We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Blog: The Best Sharks (and Other Large Sea Creatures) in Books, Movies and TV

jawsAh, summer. The time of year when the sun is out, the temperatures rise and the beach is calling. But just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… SHARKS!

If you’re anything like me (or definitely my brother), Steven Spielberg’s classic Jaws, based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name, kept you out of the ocean for many years. Even the classic Universal Studios ride was enough to produce nightmares!

There’s something about a massive sea creature with sharp teeth and those eyes that strikes just the right amount of terror in unsuspecting swimmers worldwide. As Discovery Channel celebrates Shark Week, its annual programming block of all things shark-y, we’ve rounded up some of the greatest Great Whites (plus other sharks and large sea creatures) found in books, movies and more.

Old ManClassic Fiction
These epic quests pit man versus beast on the open water.

  1. Moby Dick
  2. The Old Man and the Sea
  3. Meg

indianapolisTrue Stories
Sometimes true events are more chilling than fiction.

  1. Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man
  2. Open Water
  3. Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board

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Die Hard on a…:Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Die Hard.

Die Hard is the best. 30 years later, no action movie has topped it – at least at doing great action and being an even better movie between the action scenes. If you haven’t seen it in a while, it won’t disappoint.

But say you’ve seen Die Hard a million times. Or you’re waiting to watch it at Christmas. (And to end the debate before it begins, Facebook readers, I’m not saying Die Hard is a Christmas movie – just that it can be if you want it.) With that in mind, I’ve put together some movies and TV shows that made no secret about ripping it off.

This list may not include the best imitators, though possibly the most interesting ones. And why these movies? Because pretty good movies are still, you know, pretty good.Die Hard

Die Hard 2 (1990)
One of the first imitators to not top Die Hard was Die Hard 2. It’s basically a remake with the setting moved to an airport during a blizzard. The similarities and callbacks are a bit much, and Bruce Willis goes from being a counterpoint to the ‘80s action hero to being yet another action hero.

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Who’s Your (Favorite) Daddy?: HPB Spotlights the Best Dads in Books, TV and Film

A few years ago we took a closer look at some of the top mothers in books, TV and film. As Father’s Day approaches, it’s Dad’s turn! Here are some of the best, or at least most memorable, paternal roles we’ve come to love over the years.

LITERATURE
Atticus_FinchThe All-Time Classic Dad:
Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird
No list of fathers is complete without Atticus. He’s arguably one of the greatest role models in American literature.
Honorable Mentions: Pa Ingalls – Little House on the Prairie series, Arthur    Weasley – Harry Potter series

Mr._BennetThe Dad Who Puts His Kids First:
Mr. Bennet – Pride and Prejudice
Mr. Bennet isn’t the perfect father, but he comes through when it counts, backing Elizabeth’s decision not to marry Mr. Collins.
Honorable Mentions:  The Man – The Road, Bob Cratchit – A Christmas Carol

Ned_StarkThe Newcomer Dad:
Ned Stark – A Song of Ice and Fire series
Ned loves all his children, even Jon Snow, his illegitimate son. His sense of honor and duty rules every aspect of his being.
Honorable Mentions: Nate Pullman – Wonder, Thomas Schell – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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What’s on the Menu?: Serving up Books & Movies for National Waiters & Waitresses Day

Yes, people, National Waiters & Waitresses Day is a real thing. NWWD (I just invented this abbreviation) is May 21, a day to eat out and tip generously as we pay a little extra attention to the hard-working, often underpaid folks who serve us in restaurants. To celebrate, we’re serving up a a six-course meal of waitstaff-centric books, movies and more.

DRINKS:
Cheers
One of the greatest TV comedies of all time, Cheers (1982–1993), focuses on the employees and patrons of a Boston bar. Cheers.gifHere we encounter two common waitress tropes: Diane, played by Shelley Long, is highly educated and thinks waitressing is beneath her, but she takes the gig in a moment of desperation after being jilted by her fiancée. Then there’s Rhea Perlman’s Carla, the wisecracking, hardened “career” waitress who becomes Diane’s comic foil. The first couple of seasons are like a sitcom writing masterclass.

Sweetbitter

APPETIZER:
Sweetbitter
Waiting tables is a common job for college students or other young adults—a thing to do while waiting (sometimes in vain) to do something else. Stephanie Danler wrote Sweetbitter during grad school while she worked at NYC’s Union Square Café, and the novel takes an unflinching look at the glitzy but grueling world of an upscale Manhattan eatery. Based partly on the author’s real-life experiences, the book was a bestseller and literary sensation upon its 2016 publication. Danler told Vanity Fair: “I’ve seen so many women move to New York City, think that they’re going to get a temporary job in the restaurant industry, and then get sucked into that world.” Sweetbitter will also become a TV series on Starz!, premiering May 6.

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As We Go On, We Remember…These Classic Graduation Moments

Graduation is an important part of every teenager’s life. Some spend 18 years eagerly waiting for the day they are finally “free”, while others dread being forced to figure out what the future looks like without Mom & Dad. Our favorite shows and movies often highlight the pomp and circumstance of this momentous day, so as another class prepares to turn the tassel, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorites.

Modern Family: See You Next Fall
modern-family
(2011: Season 2, Episode 23)I’ve always related to Alex, and never more so than this episode. I was a high school valedictorian as well and, let me tell you, at age 18, it’s a stressful moment. But she handled it like a champ.

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NYE on TV: How our Favorite Shows Ring in the New Year

Well, folks, 2017 is finally about to draw to a close. As we prepare for what lies ahead in 2018, we first must celebrate New Year’s Eve. For some, it’s a time to kiss someone special at the stroke of midnight with blissful hope for the future. For others, it’s a time to turn in early and remind oneself that “well, there’s always next year.”

Regardless of how you’ll be ringing in 2018, take a moment with us to look back at some of our favorite New Year’s moments from TV, like we have done for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So let’s get started!

10…9…8…

Friends: The One With the Routine (1999: Season 6, Episode 10)

No NYE celebration is complete without “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” In this classic Friends episode, Ross and Monica go all out to ensure that they’ll be featured on the big broadcast, bringing back…“the routine,” a dance they did in school.

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Celebrating Boss’s Day Like a BOSS!

Each year on October 16, workers in the United States and a few other countries take time to thank their employers. Created by Illinois secretary Patricia Bays Haroski in 1958, Boss’s Day will be observed for the 60th time next year. The goal in creating Boss’s Day was to strengthen the relationship between a manager and his/her employees.

To celebrate Boss’s Day, here’s a look at some of our favorite fictional bosses. While they’re not all necessarily the best bosses, they’re certainly some of the most memorable.

BurnsThe SimpsonsBurnsMichael ScottThe Officethe office

Tony SopranoThe Sopranossopranos

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So Glad We Had This Time Together: 50 Years of The Carol Burnett Show

Though I was a little too young to have seen the episodes when they first aired (September 11, 1967-March 29, 1978), The Carol Burnett Show was an integral part of my childhood. I remember running home from school, throwing my bag down and turning on the television because The Carol Burnett Show came on at 4p.m., and I didn’t want to miss it. Carol Burnett broke new ground when the show first aired, as the first woman television variety show host without the aid of a man counterpart. The Carol Burnett Show ran for 11 seasons, earned a handful of Emmys and even spawned a successful spin-off in the first-run syndication comedy sitcom Mama’s Family.  Now, as The Carol Burnett Show turns 50-years-old, what better way to celebrate than to share some interesting facts and hilarious clips from what I consider to be one of the best television shows of all time.

The Cast: When the show first aired, the cast consisted of Carol, Vicki Lawrence (an 18-year-old unknown), Harvey Korman (who had been a regular on the Danny Kaye Show) and Lyle Waggoner (who was the first centerfold in Playgirl magazine). When Lyle left, a frequent and popular guest star, Tim Conway joined the show. Tim’s constant ad-libbing may have annoyed some cast members, but it made him a favorite among audiences. Finally Harvey left the show in its 10th season and Dick Van Dyke was brought in for a few months. Unfortunately, Dick couldn’t replicate the chemistry that Harvey had with the audience, so his stint as a cast member was short lived. However, he is in my favorite blooper from The Carol Burnett Show, a family sketch that shows Tim at his ad-libbing best. You can see Dick Van Dyke on the arm of the couch by Mama.

The Look: All of the costumes on The Carol Burnett Show were created by designer Bob Mackie, who had to design 60 or more costumes a week for the sketch comedy show. His designs helped the actors create their characters. For example, Mrs. Wiggins was supposed to be an elderly woman but Mackie had something else in mind when he created her curvy outfit. When Carol tried it on, it was tight around the knees and baggy in the behind. She asked him to take it up, but he said no. She needed to stick her behind into it. So Carol did, creating Mrs. Wiggins characteristic walk. However Mackie’s most iconic design for Carol was the Scarlett O’Hara curtain dress for their parody sketch of Gone with the Wind. This dress can be found in the Smithsonian, and you can even buy a Barbie doll with the dress on.

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All the Single Ladies: 10 Spunky Working Women from Books, TV and Film

August 4 is Single Working Women’s Day, and as a single working woman I want to celebrate by sharing some of the wisdom I have gleaned from my favorite single working women from books, movies and television

1. Bridget Jones, from Bridget Jones’s Diary—It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces. After you read it, check out the movie too.
BridgetJones.gif

2. Jane Eyre, from Jane Eyre—Beware surly employers who keep their crazy wives locked up in their houses. (Movie)

3. Stephanie Plum, from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series—Sometimes being lucky is better than being good. (Movie)

4. Liz Lemon, from 30 Rock—Say yes to love, yes to life, yes to staying in more…and working on your night cheese.
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HPB Geek 101 Class

July 13 is Embrace Your Geekness Day, but you know what I say? Let’s keep the spirit of Geekness alive all year long and make every day Embrace Your Geekness Day.

With that in mind, I’ve created a sort of 101 class for hardcore geeks and those with geek tendencies alike. Keep in mind, this is a survey course – with a focus on science fiction and horror. It was hard narrowing down to ten items, and there are plenty of great things that could’ve made the list. Sorry if your favorite geek obsession didn’t make the cut.

There’s a good chance you’ve read or watched at least some of these recommendations on this list, but here are ten essential books, movies and TV shows to boost your geek knowledge.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
I first read Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the third or fourth grade. To say it changed my life is probably an exaggeration. At the same time, the world made more sense after reading it – which is odd, because little in this series makes sense on the surface.hitch

A hapless everyman, Arthur Dent, manages to escape our planet right before it’s blown up to create an intergalactic highway. Things get weirder from there, as Arthur Dent goes on many adventures he’s not suited for, including the successful (and disappointing) search for the meaning of life.

To begin with, stick to the first two books in the series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Together, the two books tell a complete story, and they have the best balance between Adams’ passion for science and his pessimism that we’re often far too dim to appreciate the world around us. Continue reading