Wednesday, December 1, 2021

TV Snide: November 2021

TV show of the month: Squid Games (Netflix): This is a classic show. It has it all: humor, drama, deep character story points, and a good bit of bloodshed. But it really is an epic story of a chauffeur who falls hard on his luck and faces the ultimate tests of his bodily and emotional strength. It is so ultimately watchable that I put it amongst the greats Mad Men, Lost, and Breaking Bad. 5 out of 5 stars

Novel of the month: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I can’t get enough of this author, and even though I’ve now devoured her three latest novels, luckily I still have her first four to go. I’m not sure which is my favorite, but this one is a heartbreaking tale of the many many forms true love can take, following film legend Hugo through her career and marriages and the deep dark secrets she reveals only at the very end, through the eyes of a young journalist whom she trusts. 5 out of 5 stars

Graphic novel of the month: Saga Vols. 1-2: This is a rollicking space opera with two forbidden lovers, a ram-looking man and a winged woman, battling for survival against a parade of wildly imaginative bad guys. It’s like way better superheroes and villians, but not appropriate for kids. 4.5 out of 5 stars

Movie of the month: On the Basis of Sex (Sling TV/Showtime): Felicity Jones is stunningly great in this telling of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s historic win of a tax case aimed to stop the discrimination of a man, oddly enough, from caregiving duties to his mother. Her efforts to work at a law firm, any law firm, are detailed along the way with the full support of her husband, played by the exceedingly handsome (before accusations of abusive behavior surfaced) Armie Hammer. A very emotional and underrated rollercoaster ride. 5 out of 5 stars

King Richard (HBO Max): The story of Venus and Serena Williams is about as inspiring as any story could be. This is partially their story but it’s mainly their dad’s, played perfectly by Will Smith. This was a role he was meant to play and he would deserve best actor if he gets it in a few months. I love tennis with all my heart, but even if I didn’t, I don’t see how this couldn’t be a great flick, with rags in Compton to riches across the world. 4.5 out of 5 stars

1917 (Sling TV/Showtime): This movie would probably be a 20-page story in writing, but the slow-mission to get word to the British front, past German dangers all along the way, through the eyes of a couple of regular soldiers, really puts the viewer into World War I. It’s a spellbinding Oscar nominee. 4.5 out of 5 stars

2021 Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame (HBO Max): There are some epic performances that are great to see at least on TV in another year with extremely limited live music options. Foo Fighters inducted by Paul McCartney (and performing "Get Back" together) is the undeniably highlight, but the Go-Gos induction by Drew Barrymore and performance is incredible. Carol Kane (and Taylor Swift's accompanying performance) and LL Cool J's performances and inductions are well worth seeing. Todd Rungren's shunning of the Hall (despite still being inducted) is also pretty hilarious and awkward. 4 out of 5 stars

Val (Amazon Prime): If Renaissance man Val Kilmer had never done anything but play Jim Morrison in The Doors, he’d still be one of my favorite actors. Throw in Top Gun and his Mark Twain work and it puts a cherry on top. He’s a weird guy who has now lost most of his ability to speak, so it’s a sad and weird documentary, but well worth watching if you’re intrigued by Val. 4 out of 5 stars

Children of the Corn (Sling TV): Always one of my favorite horror films, its religious creepiness stands the test of time even if it’s very-80s-ness makes it hardly scary. The music, as in the best horror flicks of the decade, helps make it scarier. And Malachi and Isaac are unforgettable and iconic movie bad kids. 4 out of 5 stars

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This is a strange romantic story of a girl from Mexico City going to a mining ghost town mansion to retrieve an acquaintance who has married and begun to act strangely. The family she married into is indeed strange. Very strange. And dangerous enough that the two girls may never make it back to Mexico City, or even ever out of the mushroomy, moldy dankness of the mansion. 3.5 out of 5 stars

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