It’s an embarrassment of riches, really, when you consider just how much content we have to consume these days. I swear I’ll never see the bottom of my Netflix queue or Goodreads “Want to Read” list. There’s always something new to watch or read these days. In any case, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done one of these, so let’s just jump right in.
I used to watch a lot of network television, from NBC’s Must See TV on Thursdays to ABC’s TGIF on Fridays. I grew up with Steve Urkel, Danny Tanner, Carlton Banks, Cosmo Kramer and Chandler Bing. These days, as I mentioned a couple months ago, I don’t really watch any network television anymore, save for Kim’s Convenience and The Good Place. Thank goodness for on-demand streaming, right?
- After Life: The basic premise is that a recent widower decides he can do whatever he wants now, because nothing else matters. I was expecting the iconic dark comedy of Ricky Gervais; I did not expect to cry over a poignantly stark depiction of grief and suicidal ideation. A must watch. Prepare to have your heart crushed.
- The Umbrella Academy: Based on a graphic novel of the same name, this feels a lot like Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, except with a powerless Ellen Page who isn’t Shadowcat. I’m only one episode in, and the first episode served primarily to introduce characters, so I’m going to withhold judgment until I get a little deeper into the story.
- Conan Without Borders: From what I can gather, this isn’t “new” content so much as it is “new” content on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Conan O’Brien travels the world and makes a fool of himself, like visiting the DMZ with Steven Yeun. The Cuban rum episode was fun too.
We’ve got a lot of big blockbusters heading our way this year, including next month’s Avengers Endgame, as well as The Lion King, Star Wars Episode IX, and Dark Phoenix. But what have I watched lately?
- Captain Marvel: Admittedly, I’m nowhere near any sort of expert on the comic books. At the same time, I’m game for almost any film that’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point. Captain Marvel really does live up to the hype with plenty of satisfying action, great comedic chemistry between Brie Larson (Carol Danvers) and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), and enough of a dramatic punch to keep the story moving along. And it was my first D-BOX movie to boot!
- Eighth Grade: Today’s middle schools and high schools are riddled with all sorts of challenges we never had to face as teenagers. They also have many of the same challenges, like the fervent desire to “fit in” and “make friends.” This film perfectly captures the erratic time in a young person’s life in a sometimes uncomfortable way. There’s one scene where the protagonist is pacing back and forth while on a car, and it really captures the frenetic nervous energy of the moment.
- Cinema Paradiso: I only learned of this 1988 Italian drama because of The Good Place podcast of all places. A young boy befriends the projectionist at the local cinema, and we learn so much from this love letter to the world of motion pictures. Beautifully shot.
As you might already know, I’m making a conscious effort to read more this year (as I did last year too). The goal is to finish about two books a month and I’m roughly on pace so far. It’s been mostly non-fiction so far, so I’ll probably want to switch it up soon.
- The Existentialist’s Survival Guide by Gordon Marino: On some level, I was hoping that this book would be more prescriptive in nature. How can I survive with my existential angst? Instead, it’s more exploratory and explanatory, outlining key points in the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. It’s like going back to school in the most wonderful kind of way.
- The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain: To be fair, I just picked this one up from the library and haven’t started reading it yet. Given my experience with Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw, I have every confidence that I’ll thoroughly enjoy this book too. Tony Bourdain was an incredible storyteller.
- Black Sheep by Rory Scholl: I featured this book in this week’s Sunday Snippet, in case you missed it. Who said all grandmas couldn’t be troublemakers too?
So, what are you watching or reading these days? Any big recommendations you think I should check out?
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