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It’s time for the November 2018 entertainment review. I love this time of year because there are so many great new books, movies and TV shows happening all at once. Here’s a quick recap of the books, TV, movies and online content that captured my attention this past month. Be sure to share YOUR favorites in the comments.
We saw quite a few movies this month, so I’ve listed my favorites in best to worst order starting with …
Bohemian Rhapsody – Everyone I know who has seen this film has LOVED it. It’s a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. Rami Malek’s performance is so “spot on” you’ll swear that you are watching vintage concert footage. This movie has gotten some flack for not showing enough of the darker parts of Mercury’s life, but it’s still thoroughly enjoyable.
Green Book – Superb acting and directing. This movie will surely be nominated for an Academy Award. And it’s suitable for the whole family (although kids under 10 will be bored.) Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) is a world-class African-American pianist who’s about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.
I was prepared to tell you that this movie was based on a true story, but the story is NOT true according to Dr. Shirley’s family.
The Hate U Give – Based on the best-selling young-adult novel by Angie Thomas, the film follows Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), a black student at a largely white prep school, who is galvanized into activism after she witnesses the police shooting of her childhood friend Khalil. It grapples with a lot of current themes (racism, police brutality, societal violence) and it would be a GREAT film to see with a teenager or young adult as it’s sure to spark lots of debate.
Widows – I had high hopes for this girl-power caper and Viola Davis was divine (as always). It was much darker and grittier than I expected. Definitely NOT in the vein of Oceans 8. And there were parts of the plot that made absolutely no sense to me.
Creed II – Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stalone), heavyweight contender Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago. The latest in never-ending Rocky movie series, this was exactly (and I mean exactly) what you would expect. If you like boxing movies and are a Rocky fan, you’ll probably love it. If not, wait and watch it on Netflix.
I have been drowning in books this month. I had 10 library books that I had previously ordered all come through at the same time and it was absolutely killing me that I couldn’t possibly read all of them in their respective 21 day windows. I’ve still got five more to go that I’m trying to finish before they expire. #bookloverproblems
By the way, you can always follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading.
Something in the Water – A page turning psychological thriller about a couple: Erin and Mark. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. (Cue the ominous music!) Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events but you’ll have to read it to find out what they are. I usually don’t like mysteries but this one grabbed me from page one.
Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine – I have a soft spot for books where the protagonist is socially awkward (like “The Rosie Project” and it’s sequel.) Eleanor struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where her lonely existence is punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
I’m not surprised at all that Reese Witherspoon’s production company is turning this book into a movie. And I can’t wait to find out who will be cast as the leads.
Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook – I wasn’t going to leave you without a cookbook review. I follow Michelle Smith of @thewholesmiths on Instagram and I love her healthy recipes as well as her sense of humor. My mom gave me her cookbook for my birthday and there are LOTS of easy and healthy recipes I’m planning to try (her banana eggs have a cult following). Stay tuned and I’ll share some of my favorites via social media.
Homecoming (Amazon Prime) – OMG we really loved this 10-episode series (which is apparently based on a podcast). The episodes are only 30 minutes long and the minute you finish one, I promise you’re gonna want to start the next one. I had to ration myself to not watch the whole thing in one sitting (and I had several friends who did just that)!
A therapist named Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts) runs an experimental treatment program helping soldiers recover from PTSD. She develops a close relationship with one her clients, Walter Cruz (Stephan James), a thoughtful young man with big dreams for his post-military life. But her boss Colin Belfast (Bobby Cannavale in full charming sleazeball mode) is more concerned with securing Department of Defense funding than helping the soldiers. Then, a few years in the future, Heidi is working as a waitress at a Florida greasy spoon and dodging questions from a DoD investigator named Thomas Carrasco (Shea Whigham), who’s trying to figure out what happened to Walter Cruz. The search for Walter and the related mystery of how Heidi got from there to here drives the plot.
Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime) – We’re only half way through this series (and I realize I’m late to the party) but we are LOVING this show. If you’re a fan of Homeland, you’ll love this series as it has a similar vibe with lots of plot twists, political intrigue and behind-the-scenes CIA action. And John Krasinski is not bad to look at. Not bad at all.
No Crumbs Left Table Talk Podcast – Terri Turner of No Crumbs Left is one of my favorite food bloggers and just an amazing woman. She recently launched a podcast where she talks to her friends, family and others about food, family, relationships, and community. Don’t miss episode 2 which is about coming of age in our 50’s. I’m really enjoying it.
Oprah Interview with Michelle Obama – Everyone is raving about Michelle Obama’s new book “Becoming“. I have it but I haven’t started reading it yet. However, in preparation, I’ve flagged a couple of interviews with her and this one with Oprah is one the best. There’s also a two-part podcast with Oprah that has even more insights.
We loved Bohemian Rhapsody too! Went to see “The Mule” last night. Didn’t realize it was based on a true story – so crazy how a feisty, 90 year old war vet got mixed up with the cartel. We thought the movie ran a bit long, but Clint Eastwood was great. Bradley Cooper was in it too — wonder if he knew at the time he was producing and starring in A Star Is Born” that this movie would be playing at the same time! Anyways, very interesting story.
We saw The Mule last night. Much better than I expected. Not a “typical” Clint Eastwood movie (which is a GOOD thing)