Will Venom’s Carnage be PG as in…Pretty Good?!

According to Film Ratings a movie called Venom: Let There Be Carnage is rated PG-13 and not hard R. How is that logical? How much Carnage can you pull off with PG?

Mainstreaming Venom like it’s the MCU is weird.

Venom is not gonna sell happy meals. Economics due to the budget perhaps?

Spider-Man can’t go R; understandably that makes sense but Venom? That’s a weird choice.

Butts in the seats? Perhaps. The first Venom was also PG-13 and hauled more than $854 million worldwide on a budget of $100 million. So economics says PG-13 is good business but the box office of Joker and Deadpool for example say otherwise.

(Considering the success of Deadpool and the failure of Suicide Squad I’d bet a hard Rated R for Right On Batman movie would work.

If Twilight-Sparkle Batman isn’t rated R then any talk is about being raw or dark or grim or violent is just cheap marketing talk. Buzzwords.)

Oh and The Suicide Squad. Though The Suicide Squad shoulda never been on HBO Max in the first case: such a bad call. Still what was a good call was dumping David Ayer’s wretched Suicide Squad what tragically was rated PG-13. DC went soft…again. No guts no glory.

So for James Gunn’s super dope The Suicide Squad they went hard R and it worked…the violence made sense; as did all the jokes. The movie benefitted from that R-freedom (“drug use, brief graphic nudity, language throughout, some sexual references, and strong violence and gore”); it’s lots of fun. (Not as much heart as Guardians of the Galaxy but that was expected; still excellent soundtrack as always.)

Or…Yo Joe!

If the studio was serious about making Snake Eyes more like a proper G.I. Joe movie and less like a Nicolas Cage/Brian De Palma remake aim for Rated R for Ruckus: ninjas, Storm Shadow, motorcycles, guns, Cobra: so much goodness to play with. Wouldn’t that make a better movie? And a better movie “brings all the boys to the yard.”

Mash It Up, Mash It All. Snake Eyes was rated PG-13 and still bombed: it rolled the dice and came up Snake Eyes: the economics play or butts in the seats didn’t work out.

Just something to contemplate as you consume your Venom Happy Meal, right? “Oh…I got Carnage! What did you get?”


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#SetTheVCR: August 30 – September 05, 2021

This week is a less TV recommendations and more a trip down memory lane. We got Jack Kirby, Aretha Franklin, Punky Brewster, the murders of Tupac and Biggie and so much more!

Monday, August 30

Sammy Suggestion: King Kirby: The Complete Series (Anytime / See Below)

Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Conner must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

August 28 was Jack Kirby’s birthday. And there are two way most excellent ways to celebrate his birthday: (re)Read the King’s excellent Fantastic Four run with Stan Lee. And check out King Kirby an audio drama adapted by a play written by Crystal Skillman and Fred Van Lente (most comic book readers should recognize that name). I saw the outstanding play in NYC so this is highly recommend. And because it’s Jack Kirby’s birthday they released the entire audio drama in a binge episode: no commercial interruptions. (Initially the podcasts were released in episodes: you know how like TV is weekly then the entire season is dumped onto Netflix and you can watch at your own pace? Like that.) Enjoy this ear treat.

King Kirby Podcast

King Kirby Podcast

Tuesday, August 31

Untold: Season 1: Crime and Penalties (Anytime / Netflix)

They were the bad boys of hockey — a team bought by a man with mob ties, run by his 17-year-old son, and with a rep for being as violent as they were good.

Sammy Suggestion: Only Murders In The Building: Season 1 (Anytime / Hulu & Disney+ Star Canada)

Only Murders in the Building follows three strangers (Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez) who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one. When a grisly death occurs inside their exclusive Upper West Side apartment building, the trio suspects murder and employs their precise knowledge of true crime to investigate the truth.

It’s Steve Martin and Martin Short. That’s it. That’s the hook. They’re two of the best to ever do it. I could tell you this is a comedy about strangers who share a true crime obsession and suddenly find themselves in a real true crime but eh…the hook is irresistible and that those talented gents make this Must See TV.

Wednesday, September 01

The Simpsons: Seasons 31-32 (Anytime / Disney+ Star Canada)

This animated comedy focuses on the eponymous family in the town of Springfield. The head of the Simpson family, Homer, is not a typical family man. A nuclear-plant employee, he does his best to lead his family but often finds that they are leading him. The family includes loving, blue-haired matriarch Marge, troublemaking son Bart, overachieving daughter Lisa and baby Maggie.

Sammy Suggestion: Genius: Season 3 (Anytime / Disney+ Star Canada)

National Geographic Channel’s GENIUS focuses on the untold stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators. This season will explore Aretha Franklin’s musical genius, her incomparable career, and the immeasurable impact she has had on music and culture. Starring Academy-Award Nominee Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin.

On April 25, 2017 National Geographic premiered its first scripted event: Genius: Season 1 a 10 part miniseries on the inspiring and troubling life of Albert Einstein. (You can currently watch it on Disney+Star. Highly recommended viewing…) They followed up with Season 2 on April 24, 2018 focusing on Picasso. 3 years later Genius has returned with Aretha Franklin. Which is an odd choice. Aretha is of course a phenomenal talent however Genius is a word we tend to associate with…well Einstein and Picasso. The season follows Aretha as she struggles with motherhood while establishing her music career. And in December 2020 Genius was renewed for a fourth season, which is set to be released on Disney+ and that follows the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Hanging out with a Genius is an excellent way to kick off a new month.

Thursday, September 02

Afterlife of the Party (Anytime / Netflix)

Cassie lives to party… until she dies in a freak accident. Now this social butterfly needs to right her wrongs on Earth if she wants to earn her wings.

Sammy Suggestion: City of Lies (Anytime / Prime Video Canada)

Disgraced LAPD detective Russell Poole teams with journalist Jack Jackson to uncover the truth behind the murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.

Hip Hop Murder Has Jumped The Shark. On February 27, 2018 the USA Network premiered Unsolved. (Nothing’s worse than offering viewers a murder-mystery tv show called Unsolved…how unsatisfying is that?!) Josh Duhamel was on the case trying to solve…The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. Yup. I know. Then several months later on September 7, 2018 City of Lies were supposed to be released. This time Johnny Depp is the Encyclopedia Brown on the case trying to solve who shot Biggie & Tupac. Yup. I know. At least this time Depp is joined by Forest Whitaker and there’s a scene with Killer Mike so this does offer some hip hop credibility. Like every movie released in 2020 City of Lies had numerous release dates, a PVOD release and now it’s finally here on Prime Video. (Bonus: If the murders of Tupac and B.I.G. interest you track down Nick Broomfield’s 2021 documentary Last Man Standing: Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie & Tupac.)

Friday, September 03

Worth (Anytime / Netflix)

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, a lawyer faces an emotional reckoning as he attempts to put a dollar value on the lives lost. Based on real events.

Sammy Suggestion: Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (9 p.m. / Showtime & Crave)

A raw and intimate documentary look at the wildly colorful life of legendary funk artist Rick James from acclaimed Director Sacha Jenkins. Original interviews with artists, collaborators and friends focus on the “punk-funk” music James left behind while illuminating his fearless attitude, social justice advocacy and bold musical aspirations. Featuring rare footage of James’ incredible live shows and never-before-seen home video.

“I’m Rick James, bitch!” Yes! “A profile of legendary funk/R&B icon Rick James capturing the peaks and valleys of his storied career to reveal a complicated and rebellious soul, driven to share his talent with the world.” A long way of saying “Cocaine is a hell of a drug.” This is from director Sacha Jenkins who gifted us Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men and Fresh Dressed plus a couple of other stellar docs. This is gonna be a wild ride…buckle up before you watch this: Rick James just wants to “Party All The Time.”

Saturday, September 04

News of the World (Anytime / HBO)

A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home.

Sammy Suggestion: https://www.primevideo.com/ (Anytime / Prime Video Canada)

From Soleil Moon-Frye, KID 90 presents a true time capsule of a group of friends growing up in Hollywood and New York City in the ‘90s, balancing childhood and fame pre-internet and social media explosion.

The premise is simple: “In the 1990s, Soleil Moon Frye carried a video camera with her everywhere she went. David Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Brian Austin Green, Stephen Dorff, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Harold Hunter, Justin Pierce, Danny Boy O’Connor, Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Brandis appear in the film.” I suppose it helps it is executive produced by the kid on Growing Pains: Leonardo DiCaprio. That was a strange TV era. We’ve lived through so much and seen so much.

Sunday, September 05

Promising Young Woman (Anytime / Crave)

Traumatized by a tragic event in her past, Cassie (Carey Mulligan) seeks out vengeance in this thrilling and wildly entertaining story about a delicious new take on revenge.

Sammy Suggestion: The Story of Late Night (Anytime / CBC Gem)

Carson, Leno, Letterman – legendary hosts that changed late-night television. Through good times and bad, they gained America’s trust and kept the country laughing. But it wasn’t all laughter all the time. From secret deals to broken promises, some of the most dramatic stories were the ones that didn’t play out in front of the television cameras.

CNN’s scintillating The Story of Late Night is now on CBC Gem. The final episode Reinventing Late Night closed with current late night talk Jimmy Fallon, James Corden etc. however before that it explored the dynamic work of Leno, Letterman, and Stewart on The Daily Show. Oh and of course: Johnny Carson. Decades later his work is still crazy impressive. As per the original media release: “The Story of Late Night is a six-part docuseries…that will take viewers on a 60-year journey through late-night television’s most memorable moments.” Now all 6 episodes are complete if you wanna to sit down and engage this series as a “trade paperback.” (Bonus Recommendation: if all this is making your funny bone salivate CNN Audio has created Behind the Desk: Story of Late Night a podcast companion. So some witty content for your eyes and some witty content for ears.)


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#CouchWorthy:The Circus Is Back In Town on September 19

The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth returns on Sunday September 19 at 8pm on Showtime (Crave in Canada.). Woot!

It will be interesting to unpack the tonal shift as they transition from President Trump to President Biden. Though it’s most likely President Biden is gonna be Benghazi-ed over this Afghanistan hot mess. A Democrat mess is a Republican gift.

I assume Republicans will employ the effective Benghazi playbook: they’ll force hearings and testimony and issue dubious talking points: anything to weaken Biden’s support and stain his legacy. (Though I can give Hillary a get out of jail card for Benghazi; Biden does own some responsibility for the sloppiness of Afghanistan. Not like he needs to resign as President sloppiness. President W Bush started two wars under false pretenses and Americans kept him. So the Presidential bar of sloppiness is not that high.)

Unfortunately Benghazi was how everyone discovered Hillary had a private server which lead to the email controversy so that’s like the Son of Sam serial killer who was eventually caught not by forensic evidence or good solid police work…the police found him because he had a parking ticket. He double parked to go commit murder (which kinda makes sense…if you’re willing to commit murder why would you respect any of the other laws?!) so my point is it may start with Afghanistan but if something juicy like a private server is revealed that could spell trouble as they pivot to that.

A Democrat mess is a Republican gift.

Plus Canada is gonna elect somebody on Monday, September 20 so that’s be interesting to see half the story. (It’s not looking good in Canada…none of the candidates are any good or offer much leadership. So while it’s great we’re free to vote we’re settling for mediocrity.)

The Circus teaser…not much since they hafta go shoot the show but it’s back in less than a month.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Kanye West Is Not A Lone Wolf

So according to Pitchfork Kanye West held another Donda livestream event last night; so smart. He’s making an album release an experience. It’s been too long since we had sonic fun like that.

Yet one of the songs Jail used to have a Jay-Z verse and now it was replaced with a verse from DaBaby (seems like a downgrade but whatever…).

Kanye has done this for 2 or 3 albums now he never releases finished songs. He’s often tinkering. (Granted Part 1: if it was anyone but Kanye this would be annoying. He’s got the skills and talents to justify tinkering.)

I wrestle with Kanye’s creative penchant for alternative versions. We talk about him like we do every other artist and that’s a lie we’re not all on the same page. A theatrical release is mainstream…we can have a conversation about that because we all consumed the exact same product. We like it, hate it, are indifferent to it etc.

(Granted Part 2: When bands perform a song live they can do whatever…acoustic, duets etc. and that’s dope too. I don’t mind those live versions because…they’re live versions.)

Like I heard 2 or maybe 3 versions of Wolves. I like the song…some version at least but I dunno which version you’ve heard. Or me…I dunno which version I’ve heard either.

Like this is Wolves

The original album version featured a rap from West and a moody outro from Frank Ocean, which replaced Vic Mensa and Sia’s verses. Ok great.

Then…an alternate version including Frank Ocean, Vic Mensa, and Sia. Unlike the album version, Frank Ocean’s outro is featured at the start of the song, and West’s rap is omitted. Ok sure.

Then…in March 2016, over a month after the album’s release (The Life of Pablo), West updated the album’s Tidal tracklist with a reworked version of Wolves, which includes the previously removed vocals from Vic Mensa and Sia. Ok I’m tired.

I like Wolves but I no longer know which version I’ve heard or like. Or how to recommend and share Wolves with you.

(Granted Part 3: I can accept songs are never finished; they’re “abandoned.” Maybe the revisiting makes the songs better? It’s certainly easier to do since it’s all digital. Band used to put out a physical record…it’s a literal record…it’s sealed. Like court documents. It’s…on the record.)

It certainly speaks to Kanye’s boundless creativity…dude is restless yet he successfully assembled a malleable passionate fan base that will follow him down these dark roads. It’s impressive. And slightly exhausting.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#SetTheVCR: August 23 – 29, 2021

This week’s #SetTheVCR includes a solid Milhouse reference. That alone is a worthy reward for the time you spend here, right?

Monday, August 23

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (Anytime / Netflix)

Escaping from poverty to become a witcher, Vesemir slays monsters for coin and glory, but when a new menace rises, he must face the demons of his past.

Sammy Suggestion: 100 Foot Wave (Anytime / HBO Max)

Garrett McNamara journeyed to Nazare, Portugal with one goal in mind: to conquer a 100-foot wave. His effort drove the sport of surfing to new heights and helped transform a tiny fishing village into the world’s preeminent big-wave surfing destination. From HBO Sports comes this breathtaking six-part documentary series that chronicles McNamara’s quest.

Surf’s Up! Look tonight you could watch The Ultimate Surfer on ABC a corny competition tv showcase…America’s Got Waves basically or you can check out 100 Foot Wave which just concluded last night. “The six episode docuseries captures the common spirit and fearless passion shared by Garrett McNamara (the Guinness World Record holder for the largest wave ever surfed for eight years) and big-wave surfers from across the world as they push themselves through life-altering injuries and tantalizing near-misses in their collective pursuit of the inconceivable. Spanning four continents, 100 Foot Wave is an inspirational story of a group of people on a quest to achieve new heights, and a town and a sport that were forever changed by one seemingly impossible dream.” Sounds like a wild ride; doubt you’ll be “board” watching this docuseries unlike what ABC is showing.

Tuesday, August 24

Untold: Season 1: Caitlyn Jenner (Anytime / Netflix)

Caitlyn Jenner’s unlikely path to Olympic glory was inspirational. But her more challenging road to embracing her true self proved even more meaningful.

Sammy Suggestion: The 90’s Action Movie Extravaganza Cheeze Fest (Anytime / HBO Max)

The title says it all.

On HBO Max you can enjoy the biggest stars in some of the biggest bombs. Tango & Cash (1989), Hudson Hawk (1991), Last Action Hero (1993) and The Fugitive (1993) were all added to the streamer this month. (Ok Fugitive isn’t a bomb but it’s got enough cheeze to qualify.) Chances are high you haven’t seen any of them in years…maybe even a decade. Are they truly terrible? Or are they worse than we realized and time hasn’t been kind to any of em? Are there any positives to take away from them? There’s gotta be a one-liner that you can use in real life from one of these movies. So fire up the Jiffy Pop and let’s see what we see. (Seriously if you watch any of these drop me a note @mysummerlair for IG, Twitter and Facebook. Lemme know all of your thoughts and feelings. I wanna check out Last Action Hero.)

Wednesday, August 25

Clickbait (Anytime / Netflix)

When family man Nick Brewer is abducted in a crime with a sinister online twist, those closest to him race to uncover who is behind it and why.

Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Season 2 (Anytime / Disney+)

Disney Gallery / Star Wars: The Mandalorian is an eight-episode documentary series that pulls back the curtain on The Mandalorian.

Sammy Suggestion: Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed (Anytime / Netflix)

Bob Ross brought joy to millions as the world’s most famous art instructor. But a battle for his business empire cast a shadow over his happy trees.

I mean dude was known for Joy of Painting not Joy of Business. (He was also known for that magnificent afro: it’s mesmerizing and brought me joy.)

Thursday, August 26

Sammy Suggestion: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

It’s 1969. A TV actor and his stunt-double friend weigh their next move in an LA rocked by change as the scene’s hottest couple arrives next door.

It’s a Quentin Tarantino movie. That’s pretty much worth the time investment if you haven’t seen it. Though I suspect Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is misunderstood. The movie is literally called Once Upon a Time… which cues every single fairy tale ever. Only better: the Cinderella ball stuff is boring. (It’s only the start…the setup and the end that matters with fairy tales anyways.) Hollywood is a fairy tale: it’s good to some people and it’s bad to some people. Hollywood is a place where people go to make happy endings while failing (often) to get a happy ending themselves. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a hopeful tragedy. It’s a Disney movie for adults (especially creators) but thankfully with no cheddar like a princess or a queen. And eh…even if you disagree with me: it’s a Quentin Tarantino see for yo’self!

Friday, August 27

See: Season 2 (Anytime / Apple TV+)

In the far future, humankind has lost its sense of sight. Jason Momoa stars as the father of twins born with the mythic ability to see—who must protect his tribe against a threatened queen. Dave Bautista and Alfre Woodard also star.

Sammy Suggestion: Vacation Friends (Anytime / Hulu)

A couple meets up with another couple while on vacation in Mexico, but their friendship takes an awkward turn when they get back home.

Fine. Whatever. Vacation Friends is about…eh it doesn’t matter it is what it is. Take a Summer vacation from common sense and…plot and “enjoy” this comedy. (Please Note: Canadians can watch this on Disney+ Star.)

Saturday, August 28

Sammy Suggestion: The Incredible Hulk (Anytime / Crave)

Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately seeks a cure for the gamma radiation that contaminated his cells and turned him into The Hulk. Cut off from his true love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and forced to hide from his nemesis, Gen. Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), Banner soon comes face-to-face with a new threat: a supremely powerful enemy known as The Abomination (Tim Roth).

The Hulk’s relationship with TV and movies is widely fascinating. There was The Incredible Hulk TV Series from 1977–1982. And sure there was cheeze along with endlessly iconic moments. (You try changing a tire and not think of that opening!) There was Hulk, a 2003 movie directed by Ang Lee which cast Eric Bana as Bruce Banner. That was terrible because Ang Lee literally made a comic book movie. Then in 2008 on May 2nd Iron Man big banged the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Which was quickly followed up with The Incredible Hulk on June 13. And it was a decent yet flawed movie (it didn’t “smash” box office records.). Kevin Feige and team were still figuring out matters (you can see a brief shot of Captain America frozen in the ice) and yet for the most part Hulk is a stand alone movie. It’s an MCU outlier though offering a unique set up to the character who would go on to have significant evolutions. So if it’s been a while why not revisit this unique Edward Norton performance: it’s kinda like a Fight Club sequel.

Sunday, August 29

9/11: One Day in America (9 p.m. / National Geographic Channel)

9/11: One Day in America is an American documentary television miniseries directed by Daniel Bogado. The series follows the 9/11 terrorist attacks through archival footage, eyewitnesses, and survivors. The series will consist of 6-episodes and premiere on National Geographic.

Sammy Suggestion: National Clean Out your PVR Day! (Anytime)

That’s DVR for all you American plebs.

Clear out your PVR Day! For all the radical changes TV has endured with streaming we still watch non-Netflix tv shows. And those typically have a Fall start date. Season 8 of The CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us drops on October 1st, after Big Sky‘s Season 2 premiere on September 30 on ABC. Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken returns on September 6 while Independent Lens kicks off Season 20 on PBS on October 13. Plus all the NCIS, FBI, Chicago, Station type tv shows. So indeed clear out your PVR because the Fall will be busy and not everything can be immediately accessed via a streamer.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#SetTheVCR: August 16 – 22, 2021

Hang in there like that classic cat poster: August is almost over and Fall shows will be starting soon. That doesn’t mean there isn’t compelling TV choices this week…there’s a few. Barely.

Monday, August 16

Western Stars (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

Musical performances harmonize with archive footage and intimate stories in a visual companion to Bruce Springsteen’s acclaimed album of the same name.

Sammy Suggestion: Inside Man (Anytime / Netflix (Canada))

A detective matches wits with a thief who’s always one step ahead of the cops, and when a loose-cannon negotiator arrives, things spin out of control.

Inside Man is a 2006 American heist thriller film directed by Spike Lee and written by Russell Gewirtz. Gewirtz spent five years developing the premise before working on what became his first original screenplay. Now that’s how it is won and done! So that explains why there is a lot of soul and guts in Inside Man. This isn’t a traditional heist…there is ah…an Inside Man with the sort of twist M Night would appreciate. Nothing like a well planned heist to spark inspiration and get your To Do List for this week off to a strong start.

Tuesday, August 17

Untold: Deal with the Devil (Anytime / Netflix)

Following the previous Untold doc: Malice at the Palace; the next Untold sports doc is Deal With the Devil tells the story of Christy Martin, the women’s boxing champ who survived a murder attempt by her then-husband in 2010.

Sammy Suggestion: Godzilla vs. Kong (Anytime / HBO Max)

Legends collide in Godzilla vs. Kong, as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

The fourth Godzilla film to be completely produced by a Hollywood studio suffered from poor timing. Godzilla was unable to go all atomic at the box office because it was finally released beginning on March 24, 2021. Not a lot of cinemas were open (especially in Canada!) however it is now on HBO Max for your ruckus delight. (Canadians still hafta wait: it’ll be on Crave on August 20). As you can tell from the title this is Monster Fight Club. Though of course the first rule of Monster Fight Club prevents me from saying much more. So enjoy: I’m rooting for Godzilla to win. Who do you want to win?

Wednesday, August 18

The Defeated: Season 1 (Anytime / Netflix)

In 1946 Berlin, an American cop searches for his missing brother while helping a novice German policewoman fight the violent crimes engulfing the city.

Sammy Suggestion: Nine Perfect Strangers: Mini-Series (Anytime / Hulu)

Takes place at a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promises healing and transformation as nine stressed city dwellers try to get on a path to a better way of living. Watching over them during this 10-day retreat is the resort’s director, Masha, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies. However, these nine “perfect” strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.

Nine Perfect Strangers is a 2018 novel by Australian author Liane Moriarty. I didn’t read the book so much like my high school English assignments I’ma just check out the movie instead: or rather this 8 episode mini-series co-created by David E. Kelley. (David E. Kelley is quietly having a resurgence on streamers…we truly don’t acknowledge it. Did you see his fantastic work on Mr. Mercedes? And of course The Undoing with Nicole Kidman who returns for Nine.) Thankfully weirdness than wellness is unfolding at this retreat so I’ll help myself to this and wait for “The Secret” to be revealed.

Thursday, August 19

Jakob’s Wife (Anytime/ Shudder)

Anne, married to a small-town Minister, feels her life has been shrinking over the past 30 years. Encountering “The Master” brings her a new sense of power and an appetite to live bolder. However, the change comes with a heavy body count.

Sammy Suggestion: Marlon Wayans: You Know What It Is (Anytime / HBO Max)

Marlon explores his fears onstage, including the greatest one that is the realization that his bad decisions are what tore his family apart, and he sums up his way through self-awareness with the phrase “You know what it is.”

An actual stand-up comedy special…a full hour of jokes in front of a live audience. Good Gravy I am home. Not the biggest Marlon Wayans fan but it’s been so long since we’ve had one of these. And he mocks his famous family with spot on impressions. Welcome back live comedy. It’s been too long.

Friday, August 20

Godzilla vs Kong (Anytime / Crave)

The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong – with humanity caught in the balance.

Sammy Suggestion: Annette (Anytime / Prime Video)

Los Angeles, today. Henry (Adam Driver) is a stand-up comedian with a fierce sense of humor who falls in love with Ann (Marion Cotillard), a world-renowned opera singer. Under the spotlight, they form a passionate and glamorous couple. The birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious little girl with an exceptional destiny, will turn their lives upside down.

Surely this’ll “spark” some interest in you: Annette is a musical with a screenplay by Ron Mael and Russell Mael of Sparks. (If you haven’t seen Edgar Wright’s 2021 documentary The Sparks Brothers watch that instead…it’s most excellent.) I ain’t a musical guy but I’m a Sparks guy so let’s go down this musical road. The movie follows a stand-up comedian (Adam Driver) and his opera singer wife (Marion Cotillard) and how their lives are changed when they have their first child. Hopefully this is more Amélie and less La La Land.

Saturday, August 21

Sammy Suggestion: Beverly Hills Cop I (Anytime / Crave)

A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.

Before Lethal Weapon, before Barry, before The Hitman’s Bodyguard and so many others there was 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop. This was one of the earliest and one of the best examples of real comedy and real violence (people could and did die in this movie.). This is Eddie Murphy at his energetic best: “a street smart Detroit cop tracking down his best friend’s killer in Beverly Hills. Axel quickly learns that his wild style doesn’t fit in with the Beverly Hills Police Department.” This is a classic and always worthy of a rewatch.

Sunday, August 22

The Walking Dead: Season 11 (9 p.m. / AMC)

Our heroes set off to confront the Reapers, while Eugene’s group assimilates to the Commonwealth.

Sammy Suggestion: Chapelwaite: Season 1 (10 p.m. / Epix)

Captain Charles Boone , who relocates his family of three children to his ancestral home in the small, seemingly sleepy town of Preacher’s Corners, Maine after his wife dies at sea.

Chapelwaite is a horror television series based on the short story Jerusalem’s Lot by Stephen King. (I never liked Jerusalem’s Lot, a short story first published in King’s 1978 collection Night Shift so hopefully this is better than King’s work.) Following his wife’s tragic death at sea, Captain Charles Boone (Adrien Brody) and his children return to the small town of Preacher’s Corners, Maine, where a dark family history haunts them until confronted. This is the first TV/movie adaptation ever of this short story; a rarity for King. Chapelwaite premieres tonight on Epix in the United States and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

213 | Fanny Curtat (Beyond Monet)

My Summer Lair Chapter #213: When I Say Monet What Do You Picture?

I wish the audio was a bit better for that conversation but it happens sometimes being on the road. Still fun to talk about Claude Monet with art historian and one of the people behind Beyond Monet: Fanny Curtat.

This immersive experience happening in Toronto Beyond Monet is fantastic and totally worth pants. It’s PantsWorthy.

The pandemic allowed us contemplate still life…a life where we all slowed down; we not only got to reorgnize our houses but also our lives and our values.

Hopefully one of those new values includes making time for the contemplation of art, the connection of art.

Making art and engaging with art are two of the most human things we do. And it doesn’t hafta be Monet…it’s just as special when a 5 year old runs up to you with a painting they swear is a turtle.

Even if there’s not such thing as a purple turtle.

Beyond Monet is called an Immersive Experience which makes it an invitation. I haven’t described a lot of the show or told you what to expect…go into it without the trailer. See it for yourself. Shake off the still life and bring yourself to life.

Like noticing or even slowing down your breathing. Don’t just rush from one breathe to the next. Pause for the cause. Be human. Be creative.

Beyond Monet @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Wednesday August 11, 2021 at 1:30pm EST

#SetTheVCR: August 09 – 15, 2021

In this week’s #SetTheVCR odd people are overcoming the odds which oddly makes for compelling television.

Monday, August 09

Terry Fox: The Power of One (8 p.m. / CBC & CBC Gem)

A special one-hour broadcast that will share diverse stories of hope, courage, and resilience as told by iconic Canadians inspired by the vision and enduring legacy of Terry’s Marathon of Hope.

Sammy Suggestion: ESPN 30 for 30: Into the Wind (Anytime / Crave)

Terry Fox, an amputee with cancer, attempted running across Canada for cancer awareness. In the process, he captured the heart of a nation.

Effective activism is the result of employing simple solutions. Terry Fox saying I’m going to jog across Canada: incredibly straightforward yet it ignited a shift in our conversations and work around cancer. Tonight on the CBC Gem you can enjoy Terry Fox: The Power of One which is your standard memories and music performances TV special. However, let’s go back to the source with Steve Nash’s captivating documentary. As part of TSN’s Doc Collection (Season 1; Episode 23) you can watch this 30 for 30 bursting with insights, experiences and footage from the late 70s. (It’s also funny that this ESPN documentary which aired in America spends a few minutes talking about Scarborough: good luck with that Americans.) This is a fantastic 30 for 30: many Canadians know Terry Fox but many Canadians don’t know Terry Fox. Choose inspiration.

Tuesday, August 10

Stargirl: Season 2 (8 p.m. / The CW)

High school student Courtney Whitmore inspires an unlikely group of young heroes to stop the villains of the past.

Sammy Suggestion: Untold: Malice at the Palace (Anytime / Netflix)

Key figures from an infamous 2004 incident between players and fans at an NBA game in Michigan discuss the fight, its fallout and its lasting legacy.

I’m not certain about the “Untold” part when it comes to the Malice at the Palace. That was all deftly covered in the Showtime doc on Ron Artest. 2019’s Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story. Still here we go: Untold is Netflx’s attempt to battle ESPN’s 30 for 30 doc-series. For the next 4 weeks a new sports documentary will drop and it begins with Malice. If you don’t know, the brawl occurred during a game between the Indiana Pacers and the defending champion Detroit Pistons on Friday, November 19, 2004, at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (I adored that basketball venue, sad it’s no longer with us.) At first the players fought following a hard foul. However that fight spilled into the audience (I mentioned this is Detroit yes?) so now it’s NBA players fighting NBA fans. It’s wild if you’ve never seen this footage. So here we are again revisiting this melee. Choose ruckus!

Wednesday, August 11

What If…?: Season 1 (Anytime / Disney+)

“Space. Time. Reality. It’s more than a linear path.” WHAT IF…?, an Original Series from Marvel Studios, is coming Summer 2021 to #DisneyPlus.

Sammy Suggestion: The Kissing Booth 3 (Anytime / Netflix)

Determined to make the most of her final summer before college, Elle plans the ultimate bucket list as she navigates what comes next with Noah and Lee.


On May 11, 2018 Netflix dropped The Kissing Booth your garden variety teen movie. However on August 17, 2018 Netflix then dropped To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. And that I dug much more. Better characters, better actors, better soundtrack. The second Kissing Booth was a disappointing struggle and I can comfortable kiss and tell: the main actress Joey King ain’t exactly Fonzie cool. In the second movie when she asks: “Don’t you believe in charity?” and is told: “I’m standing here talking to you.” A) that’s LOL! and 2) that’s accurate. Thanks new character for speaking my truth. So now here we are: To All the Boys has sadly concluded 3 movies later. This is the third and final Kissing Booth (even if they make more this is the final movie for me…) and we got Molly Ringwald. Alright fine. Choose to kiss goodbye.

Thursday, August 12

Field of Dreams Game (6pm / Fox)

If you build it MLB will come: The White Sox and the Yankees meet on a baseball field constructed on an Iowa farm based on the 1989 Kevin Costner film in the MLB’s first-ever “Field of Dreams Game.”

Star Trek: Lower Decks: Season 2 (Anytime / Paramount+ & Crave)

Star Trek: Lower Decks focuses on the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the USS Cerritos, in 2380.

Sammy Suggestion: Titans: Season 3 (Anytime / HBO Max)

Titans follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find where they belong. In Season 3, circumstances draw our heroes to Gotham City, where they reunite with old friends and face new threats.

I’ve been enjoying the HBO Max DC shows way more than the CW shows. At the risk of sounding like a Lindsey Naegle TV executive the shows are dark, edgy and gritty; better suited to the no limits of the HBO Max medium. I really enjoyed Season 1, though I found Season 2 uneven as the kids battled Deathstroke and Dick evolved from Robin to Nightwing (spoiler?!). (What was strange was how Season 2 adapted whole chunks of the 84 comic book arc The Judas Contract. Teen Titans: The Judas Contract was an animated movie released in 2017 while the Teen Titans animated series on the Cartoon Network also adapted The Judas Contract. That’s a lotta redundancy.) All we know about Season 3 is: “the third season will follow the Titans in their journey to Gotham City, where they reunite with old friends and face new threats.” Which is really the plot of Season 1 and Season 2. Choose T shaped buildings!

Friday, August 13

Masters of Illusion (8 p.m. / The CW)

Actor Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”) hosts this mystifying series featuring escape artists, cutting-edge illusionists and talented performers.

Sammy Suggestion: Beckett (Anytime / Netflix)

An American tourist goes on the run in Greece after a tragic accident plunges him into a political conspiracy that makes him a target for assassination.

John David Washington plays an American tourist caught up in a conspiracy while vacationing in Greece. I’m not sure who or what is behind the web of conspiracy; fans of Harrison Ford’s Fugitive should enjoy this movie. Choose to join the manhunt!

(This time Washington is the one-armed man!)

(It was originally called Born to Be Murdered which was a stronger title. I wonder why Netflix changed it?)

Saturday, August 14

NFL Preseason Football: Buccaneers vs Bengals (7:30 p.m. / CBS)

10 NFL Preseason games as we kick of The 102nd season of the National Football League.

Sammy Suggestion: Just For Laughs: Showcases (Anytime / YouTube)

Hobbs has Dominic and Brian reassemble their crew to take down a team of mercenaries: Dominic unexpectedly gets sidetracked with facing his presumed deceased girlfriend, Letty.

Just for Laughs returned on July 26-31 in Montreal, NYC and LA. If you weren’t able to attend, never no worries! They’ve released some of the shows on ye olde YouTube. Below I’ve shared The Alternative Show shot in LA which features stand up sets from Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt and many others. However go to the site for additional links and showcases you can stream. Choose free jokes!

Sunday, August 15

Invisible Monsters: Serial Killers In America: Season 1 (9 p.m. / A&E)

A single narrative exploring the perfect storm of what was happening in culture, communications, law enforcement, media, forensics, and technology that allowed them to proliferate and evade capture.

Sammy Suggestion: The History of the Sitcom (9/8c PM / CNN)

History of the Sitcom reunites audiences with the television friends, families, and co-workers they grew up with while introducing cutting-edge comedies that are sure to be your next binge-watch.

Part 7 of the 8 part History of the Sitcom is called: Freaks, Geeks & Outsiders. You don’t want to wiggle your nose at this description: “Aliens, geeks, monsters, immigrants, witches… the fresh perspective of sitcom fish-out-of-water give us funny new insights into the ever-changing face of America.” Oh! Hopefully this episode covers Mork and Mindy; that’s utter gold! Choose funny aliens!


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

212 | Robert Watson (Courtyard Comedy)

My Summer Lair Chapter #212: Are You Ready To Welcome Back Live Comedy?!

Yo welcome to My Summer Lair I’m your host Sammy “AF” Younan and for today’s episode we’re gonna breakdown just what AF stands for.

The F for example could stand for As Fun…because you’re invited to some comedy fun! 

Gay AF Comedy in association with Campbell House Museum present Courtyard Comedy: an outdoor physically distanced summer comedy series of four shows, taking place Saturday afternoons in August 2021 in the Campbell House gardens at the downtown corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue. 

Or the AF could stand for Fantastic…As Fantastic…because Courtyard Comedy is hosted by Robert Watson whose business card reads: “playwright, performer, fragrance aficionado and producer of queer comedy shows.”  

Which is what Courtyard Comedy is…another gay comedy showcase. So if the F stands for Foreign…As Foreign…because you have had limited exposure to this distinctive comedy scene; never no worries Robert Watson will take us on a Universal Studios tour.

It will be nice to have live comedy every Saturday in August. Whew.

On March 11, 2020 the NBA suspended the regular season and that officially big banged a significant lockdown: the movies, comedy clubs, sports, concerts and more all went dark for months. As creators find a way to resume live experiences it’s imperative, we don’t take them (or their talents) for granted. To return to live shows is to spark gratitude and joy. What an incredibly inspiring invitation to participate either as a guest or as a performer. It’s fresh, right?

So this time the F stands for Fresh: As Fresh.

Gay AF @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Wednesday August 4, 2021 at 3:30pm (EST)

#CouchWorthy: Untold: So I’m Telling You (Also Music Box on HBO)

Netflix is all in on creating a 30 for 30.

When ESPN started 30 for 30 like a hundred years ago (seriously Volume 1 started on October 6, 2009; how long ago does that feel to you?) there was nothing like it. I eagerly watched all of em and discovered sweet docs like The Two Escobars. I didn’t know many of those sports stories plus the docs were compelling and generally well done.

It was all good in the hood.

Now years later HBO is cranking out sports docs, Netflix as you can see has RSVPed to the party, Showtime has great offerings, (Showtime has the upcoming Kevin Garnett doc dropping this November…so IN for that.), YouTube…so now I’m starting to get picky.

I can’t watch all of this; nor do I want to. I run this risk of overlooking hidden gems like The Two Escobars but so be it.

Everyone’s pop culture is just as defined by what they haven’t consumed as they are by what is their jam.

Long winded way to confess: I’ll get around to watching Untold: Malice at the Palace though again that was all deftly covered in the Showtime doc on Ron Artest. 2019’s Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story. I dug that doc; better than Showtime’s The Resurgence: DeMarcus Cousins.

As for the rest of Untold…I’m like eh…maybe. I’m sure the docs are fine and I don’t know any of these stories but I’m also good.

Here’s the trailer; note the Volume 1:

Caitlyn Jenner I vaguely know as an Olympian but there’s no captivating story there. I dunno who Christy Martin (boxing) and Mardy Fish (tennis) are and I accept that’s the reason for their documentaries. Still hard to muster any enthusiasm up for that. The last one has potential: a hockey team bought by a man with mob ties. I could possibly watch Untold: Crime & Penalties on August 31st.

On the flipside HBO announced Music Box…that’s their 30 for 30 but all music related.

I already saw Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage which was an embarrassing tragedy and I’m talking about the documentary.

Coming up they got Jagged about the Alanis album Jagged Little Pill, Listening to Kenny G (eh…maybe again…show me a trailer), Untitled DMX and Untitled Juice WRLD. I’d be up for the last two for sure.

Their trailer:

Here’s an article describing Music Box for more details…

While here’s the Untold series…see if there’s any interest for these.

In the meantime I am curious about Netflix’s Naomi Osaka docuseries but 3 parts at 45 minutes each is a lot of commitment. I dunno if she’s done enough and won enough to justify 3 parts.

Tiger Woods and Tom Brady though…they are clearly winners and need a Last Dance badly. How can we make that happen?


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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