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Monday, August 25, 2014

Hot This Week: August 25

This week, Divergent and Noah switch places atop the DVD list, while three titles show up for the first time. The new disc from the Gaslight Anthem is the only new title on the week's music chart. It was a big week for new fiction, with three new titles leading off the list, while the non-fiction list just undergoes some shuffling.

DVD
  1. Divergent
  2. Noah
  3. Heaven Is for Real
  4. Transcendence
  5. Rio 2
  6. God's Not Dead 
  7. The LEGO Movie 
  8. Non-Stop
  9. Bad Words
  10. 300: Rise of an Empire
CD
  1. Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix. Vol. 1 
  2. NOW That's What I Call Music 51
  3. Frozen Soundtrack
  4. The Gaslight Anthem, Get Hurt
  5. 5 Seconds of Summer, 5 Seconds of Summer
  6. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
  7. Godsmack, 1000HP
  8. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye
  9. Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
  10. Eric Clapton & Friends, The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale
Fiction
  1. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami
  2. Love Letters, Debbie Macomber
  3. The 6th Extinction, James Rollins
  4. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  5. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  6. The Heist, Daniel Silva
  7. The Book of Life, Deborah Harkness
  8. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr 
  9. The Lost Island, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  10. The Magician's Land, Lev Grossman
Non-Fiction
  1. America, Dinesh D'Souza
  2. One Nation, Ben and Candy Carson
  3. In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides
  4. The First Family Detail, Ronald Kessler
  5. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
  6. A Spy Among Friends, Ben Macintyre
  7. Hard Choices, Hillary Rodham Clinton
  8. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  9. Blood Feud, Edward Klein
  10. The Invisible Bridge, Rick Perlstein

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ready for Kickoff

Written by Jon Williams

The month of August is winding down, and the kids are back to school or getting ready to do so very soon. While this can bring on emotions ranging from excitement to angst for the students in question, it also heralds the return of the popular community institution that is high school football. The traditional Friday night game has long been a source of fascination in both fiction and non-fiction, evidenced by the film When the Game Stands Tall, opening in theaters today. It tells the story of the De La Salle Spartans, a high school team in California that maintained an incredible 151-game winning streak from 1992 through 2003. It’s just the latest in a long line of stories to explore both the romance and the dark side of the game and the young men who play it.

Of course, the gold standard for high school football-related media is the Friday Night Lights juggernaut. The 1990 book by Buzz Bissinger was turned into a 2004 film exploring the 1988 season of the Permian Panthers of Odessa, Texas, dealing with the pressures of a highly touted team making a run at a championship in a state where football is king. The success of that movie then spawned a critically acclaimed TV series focusing on Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) taking over as head coach in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, and the trials and tribulations of his players and family. The show ran for five seasons, ending in 2011, and while there were persistent rumors of it coming back to the big screen, it now appears that won’t happen.

Still, there are a number of other film portrayals of high school football. One is the 1983 movie All the Right Moves, which features Tom Cruise as a star player seeking a scholarship and Craig T. Nelson as his coach (Nelson, of course, would go on to earn an Emmy Award playing a college football coach as the star of the ABC series Coach). In 1999, Varsity Blues introduced young stars James Van Der Beek, Paul Walker, and Scott Caan as players with a tumultuous relationship with their overbearing coach (Jon Voight). 2000’s Remember the Titans, like Friday Night Lights (the movie), depicts a true story, this one of a 1971 Virginia team dealing with racial tensions. Denzel Washington won accolades for his portrayal of the team’s coach, Herman Boone.

And if you prefer even more realism, there are a number of documentaries that take a look at various teams as they wilt or bloom under the lights. One of them is 2011’s Undefeated, which looks at a traditionally bad team in an underprivileged Memphis area when a new coach takes over, determined to take the team—and its players—to new heights. A staple in the genre is Go Tigers!, following the 1999 team in the football-crazy town of Massillon, Ohio.

This is just a small sampling of football movies, and doesn’t even get into the number of audiobooks (both fiction and non-fiction) that are available. For more, come search or browse on our website, and make sure your patrons have everything they need to whet their appetites for the coming season.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hot This Week: August 18

Noah remains on top of the movie list for a second straight week, followed by newcomer Divergent. The acclaimed music from the acclaimed film Guardians of the Galaxy jumps to the top of the music chart. The conclusion to Lev Grossman's fantasy Magician series lands at #1 on the fiction list, while the tale of an Arctic adventure is the top non-fiction newcomer.

DVD
  1. Noah
  2. Divergent
  3. Heaven Is for Real
  4. Non-Stop
  5. The LEGO Movie 
  6. God's Not Dead
  7. 300: Rise of an Empire
  8. Lone Survivor
  9. Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club
  10. Robocop
CD
  1. Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix. Vol. 1 
  2. NOW That's What I Call Music 51
  3. Godsmack, 1000HP
  4. Spoon, They Want My Soul
  5. 5 Seconds of Summer, 5 Seconds of Summer
  6. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye
  7. Eric Clapton & Friends, The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale
  8. Frozen Soundtrack
  9. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
  10. Ed Sheeran, X
Fiction
  1. The Magician's Land, Lev Grossman
  2. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  3. The Lost Island, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  4. Severed Souls, Terry Goodkind
  5. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  6. The Heist, Daniel Silva
  7. The Book of Life, Deborah Harkness
  8. Support and Defend, Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney
  9. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr 
  10. The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith
Non-Fiction
  1. America, Dinesh D'Souza
  2. One Nation, Ben and Candy Carson
  3. In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides
  4. The First Family Detail, Ronald Kessler
  5. Hard Choices, Hillary Rodham Clinton
  6. A Spy Among Friends, Ben Macintyre
  7. The Invisible Bridge, Rick Perlstein
  8. Blood Feud, Edward Klein
  9. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
  10. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand

Friday, August 15, 2014

In Memoriam: Lauren Bacall

Written by Jon Williams

It’s been a rough week in Hollywood. It started on Monday afternoon with the news of Robin Williams’s passing, which stunned and saddened the entertainment industry and millions of fans worldwide. The veteran comedian and actor, who parlayed his role on the sitcom Mork and Mindy into a long and successful TV and movie career, was just 63 when he died.

With the shocking nature of that news, the death of another big-screen icon has been nearly overshadowed. On Tuesday, Lauren Bacall passed away at age 89. Yes, she was married to Humphrey Bogart, but she had quite a career in her own right. Her work as a model brought her to the attention of filmmaker Howard Hawks, who brought her to Hollywood. He was the one who assigned her to a voice coach that helped her develop the low, sultry voice she became known for. Hawks then cast her in 1944’s To Have and Have Not, and the rest is history.

It was on the set of To Have and Have Not that Bacall met Bogie. The two married in 1945 and remained so until Bogart’s death in 1957. In addition to being husband and wife, they also paired up on the silver screen three more times in the 1940s, beginning with 1946’s The Big Sleep (another Howard Hawks film). Adapted from the Raymond Chandler novel about detective Philip Marlowe, it featured a screenplay co-written by William Faulkner. That was followed in 1947 with Dark Passage, and in 1948 with Key Largo, directed by John Huston.

Bacall’s career was at its peak in the 1950s, beginning with Young Man with a Horn (currently unavailable), an early jazz film. She also starred in such films as How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Woman’s World (1954), and the classic Written on the Wind (1956), among others. The 1957 film Designing Woman (currently unavailable) was filmed as Bogart’s health was failing, and released just a few months after his death.

Beginning in the 1960s, Bacall dialed back her involvement in Hollywood productions, although she continued to act into her later days. One of her most significant roles was as part of an all-star ensemble cast in 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express. Speaking personally, the first time I saw her was in a small role in Stephen King’s Misery adaptation, as author Paul Sheldon’s agent. In 1996, her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces earned her a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, as well as her first Academy Award nomination. She also put that famous voice to good use with roles in such animated projects as Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and Ernest & Celestine (2012).

With Lauren Bacall’s passing on Tuesday, we’ve lost another small piece of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Share her films with your patrons. In addition to the movies listed above, you can SmartBrowse her name on our website for a more comprehensive list.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hot This Week: August 11

Two faith-based films top this week's DVD listing, with Russell Crowe's portrayal of Noah taking top honors. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers earn the first #1 album of their long and storied career. Liane Moriarty tops the week's fiction list, while the tale of a British spy is the only newcomer in non-fiction.

DVD
  1. Noah
  2. Heaven Is for Real
  3. Non-Stop
  4. 300: Rise of an Empire
  5. The LEGO Movie
  6. Lone Survivor
  7. Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club
  8. Robocop
  9. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
  10. Grand Budapest Hotel
CD
  1. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye
  2. Eric Clapton & Friends, The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix. Vol. 1
  4. 5 Seconds of Summer, 5 Seconds of Summer
  5. Frozen Soundtrack
  6. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
  7. Theory of a Deadman, Savages
  8. Jenny Lewis, Voyager
  9. Kidz Bop Kids, Kidz Bop 26
  10. Ed Sheeran, X
Fiction
  1. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  2. The Heist, Daniel Silva
  3. Support and Defend, Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney
  4. The Book of Life, Deborah Harkness
  5. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
  6. Fast Track, Julie Garwood
  7. A Perfect Life, Danielle Steel
  8. Act of War, Brad Thor
  9. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  10. The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith
Non-Fiction
  1. America, Dinesh D'Souza
  2. A Spy Among Friends, Ben Macintyre
  3. One Nation, Ben and Candy Carson
  4. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  5. Hard Choices, Hillary Rodham Clinton
  6. Blood Feud, Edward Klein
  7. David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell
  8. Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  9. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty
  10. I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai