We got action, we got basketball and we even got romance. Face it true believers this week’s #SetTheVCR is a big one!
Monday, May 10
The Crime of the Century (9/8c PM / HBO)
A searing indictment of Big Pharma and the political operatives and government regulations that enable over-production, reckless distribution and abuse of synthetic opiates.
Sammy Suggestion: Predestination (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))
For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.
Ethan Hawke is the king of quirk: he makes this small movies with unusual concepts stuff like: The Purge, Daybreakers, Sinister and Predestination. “A member of an elite group of time-traveling agents who stop crime before it happens must prevent a horrific terror attack in New York City.” It all sounds straightforward fun right? And telling you that many lines of dialogue in the film are faithfully copied from Robert A. Heinlein’s source story All You Zombies makes it even cooler. But what truly sells this movie is the quirk: the end is such a jaw dropping twist: you gotta get to the end of this movie. If the twist ending of The Sixth Sense is like a fun roller coaster track; Predestination’s twist is a full out pretzel with lots of salt. Yo. That ending. You’re welcome.
Tuesday, May 11
The Battle for Britney: Fans, Cash and a Conservatorship (Anytime / BBC Select)
The Battle for Britney: Fans, Cash and a Conservatorship Bafta-winning journalist Mobeen Azhar seeks to uncover the truth behind the conservatorship that Britney Spears has been under for the last 13 years.
Sammy Suggestion: Rambo Trilogy (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))
A veteran Green Beret is forced by a cruel Sheriff and his deputies to flee into the mountains and wage an escalating one-man war against his pursuers.
I haven’t watched Rambo: First Blood in years. The surprise success spawned a film franchise (1 through 3 is on Netflix…that’s all that really matters: 4 and 5 can safely be ignored), an animated television series (yes!) and a series of comic books, novels, video games, as well as a Bollywood remake. Ah long live the Bollywood remake as a sign of cultural status. As well First Blood literally lived up to its titled: it was the first Hollywood blockbuster to be released in China. Marvel Studios should write a love letter to Rambo. So this a rare opportunity to revisit these classics brimming with Vietnam War veterans, the grisly affects of Agent Orange, abusive law enforcement…many themes and issues these action movies addressed has (sadly so) remained relevant.
Wednesday, May 12
Oxygen (Anytime / Netflix)
A woman who wakes in a cryogenic chamber with no recollection of how she got there, must find a way out before running out of air.
Sammy Suggestion: Expendables Trilogy (Anytime / Tubi)
The Expendables is an American ensemble action thriller franchise spanning a film series.
Following Rambo I’m happy to share you can go full circle in the action movie genre with The Expendables Trilogy. Stallone, Jet Li, Willis, Steve Austin, Schwarzenegger, Lundgren: they even tossed in Eric Roberts for B-Movie cheese credibility. And that’s just the first movie. This was all 2010: after years of individual movies and various franchises, huge hits and impressive body counts…endlessly iconic characters these “super heroes” were all assembled. While not a shared universe this was cinematic proof the recently launched MCU could indeed work. (By 2010 they only had 2 Iron Man movies and 1 Hulk movie! Avengers was still 2 years away.) We’ve seen so much it’s astonishing.
Thursday, May 13
Intergalactic (Anytime / Peacock)
The popular Sky One sci-fi show comes to America via Peacock. It follows a crew of fierce female convicts who break free and go on the run.
Castlevania: Season 4 (Anytime / Netflix)
A vampire hunter fights to save a besieged city from an army of otherworldly creatures controlled by Dracula.
Sammy Suggestion: 144 (9/8c PM / ESPN)
Inside the Making of 144, ESPN’s Documentary About the WNBA Bubble.
In 2020 when the NBA shut down on March 11 it set off a sports chain reaction: by March 12 and 13: the NHL and the NBA G League also suspended their seasons. However the WNBA’s season which typically starts in April was suddenly in doubt. As the league grappled with a pandemic and how to salvage their seasons a radical idea emerged. The 2020 NBA Bubble was a $190 million investment by the NBA to protect its 2019–20 season. In addition the NBA “bubble wrapped” the WNBA thus protecting their season. So such a unique social and sports experiment is a fantastic introduction for the WNBA’s first ever documentary to begin their film legacy: 144 players across 12 teams played 147 games from July to October 2020. The NBA only had to finish a regular season and conduct playoffs: the WNBA had to pull off an entire season. Whew. I wanna see how they did that!
Friday, May 14
The Woman in the Window (Anytime / Netflix)
An agoraphobic woman living alone in New York begins spying on her new neighbors, only to witness a disturbing act of violence.
The Underground Railroad: Limited Series (Anytime / Prime Video)
A young woman named Cora makes an amazing discovery during her attempt to break free from slavery in the deep south.
Sammy Suggestion: Love, Death & Robots: Volume 2 (Anytime / Netflix)
From wild adventures on far-flung planets to unsettling encounters close to home: The Emmy-winning anthology returns with a crop of provocative tales.
“The NSFW animated anthology returns with a vengeance. Naked giants, Christmas demons, and robots-gone-wild…Consume irresponsibly.” Hah! The Netflix description is correct…I mean what else would you expect from producers such as Fincher and Deadpool director Tim Miller. This eight-episode second season will be followed by an eight-episode third season in 2022. Love, Death & Robots now that’s an excellent weekend right?!
Saturday, May 15
Sammy Suggestion: Class of 2020 Enshrinement Ceremony (Basketball Hall of Fame) (5:30/4:30c PM/ NBA TV)
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the nine honorees in the Class of 2020. The Class of 2020 will be enshrined in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Birthplace of Basketball.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is for all basketball achievements: not just a person’s NBA achievements (though that helps a lot!). Last year was a hard year: losing Kobe, that whole pandemic, a damaged NBA season: it was a lot to deal with. So the 2020 class was rescheduled for this weekend. Notable 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees and Presenters:
Kobe Bryant presented by Michael Jordan; Tim Duncan presented by David Robinson; Kevin Garnett presented by Isiah Thomas; Rudy Tomjanovich presented by Calvin Murphy and Hakeem Olajuwon. Get your Kleenex ready.
Sunday, May 16
The Nevers (9/8c PM / HBO & Crave)
Joss Whedon’s Nevers is described as “a science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.” August, 1896. Victorian London is rocked to its foundations by a supernatural event which gives certain people — mostly women — abnormal abilities, from the wondrous to the disturbing. But no matter their particular “turns,” all who belong to this new underclass are in grave danger.
Sammy Suggestion: An Affair To Remember (Anytime / Disney+ (via Star))
A couple falls in love and agrees to meet in six months at the Empire State Building – but will it happen?
Happily Disney (via Star) has added An Affair To Remember. Utterly fantastic movie…1957: even as a remake (of a 1939 movie). Cary Grant is rugged; Deborah Kerr is stunning. Netflix is out here selling me Kissing Booth 3: yo man nobody makes classics like this anymore. A touch of romance for your Sunday evening.
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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.