July is not over. But as we will be out-of-town next week, and I haven’t found much to write about this week, I thought I’d go ahead and share my media post for the month.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Always reliable, but never quite as great as Michael Schur’s other creations. What was strange was watching a show that was recorded before and during the Coronavirus outbreak. It was weird seeing commercials and promos from back when life was normal and then suddenly seeing them change in tone when April rolled around.


Meet Don Byers

A Golf channel short about an insurance salesman from Omaha in his early 60s who became the oldest (known) college athlete. What made this piece interesting was the narrator and the production. Ron Livingston provided the voice overs, and with him in mind, Don Byers’ dissatisfaction in his insurance job was given an Office Space spin. Which was nice.


Free Solo

Despite my strong fear of heights, I was able to watch this without my stomach getting too upset.

It is the documentation of Alex Hannold’s free solo climb of Yosemite’s El Capitan, the first time such a climb – done without any safety equipment – was ever completed.

It is absolutely gorgeous to watch, and does an amazing job capturing what it was like for Hannold to be hanging 3000 feet about the ground without any ropes or harnesses to save him should he slip.

It is also a look into Honnold’s life, which is a little odd. He likely has Asperger’s, and this complicates his relationships. He has a super-cute girlfriend who is clearly way more into him than he is to her. The part of his brain that registers fear doesn’t seem to work like most people’s, either, based on an MRI. He’s just a different dude, but those differences make it possible for him to do what no one else has ever done.

The most compelling parts to me were the moments the day before his climb, when the camera crew are going through their checklists and you could see on their faces that they all were pretty sure they were about to watch their friend die. And during the climb’s most difficult stretch, which he failed on consistently while practicing with ropes, one of the cameramen turns away and refuses to watch. That guy was me. I could watch the film already knowing the outcome, but in realtime, there was no way I could have continued to watch as Honnold attempted insanely difficult maneuvers with basically no margin for error.


Tiger Slam

An accounting of the time when Tiger was at his most Tiger-ish, and won four-straight majors, including probably the two best major wins ever, the 2000 US and British Opens.


The Human Bean

Back in April I watched Beau Miles’ A Mile An Hour, in which he ran a marathon, a mile at a time, over the course of a day, and did all kinds of cool stuff in between those laps.

Here, he decides to eat his weight in beans over several weeks as he preps for an endurance run. It’s pretty goofy and not as engaging as A Mile An Hour, but still entertaining.


Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived

Funny story, remember when we moved into our new house two years ago and it took three-plus weeks to get cable installed? Well, shortly after the Comcast guys got the house wired, I recorded this show…and never watched it. Until now. You’d think I would have devoured it right away back when I was starving for content.

Williams has always been my favorite historic baseball player. Even knowing much of his story was mythological, I bought into him as the quintessential 20th century American Hero, capital H. As the show mentions, he was who John Wayne claimed to be.

So I was really surprised to learn that his heroic story was more complicated than I realized. Sure, he was a war hero – and lost nearly five years of baseball to service in two wars no less – but I never knew that for both World War II and the Korean War, he fought leaving baseball to serve. Now that certainly puts his service in heroism in a different light. It does not diminish his military accomplishments, or give back those five years in his prime that he missed. But it does undermine that he was a selfless athlete who sacrificed a significant chunk of his baseball career to serve his country.

S was in the room while I watched much of this. She has no idea who Ted Williams was or anything about him. The film is brutally honest about Ted’s brutal honesty. She was not a fan.


Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle

I got this at the library. I really thought I had picked up the Jumanji movie that was just out over the last holiday season. Fortunately L and I had never seen this one and it made sense to start at the beginning.

So, this didn’t bridge any new ground at all. But it was surprisingly fun and entertaining. And it was tight. A solid family movie that takes roughly 90 minutes to watch? That’s good movie-ing there, my friends!


Jurassic Park

The other movie I picked up for L and I to watch. Man, this has not aged well. I remember being blown away by how realistic the dinosaurs were back when I first saw this. It was the ultimate 1990s summer blockbuster.

Nearly 30 years later, visually it looks very dated. It just doesn’t compare to what CGI can do these days. And the story, honestly, kind of sucked. Reading old reviews I saw how it was hailed as a return to form for Stephen Spielberg. Even with how awe-inspiring the visuals were back in 1993, I don’t see how this comes close to his best work in the 1980s.


Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood

I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of this flick. I enjoyed long stretches of it, but also didn’t really get where it was going. Well, I knew where it was going in terms of the historical event that anchored it, but I just thought it had a weird flow. It was entertaining as hell, but I never really latched onto some central theme that was pushing the story forward. Tarantino films often have that lack of traditional structure to them, but this felt different and more incomplete to me.

I also thought to myself, midway through, that it was the least violent Tarantino film I’ve ever seen. Boy the last 10 minutes did their best to make up for that. Yikes, some of that stuff I had to look away from. I did enjoy Tarantino’s alternative history take on what could have happened to the Helter Skelter killers.

The whole dirty feet thing put me off a bit. And for some reason I really enjoyed how much Leo’s character hated hippies, and the invective he threw at them.

As always, Leo and Brad Pitt were great. And Margot Robbie? Good grief, she’s like an angel from heaven. I could watch her do goofy 1960s dances all day.

B+ for the movie, many A+’s for Ms. Robbie