A Terminator, A Batman, A Spider-Man and a Doctor Who…oh yes it’s #SetTheVCR. And this week it all starts with…a Knock at the Cabin.
Monday, June 05
Approaching the story from three different timelines surrounding Y2K, the season twists and turns as it tracks the early friendship between Megan, Isabella and Megan’s best friend Luke, the love triangle that blossomed, and the mystery that would impact all of their lives going forward. Programming Note: A two-episode premiere tonight.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: KNOCK AT THE CABIN (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO-CANADA)
M. Night’s latest.
Knock knock? Who’s there? It’s four armed strangers who demand a family vacationing at a remote cabin make a disturbing choice. This is M. Night Shyamalan so things are gonna get twisted. This is the second movie in a row Night has adapted a book. Old was based on Sandcastle a graphic novel by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters. While Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World supplies the story this time. It’s an interesting mini-trend for a good screen writer. Bonus TV fun? On March 17, 2023 the 40th and final episode of Night’s Apple TV+ show Servant was broadcast. I’ve yet to watch an episode. I’ll probably Knock this movie down first.
Tuesday, June 06
Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story (Anytime / Screambox)
From his iconic role as Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street films to getting behind the camera with 976-EVIL, Screambox is celebrating the renowned career of horror legend Robert Englund. (Bonus Horror Fun? Check out Pennywise: The Story of IT another Screambox Original.)
SAMMY SUGGESTION: 30 FOR 30: THE LUCKIEST GUY IN THE WORLD (8 P.M. / ESPN)
Directed by Steve James, the four-part series tells the colorful story of a true sports original: iconic basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton.
If you don’t know who he is; I dunno how to explain Bill Walton to you. Yes he’s a popular NBA player: first overall pick in the 1974 draft. In 1978 he was the league’s MVP and won a championship with the Portland Trail Blazers. Look you can Google those stats or YouTube highlights of his game. But to give you a sense of how his NBA documentary differs from other ones I recommend in this space…Grateful Dead band member Bobby Weir shares how his friendship with the band’s tallest fan formed. There’s not many 30 for 30s where the Grateful Dead randomly show up. Programming Note: 8pm is Part 1, Part 2 is 9 pm both on ESPN. Parts 3 and 4 air next week on June 13 at ESPN same times.
Wednesday, June 07
Set more than a decade after the events of the first movie; this sequel launches the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure. Whatever; watch Arnold instead.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: ARNOLD (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
This intimate docuseries follows Arnold Schwarzenegger’s multifaceted life and career, from bodybuilding champ to Hollywood icon to politician.
In May we got Last Dance style docs on Michael J. Fox, Donna Summer and Mary Tyler Moore. June kicks off with this three-part docuseries about Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m “pumped” for this. It follows young Arnold leaving the countryside of Austria to become a successful Terminator and eventually governor of California. Arnold is a professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman and politician. It’s one of the reasons why he has unversial appeal: he’s something to everyone. (The Rock follows the same template though his movies are way less successful and often don’t move culture.) If you somehow need more enticement to check this out it’s directed by Lesley Chilcott (An Inconvenient Truth) and executive produced by Allen Hughes (The Defiant Ones). This is amazing, I’ll be “sticking around” for all 3 parts.
Thursday, June 08
Based on a True Story: Season 1 (Anytime / Peacock)
A dark comedic thriller, the series is about a realtor, a former tennis star and a plumber who seize a unique opportunity to capitalize on America’s obsession with true crime. Programming Note: This is a binge release: all 8 episodes premiere today.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: DROP THE NEEDLE (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO-CANADA)
In August 1990, a record store opened on Yonge St. that quickly began serving the needs of college radio and DJs who spun new sounds far from the mainstream.
This literally documents that long ago downtown Toronto vibrancy and third world energy: check out Drop The Needle a Play De Record documentary. A record shop Play De Record was located at 357A Yonge St. right at Yonge-Dundas our Canadian Times Square. Bright Lights, eh? Founded by a Trinidadian immigrant Eugene Tam (dude in the video thumbnail below) who all through the 90s made sure Play De Record was stocked with hidden gems as well as the latest and most notably the freshest in hip hop, drum and bass, house, techno, funk, Latin, electronic, jazz, soul and other underground dance genres. Play De Record was a vinyl church and the congregation gathered weekly typically on Thursdays to receive the sonic sacraments. There’s a powerful moment in director Rob Freeman’s Drop the Needle documentary where he asked Eugene are you aware you created an institution? Eugene seemed surprised by the question; yet for the creative individuals featured in the documentary: Jason Palma, Russell Peters, Maestro Fresh Wes, Mastermind, Kardinal Offishall, Skratch Bastid and lots of DJs they’re not surprised. Their love for Play De Record is present tense: it was a community and a connection which is what the best DJs effectively create when they play. The dance floor is all about community and connection orchestrated by the DJ. So if you have experienced Yonge Street-Play De Record you should see Rob Freeman’s documentary. More than nostalgia, this is hope.
Friday, June 09
NBA Finals 2023 – Game 4 (8 p.m. / ABC)
To believe in Miami is one thing; to expect them to beat Denver 4 times (well 3 now!)…is a lot. Is this David vs Goliath (which is how everybody sees it.)? Or is this Goliath vs Goliath?
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE CROWDED ROOM: LIMITED SERIES (ANYTIME / APPLE TV+)
In Manhattan in the summer of 1979, a young man is arrested for a shocking crime, and an unlikely investigator must solve the mystery behind it before the true criminal strikes again.
Well since Fincher is not giving us another Mindhunter season anytime soon…The Crowded Room will hafta tide us over. Welcome to New York City in 1979. That explains why Tom Holland has a Dog Day Afternoon haircut. Holland plays Danny Sullivan who was arrested for his involvement in a shooting. Through a series of interviews with a police interrogator he slowly reveals his mysterious past and all that led him to the fateful incident. Behold the strange web of our lives. Think maybe he’s Keyser Söze? Oh wait…wrong reference. 10 episodes seems long for an interrogation sprinkled with flashbacks but here we are. Perhaps the cops are seeming what sticks…to Tom Holland? (Lousy Spider-Man reference; not my best work at all.) Programming Note: Debuts with the first 3 episodes today; then goes to a weekly release schedule.
Saturday, June 10
I may see BlackBerry; I so enjoyed Air and I’m 100% IN for Oppenheimer. 2023 has given us biopics about a mobile phone, Nike shoes and a bomb. And to that list add…a biopic on Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Yeah I dunno if I can sit through that. Solid chips, though.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (ANYTIME / NETFLIX CANADA)
This special animated series conveys the dark mood of the original and best Batman comic books. Unlike the corny light action of the 60s “Batman” show. This is a special presentation of Gotham City’s Caped Crusader.
Nerds everywhere celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series this past September. Batman has been killing it for decades now; yo…Superman when are you gonna pull your weight?? This animated TV show is so good. Present tense. Better than any of the current animation junk on TV or at the movies. I recommend Almost Got ‘Im and Heart of Ice both episodes were instant Batman classics. This is some of the best Batman you can spend time with. In 2021 it was reported a Batman animated series from JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves was coming to HBO Max. Not sure of the status of that but enjoy this classic. Programming Note: Netflix Canada has also added 2 seasons of Harley Quinn an adult animated black comedy from 2019 and Justice League a Batman follow up that debuted in 2001.
Sunday, June 11
Baby Driver (Anytime / Prime Video-Canada & Netflix-Canada)
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: DOCTOR WHO I AM (ANYTIME / HOOPLA)
Screenwriter Matthew Jacobs, who wrote Doctor Who: The Movie, plunges among fans of the sci-fi series to find out what makes Time Lord diehards tick.
Matthew Jacobs wrote the script for 1996’s Doctor Who: The Movie. Which remains mostly hated by Whovians aka Doctor Who fans. (Star Trek has Trekkies; My Little Pony Bronies…same concept.) In The Movie The Doctor (Paul McGann) reveals that he’s half-human and at one point snogs his companion Grace. Sigh. One of the best aspects of being a fan is you protect and enjoy the mythology of long-running characters. If Bruce Wayne suddenly shows up to Sunday dinner with his parents there should naturally be nerd-outrage. The problem with being a fan is sometimes creators such as Matthew Jacobs will deviate from the mythology. (Worse…these weren’t creative decisions; some of this was sparked because it would appeal to US television executives. Come on man; that’s even worse) If you ain’t great you earn hate. In this documentary Philip Segal the executive producer of the hate movie shares his dark experiences with fans at conventions. I kinda agree with them and their hate. It’s difficult to protect the things you love but that you don’t own. So here we are. This is the nipples Batman suit moment for Doctor Who.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.