Welcome to Haddonfield, Illinois: Halloween

So yeah SiriusXM has this horror channel Scream Radio whose programming includes popular mainstream hits (Thriller!), beloved sound effects and of course scary score music like the iconic Halloween theme song.

I drop by the channel every so often because tis the season. Today though I caught the beginning of Carpenter’s Halloween theme song. At first I was like oh hell no and I reached out to the dial but I paused before switching away.

Then I pulled my hand away.

Partly to face my fears: tis the season right?

But really I was driving and I’ve never heard that song while driving. Driving defines a lot of popular music: there’s something about that action of getting in your car even if you’re just driving to the dentist that makes a song truly pop. Especially in the Summer…windows down system up.

Sometimes when I hear a brand new song I think it’s fun but I wanna hear it while I’m driving. Driving is like melted cheese. I dunno why but it just makes it taste better. And road trips are of course synonymous with playlists.

So feeling as dumb as the big breasted chick in a tight white tank top going down to investigate that strange sound from the basement I left the Halloween theme song on.

Only I was driving through suburban neighborhoods. Through 2 school zones which meant slowing down. This chilled wind sailed through the trees plucking Fall tinted leaves so they swirled in the air in large sweeping circles like a drunk Superman. A young lady was out for a walk with her dog…it was all normal and yet so eerie…cruising. Driving slowly through the hood.

It felt way too menacing.

Fun Fact? “John Carpenter showed Halloween to an executive before it was finished. He showed the movie without the music. The executive didn’t find it to be scary at all. After the film was released, and she saw it, she changed her mind, an indication of how much Carpenter’s score adds to the film’s atmosphere.”

Nah man that was unsettling like eating slightly spoiled Subway. I now understand why a tagline for the 78 original was: “everyone is entitled to one good scare.” Indeed. Never doing that again even if it’s tis the season.

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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.

A Child’s Play With His Father…

Watching live TV: My Dad came across Chucky TV show commercials…he’s never been a fan of magic or ventriloquism or horror. He sighed.

So I RSVPed this opportunity to make him feel better: “Oh: it’s not ventriloquism! Chucky is a doll imbued with the maniacal soul of a serial killer.”

A beat.

As we go through life we all have moments where we say things out loud we wish we could take back. Sometimes even as we’re saying em. I misread the situation…this was clearly NOT a teaching moment.

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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.

223 | Siddhartha Khosla (Only Murders in the Building)

My Summer Lair Chapter #223: What’s Your Favourite TV Show Theme?

If you have watched NBC’s This Is Us or more specifically for this My Summer Lair conversation Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building you have heard (and most likely enjoyed) Siddhartha Khosla’s music.

He is the film and television composer, singer/songwriter, and producer of the critically acclaimed band, Goldspot.

His other sonic TV credits include Nancy Drew, Love Victor, Marvel’s Runaways and the usual…lots more.

Only Murders in the Building is so fun: basically Steve Martin and Martin Short are old and thus can solve “Only Murders in the Building.” Heh all that crime and grit in NYC and for them it’s limited to their building. Which thankfully is stuffed with quirky weirdos. Their madcap antics are joined by Selena Gomez who does her best to keep the old dudes in line.

All of their sleuthing is deftly scored by Siddhartha’s music who I refer to as a sonic character. Like a boomerang certain themes continue to circle back and if you listen closely you’ll hear clues.

As we talked Season 2 of Only Murders in the Building is being shot right now; expect that soon. In America you can check it out on Hulu; in Canada on Disney Plus.

So dope it got to Season 2: coming out June 28, 2022.

I wanted to do some detective work to know how this fantastic soundtrack came together and connect with the individual who fashioned it. Here is my conversation with the soundtrack composer Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building.

Siddhartha Khosla @ W T F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Monday December 13, 2021 at 11:30am EST

Stress free pop culture tastefully harvested for your divine delight. Once a week a carefully curated edition of My Pal Sammy goes directly to your inbox. Sign up for my newsletter because the F in FOMO doesn’t stand for Fun.

#SetTheVCR: October 25 – 31, 2021

We have lots of TV recommendations but ah…if you’re not watching horror movies this time of year is that really a good life decision?! This is that special time of year when you should be exploring that strange sound…in the basement…with a faulty flashlight. Oh Yes.

Monday, October 25

Scary Movie 1-5 (Anytime / Crave via Starz)

SCARY MOVIE is an American film series that comprises five parody films mainly focusing on spoofing horror films.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Thing (Anytime / Crave via Starz)

In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims.
~~~~

It’s Clobberin’ Time! John Carpenter’s horror-sci-fi classic The Thing surfaces up onto Crave via Starz. You know the story by now: “A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.” Something horrible happened at a Norwegian research station so of course Americans go in to investigate. Years later this tense movie where reality cannot be trusted plays out like a long X-Files episode (indeed Kurt Russell would have made a great FBI agent on that show…Keith David as well. He’d go on to make a number of remarkable horror/sci-fi movies.). The Thing was a classic late night cable stumble…if you were flipping through channels you would stop if you found this movie. It doesn’t matter what scene. Carpenter’s Classic is in the Late Night Cable Hall of Fame…along with The Shining, Blacula, They Live and many more. Oh and enjoy all the pre-CGI effects. (Fun Fact: “A tradition in British Antarctic research stations to watch The Thing as part of their Midwinter feast and celebration held every June 21.”)

Tuesday, October 26

The Last O.G.: Season 4 (10 p.m. / TBS)

Tray (Tracy Morgan) is an ex-con who is shocked to see just how much the world has changed when he is released from prison for good behavior after a 15-year stint.
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Sammy Suggestion: World Series: Astros vs Braves Game 1 (7:30pm / Fox)

The Atlanta Braves take on the Houston Astros in MLB’s Game 1 of the 2021 World Series.
~~~~

The World Series begins tonight! I’m not a baseball guy so I’ve no skin in this game. However the World Series in October is a classic American tradition and it’s back in its proper form. The 2020 World Series was played at a neutral site in Texas; after a strange COVID impacted season. It’s another comforting sign we’re moving past the pandemic; the NBA started at the correct time; the NFL season is rolling along and fans are in the buildings for all of these games. Sports with all the heartbreak and joy and highlights and gritty competition and victories and defeats is back. And it’s glorious. This World Series will be between the Braves vs Astros. That’s all I know. Games start at 7:30pm and will be on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday as well.

Wednesday, October 27

Marvel Studios: Assembled – The Making Of What If…? (Anytime / Disney+)

ASSEMBLED is a comprehensive series of documentary-style specials streaming on Disney+ that chronicles the creation of Marvel Studios’ thrilling new shows and theatrical releases.
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Sammy Suggestion: Behind the Monsters: Season 1 (Anytime / Shudder)

A docu-series that takes a deep dive on the origins and outsized pop culture influence of six of the most famous monsters of modern horror: Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Candyman, Chucky and Pinhead. Featuring interviews with horror experts and the writers, directors and actors from the original films that made each character the stuff of genre legends.
~~~~

Shudder’s premiere of Behind the Monsters…yo! This series deep dives into the backstories of Freddy, Jason, Chucky, Michael…Pinhead. Think of it like Behind The Music for classic horror-movie icons. Oh so making a tea for this.

Thursday, October 28

Night of The Living Dead (1968) (Anytime / Crave via Starz)

A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a horde of flesh-eating ghouls that are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.
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Sammy Suggestion: Hypnotic (Anytime / Netflix)

Feeling stuck both personally and professionally, Jenn turns to a mysterious hypnotherapist for help, only to find herself caught in a deadly mind game.
~~~~

“A young woman seeking self-improvement enlists the help of a renowned hypnotist…” stop right there! Evil hypnotism? Oh I’m in. While this won’t be as political (hypnotism) as The Manchurian Candidate or as frightening (hypnotism) as Stir of Echoes it’s manipulative (hypnotism) which makes it as epic as Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. I ah…find this mesmerizing genre hypnotic.

Friday, October 29

Army of Thieves (Anytime / Netflix)

In this prequel to “Army of the Dead,” a mysterious woman recruits bank teller Dieter to help her crew crack three legendary safes across Europe.
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Sammy Suggestion: Roy Wood Jr.: Imperfect Messenger (10:30 p.m. / Comedy Central)

Roy Wood Jr’s third stand-up special for Comedy Central.
~~~~

Roy Wood Jr.’s latest comedy special is tonight on Comedy Central following Father Figure (from 2017 and my favourite special) and No One Loves You (2019). This is the fantastic comic who has given outstanding bits about Chicken Nuggets (yes), the white tour guide at the Black History Museum (more yes) and so much more. What differentiates Roy’s comedy is the Southern Flavour…dude’s got family from Alabama. (I’m not sure I can fully unpack all the cultural connotations of the catfish references but I dig that he sprinkles that in as part of his act.) This should be a good night. (No trailer so here is the Black History Museums bit…)

Saturday, October 30

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Anytime / Crave & HBO Max)

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren take on one of the most sensational cases of their careers after a cop stumbles upon a dazed and bloodied young man walking down the road. Accused of murder, the suspect claims demonic possession as his defense, forcing the Warrens into a supernatural inquiry unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.
~~

Sammy Suggestion: Dawn of the Dead (2004) (Anytime / Crave via Starz)

A gripping, gory remake of the cult horror classic: the undead walk the earth as flesh-eating zombies, trapping a disparate group of desperate people in a suburban shopping mall.
~~~~

Behold Zack Snyder’s masterpiece: and one of my all time favourite horror movies (Top 5 for sure). Dawn of the Dead is of course a remake of George A. Romero’s 1978 horror film of the same name. One of the rare times a remake is superior to the original. Snyder’s version is an improvement over its predecessor in terms of acting, production value and even scares. Probably helps that James Gunn wrote the screenplay. Even the cast is better than the original: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Ty Burrell, and Mekhi Phifer, Tom Savini, and Ken Foree. And another notable contribution to the zombie genre…running zombies. Romero’s zombies shuffled, Michael Jackson’s zombies danced but Snyder’s zombies ran…fast. (We’d later see 2013’s World War Z build on that combining the zombie speed with the herd mentality. Synder triumphantly returned to running zombies with Army of the Dead though that time he gave some zombies intelligence.) Tis the season right?

Sunday, October 31

The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth: Season 6 (8 pm / Showtime & Crave)

Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the stories behind the headlines.
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Sammy Suggestion: Horror Bonanza Dealer’s Choice!! (Anytime / Your Channel…You Pick!)

It’s Halloween. Go nuts, get freaked out.
~~~~

Dealer’s Choice! Every streamer…from Netflix to Shudder to Hulu to Crave to you name it is overflowing with horror movies. You can watch a classic from the 80s, you can enjoy a slasher or engage a modern thriller. You can do a marathon or you can confront your fears and watch a horror movie from your childhood that terrified you. This era of the streamers benefits Halloween so much and so well. Horror movies are often so fun because they allow us to voice our fears: it’s okay to be scared. When they’re done well (and sometimes when they’re not done well…) the captivating eerie tension places you in the moment. We tend to live the bulk of our lives dwelling on the past or focusing on the future: horror movies let you be present. It’s a wonderful gift. Savour this free gift like full sized chocolate bars from that good house every trick or treater hits up. If you need recommendations I’m on all the socials @mysummerlair but you so got this! Enjoy. Have an Happy Halloween.

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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.

222 | Jeff Sinasac (Stop the Saturnians!)

My Summer Lair Chapter #222: How Do You Stop The Saturnians?

You may know Jeff Sinasac as a Nerdy Troy McClure…as an actor he has popped up in Season 4 of Killyjoys, Season 3 of Titans, Season 2 of The Boys and Code 8. Or you may know him as the writer and director of Red Spring an apocalypse pitting survivors against mutated vampires. Well now he’s back with another apocalypse this one is a video game!

Stop the Saturnians! is available on Steam as of February 18, 2022.

This is a classic style arcade video game…our My Summer Lair conversation references Missile Command, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Galaga, Centipedes and of course the classic never out of style: Atari 2600.

If you Die Humanity Dies…the pressure is on in this video game. Are you up to the challenge?

Check it out. It’s so fun to go back to a classic arcade style video game. Lemme know what your high score is or how many levels you successfully complete. Are you able to save humanity?

This text scene of exposition is over so let’s get into the conversation with Jeff and let’s learn how we can we Stop the Saturnians!

Jeff Sinasac @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Saturday December 18, 2021 at Noon EST

Stress free pop culture tastefully harvested for your divine delight. Once a week a carefully curated edition of My Pal Sammy goes directly to your inbox. Sign up for my newsletter because the F in FOMO doesn’t stand for Fun.

#SetTheVCR: October 18 – 24, 2021

We got horror, we got NBA, we got Jazz we got an incredible #SetTheVCR bursting with dope recommendations.

Monday, October 18

Spiral: From the Book of Saw (Anytime / Crave via Starz)

Working in the shadow of his father, Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks and his rookie partner take charge of an investigation into grisly murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.
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Sammy Suggestion: NBA Today (3 PM / ESPN 2 & TSN)

NBA Today will provide in-depth, comprehensive daily coverage of all aspects of the NBA.
~~~~

In 2016 ESPN introduced The Jump, a daily discussion show created by Rachel Nichols to cover the NBA. I prefer broader NBA TV shows like The Jump as they cover a variety of topics rather than local news all hyper focused on the home team. Unfortunately this past Summer ESPN has undergone a mid-life crisis that has affected its programming. After 10 years Highly Questionable was cancelled, First Take underwent cosmetic surgery, Max Kellerman launched This Just In and The Jump was cancelled on October 8. However if you’re an avid comic book reader you know nothing ever stays dead and from the ashes of The Jump comes NBA Today hosted by Malika Andrews. Same NBA games, same studio and same time as The Jump with many of the same analysts Kendrick Perkins, Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, Ramona Shelburne etc. So basically God closes a door but he opens a window? (Please note for American viewers today’s episode will be on ESPN 2 and tomorrow’s on ESPN. For Canadians it’s on 3 of the 4 TSN channels…pick one.)

Tuesday, October 19

Chucky: Season 1 (10pm / Showcase)

An idyllic American town is thrown into chaos after a vintage ‘Good Guy’ doll turns up at a suburban yard sale. Soon, everyone must grapple with a series of horrifying murders that begin to expose the town’s deep hypocrisies and hidden secrets. Meanwhile, friends and foes from Chucky’s past creep back into his world and threaten to expose the truth behind his mysterious origins as a seemingly ordinary child who somehow became this notorious monster.
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Sammy Suggestion: TNT Doubleheader: Nets at Bucks; Warriors at Lakers (6pm / TNT)

It’s Open Season for the NBA, starting with Nets vs Bucks and Warriors vs Lakers.
~~~~

The NBA has properly returned to a full 82-game regular season in its normal mid-October to mid-April schedule for the first time since the 2018–19 NBA season. Yes! The regular season will start tonight with 2 games on TNT via Inside The NBA. Easily The Gold Standard of NBA broadcasting. The 2022 NBA All-Star Game will be played in Cleveland on February 20, 2022. The playoffs will begin on April 16, 2022. The Finals are set to commence on June 2nd 2022. This will be the first season for Wilson as manufacturer and supplier of official NBA game balls, replacing Spalding. Oh Boy. And even though this is the 76th NBA season this year will feature a variety of 75th Anniversary celebrations including a list of the 75 greatest players in league history (The NBA did this back in 1996 with the 50 greatest players in NBA history.) And this season will feature notable anniversary games such as the Raptors facing off against the Knicks on November 1, 2021, being 75 years to the date of the first game in NBA history. Which at the time featured the Toronto Huskies and New York Knicks at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Knicks won by 2: 68 to Toronto’s 66.) So let’s get the NBA party started shall we? Here’s a nerdy fun video of what you can expect from teams like the Warriors this year.

Wednesday, October 20

Marvel Studios: Assembled – The Making Of Black Widow (Anytime / Disney+)

Assembled is a comprehensive documentary series that chronicles the creation of Marvel Studios’ thrilling new shows and theatrical releases. Assembled is an immersive, and in-depth examination of the next phase of the MCU.
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Sammy Suggestion: 50 States of Fright: Seasons 1-2 (Anytime / The Roku Channel)

Explores stories based on urban legends from different places in the United States, taking viewers deeper into the horrors that lurk just beneath the surface.
~~~~

I broke up with Supernatural fairly early on. As the show was no longer able to satisfy my horror needs. The first season was exactly what I was seeking from a horror tv show. Set in all kinds of off the map American locations like Lost Creek, Colorado (X-Files did that so good too! So many odd settings.) Sam and Dean and Baby would investigate and often “effectively resolve” urban legends such as Wendigo, Bloody Mary and Hook Man. Yes! Thankfully, Sam Raimi’s 50 States of Fright mirrors that first season of Supernatural’s classic Americana . As you can guess from the title we’re road tripping into America’s darkness. The Red Rum episode is about the Colorado urban legend that inspired The Overlook Hotel. Grey Cloud Island is “one of the most haunted places in Minnesota.” You’ll also recognize a variety of faces in front of the camera (Christina Ricci, Asa Butterfield, Ron Livingston etc.) and behind the camera ( A Quiet Place writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, Sam Raimi is also directing etc.). Originally a Quibi TV show in January 2021 Roku acquired Quibi’s 75-show library and 50 States has been rolled out as part of the Roku Channel’s Freakout Friday Halloween/October line up

Thursday, October 21

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Anytime / HBO Max)

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren take on one of the most sensational cases of their careers after a cop stumbles upon a dazed and bloodied young man walking down the road. Accused of murder, the suspect claims demonic possession as his defense, forcing the Warrens into a supernatural inquiry unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.
~~

Sammy Suggestion: Introducing, Selma Blair (Anytime / Discovery+)

Discovery+’s INTRODUCING, SELMA BLAIR is director Rachel Fleit’s deeply intimate and powerful feature of one woman’s journey of personal acceptance and resilience, which follows the singular actress as she reckons with the next chapter of her life after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
~~~~

I mostly know Selma Blair from the excellent Hellboy movies. Though famous, I don’t know anything about her. Now thanks to this documentary I know she has multiple sclerosis. Which sadly means she joins the celebrity ranks of Christopher Reeve and of course Michael J. Fox. She was diagnosed in August 2018, though this documentary reveals she was ill long before then. “Since my son was born I haven’t been okay,” she says. For years, she had symptoms that went unchecked. Clearly this won’t be a movie with a Hollywood ending…a triumphant Blair conquering her illness. A rather somber recommendation though a vital one for the access and perspective it provides. Because while a handful of famous folks have MS it is a disease that harms many people. And it can be hard to give those experiences the vital language to discuss what is happening and how things are changing.

Friday, October 22

Voyagers (Anytime / Prime Video)

Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, and Colin Farrell star in this gripping sci-fi thriller about a crew of astronauts setting off for a new planet-a journey that descends into chaos.
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Sammy Suggestion: Invasion: Season 1 (Anytime / Apple TV+)

For centuries, humans have searched the skies for signs of intelligent life…to no avail. But what if the explanation lies in the fact that aliens were already here…already among us? And what if all of the natural disasters were smokescreens designed to mask something far more ominous?
~~~~

It’s time to extinguish humanity. I wanna see humans lose one of these alien invasions. It’s Time. Remember how M Night’s Signs was a movie about an alien invasion but hyper focused on a family on a farm in upstate Pennsylvania? Invasion is like that (an alien invasion is seen through the different perspectives of various people on different continents across the world.) but bigger: the budget was rumoured to be around $200 million. (Please Note the series premieres with a three-episode release, then the remaining seven episodes will be released weekly; 10 episodes in total.) Go aliens go!

Saturday, October 23

Uninterrupted: Northern Ties (Anytime / Crave)

The all-new original documentary, NORTHERN TIES, profiles the rising Canadian talent in the NFL, while celebrating the strong ties between the players and their home country.
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Sammy Suggestion: Locke & Key: Season 2 (Anytime / Netflix)

After their dad’s murder, three siblings move with their mom to his ancestral estate, where they discover magical keys that unlock powers — and secrets.
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I’ve been yelled at by aggressive nerds for not reading the Locke & Key comics. Eh…well now I don’t hafta, right? Written by Joe Hill, Locke & Key is illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez and published by IDW Publishing. So while I can’t say how the TV show has veered away from the comics; I can attest Season 1 was a lot of fun. “Locke & Key revolves around three siblings who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Massachusetts only to find the house has magical keys that give them a vast array of powers and abilities. Little do they know, a devious demon entity also wants the keys, and will stop at nothing to attain them.” The show is like a Tim Burton movie (maybe Big Fish?) meets The House with a Clock in Its Walls. Also? Netflix took the pressure off viewers and the show has already been renewed for Season 3 so watch at your own pace.

Sunday, October 24

The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth: Season 6 (8 pm / Showtime & Crave)

Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the stories behind the headlines.
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Sammy Suggestion: Oscar Peterson: Black + White (Anytime / Crave)

Director Barry Avrich’s affectionate celebration of Canada’s greatest jazz musician situates the master pianist in the genre’s pantheon.
~~~~

And now a little jazz for your Sunday viewing pleasure. Oscar Peterson: Black + White played at TIFF this year and was warmly welcomed. Oscar Peterson was (sadly he died in 2007) a freshtastic jazz pianist and just an incredible force. Over 200 recordings, thousands of concerts and a fruitful career that lasted over 60 years. So he’s properly being recognized for his life and his music. I hope this is the first of many Oscar Peterson documentaries; it’s hard to underscore just how good he was. Directed by Barry Avrich who gave us similar compelling Canadian profiles such as David Foster: Off the Record (2019) and Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life of Garth Drabinsky (2012). (He’s actually a prolific documentary filmmaker and writer having written a handful of books.) Black + White features interviews with and performances of his music by Billy Joel, Jon Batiste, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Denzal Sinclaire and many more. Whew. Oh I’m so making a tea for this one.

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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: Captain Kirk Takes Up Social Media Space…

Mission Captain Kirk In Space!

Dave Chappelle!

The Black Phone! Brew a strong tea: yo!


The First Yo of The Day.

“We’re leaving together

But still it’s farewell

And maybe we’ll come back

To earth, who can tell?

I guess there is no one to blame

We’re leaving ground

Will things ever be the same again?

It’s The Final Countdown!”


Final Countdown SpiderMan.jpg

Library People

The city is is opening so slooowly.

We need to pick this up. Let’s Go!

It doesn’t matter what people’s comfort levels are: let em stay home and grumble on Twitter.

Keep opening up especially for dynamic services such as the Toronto Public Library.

Let’s get this back on track. Starting this coming Sunday, October 17, many library branches will be open on Sundays from 1:30-5:00 pm.


Don’t Deny Others Pop Culture…Life?

Netflix trans employees plan to stage a walkout next week as per the Verge and Bloomberg (the company will also host activist Alok Vaid-Menon next week. I dunno what that is but I am not gonna Google it.) Why? Of course Dave Chappelle’s comedy (I’ll say it for those in the back: COMEDY) special The Closer.

(What happened to the 80s stance of shut up and change the channel?! Change the channel was a simple recognition that this TV show…comedy special was not made for me. Move along…nothing to see here.)

We did all this before: on March 6, 2020 Hachette workers walked out in protest of Woody Allen’s excellent memoir. (It still got published. Highly Recommended Reading.) That was wrong; this is no different.

Always stand by The Creators.

They’re the ones who endlessly bless us with pop culture and with life and happiness!


Captain Kirk Went To Space

William Shatner attempting to explain seeing Earth from space is called The Overview Effect.

“The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space.”

The more we all go to space the more we shift; the more we shift the more than that benefits environmental causes and dilutes the poison of Twitter. So grateful for the billionaire space race: fresh hope for humanity.

Shout out and much thanks to everyone who purchased something from Amazon to fund Jeff Bezos’ wealth and give us this freshtastic moment. Well Done; Well Won. Hope, yo! #SpaceIsThePlace

And yes I know it’s only 9 minutes but dude’s 90! We still don’t know the impact of seniors in space. Even if Space Cowboys came out 21 years ago. This is a good test; build on this data.

Plus you wanna hear a senior complain for hours: “I’m cold!”

“Are we there yet?”

“Where? I can’t see it where is the Earth?!”

That’s gotta be fun to go to space. Even briefly. William Shatner has led an incredible life. Even if you acknowledge T.J. Hooker.


Canada VS UBI

Canada needs to catch up on a lot of things.

UBI is just a good logical start.

What a waste of a recent election.


Is Clickbait All We’re Gonna Net from Kyrie Irving?!

We went through all of this with Kaepernick.

Many elaborate bloggers posing as journalists cranked out shallow referendums, lukewarm POVs, clickbait and utterly inferior writing. Kaepernick generated a pop culture hot mess that was loud on personality; short on facts an overwhelming obnoxious experience.

Now in 2021 Look how much utter junk Kyrie Irving has created: junk hashtags, junk posts, junk lies etc.

“Multiple sources with direct knowledge of Kyrie Irving’s decision have told The Athletic that Irving is not anti-vaccine and that his stance is that he is upset that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates.”

So here we are. Kyrie Irving’s only responsibility is to his team: End of Story. Case Closed.


#SetTheVCR: The NHL??

The burgeoning Americana of the NHL makes it oddly compelling.

Why would anyone sit through a Calgary Flames game after this?!

Sports fans don’t pay for an #NHL game or an NBA game.


#TrailerAlert: The Black Phone

Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill who gave us Sinister (and Doctor Strange!) have returned with The Black Phone.

This trailer looks good like food. It’s Joe Hill story adaptation…he’s a hack writer so hopefully Cargill improved the writing.

February 4, 2022 and I’m 100% IN.

(Ethan Hawke has had a strange career. A great one for sure but man the movies that dude decides to make are always worth a look. Brad Pitt has cranked out some strange movies (12 Monkeys etc.) but for the most part nobody is this good, this weird and this consistent as Ethan Hawke.) #FearPee


#SetTheVCR Meets New Book Alert: Welcome Netflix Book Club

I dunno who Uzo Aduba is so it’s hard to have any hope she’ll do a good job with Netflix Book Club.

Oprah’s totally obnoxious but at least she spoon feeds books to people. “Open Wide!”

If this gets more people reading and benefits good writers then this marketing propaganda is worth it.

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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.

221 | Kat Rosenfield (No One Will Miss Her)

My Summer Lair Chapter #221: Are You Going To Miss Her?

Welcome back Kat Rosenfield to My Summer Lair!

The last time Kat visited My Summer Lair we discussed her novel A Trick of Light co-written with Stan Lee as one of his final projects. That was a thriller with a sci-fi bent; this time she has a thriller with a murder mystery bent. Oh snap!

Kat’s latest novel is No One Will Miss Her. The back of of the novel reads in part: “A smart, witty, crackling novel of psychological suspense in which a girl from a hardscrabble small town meets a gorgeous Instagram influencer from the big city, with a murderous twist that will shock even the most savvy reader.”

Indeed! Even M Night wishes he had a shovel because he would dig this twist.

oooooo!

A quote from Page 55 of No One Will Miss Her: “But I was too slow. Too stupid. Too innocent to understand that we live in a world where some people like to stomp on little things—and where they’d tell you afterward that what they had done was a sort of kindness.”

Oh dear. Let’s investigate Kat Rosenfield’s No One Will Miss Her; of course we’ll conduct this My Summer Lair investigation…by the book.

Kat Rosenfield @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday December 14, 2021 at 11:30am (EST)

Stress free pop culture tastefully harvested for your divine delight. Once a week a carefully curated edition of My Pal Sammy goes directly to your inbox. Sign up for my newsletter because the F in FOMO doesn’t stand for Fun.

#SetTheVCR: October 11 – 17, 2021

Horror is heating up and the TV recommendations are piling up like a slasher’s body count. It’s October and it’s #SetTheVCR the most magical magic time of the year.

Monday, October 11

Now Screaming: Scary Movies on Prime Video (Anytime / Prime Video)

Amazon Prime Video is highlighting all their best horror content in one collection
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Sammy Suggestion: Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (9 p.m. / Showcase)

Follows the early adventures of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Ashley Zukerman, Succession), who must solve a series of deadly puzzles to save his kidnapped mentor and thwart a chilling global conspiracy.
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Did you like The Da Vinci Code book or movie? Good: it doesn’t matter. This is young Robert Langdon who is hired by the CIA to solve a number of deadly puzzles when his mentor goes missing. It’s all adapted from Dan Brown’s 2009 novel The Lost Symbol. Ashley Zukerman is Robert Langdon. If you don’t know the name you’ll know the face: “Oh That Guy!” This premiered on September 16, 2021 on Peacock in America and comes to Canada today (which makes sense it was all shot here in Toronto.). More streamers means more IP right?

Tuesday, October 12

The Movies That Made Us: Season 3 (Anytime / Netflix)

Actors Dan Aykroyd and Daniel Stern and directors Ivan Reitman and Chris Columbus, among others, look back at the hits.
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Sammy Suggestion: Chucky: Season 1 (10 p.m. / SYFY & USA Network )

You’ve got a playdate with your friend ’til the end. An idyllic American town is thrown into chaos after a vintage ‘Good Guy’ doll turns up at a suburban yard sale. Soon, everyone must grapple with a series of horrifying murders that begin to expose the town’s deep hypocrisies and hidden secrets.
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I’m curious because I dunno how this can come and play out: the murderous doll is gonna kill people for 10 episodes?! This TV show serves as a sequel to Cult of Chucky, the seventh film in the Child’s Play franchise. Brad Dourif is the voice of Chucky and Tiffany Valentine, Chucky’s former lover and partner in crime is also back. “After a vintage Chucky doll turns up at a suburban yard sale, an idyllic American town is thrown into chaos as a series of horrifying murders begin to expose the town’s hypocrisies and secrets.” Well: that makes sense. (Please Note: for Canadian viewers this’ll debut on Showcase on October 19, 2021)

Wednesday, October 13

Apollo: Back To The Moon: Season 1 (Anytime / Disney+)

In the late 1960s, the United States space program neared its goal of landing a man on the Moon, but it was a journey that began years before. This is the story of Project Apollo – 12 years, 12 manned-missions, one impossible goal. With rare archival footage and audio, this remarkable documentary sheds new light on an incredible time in human history.
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Sammy Suggestion: Dopesick: Limited Series (Anytime / Hulu)

Examines how one company triggered the worst drug epidemic in American history. The series takes viewers to the epicenter of America’s struggle with opioid addiction, from the boardrooms of Big Pharma, to a distressed Virginia mining community, to the hallways of the DEA.
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Hulu has given a straight-to-series order to Dopesick, an eight-episode limited series based on Beth Macy’s bestselling book of course about the tragic Opioid addiction that devastated America. Barry Levinson directed the limited series which stars Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Rosario Dawson (Trevor Long plays Rudy Giuliani I’m curious to see how he pulls that off.). These are the types of one word title projects where Michael Keaton shines: Worth, Spotlight, (The) Founder. This is a fictional recreation of how one company triggered one of the worst drug epidemics in American history. 

Thursday, October 14

Another Life: Season 2 (Anytime / Netflix)

After a massive alien artifact lands on Earth, Niko Breckinridge leads an interstellar mission to track down its source and make first contact.
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Sammy Suggestion: Horror Noire: Season 1 (Anytime / Shudder)

Delving into a century of genre films that by turns utilized, caricatured, exploited, sidelined, and finally embraced them, Horror Noire traces the untold history of Black Americans in Hollywood through their connection to the horror genre.
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In 2019 I had the distinct pleasure to check out Shudder’s horror documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror at TIFF Lightbox. (I wish we made more horror docs…). Horror Noire explored the relationship between African-American history and the evolution of horror movies; and was filled with interviews with Keith David, Tony Todd, Ernest Dickerson and many others. It’s an excellent documentary and worth checking out on Shudder. Of course this is horror, nothing stays dead. Horror Noire: Uncut a six-episode podcast premiered on Shudder on February 7, 2020. And now Shudder is releasing an original anthology series that will showcase 6 more horror stories from Black directors and screenwriters. (Blacula was previously covered in the doc. Super cheezy; super dope Black horror movie. If that’s on Shudder you need to check that out.)

Friday, October 15

You: Season 3 (Anytime / Netflix)

A dangerously charming, intensely obsessive young man goes to extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of those he is transfixed by.
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Sammy Suggestion: Day of the Dead: Season 1 (10 p.m. / SYFY & CTV Sci-Fi Channel)

DAY OF THE DEAD follows a group of strangers trying to survive the first 24 hours of an undead invasion. This ode to George A. Romero’s famous flesh-eaters reminds us that sometimes all it takes to bring people together is a horde of hungry zombies trying to rip them apart.
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Did you enjoy PG: Psycho Goreman? It’s a fantastic I dunno what that is…sci-fi horror comedy thriller? Something…excellent. Steven Kostanski directed that bizarre movie and here he’s directing 4 of the season’s 10 episodes. Day of the Dead is a 1985 zombie movie; the third in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series. In the movie the zombie apocalypse has ravaged the entire world, with zombies outnumbering humans 400,000 to 1. That sucks. The TV show takes a more local approach where the dead begin to rise in Manihawken, Pennsylvania. Now six strangers must try to survive the first 24 hours of an undead invasion. (I’ve seen reports that the first 24 hours of the outbreak covers the entire 10-episodes: so like 2 hours and a bit is revealed in each episode? If true, that’s an intriguing premise.) Steven Kostanski is more than just a director; he’s also got a makeup/special effects background so expect some GQ good looking zombies. (Please Note: this will air on SYFY for Americans and on CTV Sci-Fi in Canada same date and time.)

Saturday, October 16

Sherlock: Series 2 (Anytime / CBC Gem)

Sherlock is back with Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson in three new stories. In A Scandal in Belgravia, The Hounds of Baskerville, and the penultimate The Reichenbach Falls.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Velvet Underground (Anytime / Apple TV+)

Experience the iconic rock band’s legacy in the first major documentary to tell their story. Directed with the era’s avant-garde spirit by Todd Haynes, this kaleidoscopic oral history combines exclusive interviews with dazzling archival footage.
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The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in New York City in 1964. That seems like a straightforward explanation of who they were. What they are is far more complicated. They served as the house band at Andy Warhol’s collective The Factory; he became their manager in 1966 and designed album covers for them. They experienced little commercial success; were critically reviled and basically had no hits. And yet…yet you know how this story goes: music fans eventually caught up to the band. They seeded punk rock and even touches of new wave music. By 2004 “ the Velvet Underground were ranked number 19 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.” How did we get here? Hence a documentary directed by Todd Haynes.

Sunday, October 17

The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth: Season 6 (8 p.m. / Showtime & Crave)

Come one, come all to THE CIRCUS. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the stories behind the headlines.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Slumber Party Massacre 1 and 2 (Anytime / Crave via Starz)

I: A female high school student’s slumber party turns into a bloodbath, as a newly escaped psychotic serial killer wielding a power drill prowls her neighborhood.

II: Courtney Bates, the younger sister of Valerie, and her friends go to their condo for a weekend getaway, but Courtney can’t get rid of the haunting feeling that a supernatural rockabilly driller killer is coming to murder them all.
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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.

Dave Chappelle’s Closer Smoking?

I’m slowly working through Dave Chappelle’s The Closer. His latest Netflix comedy special.

Made a strong tea and sat down with the special: as expected dude is one of the smartest people in room. I appreciate his willingness to push his audience around; in that sense he’s Bowie-like in that he demands his audience go down these strange roads with him.

But…how come he’s not smoking?! Does he eventually smoke?! Not smoking…throws his comedy off rhythm.

Woody Allen was one of the best stand ups for that consistent comedy cue. He’d always adjust his glasses on a particular word: you could reverse engineer the joke. Really clever.

So I find Chappelle’s lack of smoking disconcerting. I’m a bit lost.

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