#SetTheVCR: May 31 – June 6, 2021

Music, Sports, Women, and War. Looks like June’s gonna be a good one.

Sammy Suggestion: The Shop: Uninterrupted: Season 4 (Anytime / HBO & Crave)

In collaboration with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted, HBO Sports presents unfiltered conversation and debate from the biggest names in sports and entertainment.
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The infrequency of The Shop: Uninterrupted doesn’t make it an event. It makes it irritating because it’s hard to find like good weapons in a role-playing game. The latest episode dubiously entitled as Season 4 quietly dropped on HBO on Friday, May 28. LeBron James and Maverick Carter are joined by Jay-Z, Bad Bunny, Nneka Ogwumike and Paul Rivera. The informal conversations don’t always feel authentic but can veer into short moments of personal reflection: such as Jay suddenly learning to swim because he and B had a child.

Tuesday, June 01

Sammy Suggestion: Mike Tyson: The Knockout: Part 2 (8pm / ABC)

Part 2 of a special four hour documentary series on the life of boxing legend Mike Tyson. MIKE TYSON: THE KNOCKOUT will put viewers ringside for a main event that will chronicle the former champion’s climb, crash and comeback, from his difficult childhood to becoming undisputed world champion to his 1992 rape conviction and his personal struggles. Through the lens of his life’s extreme highs and lows, the two-part primetime event will examine some of the most pressing questions about resilience and reinvention.
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Last week I was excited about my TV recommendation: Mike Tyson: The Knockout. Tonight Part 2 drops covering Tyson’s conviction and prison sentence, his bouts against Evander Holyfield including the ear biting moment and much more as Tyson prepares to rumble with life. I haven’t watched Part 1 yet saving it for Part 2 so I can watch the whole thing. As we saw with The Last Dance that docuseries provided a suitable end-coda for the Bulls’ and Jordan’s 90s work. So does Mike Tyson: The Knockout do the same thing or does Mike Tyson still need a legit Last Dance?

Wednesday, June 02

Kim’s Convenience: Season 5 (Anytime / Netflix)

While running a convenience store in Toronto, members of a Korean-Canadian family deal with customers, each other and the evolving world around them.
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Sammy Suggestion: Songbird (Anytime / Prime Video (Canada))

In the terrifying thriller SONGBIRD, the COVID-23 virus has mutated and the world is in its fourth year of lockdown.
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In Songbird “the COVID-23 virus has mutated and the world is in its fourth year of lockdown.” While this sounds like a documentary about Ontario’s handling of the pandemic it’s really a thriller set in a dystopian landscape. “Nico, a fearless courier who’s immune to the deadly pathogen, finds hope and love with Sara though her lockdown prohibits them from physical contact. When Sara is believed to have become infected, Nico races desperately across the barren streets of Los Angeles in search of the only thing that can save her from imprisonment…or worse.” As we saw with 9/11 a profound experience such as the current pandemic will generate a whole new sub-genre of COVID movies. (Even though broadly we’ve been enjoying virus stories for decades: remember The Stand?) I dig dystopian thrillers so let’s give this a “shot.” See what I did there?

Thursday, June 03

We Are Lady Parts: Season 1 (Anytime / Peacock)

Geeky biochemical engineering Ph.D. student Amina Hussein becomes the unlikely lead guitarist of Lady Parts, an all-female Muslim punk band on a mission to get a proper gig. Saira, the band’s fierce and enigmatic frontwoman, sees something in Amina the others can’t. Saira leverages Amina’s desperation to find a husband and offers to set her up with potential matches if she agrees to join. Torn between her straitlaced university friends and members of Lady Parts, Amina tries to find her voice.
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Sammy Suggestion: Woman In Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA (Anytime / Paramount+)

Nichelle Nichols’ daunting task to launch a national blitz for NASA, recruiting 8,000 of the nation’s best and brightest, including the trailblazing astronauts who became the first African American, Asian and Latino men and women to fly in space.
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We got a documentary bursting with fantastic folks: Neil deGrasse Tyson, George Takei, Pharrell Williams, Martin Luther King III, Walter Koenig, Michael Dorn and Nichelle Nichols. If you recognized a number of Star Trek names in that mix it’s because Woman In Motion is the last doc to focus on Star Trek’s impact on our society and our culture. More than just flip phones and paper transporters (we called them fax machines) “Nichelle Nichols pioneered the NASA recruiting program to hire people of color and the first female astronauts for the space agency in the late 1970s and 1980s.” We’re gonna need a bold NASA if we as in humanity intended to live long and prosper.

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Friday, June 04

The New York Times Presents: Who Gets To Be an Influencer? (10/9c PM / FX & Hulu)

The latest installment chronicles the rise of Collab Crib, one of the first mainstream Black creator mansion, exclusively documenting their whirlwind drive to achieve social media stardom in 90 days.
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Sammy Suggestion: Sweet Tooth (Anytime / Netflix)

On a perilous adventure across a post-apocalyptic world, a lovable boy who’s half-human and half-deer searches for a new beginning with a gruff protector.
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Sweet Tooth is a wonderful comic book series written and drawn by Jeff Lemire. (I said is present tense as the original series ran on the defunct Vertigo imprint (RIP!) from 2009-2013. A sequel, subtitled The Return, began publishing in November 2020. I’ve yet to read The Return however I highly recommend the original 40 issue run: outstanding comics.) Sweet Tooth has now been adapted for Netflix which’ll fully allow us to explore what’s left of America following The Great Crumble. Which was the mysterious emergence of hybrid babies born part human, part animal. You don’t hafta read X-Men comics to know these mutants would be feared and hunted. And so Gus, a “sweet” young latchkey kid with deer-like features, meets drifter Jepperd after the boy’s father passes away. Jepperd promises Gus he will bring him to The Preserve a safe haven for hybrid children such as himself. And the adventures begin. If you’ve ah…got a “Sweet Tooth” for a dystopian thriller tale about Bambi fighting to exist in a Mad Max style world then here ya go: this should satisfy your craving.

Saturday, June 05

Sammy Suggestion: Lisey’s Story (Anytime / Apple TV+)

Based on the novel by Stephen King, this terrifying thriller follows widow Lisey Landon (Julianne Moore) as a series of disturbing events revives memories of her marriage to author Scott Landon (Clive Owen) and the darkness that plagued him.
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J.J. Abrams, the non-union Mexican Spielberg equivalent, has returned to mine Stephen King. Again. I did not enjoy Lisey’s Story as a novel. So I dunno about this. The Shawshank Redemption is one of the rare examples of when a movie/TV show is better than King’s story. Thankfully Stephen King wrote the script for each of the show’s eight episodes: 1 writer for the series is a major plus. After King was hit by a van in 99 he came home from the hospital and saw his books and office in boxes foreshadowing his death. Which prompted Lisey’s Story: throughout the book Lisey (played by Julianne Moore) begins to face certain realities about her writer husband Scott (Clive Owen) that she had repressed and forgotten. Let’s see where the latest King-adaptation goes.

Sunday, June 06

DC Super Hero Girls (Anytime / Cartoon Network)

At Super Hero High School, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and their Super Hero friends attend exciting classes and deal with the awkwardness of growing up.
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Sammy Suggestion: War of THe Worlds: Season 2 (9/8c PM / EPIX)

In this multifaceted reimagining of the timeless classic by H.G. Wells, a catastrophic attack on Earth by intelligent extraterrestrial life forces the remainder of humanity to struggle for survival.
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War of the Worlds has been appearing as a #SetTheVCR recommendation since 2019. (Because it debuted internationally then debuted in America before finally coming to Canada: sigh. Season 2 has been airing in Europe since May 17: this is the American premiere. I have no Canadian updates at this time: double sigh. Though Disney+ recently confirmed they’ve picked up the show…so I dunno if it’ll be airing on CBC Gem again or Disney+. We wait, eh?) When Season 1 concluded this modern retelling of the classic H. G. Wells novel the human survivors were slowly starting to assemble as we’ve seen in shows like Walking Dead. Even better some of those pesky humans think they’ve found a way to combat the intelligent aliens. Which is great but leaves so many questions unanswered. The show was renewed for a third season on February 9, 2021: sometimes these sci-fi shows end prematurely so this is good news for viewers and the writers. Watch for me Americans and lemme know how the War is going.

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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.

Morning Tea: Batgirl Is Eternal

We got a Batgirl update!

An Eternals teaser!

And a celebrity comeback! Brew a strong tea: yo!


Batgirl: DC Films Update

Well this is awful: for Batgirl Warner hired Christina Hodson who “wrote” Birds of Prey then doubled down on that tank by hiring Bad Boys for Life directors. They suck…this time they were the Bad Boys. This’ll be the new Batman & Robin. I’m 100% out; I don’t need a trailer.

THR documents the Batgirl “project previously had Joss Whedon on board as writer and director. Whedon came on in March 2017 but left in April 2018, at the time saying he failed at cracking the story.” I mean Whedon wasn’t a good choice either (i.e. Avengers: Age of Ultron) but these latest hires are not hopeful. Barbra Gordon deserves better.


Kevin Spacey: Comebacks Are Inevitable

Variety has confirmed Kevin Spacey is will return to acting in L’uomo Che Disegnò Dio an Italian film directed by Franco Nero: While “Spacey would feature in a small role as a police detective” hmm: the indie film follows “the rise and fall of a blind artist who has the extraordinary gift of making true-to-life portraits just by listening to human voices.” Kevin Spacey’s return doesn’t sound as appealing as like his work in Baby Driver or even Se7en but eh: show me a trailer.

PSA: To be annoyed Spacey is still working doesn’t make any sense when Rob Lowe is doing just fine. That’s just trash morality. (Not that pop culture requires any moral calisthenics.) If ya can’t sit through his movies past or present without issuing a condescending moral diatribe you ain’t good at pop culture. I’m good.


Transformers: The Movie

I can’t believe it’s been 35 years!! Transformers: The Movie is released in 4K today to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Orson Welles and so much more. Prime’s passing is a nut-punch in the guts but man this animation movie is better than all Pixars combined.

It’s surreal. I do deeply appreciate how these creators forced us all to grow up before we were ready. Via this dynamic movie they talked to all of us like adults; not children. So much of of North American animation is “adult” jokes for bored parents and goofy characters for the kids: it’s all so dull. This is an amazing movie: it’s timeless.


Who Asked For This?!

Timothée Chalamet to Star as Young Willy Wonka in Warner Bros. Reimagining.”

Johnny Depp tried to pull Willy Wonka off and it was a “Deppaster.”

And Depp is superior to Timothée Chalamet so…nah man. Hard Pass.

This punk kid needs a better agent and honest friends who’ll recommend he use the less douchey spelling of Timothy. Crash and Burn Huh Mav. 100% Out: Hard Pass.


The Next Last Dance…

Netflix to Serve Documentary Series on Naomi Osaka Japanese Tennis Ace”

I don’t really know who Naomi Osaka is but she’s getting a Last Dance. That umm seems way too early.

July 13, 2021 on Netflix: 3 episodes. 3 episodes is a lot of viewer commitment…does she really win and dominate that much!!? Tiger on HBO was appalling awful yet only scrounged up 2 episodes. And he’s utterly dominant.


HBO Max: Putting the BO In HBO

According to Variety dumping theatrical movies onto HBO Max was a terrible life decision: No Guff. Idiots.

It’s bad business. It doesn’t matter what people are demanding on Twitter or if they’re swearing they’ll never return to cinemas. Leave em behind. That’s not a good or smart audience; they will not be profitable.

Airlines don’t advertise to nervous flyers.

Moreover, industry sources say the strategic move that made such a splash last December — when WarnerMedia at Kilar’s direction opted for simultaneous releases in theaters and on HBO Max for Warner Bros.’ 2021 movie slate — is seen as a major misstep because it is shaping up to cost the studio over $1 billion in lost box office revenue, talent profit participation payments and in high license fees paid for the movies from HBO Max. Unless the pace of HBO Max subscriber additions pick up significantly in the coming months, the high cost of the movie content for the streamer will be hard to justify.

We (collectively) overreact to a lot of bad metrics. This pandemic has been interesting because it revealed that a lot of people are just not good at risk management. Fear can be overwhelming. While I get it; fear is also temporary. Almost every horror movie has a sunrise. Instead of seeing fear; learn to see The Big Picture.


Trailer Alert: Eternals

Eternals teaser doesn’t alleviate the fears it will suck.

It’s an ambitious ask; their comics are not good; the characters are not captivating…yeah I dunno about investing cash money into this.

Also: Kumail Nanjiani is in Eternals. As a movie (granted a Marvel movie whose quality has generally been high and good) that’s already a hard sell: now his casting: ugh. He’s the male Mindy Kaling.

If MCU doesn’t follow a giant arc as we’ve seen with Avengers: Endgame I’m out…there’s no need for Eternals or Black Widow movies. Even with the pressure to evolve or die their formula.

I might phase out Phase Four of the MCU.

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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.

#SetTheVCR: May 24-30, 2021

This week’s #SetTherVCR is all about motivations: motivation to get into a van and tour as a band, motivation to take up boxing, motivation for…murderous animatronic characters and more! May you find much motivation to enjoy this week’s offerings.

Monday, May 24

Sammy Suggestion: What Drives Us (Anytime / Prime Video (Canada))

WHAT DRIVES US tells the stories of some of the biggest artists in music, recalling the romance and adventure, as well as the idiocy and chaos, of their time on the road. While the world has changed, the custom has not changed. There is no other way to know whether you can make it in this business. You have to get in the van. A Coda Cornerstone Collection.
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“All of the biggest bands in the world, they had to start somewhere. Everybody I know started out like this: in a van,” Dave Grohl says at the onset of his new documentary What Drives Us, a film that chronicles the early touring days of some of rock’s most enduring groups, including U2, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and, yes, the Foo Fighters. “What happens in the van is the foundation of who we become,” adds Grohl. “It creates this unique perspective that we all share. Personally, I don’t think that I’d still be here if it weren’t for those early experiences, touring in a van, touring with my friends. If it weren’t for that old van, I don’t know where I’d be.” As such here is Dave Grohl’s salute to the van and touring. Having toured Canada with a band in a van I can attest to the truth of what Grohl is saying: bonds are forged or bonds are broken.

Tuesday, May 25

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10/9c PM / HBO)

REAL SPORTS is TV’s most-honored sports journalism series, with 33 Sports Emmy Awards, including 19 for Outstanding Sports Journalism. Now in its 27th season, the monthly magazine broadcast produces unchartered investigative pieces and in-depth profiles from across the sports spectrum.
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Sammy Suggestion: Mike Tyson: The Knockout (8/7c PM / ABC)

A special four hour documentary series on the life of boxing legend Mike Tyson. MIKE TYSON: THE KNOCKOUT will put viewers ringside for a main event that will chronicle the former champion’s climb, crash and comeback, from his difficult childhood to becoming undisputed world champion to his 1992 rape conviction and his personal struggles. Through the lens of his life’s extreme highs and lows, the two-part primetime event will examine some of the most pressing questions about resilience and reinvention.
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As expected the upshot of The Last Dance‘s success is that it unleashed the documentary Kraken. ESPN confirmed this year we’re getting a long-form docuseries on the 86 Mets (I believe that’s Darryl Strawberry, a vague fun fact I sorta picked up from Simpsons references.). And Hulu announced a Lakers docuseries basically covering Jerry Buss’ ownership. While we wait for those ABC News will debut a four hour docuseries on Mike Tyson on Tuesday night. Tyson has earned a Last Dance…I’m not sure if this is it though. (Also why is it on ABC News and not ESPN which is the same channel?!) The Tiger HBO doc was so disappointing. It was gossip not journalism: nah man: do it properly. You punk kids will only know Tyson from The Hangover movies but he was a violent fighter…in many ways desperate to punch his way up and out his circumstances. The problem of course was that he had trouble turning off that combatant mentality outside of the ring. Hopefully ABC can knock it out with this documentary. Mike Tyson: The Knockout premieres on back-to-back Tuesdays, May 25 and June 1, 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

Wednesday, May 26

Ghost Lab (Anytime / Netflix)

After witnessing a haunting in their hospital, two doctors become dangerously obsessed with obtaining scientific proof that ghosts exist.
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Sammy Suggestion: Roku Originals (Anytime / Roku)

Stream ROKU ORIGINALS for free right now, with shows like Die Hart, Most Dangerous Game, Dummy, Punk’d, Reno 911!, #FREERAYSHAWN, Royalties, Chrissy’s Court, and many others.
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We barely survived the Cola Wars only to be plunged into the Streamer Wars! Quibi launched in April 2020 and was initially only available on mobile devices at a time when much of the country was sheltering at home amid the global pandemic. They made content for the commute when nobody was commuting. As such the service shut down six months later. Then in January 2021 Roku acquired Quibi’s 75-show library in a deal that was estimated to be worth around $100 million. Roku rebranding its acquired library as Roku Originals basically creating a new streaming platform since most people really hadn’t seen the Quibi shows. They’re new to you! 30 of the 75 acquired shows launched on May 20 including Die Hart and The Fugitive. That leaves three upcoming highly expected releases: Sam Raimi’s 50 States of Fright, After Dark a horror series from Steven Spielberg and Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle Between Marvel and DC a comic book documentary adapted by the Russo Brothers with Kevin Smith as the narrator. Welcome to the party Roku.

Thursday, May 27

Friends: The Reunion (Anytime / HBO Max & Crave)

AKA “The One Where They Get Back Together”, it’s what we’ve all been waiting for: an unscripted FRIENDS reunion special.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Banana Splits Movie (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

A family attends a live taping of The Banana Splits television series, but are forced to survive as soon as the characters go haywire and start a killing spree around the studio.
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History Lesson! The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was a variety show produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and featuring the Banana Splits, a fictional rock band composed of four funny animal characters in red helmets. The show’s hosts are Fleegle (guitar, vocals), Bingo (drums, vocals), Drooper (bass, vocals) and Snorky (keyboards, effects). The series ran for 31 episodes on NBC Saturday mornings from September 7, 1968 to September 5, 1970. So of course all IP is valuable including…the Banana Splits. Only this time it was adapted into a comedy horror film for modern audiences. (This seems to be a trend…Syfy who produced this horror retelling; recently announced a Bring It On horror movie…oh interesting. While Willy’s Wonderland is a recent entry offering murderous animatronic characters like this Splits movie.) So yeah: if you’re up some old school murderous animatronic characters here ya go!

Friday, May 28

Plan B (Anytime / Hulu)

After a regrettable first sexual encounter, a straight-laced high school student (Kuhoo Verma) and her slacker best friend (Victoria Moroles) have 24 hours to hunt down a Plan B pill in America’s heartland.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Kominsky Method: Season 3 (Anytime / Netflix)

Acting coach Sandy Kominsky and best friend Norman Newlander keep each other laughing as they navigate the ups and downs of getting older.
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While I adore Alan Arkin I’ve never gotten around to watching The Kominsky Method. Well like a comic book omnibus this show is all done and collected on Netflix. This is the third and final season of Chuck Lorre’s comedy starring Michael Douglas as a successful acting coach and until recently: Alan Arkin. He’s not back for Season 3 and will be written out. Still now I can sit down and watch the senior hijinks ensue at my own pace. So great to and watch a fully completed TV show.

Saturday, May 29

Sammy Suggestion: Panic (Anytime / Prime Video)

On the surface, Alex (William H. Macy) is a normal man with a wife, a son and a steady job. But Alex has a secret life no one knows about: he’s a contract killer suffering a midlife crisis.
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“Panic on the streets of London / Panic on the streets of Birmingham / I wonder to myself…Could life ever be sane again?” With all due respect to the Smiths it’s Panic in a small Texas town. Basically unsupervised teens engage in a fatal rite of passage: think The Running Man with the holodeck safeties off! (What’s up with all these trapped teen movies tying to escape their crappy circumstances by escaping death?! Maze Runner, Hunger Games, Nerve, Ready Player One etc.

Sunday, May 30

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.
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Sammy Suggestion: NBA Playoffs: Game 4 (Various Times / Various Channels)

The 2021 NBA playoffs are here.
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By today most NBA Playoffs battles will have reached Game 4. While I’m not expecting any sweeps in the 2021 NBA Playoffs by Game 4 we’ll all have a sense of which way a series is shaking out. Tonight’s Game 4s include Knicks vs Hawks, Sun vs Lakers, Nets vs Celtics and Clippers vs Mavs. While tomorrow 2 Game 4s include 76ers vs Wizards and Jazz vs Grizzlies. To quote The Transformers Movie currently celebrating it’s 35th anniversary this week: One Shall Stand; One Shall Fall.

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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.

Morning Tea: Star Wars Is Our Friends

We got a War of The Worlds update!

Hope For CNN?

And we got Friends! Brew a strong tea: yo!


Star Wars: Episode Stink

May 19th 1999 – Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace opened in cinemas. I was there!

The Phantom Menace is a reprehensible movie.

No amount of time or nostalgia will make it palatable.

Tank is tank: you can’t magically Febreze the stench off this Star Wars failure. Little did we know in 99 this foreshadowed the quality that was to come over the next few decades.


War of the Worlds: Suck It Canada

Season 2 of War of the Worlds is currently airing in Europe as of May 17 (what the rude!!).

It’s coming to America on June 6 on EPIX: “You tell ’em I’M coming…and hell’s coming with me, you hear?…Hell’s coming with me!”

Speaking of hell if you live in Canada you can suck it. That’s our third world policy when it comes to streaming and digital TV assets.

Now Deadline is saying War Of The Worlds Is Moving To Disney+.

We scored War of the Worlds via CBC (CBC Gem is their streamer) however we in Canada have the “good” Disney+ with all the swears and such (thanks?). So I dunno if it’ll jump from CBC to Disney??!

What’s the plan here? What are we doing here people? If Americans know it’ll be back on EPIX on June 6 how come we don’t know when it’ll air here?!

I also like when they announce a Season 3 before Season 2 has properly aired. It takes the pressure off “ratings.” These types of dynamic sci-fi shows have a habit of folding early leaving viewers hanging. So new season news is great for viewers and writers. Whew. Good job!


Ontario Cinemas: Open Em Already!

It’s utterly impossible to have “provincial consistency” when in Ontario we have provincial stupidity.

Closing cinemas doesn’t make any sense: it’s absent all logic, it’s detrimental to an entire ecosystem of creators and most importantly: confirms your mom is so fat Premier Doug Ford.

Open The Borders or Open The Cinemas. Choose Wisely. The pandemic takeaway is nothing will change in Canada until we have an Cinematic MLK. Every mess dictates the need for leadership and a vision.


Who Asked For This?! (KInda…)

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a hard sell but!

It’s got only 1 director for all 6 episodes: which is great. Multiple directors is a red flag. It’s David Nutter from X-Files: sweet. Solid choice.

And it’s Steven Moffat who is one of the best TV writers since Rod Serling. So the crew is good.

But I already read the book. And then I saw the movie. (Don’t ask.) Do we really need to keep returning to this tale? Regardless of my logical feelings: The Time Traveler’s Wife Begins Production.


The Next Last Dance…

ESPN Sets Launch of Mets Documentary, ‘Once Upon a Time in Queens,’ for 2021”

Once Upon a Time in Queens is a four-part series on the 1986 Mets: it’s basically The Last Dance but for 80s Mets. I dunno who they are or what they accomplished so I go into this one cold.

Drops later this year on ESPN. Who else needs a Last Dance? Hulu is working on the Lakers.


CNN: Seeing CNN

A bit more on CNN following the Discovery’s WarnerMedia merger.

CNN as a news outlet is male nipple useless but CNN Films is utter gold. CNN Films is up there in quality and broad scope as ESPN’s 30 for 30.

If CNN were at risk of being commoditized before, there is now a feeling inside the company that the brand is likely to get bigger, rather than shrink. Whereas there had been concern that CNN would have to fight as a scrappy independent company in a spin-off, or absorbed into another news organization in a sale, those fears have faded away.

“This is probably the best outcome for us,” a CNN source said.

Increased access and a reliable platform to CNN’s film catalogue would be highly welcome and deeply appreciated. They’re so hard to find. So this is…good news!


Trailer Alert: Friends: The Reunion

A #TrailerAlert for white people. Gather your Pumpkin Spice Latte and get off your Peloton bike.

It’s been a rough couple of years: white people have been charged with slavery, being fragile, propping up the patriarchy (whatever that is) but now you get a treat: Friends: The Reunion.

May 27 on HBO Max to watch The One where HBO Max fights to stay relevant.

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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.

#SetTheVCR: May 17-23, 2021

It’s basketball Christmas! The NBA playoffs begin this week but! if that’s not your jam then never no worries there are lots of TV treats this week.

Monday, May 17

144 (9 p.m. / TSN)

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!
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Sammy Suggestion: American Experience: Billy Graham (9/8c PM / PBS)

BILLY GRAHAM explores the life and career of one of the best-known and most influential religious leaders of the 20th century. From modest beginnings on a North Carolina farm, Graham rose to prominence with a fiery preaching style, movie-star good looks and effortless charm.
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Whoever programs PBS is on fire! They just aired an excellent Oliver Sacks documentary (His Own Life) and followed that up with a documentary on L. Frank Baum the writer who hit pay dirt with the Wizard of Oz books. The latest American Experience explores the life of evangelist Billy Graham who died in 2018. Graham was on Gallup’s list of most admired men and women a record 61 times; in your face People’s Sexiest Man of The Year. This is fascinating; I so wanna put him and his Christian work into context. It’s a complex legacy…all the political stuff: Graham was a spiritual adviser to 12 consecutive presidents from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. Could he have done more during civil rights or Nam? Gay rights? (And how much can a President truly do before the people are ready?) Before I watch a documentary I assemble my questions and patiently wait for them to be addressed. So I hope this doc is good and critical yet fair.

Tuesday, May 18

Sammy Suggestion: NBA’s Play-In Tournament (To Be Determined)

There will be six total games involving eight teams as part of the play-in tournament, split up between the two conferences. The teams that finish Nos. 1-6 in each conference will be guaranteed playoff spots, while team Nos. 7-10 in the standings will enter the play-in.
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I’ve been a vocal critic of the NBA’s Play-In Tournament. I won’t share my feelings here however here we go! The 2020–21 NBA season concluded with 15 games; many with playoff seedings implications. The 75th regular season of the National Basketball Association began on December 22, 2020 and was reduced to 72 games for each team. However before teams can formally launch into the NBA Playoffs to crown a champion a Play-In Tournament will be waged to determine the teams that will fill the seventh and eighth playoff seeds in each conference. Seeding is based on current standings as of May 16th, 2021. This isn’t the NBA Playoffs we want but it’s the NBA Playoffs we get. The East team to look out for is the Wizards to see if they can magically claim the 8th spot to battle the Sixers. While in the wild wild west the Warriors have a quick draw with Steph Curry so Golden State should advance…to play the Suns? Oh boy.

Wednesday, May 19

Cher & The Loneliest Elephant (9/8c PM / Smithsonian Channel)

Cher and her charity “Free the Wild” help to rescue a lonely Asian elephant from the Islamabad Zoo. Basically Cher saying to an elephant I Got You Babe!
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Sammy Suggestion: MLK/FBI (Anytime / Hulu)

Based on recently declassified files, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sam Pollard explores the US government’s surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The premise is simple yet frightening: “Based on newly declassified files, Sam Pollard’s resonant film explores the US government’s surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr.” We complain about social media’s penchant for misinformation and disinformation then what about state-sanctioned surveillance? The FBI file has become my standard; lots of people talk a lot, hashtag a lot but if the FBI is opening a file on you: you’re officially dangerous. So much for “civil” rights.

Thursday, May 20

Too Close (Anytime/ AMC+)

A forensic psychiatrist has to assess a woman accused of a heinous crime, who claims she can’t remember a thing.
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Sammy Suggestion: PG: Psycho Goreman (Anytime / Shudder)

Intergalactic assassins converge on a small town after two siblings unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord.
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I had the incredible opportunity to talk to director Steven Kostanski about his splatter-horror-comedy movie Psycho Goreman. He said: “PG is a summation of a good chunk of my video store experiences as a kid, it’s supposed to be the ultimate video store rental that as a kid I never quite stumbled upon. It’s a combination of all the things that I like into one movie.” Yes…if you’re seen this movie you know that statement is 100% yes. “The film revolves around siblings Mimi and Luke, who unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord. Using a magical amulet, they force the monster to obey their childish whims, and accidentally attract a rogues’ gallery of intergalactic assassins to small-town suburbia.” I mean…it happens right? If you’re a fan of witty horror b-movies, Toronto After Dark Film Festival movies etc. you gotta check this out. That is…if you have all the guts.

Friday, May 21

1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything (Anytime / Apple TV+)

In a tumultuous era, 1971 was a year of musical innovation and rebirth fueled by the political and cultural upheaval of the time. Stars reached new heights, fresh talent exploded onto the scene and boundaries expanded like never before.
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Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.: Season 1 (Anytime / Hulu (US) & Disney+ (CA))

An egomaniacal super villain struggles to maintain control of his evil organization after it is bought by a multinational tech company, all while juggling the needs of his demanding family.
~~

Sammy Suggestion: Army Of The Dead (Anytime / Netflix)

After a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries takes the ultimate gamble by venturing into the quarantine zone for the greatest heist ever.
~~~~

It was the best of zombie times, it was the worst of zombie times: with a heist. Similar to Hurricane Heist Army of the Dead is a heist movie with impossible odds. In 32 hours the government is gonna nuke Vegas to ensure that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…instead of Legionnaires’ disease in the wank tank this time it’s a zombie outbreak. Which also means incinerating $200 million sitting in a vault beneath the strip. So basically it’s Oceans 11 with World War Z zombies. “Team Ruckus Reporting For Duty: Sir!”

Saturday, May 22

Sammy Suggestion: NBA’s PlayPlayoffs (To Be Determined)

The Play-In Tournament will begin on Tuesday, May 18 and finish Friday, May 21.
~~~~

Ok! Following the Play-In Tournament and my Frank Grimes feelings about that recent speedbump to the legit Playoffs (“I have had to work hard everyday of my life and what do I have to show for it? This briefcase and this haircut! And what do you have to show for you lifetime of sloth and ignorance?”) we’re here. At the time of this writing I can’t tell which mediocre teams won the Play-In Tournament and what the Playoff Brackets look like. The conference semifinals will start around June 7; June 22 is the Conference Finals. While “finally” the NBA Finals are July 8-22. Terms and conditions apply. Let’s make like a Nike shoe and Just Do It.

Sunday, May 02

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: Wonder Woman: 1984 (Anytime / Crave)

Diana Prince lives quietly among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s — an era of excess driven by the pursuit of having it all. Though she’s come into her full powers, she maintains a low profile by curating ancient artifacts, and only performing heroic acts incognito. But soon, Diana will have to muster all of her strength, wisdom and courage as she finds herself squaring off against Maxwell Lord and the Cheetah, a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility.
~~~~

Spend the weekend in 1984 with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Kristen Wiig as the bad guy and somehow Chris Pine returns? Making it worse he’s back with a fanny pack. DC Films had a rough go in 2020 Wonder was originally scheduled for June 5, 2020 and followed Birds of Prey which was released on February 7, 2020. Both movies were coloured and impacted by the pandemic so neither connected with a wide audience. Perhaps Wonder Woman can find new life as it hits the streamers: otherwise it’s all isolated and on it’s own…island.

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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.

200 | Bruce Mau & Bisi Williams (Mau: Documentary)

My Summer Lair Chapter #200: Which Of The MC24 Design Principles Is Your Favourite?

This episode’s guest is the esteemed Bruce Mau whose business card reads: designer, innovator, and educator. Joining us to talk about those 3 dynamic practices is Bruce’s creative partner and wife Bisi Williams.

But first…we gotta talk about Mau: not the man rather the documentary. Directed by Benjamin & Jono Bergmann; currently playing at Hot Docs Film Festival after premiering at SXSW Film Festival.

Mau is the first-ever, feature-length Bruce Mau documentary. You know you’re doing cool things with cool people when your work logically prompts a documentary.

To quote the media release: “The film explores the untold story of his unlikely rise in the creative world, and ever-optimistic push to expand the boundaries of design. We tell the story of his incredible career – from Mecca to MOMA, from Guatemala to Coca Cola – and his most important project yet: his own life.”

Highly recommended viewing for anyone who practices or sells creativity. Or honestly for anyone who longs to ah…redesign their whole life.

So let’s get into his documentary life; talk to his charming wife and understand how he deals with strife. No stress this podcast is not rife with rhymes. 

Mau @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday May 4, 2021 at 4:4pm EST

#SetTheVCR: May 10-16, 2021

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.
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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.
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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.

199 | Mads Hedegaard (Cannon Arm And The Arcade Quest)

My Summer Lair Chapter #199: What Old School Video Game Could You Play For 100 Hours?


One of the most iconic Superman images and you’ll see it often recreated every Halloween is Clark Kent ripping his shirt open to reveal the super duper S logo underneath. It neatly feeds into the myth that heroes are all around us: at our work, in our coffee shops, in our churches but every so often they suddenly see a dare to be great situation and they’re inspired to rip open their shirt and go off and be a superhero.

As depicted in the documentary Kim Cannon Arm is mostly Clark Kent. An unassuming member of Copenhagen society. However he’s going to attempt something super human: he’s going to play the old school video game Gyruss for 100 hours.

Hence the title of Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest currently playing at Hot Docs Film Festival. The doc’s director Mads Hedegaard who hails from Copenhagen in Denmark visited My Summer Lair to discuss the “Arcade Quest,” who Kim Cannon Arm is and how video games are perceived in Denmark. Oh and we talk about Nolan movies. No need for a quarter this is a free play.

Cannon Arm And The Arcade Quest @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Wednesday April 27, 2021 at 12:30pm EST

#SetTheVCR: May 03-09, 2021

Another streamer joins the TV party! It’s gonna be one of those #SetTheVCR types of week.

Monday, May 03

NBA Special Edition: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes (7:30/6:30c PM / ESPN2 & ESPN+)

ESPN and Marvel announced a groundbreaking collaboration today to launch the first-ever Marvel-inspired alternate presentation for the Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans game on Monday, May 3. The latest development in Marvel and ESPN’s long history of sports content collaboration, the telecast will integrate elements from an original Marvel story and iconic characters including Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow, and Doctor Strange throughout the live game, including 3D virtual characters, custom graphics and animation packages.
~~

Sammy Suggestion: Mongrel Home Cinema (A Brand New Streamer!)

A selection of award-winning cinema, curated by Mongrel Media and Magnolia Entertainment.
~~~~

Welcome the latest screener slash platform: Mongrel Home Cinema launched on April 30. Mongrel Media is an independent Canadian film distributor established in 1994; Mongrel is also a dog that does not belong to one officially recognized breed. Which if you’ve seen the movies Mongrel Media distributes you understand how apt that name is. In partnership with New York-based Magnolia Pictures this streamer will only be available for Canadian audiences offering art-house movies, cool indies: a curated collection of films from both companies’ catalogues. 10 titles will be added on the first Tuesday of every month.

Subscriptions are available through Mongrel (mongrelhomecinema.com) or the Android or iOS app for $6.99 monthly or $69.99 annually. (Get: 3 weeks free using promo code: MONGRELSOCIAL)

Some launch title suggestions: Before Trilogy, Ex Machina, Under The Skin, The Lobster, Frances Ha (highly recommended movie…excellent soundtrack) and you know…many others.

If Netflix is like Blockbuster where you “rent” James Bond or Jurassic Park Mongrel Home Cinema is like Queen Video: all taste and curated.

Tuesday, May 04

The Avengers (Anytime / Disney+)

ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF NEW YORK! When an unexpected enemy threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.
~~

Sammy Suggestion: Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Anytime / Disney+)

“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” follows the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch (first introduced in “The Clone Wars”) as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch—a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army—each possess a singular exceptional skill that makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew.
~~~~

Happy Nerd Christmas: May The 4th Be With You All. The Bad Batch is the newest Disney+ TV show (sandwiched between MCU shows Falcon and Loki). It is both a sequel to and spin-off from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Which was highly enjoyed by many but I did not check it out. Still The Mandalorian was solid one of the recent Star Wars offering I found enjoyable. Feel free to hang out with Baby Yoda if animated clone troopers are not your jam.

Wednesday, May 05

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (Anytime / CBC Gem)

Drawn from a cache of personal video recordings from the past 22 years, director Steve Loveridge’s Sundance award winning MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. is a startlingly personal profile of the critically acclaimed artist, chronicling her remarkable journey from refugee immigrant to pop star.
~~

Sammy Suggestion: Weird Science (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

Teen misfits Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak electrical accident brings her to life in the form of the lovely, superhuman Lisa (Kelly LeBrock).

~~~~

One of the best Robert Downey movies from back in the day. If you got kids they gotta watch just for the old timey computers (Wyatt’s computer is a Memotech MTX512 with an FDX add-on. So cool!). And that whole mutant bikers scene is just: weird. Still Weird Science for sure doesn’t age it just improves. Two dorks with bras on their head use their computer to make a hot girl. Tis a John Hughes classic.

Thursday, May 06

Dark Side of the Ring: Season 3 (9/8c PM / Crave)

Exploring the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling and trying to find the truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality.
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Citizen Penn (Anytime / Discovery+)

The humanitarian efforts of Sean Penn and a dedicated team of volunteers as they set up a long term base to bring aid to Haitians after the devastating 7.0 earthquake struck in 2010.
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Sammy Suggestion: From Cradle to Stage (Anytime / Paramount+)

Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, shares personal stories about Dave’s childhood alongside family anecdotes from fellow “rock moms.”
~~~~

In 2017 Virginia Grohl mother of Foo Fighters Dave Grohl published From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars. A kind of Behind The Music that was more like Behind The Mothers who were Behind The Music. That book has been adapted into a six-part docuseries. The musician-and-mother guests set to appear on the series are Imagine Dragons‘ Dan Reynolds and Christine Reynolds, Pharrell and Dr. Carolyn Williams, Miranda and Bev Lambert, Brandi and Teresa Carlile, Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello and Mary Morello, plus Rush‘s Geddy Lee and Mary Weinrib. Though it debuts today on Paramount+ you may wanna save this for Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Friday, May 07

Sammy Suggestion: Jupiter’s Legacy (Anytime / Netflix)

They’re the first generation of superheroes. But as they pass the torch to their children, tensions are rising — and the old rules no longer apply.
~~~~

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Steven DeKnight (a writer and a director on Netflix’s Daredevil; now show-runner and executive producer of Jupiter’s Legacy) who said: “Personally, I’m a fan of weekly episodes. It creates a communal viewing experience and leads to the vital “water cooler” conversations.” Though he later added: “How many episodes per season isn’t decided by the writers or even the showrunner. That’s the studio/network.” Which for Jupiter’s Legacy is Netflix as adapted from the Mark Millar comic book. I asked him about weekly vs binging because we’ve seen how successful the MCU shows were on Disney+ in part because of their weekly experience. Now that you’ve lived with weekly releases and binge releases for a few years: where do you stand? As for this Netflix show you can tell from title what it’s about. “Jupiter’s Legacy follows the story of the world’s first superheroes who received their powers in the 1930s. In the present day, they are the revered elder guard but their superpowered children struggle to live up to the legendary feats of their parents.” Basically Superboy or Robin is never gonna be as cool as Superman or Batman. So how do you live up to that legacy? I’ve read many Mark Millar comics which has given us movies such as Kick-Ass and Kingsmen but I haven’t read this 10 issue series so this is all new to me. The comics haven’t left a heavy legacy for the TV show to live up to.

Saturday, May 08

Sammy Suggestion: Greenland (8/7c PM / HBO)

John Garrity, his estranged wife and their young son embark on a perilous journey to find sanctuary as a planet-killing comet hurtles toward Earth.
~~~~

Gerard Butler stars in a ground-level movie about the end of the world: think Deep Impact but as an indie movie. A comet is on a collision course with the Earth, its impact expected to cause an extinction-level event in a day or so. Thus Butler’s a structural engineer who must race against the clock to get himself and his family (shout to Morena Baccarin!) to a secure shelter in Greenland. The problem? Well many because the movie’s running time is 119 minutes so of course there’s a number of obstacles in their way otherwise this would be a short movie. What you think people fall in love in the first 10 minutes of a rom-com?!

Sunday, May 02

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: A Nolan Doubleheader (Anytime / Crave)

INCEPTION: Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious, when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it will be the perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move.

TENET: Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
~~~~

I saw Tenet on September 20, 2020. I didn’t expect that’d be my last movie for such a long time. Tenet requires more than 1 viewing so this is most helpful: it was added on Crave on May 7. With Inception Nolan clearly established the physics of that world (well dream world) so viewers knew what was possible (if they didn’t always know what was real.) With Tenet I don’t feel Nolan fully firmly established the physics or rather it was too complex so viewers end up doing calculus instead of enjoying a movie. In Star Trek I dunno what dilithium crystals are but I know when the ship is in trouble: you know? So here ya go: A Nolan Doubleheader: Tenet and Inception are on Crave.

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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.

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