’s Burgers”, but it tapered off when Netflix ran out of episodes. I’ve picked it up again, though, and it’s still such a great sitcom that I’ve been obsessing over making my way through it until there aren’t any more episodes to watch. The Belchers are such a funny and eccentric, but absolutely loving, family, and I love watching the shenanigans that they get into as they run a burger restaurant. It’s hard to pick a favorite because all of them are great, but Mom Linda and Daughter Louise are probably the characters who make me laugh the most. I do have to say that there is a certain, relatable something to awkward and somewhat odd teenager Tina, though, and I really do have to applaud the show for giving us a teenage girl that is comfortable with who she is and has no qualms about her eccentricities. “Bob’s Burgers” is a real hoot.

mv5bmjazmte1nzqxnf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjcwody3mti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Movie: “Everything, Everything”

Though my usual book fare doesn’t contain much on the romance front, every once in a blue moon I stumble into a book that is both romantic, and appealing to me. I absolutely LOVED Nicola Yoon’s book “Everything, Everything” (putting it on my Top Ten list in 2016), and was interested in seeing the movie. I ended up watching it twice on our long plane trips to and from New Zealand, because I couldn’t get enough. While there are some small differences, it’s still the story of Madeline, a girl raised indoors her entire life because she was diagnosed with SCID, an autoimmune disorder. When Ollie moves in next door and they start communicating via internet and text, she starts to want more from her life. Amandla Stenberg is the perfect Maddie, and her chemistry with the adorable Nick Robinson is supercharged. It’s romantic and sad and I just really like it.

maxresdefaultTV Show: “American Horror Story: Cult”

To be quite honest, I have a very love/hate relationship with the horror anthology series “American Horror Story.” Some seasons I loved (“Coven”), others I thought tried way too hard to be edgy (“Murder House,” “Asylum”), and others I was solidly meh on (… the rest?). But I keep coming back, and this time it’s “Cult.” Sure, I still find it a bit on the ‘trying too hard’ side in some ways, but then there are other things about it that I really like (Billie Lorde and Billy Eichner specifically). While I’m not sure that my opinion of it will end up like my deep love for “Coven” or my disdain/ indifference towards other seasons, I do know that as of right now I’m entertained. And really, that’s all that matters when it comes to this show. I AM STILL HOLDING OUT HOPE FOR FINN WITROCK TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE, THOUGH.

 

Not Just Books: August 2017

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:

screen-shot-2017-07-11-at-14-45-31Netflix Series Trailer: “Stranger Things” Season 2

I get chills just watching this! I absolutely loved the first season (so much so that I re-watched it on a binge with my husband in a hotel during our honeymoon. We needed a break from the site seeing! And it was really good! I will defend this choice forever). This trailer is the perfect balance of giving viewers everything they could want. Familiar characters, but with new challenges. Stakes (and monsters) that are bigger than ever. The music is on point, the visuals are stunning, and it doesn’t seem to have lost anything from one season to this (the biggest worry always with second seasons). I love that it looks like we will get so much more from Will, who was largely just missing the entire first season.

mv5bmjm0mdyzoda1mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnde5mtkxnde-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_TV Show: “Justified”

I’m not hugely into Westerns. I think I read one Louis L’Amour years ago and was pretty “meh” about the whole experience. However, I discovered “Justified” earlier this spring and have been steadily consuming it almost nightly ever since. Two things make this series stand out in my mind: 1.) The casting. Timothy Olyphant is pitch perfect as Raylan Givens, a jaded, trigger happy, Kentucky marshal. And Walton Goggins makes you root for the “villain” of the story almost just as strongly as you do for Raylan. 2.) The writing. The dialogue in this series is smart, quick, and leaves you wishing you had thought of that line. Goggins, in particular, has a way of stringing words together that makes them come out sounding almost like poetry.

a1c70sokgklColoring Book Artist: Joanna Basford

It’s been a busy, busy summer. Between traveling and finishing our basement, I’ve been in desperate need of some forced relaxation. Enter: Joanna Basford and her gorgeous artwork in her adult coloring book series. I loved coloring as a kid, and I’m not quite sure why I thought that I had to stop as an adult. But this last year when I realized that there is a thriving market for adult coloring books, I was beyond ecstatic. It took me hardly any time to realize that Joanna Basford is pretty much the reigning queen in this arena. And for good reason! Her images are beautiful, creative, and intricate enough that it can take days to finish coloring one page. One of my favorite things to do recently has been to color a page from “The Enchanted Forest” book I own while listening to my audiobook. Have to get that reading in, too, you know!

Kate’s Picks:

250px-mpgisWeb Series: “The Most Popular Girls in School”

I’m late to the train on this one, but “The Most Popular Girls in School” is a hilarious and vulgar web series about cheerleaders and popular girls being snide to each other. And on top of that, it’s all stop motion with Barbies. Yep, you read that right. Awful nasty popular girls as played by stop motion Barbies. From the rage filled cheerleader Brittnay Matthews, to the aloof and unbothered new girl Deandra, to the bubble headed Parisian (but possibly Québécois) Saison Margueritte, the characters are outrageous and hilarious. It’s very much a hybrid of “Mean Girls” and “South Park”, and I can’t get enough of it.

wet_hot_american_summer___tv_show_folder_icon_v1_by_dyiddo-d9022iiNetflix Series Re-Watch: “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”

“Wet Hot American Summer” is my favorite movie of all time. I had promised some of my girlfriends that I would hold off on watching its newest miniseries, “Ten Years Later,” until I could watch it with them. So the night that that one dropped, I instead re-watched the first sequel series, “First Day of Camp.” And gosh, it’s still filled with joy, absurdity, and a great cast with great comedy to boot. Most of the (HUGE) original cast came back, including Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Bradley Cooper (whose romance with Michael Ian Black in the movie is given an origin story here, and yes, it’s just as sweet as you’d think), and on top of that there are many, many cameos from other comedic players. It perfectly captures the joy of the movie, more so than “Ten Years Later” (yes I did end up watching it). Watching “First Day of Camp” and then “Wet Hot American Summer” is the perfect way to close out your own summer.

mindhunter-696x324Netflix Series Trailer: “Mindhunter”

My love of true crime has really been given a LOT to work with lately. Between the “My Favorite Murder” Podcast and a number of pretty neat true crime books coming out, my guilty pleasure has been well sated. And now Netflix is coming out with “Mindhuter”, a series about two FBI Agents (one played by Jonathan Groff) who try to study and profile serial killers. On top of that, it’s based on a book written by John Douglas! This trailer is creepy and unsettling, but it also has some familiar faces in it for me, in terms of the killers they are going to be tackling (hey hey, Edmund Kemper you crazy son of a bitch!). I really like Jonathan Groff, and I like that this takes place during a time when serial killer and psychopathic pathology weren’t really understood. I have a feeling I’ll need to watch this with the lights on, because the trailer is freaky enough on its own.

 

 

Not Just Books: July 2017

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:

mv5bntk4odq1mzgznl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmtmymzm4mti-_v1_sy1000_cr006581000_al_Movie: “Spider-man: Homecoming”

I know I for one was a pretty skeptical when this movie was announced. I love super heroes as much as the next guy. To be honest, probably more than the next guy, but even I had to role my eyes at the idea of having three Spider-man origin stories presented for us on the big screen over 15 years essentially. But after seeing “Captain America: Civil War” and loving Tom Holland’s brief cameo in the role, I was a bit more on board. All of this to say…set your skepticism aside, folks, turns out they can give us something new with this character after all! The true game changers of this movie are the wise casting (Tom Holland is perfect in both iterations of the character), wise story decisions (thank god we didn’t get another Uncle Ben dying “with great power blah blah blah” scene), and wise plots (this is truly a story about a highschool boy as a superhero, and the only version of the three that rings true to the day-to-day challenges and life of a boy this age). Add on a great villain with Michael Keaton’s Vulture, and you’ve got a great summer flick! Definitely check it out if you like superhero movies of any kind!

mv5bmjezmjyzmdq0mv5bml5banbnxkftztcwnze1otm5ng-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “Chronicle”

This movie came out in 2012, but my husband and I only got to it this last month. And man, if we knew how good it was, we would have done it sooner! I didn’t really know what to expect from this. It’s a small production, “found footage” type film about three teens who discover a strange cave and emerge with powers. From the sound of it, it could have been quite trite and cheesy. But man, not only is the “found footage” aspect done extremely well (I’m not usually a fan of this medium), but the film tackles some dark topics amidst its super powers action scenes. It’s also incredibly funny and heart felt. I really can’t recommend this film enough. Bonus points for it being set in Seattle, my old stomping ground!

game_of_thrones_title_cardTV Show: “Game of Thrones”

One of us had to do it, so this time it’s me! Obviously both Kate and I are huge fans of “Game of Thrones.” I’m there for all the high fantasy political action, Kate’s there for the dragons, we’re both there for the eye candy (don’t tell our significant others). While I’m super bummed that this is a shorter season than the last several, I’m also exorbitantly pleased to see a show taking the correct approach to story telling: tell the story, complete with beginning, middle, and, most importantly, an end. All too often massively popular shows attempt to drag on for forever to the detriment of the quality and sense of their own story. There’s tons to get through in these last two short seasons, but I’m hopeful that they’ll be able to wrap it all up in a, I wont’ say “happy,” but, satisfying way.

Kate’s Picks:

mv5bmji1mdexodg0mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmji4mta2mji-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_Netflix Show: “GLOW”

I love me some 1980s nostalgia trips, and thanks to my husband I’ve found a certain joy from watching the over the top glory and soapiness that is pro-wrestling. So it’s really no surprise, I’d imagine, that both he and I were super into the new Netflix show “GLOW,” a fictionalized origin story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Along with the pretty impressive and always entertaining wrestling moves and in ring antics, we also get the stories of some pretty well rounded women who, living in the 1980s, are trying to succeed in an entertainment industry that doesn’t take women very seriously. Alison Brie as Ruth is, of course, a delight, but there are also a lot of wonderful newcomers that all give their characters a whole lot of backstory, motivation, and complexity. I cannot wait for Season 2.

nosleep-podcast-s4-logo_1400Podcast: “The No Sleep Podcast”

Looking for some original and deeply unsettling horror stories for your commute, gym visits, or doing chores around the house? Then do I have the podcast for you! The “No Sleep Podcast” selects some of the best stories from the Reddit board “No Sleep” and dramatizes them, turning them into a radio drama for the horror geek. I’ve been on the “No Sleep” board a number of times, and while there are definitely ways to find really good stories there, sometimes you have to dig. With this podcast, they do the digging for you, and give them an eerie ambiance with how they tell them. I’ve been devouring my way through the seasons, each episode being about two to three stories each (and if you are willing to pay for it, you can access even more stories), and have found some VERY scary gems within. Listen if you dare, but I don’t recommend doing so late at night.

headerVideo Game: “Stardew Valley”

I was at a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention at the beginning of the month, and while I was there I became privy to a very chill video game called “Stardew Valley”. In this game you are a person who has just inherited a plot of farmland from your grandfather, and have to become a farmer and to join the community of Pelican Town in Stardew Valley. It’s kind of like “The Sims” meets “Farmville”, with some “Zelda” thrown in for good measure. It’s a very laid back and relaxing game, just the thing that I need when the world gets to be a bit too much. You can pretty much decide what your gaming experience is going to be; you can farm, or fish, or go exploring in caves, or make friends and possible romances as well. I really like the open sandbox design of the plot, and the look of it feels like something out of a Super Nintendo era game. If you are in need of a video game that is super relaxing and incredibly charming, “Stardew Valley” may be the right match for you.

Not Just Books: June 2017

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!

Joint Pick

mv5bndfmzjgymtetytk5mc00nmy0lwjhzjktowy2mzi5yjkzodnlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymda4nzmyoa-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_Movie: “Wonder Woman”

We bought tickets to this super in advance because we knew, WE KNEW, it was going to be awesome. So just imagine our smug self-satisfaction when we walked out of the theater knowing that the DC flop fest had ended at last. And with a female superhero’s story none the less! The hype is real with this one, folks. Not only is Diana Prince/Wonder Woman fabulous, her supporting cast of characters all fit together perfectly. Want to feel empowered, ladies? Go see this movie.

 

Serena’s Picks:

 mv5bmwy3ntljmjetyzrimi00nwm2ltkznjitztvmzje0mtdjmjjhl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyntq4ntc5otu-_v1_TV Show: “Sherlock”

While I will admit that “Elementary” is my preferred go-to Sherlock Holmes TV show (mostly because I love Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Lu’s Watson is a unique element to the tried and tru duo), my husband and I started watching the BBC “Sherlock” this month on Netflix. We’re now on the third season, and I’m warming up to the series as Sherlock becomes less of a jerk and Mycroft’s snarky British greatness really comes to the forefront. Though we did just finish the historical piece that re-imagines the series set back in the books’ original time period, which, for a historical fiction junky like me, just made the transition back to modern times all the more painful! Why did they have to torture me with “what ifs” and an historical version that I probably would have preferred?!

mrhpdh-cover-819x1024Blog: Mark Reads “Harry Potter”

The obsession with this blog continues! Last month I obsessively read Mark’s growing horror at the “Twilight” books all while muttering to myself “It gets even worse! Just wait for the next book!” So this month I got to experience the opposite side of book-feelings while reading Mark’s growing love affair with the “Harry Potter” series all while muttering to myself “It gets even better! Just wait for the next book!” I know it’s kind of a cop out to highlight the same blog twice in a row, but the reviews of these two series were such complete opposite ends of the spectrum that it felt like a completely different beast this second time around. And the one thing better than reading about someone hate-read a series you disliked, is reading about some fall in love with a series you adored.

Kate’s Picks:

p13713169_b_v8_aaTV Show: “Twin Peaks: The Return”

Remember how I said I hoped I’d be able to finally put this on my highlights? Thanks to my Mom and her generosity with her Showtime Anytime password, I CAN! “Twin Peaks” is back, and it’s crazier than ever. While it’s definitely feeling more “Eraserhead” than the original “Twin Peaks” at this point, I’m already hooked if only because of getting to see such favorites as Dale Cooper, Bobby Briggs, Albert Rosenfield, and (hopefully soon) Audrey Horne, aka my muse, back on my screen. It’s bananas and I just love it. We finally get to see where all of these characters have ended up after all these years, and while in some cases it’s very confusing (what is happening with Coop?!), in others it’s bittersweet and lovely (Bobby Briggs made me cry and I’m not ashamed).

e1c2bd0b5aa0a8d2fff1fe4aeb2ce4157761d9c2Netflix Show: “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return”

Another ‘return’! So I was pretty well obsessed with “Mystery Science Theater 3000” when I was in college. I liked the snark, the retro trash movies they watched, and the characters (at least for awhile. I’m solidly a Joel girl and once the Mads leave I’m not interested anymore). So when I heard that Netflix was going to revive it, I was nervously hopeful. The good news is that while the revival isn’t going to live up to the golden days of Joel, the bots, and the Mads, it still has so much heart, great nerdy humor, and terrible movies to make fun of. Plus, while the new people (including Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day) are good, it’s fun seeing some of the original people pop up in cameos. If you like the original “MST3K”, this is a worthy revival!