Jamie’s Staff Picks for August

Veepveep

Summary: ” Former Senator Selina Meyer was a charismatic leader and a rising star in her party with her eye on the White House, then she became Vice President. VEEP follows the whirlwind day-to day existence of Vice President Meyer as she puts out political fires, juggles a busy public schedule and demanding private life, and defends the President’s interests, even as she tries to improve her dysfunctional relationship with the Chief Executive.”

A wonderfully irreverent, cringingly funny show about a power-hungry, self-absorbed politician and her bumbling staff. I was almost going to call Selina and her staff “inept,” but that doesn’t really describe it. In some ways they are surprisingly skilled, but I think they are all generally so busy trying to look good and one-up others, and get so caught up in the heart-racing insanity of running the country, that they make many, many, missteps. By the same token, though, they often find themselves bumbling their way to a win. Watching VEEP is sort of like tossing a coin to predict how these horrible people are going to come out of whatever predicament they are in. However, I think what really keeps me watching, other than the amazing performances and right-on comedic timing of this ensemble cast, is the colorful and creative insults that they throw at one another. This Office of the Vice President would be a terrible place to work if you were in it, but it’s oh-so-entertaining to watch.

If you like VEEP and are looking for something similar, we also have Armando Iannucci’s British political TV show, The Thick of It, and similarly-structured movie (which is great), In the Loop.

Southeasternsoutheastern
Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell has been quite open about his struggles with alcoholism, and this album seems to address those struggles, but not in an obviously autobiographical way. Each song tells the story of a different character, addressing different aspects of life that I think Isbell can relate to as he fights his daily battle to stay sober. If you enjoy the more alternative rock side of country music, then I highly recommend checking this album out.

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New Releases 8/15

Movies
The Case for Christ
How to Be a Latin Lover
The Wall
Alien: Covenant

T.V. Series
Murdoch Mysteries, Season 10
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Season 2
Bull, Season 1
NCIS: New Orleans, Season 3
Billions, Season 2
The Blacklist, Season 4
Riverdale, Season 1

Audiobooks
The Store by James Patterson & Richard Dilallo
Exposed by Lisa Scottoline
Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

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The League of Alternate Superstars: Glenn Ford

It is a shame that Glenn Ford (1916-2006), contemporary of many Hollywood luminaries including his chum William Holden, did not receive the credit he deserved for a long and distinguished film and TV career.  Perhaps the most egregious omission is that Citadel Press never published The Films of Glenn Ford.

In The Great Movie Stars:  The International Years, David Shipman wrote of Ford, “It is always a pleasure to renew acquaintance with him, especially in comedy, where his relaxed and impish performances as a bumbling ordinary guy have been much underrated.  In drama he remains the Little Man, often victimized and battling grimly against the forces of fate.”

Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford was born on May 1, 1916 in Quebec City.  In 1922 the family relocated to Los Angeles.  Gwyllyn, now Glenn, made his first feature film in 1937, Night in Manhattan.  In 1939, the same year as Holden gained fame in Golden Boy, Ford was 4th billed in Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence but was in fact the key player.  His breakout role was as a young German caught up in the Nazi net cast over Jews and others the Fascist regimes considered undesirables in So Ends Our Night (1941), a major film starring Fredric March and Margaret Sullavan.  The same year he co-starred with Holden in the quality western, Texas.   Eventually the Holden character goes bad.  (Almost a decade later they reversed roles for The Man from Colorado, with Ford as a psychopathic colonel become federal judge after the Civil War.)

Like Holden, Tyrone Power, Clark Gable and various other Hollywood leading men, Ford joined the service during World War II.  He enlisted in the Marines.

The war over, Ford returned to the Columbia Pictures fold and had his big breakout role as Johnny Farrell opposite siren Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946).  Now considered a staple of film noir, it would not be Ford’s last venture into that arena.  Although hardly anyone realizes it today, Ford and Hayworth were a legitimate movie team, co-starring in three other films:  The Loves of Carmen (1948), Affair in Trinidad (1952), and The Money Trap (1966).  Unfortunately, these films were primarily memorable for the casts, not the plots.

Ford became a major western hero, and sometimes, like James Stewart, a tortured one.  The same year as The Man from Colorado (1948), Ford starred in Lust for Gold, a tale of the search for the Lost Dutchman mine.  The ending featured a spectacular earthquake.  In Western Films:  A Complete Guide, author Brian Garfield suggested that as the amoral German immigrant, Ford gave the best performance of his career.  (Note that the same year The Treasure of the Sierra Madre had a similar plot and theme:  greed.).  Ford’s son wrote that co-star Ida Lupino ranked his father and Richard Widmark as her favorite leading men.

Five quality westerns followed:  The Violent Men (1955) opposite Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson, Jubal (1956) opposite Felicia Farr and Valerie French and the amazing male duo of Ernest Borgnine and Rod Steiger with Charles Bronson in support.  An acknowledged classic was next:  3:10 to Yuma.  Ford played ingratiating but dangerous outlaw Ben Wade, captured and assigned to Dan Evans (Van Heflin), a rancher hired to put him on the train over the dangerous obstacle of Wade’s scurvy gang.  Wade comes to respect Evans and actually helps him survive.  There were two westerns in 1958.  Cowboy was rather epic in scope, with a hard edge befitting this tale based on fact.  The dude played by Jack Lemmon joined Ford’s no-nonsense rancher on his cattle drive and became a man.  The Sheepman was not so hard-edged, with Ford battling with the cattlemen (naturally) and sparring with spunky Shirley MacLaine in this, her fifth film.  A sixth western intended as a large-scale remake of the epic 1931 Best Picture Academy Award winner, 1960’s Cimarron was a major disappointment, as would the 1962 remake of 1921’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Ford’s first noir classic had been Gilda, and Ford had another significant—and vastly more violent entry in that realm in 1953.  Directed by Fritz Lang, The Big Heat joined the pantheon of most famous noirs.  After his family is attacked, Detective Dan Bannion (Ford) goes all out for revenge on Mike Lagana’s crime syndicate and its prime hitman (Lee Marvin).  It would not be much of a stretch to label Experiment in Terror (1962) a noir.  Ross Martin’s psychopath terrorized sisters played by Lee Remick and Stefanie Powers. Ford’s detective is out to nab the miscreant, and symbolic of changing times, in one scene Ford stands alone among a gaggle of female mannequins.  His attire may be symbolic:  still in fedora, which by decade’s end will disappear from the noggins of both policemen and hoods, but his trenchcoat has no belt.

Contemporary issues were also in Ford’s repertoire.  The most famous and significant film in this bailiwick was Blackboard Jungle (1955), whose theme “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets became the anthem for rock ‘n roll.  Ford played teacher Richard Dadier (or “daddio” to the punks) at an inner city school packed with society’s newly christened “juvenile delinquents”, including Vic Morrow.  The film was controversial on several accounts, not least in casting Sidney Poitier in a prime role as one of the students.

After Blackboard Jungle Ford began a spate of military movies in that almost forgotten comedy subgenre:  the “service comedy”:  The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), Don’t Go Near the Water (1957) Imitation General (1958), and Cry for Happy (1961). As Shipman indicated, he was also adept at light contemporary comedies (The Gazebo, 1960; Love is a Ball, 1963) and comedy-dramas (The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, 1963; Dear Heart, 1964).

It may be that Ford’s on-screen persona was so soothing and made things seem so effortless that he was not a perennial Academy Award-nominee.  He did, however, receive nominations and win awards presented by other organizations, including the Golden Globe for Best Actor-Comedy or Musical (Pocketful of Miracles, 1961), the Golden Apple Award for Most Cooperative Actor (1948 and 1957), the Golden Boot Award (1987), the Laurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance (Don’t Go Near the Water, 1957), and the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1987 San Sebastien International Film Festival.  He received his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star in 1960.

By Kim

 

References

Ford, Peter.  Glenn Ford:  A Life.  Madison, WI:  University of Wisconsin Press, 2011.

Garfield, Brian.  Western Films:  A Complete Guide.  Rawson Associates, 1982.

Shipman, David.  The Great Stars:  The International Years.  London:  Angus & Robertson, 1972.

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Final Week of Free YA Audiobooks

It’s the sixteenth and final week of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing two YA audiobook downloads per week until August 16th. The current titles are available until August 16th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download this week’s pairing of free YA audiobooks!

Shadowshaper
by Daniel José Older
Read by Anika Noni Rose
Published by Scholastic Audiobooks

Summary: When the murals painted on the walls of her Brooklyn neighborhood start to change and fade in front of her, Sierra Santiago realizes that something strange is going on–then she discovers her Puerto Rican family are shadowshapers and finds herself in a battle with an evil anthropologist for the lives of her family and friends.

 

Metamorphosis
by Franz Kafka
Read by Martin Jarvis
Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Summary: Gregor Samsa, a seemingly typical man, wakes up one morning to discover he has been transformed into a gigantic insect. Frustrated and depressed about his physical alteration – and his family’s rejection – Samsa’s plight is filled with underlying meaning. This important literary work, written against the backdrop of increasing turmoil in central Europe, remains not just an extraordinary tale of imagination, but also a disturbing allegory.

 

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through the Overdrive or Libby app on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 8, Kindle, Nook, and MP3 players).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the apps or software.

All summaries are from http://catalog.ccls.org.

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New Releases 8/8

Movies
The Dinner
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Snatched
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
I Am Battle Comic
City of Trees
Night School

T.V. Series
Blindspot, Season 2

Music
Brett Eldredge by Brett Eldredge
Lay It on Down by Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Party of One by George Thorogood
Kaleidoscope EP by Coldplay

Audiobooks
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

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Free YA Audiobooks Week Fifteen

It’s Week Fifteen of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing two YA audiobook downloads per week until August 16th. The current titles are available until August 9th, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download this week’s pairing of free YA audiobooks!

Between Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepetys
Read by Emily Klein
Published by Listening Library

Summary: In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil.

 

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer
by Irene Gut Opdyke, Jennifer Armstrong
Read by Hope Davis
Published by Listening Library

Summary: Recounts the experiences of the author who, as a young Polish girl, hid and saved Jews during the Holocaust.

 

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through the Overdrive or Libby app on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 8, Kindle, Nook, and MP3 players).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the apps or software.

All summaries are from http://catalog.ccls.org.

 

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New Releases 8/1

Movies
Going in Style
Colossal
Phoenix Forgotten
Sleight
The Circle
The Lovers
Shin Godzilla
The Ottoman Lieutenant
Wakefield

T.V. Series
Fortitude, Season 2
Remember Me
Big Little Lies, Season 1
Crashing, Season 1

Music
Everything Now by Arcade Fire
Power of Peace by the Isley Brothers and Santana
Unpeeled by Cage the Elephant
Paranormal by Alice Cooper
Never Gets Old by Joe Nichols
The Darkest Hour by Madchild
A Boy from Tupelo: 1953-1955 Recordings
Music Vol. 1 by Herb Alpert

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Free YA Audiobooks Week Fourteen

It’s Week Fourteen of SYNC’s YA audiobook giveaway!

SYNC is providing two YA audiobook downloads per week until August 16th. The current titles are available until August 2nd, and while the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.

Download this week’s pairing of free YA audiobooks!

Airborn
by Kenneth Oppel
Read by David Kelly
Published by Full Cast Audio

Summary:  Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth’s surface.

 

Shadows on the Moon
by Zoe Marriott
Read by Amy Rubinate
Published by Brilliance Audio

Summary: Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume, who is able to re-create herself in any form, is destined to use her skills to steal the heart of a prince in a revenge plot.

 

Downloading Tips:
The OverDrive Media Console will deliver SYNC summer audiobooks to you via Overdrive Media Software installed on your computer (compatible with Windows and Mac) or through the Overdrive or Libby app on your mobile device (compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 8, Kindle, Nook, and MP3 players).
Visit our OverDrive website to download the apps or software.

All summaries are from http://catalog.ccls.org.

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Filed under Audiobooks, E-audiobooks, OverDrive

New Releases 7/25

Movies
The Boss Baby
Ghost in the Shell
Gifted
Unforgettable
The Final Master
Weekend in Havana
Returning Citizens 

T.V. Shows
Pretty Little Liars, Season 7
Emerald City, Season 1
Girls, Season 6

Music
Sacred Hearts Club by Foster the People
Words by Sara Evans
Barefoot in the Head by Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Six Pack Volume 3 by Straight No Chaser
27861 by Parmalee

Audiobooks
Paradise Valley by C.J. Box
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess

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Remembering Chester Bennington

Chester Bennington, lead singer of the band Linkin Park, passed away on July 20th. If you’re looking to reflect back on Chester’s talent and work, here are some titles you can check out from the library. The remaining members of Linkin Park have set up a website in remembrance of Chester. You can find highlighted social media posts remembering Chester and information on suicide prevention.

One More Light by Linkin Park

Living Things by Linkin Park

A Thousand Suns by Linkin Park

Minutes to Midnight by Linkin Park

Meteora by Linkin Park

Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park

High Rise by Stone Temple Pilots featuring Chester Bennington

 

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