The first day of summer is still a couple of weeks away, but that doesn't mean you can't soak up some sun. If you're lying outside you're probably looking for an interesting book to read or a catchy album to listen to, or you might just want to chill inside and watch a great movie or some quality TV. 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.
Super Mario Bros.
Recommended by Jez Corden, senior Xbox editor
The Super Mario Bros. movie is widely regarded as terrible, but I'm going to be bold. All of those people are wrong. The Super Mario Bros. movie is in fact amazing, and should definitely be viewed by everyone, everywhere, all the time.
Featuring the endless talents of Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper, Mario and Luigi find themselves sucked into an apocalyptic dystopia full of reptilian humanoids, on a quest to rescue Daisy, who is apparently, a princess.
Full of early '90s charm, cringe, and practical effects, Super Mario Bros. is a movie so bad, that it somehow becomes amazing.
Recommended by Al Sacco, managing editor
I hate musicals. I avoid them like I avoid spoiled fruit at the market. Patti Cake$ is sort of a musical, in that there's a lot of music in it, and the actors are also the musicians. But it doesn't take itself too seriously, the tunes are relatively catchy, and it's a great story with an even better cast of unknowns. So it gets a thumbs-up from me.
Patti Cake$ is the story of a female outcast in Craphole, New Jersey, (that's not the actual name of the city, but you get the point) who yearns to make it as a hip-hop artist in New York City, which is always lurking on the horizon, just out of reach of her hometown. The deck is more than stacked against her, but she's truly talented, and her drive to escape all the trappings of her home push her to keep trying, despite repeated failures.
It's funny, sad, inspiring, well-written and downright entertaining. And you may just find yourself singing the film's lead tune long after you stop watching it. I did. (It also happens to be free on HBO Now at the moment.)
The Disaster Artist
Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer
Starring James Franco, his brother Dave Franco, and seemingly most of their friends, The Disaster Artist tells the story of how another movie, The Room, was created. The latter movie, which was released back in the early '00s, has since become a cult classic due to how bad it is, coming off more as a comedy than as a drama.
James Franco does a spot-on portrayal of Tommy Wiseau, the mysterious man who wrote, produced, and directed The Room. No one knows where his money came from (or where he came from), which only adds to the mystery. The Disaster Artist is mostly a cringe-fest, but there are some heartfelt moments sprinkled here and there.
Here's some of the music the Windows Central team is listening to this week.
Astral Badass — MDK
Recommended by Rich Edmonds, staff reviewer
MDK, or Morgan David King, has a strange way of manipulating sound to match the gaming genre. If you've been hard searching for some tracks that are perfectly suited for an hour or two-long session, you need to check out his work. Astral Badass is packed full of amazing sounds.
ye — Kanye West
Recommended by Matt Brown, Xbox editor
Kanye West latest album ye falls during an interesting period of the artist's career – following several instances of controversy among the media. The seven-track album personally feels like a mixed bag, with some songs on repeat while others struggle to stick.
Regardless, it's great to see West's first album in over two years, showing the rapper in his rawest form yet. And the fact the album cover was shot on his iPhone on the way to his album launch party shows how clever, yet equally chaotic, this album can be. My top picks from the album include "I Thought About Killing You," "Ghost Town," and "Yikes."
Run the Jewels 3 — Run the Jewels
Recommended by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, staff writer
My brother turned me on to Run the Jewels a couple of years ago, and I haven't been able to get enough since.
The group consists of rappers Killer Mike and El-P. And in an era where trap and mumble rap reign supreme (no, I'm not talking down on either), they're a breath of fresh air. The lyricism is solid, and El-P's production style means every track could be described as nothing less than hard.
RTJ 3, as the name implies, is the duo's third full-length studio album, and it's a banger throughout. If you're even a little bit immersed in the rap scene, you've no doubt at least heard of RTJ, but this album is worth dipping your toes into if you haven't given them a shot yet. Just be careful of listening around the kiddos.
Under Cover — Motorhead
Recommended by Richard Devine, reviews editor
Motorhead's iconic front man may be gone but their music will never die. One of the more unusual albums from them is "Under Cover," where the band covers some pretty famous tracks. Lemmy lending his voice to Bowie's "Heroes" isn't to be missed.
Townes Van Zandt (self-titled)
Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer
My trip down the rabbit hole of songwriters continues with Townes Van Zandt's self-titled album. TVZ was part of the "Outlaw Country" movement in Texas is the '70s, bringing insightful lyrics and and some superior country-folk and blues to the mix.
This album might not be for everyone, but if you like some chill, often sad, country-folk music that doesn't discuss blue jeans, tractors, and light beer, you'll probably enjoy it.
Here are the books we're reading this week!
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — Hunter S. Thompson
Recommended by Cale Hunt, staff writer
I picked up an old battered copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas last Sunday, and read it until finished on Wednesday. Yes, it's a relatively quick read, but it also grabs you by the eyeballs and doesn't let go.
This is one of Thompson's most famous novels (no doubt partly due to the movie with Johnny Depp) that chronicles his time covering a desert motorcycle race before being reassigned to a narcotics law enforcement conference in Las Vegas. The book starts with Raoul Duke (Thompson's alter ego) and his attorney on the highway to Vegas, already in the clutches of what will become a legendary drug binge featuring just about every pill, liquid, blotter, and plant you can think of.
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.
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