Category: 2017

2017, Books, Music, Non-Fiction

Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time (2017) by Ray Padgett

This is not “The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time.” I don’t know how you would figure out what songs those were and it’s really entirely subjective.

2017, Books, Non-Fiction

Killers of the Flower Moon (2017) by David Grann

This book is an eye-opening story that is part true crime, part history and part investigation into one of the worst parts of American history, a story that has seemingly been mostly forgotten, due to the ethnicity of the victims and how it violates American national myths. It is an awful story, but it is …

2017, 2018, Basketball, Sports

Your 2017-2018 Toronto Raptors: Blow it all up?

Every year at this time of year I usually write a recap of the Raptors season. (Before I switched allegiances, it was a Leafs’ recap.) I’m sorry to say I don’t really do this for other people. I know there are actual basketball writers in the world who have actual things to say about Toronto …

2017, Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017, Rian Johnson)

When this movie came out, I read in various places that it was perhaps the best Star Wars movie ever made. That would be a tall order, I guess, if I actually enjoyed Star Wars as an adult. The thing is, I don’t. I keep watching these movies and whatever it was that compelled me to really …

2017, Movies

Alien: Covenant (2017, Ridley Scott)

It’s been so long since I saw the latter Alien sequels that I do not remember if they cared much about mythology, but I feel like they must have, at least a little bit. But Prometheus, which was only sort of a prequel – depending upon who you spoke to – really introduced mythology to the series, …

2017, Movies, TV

Crooked House (2017, Gilles Paquet-Brenner)

This is an atmospheric adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel with an all-star cast that does a very good job aesthetically, even though it gets a little over-the-top, but I’m not entirely sure the source material is quite as strong as it needs to be. SPOILERS

1967, 2017

High Priestess of Soul (1967) by Nina Simone

Aside from her voice and her piano playing, the thing that stands out most about Nina Simone among her fellow soul singers of this era is her variety and versatility: listen to most other 1967 soul albums and you will hear one thing, soul. Yes, there will be slow soul songs and their will be …

2017, TV

The Keepers (2017, Ryan White)

The Keepers is a fascinating, moving, infuriating and ultimately frustrating true crime documentary mini series both about who killed a nun in 1969 but, also, on a larger level, the moral corruption of the Catholic Church and the government authorities who have protected the Church or at least ignored complaints against it. HUGE SPOILERS but …

2017, Movies

Wonder Woman (2017, Patty Jenkins)

Wonder Woman is yet another super hero origin story. It is obviously different from most feature comic book super hero origin stories we’ve seen before for a very obvious reason – the character is a woman – but, otherwise, I found the movie reminiscent of a number of previous super hero films, one in particular. …

2017, TV

The Problem with Apu (2017, Michael Melamedoff)

The Problem with Apu is a brief, made-for-TV documentary about how the only major American (east) Indian character on TV for a very long time was a stereotype voiced by a white guy. As a white guy myself, of course I never had any problems with Apu. Fortunately we now live in an age where …

2017, Movies

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017, DJ Caruso)

If I saw the first xXx film, I don’t remember enough of it, beyond that terrible CGI snow, to know whether this film is significantly worse. But it sure feels like it. Much like the Fast and the Furious franchise, this film feels like a very calculated attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator of movie …

2017, TV

Five Came Back (2017)

Five Came Back is an affecting and interesting mini-series about five major Hollywood directors who helped the US propaganda efforts in World War II. Each of the five directors is paired with a modern director/admirer who helps tell the story. That conceit is a neat one which helps distinguish this documentary from the numerous others …

2017, Hockey, Movies, Sports

The NHL: 100 Years (2017)

This, the official documentary history of the NHL, is an adequate history of the NHL if you don’t watch hockey and didn’t grow up watching hockey OR you like having the old hockey myths repeated to you by different people than the people who usually told you these myths. As an actual history of the …

2017, TV

A Christmas Story Live! (2017, Scott Ellis, Alex Rudzinski)

Like many other people my age, I grew up with A Christmas Story. For as long as I can remember, I have watched it every few Christmases except for when, at one point, I watched it every Christmas. Unlike the vast majority of movies I loved as a child, my adult cynicism has not yet …

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Music

The Bob’s Burgers Music Album (2017)

Much like The Simpsons (at least back when I watched it) music plays a very significant role in Bob’s Burgers. In fact, it plays an even more significant role, given the singing propensities of multiple characters in the Belcher family. This album collects the featured songs from the show, as well as a few covers …

2017, TV

American Vandal (2017)

The best pop culture satires and parodies manage to combine a scathing critique of their target genre or conventions with a true enough adherence to those conventions that you actually end up scaring while you enjoy the critique. American Vandal is an excellent, note-perfect satire of true crime series like Making a Murderer that somehow manages to …

2017, Music

“Luciferian Towers” (2017) by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

I think it’s easy to listen to GY!BE and think that all their albums sound (somewhat) the same. I get that at some level. (I think it’s wrong, but I get it.) Rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. The pattern of their compositions is certainly familiar even if the music within them …

2017, TV

The Vietnam War (2017, Ken Burns, Lynn Novick)

This mammoth, 17+ hour documentary about The United States’ war in Vietnam is not perfect; it is a flawed film in at least two ways. But it is essential viewing for anyone alive today who hopes to understand the United States, its role in the world and its continued (seemingly endless) foreign policy mistakes, which …

2017, Movies

Gifted (2017, Marc Webb)

This is a film about one of those precocious child geniuses that only exist in Hollywood movies (and independent movies that wish they were Hollywood movies – I’m looking at your Good Will Hunting) and how such geniuses should be nurtured. In real life, nobody is quite as smart (or quite as high functioning if they …

2017, Movies

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017, James Gunn)

I don’t know what kind of ill-humour causes me to not love these movies as much as the next guy, but I was pretty damn underwhelmed by the (possibly over-hyped) first Guardians of the Galaxy and really had no plans to watch this one, unless I was bored one day looking through Netflix (which is how …

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Goes to Amsterdam Friday October 13, 2017

This morning we went to another bakery, more expensive and not as good as the bakery of the previous morning. My tea was insanely hot so we had to wait a while, and I actually had to dilute it was some of our bottled water.

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Amsterdam Thursday October 12, 2017

This morning we wandered around looking for dessert places in the Red Light district until we found a dessert place that had the odd breakfast pastry. We had croissants and a Danish.

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Amsterdam Wednesday October 11, 2017

Though staying at a “bed and breakfast,” breakfast was not included (this city is pricey) so we went out to find breakfast, a little groggily as our neighbours came back at 3AM (they couldn’t open their door…).

2017, Daily Log, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Amsterdam Tuesday October 10, 2017

Our return to Podgorica and our train trip to Belgrade were the worst days of our trip and, though we enjoyed Belgrade despite everything being closed, we were still kind of beaten down when we got up on Tuesday morning. So, given that we had an afternoon flight, and our rather swanky hotel tolerated fairly …