We are now days away from the 95th Oscars. Whether you’re planning on rolling out your own red carpet or you prefer to just look at the award’s results, here are some other ways you can tap into the Hollywood spirit.
Print off your 2023 ballot!
Click here for a printable ballot. You can keep track of your own guesses or make this into an ultimate ballot battle! Don’t forget that the library offers both black and white and colored printing for a small fee.
Check out Everything Everywhere All at Once... and most of the other best picture best nominees.
I am guessing that Everything Everywhere All at Once will win best picture but you never know… While many of the nominated titles are in too popular to be on our shelves, you can request titles that are high demand or that Mead doesn’t have by using our online catalog. Gone are the days of needing to find something on the shelf; we have this tool as a way to make sure that you get the library items you need.
Read about Oscar history
Click here to view a list of books about the Academy Awards!
Get a Movie Geek Box
Another way to let out your inner cinephile! A Movie Geek Box will take a movie you love and give you even more! Additional reading, music, thematic tie-ins, and games are just some of the examples. See the whole list and place the tiles on hold HERE.
Steam other movies on Kanopy
Unlock even more films and shorts by past and present Oscar winners by creating your Kanopy streaming account. All you need is your Mead Library card to unlock these special screenings.
Check out a soundtrack
Listen to the music of the movies! Swing on by CD collection or listen select soundtracks on Hoopla, a great e-content resource all Mead Public Library card holders have access to.
And the award goes to… you! Because with a library card, we are all winners.
Halloween is just days away! In need of a scare and don’t want to get it from the news? Here’s a list of five new, unique spooky films that we’ve added to our movie collection that might not be on your radar.
Watcher follows a young couple, Julia and Francis, as they settle into their new apartment. Julia copes with loneliness as she’s practicing her new country’s language. Then, Julie begins to notice a man watching her apartment through his windows. Feeling unsettled, Julie investigates and begins to see more and more of this unknown man. At the same time, there are reports that a serial killer, dubbed “the Spider” is on the loose. Could the watcher be the serial killer, Julia wonders? Julia tells her partner, her friends, and the police her fears as things slowly get creepier and creepier. No one believes Julia, causing even higher feelings of isolation and panic. This film perfectly captures what anxiety feels like and really showcases why we need to believe women.
If you’ve played the group card games Mafia or Werewolf, then you already know what the game Bodies Bodies Bodies is. If not, no worries. This movie follows a group of friends who are together for a weekend. They’re staying at a huge place and have a lot of substances. So, logically, they decide it’s smart to play a game of Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. The game is supposed to be simple: someone is assigned the “killer” role and then the rest of the group has to figure out who that is before they get killed. While the friends envision the game being fun and safe, things get dicey when the literal bodies start piling. Of course, drama, scares, and laughs follow you through this horror/mystery/comedy film. Think And Then There Were None meets Mean Girls.
Oddly enough, this film was made in 1975 but only just got a physical release. The film was directed by George A. Romero, the mind behind Night of the Living Dead, Creepshow, The Crazies, and more. The Amusement Park was intended to be for the Lutheran Service Society of Western Pennsylvania as a teaching tool for elder abuse. After having a premiere at the American Film Festival in 1975, the movie was shelved when completed and literally went missing. The film was deemed lost until a 16MM print was, at long last, discovered. The DVD and streaming were released this year, which is why it’s still new in my book.
The story itself is about how scary aging can be. This thriller is unique in both its movie and history. Hopefully, it leaves viewers with a reminder to treat their elders with care.
Now to go in total opposite directions, we have a film about children. The Innocents debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and has been getting great reviews since. No one says much about what you’ll see, just that you should see it. The movie is a supernatural thriller from Norway with a fairly simple-sounding plot: a group of children in Norway learns about their superpowers when adults aren’t looking. The film promises, according to IMDB, that “playtime takes a dangerous turn”.
Hopefully, you’ll fall for this movie. (Hahahaha!) Two adventure-seeking friends decide to climb a decommissioned 2,000-foot TV tower in the desert to reconnect and reflect on where they are in life and how to be better. Because that’s smart. As you would expect, this doesn’t work out flawlessly and the two end up stuck on the tower. Water is in low supply and their cell phones won’t work. Yes, this sounds horrifying to me on multiple levels.
Mead has a fairly extensive movie selection. But did you know we also have WWE matches on DVD? Today’s post is a sampling of what Mead has. As usual, I’ve included the description from the catalog for each item.
Cinema has been taking a cue from literature since Georges Méliès adapted The Brothers Grimm and Shakespeare for film as early as 1899. Film as a medium expanded the narrative potential and, much like photography, changed art and our collective perception forever. For better or worse, we have been steeped in and obsessed by screen adaptations of the written word ever since.
Screen adaptations have also enriched us with the classic and endless argument: WAS THE BOOK BETTER. Short answer, in general, is “yes”. My go-to example that demonstrates the rule is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The film version won five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director in 1976. Objectively, a Very Good Film. In fact Ken Kesey, the author, famously hated the film for the same reason I felt underwhelmed. Milos Foreman chose not to narrate the story from Chief Bromden’s point of view. However, the absence of Bromden’s narration, inner life, and hallucinations were impossible to depict on-screen with the technology available at the time, thus creating a very different tale than Kesey intended, indeed.
Below, I listed several upcoming book-to-screen adaptations that I am particularly excited about, whether they will outshine their source material or not:
Westerners have collectively lost their shit over Agatha Christie adaptations for the better part of a century now. Reboots can be infuriating, but Christie’s work begs to be told again and again. Lately, Kenneth Branagh has been taking his turn at the helm of good ship Hercule Poirot. Starting with 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, Branagh seems to be having a great time starring as Poirot as well as directing the pictures. I’m a David Suchet stan, so while I don’t mind the occasional Peter Ustinov or Kenneth Branagh portrayal, I tend to prefer the PBS version of the funny little Belgian. Will still be watching the ever-lovin’ heck out of this, however mind you. (In theaters now).
This film was supposed to come out in 2019, but got pushed back to 2020 and then SOMETHING happened and it’s still waiting to be released. The screen adaptation stars Ben Affleck, while not a personal favorite, he does excel at playing the oily love interest who may not have his partner’s best interest in his heart ala Gone Girl. Perhaps you saw Ana de Armas in the delightful Knives Out. I adore her and think she’ll shine in this adaptation. (Hulu March 18th, 2022).
I started listening to this book earlier in the week. Got to say, I am hooked. Give me a juicy story about horrible people being horrible to each other and I am IN. Throw in an insane power imbalance, sexual politics, and what I believe is turning into a revenge plot and I’m as happy as can be. I’m going to risk it and say that this is going to make for one hell of a TV adaptation. (Netflix April 15, 2022)
That’s right, it’s time for another ‘Salem’s Lot adaptation. The 1979 version is still a lot of creepy fun, but looks pretty terrible. The 2004 adaptation looks great but never quite ascends to the creep level present in 1979. I’m excited for this redo for one because vampires are fun and gross and two, I promised a friend I would finally read something by Stephen King. I read ‘Salem’s Lot, almost entirely enjoyed it, and now look forward to a new take on an old tale. (In theaters September 9th, 2022).
I listed four projects I am personally excited for, but that is not to say there aren’t tons and tons of additional book-to-screen adaptations slated for 2022. Check out a longer list HERE. Did you notice that Denis Villeneuve is on board to direct Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendesvouz with Rama when he finishes up with the Dune sequel? I wish I cared about Dune, but I just don’t. Rama, now that is a story I would love to see writ large at the multi-plex. What about you? What adaptation are you most excited about? What is your historic favorite? We won’t ask Kesey tho, he’s bitter about it.
Well, it certainly has been a bit of a year, hasn’t it? While things were a little too pandemic-y and censorship-y around the country to make this year a pleasant one to remember, I do not think it was completely without merit. Take, for instance, reading challenges. More specifically, Mead’s Bookish Bingo Challenge, that, when complete, makes the player eligible for FABULOUS PRIZES. Readers still have until the first week of January to submit their bingo cards at the first floor desk. Those who completed a row across, down, or diagonally will receive a stylish and useful Mead tote bag. In addition to this, those who were able to complete the entire card will be entered into a drawing for $50 Chamber Cash. Wow! Talk about fabulous!
Above: Mead’s Bookish Bingo Challenge bingo card. Download and print your own HERE.
Did you miss the bingo boat this year? Do not despair. You have a couple options. The first of which is to engage with Mead’s Bookish Bingo Challenge 2022 for a whole new year of challenges to complete.
The second option is to spend the next two holiday weekends completing at least one row of the bingo card. Here’s how I would do it:
Top row middle: Read a Book Recommended by the Staff on the MPL Blog
Mead staff has been posting book, movie, magazine, website, and more, recommendations for roughly the past three years. Books for all ages, really. Many to choose from and many of which can be read in one easy sitting. No one will fault you for reading a book from a post about children’s books. If you feel like this is cheating (it’s not; children’s lit is worthy and excellent), certainly no one will fault you for reading a book in audio form while you finish last minute holiday preparations around the house or drive to and from work, etc. I would listen to something with a full-cast reading like Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede or maybe the highly-acclaimed The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee, both of which were blogged about by yours truly a couple years ago. Super fun series, honestly.
Second row middle: Read a Book that is Connected to the Winter Solstice
Hmmm, if only there were a holiday, or several holidays, that landed on or around the Winter Solstice. What I am getting at, and what you may have gathered from my advice about the first square, is that reading challenges are a perfect opportunity to bend some rules. Greenglass House by Kate Milford takes place over a boy’s winter break. It’s a snowed-in mystery that, while not specifically about the Winter Solstice, is definitely solstice-adjacent. Get creative. Is the book set in winter? I bet you could shoehorn that thing into this bingo square.
Third row middle: READER’S CHOICE!!!!!!!!!
Okay, is THIS cheating? It is not. Any book you read gets this square crossed off the list. May I humbly suggest a little Murderbot?
Fourth row middle: Read a Magazine on Overdrive/Libby
Our 2021 reading challenge saw some changes to Mead services over the course of the year. Primary of these to effect Bookish Bingo was the absorption of RB Digital into Overdrive/Libby. RBD used to be the place to check out e-magazines and audiobooks until mid-2021, so if you read your magazine there, feel free to mark off the square. Latecomers should head to Overdrive/Libby. I really dig on America’s Test Kitchen so I would probably read an issue of their Cook’s Country magazine.
Fifth row middle: Watch a Film with Subtitles on Kanopy
Kanopy can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. I use the Roku app and it’s pretty slick. To find the film with subtitles, head to “Browse” and then select “World Cinema”. Watch Parasite (2019) if you haven’t yet because buddy, you are missing out.
Everyone at Mead hopes everyone reading our blog enjoyed participating in this inaugural reading challenge. What were your favorite squares? What were the most difficult? What do you wish we would do differently? Click HERE to download your last-ditch 2021 bingo card and stay tuned for access to the 2022 edition. Please do not hesitate to reach out for help troubleshooting tech stuff, for last minute book recs, or anything else, really. Enjoy the holiday season, and to those of you attempting to complete a bingo row over two holiday weekends, best of luck, you can do it!
Krampusnacht is coming up this weekend. It’s the night before St. Nick’s Day when people believe Krampus comes to punish children that misbehave. Krampus wasn’t always associated with the Christian holidays. As Smithsonian Magazine explains, “His name originates with the German krampen, which means “claw,” and tradition has it that he is the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel.” In Europe, every year for Krampusnacht, there will be parades and festivals where people dress up as Krampus. These festivities are spreading to America as well. There is a Krampusnacht that happens in Milwaukee. If you’re not able to go to a Krampusnacht or want to be cautious with the ongoing pandemic, I’ve made a list of items to get you in the holiday mood. One of the items in this blog is honestly one of my favorite Christmas movies. As with my other recent posts, I’ve included the summary from our catalog about each item.
“This darkly festive tale of a yuletide ghoul reveals an irreverently twisted side to the holiday. The horror-comedy tells the story of young Max, who turns his back on Christmas as his dysfunctional family comes together and comically clashes over the holidays. When they accidentally unleash the wrath of Krampus, an ancient entity from European folklore, all hell breaks loose and beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own.”
So you might not be aware, but not too long ago, Mead added a new thing to our collection: what we call a Movie Geek Box! What is that, you ask? Well, it’s a movie, of course – and then it’s additional related stuff to go along with it, like related movies, the soundtrack, a board game based on the movie, the book the movie is based on… let me give you just a few examples!
I should also add – in addition to looking in the catalog (you can search for “Movie Geek Box” and they should come up), their current location is on the first floor of the library next to the DVDs.
The Princess Bride is a classic (I’ve had a friend call it the ultimate date movie, give that a shot!), but with this you could throw a whole Princess Bride party! In addition to the movie itself, you also get the soundtrack, a party game called The Princess Bride: Prepare To Die!, the original book by S. Morgenstern, a cookbook called The Princess Dessert Book, and a behind-the-scenes book titled As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride.
Shark Week may be over for the year, but that doesn’t mean you can go back in the water quite yet. You might know the more famous shark movies, like Jaws or Deep Blue Sea. Today’s blog post is a school of more unusual shark movies. Below each title, you’ll find a summary of the movie from our catalog. Let’s dive in.
“Strange things are happening in Druid Hills, Kentucky. People are saying there are “large Great White sharks swimming in the corn stalks!” Meanwhile, serial killer Teddy Bo Lucas is arrested for killing dozens of people using shark jaws and teeth as weapons. Chief Vera Scheider is caught in the middle, trying to figure out if her missing twin sister Lorna might be one of them.”
Juneteenth is this Saturday – and now it’s also our newest federal holiday! Falling on June 19th each year, it originally marked the abolition of slavery in Texas. It’s since expanded to commemorate and celebrate the end of slavery across the nation. More information can be found in this New York Times article. For this week’s blog post, I wanted to go a little wider than just historical/documentary movies and, instead, pick out and highlight some movies exploring the Black experience in America. Descriptions are from our catalog or the publisher:
It’s the hottest day of the year in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Tensions are growing, with the only local businesses being a Korean grocery and Sal’s Pizzeria. Mookie is Sal’s delivery boy. Radio Raheem has the letters of love and hate written on his hands. He is defiant and together with a motivated Buggin Out, push Sal and his sons to their breaking point.
The cops intervene, using force and brutality to apprehend the large Radio Raheem. He is unwilling to succumb to the over-excessive brutality of the police and the racist views of Sal and his family. The overzealous police officers don’t understand the repercussions of the violence they just unleashed. The neighbors band together to protest this extreme form of pure, toxic bigotry. Mob mentality takes over and the other local non-African American store owners become threatened. Tempers flare and rage is in the air.
Happy Pride month! June is for celebrating queer culture and remembering the innovators and agitators who fought for, and continue to fight for gay rights and freedom. While there is much work to be done, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the progress made. Commemorate and celebrate along with the community by engaging with queer-created content. Below, I list books and movies to educate and entertain alongside the celebration.
Anyone who has been paying attention to publishing trends over the past decade should be pleased to notice the availability of more and more diverse books. Whether you’re talking romance, sci-fi, memoir, or history, there is something for everybody. And guess what? You don’t even need to be gay to enjoy all this great content.
In the Dream House: a Memoir (2019) by Carmen Maria Machado; considered one of the best books of 2019, Machado uses horror tropes to explore the impact of abuse in same-sex relationships.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (2017) by Mackenzie Lee; being gay in contemporary times is still, sadly, fraught with danger. This book explores the stifling conventions of 17th century nobility and how they impacted people who are not content to live within the bounds of convention. Lots of fun, with a third book in the series debuting this fall.
Pet (2019) by Akwaeke Emezi; I have for sure blogged about this book minimum once before, and I will admit it’s likely I will blog about it again, but this book is so good. Just. So, so good. It’s fantasy, but real. It’s the future, but not too far away. Monsters come in all forms, and Pet examines them with great feeling and humanity.
Sissy: a Coming-of-Gender Story (2019) by Jacob Tobias; assigned male at birth, Tobias uses their story to explore how a stringent gender binary is keeping us from fully being who we really are. Might want to read someplace you won’t get looked at funny for laughing out loud.
Wow, No Thank You (2020) by Samantha Kirby; Super funny collection of essays about the author’s life.
All About My Mother (1999) by Pedro Almodovar; considered one of Almodovar’s best. Riffing on golden age of Hollywood sensibilities and Betty Davis, this is the story of a mother’s journey across Spain to inform her estranged husband of the death of their son.
Boys Don’t Cry (1999) This movie will devastate you. Don’t watch it alone and don’t watch it if you cannot stomach violence. Do watch it to gain some understanding about the dangers of being trans in a world that doesn’t want trans people to exist. Hillary Swank won Best Actress for her portrayal of Brandon Teena which now leads us to some fascinating conversations about trans actors representing themselves on screen.
Moonlight (2016) directed by Barry Jenkins; this is hands-down one of the most beautiful movies ever made. We follow protagonist Chiron through three life phases as he grows from a boy into a man. Another worthy exploration of race and sexuality in America. And let’s not forget about the best acting of the year coming from Mahershala Ali as Juan, one of the only adults to show young Chiron an ounce of tenderness. Currently available on Kanopy.
Paris is Burning (1990) directed by Jennie Livingston; this wonderful, shiny and bright documentary explores the African American and Latinx ballroom drag scene of 1980s Harlem against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis, homophobia, transphobia, and racism. If you enjoy Ryan Murphy’s Pose, you have to watch Paris is Burning. I don’t make the rules here, just do it.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) directed by Celine Sciamma; gorgeous 17th century love story between two women. Now available on Kanopy.
Many of the books and movies mentioned above can be found on Mead’s Pride book display, located on the first floor, until the end of June, 2021. All titles are available in the Monarch catalog, often in multiple formats, as well. Don’t see anything that grabs you? We are thrilled, THRILLED to help you find what you are looking for. That goes for any genre or topic piquing your interest at any particular time, diverse or not. Never hesitate to reach out for book recommendations or tech help, we love that stuff. And remember: just because we celebrate in June doesn’t mean we go without Pride all year long.
Don’t forget to check back next week for a list of LGBTQI+ graphic novels!