Good Grief it’s a new year and a fresh #SetTheVCR loaded with familiar classics and soon to be classics? Well you decide after you check out these Sammy Suggestions and TV recommendations.
Tuesday, January 02
Saltburn (Anytime / Prime Video)
Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, student Oliver Quick finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton, who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family’s sprawling estate, for a summer never to be forgotten.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: SCHOOL OF ROCK (ANYTIME / NETFLIX-US)
After being kicked out of his rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of an uptight elementary private school, only to try and turn his class into a rock band.
The legendary movie School of Rock just hit its 20th anniversary milestone. Oh, yo. For the five people who have never seen this charming movie, Jack Black is a down and out rock and roller. He’s been fired from his band for going too hard. It seems The Man has gotten him down. It seems The Man doesn’t want him to achieve his dreams. He subsequently poses as a substitute teacher aka Mr. S at a prestigious prep school. After witnessing the musical talents of the kids in his class; he understands The Man can’t keep him down forever. So he unleashes a rock n roll curriculum for these young kids. And now he’s assembled one of the most unusual rock bands you’ve ever seen. This is in a universe where KISS exists. If all goes well they’ll win the upcoming Battle of the Bands and Jack Black can use his winnings to pay his rent. Fresh! And The Man can no longer have a hold on his life. He can graduate from the School of Hard Knocks to the School of Rock!
Wednesday, January 03
This three-part docuseries explores the lives and legacy of the famous Kardashian family. Focusing on Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and Kylie Jenner, the series reveals first hand accounts from those close to the family and within it, including Caitlynn Jenner. If your goal is to become rich and famous and do hardly any work…perhaps this is your 2024 template.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE EQUALIZER 3 (ANYTIME / NETFLIX-US)
This time we’re in Italy where a small coastal town is threatened by the local mafia.
This line from the description: “As events turn deadly, Robert McCall knows what he has to do: become his friends’ protector by taking on the mafia.” That’s the money right there. This is the third Equalizer so all things being equal you know the routine by now: you can set your watch to the ruckus. Programming Note: This’ll be broadcast on Crave on January 20th.
Thursday, January 04
Sanctuary: A Witch’s Tale is a seven-part drama set in a contemporary world where witchcraft is real. It takes place in the idyllic English town of Sanctuary, where for hundreds of years witches have lived peacefully, as valued members of society. Until now…
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE POWER OF FILM (8 P.M. / TCM)
Hosted and curated by renowned UCLA professor emeritus, founding chair of UCLA’s Film and Television Producers Program, and one of the founders of the UCLA Film Archive, Howard Suber, each 40-minute episode dives deep into the art of storytelling by examining the defining principles and inner workings of beloved films.
In 2024 I’m advocating for more media literacy. Fools be accepting “news” from TikTok and how is that any different than listening to Alex Jones? TCM is the ideal home for The Power of Film which seeks a deep understanding of cinema. Oh, yo: let’s go! This first episode asks a fascinating question. Here’s the description: “A large proportion of the most commercially successful American films are quickly forgotten. A tiny fraction, however, are truly memorable, lasting from one generation to another. Using iconic scenes from many of these classic films, this series explores films that were both popular and memorable. In this episode, Howard Suber asks why this small minority continues to have such power.” Huh. I also believe there’s a massive gap between being popular and being relevant. It’s easy to be popular; so difficult to be relevant. (But every so often both happens…a movie or an artist is popular and relevant.) So behold…this is the Power of Film!
Friday, January 05
The Brothers Sun: Season 1 (Anytime / Netflix)
When the head of a powerful Taiwanese triad is shot by a mysterious assassin, his eldest son, Charles heads to Los Angeles to protect his mother, Eileen, and his naive younger brother, Bruce – who’s been completely sheltered from the truth of his family until now.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: GOOD GRIEF (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
An artist grieving the loss of his famous writer husband takes his two best friends on a trip to Paris, where they unpack messy secrets and hard truths.
Well hopefully this Dan Levy movie is better than the Jim Parsons tripe Spoiler Alert (which also neatly slots into the dying of cancer movie genre.). Though Good Grief that title is Charlie Brown distracting. Hopefully Dan doesn’t hafta kick a football in this movie. Dan plays Marc who suddenly finds himself widowed. Marc’s world shatters, sending him and his two best friends, Sophie and Thomas , on a soul-searching trip to Paris that reveals some hard truths they each needed to face. Dan Levy takes a break from comedy for this dramedy. Hopefully you won’t give him Grief for following the Adam Sandler template.
Saturday, January 06
Tricky Dick (Anytime / HBO Max)
Tricky Dick is a four-part CNN Original Series, produced by Left/Right, that explores Richard Nixon’s life and times; tracking his rise, fall, incredible comeback and political destruction. From his early political career in California, to the game-changing Kennedy-Nixon debates through his disgraceful Watergate exit, this fully archive-based series will feature never-before-seen footage and offer viewers fresh insight into an unbelievable story.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: FOOL ME ONCE: LIMITED SERIES (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
When ex-soldier Maya sees her murdered husband on a secret nanny cam, she uncovers a deadly conspiracy that stretches deep into the past.
If you’re a fan of Harlen Coben novels the last few years have been excellent for you. Starting with Safe in 2018 seven of his works have been adapted into a Netflix limited series or movie. The eighth adaptation will be one of the first new titles Netflix offers viewers in 2024. This latest thriller is about a widowed mother who enters an investigation after capturing her late husband on a nanny cam. Shortly after her husband has been shot and killed he suddenly appears on the nanny cam. As she asks in the trailer: “How can a dead man appear on a secret camera?” That’s Harlen Coben and we’re off! Fool Me Once; okay…Fool Me eight times…that’s Netflix.
Sunday, January 07
Satan Wants You (9 p.m. / CBC)
The story of how a young woman and her psychiatrist ignited the global Satanic Panic with their book, Michelle Remembers. Programming Note: Hail Satan? is on HBO Max as well if you wanna a devilish-double-bill.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: OFF SCRIPT WITH THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (8:00 A.M. / SUNDANCE TV)
Hosted by Yvonne Orji, each episode showcases a dynamic ensemble of actresses, actors, directors, songwriters and producers and delves deep into the urgent issues, creative methodologies and behind-the-scenes narratives that define the industry.
Dinner for Five…without Dinner. This is the 4th episode of the series that started on December 31st. This episode is Actor and it features: Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Jeffrey Wright, Colman Domingo, Paul Giamatti and Andrew Scott. Good group right there! And diverse body of work so their experiences are all unique. Should prove to be an illuminating conversation. Programming Note: this series is available to stream on AMC+ on Monday, March 4. I know you won’t remember.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.