Ranking HBO's Shows

When someone asks me what TV shows I watch, I'm always aware that the network that gets the majority of my viewership is HBO. I was a Starz viewer until about 2010 when I switched my premium channel option to HBO and never looked back. They've consistently had good TV. I recently finished watching The Sopranos for the first time, and it got me thinking of where I would place it on the list of shows I watched. So I figured why not do that? 

Now, I know this is going to be kind of unfair, because some shows only have one season vs others that have several. There are also shows I love that have seasons I absolutely hate, so I'm going to rank by how I feel about the shows at their best. I'm leaving out limited series for another post, and I'm only ranking the shows that I've seen every single episode of. 

21) Run - Thankfully cancelled after one season, while this show had a more than interesting premise and capable cast, clearly no one thought about more than 45 minutes worth of story as it descended into nothingness. 

20) Vinyl - Starting off with a two hour series premiere where not a lot happen really set the tone for this show. I think it could've been really good, but it never recovered from its bad start.

19) East Bound & Down - This show had moments where it was absolutely hilarious but there is such a thing as too much Danny McBride, and this was it. 

18) The Deuce - Similar to Vinyl, I liked the premise but it was missing something, and I still don't know what that was. I think it needed to reign itself in a bit. It had promise.

17) The Outsider - I really enjoyed this show up until the finale which was so underwhelming and had so many holes in the story that it kind of put a damper on me even caring about the second season.

16) His Dark Materials - Another freshman show, but one that's off to a decent story. This is very mid-tier HBO for me. I'm not in love with it, but I'll continue to watch.

15) Barry - Barry spends half his life as a wannabe actor and the other half as a hitman, and I feel similarly about this show. Half of it, the half where he's not in his acting classes is so good, but when he's there, the show just takes a serious dive in quality. That's the reason it isn't high on this list.

14) Six Feet Under - This is a perfectly competent show that had a few amazing episodes, but was pretty melodramatic for the rest of it. But please believe the hype that this does have the best series finale ever. I've never seen a show so perfectly wrap up every loose end the way this does. Even if I didn't love all of it, it went out on the highest of notes.

13) Silicon Valley - As much as I love comedy, I don't watch a ton of comedy series on TV. This is one that like Six Feet Under had some brilliant episodes, but as a whole I just wasn't as into it. I appreciate it quite a bit, and enjoy most of the cast.

12) Euphoria - There's only one season of this show to judge, which I really enjoyed, but it lands in the middle because it is a show based on teenagers and even though I'm enjoying it now, who knows how I'll feel about it after a few seasons. I have high hopes, but I know it's something I could end up feeling out of touch with.

11) Big Little Lies - A lot of people hated the second season of this, but I thought it was fine, and the first season was wonderful. I definitely don't want a season 3, but I'm happy with what I got.

10) Westworld - This was the show I knew I was going to have the hardest time placing. I really like it, I do, but it's very uneven. The third season didn't even feel like Westworld, it felt like an episode of Black Mirror. I hold it to a high regard, but I don't know if it's consistent enough to be higher in my top 10. 

9) The Sopranos - I know everyone reading this is going to say it should be higher. I think this show does a remarkable job of making unlikable characters entertaining. I only truly "liked" a handful of these people but I was never bored once. The horrendous editing is what prevents it from getting higher on this list. That and what they did with Dr. Melfi in season 3, and how they ended her story in general. *UPDATE* I'm dumb and forgot to include SUCCESSION. They would take my #9, and everyone else would move back one. 

8) Insecure - I feel like in time Insecure could keep climbing this list. Issa Rae is so funny and even though this show gives me dating nightmares, it's so good.

7) The Newsroom - Hear me out. I know the only time people talk about it is when they're clowning on that admittedly awful scene where the producers tell a flight crew that Osama bin Laden has been killed - but other than that, I really dug this show. I know it's Sorkin at both his best and worst, but I think the good far outweighed the bad. Red Team III for example is one of my favorite hours of television ever. That episode plays out perfectly. 

6) True Blood - This show came at such a perfect time in my life. I needed a sexy, trashy, vampire romance in the late aughts. For a show that could've survived entirely on camp, it was actually pretty high quality. Full disclosure, I stop acknowledging this show after season 4 because yikes. 

5) Veep - I think this might be the funniest TV show I've ever seen. I laughed my ass off in every single episode. There was not a weak link in the cast, everyone had perfect comedic timing.

4) Boardwalk Empire - While this show made some...choices, it's one I still consistently think about. The actors were great and the set design was gorgeous. I wish they would've done a few things differently but overall I do consider this superior to The Sopranos as a crime show. It's just more polished.

3) True Detective - If we were just talking the first season, this would be number one because season 1 was absolute perfection. I enjoyed seasons 2 and 3 as well, but I've re-watched season 1 a few times and it's just absolute peak TV.

2) The Wire - Everyone and their mom told me to watch this after mentioning that I loved Breaking Bad and they were right. I do love this show, even though I think the final season ruined a lot of the characters you can't argue how good the writing was the rest of the time. It gave us so many classic things, like Omar Little whistling, to Wee Bey getting excited over his fish, to a perfect scene of police work where only the work "fuck" is uttered by each character involved.

1) Game of Thrones - I know I'm going to die mad about how this show ended, but even with that betrayal, I still feel like this has to be my number one just for how I felt about this show at its best. I dove head first into the ASOIAF fandom. I was on fan forums, read the books multiple times and read so many theories and I still think so fondly of the episodes of this show that were good. Some of these episodes looked so good that they belonged on the big screen and the showrunners throwing in the towel early and being lazy with their ending cannot take those high moments away from me. Now please join me in a prayer circle that The Winds of Winter will come out in 2021. 

Thursday Movie Picks - TV Edition: Horror

The final horror themed week from Wandering Through The Shelves is horror themed TV shows. I wanted to do something a little different this time and pick one horror show, but use individual episodes for my picks. I'm also bringing it back to my childhood. The TV show I'm going with is Goosebumps.

1) The Haunted Mask 

This is kind of the crowned jewel of the Goosebumps TV show, in my opinion. It translated perfectly to screen, the mask WAS legitimately creepy and Carly Beth was always a character I found very relatable. They even did a "part 2" of this in a later season that still somehow managed to work even though it was repetitive. 

2) Stay Out of the Basement

This was one of my favorite books from the series as well, and I remember the dad being almost exactly as I pictured him when I read. 

3) Night of the Living Dummy

This was another one where I really liked the lead character, Amy. And anything with a living dummy/doll already has that uncanny valley creepiness to it. 

Review: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

 or Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

Kazakh journalist Borat (Sasha Baron Cohen) has brought shame on his home country after the events of the first film. Now he's given one last chance to deliver a prized monkey to U.S Vice President Mike Pence, however his fifteen year old daughter, Tutar (Maria Bakalova) sneaks in the crate instead, and her father gets the idea to present her as a gift instead.

Borat has always been an acquired taste for most. The first film was very popular and because of that, Borat impressions were everywhere. Now we've spent quite a bit of time apart, and the world is still a raging dumpster fire so what better time to revisit this character?

It's impossible to recreate the first film. Baron Cohen has too much notoriety now and no one should go into this film expecting that. What we do get is still a very deeply funny performance, yes with plenty of unsuspecting morons doing bad things on camera, but the real star of Borat this time around is Bakalova.

I say this with no hyperbole, but Bakalova should be in serious consideration for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. If the Academy can nominate Melissa McCarthy for her "funny" performance in Bridesmaids, they can give Bakalova a chance for this. She is so sincere and hysterical. 

I wouldn't say I loved this as much as the first, but again, I wasn't expecting it to top that. I laughed plenty and Baron Cohen and Bakalova were so great it made this worth watching. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "My daddy is the smartest person in the whole flat world." - Tutar (Maria Bakalova)

Review: The Witches

I smell children. 

The hero of our story (Jahzir Bruno) is a young boy who after losing his parents in a car crash goes to live with his grandmother. (Octavia Spencer) Is with her that he finds out witches exist. In an attempt to run from them, they end up at a swanky hotel where the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway) is hosting a convention of sorts where all witches are conspiring to turn children into mice.

Admittedly, I'm not familiar with Ronald Dahl's original story, and I didn't see the 90's version of this either. In fact, I never bothered watching the trailer either, so I went into this as blind as possible when my nine year old brought up watching it for family movie night.

So how did age nine fair with this? Well, parts scared him a little. He's too young to be distracted by bad CGI, but overall he liked it. For me, I can't imagine ever wanting to watch this again. Campy Anne Hathaway is wonderful and she's clearly having a good time. Octavia Spencer is wonderful at playing warm and loving, but I just didn't connect with the film after the mice part of the story took over. But that's okay, I know this isn't *for me*

SPOILER WARNING because I just have to bring this up - the ending is kind of morbid, right? When we find out the kids have to remain as mice. I had remarked "what's going to happen to them after the grandma dies?" To which my son replied "Well, mice can't live that long can they?" Then movie actually addresses this and the Hero kid, I shit you not, is perfectly fine with living for 9 more years and dying around the same time as his grandma. Like.....what?

Recommended: Sure, if you have HBO Max. It's already free.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: " witch gets the same pleasure from squishing a child as you get from eating a bowl of ice cream covered in butterscotch syrup, with whipped cream, chopped nuts and a cherry on top." - Older Hero (Chris Rock)

Thursday Movie Picks: Holiday Horror


This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is Holiday Horror! The only rule I gave myself was to have a different holiday for each pick. Here's what I came up with.

1) Gremlins

This is a must for me around Christmas time. I watch this every year, it's just so fun and cute and it's the perfect holiday film. It's A Wonderful Life? We don't know her..

2) Halloween 

Yes, I went the basic route and took the horror film named after the holiday, but I love Halloween. It holds up so well after all these years and the score is timeless. 

3) Valentine

Of all those slasher films that came out in the lat 90's/early 2000's, this one is probably the worst. I haven't seen it since it was in theaters, but hey, it fits. 

Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7

 The whole world is watching.

During the 1968 Democratic Convention, protests over the Vietnam War were made by several different groups and this film focuses on seven of the men (well, technically eight, but we'll get to that) charged with inciting riots. There's Tom Hayden and Rennie Sharp (Eddie Redmayne and Alex Sharpe) of the Students for a Democratic Society. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin ( Sasha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong) of the Youth International party and David Dellinger, (John Carroll Lynch) John Froines (Danny Flaherty) and Lee Weiner. (Noah Robbins) The 8th man, is Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) a member of the Black Panther party who is being unfairly lumped in with the rest of the group, despite not having a lawyer present. Judge Julius Hoffman (Frank Langella) is unfair to say the least so the defense lead by William Kunstler (Mark Rylance) has a lot to go up against. The prosecutor on the other side is Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

And I have to stop there because half of this review would just be listing everyone in this sprawling and extraordinary cast. I love courtroom dramas, and one directed and written by Aaron Sorkin has been on my must see list all year. I'm glad Netflix picked this up so I could see it right away. While I did have some issues with it, it's one of the better films I've gotten to see in a while. 

"Sorkinisms" can be a hard pill to swallow for some, but I've always enjoyed his fast paced dialogue and editing and there's plenty of that here. I especially loved hearing it from Lynch, Strong, and Cohen, though the latter struggles with his accent at times. It's hard to pick a standout actor, but if I had to I think I'd go with Yahya, who has had an excellent year. But that leads me to one of my gripes

I know this movie is about the Chicago 7, which Bobby Seale was technically not part of, and that it's impossible to tell their story without him, but I was disappointed at how his part was sort of just dropped until the end credits. For something that is such a huge part of the first half of the film, I expected to at least check in with him sometime in the second half, and they don't. Logically I can see why that is, but Yayah was so compelling and what happened to Seale was so outrageous it felt like it needed more attention. On a another note, there's a very unnecessary attempted rape scene by three frat boys on a woman carrying a flag at a protest that's broken up by Jeremy Strong's character that I just found very triggering to me personally and that threw me out for a bit. It's brief but I wasn't expecting it. I wish I had known it was coming so I could've skipped over it. It's about an hour into the film. 

Aside from those two issues, I really enjoyed the flow of the film. I loved how the characters were introduced at the beginning and how the story is told through not only the courtroom, but through things like Abbie narrating the story to a crowd. And I'm just happy to see my favorite actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in movies again. It's been so long, and we got three this year. His character isn't nearly as showy as the others, and from my understanding he's pretty whitewashed as they make him somewhat sympathetic, but I was just happy to see him. I feel like I've been clowning on Eddie Redmayne in recent years, but he was damn good in this too. 

This election year has been very stressful, and Sorkins' film might as well be happening right now. What's the difference between 1968 and now? That we can get police brutality on camera? Everything else feels the same. This film functions both as a great movie, and a depressing reminder of where we're still at.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "This is the Academy Awards of protests and as far as I'm concerned it's an honor just to be nominated." - Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins)

Review: Inheritance

 Not the will you're looking for.

When her powerful father passes away, Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins)  a recently appointed distract attorney gets the short end of his will. Her younger brother William (Chance Crawford) is currently running for office and inherits 20 million dollars. Lauren inherits one million, and a sealed envelope with a set of keys and a flash drive apology from her father stating this burden is now hers. On her own, Lily follows his instructions and goes to an underground bunker on her family's property and finds out there's a man, Warren(Simon Pegg) who has been chained up there for the past 30 years. Thanks, dad.  

There is something about this movie that I simply cannot wrap my head around. It's not the only film to do this, plenty of others do it too and I never understand it but here most of all.....Lauren choses to tell her spouse NOTHING about what is going on. They're not written to have problems, they're seemingly in a loving relationship and have a child, yet when Lauren gets handed keys to a bunker and an ominous message from her father, she blows her husband off instead of being like "hey, this is weird, come with me." This is completely unrealistic to me. There is no way I wouldn't be telling my spouse about this. There's no way I'd be inspecting an underground bunker without him either, we would've immediately been in this together. I would understand if he was an ex or they had problems, but they don't. And she dodges him and her kid for the rest of the movie. It's so frustrating. What's the point of being married?

Rant aside, this movie is very engaging and Collins and Pegg are both good, however the script lets us down overall. In flashbacks, we learn Lauren chose to practice civil law to help those who need it instead of representing her father's friends, which causes a huge rift between them. Lauren is pointed out as being kind hearted multiple times in this film, yet she is wildly hostile to Warren immediately and never shows that she's anything other than calculating until the script makes her do something beyond stupid for the sake of plot. 

Ultimately, the 3rd act kind of throws the rest of the film out the window. Pegg, who is great for the first 2/3 of this movie goes kind of off the rails which did make me laugh a bit, but I doubt that was the filmmaker's intention. There's also the stupid thing I mentioned earlier that they make Lauren do, which I also can't get over because it makes no logical sense. 

I know in my heart this movie is bad, but I didn't have a bad time watching it. Dumb things aside, I was never bored and it was fun to guess what was going to happen next.

Recommended: Yes if you can find it for free, no if you have to pay for it.

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "A lawyer, a banker, a politician. An unholy trinity." - Warren (Simon Pegg)

Thursday Movie Picks: Winter Horror


This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves is winter horror. Maybe you're one of those lucky ones like me who occasionally has to deal with snow in October. I hate it, but I don't hate scary movies in the snow. Here are a few horror films that take place during the winter. 

1) Jack Frost

This one is honestly so dumb and I've only seen it once, but it immediately came to mind when I saw the theme. I had to use it. 

2) 30 Days of Night

This film's Alaskan setting fits perfectly with the theme this week. I liked this movie a lot, and also enjoyed the graphic novel it was based on.

3) Frozen

This one is actually quite terrible. After a serious of unfortunate events that require a lot of disbelief to be suspended, three friends get stranded on a ski lift over the weekend in the frigid cold. Wolves show up. On paper, it is very tense but the film overall is poorly executed. 

Review: The Glorias

 The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

The titular Glorias refers to feminist icon and writer Gloria Steinem. We see her at four different stages of her life, played by four different actress. (Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Lulu Wilson, Alicia Vikander and Julianne Moore) From childhood, to the powerhouse we know now.

After having seen a glimpse of her (played by Rose Byrne) on Hulu's wonderful Mrs. America, it's only fitting that we get a Gloria biopic in the same year. Being Directed by Julie Taymor is another plus, but unfortunately the messiness of how this story is told brings it down a few notches.

Taymor tells this story similiar to how she did Across The Universe, which I really enjoyed. But psychedelic and scattered works for The Beatles' music, it doesn't so much work here. She makes a few really interesting choices, like having all versions of the Glorias talk to each other on a bus in between scenes. I thought that was a nice touch, but other parts go full out music video and it feels very jumbled. Especially with that 2 and a half hour run time. 

I really liked the actresses playing Gloria, though Vikander struggles with the accent frequently, she and Moore get the most to do. This film jumps around a lot in time, and while it's very easy to follow I found it often cut from really interesting scenes then took us backwards in time, killing momentum. Because of that, no one gets to truly shine. It's as if we're often cut short. None of the other characters around Gloria get enough attention either. 

I always appreciate when a biopic thinks out of the box, but like another unconventional one released this year - Shirley - it just didn't resonate with me as much as I wanted it to.

Recommended: Yes, if you have Prime.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote

Review: The Lie

 What would you do to protect your child?

We're introduced to fifteen year old Kayla (Joey King) while her mother Rebecca (Mireille Enos) sends her off with ex-husband Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) for a weekend dance retreat. We can deduce they've been separated for a while but remain civil. Rebecca is a busy lawyer and Jay is the lead singer in a band, so they have very different lifestyles. On their way, they spot Kayla's friend Britney (Devery Jacobs) at a bus stop and give her a lift. The girls dial the passive aggressiveness with each other up to eleven, and when Jay pulls over so they can have a rest break, a sudden scream sends him running into the forest after the girls, only to learn that Kayla pushed Britney off a bridge into a river, and they can't find her body. Instead of calling the police, Jay chooses to cover for his daughter and brings her back to Rebecca. While they figure out what to do with their child murderer, Britney's dad Sam (Cas Anvar) shows up looking for her, and adds plenty of stress to the situation.

I started getting ads for this on Amazon Prime and I assumed it was a new release. It wasn't until after I watched it and went to write my review, that I realize this actually played at TIFF in 2018 and has been on the shelf since. I can see why. 

I went into this film knowing I was going to have to suspend a fair amount of disbelief. I know that I personally would call the police but I was willing to accept these parents wouldn't. I was not prepared for the fact that on top of not doing the right thing, these two fools have apparently not nor read any true crime case ever. The amount of mistakes they make is staggeringly stupid. There's a subplot with law enforcement getting onto them and of course one of the cops is the type of guy that immediately questions Sam on his ethnicity (because oh no he's brown) when it is not all relevant and then eggs Jay on later about underage Britney being "hot." It's such a gross choice in a film that's already struggling.

Aside from King and Sargaard, who really do their best with what they're given, the acting is horrendous. Enos gets better as time goes on but she's very wooden at the start, as is everyone else. No one feels like an actual human being aside from Kayla and Jay. This brings me to the ending. I'm curious if the German film this is based on went the same way. There's a 3rd act twist, and it's one I considered earlier on while watching but the way it played out managed to make everything that came before it even worse. 

This was a waste of time, and in a pandemic when I have nowhere to go, that's saying something.

Recommended: No

Grade: D

Memorable Quote: "Bet they thought they were going to get away with this, huh?" - Sam (Cas Anvar) 

2020 Blind Spot Series: Nosferatu

What I knew going in: That nearly every horror director out there credits this film for inspiration at some point in their careers.

Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) is an estate agent sent out to Transylvania to meat Count Orlok (Max Schreck) as he wants to purchase property. Hutter begins to suspect that Orlok may be a vampire.

Silent films are not for me. I can admit that, I don't think I've ever truly connected with one. Nosferatu however is easily the most enjoyable time I've had watching one. A big part of that is the score. It's beautiful. I absolutely loved the glockenspiel at the beginning. It's such a lovely score it's hard to think of this as a horror film.

I think I expected a bit more horror element to the film itself, but there really isn't. I can see why the creepy makeup job they did on Orlok would inspire a lot of horror fans, but with the amount of praise this film gets I had expected more of it. I really liked von Wangenheim though, I thought he was wonderful. A lot of times I don't care for the over the top acting in these types of films, and there's a lot of that here, but he was never like that.

I feel odd saying a film that's 80 minutes long can drag, but a lot of the scenes that were meant to build suspense felt a bit dull. I kept focusing on the music and losing focus of the story. But overall, I enjoyed it for the most part.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Your precious blood!" - Count Orlok (Max Schreck)

Thursday Movies Picks: Based On A True Story


This week's Halloween Theme from Wandering Through The Shelves are those horror movies that are based on true stories. Just like last week, there's lots to choose from. Here are some of my favorites. 

1) The Amityville Horror (2005)

I swear I don't just like this because of the gratuitous shot of Ryan Reynolds sans shirt, but for a story as creepy as Amityville, I think this is a very successful horror thriller. 

2) The Conjuring

I took way to long to finally watch this movie based on real life paranormal investigators but it was absolutely worth the wait. This is one of the best horror movies I've ever seen, and it's crazy intense without being gory or relying on near constant jump scares. 

3) The Exorcism of Emily Rose

I've said this before, but Emily Rose is one of the best PG-13 horror movies out there. It's part courtroom drama, part horror and it's very creepy. The shot of Jennifer Carpenter all contorted on her dorm room floor always gets me. 

Review: American Murder: The Family Next Door

 It's all there.

This documentary on Netflix follows the 2018 disappearance of Shanann Watts and her two young daughters in Colorado, USA. Constructed almost exclusively by social media posts and police footage, we get first hand knowledge of the investigations and the lives of everyone involved.

After seeing Asshole's Watching Movies review this, I knew I was going to check it out. True crime docs are something I've always found intriguing and lately I've been watching and listening to these type of cases while I work. Shanann's name rang a bell, but I didn't recall the case specifically.

Since I didn't research anything prior all of this was new to me. I really liked the structure of this documentary. Re-enactments are were docs can lose me and I'm glad this film didn't use them. Instead, nearly everything is crafted together by social media posts. Shanann posted a lot of content online and text messages she sent flash across the screen rather than us watching two actors play these out. I prefer this so much. There's also a ton of footage from the police themselves. The interrogation videos, and plenty of body cam footage when they made the initial house call. Yes, shockingly they had their body cams on. Gee I wonder why that was? 

This doc is basically the Sparks Notes version of the case, which is fine. It features quite possibly the dumbest murderer of all time and my biggest gripe is that they didn't push this moron to explain further because I really wanted to know how he thought any of this was going to work. This isn't going to be winning any Best Documentary prizes, but for a film under 90 minutes on Netflix, it's worth the watch.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Review: The Vast Of Night

 Something's in the sky.

In a small town in New Mexico in 1958, everyone has packed into the high school to watch a basketball game. Mostly everyone, young nerdy radio DJ, Everett (Jake Horowitz) is out walking with his friend and town switchboard operator Fay (Sierra McCormick) before they separate to do their jobs. While Fay is listening to Everett's show, she catches a strange frequency through the radio and phones Everett. When he broadcasts it on his show, he receives a strange call with an even stranger story and it sends these two on a mysterious mission.

We jump right into Everett and Fay's dynamic. The opening scene, showing the two teens leaving the school, testing out Fay's new tape recorder, then heading to their jobs is very dialogue heavy and thankfully these two have excellent banter. I was surprised to find out this movie wasn't originally a radio play to be honest. This film is very much "tell" over "show." The majority of the information that drives the plot comes from two separate stories that characters are telling, plus these two working it out back and forth. I think this works well, but it also plays into the films biggest problem.

This is director Andrew Patterson's first feature and I know I want to see more from him. Story wise, this is great. The production design is excellent, he pays a lot of homage to The Twilight Zone, which is fitting, but because he has these long stretches of dialogue, it almost feels like he didn't know quite how to shoot them. So many scenes are just dark and unfocused and sometimes the camera cuts to a completely black screen instead of just focusing on the actor listening to what is being told. It feels like a very insecure move for a film that gets everything else about the setting right. Why not let the camera linger on your actors?

Those choices aside, I thought this was a solid little sci fi story. The film is only 90 minutes and breezes right by. It's available to stream on Amazon Prime. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I just got nervous again." - Fay (Sierra McCormick)

What I watched on TV In September

More social distancing, more TV. I feel like The Sopranos is taking over my life. So many movies and books are taking a back seat to it. Here's what I was watching on the small screen last month.

Lovecraft Country - This show continues to be wonderful and weird. This last episode was complete filler but it was GOOD filler. That's how you do it. There's only three episodes left as I'm typing this, I'm curious to see where it goes.

The Sopranos - As I'm typing this, I'm almost finished with season 5, then I just have their mammoth season 6 left. This show is all I want to watch at the moment but like...men are the worst, right? There are no likable men on this show at all. 

The Vow - I vaguely remember reading about NXIVM and how the girl from Smallville was involved when that story dropped a few years ago, but I never took a deep dive into it. This documentary has been eye opening and I had no idea how far this went. At first glance, I was surprised they were doing 9 episodes on this, but now after watching the first 5, I completely understand why. There's a lot.

Defending Jacob - I'm trying to make good use out of that Apple TV free trial and even though I loved the book and Chris Evans is so, so hot. I read about the changes they made and I just don't know if I'll continue watching it. It's ~fine~ but I'm firmly in the "book is better" camp.

Fargo -
This got off to a massively slow start, it's too early for me to completely discredit it. There's a lot of potentially interesting pieces and I like the actors, so I'll stick with it. 

The Third Day - Jude Law is out there about to get Midsommar'd and here I am screaming at my TV telling him to leave. HBO's newest Monday night show is off to a decent start. I *think* I have it figured out, but we'll see. 

Thursday Movie Picks: Horror Movie Houses


It's Halloween month at Wandering Through The Shelves! The first spooky pick of the month is horror movie houses. There's plenty of films about haunted houses so was a lot to choose from. Here are three I enjoy.

1) The Others

Nicole Kidman is very good in this and even though it's easy to guess the ending, this film does a good job of being creepy throughout.

2) The Haunting (1999)

I'm pretty positive there is no way this film actually holds up, but I really liked it when I was in middle school. This is a bit of a nostalgic pick to me

3) The Rocky Horror Picture Show

While this isn't a haunted house, it does involve two people stumbling upon a house party that will change their lives forever and it screams "Halloween" to me. I've been a fan of this movie for a few years, but last year was the first time I finally went to a rowdy midnight showing of it at a theater and I had such a great time I'll probably do it again when the pandemic is over.