#SetTheVCR: February 21-27, 2022

Lots of familiar faces in this week’s #SetTheVCR. So park your face in front of the TV and we can begin.

Monday, February 21

The Endgame: Season 1 (10 p.m. / NBC)

In this heist drama, criminal mastermind Elena Federova squares off against a principled FBI agent.
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Sammy Suggestion: All the Streets Are Silent (Anytime / CBC Gem)

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, skateboarding and hip-hop culture collide in downtown Manhattan. Archival footage from the era showcases the fusion of these two forms of expression.
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You’ll want to Kick, Push this TV recommendation. All the Streets Are Silent a documentary from director Jeremy Elkin is a portrait of time 1987-1997, capturing the transformative moment when hip hop and skateboarding culture converged in New York. We got Stretch Armstrong, Fab 5 Freddy, Rosario Dawson, DMC, DJ Clark Kent and so much more in this unique doc. Another excellent way to celebrate Hip Hop’s 50th birthday. I know basketball has taken over as a core element of hip hop but skateboarding as a side culture has always been there. It’s freshtastic it gets recognized with this doc.

Tuesday, February 22

The Sky is Everywhere (Anytime / Apple TV+)

Lennie is a teen musical prodigy grieving the death of her sister when she finds herself caught between a new guy at school and her sister’s devastated boyfriend. Through her vivid imagination and conflicted heart, Lennie navigates first love and first loss.
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Sammy Suggestion: Wild ‘N Out: 300 (8 p.m. / VH1)

Nick Cannon and a celebrity guest battle it out in hip-hop and improv competitions.
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Say what you want about Nick Cannon (and most people freely do) but he’s had a surreal career. Take for example today’s recommendation: Wild ‘N Out celebrates its 300th Episode with a new season. Come on…did you really expect Wild ‘N Out to get to 300 episodes?? Fat Joe, Wyclef Jean, G-Eazy and Kossiko, Mariah the Scientist, Jimmy Allen, Lisa Raye, D.Smoke, Naughty By Nature, Kid ‘N Play, Dave East, Saucy Santana, Darius McCrary, Belly, Dreamdoll, Spice, Baby Tate, EST Gee and more are set to appear. Whew. Now that’s a Wild party. (Following the premiere, fans can catch all-new episodes every Tuesday and Wednesday night.)

Wednesday, February 23

Robot Chicken: Season 11 (Anytime / HBO Max)

Rapid-fire channel flips propel viewers through Robot Chicken’s twisted takes on pop culture. The quarter-hour Adult Swim entry brings action figures to life in three-dimensional worlds through the old-school magic of stop-motion animation.
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Sammy Suggestion: jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy (Anytime / Netflix)

The lives of an emerging superstar and a filmmaker intertwine in this intense, intimate docuseries charting Kanye West’s career, filmed over two decades.
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Act 2 of the Kanye West documentary is titled act ii: PURPOSE. Last week’s act i was Vision and we witnessed the frustrating hustle of Kanye West. Who wanted to be more than an outstanding producer; he wanted to be a rapper but record labels and even friends wouldn’t take him seriously. Now he’s (finally) signed by Roc-A-Fella as an artist rather than just an in-house producer. This’ll be the rise of Kanye including that fateful car accident in 2002 which shattered his jaw and which prompted him to record Through the Wire…when his jaw was still wired shut. The first act introduced us to a Kanye West we’ve never met; the hungry up and coming kid trying to find his voice. This second act will clearly align with the public face of Kanye West as the hits and fantastic beats slowly roll out.

Thursday, February 24

The Porter (Anytime / CBC Gem)

Inspired by real events and set in the roar of the 1920s, THE PORTER follows the journeys of an ensemble of characters who hustle, dream, cross borders and pursue their ambitions in the fight for liberation – on and off the railways that crossed North America.
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Sammy Suggestion: Wolfe: Season 1 (Anytime / Showcase On Demand)

The adventures of Professor Wolfe Kinteh, a crime scene investigator in the north of England.
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Wolfe a British television police procedural drama on Sky Max touches down in Canada. All 6 episodes debuted in the UK on September 10, 2021. Here it’s a weekly TV show which follows Professor Wolfe Kinteh, a crime scene investigator and academic who solves crimes in northern England. Wolfe (who of course is brilliant but flawed) is assisted by a team that includes child prodigy Maggy, middle-aged single mom Dot, team entomologist Steve, and new recruit Dominique, “who has a dark past that brings her into conflict with Wolfe.” CSI with Bangers & Mash, then?

Friday, February 25

Cry Macho (Anytime / Crave)

Mark leads a team of office workers whose memories have been surgically divided between their work and personal lives. When a mysterious colleague appears outside of work, it begins a journey to discover the truth about their jobs.
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Sammy Suggestion: No Exit
(Anytime / HULU &
Disney+ Canada)

Stranded by a blizzard, a young woman is forced to find shelter at a highway rest area with a group of strangers. Discovering an abducted girl in a van in the parking lot, she embarks on a terrifying mission to discover who among them is the kidnapper.
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In No Exit “Havana Rose Liu makes her feature film leading role debut as Darby, a young woman en route to a family emergency who is stranded by a blizzard and forced to find shelter at a highway rest area with a group of strangers. When she stumbles across an abducted girl in a van in the parking lot, it sets her on a terrifying life-or-death struggle to discover who among them is the kidnapper.” Based solely on the trailer? My money is on the All State Guy…he’s so the kidnapper. Who do you think is the kidnapper?

Saturday, February 26

Finding You (Anytime / Netflix Canada)

After failing an audition, a violinist travels to Ireland to find inspiration and meets a famous movie star looking for a real connection.
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Sammy Suggestion: The French Dispatch (Anytime / HBO Max & Disney+ Canada)

A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in “The French Dispatch.”
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It’s Wes Anderson. By now you know what to expect. Just as you know what to expect when you watch a Quentin Tarantino film, right?

Sunday, February 27

Free Guy (Anytime / Disney+ & HBO Max)

A bank teller discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game, and decides to become the hero of his own story. Now, in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way before it’s too late.
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Sammy Suggestion: Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber (10 p.m. / Showtime & Crave)

Based on the shocking true story, strap in for the meteoric rise and fall of Uber founder, Travis Kalanick. With a lift from venture capitalist Bill Gurley and board member Arianna Huffington, Kalanick takes a win-at-all-costs approach to forge the fledgling start-up into a multi-billion-dollar tech titan. But every surge comes at a price – and as his visionary drive spirals out of control, it threatens to be the downfall of it all.
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uper Pumped: The Battle For Uber is adapted from a most excellent book by Mike Isaac. As always I’d rather a documentary than a biopic yet here we are. Uma Thurman is Arianna Huffington; Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Travis Kalanick and Hank Azaria is Tim Cook. Remember the Jerry Maguire vs Bob Sugar phone call scene that led to Show Me The Money? That’s the hyper energy you can expect with Super Pumped…as narrated by Quentin Tarantino. It’s 5 parts and it’ll air weekly starting tonight.

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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: February 14-20, 2022

No one has peace this week’s #SetTheVCR: that’s the State of the Union it doesn’t matter where you’re From or even if you’re a jeen-yuhs. It does make for excellent TV, though.

Monday, February 14

Ali Wong: Don Wong (Anytime / Netfix)

In her third Netflix stand-up special, Ali Wong reveals her wildest fantasies, the challenges of monogamy and how she really feels about single people.
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Sammy Suggestion: State of the Union: Season 2 (Anytime / SundanceTV & AMC+)

A series of ten, ten-minute episodes of an original comedy series about contemporary relationships. Each episode is set immediately before a couple has their weekly marital therapy session. Unacknowledged and unanalyzed, these stolen moments used to get their story straight for the therapist, may be starting to build bridges back to what made them what they were.
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Why not spend Valentine’s Day with Brendan Gleeson and Patricia Clarkson’s troubled marriage? Wait…do you miss Season 1? No worries: this is a romantic anthology TV Show: Season 1 documented Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd’s…troubled relationship. So for “this season, liberal campaigning Ellen (Clarkson) drags her traditional, self-made husband Scott (Gleeson) out of his comfort zone and into a hipster Connecticut coffee shop, where they have 10 minutes before their marriage counselling session to drink a coffee, gather their thoughts and argue about everything from Quakerism to pronouns. Each week, between the bickering, they begin to piece together what has gone wrong between them.” You read that right: new episodes of the 10-minute per episode drama will debut across 10 nights on SundanceTV and as binge premiere on Sundance Now and AMC+. I figure if love at first sight is an instant reaction it should take at least 10 minutes to know what went wrong right?

Tuesday, February 15

American Experience: The American Diplomat (9 p.m. / PBS)

THE AMERICAN DIPLOMAT explores the lives and legacies of three African American ambassadors — Edward Dudley, Terence Todman and Carl Rowan — who pushed past historical and institutional racial barriers to reach high-ranking appointments in the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.
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Sammy Suggestion: Icahn: The Restless Billionaire (9P.M. / HBO & Crave)

A documentary that explores the fascinating contradictions at the heart of the famed financier, Carl Icahn. Amassing close to $20 billion dollars over the last half century and at the forefront of some of the most legendary business deals of our times, Icahn, often referred to as the “Lone Wolf of Wall Street,” is a feared negotiator and master strategist in the art of corporate takeovers and investments.
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Directed by Bruce David Klein The Restless Billionaire explores financier Carl Icahn’s fascinating contradictions. If you don’t know who that is think of a legit Donald Trump meets a pre-3 ghost Scrooge: this doc takes viewers inside some of the biggest deals of the last half century including his takeover of TWA in the 1980s, his high-profile investment in Apple in 2013 which provoked a stock rise of $17 billion dollars (this effect is known on Wall Street as “The Icahn Lift”), his very public battle with Bill Ackman over Herbalife, and his intervention during the Texaco bankruptcy, the largest in the world. (I wonder if his public spat with Marvel Comics is deeply acknowledged in this.) Basically this documentary is the cool answer is to The Social Network’s famous quote: “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars is cool.”

Wednesday, February 16

Marvel Studios: Assembled — The Making of Eternals (Anytime / Disney+)

An in-depth look at the making of ETERNALS that takes viewers behind-the-scenes with on-set footage, conversations with stars and filmmakers, and more.
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Sammy Suggestion: jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy (Anytime / Netflix)

The lives of an emerging superstar and a filmmaker intertwine in this intense, intimate docuseries charting Kanye West’s career, filmed over two decades.
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“This is my life, homie, you decide yours. / Old folks talking ’bout, “Back in my day” / But homie, this is my day.” Indeed. Kanye West has earned a Last Dance. ieen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy begins today and will air on the next 3 Wednesdays (February 16, February 23 and finally Part 3 on March 2). This docuseries will showcase “his formative days trying to break through and his life today as a global brand and artist.” If you think yesterday’s Carl Icahn documentary was controversial you gotta wait for the Heartless response to Kanye; it’s often without Mercy like a Runaway Monster.

Thursday, February 17

Fistful of Vengeance (Anytime / Netflix)

A revenge mission becomes a fight to save the world from an ancient threat when superpowered assassin Kai tracks a killer to Bangkok.
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Sammy Suggestion: Peacemaker (Anytime / HBO Max & Crave)

Picking up where THE SUICIDE SQUAD (2021) left off, PEACEMAKER returns home after recovering from his encounter with Bloodsport – only to discover that his freedom comes at a price.
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The final episode of DC Extended Universe (DCEU) television series comes to a close. (It’s clever pun title is It’s Cow or Never…get it?) Safe to say this series was a resounding success and many people adore DC Comics’ Karen. Did you enjoy Peacemaker? And what happens now? Marvel has clear timelines and promotes phases…the audience knows what to anticipate next and when that next is coming. While there are some notable DC Films coming up later this year (notably The Flash and The Batman) what else can we as viewers expect from DC TV? Will the above-ground swimming pool of “superheroes” get a second season? There are some questions even the questions even the season finale cannot address to bring us all…peace.

Friday, February 18

Severance: Season 1 (Anytime / Apple TV+)

Mark leads a team of office workers whose memories have been surgically divided between their work and personal lives. When a mysterious colleague appears outside of work, it begins a journey to discover the truth about their jobs.
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Sammy Suggestion: The King’s Man (Anytime / HULU & Disney+ Canada)

Discover the origins of the very first independent intelligence agency.
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Though this is the third installment in the Kingsman film series; it’s actually a prequel and reveals the birth of the Kingsman organization. While I’ve enjoyed the Kingsman films…solid British ruckus a prequel isn’t alluring. I suppose that coupled with how difficult it was to watch movies during COVID (The King’s Man was released on December 22, 2021 in the US and on December 26, 2021 in the UK) meant this movie didn’t score a reception fit for a king. Well here it is on TV for your Royal Highness.

Saturday, February 19

Space Force: Season 2 (Anytime / Netflix)

A four-star general begrudgingly teams up with an eccentric scientist to get the U.S. military’s newest agency — Space Force — ready for lift-off.
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Sammy Suggestion: Red Heat (Anytime / Crave via Starz)

A tough Russian policeman is forced to partner up with a cocky Chicago police detective when he is sent to Chicago to apprehend a Georgian drug lord who killed his partner and fled the country.
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I haven’t seen this Arnold classic in like what 20 years? This was Rush Hour before Rush Hour. Arnold is a Russian cop and Jim Blushie is an American cop (in Chicago). Together they must set aside their (cultural) differences to capture a Georgian drug lord. So getting a 2L bottle of Coke and a pile of Popeyes. Going out hard on this classic from 1988.

Sunday, February 20

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Season 9 (11 p.m. / HBO & Crave)

Youngster Ralphie Parker spends most of his time dodging a bully and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a Red Ryder air rifle.
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Sammy Suggestion: From: Season 1 (10 p.m. / EPIX)

FROM unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town that traps all those who enter. As the unwilling residents search for a way out, they must also survive the threats of the forest including the terrifying creatures that come out at night.
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One of the 2022 TV shows I’m most looking forward too. Doesn’t this freely offer eerie Stephen King small town vibes? “The series unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town in middle America that traps all those who enter. As the unwilling residents fight to keep a sense of normalcy and search for a way out, they must also survive the threats of the surrounding forest – including the terrifying creatures that come out when the sun goes down.” I’m a sucker for these types of trapped sci-fi horror mysteries. If all the books in the library are blank my heart blooms. Hopefully From is strong enough to find the right audience so it gets to Season 2.

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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: February 7-13, 2022

There’s a Super Bowl at the end of this week so until then here are some Super #SetTheVCR recommendations.

Monday, February 07

Angela Black (Anytime / ITV)

Trapped in a relationship she cannot escape, Angela is approached out of the blue by Ed, a private investigator, who spills her husband’s darkest secrets.
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Sammy Suggestion: American Experience: Riveted: The History of Jeans (9 p.m. / PBS)

Riveted: The History of Jeans reveals the fascinating and surprising story of this iconic American garment. At any given moment, half the people on the planet are wearing them.
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I know this is a surprising recommendation coming from me considering my movement is #DownWithPants. Still culturally symbolically jeans mean so much. I know so little about them. “From its roots in slavery to its connection to the Wild West, youth culture, the civil rights movement, rock and roll, hippies, high fashion and hip-hop, jeans are the canvas on which the history of American ideology and politics is writ large.” Huh. I wonder if this’ll acknowledge Rob Liefeld’s Levi’s commercial. Yo Youngblood remember that; from like 30 years ago?

Tuesday, February 08

Super Bowl Greatest Commercials: All Time Classics (8 p.m. / CBS)

The greatest commercials to ever come out of the Super Bowl.
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Sammy Suggestion: This Is Going To Hurt (Anytime / BBC ONE & AMC+)

Ben Whishaw stars in an adaptation of Adam Kay’s hit memoir, the series follows junior doctor Kay in his chaotic job in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
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You’ll recognize Ben Whishaw from the recent James Bond movies. Here he’s not as proficient. This Is Going To Hurt is a seven-part drama/comedy based on Adam Kay’s book of the same name. “It tells the unvarnished story of life on a hospital ward through the eyes of a junior doctor, charting the heart-lifting highs and the gut-wrenching lows.” This is a BBC-AMC co-production so today it appears on BBC; no American date yet…so that’s a bit of a Q-uandary.

Wednesday, February 09

Free Guy (Anytime / Crave)

A bank teller decides to become the hero of his own story after discovering he’s a background player in an open-world video game.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Book Of Boba Fett: Season 1 (Anytime / Disney+)

THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT, a thrilling Star Wars adventure teased in a surprise end-credit sequence following the Season 2 finale of “The Mandalorian,” finds legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand navigating the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime syndicate.

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When The Mandalorian first appeared on Disney+ back in November 2019 I waited until my Christmas break to sit down with the full season. It was a great watch for me…doing nothing; watch an episode take a nap then watch another episode. Similarly writing this TV column means I’ve been distracted with other TV shows and movies. So I guess this is gonna become my Star Wars tradition: wait for the entire season of a TV show then sit down and work through it at my own pace. Today is The Book Of Boba Fett’s Season 1 finale. Unlike Mr. Green who has been watching weekly I haven’t a clue what is happening; the only character I know is Boba Fett. Some TV shows work great weekly; others are best when you can do it in chunks. Though I do wonder if that’ll affect a second season. Currently Lucasfilm has yet to officially announce whether The Book of Boba Fett will continue for a second season. I hope that isn’t my fault.

Thursday, February 10

Peacemaker: Season 1 (Anytime / HBO Max & Crave)

Chapter 7 is out today! Peacemaker explores the continuing story of the character that John Cena reprises in the aftermath of executive producer James Gunn’s 2021 film The Suicide Squad – a compellingly vainglorious man who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it!
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Sammy Suggestion: The Girl Before: Limited Series (Anytime / HBO Max & Crave)

Jane falls in love with an extraordinary minimalist house, but when she discovers that another damaged woman died in the same property three years earlier, she starts to wonder if her own story is just a rerun of the girl before.
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Another BBC co-production this one with BBC and HBO Max; yes also adapted from book. Here’s the description but the magic is in the last 7 words: “A traumatized woman falls in love with an extraordinary minimalist house, which remains under the spell of the architect who originally designed it, but not everything may be as it seems.” “Not everything may be as it seems” indeed! All 4 episodes will be added to the streamer so you can quickly find out what happened to…The Girl Before.

Friday, February 11

Antlers (Anytime / HBO Max)

In an isolated Oregon town, a middle-school teacher and her sheriff brother become embroiled with her enigmatic student, whose dark secrets lead to terrifying encounters with an ancestral creature.
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Sammy Suggestion: Malignant (Anytime / Crave)

Paralyzed by fear from shocking visions, a woman’s torment worsens as she discovers her waking dreams are terrifying realities.
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I saw this horror movie in the cinema! I ain’t gonna tell you anything about it. You gotta see this for yourself…watch it and let me know what you think. Woah.

Saturday, February 12

Just Call Out My Name (Anytime / HBO Max)

Just Call Out My Name is a documentary about the creative pairing of Carole King and James Taylor and focuses on the duo’s 2010 world tour, dubbed the “Troubadour Reunion Tour.”
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Sammy Suggestion: Kimi (Anytime / HBO Max & Crave)

An agoraphobic tech worker discovers recorded evidence of a violent crime but is met with resistance when she tries to report it. Seeking justice, she must now do the thing she fears the most: she must leave her apartment.
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Director Steven Soderberg and screenwriter David Koepp teamed up to bring us an original HBO Max movie: “an agoraphobic tech worker discovers evidence of a violent crime while reviewing a data stream, and is met with resistance and bureaucracy when she tries reporting it to her company. To get involved, she realizes she must face her greatest fear by venturing out of her apartment and into the city streets, which are filled with protestors after the city council passes a law restricting the movements of the homeless population.” Sounds like a solid sci-fi TV movie; I dunno that I’d put on pants and go see that at the movies for money but on HBO Max? That works. Kimi more movies like that HBO Max!

Sunday, February 13

Tall Girl 2 (Anytime / Netflix)

Landing the lead in the school musical is a dream come true for Jodi, until the pressure sends her confidence — and her relationship — into a tailspin.
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Sammy Suggestion: Super Bowl LVI (6:30PM / NBC)

Super Bowl LVI will be the upcoming championship game of the National Football League for the 2021 NFL season. It will be played between the National Football Conference champion Los Angeles Rams and the American Football Conference champion Cincinnati Bengals.
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Go NFL teams! Though really as a Canadian the Super Bowl is an excuse to eat chili and chicken wings. Maybe even laugh at a handful of witty commercials.

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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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