Book Reviews/News

Not So Deep Thoughts: 12.6.17

movie » last flag flying
I think it’s important to talk about events like the Vietnam War, and I had hoped this film would be captivating enough to hold my attention. But I’m afraid it fell a bit flat. It’s the story of Doc (Steve Carell), a Vietnam veteran who learns his son has been killed in action in Iraq. He tracks down two old military buddies, Sal (Bryan Cranston) and Richard (Laurence Fishburne), to accompany him when his son’s remains are returned to the U.S. The trajectory of the movie is basically one drawn-out conversation among the three, and they convey some important points about sacrificing for your country. But I found it long and tedious.

I did enjoy Sal’s stream-of-consciousness dialogue, which provides some comic relief. He’s one of those characters with no filter—if a thought pops into his head, it’s going to come out of his mouth. He has a certain degree of childishness that’s charming, and it breaks up the monotony.

Based on a Darryl Ponicsan novel, the film presents an interesting question: Is it best to preserve the veneer of military glory, or to tell families the reality of overseas events? On their journey, the three pay a visit to elderly Mrs. Hightower (Cicely Tyson), who doesn’t realize that her son, their buddy Jimmy, died in ignominious circumstances in Vietnam. They arrive intending to tell her the truth, but change their minds when they see her pride in him. To me, that is the film’s most touching moment.

Should you see it? I’d say no. The message is important, but the vehicle is pretty slow-moving. —J.J.
Viewed at Marcus Ronnie’s Cine

book » unbelievable: my front row seat to the craziest campaign in american history by Katy Tur
I am a political junkie. I am never happier than when I can watch nonstop political commentary for four straight hours on a Sunday morning. That said, this book is meant for people who don’t know who Chuck Todd is—and don’t care. Katy Tur was a foreign correspondent for NBC assigned to cover the Trump campaign, which she did for 500 days. Her story is not political, but more of a journal of how she dealt with the pressure of being part of a very contentious campaign and being singled out as ‘Little Katy’ during Trump rallies. Don’t worry; there is no crying in her account. It’s just an honest report of covering a historic event.

tv » NBC Thursday night line-up
I know that all the ‘good’ TV is on Netflix, but you really need to take a look at what NBC has to offer. Thursdays start with Superstore, based on the hilarity of the workplace environment at a supersized megastore in Kirkwood (yes, Kirkwood, Missouri! Numerous references are made about K-wood and St. Louis). The bench is deep with characters who will make you laugh. Will and Grace picks up right where it left off, and all you need to know is that ‘just Jack!’ is still ‘just Jack.’ The Good Place is in its second season, and I would strongly suggest you watch season one (available on to follow the story line. It’s nice to have Ted Danson back on Thursday nights. And Great News is a quirky Tina Fey creation that follows the antics of a newsroom. Ed Asner does not make an appearance, but Nicole Richie does.