What We’re Watching Wednesday: (Mostly) The Brits

We haven’t done this in a while, since 2019, actually, but I thought I’d restart it this year.

Each Wednesday either my wife and/or I share what we are watching (either together or separately) in terms of movies and TV each week in a feature called “What We’re Watching Wednesday.”

So since last Wednesday, we’ve watched a few movies and a few TV shows, with most of them being British. Here’s what we watched in the last week, with links going to trailers for each:

We had been wanting to watch Stan & Ollie for a while, and this week he had a 3-month trial of Starz (that ended today) so we decided to watch it finally. Both Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy were very good, but for me, the movie was so-so. Kim, what did you think? I thought it was very good. Also thanks to Starz, we watched David Crosby: Remember My Name, which wasn’t planned, but when we found out he had passed away, I remembering seeing something about the movie a few years ago and sought it out. Lo and behold, it was on Starz. We both enjoyed it and learned a little more than we already know about him. It definitely didn’t hide the flaws, though, and the ending was bittersweet with both he and his wife referring to his impending death.

I thought we might have a themed night on Sunday night of emergency services, but decided to start early with a trial of the British comedy Bloods (available on Hulu in the U.S.) about two ambulance workers. We liked it enough that we decided to watch more on Sunday with the ludicrous, but fun, Ambulance, directed by none other than Michael Bay. Monday, we tested out a couple of shows on Acorn TV: Balthazar, a French crime drama about an arrogant but loveable forensic pathologist and a new police commander, and The Other One, a British comedy about two sisters who discover each other after the death of their father, who was married to one of their mothers and who also had an affair with the other’s mother. We enjoyed both, but decided to continue with binge-watching the rest of Series 1 of The Other One on Tuesday. It was only six episodes in total and one of the things we love about most British series, but also dislike because they sometimes are so good, we don’t want to waste them in one sitting.

On Friday, we took a turn to England once again, where Stan & Ollie was set, as we finished the series, Friday Night Dinner that was on Channel 4 in the UK from 2011 to 2020 and which we watched for free on The Roku Channel. The show ended in 2020 after the actor Paul Ritter, who played the father, died in April 2021 of heart failure, with complications from brain cancer. In addition to Ritter, the rest of the cast included Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird, Tom Rosenthal, and Mark Heap, each hilarious in his or her own way.

So, what have you been watching lately? Anything good to recommend? Anything to avoid?

Our Favorite TV Shows & Movies We Watched in 2022

To start this year, I shared my favorite moments in photos from last year. Then last weekend, I shared the 20 songs I had on repeat last year. This weekend, I’m sharing our favorite TV shows and movies that my wife Kim and I watched last year.

My favorite TV shows watched this year

  • Peacemaker, Season 1 (HBO Mas)
  • Reservation Dogs, Season 2 (Hulu)
  • Only Murder in The Building, Season 2 (Hulu)
  • Somebody Somewhere, Season 1 (HBO Max)
  • Archer, Season 13 (Hulu)

Kim’s favorite TV shows watched this year

  • Ted Lasso, Season 2 (Apple TV+)
  • Reservation Dogs, Season 2 (Hulu)
  • Somebody Somewhere, Season 1 (HBO Max)
  • White Lotus, Seasons 1 and 2 (HBO Max)
  • The Bear, Season 1 (Hulu)

My favorite movies watched this year

  • Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • Drive My Car
  • Top Gun: Maverick
  • The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
  • Elvis
  • The Batman

Kim’s favorite movies watched this year

  • Top Gun: Maverick
  • The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
  • 100 Foot Journey

Obviously, the ones we think are must-sees are the overlaps: Top Gun: Maverick, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Reservation Dogs, and Somebody Somewhere. The others we probably would agree on as must-sees are Ted Lasso (both seasons) and Drive My Car. Kim also enjoyed the miniseries Chernobyl and Succession, both on HBO Max and I have been enjoying microdoses of Doom Patrol. The latter is just so weird but still intriguing.

Next weekend, I’ll be sharing my favorite reads from last year, and then the following week I’m thinking about adding the books, TV shows, movies and music I’m looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this year.

So how about you? What were your favorite TV shows and/or movies watched in 2022?

Our Own Personal Sabbath: Vacation Mode

My own personal Sabbath this weekend extends from tonight into next week. It also becomes our own personal Sabbath, as my wife Kim and I are both off work for a week. So, starting tonight, we’re virtually going into hiding, with no notifications, no texts, no email, no news…

…but what we are saying yes to is life and laughter (and getting away and wine) especially in light of what happened last year this coming week. Kim “lost” both her mother and best friend all in the span of one week. It was, and is, as my wife described “the worst week of my life.”

That said, we want to celebrate both of their lives as well as stop and reflect (and being honest here, continuing to grieve) as this is the first year anniversary. To celebrate her best friend, we plan on watching a couple of Star Trek movies with the Rifftrax app, where three guys “riff” on the movies. To celebrate her mom, we plan on watching Mare of Easttown, because my late mother grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, where the show is set. Kim’s already seen it, but I haven’t yet. To celebrate both of them, we are getting away for a few days next week for a wine trip to the Finger Lakes, which is near where we live.

We also plan on visiting my parents, who also live nearby, and probably will see my sister and her two children, who live a few miles away from my parents.

We are easing into everything by taking it slow this weekend and I plan on ending the week off with a readathon next Saturday.

This week and next Saturday, I plan on continuing to read:

  1. Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh, which I’m also listening to on audiobook.
  2. Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld, a collection of his favorite material through the years that I’ve been making my way slowly through since the beginning of February
  3. The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell
  4. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.

I also picked up a book especially for vacation at the recommendation of Melissa Firman: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. Kim, likewise, selected a book especially for vacation: The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay.

On the fun side, I still have a few Elmore Leonard books I borrowed from the library that I haven’t gotten to and the next in the Serge Storms series by Tim Dorsey that I’ve been making my way slowly through over the last few years.

I’ll leave you with the latest album from Sault:

See you next weekend.

Easter Sabbath

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone on Sundays or Saturday and Sunday. In the interest of full disclosure, I do use my phone to listen to music and podcasts, and check out e-books from the library. Before, during, or after my Sabbath, I share what I am reading, listening to, or watching for that day or days.

I’m starting right where I am, watching and listening to the the Easter Day service at Washington National Cathedral:

I realize most of you will skip clicking on the video, but I highly encourage you to skip to the musical parts with the singer Imani-Grace Cooper. During the last couple of years, her voice has been a balm to the souls of me and my wife. No matter your faith or no faith, I believe you might find this a respite for your spirit and/or mind.

In addition to this service, I also plan on watching and listening to one more video from Washington National Cathedral, probably with my wife who will be awake later this afternoon (she worked midnight shift last night):

At the start of this Lenten season, which for me as an Episcopalian began on Ash Wednesday and lasted until Holy Saturday (last night), I planned to use two devotionals from Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church and read some but not all from a selection of seven books. While I finished the two devotionals, I only finished one of the seven books, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Ordinary Life by Tisha Harrison Warren, and am almost finished with one other, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh. I will have to read the other five another time. I’ll be honest that I can’t remember a thing about Warren’s book and will have to return to it another time too.

My mind has been, and is, scattered, thanks/no thanks to a “big thing” I mentioned cryptically last week and that I won’t shed any further light on here other than to say again my wife and I and our families are all fine. It’s just too complex, personal to explain and, in the light of other events in the world, trivial.

All that said (or not said, actually), Kim and I have a scheduled vacation next week, during which we’ll spend three days on Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in upper New York State. That vacation actually begins Friday for both of us: Friday morning for my wife when she is off work at 8 a.m. and Friday night for me when I am off at 5 p.m. As it gets closer, and maybe Thursday night or Friday night, I will share more of what I (and we) have planned for our days off. It will be a time of celebrating her birthday, which was earlier this month, and the memories of her mother and best friend, both of whom passed away last year at the end of April.

So how is your weekend going? Reading, watching, listening to anything good? Please share in the comments.

Oh, forgot to mention: I woke up to snow this morning…and now, of all things, as I add this comment, we’re wishing a rebroadcast of Billie Eillish at Coachella last night.