Tonight, it’s Medium Cool, hold the BGinCHI. BG will be back in two weeks, just before the inauguration.
It’s very cool here, with snow, ice and hoar frost
on the trees on everything.
This week, let’s talk about movies, books, TV shows that you keep coming back to.
Are there shows you watch again, when life is too stressful to want the suspense of the unknown? Any books you re-read when times get tough, or when times are especially good? Anything you return to again and again when you are going through something and you need to figure things out?
Are there things you come back to just because they are fun or interesting or that were so good that they make you want to read again or watch again to catch anything you missed?
What is your “go to” when you want mindless entertainment?
Balloon Juice is a constant reminder to me of how were are all different, even people who share a lot of the same interests, as we do here. For instance, the last thing I want to do right now is read a book about the plague or watch a movie about pandemics or a virus that’s out of control, but some of you crazy people want to do just that.
What movies, books or TV shows do you keep coming back to? And if you are so inclined, tell us when you tend to come back to them, and what brings you back.
I’ve watched all the Bourne films a million times.
Louise Penny Series
Hobbit and LOTR
Gandhi (the film)
Got the first 8 seasons on DVD so far.
So glad I left my TV on after Family Guy years ago. The show is damn funny regularly.
Darrin Ziliak (formerly glocksman)
I originally saw this on USA Network’s Night Flight back in the mid 80’s.
I can pretty much reread any of the Patrick O’Brien Aubrey/Maturin series or rewatch any Star Wars (excluding prequels). I’m a big Trek fan too, but aside from Wrath of Khan I rarely want to rewatch any of the movies or shows.
I’ve been disappointed to learn that the books that meant so much to me in my younger years don’t mean as much to me now. A few years ago, I started a project to reread all of my favorites, but stopped after two because they didn’t hold me like they had on first reading. Not that the books were bad; they just didn’t grip and hold me. I stopped because didn’t want to find out that everything that ever meant anything to me now didn’t
ETA: Benw’s post reminded me I could watch DS9 reruns forever. Also Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m sure I could re-see most of the films I’ve ever seen a time or two.
Old Dan and Little Ann
I’ve been watching “The Office” re-runs almost every night since covid started. Still funny.
“Dr. Who” (Eccelston, Tennant, Smith Capaldi and Whittaker). “Death In Paradise”, “MST3K”, “River Monsters”, Ken Burns’ “Baseball”.
Show: The Good Place. I didn’t really have a go-to before that; I’ve never been much of a TV watcher. There are so many clever, hilarious visual details that I love spotting.
Movie: Local Hero. It’s perfect. If it’s available on demand on a long flight, I’ll sometimes watch it twice or three times. (I can’t sleep on planes.)
Book, absorbing and distracting category: Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles series. Once I start, the modern world falls away and I’m constantly on the lookout for – and always find – things I missed the first, um, 6 or 7 times around.
Book, mindless entertainment category: Pride and Prejudice. OK, it’s far from mindless, but I’ve read it enough times to know exactly what’s coming and yet it still makes me laugh.
Dorothy Dunnett books
West Wing TV
All Jane Austen movies
@raven: I just watched that last week! Same here.
Just Some Fuckhead
I’m reading Rick Perlstein’s Reaganland. Bonus: there’s an anecdote in there from my childhood.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Old Dan and Little Ann: The US version? I think the Brit version is the first show I experienced binge-watching with, but I haven’t gone back to it. Michael Scott will draw me in almost every time I’m channel surfing. 30 Rock is another one I keep going back to.
Movies I’ll rewatch if I stumble on them: The Godfather, Lonesome Dove, Gosford Park, The Blues Brothers especially Ray Charles, Aretha and Cab Calloway.
I’ve probably watched The Sopranos all the way through at least five times, Deadwood three
Scrolling through whichever streaming service it’s on I saw Game of Thrones. I’m still mad at them for that last season.
The Sandman Slim series. Which I learned about on this blog.
@Princess Leia: I don’t watch much on film (or per a few threads ago, “film”), but if I did, my list would be pretty similar to yours.
I read LOTR once a year from age 16 through 66. Then I switched to occasional dips into specific sections. I read it again in full after the pandemic took hold.
Other books I reread more or less often:
Deborah Crombie mysteries
Elly Griffiths mysteries
The Sparrow and its sequel, Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell
Our Mutual Friend
David Mitchell, selectively
One in a Million Boy, by Monica Wood
Louise Erdrich, selectively
Dorothy Sayers, selectively
Horse Heaven, by Jane Smiley
Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver
Some of these are pure escapism. Some are because I want to hang out in those worlds again, with those “people.” Some are because as the years go by I’m a different reader, and the books are different books, and I want to see how things have changed since the last time. Some are because I learn stuff about writing by reading. Some are some or all of the above.
Books: mostly sci-fi– David Brin, William Gibson, Robert A. Heinlein, to cite the most dissimilar :-)
Movies: I’m lukewarm on nearly everything for ages, and keep going back to my formative years. Do you know that several Kubrick movies from 40+ years ago can be viewed free on archive.org? Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, Spartacus…
TV: Monty Python!
ETA: Ursula Leguin, especially The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness.
ETA again: sorry, I missed the specification of “mindless.”
@Comrade Colette: Local Hero…omg yes. Including the music.
No such thing really. I appreciate the craftsmanship in even light entertainment.
During the pandemic I have been revisiting survival and apocalyptic SF films. Like another commenter, I recently watched “Jeremiah Johnson” again.
Also watching pre-code comedies and later films. The Thin Man. Most recently The Women. Manhattan Melodrama. Libeled Lady. I have a thing for Myrna Loy. Also Mr and Mrs Smith (the Carole Lombard version). Sean Connery in Dr No.
“Knives Out” was one of the last movies I saw in theaters. Bought it and have watched it a couple of times. Also liked the new Wonder Woman 1984. Enjoyed the animated “Star Trek Lower Decks” and have revisited a couple of episodes.
Read a pop literature history of Genghis Khan. Don’t have the patience for reading much.
Also have been going to YouTube for episodes of The Saint. Also the Western series Have Gun, Will Travel.
Loads of British satirical panel shows and quiz shows. Some with a bite, such as Frankie Boyle’s New World Order.
Music – Motown. You can’t beat the Temptations. Take a listen to Ball of Confusion and see if it doesn’t apply today as much as it did in the early 70s.
For books – the Jean Auel series of The Clan and the Cave Bear. Each book is easily 650 pages and there are six of them. I’ve read each at least six times over the years, and a couple of them (Valley of the Horses and The Mammoth Hunters) even more.
@JanieM: Thanks for the leads!!! Looking forward to checking out your list!!!
Loved Middlemarch, though I just read it last year. Never too late, but I wish i had read it 40 years ago…
P.G.Wodehouse’s ‘The Golf Omnibus’
Damned humorous take on PG’s version of golf. Good reading anytime of year, especially Winter in western New York.
A River Runs Through It
“Little Big Man”. It makes my heart soar like a hawk.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
Big Bang Theory
Friends – which is weird because I didn’t start watching it until it was over and in reruns
I remember seeing a mini-doc on the making of the film about 6 months before it came out. The early prints and dvd transfers were really bad so it was hard to get the full force of the film without the incredible scenery. When they finally released it on Blu-Ray the visuals were restored and it was awesome again. The other bonus is the audio of Pollack, Redford and John Milius on the making of the movie. One thing they tried to do was give an idea of how people would have really talked in those times. A good part of the film has no dialogue at all since the boy he rescues is mute and the native American woman (a full time night woman?) does not speak english. When they were trying to do subtitles they went to Stanley Kubrick for help because he had more experience with the European market and how to do it. A great side story is about the burial and re-burial of Johnson. He was interned in the veterans cemetery in Santa Monica and it was pretty much unknown. When they found out they decided to have him reinterred in Cody Wyoming with Redford as a pall bearer. Before they did that Miliuis used the grave for a scene in his surfing movie “Big Wednesday” where Jan Michael Vincent and Gary Busey get drunk while saying goodbye to their buddy who was killed in Vietnam,.
Lord Fartdaddy (Formerly, Mumphrey, Smedley Darlington Mingobat, et al.)
The Regular Show. That’s really the only television show I’ve watched in the last ten years.
As for movies, 12 Angry Men is one I can watch again and again. Also L.A. Confidential. Right now, I’m on a James Bond kick, watching the early ones and the last four over and over.
@Salty Sam: It’s a good day to die. . .
Books – Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is a good way to kill a couple of months.
Movie – I don’t know why, but every time I’m flipping through the channels and stumble upon Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne I watch it again
Anotherlurker mentioned Death in Paradise. I am finding that to be just my speed these days, even if I picked up on it for the first time in Season 5.
Interesting enough to keep my interest, no real suspense to add stress.
@Princess Leia: I’m pretty sure that when I first read it in grad school (in my early/mid-twenties), a lot of it was lost on me, especially the class structure element. Still, I’m glad I’ve had it in my life for so long.
I remember enjoying My Life in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Mead, a few years ago, although not enough to put it on my rereading list.
Books: The Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Catch-22.
Movies: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Life of Brian, Dr. Strangelove, Sons of the Desert, City Lights, Duck Soup, A Fish Called Wanda.
TV: Blackadder, Yes Minister, the Simpsons episodes that Phil Hartman worked on , the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, Rumpole of the Bailey.
You didn’t mention plays but I love A Man For All Seasons and most of Aristophanes’ work.
@JanieM: I actually read Mead’s book first..but it was the impetus I needed to actually start Middlemarch.
@Princess Leia: I’m re-reading LOTR now myself. Paying more attention to the songs and verse this time, composing a melody when needed.
Some of the books seem like they are best consumed by ear, not eye
Strangely, I don’t reread many books even if I like them a great deal, but there are exceptions, some of which I should be getting back to soon: The Bluest Eye, The Great Gatsby, Things Fall Apart, Crime and Punishment, Animal Farm; also several of Borges’s short stories, e.g. “A intrusa,” “The Aleph,” “Funus.” I enjoyed Agent Running in the Field –thanks to whoever it was here who recommended it– and am likely to go back over the Smiley novels this year, as well as catch up on the later ones that I mostly haven’t read.
I’ve got a few repeat views on which I can bore others endlessly, and might have done here at some time: all of the Twin Peaks cycle; Vertigo (couldn’t pass that up this past Sat on TCM, even with the mediocre tv sound); Alfred Hitchcock tv; Peter Gunn; original Perry Mason. There are some others that I catch at least every couple or few years. Pro tip: Twin Peaks was simply made for long winter nights.
If I wanted to rewatch old TV shows, I’d start with M*A*S*H. There was a time period in the late seventies/early eighties when my roommates and I (living outside Boston) watched two M*A*S*H reruns every week night, three on Thursdays.
@MobiusKlein: I actually listened to the audiobooks just before the election, as it seemed appropriate. Best part was that the narrator sang the songs! Added to my pleasure so much!!
@prostratedragon: I have a weird thing where I almost never read a book that someone else gives me.
I’ve been watching the same movies over and over. If I need to do other things, they’re on in the background. The Bourne trilogy, John Wick trilogy, most of the Marvel movies, Harry Potter, Star Wars (except Rogue One, which is so sad), Aquaman, Justice League, the Daniel Craig Bonds. Fifth Element. Underworld. Resident Evil. LotR. I know I’m missing a few.
Last week’s Dr Who replays were a treat. Glad that the cozies have returned to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel.
I’m saving The Mandalorian and The Expanse for a later, calmer date.
I need to read more fiction. I still haven’t finished Hogfather.
Books: Another Louise Penny fan here. And Elly Griffiths.
Movie: Topol’s Fiddler on the Roof.
Shows: West Wing. And Golden Girls.
We’ve been watching Parks and Rec and The Office recently; both still funny. I’ve been slowly rewatching episodes of Monty Python’s FC in order.
I’ve been rereading my small library of Vonnegut books lately; his stuff is just out there a lot (but not always), and usually has decipherable themes. I just finished Sirens of Titan; a brief survey amongst a few friends found that Cat’s Cradle is his best work/the favorite.
PS: Road House is probably on TV somewhere in the world whenever you can’t sleep.
ETA: Doctor Who is usually a good rewatch, but I haven’t been able to get into the Capaldi series for some reason.
A longish appreciation of Middlemarch and George Eliot, by Rebecca Mead.
@Comrade Colette: Glad I’m not the only one who thought of Local Hero. I just rewatched that a couple of months ago.
Just Some Fuckhead
@prostratedragon: A few years ago, I thought I’d read the American standards for free online again or for the first time if I missed them. Started with To Kill a Mockingbird, good. Followed with a couple Steinbeck novels, still good. Then read Catcher In The Rye next, WTF? That’s the worst book I’ve ever read and made me quit my quest.
Pretty much any PG Wodehouse for me. Books, audio, video, are all very entertaining and worth reading/listening/watching again and again. Fond of the Hugh Laurie/Stephen Fry “Jeeves & Wooster” and the Timothy Spall/Jennifer Saunders “Blandings”. Spall was memorable in “Topsy Turvey” and Saunders is an accomplished driver (as seen on “Top Gear”). Some of the guest actors on “Blandings” (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Rose Leslie) have gone on to more prominent roles.
Jane Austen novels
Charlotte Bronte novels
Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter
British mysteries, especially Inspector Morse
We are rewatching Downton Abbey from the beginning and being royally entertained by it, despite having seen it multiple times already.
We’re making our way slowly through original Perry Mason, and it never disappoints.
Hm. Ask again in an hour and what’s left of brain will probably spit out different selections.
What’s My Line?
The Ernie Kovacs Show
Bringing Up Baby
The Lady Eve
The Pam Beach Story
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
The Man Who Came to Dinner
The Stunt Man
White on Rice
Death at a Funeral
A Raven Called Poe
“Wide Broadway Playlist” on the Accuradio streaming service channel on the Roku.
Shostakovich Symphony #9
Lieutenant Kijé Suite
Dark Side of the Moon (album)
McDonald & Giles (album)
In the wake of that truly awful adaption of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld last night on AMC, I’m going back to reread some of the original — and delightful — source material, perhaps starting with Sir Sam Vimes starring in Night Watch.
My go-to for relaxing entertainment recently has been home workshop videos from people like Paul Sellers, Rex Kruger, and This Old Tony. They’re very relaxing to watch for some reason, maybe because they’re so focused on the topic at hand that they can mostly tune out the rest of the world even as they’re putting out new videos.
Pam Beach = Palm Beach
@NotMax: Oh, I forgot about Bagdad Cafe!!!! And another vote for Local Hero as well.
@raven: I’ve whiffed on more of those than I’m comfortable admitting too. There’s something personal about a book, so that even someone with whom I’ve had many a nice conversation is apt not to get what it is I’d want to read. A little embarrassing, actually.
Looking up top, I see I’m not the only one having trouble with the concept of “mindless,” though some of what I’ve listed might count. I’m another Death in Paradise browser, and lately have often resorted to Shakespeare and Hathaway on a Saturday evening. I could imagine rewatching some of those when they roll around again. And yes, the Thin Man movies, Groundhog Day, and The Blues Brothers. One I haven’t seen in a while but would probably put me in stitches again is Noises Off. And another Saturday treat when it’s on is the most New York show ever, Cash Cab. Even the reruns are entertaining, because who remembers that stuff?
My list changes depending on my mood, who is with me, and what is still available. Little Miss Sunshine, Flight of the Conchords, and Mystery Men are family favorites and soooo quotable. I was cleaning out the fridge Saturday and showed my son something gross in a Tupperware and he responded with “junk it”.
When I spent weekends with an older relative, she could watch The Intern over and over and over again. I didn’t mind, because Deniro is charming in it.
LOTR, Hobbit and Harry Potter are family favorite reads.
For stupid funny, Zoolander is one of the best. Ever After is a sweet little romcom/princess movie. Dean Spanley is perfection – especially if you love dogs. I have also watched Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and the 2005 Pride and Prejudice sooooo many times. I think the movie Chef could become a repeat favorite. I tend to watch Star Trek and Doctor Who. Episodes 4,5and 6 of Star Wars are wonderful and I used to watch them often, but it has been a couple of years.
Just Some Fuckhead
Tubi TV, a streaming service available online or able to be added as an app on most smart TVs has most of three seasons of Fridays, ABC’s SNL-like sketch comedy show from the early 80’s. The musical acts alone are worth it.
Death at a funeral (the British version) is awesome and I have watched it so many times. Shostakovich and Mahler are favorites.
The West Wing — I have all seven seasons on DVD.
M*A*S*H — the TV series; I also have all seasons on DVD.
Star Trek — most iterations thereof.
This was also my experience. I don’t know why that was.
I’m so pleased to see multiple mentions of LOCAL HERO and MIDDLEMARCH! I read MIDDLEMARCH three times, probably don’t need to read it a 4th, but it is so rich. And LOCAL HERO is a sweet and whimsical movie.
And two mentions of Dorothy Dunnett above (@Comrade Collette, we must talk). Those books beg to be read over and over.
Other films I enjoy whenever they are on — POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES, THE HUSTLER, GHOST WORLD, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE
I don’t think “mindless” was meant to be obligatory.
no idea on if this is trans-generational or not, but I find myself always touching base on my own personal cultural milestones that mattered to me or whatever I suspect my actual self-image to be… which is a cynical yet still hopeful snarky smartass with questionable taste in music and art but exquisite taste in people.
so the items I tend to re-read: Bujold (Vokosigan Saga series, but the Five Gods stuff is pretty awesome too)
Glen Cook’s – Garrett fantasy noir detective series
and trying out various new authors and old favorites (like Block’s Burgler books) as whimsy allows, also recently redid George MacDonald Fraser’s entire Flashman series.
As for the realm of finding something watchable, for some reason there’s a list of 80’s favorites from the eclectic that I can always enjoy, Used Cars, Buckaroo Banzaii and Big Trouble in Little China and additional guilty pleasure viewing of Jason Statham flicks and possible the best Peter Dinklage film around, Death at a Funeral (British version), also Alan Tudyk’s performance is not to be missed.
For TV, just finished The Rook, now working my way thru the 2nd season of the Umbrella Academy and then will likely move on to catching up on The Expanse once again, although SYFY’s Resident Alien looks like it could be interesting. When in doubt, season 2, 3 and 5 of MST3K are always fun to revisit.
whaddaya think sirs?
One of the things that really got me when re-watching TOS is how different the actual show was compared to the popular perception. Maybe it’s because the characters hadn’t become caricatures yet in the early episodes, but very few of the alleged tropes of the series were there. I think the sloppier writing of the third season really brought down public perception of how good the show was.
TV: I usually binge on Breaking Bad when a new season of Better Call Saul is about to be released. I’m really looking forward to the next season. The Wire, Firefly, Veronica Mars, and West Wing are my usual fall backs. And I find the Great British Bake Off to be really relaxing. Since COVID, I’ve watched some new stuff – Watchman and The Outsider. I’m looking forward to seeing the new versions of The Stand.
Movies: The Marvel Comic and Harry Potter movies are all great for some light entertainment. I own a bunch of them and can stream them on demand on Fandango anytime I’m in the mood. I rewatch a lot of movies just because I love the soundtrack. For instance, I love the soundtrack for Interstellar, LOTR, and Silence of the Lambs, even if I’m not really ‘watching’ the films.
Books: I had been listening to books on CD while driving to work before COVID. That’s sort of on hold as I’m working from home and not driving. And podcasts too. I had just started listening to the Planetary Society podcasts and started at the beginning of when the first aired them in 2000 or so. I have managed to get up to about 2004 now. It’s kind of weird listening to them talk to all the PI’s and project directors from NASA and JPL who worked on the Mars and Cassini launches from that era. Even though I know what is going to happen, it’s still thrilling to listen to the Mars landings. And it’s nice knowing that there were still/are still competent people doing their thing – and excelling – no matter how awful the political landscape is in the country. If you need something to listen to on a long road trip I highly recommend their podcasts
edited: thanks for the reminder about Local Hero. have to look that up and watch it again!
For films, I generally only re-watch the comedy greats, such as Mel Brooks, Monty Python, Rob Reiner and Chris Guest. As for tv, there are numerous ones but favorites that I will always come back to are Star Trek: TNG, West Wing, Mad Men, Cheers, GBBS and (my guiltiest pleasure) early Survivor. Books are really hard because if I keep a book, I will re-read it. Otherwise, I pass it on to one of my siblings. In my house, I have two 3-shelf built-ins in different rooms, one six feet wide and the other eighteen feet wide. Both are filled mostly with books. So I have to narrow it down to ones I’ve read more than twice or three times. That would include the Harry Potter series, the Outlander series, several of Pat Conroy’s novels (The Great Santini, Prince of Tides and Beach Music), William Manchester’s three volume biography of Churchill, King’s The Stand and Danse Macabre and The Rings trilogy.
A very soothing series for me is The Repair Shop on Netflix. Watching people fix old treasures fascinates me, plus everybody has an English accent, very calming. Even when the customers are thrilled with the repair, their exclamations of joy are very understated. I like that.
@geg6: Pick up “The Death of Santini”.
There’s no situation so grim that a half hour of Father Ted can’t raise a few (dozen, hearty) chuckles. Moviewise Deadpool can never sneak by unwatched.
With the UK dropping back into TOTAL LOCKDOWN until at least February I’m probably going to be watching a lot of stress-free product. Maybe I’ll give the classic Hammer Horror films another run-through. Something about a cup of mulled wine with a plate of cheese bread and little spicy sausages eaten in front of a roaring log fire in the corner of a noisy Carpathian inn while seductive wraiths in flimsy silk gowns haunt the ice-crisp forests beyond the village sounds great right now.
The original screen adaptation, Lady for a Day, still holds up very well, also too.
Continues to sort of blow me away when I see her on the screen that May Robson (Apple Annie in that film) was born in 1858, old enough to have memory of Lincoln’s assassination.
I re-watched seven seasons “The Mentalist” not long ago. I love the interplay between characters. Cho is a treat — the droll update of Sgt. Joe Friday cracks me up. Patrick Jane gets revenge on Red John in season 5, and the show isn’t as good after that. Somehow having a smart, blonde, not very big or brave guy named “Patrick” as the hero appeals to me.
OMG, I didn’t realize there are so many Local Heroes fans out there. My husband and I once visited the Scottish village where it was filmed.
The movie I keep watching over and over and over is Hamilton. LOTR is another default.
The Good Place puts me in my good place. I fall asleep to British detective shows, including Death in Paradise or Midsomer Murders.
I’m rather into British/Australian lady detective books set post-WWI. And Lois McMasters Bujold. I’m enjoying her Penric novellas.
For some reason during this lockdown I haven’t been able to watch TV shows or movies that I’ve already seen, except for something like Law and Order reruns, which I will sometimes have on just because I don’t have to pay any attention to them. I’m also currently watching the original Perry Mason — as I’m still in season 1 and there are more than 200 episodes to go, it may actually get me through waiting for vaccination. (I probably saw many of them when I was a kid, but I’ve yet to remember a single plot point so it counts as seeing for the first time.)
I reread all of Jane Austen during the early weeks of lockdown, and I listened to the entire Harry Potter series on audiobook, which turned out to be a really nice way to fall asleep. I think LOTR is next. I haven’t reread that in several years.
Add me to the Local Heroes fan club. Whimsy at its best.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
Catcher in the Rye was the worst book I’ve ever been forced to read, up to and including textbooks and work business manuals. Just awful. Hated it.
AM in NC
I frequently reread the Aubrey/Maturin novels; Every 5-10 years I reread Lolita; Absalom, Absalom!; East of Eden, and a number of Shakespeare’s tragedies because I get different things out of them as I go through life.
Not all that long ago went back and watched them in the order they originally aired. Wasn’t until the 18th episode of season one that someone who dies was wearing a red shirt.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Kenneth Fair: I haven’t seen Local Hero in years, what a great movie.
Cross of Irom
Big Red One
Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns
Kill Bill Saga
Natural Born Killers
No Country for Old Men
Once Upon a Time In the West
The Usual Suspects
Shakespeare in Love is another film that I can watch over and over.
And a guilty pleasure is Hunt for Red October. I have no idea why I like it so much.
No “Lords of Discipline”?
“I wear the ring.” One of the great opening lines in novel history.
I have a peculiar quirk about first-person novels. I don’t like them, so I don’t read them. With the exception of Pat Conroy.
Could be because I’m Southern, and I don’t think of his works as fiction.
Movies: Hacksaw Ridge. The story of the only Conscientious Objector to win the Medal of Honor. Any of the Bourne movies, whenever they come on. Especially the ones with a lot of Julia Stiles. League of Their Own if it’s on when I’m channel surfing.
TV: Nothing in particular.
Books: Merchanter’s Luck by C J Cherryh. Cordelia’s Honor (2 books combined) by Lois McMaster Bujold. The Polish Officer by Alan Furst. Mostly, though, I don’t reread as much as I used to.
ETA: Hacksaw Ridge isn’t “mindless”
TV: The Fresh Prince of Bell Air, Golden Girls, Community, B99, 30 Rock, Girl Friends, Living Single, Gavin And Stacey, Only Fools And Horses, The Office
Movies: Any Hitchcock movie, Philadelphia Story, Clueless, Trading Places, It’s a Beautiful Life, Clue, Lord of the Rings
Because I am a 90s baby, I’ve been watching 90s movies. Haven’t watched most of them so it’s been a great treat. I am on 1994. Where to start…
I don’t know if I have re-read many books but since COVID my friends and I are doing a weekly zoom book quiz to see if we remember much of those classical books we’ve read when we were teenagers. It’s been fun and so revealing.
@jeffreyw: You gotta be one be a big red one
Ceci n est pas mon nym
I haven’t done a lot of re-watching or re-reading in years. Got too much unwatched, unread stuff in my inbox. I think the things closest to the spirit of this question are certain authors where I trust that the emotional toll is not going to be too high, that everybody I love will be alive at the end of the book and that the right people will win.
Robert Parker (the Spenser novels) and his literary heirs who are writing new novels with his characters definitely qualifies. So does Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files. And I have a soft spot for a lot of well-written YA sci fi and fantasy.
That book loomed large for me starting when the nun who was my freshman (HS) English teacher put it on a summer reading list that my parents asked her to make for me. (I think it was meant partly to teach me about sex?!? There’s that moment when Kristin lies back in the hay, dot dot dot…..)
I loved the book and reread it every few years for a long time, then kind of had had enough of the sentimentality. I dipped into it not to long ago to remind myself of certain passages and sections and enjoyed it, but wasn’t moved to read the whole thing again. Maybe someday, but not right now.
I will do that! Thanks!
“book” = novel-length fanfic Two Two One Bravo Baker
on Archive of Our Own.
[If you’re not signed up for AO3, you will have to click the “proceed” button at the link, in response to the statement that this work could have adult content, to see more than the first page]
Warnings: numerous references to and glancing depictions of combat, injury, murder, and mutilation of the dead; deaths of minor and major original characters. Numerous explicit depictions of sex between two men.
Almost nobody you come to care about during the course of the story makes it out alive.
With warnings like that, why would I read it again and again? Because it’s just that good.
Perfectly written, emotional, suspenseful, with (some) justice doled out in the end, so hopeful.
I recommend it here because I hope to expose a wider audience to the idea that “fanfic” is — or at least can be — real fiction, real craft of writing.
I’m not sure Enjoy! is the right thing to add.
Read it only twice, so it didn’t make the list. Maybe it’s time for read number three!
ETA: I love Conroy’s writing and I’m not southern at all!
Major Major Major Major
I have most of Futurama memorized, and half of the first seven Simpsons seasons. Though I haven’t been revisiting much of anything lately. Now that I think about it, I watched those shows so much because I would enthusiastically share them with friends, which isn’t so much a thing right now, in person.
@debbie: Me too on Deep Space Nine
I think I’ve watched Good Omens, like 10 times and read the book about 3-times.
For books, big time agreement with the other Bujold fans, all of her series, as well as much of what Sherri L. Tepper has produced. But my most favorite are JoyceH’s Mary Bennett books, not sure why, but I really like the way that Mary comes to a place of equality with her sisters Jane and Lizzie.
I never watched much TV until the lockdown, so it’s all first time through for me. Really love the Great British baking Show– those people are so darn nice!
Movies (in the last week) Rebecca, I walked with a Zombie, Palm Beach Story; (at other times) Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, My Neighbor Totoro, Whisper of the Heart, The Clouded Yellow, Chungking Express, Seven Samurai, Three bad men and a Hidden Fortress, High and Low, Laura, In Harm’s Way, Casablanca, They Live by Night, Bringing up Baby, The Awful Truth, Only Angels have Wings, Holiday, Late Spring, Ugetsu Monogatori.
Books: LOTR, The Wind in the Willows, Tom’s Midnight Garden (Philippa Pearce), The Growing Summer (Noel Streatfeild), Dance to the Music of Time, Decline and Fall, Wodehouse, above all Leave it to Psmith, Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey, Ruth Rendell.
TV (recently) MTM, The Dick van Dyke show, Bob Newhart, What’s My Line, Dick Cavett, Poirot, Marple.
Midsomer Murders, Vera, Futurama, Simpson’s (watching it now) MST2K
@Delk: does Midsomer Murders get better over time? The first one didn’t grab me, so I bailed.
Oopsie. Left The More the Merrier off the list.
Slight sin to have ignored perky Jean Arthur.
Books: The Dresden Files series, the Laundry Files series by Charles Stross,
TV: Babylon 5, Fringe, The Mandalorian
Movies: Red (a guilty pleasure), LOTR, Seven Samauri, Yojimbo, Captain Marvel
Arguably the only quality stuff there are the Kurosawa movies, but I don’t care.
@Comrade Colette: I love Dorothy Dunnett! I’ve read the Lymond Chronicles several times. I have particularly enjoyed rereading them with the Dorothy Dunnett Companion so I can read the context for an interesting quote. I don’t look up every quote, there are just too many, but I sample a lot of them.
@lahke: It’s good for mindless watch. I watch it when I don’t want to think and just relax.
I re-read books a lot, but the writer I go back to most consistently is Neal Stephenson. There’s just so much in those books that you see new things whenever you read them. I’ve read Lord of the Rings maybe 4 times; the last time I then read the Silmarilion again right afterwards and it made a lot more sense. (Even though it comes first chronologically, I can’t recommend reading it that way.)
Movies: I could watch any of the original Star Wars movies any time. Also any of the Ocean’s X movies. I enjoy the intricacy and absurdity of them. (Having Julia Roberts do a scene where her character makes believe she’s Julia Roberts? All you can do is admire the chutzpah and laugh.) The same goes for a lot of other caper movies. Oh, and The Princess Bride because, well, of course.
TV: I don’t really re-watch a lot of TV, but I’d be happy to see Buffy again and would watch most episodes if I happened to see them while channel surfing.
We can’t stream out here in the rural backwoods, so we are limited to Live TV or DVDs.
The movie I always watch when I see it shown on live TV is The Princess Bride. The series that I always watch when random episodes are showing on live TV is Scrubs.
For some reason, during this year of pandemic, I find myself watching every episode of the original Law and Order series. Over and over . . . I am not exactly sure why. Maybe after the pandemic I’ll think about that.
We read books more than we watch anything on screens but we both prefer reading books that we haven’t read before.
Oh, I also forgot to mention Margaret George’s historical novels, most especially The Autobiography of Henry VIII.
You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed them. Sadly, the bookstore in Chapel Hill where I bought all of those (and not enough Alan Furst) is closed now.
Moved to previous thread.
LOTR. I read it nearly every year, and have done so for . . . 45 years? or so?
Richard Russo’s novels, especially “Nobody’s Fool.”
“Cryptonomicon.” There are a handful of other Stephenson works that I’ve reread, but that one remains my favorite. (I’m going to finish “The Fall” as soon as I finish Hogfather, and, even though there are things I’ve quite enjoyed about it, there are times when I do not see the point. I’m waiting for a payoff.)
Dunnett’s novels–I’ve been through both series at least 3 times, and I still get lost with the various real people.
I just finished watching “The Good Place” this weekend, and was so moved by it. I’ve loved the whole series (I was a philosophy major, so some of it had special resonance for me), and probably will rewatch again.
There are a handful of other books that I don’t re-read often, but will sometimes suddenly want to read again.
ETA: I reread the Dresden Files this summer, in prep for the two new books, and I know I will again. I like his other stuff, too.
Just my ass, sometimes.
Speaking of books, if you want to read a new book, I would strongly recommend reading “Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston”. It’s about the life and talent of the author of “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.
My internal monologue has been in Gene’s voice a lot lately.
I just wish Bob would “win” a little more often.
@Anya: I agree, plus it’s very pretty. Also there are a ton of episodes.
Funny, I have not watched them during the pandemic, but I typically return to two Hitchcock greats, The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes.
Also, have huge fondness for re-watching My Man Godfrey.
May as well repeat this from a few days ago.
Recently found on Netflix, Toc Toc. Spanish language light comedy. Fun film adaptation of a stage play, unpretentious and aims to be nothing more than an easygoing good time. You may not break into outright laughter but you will smile broadly a lot.
While on the subject of very watchable lighthearted TV, another Spanish series (on Prime), Little Coincidences springs to mind. The series creator (also the male lead and director of the majority of episodes) wields an increasingly finely sharpened pen. Beginning episodes a little shaky here and there, then it settles into its niche with aplomb.
@NotMax: Wonderful movie–should have remembered to include it on my list too.
Books: Robin Hobb’s nine-book series of Fitz and the Fool. I just love those two assholes. Harry Potter. The Expanse. Lois McMaster Bujold – everything but the young Miles books, so the two about Cordelia, then Memory through Cryoburn, which I go to when I need a good cry. A Civil Campaign always delights. David Weber’s Safehold series.
Movies – Harold and Maude, Casablanca, Philadelphia Story, any Tracy/Hepburn movie. The Shawshank Redemption and Delores
I’ve been off TV for a few years now. Part of it is that there’s so much out there I get paralyzed for choice.
ETA: Loved the Dorothy Dunnett books, need to reread them, but not sure my pandemic anxiety can pay enough attention. Also the Thin Man movies and It Happened One Night, and almost any Preston Sturges movie.
I keep re-reading Barbara Hambly’s “Benjamin January Series”. Great detective stories with excellent historical research. The time frame is 1830s New Orleans and the cultural framing is the Free Colored Creole Demi-Mond.
TV: original L&O
Book: Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op stories
Movie: Margin Call. And Bad Santa at Xmas
Authors I read and reread and rereread: Ben Aaronovitch Peter Grant novels, DOnald Westlake Dortmunder novels, English vintage mysteries esp Cyril Hare…escapism
Wodehouse Playhouse was good. John Alderton and Pauline Collins, mid-’70s. I think there might be some of them on YouTube.
John Le Carre is someone I read over and over. I have been reading mystery series, but I like them heavy on plot and character development, so there are many I start but don’t finish. I read Ian Rankin’s Rebus series recently. For movies, we have been alternating movie choices, and there aren’t many I have felt motivated to go back to. For tv, I like Vera, just because Brenda Blythen is so good. I also liked Broadchurch enough to watch more than once. I really liked Major Crimes and was sorry when they ended it. I watch reruns.
This reminds me — the Shetland mysteries are on my rereading list too. Vera I didn’t like quite as well, but maybe I’ll try the TV version sometime since this isn’t the first time I’ve seen it praised.
Ooooh, yes! I’d never seen them and have been working my way through in order – although I got derailed by the blackface episode (WTAF, Fry and Laurie?!?) a few weeks ago and haven’t gone back yet. One minor drawback is that I’m watching on YouTube and have to keep the window small because the low resolution makes the picture too grainy when embiggened, and I’m far too cheap to see if a pay version is better.
We have, sort of ;-) I recognized your nym a while back from the old Dunnett Yahoo boards, although I think we only overlapped for a short time there. Strange that a whole huge community with a written record of hundreds of thousands of communications could just vanish …
Books: Dorothy Dunnett’s historical works. I think I like Niccolo even more than Lymond, and the King Hereafter even more. I found that Lymond took a couple of readings before I could even follow the plot. I’ve been through them about five times. Niccolo is so much better if you are really familiar with Lymond.
TV: Gunsmoke. Midsomer Murders ( Midsomer is more dangerous than Cabot Cove, even without guns!)
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Ken Burns Vietnam
ST First Contact
For really vegging out while watching, all 9 seasons of ‘Allo ‘Allo are currently on Prime.
I am disappoint.
115 comments (at time of writing) and not one mention of The Princess Bride?
@debbie: I loved the Narnia books as a child. As an adult I would hesitate to let any child, particularly a girl child, read them.
Another Dunnett fan here. I read the Lymond books in high school and the Niccolo books as they came out 30-some years ago. I bought them all again when they came out as ebooks 10 years ago and intend to reread them if/when I can retire.
I bounced hard off both Aubrey/Maturin and Dunnett, although both were recommended by friends with whom I share a lot of favorites. Will not re-list the usual suspects that have been repeatedly mentioned, but a relatively recent one that I have re-read multiple times is The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (one of several pen names for Sarah Monette; I should try more of hers).
I’m another Local Hero and Middlemarch fan. Other films when I need to escape: The Commitments, early B/W Hitchcock, the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes films, anything with Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Katharine Hepburn, and the like. Other books: any Austen, any other George Eliot, Patricia Wentworth/Agatha Christie/Charlotte Armstrong and the like. Series TV: West Wing, The Good Life, Frasier.
@Comrade Colette: It’s a British series set around 1930 shot around 1990. I think people in Britain (and Europe in general) were mostly unaware of the connections of “blackface” 30 years ago.
@Barbara: I don’t know how deep you are in the Rebus series, but I highly recommend The Falls, which is a later entry. It was my first Rebus, and the best of the 6 or 7 books I read.
@geg6: I agree with you on Catcher in the Rye.
Mark Knopfler, of Dire Straits.
you missed two.
I almost always have a Discworld book open in one of the multiple book readers on my phone.
TV: Doctor Who (modern), Star Trek (Deep Space Nine), Babylon 5, M*A*S*H. I love The West Wing, but it’s neither mindless nor is it comforting in these times.
Movies: 1776, The Princess Bride, Bull Durham, Real Genius
Music: Genesis/Gabriel/Hackett, Renaissance, The Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Goodman, Seanan McGuire
There are other things I go to less often, but those are the essentials
@sab: I would be interested in hearing more about your thinking here.
@BruceFromOhio: Yes, I know…..
BBC America just started running The Watch, a series based on Terry Pratchett’s novels. First two episodes (as a two-parter) last weekend, and it’s being rerun all through this week. I have no idea if it’s any good.
ETA: The two-part opener is on again (all times Eastern) at 4:00 a.m. Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Friday, 11:00 p.m. Saturday and 10:00 a.m. Sunday. New Episode 3 at 8:00 p.m. next Sunday.
@Steeplejack: I have no idea whether The Watch would stand on its own. But as an adaptation, it looks like it falls somewhere between the adaptations of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson (the movies, not the upcoming Disney series), which was recognizable but poorly adapted, and that of Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising (which was both almost unrecognizable and abominable).
Old Dan and Little Ann
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: 100+ comments later! The U.S. version. Although we watched the original version years ago. British Dwight makes me laugh just thinking about him. We also went through every season of 30 Rock this summer. The jokes in that show are non-stop. It’s well worth watching a 2nd a 3rd a time.
Tales From the Loop
Plan to re-watch soon:
The Queen’s Gambit
Game of Thrones
Will probably rewatch at some point:
Project Runway (some seasons)
Movies I can watch over and over: Goodfellas, Godfather 1 & 2, Shawshank Redemption, Boogie Nights, Phantom Thread, Pulp Fiction, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Jaws, Hoosiers, The Natural, Rocky 2-4, The Sting, Butch Cassidy & SD Kid, Breaking Away, etc…
I couldn’t watch the West Wing as long as shitforbrains was disgracing the country. But I could once he’d LOST. But. Netflix’s contract was up and HBO took over showing it. So now I haven’t seen the last season as many times as the first 6. WW is probably my #1 show.
I’ve watched Mash I have no idea how many times, because I wanted to be a doc, my major was pre-med, but life and dyslexia got in the way, my particular form of dyslexia being that I reverse letters. Autocorrect is a freaking life saver to me. Haven’t watched Mash in years, maybe that’s on the agenda.
The Bourne series
Dead Like Me
Long Way Round, Down, and Up.
I get bored easily and that cuts my TV and movie watching
@JanieM: I think the tv dramas for both are on the whole better than the books. They are tighter and for the most part I agreed with editorial changes. Brenda Blythen is just blistering in her portrayal of Vera.
@WaterGirl: I think Lewis was very hard on conventional girls. We don’t all need to grow up to be swashbuckling adventurers. Growing up into female adulthood is hard enough without Lewis sneering at all the conventional choices. (Did Susan have to turn out so awful?)
Prince Caspian hated freckles. Odd choice of disparagement for a Northern Irish author.
I just think the books set adolescent girls up for a lot of self-image problems.
Maggie Lidchi: Man of Earth
A western businessman ends up in an Ashram awhile freefalling to his spiritual, emotion and physical nadir.
Patrick O’Brian: The Aubrey-Maturin Series
Liu Cixin: Remembrance of Earths Past Trilogy
JS Bach: Partitas and Sonatas for solo cello.
JS Bach: Partita No2 in Dm for solo violin
Ry Cooder: Meeting by the River
Oregon: Songs of another present era
Andrei Tarkovsky: Andre Rublev, The Sacrifice.
Akira Kurosawa: Seven Samurai
Kubrick: 2001 A Space Odyssey
Books: Bujold-Vorkosigan series, Rex Stout- Nero Wolfe series, Lee and Miller – Listen universe series, O’Brien- Aubrey Maturing, Flint -1632 series.
Tv elementary, persons of interest,
Movies – you’ve got mail
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I rewatch the Back to the Future trilogy every few years. Loved it so much I own it on DVD. I also like to rewatch Star Trek TNG every few years as well
“Pride of Chanur,” C.J. Cherryh. Plus the sequels. Up-close space-opera culture clash. The protagonists are a feline species, with only females in space — their males are too volatile. Humans are peripheral, though their sudden appearance upsets the delicate political balance. Includes some methane breathers, technically superior but so odd and different that the oxygen-breathing species have no idea what’s going on with them — they just try not to piss them off.
@Yutsano: We just watched that after learning that my husband somehow had never seen it. Liked it again. Also like Ever After, kind of in the same vein.
I love the little bit of Shetland that I have seen, but hard to find in US. I can’t get my husband into because of the accents. He needs an interpreter for Midsomer Murders.
@Barbara: Thanks, I will try them when I get into a screen-watching mood. :-)
@UncleEbeneezer: I missed most of TheWire. What a loss to me.
I sold tons of those books and at one point tried to read one (don’t remember which). I didn’t get very far but thought the depictions of the children were condescending. Definitely paid the rent though!
Did you try the newer translation? At first I resisted it, but the last time I read the new one, and it’s less sentimental. All that archaized language apparently was the conceit of the translator, not the author.
Hot Alec Baldwin?
James Earl Jones?
My sister in Minneapolis raves about Death In Paradise
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Nearly forgot the goodness and perfection that are Casino Royale (Daniel Craig), The Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok.
For music, I’m eclectic. Like some old school rap, 90s femme, grunge, Willie Nelson, classic rock. For a nice bit of background music, Downtempo Beats lounge music from Amazon is fantastic, both in the kitchen and the bedroom (ahem).
If you didn’t like The Killings at Badger’s Drift, you’re not going to like Midsomer. It’s a classic of the canon.
For TV, mainly “Twin Peaks: The Return”. It’s pure, unfiltered David Lynch (with sprinklings of Mark Frost), so watching it is a stream of emotions. Visually stunning, plus it answers 25 years of questions about the show (while leaving a bunch others unanswered).
For movies, my go-to’s are “Wall Street” and “The Secret of My Success”. The former is just awesome acting (for the most part) and a perfect snapshot of the 80s, while TSOMS was another slice of time for me – I was a kid who watched just about every movie that came out, and I got left at the theater by myself for this one. Fun, fun movie with the iconic “Day bow-bow*” scene.
* – “Always Sunny” reference
@sab: Loathed Narnia. Sexist as all get out. Nonetheless, daughter found them to be enchanting for the animals and I read TLTWATR a whopping six times out loud. One book that I loved reading to my kids was Treasure Island.
That’s one of the books I loved in high school but hated when I tried to reread it many years later. He was whining so much, I almost threw the fucking book across the room.
@Yutsano: Book or movie? For some reason Robin Wright drives me nuts, so I couldn’t watch the movie.
@Kristine: I have read them all. I am a compulsive reader.
If equally well cast, Bridgerton’s Duke of Hastings would have nothing on Lymond in the swoon category.
It’s fun. I liked the first season (two?) with Ben Miller best, was less thrilled by Kris Marshall (Colin in Love Actually), and liked the next guy pretty well too.
@rikyrah: Of course she does. Just the weather. I love the series.
Local Hero is a wonderful movie that I really should try to get a copy of. I’m still convinced that the creators of Northern Exposure (a show that I would watch a lot of if I had it) borrowed a lot from Local Hero. Too many similarities, including a jovial Soviet sub captain that docks his sub in town for periodic visits.
I liked The Mentalist. One of the few shows I made it a point to catch when it was first on. I am surprised it hasn’t shown up in reruns somewhere.
Somewhat similar to the Patricia Arquette show Medium. Kept sucking me in even though it drove me nuts that her husband, her cop (district attorney?) boss and others were always skeptical of her claims, even though she was right every goddamn time. (That’s probably an entry at TV Tropes.)
One show that I never watched until way past its original run was Law and Order: Criminal Intent. I really like that, and I still catch reruns on the regular. Eames and Goren are one of the great cop pairings, and the intermittent arc with their archenemy Nicole Wallace was great.
@Tony Jay: @MazeDancer:
The people who made Poldark optioned the Lymond Chronicles four years ago, but I’ve heard nothing since then. And yes, the casting game is a perennial fan favorite – generations of potentially Lymond-ish actors have grown old and died since the books were published.
I forgot to mention Bridgerton the first time around! I’ve already watched it 3 times through. Delicious, and oh, the Duke of Hastings! (bites knuckles)
@Yutsano: Honestly, I thought I’ve included in my list. I’ve rewatched that movie more than any other movie.
The Giordano Bruno series by S.J. Parris. Great for Tudor times fans.
@Steeplejack: Also liked the Mentalist, Criminal Intent and Cold Case. Apparently Cold Case hasn’t been streamed or released on video because of issues with music rights.
Have hardly watched TV in years, but would love to catch up, I’m the British mysteries sort. Could watch Foyle’s War a lot. Could easily re-do Cadfael and Morse. I’ve been thinking to rewatch a set the BBC did years ago– A Town Like Alice. Binge-watched it with friends and was reminded of it recently, an amazing Neville Shute story.
I re-read Dorothy Sayers for years, then gave away my whole set to a local charity book sale, and am regretting it. I’m more in the line of catching up with several mystery series right now, Jaqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series being at the head of the list. I’m behind on the Laurie King set of Mary Russell books as well, and could re-read most of them.
Movies–my original tape of Local Hero gave up the ghost, surely it must be out on DVD. We appreciate that Mark Knopfler did the soundtrack. I have watched Dead Again several times; Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn in almost anything but especially with Cary Grant (Charade, Philadelphia Story). A most wonderful film I Know Where I’m Going, fabulous black and white cinematography set in Scotland, 1945 with Wendy Hiller, worth many a rewatch.
Movies that I could watch over and over
The Philadelphia Story
Best Man Holiday
Jumping the Broom
A Piece of the Action
Let’s Do it again
Best double feature
John Wick/The Equalizer
Everytime I see it on tv, I wind up watching it.
Imitation of Life- the Lana Turner version
Any Bond movie without Timothy Dalton´
I’m seeing lots of my favorites mentioned: Local Hero, yes! Other movies I can watch over and over – and have done are My Cousin Vinny, Groundhog Day, Moonstruck, Working Girl
I read a lot of mysteries/spy stories several times even when I know how they turn out – Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey, P.D. James, Le Carre, Robert Harris.
I first read Middlemarch over 40 years ago but I just finished listening to an Audible version read by Juliet Stevenson – completely brilliant. It takes 35 hours and I saved the last two hours of it for New Year’s Eve. Possibly the happiest New Year’s Eve I’ve ever spent (accompanied by mint chip ice cream.)
As much as I love the Vorkosigan series, I think Bujold’s Five Gods books are even better. The world building is really fantastic, the characters are great, and the plotting and pacing are outstanding.
Love threads like this, I always read them with the NY Public Library search page open to see what they have that’s on everyone’s “recommended” list. I have a few too that I keep coming back to:
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the Swedish versions); Gaudy Night, the one Dorothy Sayers novel that (to me) escapes “category mystery” status by being somewhat autobiographical and, for its time, very feminist; a series of memoirs by Ben K. Green, who was a practicing large-animal vet in West Texas during the 30s and 40s (think All Creatures Great and Small meets Lonesome Dove, without the shoot-em-ups); Foyle’s War; Better Off Ted, a 2-season “office” comedy with some brilliant comic writing and acting; all (five?) seasons of “Justified,” which never gets old; and anything and everything by LeCarre, Elmore Leonard, and George Pellecanos. Thanks for the recommendations, everybody!
@Barbara: After his death, I’ve started re-reading “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “Call for the Dead”. I’ve also rewatched the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy movie. I still loved it.
Vincent D’Onofrio is genius. Did you see his guest appearance in Homicide?
My kids and I have a running argument about who would win in a fight between John Wick and Jason Bourne. I’m team Wick. They are all team Bourne.
@patrick II: I loved The Mentalist. So that is where I remember Tim Kang from. It has been bothering me watching the new Magnum PI that he seemed so familiar and I couldn’t remember from where.
Anything by Dorothy L. Sayers
Anything by Josephine Tey
Pretty much anything by Ngaio Marsh
The Melendy Family series by Elizabeth Enright
Anything by Gilbert & Sullivan
Haydn string quartets
British regimental marches
Hebridean traditional music
Doo-wop (Temptations, Drifters)
Jackie and Roy
Linda Ronstadt (especially the Nelson Riddle albums)
All That Jazz
The King’s Speech
Murder by Death
The West Wing
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Yes, Minister / Yes, Prime Minister
Mapp and Lucia
The Forsyte Saga (original)
Upstairs, Downstairs (original)
House of Cards (British original)
There are plenty more, but these are my go-tos, always.
Kindred spirits here. Just yelled downstairs to my husband ” lots of the jackals like Dorothy Dunnett.” He yelled back “who?” I yelled back ” author I have been reading and re-reading through the whole pandemic.” He yelled “Oh.”
ETA: He spent the whole pandemic watching reruns of Simpsons (okay by me) and Family Guy (I can do without.) That’s why I am upstairs reading Dunnett.
@zhena gogolia: No, I didn’t know there was one. Thanks for the heads up, I will look for it.
I love this thread.
I don’t consider it mindless—comedy is hard!—but a goofy comedy that holds up very well is Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
@sab: It’s on Amazon Prime (and maybe HBO too).
I loved Elementary and Person of Interest. I can watch reruns of the former but not the latter. Something to do with the inexorable downward arc. Maybe someday I’ll watch it again in order.
Closed captions are your friend.
@rikyrah: Speaking of Shaft, have you seen Black Dynamite (the movie?). We just watched it just recently and laughed our asses off.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
Agree about Catcher in the Rye. I managed to read it through as a teenager, though I hated it then and when I tried it again 30 or 40 years later, it hadn’t improved. At all. Just terrible.
BUT. I am very fond of Salinger’s novellas and short stories about the Glass family (Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters, Nine Stories) and return to them every few years
Eek! Shades of The Sweet Cheat Gone.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I never thought of that, but now that you say it, it makes perfect sense. I really liked Northen Exposure, I wonder if it would hold up to rewatc
ETA: Another influence from film to TV is Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life to The Good Place. There are a couple of lines in the series that seemed to me nods to DYL. Also there were moments in Brooks’ Mother that made me think maybe we’re somehow related, “I’m not falling for that!”, the leftovers left over too long
For comfort TV, I watch reruns of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The Mike years, for those familiar with MST3K when it came to the SciFi channel. Some of the riffs make me laugh even if I’ve heard them a dozen times before. Space Mutiny, starring Slab Bulkhead and his grandmother. Time Chasers (“Go to hell, citizens and officials of Rutland, Vermont”). The Gumby short before The Screaming Skull (“One of my classmates died in the kiln today, mother”).
Reminds me of Firesign Theater, some of which is endlessly re-listenable.
I had to read it for an honors English class in high school that highlighted American authors. I had a big fight with the teacher about it. He did not agree with my assessment of the book and it’s whiny assed protagonist. I was also not a fan of The Great Gatsby, which is beautifully written but just a terrible book about uninteresting people.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
If you can find it streaming anywhere, let me know. I loved that show madly.
@sab: I may have to read the books again with that in mind. thanks
I resist “cozy” shows in general, but one that I do like (showing endlessly on WETA-UK here in the DMV) is As Time Goes By. Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmere as middle-aged people who meet again by chance almost 30 years after their youthful romance. Very well done, maybe best taken in small doses.
Not cozy but comfortable is Pie in the Sky (also on WETA-UK). Police inspector wants to retire to run his restaurant but gets strong-armed into staying on part-time to save his incompetent boss’s bacon. Tight writing, good acting.
@geg6: Amazon Prime, I think but I don’t remember which country. I lose track because I access various countries through VPN.
@Steeplejack: I loved Person of Interest but I hated the last season. I think it got worse after Joss Carter.
When I worked at Barnes & Noble I discovered that music-rights issues were a big stumbling block for DVD releases. Labels wanted to get their artists and songs into the hot shows when they were first broadcast, but when DVD distribution came up they wanted to hold out for exorbitant amounts. Some shows subbed in different music, some just said the hell with it.
I added this thread to this list in the sidebar:
Culture: Books, Film, TV, Music, Games, Podcasts
Noir: Favorites in Film, Books, TV
Book Recommendations & Indy Recs
Medium Cool: What If (Books & Films)
Amazon Prime Favorites
Netflix Suggestions in July
Fun Music Thread
Longmire & Netflix Suggestions
Medium Cool: Places!
Medium Cool: Games!
Medium Cool: Watch or Read Again & Again
There were two books I used to re-read annually, The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov (the version smuggled out of the USSR, not the approved version) at Easter and Semi-Tough by Dan Jenkins at Super Bowl time. I haven’t read the former in years and started the latter last year and was appalled at the use of one particular word. If I want a laugh I go to The Dogged Victims of Inexorable Fate, also by Jenkins, a collection of his work about golf and golfers in Sports Illustrated in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. I just finished re-reading The Fate of Rome, by Kyle Harper. Every so often I pick up Tinker Tailor… or Smiley’s People because I need lots of words. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the book or the movie with Depp and Del Toro, is always good for some laughs and nostalgia. In a few minutes I will look at one of my bookshelves and say, “Oh, that one,” and pull it out and re-read it. I don’t know which one it will be.
I have tendency to re-watch/re-read stuff rather than accumulate more new stuff.
I also used to like darker, complicated series like The Sopranos and The Wire, but I just can’t anymore these days.
Movies: Lord of the Rings (I even watch the audio commentaries on the extended), Mel Brooks and Monty Python, Slap Shot, the Blues Brothers (just musical numbers), The Last Waltz, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Watership Down, and Studio Ghibli movies.
Books: I put most of my books in storage to de-clutter, so I’ve just been re-reading stuff on my Nook. Right now I’m rotating between Darkover, Pern, The Laundry Files, and Peter S Beagle, with Bryson and Ruhlman for non-fiction.
TV: Firefly, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Poirot, Everybody Feeds Phil, DCEU Legends of Tomorrow, SCTV.
What I’ve really been watching a lot of to keep my mind off things are cartoons. Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: Legend of Korra, Hilda, Kipo & The Age of Wonderbeasts, The Dragon Prince, Infinity Train, Over the Garden Wall, and Craig of the Creek. It hurts me to think of the crappy cartoons I used to watch as a kid in the 80s.
@geg6: I think the Great Gatsby is important for showing the dark side of the roaring twenties. In addition to the glamorous people it also shows the other people scraping by on the edge of their lives, and that the glamorous people know and just don’t care.
Pretty sure I did. He was the subway accident victim, right? (No spoilers!) That was a great episode.
@Steeplejack (phone): Wodehouse Playhouse — that was good! I still have the Alderton/Collins series No, Honestly on VHS — so haven’t seen it for years.
For fans of officeplace satire, high recommendation for the Australian series Utopia (released internationally as Dreamland). Love child of Yes, Minister and The Office.
Sadly, not anymore on streaming services at the moment. Meantime, as a lo-cal substitute, all three seasons of the somewhat similar W1A seem to still be available on Netflix.
Black Dynamite is great! The cartoon series (on Adult Swim?) is pretty good too.
@WaterGirl: Also too, Lewis was a RW religious guy. So he is brainwashing all these girls into his view of Christianity and then criticizing the traditional role that his view of Christianity forces on them.
I believed in something like the Rapture when I was twelve. Part of growing up was outgrowing that nonsense. Narnia books didn’t help.
Nine Stories is an amazing collection. “The Laughing Man” is one of my all-time favorite short stories.
I have been meaning to go back and read the Glass family books. Maybe a little unsure how they would hold up.
Another excellent story collection that gets overlooked because of his later (negative) reputation is Kipling’s Plain Tales from the Hills.
@sab: Imagine reading them as a young girl named Susan.
@stinger: I did and I was. I also had freckles, since Irish extraction living in Florida.
maaad props for ReBoot!!
Yeah, the end of the series was a hot mess. Really bummed me out.
sheila in nc
Will second, third, fourth, nth the mentions of Dunnett. All Dunnett. Loved King Hereafter.
Have been known to reread lots of well-written mystery stories even after knowing the plot. Especially historical mysteries. Someone mentioned the Giordano Bruno series. I also liked the series by Bruce Alexander: the Sir John Fielding books based on the early Bow Street Runners. And I’ve been totally immersed in the Benjamin January books about a free man of color in 1830’s New Orleans.
Austen is always good for a reread. As I get older, my faves change. Right now I think I like Persuasion best.
Sadly, I think everyone is right about Narnia and even LOTR. The books are not just sexist, they are racist. They don’t translate well for an adult reader.
@Steeplejack: As much as I hated Holden Caulfield I loved the Glass family.
I have reached the age where I am getting rid of stuff as fast as I can. I have been eyeing the Salinger books in my bookcasefor a while with a jaundiced eye. Maybe I should re-read them.
@Comrade Colette: Gasps. Yes! OMG. I spent so much time there. Even met up with some folks in San Diego, over 17 years ago…
Books: I used to re-read Smilla’s Sense of Snow every winter. Since Covid I haven’t been able to read a new novel, but can re-read. (Essays have been written saying re-reading is fundamentally a childish act….the child seeking to return to a safe, favorite world. Maybe that’s true for me.). Currently re-reading books set in one of my favorite cities, New Orleans. So, Elizabeth Spencer’s The Snare and Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer.
TV: Highly, highly, highly recommend a Japanese-British show, Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame). (Be sure to also enjoy the previous episode recaps at the start of each episode.). Looking forward to the newest episodes of The Expanse.
Film: Not really watching movies but am thinking about getting the Criterion Collection channel so I can watch some old favorites.
J R in WV
Interestingly, wife and i spent nearly 3 weeks on a tour of the caves in NE Spain and SW France to view the ancient paintings. It was an AIA sponsored tour.
While on the tour the archaeologist leading the tour told us that Jean Auel was a hugely popular person in that whole area, and was carried by her fans into the caves where she was incapable of walking. I thought that was pretty interesting.
I have read several of her books, didn’t ever want to revisit them, actually, but that’s just me.
This dates me a lot but I loved C P Snow with his Strangers and Brothers series. Does it hold up? I haven’t read any of it in decades.
And, Undercover Brother??
Probably the books I have reread more than any others in my life are my favorites by Georgette Heyer: Venetian, The Grand Sophy, The Unknown Ajax, False Colours, Cotillion, A Convenient Marriage and many others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. My Pan editions that I bought in 1964 fell apart as did many of the original hardbacks I bought over the years so have them all on Kindle now.
Movies: Casablanca, Star Wars and every year I watch Gettysburg and 1776. I just watched Spotlight for the fourth time yesterday.
Music: Brahams’s symphonies.
I remember them from “No, Honestly”, one of the several BBC series that disappeared from PBS in the 70s/80s.
For pure escapist reading: T. Kingfisher (especially the ones with the paladins), Lynn Kurland (for some reason I like rereading her Nine Kingdoms series around Christmas every year, and I want the _entire_ series on audiobook, Amazon/Audible take note, and I’m waiting for the next one), Robin D. Owens (Celta series – I want to start the Christmastime rereads which I didn’t do this year because 2020).
Hmm. My taste for reading fantasy at Christmas/Yule probably comes from getting a new Eddings or Robert Jordan for Christmas as a child/teenager, and the family tradition that we got to open one present on Christmas Eve. I would invariably pick my fantasy book and stay up all night reading, which meant that my parents could sleep in. Sort of like the Icelandic Jolabokaflod.
Bujold and Pratchett, of course.
Eric Flint and David Drake’s Belisarius series (I have a hard time listening to the audiobooks for this series because I keep on having to bookmark/clip my favorite lines about every five minutes or so, when a major purpose of an audiobook is to keep the hands and eyes free while physically doing something else. At least I will be able to relisten without trouble once I’m done with the first listen-through.)
And I’m going to have to bookmark this entry under my recommendations links…
J R in WV
OK, here goes:
Eric Flint, Charlie Stross, John D MacDonald, Nero Wolfe by Rex Stout, Vorkosian books, so many more… I’m bad about remembering author names… Neil Stephenson, etc, etc.
Not much for TV or movies…
Music: Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raite, Emmy Lou Harris, Eric Satie, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Samuel Barber, Yo-Yo Ma ( we once ate in a NYC Italian place, the only other diner was maestro Ma, who was obviously a regular. Everyone knew him, everyone spoke to him.) Ravel, Bach, Brahms, many of the classical and romantic composers…
I remember them from “No, Honestly”, one of the several BBC series that disappeared from PBS in the 70s/80s.
@Bex: John Crowley handles this in his “Aegypt” series.
After Shrub got reelected in 2004 I reread ALL of J.R.R. Tolkien — not just the published books (LOTR, Hobbit, etc.) but the History of Middle-Earth and all the minor works too (Farmer Giles, Tree & Leaf….) I just had to escape reality for a while.
Movies I will always watch if they happen to be on: Casablanca; The Sting; Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day; L.A. Confidential; My Favorite Year; Midnight in Paris.
I love The Moviegoer, also The Last Gentleman. When I moved to Alabama after college in the early ’70s (for a job), Walker Percy was the first author I found who had a handle on the “new” South and wasn’t encrusted with pseudo-Faulkner trappings.
The film version of Smilla’s Sense of Snow is excellent. Julia Ormond, Gabriel Byrne.
Read the first 70 or 80 posts and skimmed the rest. Lot of good choices! Some I’ve jotted down.
I liked Local Hero, but, loved Gregory’s Girl.
I have several bookcases and boxes of books. The one closest to me has maybe 60-70 books in it and they are chosen to be books I can just pull out and know I will enjoy reading. Lots of them have already been mentioned. Mostly S-F, Fantasy and Crime fiction, but, some heavier stuff like War and Peace and Bleak House. Plus non-fiction. Currently re-reading the a Dance to the Music of Time series, by Anthony Powell. Wonderful stuff! The previous grab from that case was A Song for Arbonne, by Guy Gavriel Kay, before that was, I think, was Who in Hell Was Wanda Fuca, by G.M. Ford, a mystery with plenty of humor.
Movies, I tend to like 30’s stuff. The Thin Man is a favorite. His Girl Friday, Twentieth Century, 42nd Street, Beau Geste, a whole bunch of others. They’re the only reason I have a VHS hooked up, as most of them I have on cassette. Fellini’s Amarcord.
TV series…I recently binged Halt and Catch Fire and loved it. Rewatched the first couple episodes already and will watch more, here and there. I think all my other favorites have already been mentioned. Currently impatiently waiting for Wednesday and the next episode of The Expanse.
My household is also big on the ThinMan
ETA But Asta was seriously abused in his training.
Just Some Fuckhead
Halt And Catch Fire was wonderful. Each new technological wave felt like a trip down memory lane. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mackenzie Davis is fucking gorgeous.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@lahke: Another vote for The Great British Baking Show.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@JanieM: Haven’t read any of the books, but I love the Vera TV series. I also tried watching Shetland and made it through one season/one story arc but it was too slow to really grab me. Jimmie Perez is no Vera.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@Yutsano: There have been at least two mentions that I have seen.
A woman from anywhere (formerly Mohagan)
@SiubhanDuinne: OK, all the Josephine Tey fans: How exactly does Simon kill Patrick in Brat Farrar? I get that he throws him into the quarry, but how is he there when he had to be chased out of the blacksmith’s?
@sab: It does; I’m still a fan!
Babylon 5, Doctor Who esp. both Bakers, Battlestar Galactica (2004)
Donovan’s Reef,-hilarious satire, Sunset Boulevard, Porkys.
Classic Dune, LOTR
Been reading and re-reading PG Wodehouse since about age 10 (1961), Jack Vance since high school, and Terry Pratchett since the 80s. By now there are whole swatches of text I can read with my eyes closed, and they never fail to reconcile me to the world outside (at least for a nonce or two).
Tinker Tailor movie. Versions one or two.
Humboldt’s Gift. Madame Bovary.
The Big Lebowski.
Best Years of Our Lives.