Shows 'N Tunes: Movie, Music, and Game Reviews

Detectorists

This is one of my favorite TV shows. They make the boring lives of ordinary people seem funny. I think I would fit in well with this group. While Andy and Lance are the primary characters, I think it's the supporting players that steal the show. From the other members of their detectorist club to the guys in their rival club, I find myself laughing and hoping Lance and Andy will find the treasure that keeps escaping them.

I highly recommend Detectorists (2014-2017). It should be watched from the beginning. Check out season 1 on Hoopla today! 



Tags:

Steven Universe

This animated show is about a boy named Steven and his family, the Crystal Gems. The Crystal Gems consist of Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, who are magical beings who can shapeshift, fight, and protect the planet of Earth. Steven is just a normal boy though, who can use some powers like the Crystal Gems but not consistently. Steven wants to go on the adventures and the Gems just want to keep him safe, leading to fun misadventures.

The story is a fun and exciting one with a nice art style that continues to evolve and grow as Steven does. Binge watch season 1 (2013-2015) of Steven Universe on Hoopla today.



The Last Right

I really enjoyed watching the movie called The Last Right on Hoopla. It was a quirky, light-hearted comedy set in Ireland. The story begins with a death in the family that causes Daniel Murphy to be flying from the US back home to his family's home in Ireland to attend his mother's funeral. A chance encounter with the passenger sitting next to him on the plane sets the entire movie in motion. I really enjoyed this movie because it reminded me of an updated 2021 version of  Rain Man. It is an interesting adventure with two brothers, a friend and a stranger and their adventure across Ireland not knowing that the police are in hot pursuit of them. It's about doing what's right for FAMILY.

Watch The Last Right on Hoopla.





Good Will Hunting

This terrific movie features the great pair Matt Damon and Robin Williams. Good Will Hunting (1997, rated R) has drama, comedy, romance—everything anyone would want. I sure wish I had a math brain like Will (Matt Damon); I would not be cleaning floors. It's cool how Will and his doctor (Robin Williams) end up helping each other but only after each can open up to the other.

I'm sure there were other important themes going on in this film however I must admit it's over my head. But I was drawn into this story nonetheless and I was pulling for Will to find happiness (and a better job).

Watch the film that garnered two Oscars: Robin Williams (best supporting actor) and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (best original screenplay). Check out Good Will Hunting on Hoopla today.



Tags:

Adventure Time Season 1

The TV show Adventure Time features Finn, the only human boy in the land of Ooo. Joined by his best friend Jake, a magical stretchy dog, they go on adventures in their magical world. They rescue princesses and stop the Ice King when he tries to stir up trouble. The adventures are fun with a lot of creativity packed into the world and characters. The world of Adventure Time is rather deep with a haunting backstory built into its happy-go-lucky world, making it a surprising and worthwhile watch.

Start watching season 1 (2010) of Adventure Time (TV-PG) on Hoopla today. Then, keep going—there are four seasons available to binge instantly.



Deja Vu

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young released Déjà Vu about 50 years ago. It was the second studio album by Crosby, Stills & Nash, and their first with Neil Young. It was released in March 1970 by Atlantic Records and generated three Top 40 singles: "Teach Your Children", "Our House", and the Joni Mitchell song, "Woodstock". I especially enjoyed "Carry On", written by Stephen Stills.

Two of the songs represented the group as a whole and the others showcased individual members. Each musician had been founding members of bands that were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: David Crosby, The Byrds; Graham Nash, The Hollies; and Stephen Stills and Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield.

Listen to Deja Vu (1970) on Hoopla today.



Tags:

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

The Dragon Quest series of games launched 35 years ago on the Famicom system (the Japanese name for the original Nintendo Entertainment System). Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age launched in 2018 for Playstation 4 and Nintendo 3DS, but if you have a Gamepass subscription through either Windows or Xbox, the game was released as a free download in December 2020. If you don't have a Gamepass subscription, it is still available for purchase for all systems. The definitive edition adds some options that enhance replay ability.

You play as the Luminary, a reincarnation of a famous hero of Erdrea. On your 16th birthday you are tasked to set out on a quest to free the world from a coming darkness. Along the way, you'll meet various characters who will join your party. Each character has a distinctive look and personality and no two are the same.

You can build up your heroes by assigning skill points you get when leveling up. Each character has a skill tree where you can customize their abilities and spells. At the beginning, you'll want to focus on one particular skill, whether that be weapons or magic, and then build out as the game progresses. There is also a neat "mini-game", called the Fun-Sized Forge, where you can craft your own weapons and armor using various supplies you find in the world and recipe books you come across in your journeys.

The game is a traditional RPG and the storyline is laid out in a linear fashion, with plenty of side quests to keep you immersed in the world. Combat is turn-based and harkens back to the original RPGs that came out for the NES in the 80's. Combat can get repetitive, but there is a way to set it up so that the computer takes over and does the combat for you, otherwise there is a lot of button mashing to get through combat. I found myself letting the computer control for routine fights but then reestablished control for boss fights.

One nice thing about combat in this game is that you can avoid it, as you can see the enemies as you travel throughout Erdrea. This gives you the option to either engage them or avoid them, unlike a traditional RPG where you run into enemies at random.

A nice feature is that when you come back to the game, the game gives you a brief recap of your progress in the current chapter of the story so that you can refresh your memory as to what the heck you were doing the last time you played.

Even after you finish the main story, you can continue playing as there is more story to go. This also gives you an opportunity to go back and complete any side quests you skipped as you were working your way through the main story. The side quests flesh out the world of Erdrea and its many cultures, many of which are styled around actual Earth cultures.

The game's graphics and sound are superb, but the orchestral score can get repetitive. However, it works well enough that you often don't notice it. The voice acting is top-notch. It is easy to get so immersed in the story that you actually feel for the characters. There is even the ability to switch on a 2D mode that harkens back to the original style of 16-bit RPG graphics should you want to relive your childhood.

My take is that this game alone is worth the monthly Gamepass subscription and well worth the download. With options available to increase the difficulty or add new "flavor" to the game, this makes replay ability a high mark for this game.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is available for checkout on Playstation 4.



Tags:

The Bourne Identity

A man is pulled from the ocean by a fishing boat. He is riddled with bullet holes but somehow still alive. He has no recollection of who he is or what he was doing, yet he has advanced combat skills and can speak several languages. A laser projector found with him gives the only clue: a safe deposit box number in Zurich. After he goes to the bank to retrieve the contents of the box, very dangerous people begin trying to kill him, and he expertly evades them. Can he remember who he is before it is too late?

The Bourne Identity (2002, PG-13) is the first action-packed movie in the Bourne series starring Matt Damon (and based on the novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum). Watch the entire series by checking out "The Bourne Series" binge box, which includes The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy, and Jason Bourne.



Rick and Morty. Season 1

Rick is a drunk, sarcastic, old scientist who is the smartest man in the universe, and Morty is his average grandson. Together, they go on wacky adventures through the universe using Rick's portal gun and spaceship to go to faraway planets.

The adventures rarely go as planned as something usually goes wrong. When they are not traveling through space, they are together as a dysfunctional family.

If you are a fan of wacky zany humor and don't mind plenty of swearing, then this is a show for you. Watch season 1 of Rick and Morty(rated TV-14) on Hoopla today.




The Roosevelts

I thought the PBS documentary, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (2014, rated TV-14), was a fascinating look at this family and the personal struggles each had and how they triumphed despite great adversity.

I never knew how influential Theodore Roosevelt was regarding the national parks or how popular he was. It made me wonder how different world events and outcomes might have been had he had a third or fourth term like FDR? Would World War I have gone any differently and if so, how would the Treaty of Versailles have gone, or the subsequent rise of Hitler and the Nazi party? Look what happened after that.

Check out this miniseries from Ken Burns on Hoopla today.



The Founder

I highly recommend this film about the true story of the founding of McDonald's Corporation. It's about an ambitious malt shake mixer salesman, Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) and his chance encounter with Mac and Dick McDonald in 1954.

Mac and Dick have a highly successful hamburger stand in San Bernardino, CA. These two brothers have developed a speedy assembly line for producing hamburgers at a rate of 30 seconds from beginning to end. They changed the idea of a food stand or drive-in and came up with a cost-efficient model that is highly effective in reducing overhead costs. Ray Kroc sees the potential of this and goes into partnership with franchising the company, McDonald's.

The Founder (2016, rated PG-13) is the story of how Ray Kroc turned this concept into the billion-dollar empire that we have today. Check out the DVD today.


Tags:

Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind is by far, the BEST movie ever made. Each scene could be an oil painting, a work of art! The story is so fascinating, and it has been impeccably transferred to the screen. By the end of my first viewing, I wanted to see it again. I thoroughly enjoy it every time that I watch it. One is completely transported back to this point in time.

Check out Gone with the Wind (1939) today. Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and Hattie McDaniel, this film won 8 Oscars. You can also listen to the soundtrack on Hoopla.




Boss Monster

Boss Monster: the dungeon building card game puts you in the shoes of a 16-bit video game villain looking to put the hurt on wandering adventurers. The game uses cards to build your lair, enticing adventurers to come in and try and defeat you. If the adventurer does not make it to your lair's final battle, you score a soul point. If the adventurer makes it, you gain a wound and may soon be out of the game.

Play is fast and fun, with games averaging between 20-30 minutes. Boss Monster (2014) is a great card game for those that enjoy platform video games or reverse dungeons.


Tags:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is the coolest kid in his suburban school, and he has decided to take a day off with his best friend and girlfriend. After scheming their way out of attending school for the day, they sneak into Chicago for an adventure. Everything seems to go Ferris's way, but the principal is on to him and determined to put an end to the fun. This John Hughes film, with Ferris's signature soliloquies, is a classic 80s comedy.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986, PG-13) is part of the "1980s Radical Adventures" binge box along with E.T., Ghostbusters, Goonies, and Better Off Dead. And for more films set in Chicago, check out our list Location: Chicago.


Tags:

The Legend of Korra

In this sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender, follow the story of Korra, the next avatar. At a young age, Korra mastered fire, water, and earth bending, but needs to master air bending if she wants to be the full-fledged avatar. In order to do so she travels to Republic City where she will learn air bending from Tenzin, Aang's son. However, Republic City is struggling with its own issues, the Equalists who want to make benders and non-benders equal. Korra must help maintain balance in the city while mastering her training.

If you enjoyed the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, then Legend of Korra (2012 - 14) is a great sequel to keep you satisfied. Check out the dvds. You can also read the comics on Hoopla.