There's never a bad time to cozy on up to a good film, show, album or read, right? Still, Friday night or the weekend might be the best times. And if you haven't yet found something to dive into, the latest round of media recommendations from our writers and editors should help. This week, we have a movie about a handsome hitman avenging his murdered puppy, an album that's get any backyard BBQ bumpin', and a book about what the word "freedom" really means to one Midwestern American family.
We think everything here is worth a looksie, but if nothing grabs ya, hit the link below for many more recommendations from weeks past.
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
You know what's REALLY not smart? Senselessly robbing and killing the cute little puppy of a former, yet still quite ruthless, mob hitman. THAT is not smart. But it is the basis of the ultra-violent action flick John Wick
This is not a new movie, but I'm honestly not a huge shoot-'em-up film kind of guy. So I hadn't got around to watching it until last week, while my wife was out of town and I was left to my own devices. I'm a fan of Keanu Reeves, however, so this movie had been on my radar for a while, especially since it consistently has high ratings. And it didn't disappoint. It's a fast-paced, if slightly over-done, film that delivers more crazy stunts and excessive explosions than even the fiercest action movie lover could hope for.
If you're ready to watch you week go up in a blaze of Hollywood glory, this is the movie for you. There's also a sequel that is very similar to the first one if still haven't got your fill of Keanu kicking all the ass.
Say "what" again
Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, news editor
I was downright shocked this week when my partner said she'd never seen Pulp Fiction — so we fixed that.
The movie follows a group of disparate characters all connected to each other through one man: crime boss Marsellus Wallace. As each character's arc intersects with the others, loads of ridiculous violence and absurd situations follow.
Pulp Fiction is a classic in the annals of modern film and is arguably Quentin Tarantino's most well-known work. I'm not in love with everything the guy does, but this film is one of my favorites.
Real Rude Boy Rhythm
Stony Hill — Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
It. Is. Summertime. At least where I am. And that means breaking out some island rhythms. At least for me.
Damian Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, is one of my favorites when it comes to bass-heavy, catchy tunes for an outdoor BBQ or just while rolling around with your car windows down. Marley's style seamlessly blends elements of hip hop, R&B and reggae music. And his latest album, 2017's "Stony Hill" is packed with catchy tunes that pair perfectly with a steamy summer evening. My favorites are "Medication" and "Speak Life," but this is the kind of album you want to play all the way through.
I strongly recommend any and all "Jr. Gong" albums, but "Stony Hill" is the one that's been pumping through my speakers most often in recent days (and nights).
You need this
From The Screen To Your Stereo 3 - New Found Glory
Recommended by Richard Devine, Reviews Editor
Weezer isn't the only band that can release a kick ass covers album, and New Found Glory is back for round three. This one is much shorter than volume 2, but still has some songs on there that you didn't know you needed in your life until now.
The theme, if you didn't get it from the title, is songs from movies, and this year's album opens with "Cups", from Pitch Perfect, goes through "This is Me", "The Power of Love" and closes with "Eye of the Tiger." Not only are they all great songs, but the covers are very well done.
There's also, nestled in the middle, a cover of Let It Go from Frozen. The song you know, but you don't want to admit you know. Well now there's a version that you can belt out at the top of your lungs.
Midwestern family issues
Freedom — Jonathan Franzen
Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer
I enjoy Franzen novels as a believable glimpse into a family that's not my own, and much like The Corrections, Freedom reveals what the modern family is up to. It's the story of Patty and Walter Berglund, their children, their Midwestern neighbors, and their friends, spanning from the mid-1900s up to the mid-2000s.
Like the title suggests, each character has their own idea of freedom, which in most cases is not at all what they thought it was once they achieved it. Although it's not necessarily action-packed, it's tough to stop reading Freedom until each character's arc has been resolved and you're sat wondering just whether or not anyone actually has anything figured out despite what they might show on the surface.
Attack the darkness
D&D Dungeon Master's Screen Reincarnated
Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer
Getting back into Dungeon & Dragons and being the dungeon master a few times involved reacquainting myself with available material. One item I never picked up previously was a screen. I'm glad I finally made the purchase for the official D&D master's screen, since it's bloody brilliant.
This screen is for the 5th edition of D&D, which is the current iteration, and comes rocking four panels kitted out with awesome illustrations. It's also insane how handy the quick-glance details are on the reverse side of the screen, allowing a dungeon master to look up something without referring to a book.
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