Time to wrap up the horror of Halloween and embrace the…horror of the holidays? Eh sure. It’s #SetTheVCR.
Monday, October 30
Five Nights At Freddy’s (Anytime / Peacock)
A troubled security guard begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. During his first night on the job, he realizes that the night shift won’t be so easy to get through. Pretty soon he will unveil what actually happened at Freddy’s.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: IF YOU WERE THE LAST (ANYTIME / PEACOCK)
Adrift in their broken-down space shuttle with little hope of rescue, two astronauts argue over whether they’re better off spending their remaining days as friends or something more.
A rom-com that is out of this world! “Adam and Jane are three years into a NASA mission that has gone very wrong: their ship is broken and drifting between Jupiter and Saturn.” So now it’s up to platonic shipmates to debate why they should, and shouldn’t settle. Tinder is way easier when you only have 1 choice right? So will they or won’t they…be rescued? Or sleep together. Or fall in love. At long last here is the sexual tension Gilligan’s Island failed to deliver.
Tuesday, October 31
World Series Game 4 (7 pm / Fox)
Major League Baseball’s 119th World Series continues between the Arizona Diamondbacks vs Texas Rangers.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE (ANYTIME / NETFLIX-US)
Miles Morales catapults across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. When the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles must redefine what it means to be a hero.
You know how the song goes by now: Miles Morales/Does whatever a spider can/Spins a web, any size/Here comes a Spider-Man. While it’s still dumb on Marvel’s part to have two characters named Spider-Man (they have 2 Captain Americas and 2 Wolverines…so dumb) these movies are goofy fun. So enjoy friendly-neighborhood-Multiverse Spider-Man.
Wednesday, November 01
The Nightmare Before Christmas: 30th Anniversary (Anytime / Disney+ America)
Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: ELF (ANYTIME / CRAVE)
Raised as an oversized elf, Buddy travels from the North Pole to New York City to meet his biological father, Walter Hobbs, who doesn’t know he exists and is in desperate need of some Christmas spirit. A Christmas Classic.
Look, I get it. Halloween is past tense and the horror movies are fading away. It’s November 1st and the Christmas movies are coming. In October if you saw red it was joyfully spilled blood. Now the red means something different for the joyful holiday season. While the Christmas movies are coming it doesn’t you hafta sit through the ones that suck. Elf is a Will Ferrell classic. I’ll do my best with #SetTheVCR to keep the Christmas movies at bay. Programming Note: Violent Night will be on Crave on November 10. That counts yes?
Thursday, November 02
All the Light We Cannot See: Limited Series (Anytime / Netflix)
The story of Marie-Laure, a blind French teenager, and Werner, a German soldier, whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE TIMES OF BILL CUNNINGHAM (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO-CANADA)
A documentary about legendary NYTimes photographer Bill Cunningham.
Bill Cunningham, was a street photographer best known for his extensive work in fashion, such as On the Street and Evening Hours for the New York Times. (He passed away in 2016, at the age of 87.) This charming documentary starts with Bill’s work designing hats. Yes hats…impressive cocktail hats for Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, Rebekah Harkness, and future First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier. His eye for fashion naturally lead to publishing pictures in the New York Times in December 1978, which soon became the regular series On the Street. This was Humans of New York before Humans of New York. New York City is notable for its contributions to punk and music in general, film of course, hip hop is celebrating 50 years thanks to a party in the Bronx. And yet to that impressive list add street photography: Bill was one of the best to do it. His trademarks included his blue vest and his bicycle. The documentary reveals a boyish Bill Cunningham delighted and curious by style and the vibe of the city. This is a Bill Cunningham documentary but it’s also about what New York City used to be, our fashions and the NYTimes in simpler times. Docs like this will never go out of style.
Friday, November 03
2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (8 p.m. / Disney+)
The 38th annual Ceremony honors this year’s inductees: Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine and The Spinners, along with DJ Kool Herc and Link Wray for Musical Influence, and Chaka Khan, Al Kooper, Bernie Taupin for Musical Excellence, as well as Don Cornelius for the Ahmet Ertegun Award.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: SLY (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
For nearly 50 years Sylvester Stallone has entertained millions with iconic characters and blockbuster franchises, from Rocky to Rambo to The Expendables. This retrospective documentary offers an intimate look at the Oscar-nominated actor-writer-director-producer, paralleling his inspirational underdog-story with the indelible characters he has brought to life.
In May we got Last Dance style docs on Michael J. Fox, Donna Summer and Mary Tyler Moore. June gifted us with a three-part docuseries about Arnold Schwarzenegger. And now in November we get Sly a documentary about…of course Sylvester Stallone. Man…we’re all getting older and we’re all looking back. But it’s more than that. Did you see Thom Zimny’s previous Western Stars a Bruce Springsteen documentary? This mirrors that; it’s an emotional check in with Sylvester Stallone. The thing with Sylvester Stallone—Arnold deals with this as well—is he’s a cultural touchstone. Like Mat Damon is a popular actor. But he doesn’t shift the culture, inject fresh phrases into the culture…basically Damon doesn’t really truly create culture. Most actors don’t or if they do…it’s limited. Stallone gave us Rockys…that theme song, Mr. T, overcoming the odds…jogging through Philadelphia. Everybody races up the Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps. That’s what I mean by creates culture. It’s a “Sly” contribution that transcends just being a movie star. Stallone is busy making Expendables but here he pauses and reflects if he is truly an Expendable.
Saturday, November 04
Asteroid City (Anytime / Prime Video-Canada)
Following a writer on his world famous fictional play about a grieving father who travels with his tech-obsessed family to small rural Asteroid City to compete in a junior stargazing event, only to have his world view disrupted forever. Today Canadians can visit Asteroid City; should still be Peacock for Americans.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: QUIZ LADY (ANYTIME / HULU & DISNEY+ CANADA)
Anne and her estranged train-wreck of a sister, Jenny, must work together to help cover their mother’s gambling debts. When Anne’s beloved dog is kidnapped, they set out on a wild cross-country trek to get the cash.
Will Ferrell’s latest movie instantly sparks flashbacks to his hilarious SNL work as Alex Trebek the long-suffering host of Jeopardy! (I miss Norm Macdonald!) So just for Will…yes I’d see Quiz Lady. The longline reads: “The brilliant but tightly wound, gameshow-obsessed young woman, Anne, and her estranged, train-wreck of a sister, Jenny, must work together to help cover their mother’s gambling debts. When Anne’s beloved dog is kidnapped, they set out on a wild, cross-country trek to get the cash the only way they know how: by turning Anne into a bona fide gameshow champion.” I don’t mind these types of goofy movies on streamers. It’s difficult to articulate what makes a theatrical comedy but generally you need a big story…something like Tropic Thunder or Spaceballs. Simple movies like Quiz Lady, Vacation Friends is another recent streaming movie…send em right to streamer, bypass the cinema and we’re all good.
Sunday, November 05
Invincible: Season 2 (Anytime / Prime Video)
Based on the groundbreaking comic book by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley, the story revolves around 18-year-old Mark Grayson, who’s just like every other guy his age—except his father is (or was) the most powerful superhero on the planet. Still reeling from Nolan’s betrayal in Season One, Mark struggles to rebuild his life as he faces a host of new threats, all while battling his greatest fear – that he might become his father without even knowing it.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XXXIV (8 P.M. / FOX)
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes all encompass a closed three-episode arc for the family. As these stories all have horror or supernatural elements attached to them, Treehouse of Horror typically takes place outside the show’s continuity.
A fine Halloween tradition…although, it’s after Halloween? Well, why not? This season’s horrors start when Bart is turned into an NFT. Marge fights through the blockchain to rescue her son. Then to track down a gruesome serial killer, Lisa turns to a murderer from her past. Oh…Sideshow Bob maybe? Either way the Lisa story is a spoof of the 1991 movie The Silence of the Lambs. (They haven’t done that yet?) Programming Note: You can watch all previous Treehouse of Horror episodes on Disney+ and they’re (mostly) outstanding.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.