So ah… most of what I suggest this week are documentaries. Except for Annabelle Comes Home. I really hope that is not a documentary.
Sunday, February 16
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (8 p.m. / AMC)
Slow Burn: Season 1 (10 p.m. / Epix)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Season 7 (11 p.m. / HBO)
Sammy Suggestion: War of the Worlds: Season 1 (9 p.m. / Epix)
I want to see War of the Worlds!! First let’s clear up some confusion. THE War Of The Worlds is the 2019 BBC production (a faithful time period book adaptation with the Black Mirror actor) while…War Of The Worlds is the Fox/StudioCanal 2019 adaptation. (JT Is Right: Drop the “The” it’s cleaner.) This is the modern day Gabriel Byrne War Of The Worlds from 2019 (released back in October in France and in Africa. It is now coming to America today but will not air in Canada. As if all that wasn’t confusing and rude it’ll air in the UK on March 5, 2020. Yeah, so when people insist they can’t stand spoilers…stay offline). Season 1 is 8 episodes set in today’s Europe…it begins of course when humans receive a transmission from another galaxy and the countdown clock to humanity’s demise begins! If you do not have access to this read the spectacular book: H.G. Wells is a sci-fi GOAT. So annoyed: get your streaming plan together people!
Monday, February 17
Sammy Suggestion: California Typewriter (Anytime / Crave)
What do Tom Hanks and John Mayer have in common? Typewriters! This is a fascinating documentary; I saw it in 2018 and trust me it’s just your type. This isn’t get off my lawn! anger and this isn’t the good ol days were better nostalgia. This is a recognition of how creativity has evolved: to type is to work slowly, methodically even think things through. This is a solid doc and if you like old-timey contraptions and creativity check it out. (Bonus Sammy Story: I interviewed director Doug Nichol at a type-in. A gathering of people and their typewriters: think comic book convention but substitute comics for typewriters. After I finished the interview I sat down at this table of typewriters…I haven’t used one in like…10 years maybe? It is not like a bicycle it doesn’t just come back. I struggled mightily.)
Tuesday, February 18
Sammy Suggestion: Frontline: Amazon Empire: The Rise & Reign of Jeff Bezos (8pm / PBS)
Amazon and Jeff Bezos is one of those complicated concerns that all too often is reduced to a predictable, reactionary and often uninformed stance. Like a relationship status on Facebook, it’s complicated. AWS (Amazon Web Services) powers Facebook, BBC, ESPN and Netflix. A lot of the companies we dig are tethered to Amazon. Here at #SetTheVCR, we’ve also recommended some excellent Prime tv shows here including The Man In The High Castle. Prime is a burgeoning industry that contributes and creates jobs connected to a larger also problematic Hollywood machine. So yeah I dunno. I’m hoping this Frontline documentary can better frame the discussion so we get a nuanced grasp of what the issues truly are and where we go from here. If Amazon and Bezos interests you do follow up by reading The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone (a 2013 book) and Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race by Tim Fernholz (a 2018 book on the billionaire space race).
Wednesday, February 19
Sammy Suggestion: Bluebird (8pm / CMT)
If you go to Nashville―and I have been twice!!―there’s a number of musical tourist attractions you must visit or else your trip doesn’t count. One is of course: Third Man Records Jack White’s clubhouse and the other is The Bluebird Cafe. It is small and cramped, I don’t think it offers more than 100 seats but good gravy the musical history that echoes off those walls. Everybody has performed there. Like for real: EVERYBODY. Google it. Remember that acoustic section of the Elvis 68 Comeback Special? Where he sat on an intimate stage surrounded by a stripped-down band and a ring of adoring female fans? THAT is what it is like to see bands play at Bluebird. It’s unfortunate this doc clutters up its rich history with Taylor Swift but I get the doc economics of wanting people to see this. So we’ll take the hit for the team. (Is this the first time CMT has made a #SetTheVCR appearance?)
Thursday, February 20
Sammy Suggestion: The Conjuring Universe (Anytime / Many Channels)
3 seems to be my limit in understanding all the players and relationships connected to an expanding universe. In my head I got Marvel, DC and Fast and Furious. So it’s no surprise that the My Little Pony universe confuses me. I don’t have the mental capacity to absorb another universe. Another universe that deeply confuses me? The Conjuring Universe by James Wan. I dunno which movies I’ve seen in what order; which characters are connected (Are Insidious movies connected to all this?!) I give up. I’m so tired. Why am I bringing this up? Because on Saturday Annabelle Comes Home screens on HBO. While I do wanna see it; I also wanna understand it. So tonight I am gonna sit down and figure out this whole Conjuring Universe and see if I can conjure up some understanding in time for Saturday. Pray for Mojo!
Friday, February 21
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7 (Anytime / Disney+)
The Last Thing He Wanted (Anytime / Netflix)
Sammy Suggestion: Hunters (Anytime / Amazon Prime)
Joker was set in 1981 New York City, before that The Deuce jumped around the 70s and 80 and now Hunters takes viewers to 1977 New York City. I’m curious why we’ve lately returned to DeNiro Taxi Driver NYC. Similar to Spielberg’s Munich, Hunters are violently and wholly dedicated to eradicating Nazis attempting to set up a Fourth Reich in the U.S. It sounds cool but then it’s weird Al Pacino is hunting Nazis. I miss Al Pacino from Heat. Now that guy can hunt Nazis.
Saturday, February 22
Sammy Suggestion: Annabelle Comes Home (9pm / HBO)
See my Thursday post. I dunno what’s happening here: I am more exhausted than frightened. If you watch this and can explain its connection to mystifying Conjuring Universe but like explain it like I’m a Grade 1 student then please do so.