'Tis the last weekend of August. And in many areas, it's still hot as Hades. And that makes it a perfect weekend to stay inside (hopefully in the AC) and watch a great movie or TV show, listen to some tunes, or cozy up with a good read. If you're looking for suggestions, we can help. And if nothing on this week's list strikes your fancy, make sure to check out our previous recommendations. You'll find something you like, guar-an-teed.
Movies and TV
Here are some of the movies and TV shows Windows Central is enjoying this week.
Blade Runner – 1982
Recommended by Brendan Lowry, contributing games writer
When talking about science fiction films, especially cyberpunk ones, it would be criminal to not mention Blade Runner. Based on the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", Blade Runner is a harrowing work that addresses questions about what really makes us human and whether or not it's right to create artificial intelligence that resembles ourselves. It's a must-watch for any science fiction fan.
Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer
Since watching the UK version of The Office, I've been a fan of TV by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Hello Ladies on HBO is one of the cringiest shows I've seen (The Office is right up there, too), but Extras just has something special.
Gervais plays Andy Millman, a struggling actor who's been an extra on set for far too long. Along with his friend Maggie, played by Ashley Jensen, and bumbling agent, played by Merchant (again incredibly cringey), it's the story of how show business can seemingly pick one person out of the muck and yet leave others behind.
In the classic British way — no doubt made popular by Fawlty Towers — the show runs for two seasons with a special two-hour finale at the end. It's all gold, and it's fun to see each episode's famous actor (there's a cameo in each one) make a fool of themselves.
Here's some of the music the Windows Central team is listening to this week.
Old Five and Dimers Like Me — Billy Joe Shaver
Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer
On my way through the country music legends I've naturally come across Billy Joe Shaver, and his album Old Five and Dimers Like Me is one of the most influential in the outlaw country scene of the '70s.
It's loaded with hits — Low Down Freedom, Bottom Dollar, L.A. Turnaround, and the title track — and it's one I can listen to through and again. You can see the influences around Shaver when growing up, as he sings a lot about cotton, Jesus, and being poor. It's great country fodder, and it's great music.
From The Screen To Your Stereo Part II — New Four Glory
Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor
This album kept me entertained on my recent (short) flight to Gamescom, and it's something I always go back to when I'm in the mood to listen to something fun. From The Screen To Your Stereo Part II is essentially New Found Glory covering songs that appeared in movies in their own pop-punk way. It's a lot better than you might think, especially considering classics from Johnny Cash and Goo Goo Dolls are among the chosen ones.
Here are the books we're reading this week!
The Iron Heel — Jack London
Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, news writer
I just picked this one up from Amazon, so I haven't had a chance to dig in yet. However, the premise is super intriguing.
The Iron Heel is set in a dystopian future in which a ruling class of oligarchs keeps the rest of the population in check through a reign of terror. London's novel was published in 1908, not long before the rise of fascism in Europe, so it lends an eerie quality to the work with the benefit of hindsight.
Given how much I love Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here, which explores similar themes around the rise of fascism in America, I'm expecting The Iron Heel will be a great read.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal — Christopher Moore
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
This hilariously novel is a light-hearted and fun take on some of the stories in The Holy Bible, and its related gospels and texts. Based on the name alone, you might think religious folks might be offended by the book. And they might; I don't really know, because I'm not religious. However, I was raised going to catholic church, so I know some of the gospels mentioned in Moore's book. And frankly, it's clear the author is a theology scholar, or at least a passionate student of religion, because his knowledge of the history around them is downright impressive.
It covers the childhood years or Jesus, or "Joshua" as he's called in the book, Christ, and his coming of age as the messiah. And it's told, as suggested by the book's title, from the perspective of his best friend, a smartass kid named Levi, or Biff.
Moore's writing style and sense of humor are booth sharp as honed nails. And even though I've never actually read the bible, I really enjoyed his creative approach to the subject, and unless you're really sensitive, even if you are religious, I'd bet you'd enjoy it too. Creative story-telling based on one of the most famous books in human history + great writing + humor = a real winner.
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