Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023



Arnold ... is perfection in this role. But then he should be. It is pretty much all his past characters in one. This show is so clever in so many ways. I loved how they utilized all his previous movies and characters but made it feel like it was all new for this show. If you never saw a previous Arnold movie, you would still like this but it is waaaaay more fun when you have a history with him :)

Each character was perfectly cast and I loved how each character "related". There will be a second season and I am curious to see if some of the things I thought were going to play out in the first season will come to pass. 

I did originally think this was a movie so imagine my surprise when I found it was a series. I am very happy it was a series as they got to build on so much and make the story so much more intense and interesting. 

I think the best part was trying to not figure out what was going on and I just let each episode take me on a ride. A wonderfully crazy and fun ride.

4 paws

Friday, August 25, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for August 25, 2023

[Passionworks] -- I don't recall exactly when I purchased Passionworks on cassette, but I know I got it at my local G.C. Murphy store (colloquially known as "Murphy's") in my hometown. This long defunct variety store had a music section that, because the store was a short walk from my home, could easily keep me occupied. And by "occupied" I do mean "shopping" but not necessarily "buying" – I didn't have all much much pocket money in those days. 

But, like I mentioned at the outset of this post, I did purchase a cassette copy of Passionworks. At the time of purchase, I did not know any of the songs on this release. In fact, even now, I don't recall ever hearing anything from this album on the radio. I did, of course, know Heart from their previous releases, so I must have thought, "Hey, good band with a new album. Why not?"

Passionworks was Heart's seventh studio album and it was released 40 years ago this week (August 20, 1983). It was the band's last recording for Epic, and the first with their new rhythm section, Denny Carmassi (drums) and Mark Andes (bass). It also marked Heart's shift from their folk-oriented sound to a more mainstream rock approach. 

Oh, and this was the album just before Heart embraced a sort of pirate glam look for their 1985 eponymous comeback. 

If you happen to know any tunes from Passionworks, they will probably be the two singles. "How Can I Refuse" was the first single and it's also the opening track to side A (for either the album or the cassette). "Allies" was the second single and it kicks off side B. As I recall, I might have done a great deal of fast-forwarding or rewinding to access these two songs. "How Can I Refuse" was a great opening track, and I'm surprised it didn't get more attention back in 1983. But "Allies," a slow-burning, anthemic ballad written by Journey's Jonathan Cain, really should have been a huge hit. 

"How Can I Refuse" topped out at #44 and #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Billboard Top Rock Tracks respectively. That's pretty respectable, although not as good as their previous singles. "Allies," however, peaked at a mere #83 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Passionworks charted at #39 on the US Billboard 200 and #4 on US Rock Albums charts, but received decidedly lukewarm critical reactions. And that might be fair given that the two singles really are the only standouts on the album. But there are a few sleepers here, and they include "Sleep Alone," "Together Now," "Heavy Heart," and (the very early 80s sounding) "Ambush."

I cannot tell you how many Sunday mornings I listened to this album while preparing the newsstand for its early morning opening. Check it out, and maybe it will, as in the lyrics to "Ambush," take you by surprise. 

FlashbackPassionworks (August 20, 1983)

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

American Born Chinese


Disney Plus

What a purely amazing and excellent series. I wanted to watch this from the moment I knew it existed. I did not know there was source material but once I knew that, I was even more intrigued.

I loved it! Each character and actor was perfect, I want to be their friends. 

I loved the family, the comics, the friends, the story, the filming, simply everything. I recommend this 1000000%. I believe there will be a second season, I will be there to watch it first thing. 

I absolutely loved the 2 main male characters. They played their roles to perfection. I was blown away by how much they portrayed real teenagers and all that it entails but also while portraying other roles that make up the story. I would love to go to their school.

4 paws

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

No Time To Die

 The final movie with Daniel Craig as James Bond.

A perfect send off. I loved this movie. I thought it was a perfect ending for Daniel Craig and even this generation’s James Bond. 

Great story, incredible action, excellent characters. I don't recall what the reception was for this movie but I greatly enjoyed it. I thought it felt like a James Bond movie and while it allowed for an ending that wasn't expected, I quite liked it and felt it was fitting.

There were a few throwbacks to other James Bond movies and I am sure I missed quite a few things also but I felt it paid its dues. I would definitely watch this one again.

4 paws

Friday, August 11, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for August 11, 2023

[Innocent Nostalgia] -- Fans who were used to Joel throwing stones at Glass Houses (1980) or pulling back The Nylon Curtain (1982) were in two camps when his ninth studio album, An Innocent Man, hit record store shelves. They either thought he had taken a step backward, or that he was letting loose and having some fun. Both camps might have been correct, but for different reasons. 

Released 40 years ago this week – on August 8, 1983 – An Innocent Man was a tour through the musical styles of Joel's own youth, a celebration of the genres he had discovered while listening to the radio. Rolling Stone called An Innocent Man "an affectionate, spirited paean to an undefiled past that’s truly forever" (Parke Puterbaugh, August 18, 1983). In his retro-review for AllMusicStephen Thomas Erlewine writes that Joel was so exhausted after The Nylon Curtain, and disappointed in its lack of commercial success, that he simply wanted to take a break and record an album for fun. 

Like the two fan camps, both Erlewine and Puterbaugh could be correct about Joel's intentions regarding this week's Flashback. Not that any of it mattered to me. Back in 1983, I did not know anything about Joel's exhaustion or his desire to pay homage to his favorite musical styles. What I did know was that I had been a fan of Joel since I discovered Turnstiles (1976) in my father's record collection, and so I went out and got this latest record. I also know, or remember, two other things about this record.

For one, An Innocent Man seemed much more vocally oriented than the last few efforts. As I was a member of my high school's chorus, I found this album's songs to be wonderful vocal exercises, and several of my classmates agreed with me. In fact, my second recollection was just how many chorus people also liked this album once they heard it, even those who tended to avoid popular music (yeah, they were around back then, too). I also recall carrying around a shoebox style cassette player/recorder with which I shared An Innocent Man and other cassettes while attending District Two Chorus. 


An Innocent Man peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200. And it yielded three top ten singles: "Tell Her About It" (#1), "Uptown Girl" (#3), and "An Innocent Man" (#10). "Uptown Girl," and the album itself, received a Grammy nomination. Joel also received two American Music Award nominations for his work on this album. In listening to An Innocent Man for this week's post, I've concluded that "The Longest Time" and "Leave A Tender Moment Alone" are my favorite tracks. Were they my favorites back in 1983? I suspect I had a great fondness for the title track as well as those two songs, but other than that, I'm not sure what to say about my favorites back then. So, I'll claim that my opinion remains unchanged, and no one can prove otherwise.  

Flashback"An Innocent Man (August 8, 1983)

And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Bullet Train



I was really unsure about this movie, even after hearing all the great things from so many friends. I was afraid I wasn't going to like the "farce" of it but it turned out to be the best thing!

Every character was perfection and I laughed, cheered, cried and yelled at every single one of them.

What an incredible ride. I can't recommend this movie more. I will warn you that it is quite violent and visually gory but it did not hinder my love for this movie.

4 paws

Friday, August 4, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for August 4, 2023

[Future Shock] -- In July 1983, the latest single from Herbie Hancock – a veteran jazz musician, bandleader, and composer – exploded on the radio and into MTV rotation. "Rockit" was a jazz fusion piece driven by deejay scratching. This blog post clued me to the fact that the record being scratched is “Change Le Beat” by Fab Five Freddy, featuring B-Side. A collaboration of Hancock, Bill Laswell, and GrandMixer DXT, "Rockit" won a Grammy Award (Best R&B Instrumental Performance), and Herbie and company performed the song live at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards. The music video for "Rockit" also won big, raking in five MTV Video Music Awards in 1984.

Excuse me while I take a quick detour in the Flashback to confess that, even in 2023, I find the mechanisms, mannequins, and rewind cuts of the music video kind of creepy. I have to agree with this comment posted to the YouTube video: "Shoutout to the people who had to physically build this set and then go to sleep at night." I have less of a problem with the Grammy Awards performance because many of the mannequins on stage were actually dancers. 

Anyway, "Rockit" was the lead-off single for Hancock's 35th album, released 40 years ago this week on August 1, 1983. Whoa, this album *and* "Rockit" are 40 years old! And while "Rockit" is pretty much the highlight of this album, that doesn't mean it's the only high point. There are plenty of 1980s gems on this six-track album; the remastered CD includes a seventh track, "Rockit (Mega Mix)." For starteres, I love the percussion and syncopation that carry the funky synth lines of "TFS," which I guess is an initialism for "The Future Shock." "Autodrive" is a masterclass in bridging jazz, funk, and electronics. And "Rough" is ... I can't quite describe what I love about "Rough." I mean, the percussion is definitely catchy, the guitar has an interesting tuning, and Lamar Wright's vocals slide through the whole production effortlessly. You just have to listen to it. 

Future Shock was certified Platinum in the US, but it doesn't seem to have charted in the States. Future Shock did chart across the pond, peaking at #27 and #79 in the UK and Australia. And although "Rockit" received critical and commercial love, the album as a whole got mixed reactions, particularly from critics. 

Not that critics are necessarily the experts on what you should enjoy, right?  

FlashbackFuture Shock (August 1, 1983)

That's this week's offering. There should be another one next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

John Wick 3: Parabellum


I have been wanting to see this one for awhile now. I was hoping it would be free at some point and luckily when I was channel surfing I noticed something called Tubi and it had John Wick 3 for free. There were a few commercials but they were well planned, short, and the movie always came back on back a few seconds so you never missed anything. I would definitely watch a free movie on Tubi again.

Back to John Wick, if I haven't mentioned it before I LOVE John Wick. I love the no talk, just shoot or stab or blow up or punch. I get so tired of shows where they swear they are going to kill someone only to NEVER DO IT. They talk their way out, they hide or run, or something else happens and no killing happens. 

The first time I saw John Wick I cheered. Now don't think I am all for actual killing and violence because I am not. I am aware that this is a movie and not real life. It was just nice to see someone stick to their word and not the tropes in most violent movies.

This one seemed a bit more violent/gory, as I seemed to avert my eyes more than normal. And the story was a little "lacking" or something. It did feel a little more like moving from violent stunt to violent stunt but then again that is kind of the point of John Wick. 

I can't wait to check out John Wick 4 when it becomes available.

3 paws