As I write this, snow is falling in Alabama, which is its own special brand of horror. The governor calls a state of emergency, schools are closed, humans descend on Walmart like hordes in “The Walking Dead,” and many motorists forget how to drive. It seems borderline excessive for a light dusting of the white stuff, but I do enjoy the way life seems to slow down for a bit. The older I get, the more I appreciate that.
Anyway, back to my blog. One of the fun parts of my journalism career was writing a weekly entertainment column. I miss it. But why do I have to keep missing it? After all, I have a freakin’ blog here, folks. With that realization, I think I’ll start an entertainment column called “5 Things Lionel Likes.” Hey, it’s all I could think of on short notice. If you think of a better title, let me know and I’ll change it. I might even buy you a donut from Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme (although that Donut Palace on Highway 72 in Madison probably makes the best ones).
So I’ll pick 5 things I watched, read, or listened to recently, and we’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll make it a monthly feature. Maybe not. Without further ado, here we go.
- HUSH (Netflix, Rated R). Holy Silence of the Siegel! This is one intense horror film directed by Mike Flanagan, who helmed the outstanding adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game. Kate Siegel is magnificent as a deaf-mute writer alone in a cabin in the woods who fights for her life when a masked killer appears. Turn out the lights, silence the cellphones, and enjoy the thrill ride. It’s only an hour and 21 minutes. It’s literally a perfect horror movie!
- RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES. Holy Pirates of Penzance! This is the outstanding fantasy-adventure sequel to Scott Lynch’s incredible debut novel The Lies of Locke Lamora. Locke returns with his trusty sidekick Jean, and they get into a heck of a lot more trouble this time around. Lynch puts Locke in impossible situations again and again, but the daring thief manages to pull off miraculous escapes at every turn. This time, Locke somehow finds himself captain of a ship, and he has no clue which way is starboard. Fun, swashbuckling read! Check it out on Amazon.
- “A FLICKER OF TIME.” Holy Dead End Jobs! This is such a sweet, sad, and beautiful tale by Australian writer R.A. Goli. Appearing in the e-zine “Enchanted Conversation,” the story is about a simple man who happens to work for Death. I don’t want to spoil it because you can read it for free by clicking the link right here.
- THE GREATEST SHOWMAN Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Holy Hugh Jack and Zac! This is an amazing collection of original songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, and others deliver the goods with epic pop ballads amid sweeping orchestration, lifting the spirits while raising the roof. To say this is ridiculously good is no understatement. Check it out on Amazon.
- “FIREWORKS.” Holy Swedish Sweetness! Folk sister duo First Aid Kit releases their new album Ruins on Friday, January 19. The single “Fireworks” is a beaut. Melancholy and mesmerizing, the sisters infuse heartfelt vocals into a song about trying to make a relationship work despite all evidence to the contrary. You can feel the pain when they sing the chorus: “Why do I do this to myself/Every time I know the way it ends.” Check it out on YouTube.
There you have it, folks. That’s what I liked for January. Tell me what you watched, read, or listened to that cranked your tractor this month. Or not. No pressure. Until next time.