Movies, music, and books we're into this week

It's almost the weekend and time to relax! Here are the movies, music, and books the Windows Central team is enjoying this week.

The weekend is just around the corner, and you're probably keen to put your feet up and enjoy some downtime. What better way to relax than with some great tunes, a quality movie, or a real page turner? If you're looking for suggestions, we put together a collection of some of the best stuff out there right now.

TV and movies

Here are some of the movies and TV shows Windows Central is enjoying this week.

The Big Sick

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

I admit it: I appreciate a good Rom Com (or romantic comedy). Of course, you have to be in the right mood. And even then, some of them are just too … soupy. But most Rom Coms that somehow have the name "Judd Apatow" tied to them are OK in my book — whether it's as a writer, director, producer or some combination of the three. The Big Sick definitely qualifies as such.

The film is the story of an American man of Pakistani descent (played by Kumail Nanjiani of HBO's Silicon Valley fame) who falls in love with a Caucasian women named Emily, much to the chagrin of his traditional Muslim parents. I really liked this film, for many different reasons. One, Nanjiani just cracks me up; his deadpan delivery is right up my alley. But The Big Sick is as thought-provoking and as heart-warming as it is funny. The casting is superb, and I'm particularly fond of Ray Romano's performance as Emily's father. It's also based on Nanjiani's real life — and his real wife — which lends the movie some depth.

Even if you're generally not a huge Rom Com fan, you'll still appreciate The Big Sick for the acting, the writing and its portrayal of the standup comedy scene in Chicago.

See at Microsoft Store

South Park (Season 20)

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

At this point in South Park's life, most people have heard of it, whether cast in a good or bad light. Sure, it's as crude and base as it gets, but it also lampoons the issues that seem to take our culture by storm.

The quick turnaround on animation — I believe episodes can be created in less than a week — means you'll often see issues tackled that have only come up very recently, something other shows cannot do because of long production times.

The twentieth season, which aired late 2016, is all about internet trolls, kneeling during national anthems, fondly remembering the past in order to forget the present, and, of course, the election between two figures who closely resemble Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

If you don't mind offensive humor and haven't yet seen South Park season 20, give it a shot. The 10 episodes go fast.

See at Microsoft Store

Music

Here's some of the music the Windows Central team is listening to this week.

Outrage! is Now — Death From Above

Outrage! is Now — Death From Above

Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, staff writer

I've returned to Death from Above (now sans 1979) over and over again since I first heard them around 2012, so I was stoked to hear the group had a new album due out this month.

Relying on the band's usual heavily distorted bass and drum combo, Outrage! is Now packs the same punch-to-the-gut sound as previous albums. This is also the band's first album since dropping the "1979" from its name, though you'll still see the duo listed as "Death from Above 1979" on digital storefronts — at least for now.

See at Microsoft Store

Under Cöver — Motörhead

Under Cöver — Motörhead

Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor

Motorhead brought ear shredding rock music to the world for decades, and though Lemmy is gone, the legacy lives on. And if you ever wondered what it would sound like for Motorhead to cover Bowie or The Rolling Stones, here's your chance.

See at Microsoft Store

Tumbleweed Connection — Elton John

Tumbleweed Connection — Elton John

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

I was lucky enough to find a mint-condition vinyl copy of this Elton John record, and so I've been listening to it regularly for the last week. If you've only heard the usual John songs on the radio — Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock — you might not recognize the country sounds found here.

From the start, we're immersed in a world of the American West, with gunslingers, civil wars, missions, and women. These songs ignore the usual structure and often forego choruses, which helps keep the ride going from start to finish. All throughout, we have John's piano playing and, of course, Bernie Taupin's genius lyrics.

See at Microsoft Store


Books

Here are the books we're reading this week!

NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories

NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories

Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor

NOFX is a genuinely gnarly U.S. punk band from LA. And the word "gnarly" pretty much sums up NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories.

The book is the autobiographical tale of the band's slow (very slow) rise to fame in the 1980s and '90s. It's packed with stories of life on the road that would be otherwise unbelievable if not coming from the nutjobs who compose the band. The punk scene in LA during the final decades of the twentieth century was disturbingly violent, drug-addled, filthy, offensive, demoralizing and inhumane in countless ways. NOFX and this autobiography are without question direct results of that environment.

This book is NOT for folks who are easily offended. (For example, the opening sentence of the book reads: "The first time I drank piss was on a fire escape overlooking downtown Los Angeles." And it just gets worse.) But if you're at all interested in a behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to be in the middle of the whole messy thing in the heyday of American punk music, this book is a must-read The story is told in short bursts, switching back and forth between band members, and my favorite thing about it is how each person's stories often contradict each other, providing an interesting and amusing look at memory or perspective — and the effects of heavy drug use.

This book is truly … gnarly. And I loved it. (The audiobook is also narrated by Tommy Chong, which is rather awesome.)

Download the Kindle book at Amazon Download the Audible audio book at Amazon


Blood, Sweat, and Pixels — Jason Schreier

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels — Jason Schreier

Recommended by Matt Brown, writer

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made is the first book from Jason Schreier, the news editor for our friends over at Kotaku. After years in the industry, Schreier takes a deep dive into video game development, looking at both triumphs and failures of studios worldwide. Featuring a range of back stories, the book provides a close look at blockbuster titles like The Witcher 3 and Destiny, while also putting the spotlight on indie successes like Shovel Knight and Stardew Valley.

In an industry where crunches and daring risks are far from uncommon, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels is a great read for anyone with an interest in video games. With my background at Windows Central it comes as no surprise this is my top pick of the week, however, even fans of specific titles should find stories of interest.

Download the Kindle book at Amazon Download the Audible audio book at Amazon


A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again — David Foster Wallace

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again — David Foster Wallace

Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer

This book contains seven essays from late writer David Foster Wallace, who was known for his unique insight on various customs and practices that Western culture takes for granted.

For example, in the title essay, he takes a cruise and then spends nearly 100 pages describing the cruise in a way that will likely make you not want to take a cruise ever again. It's less cynical than it is hilarious.

Other essays include a look at tennis (he was an amateur tennis player during his early years), the Illinois State Fair, and how television affects Western culture. It sounds dry as I try to explain it, but it's really quite interesting. Give it a go if you like to read some non-fiction every once and awhile and would like to have a good laugh while you're at it.

Download the Kindle book at Amazon Download the Audible audio book at Amazon


Your favorites?

What have you been watching, reading, and listening to this week? We want to know, so drop a comment and share your recommendations.

If none of these recommendations strike your fancy, check out a list of all of our past recommendations. We promise you'll find something you'll like.

Tons more recommendations from Team Windows Central