O Captain! My Captain!

It’s May, and all movie fans know what that means…Summer Movie Blockbusters are on the way! There are so many films to look forward to. Spider-Man: Homecoming, War for the Planet of the Apes, Alien: Covenant and of course Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk are all on my list to see, but one of the most anticipated is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. This will mark the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, a role that earned him an Oscar nomination in The Curse of the Black Pearl. This made me think of all the famous captains out there.

Keeping with HPB’s celebration of totally random lists, I have put together my Captain’s Log (Star Trek pun intended). Can you name everyone that made my Best Captains List?

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The Captain and Tennille
The Captain, Daryl Dragon, was a hit recording artist in the ‘70s with Cathryn Tennille. You might remember Love Will Keep Us Together.

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Captain Morgan
Sir Henry Morgan, a Welsh privateer of the Caribbean, is the mascot for Captain Morgan Rum. Their motto is “To life, love and loot.”

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Administrative Professionals’ Day: Our Favorites from the Big and Small Screen

This Wednesday, April 26, is Administrative Professionals’ Day. Dating all the way back to the 1950s, the last week of April is a time to acknowledge the significant contributions of executive assistants, secretaries and other administrative roles. Anyone who has worked in an office, school or large organization knows that someone has to be the glue that holds all the moving parts together! So here are some of our favorite administrative professionals:

The Fearless Trailblazers

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Doralee Rhodes (9 to 5)—In this classic comedy from 1980, Doralee isn’t afraid to stand up to her “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss. Attagirl, Doralee!

JoanHolloway_Half Price BooksJoan Holloway (Mad Men)—Don’t mess with Joan. She runs a tight ship, managing her team of secretaries while advancing her career in a climate that’s less than conducive to women in power.
TessMcGill_Half Price BooksTess McGill (Working Girl)—Tess proves that, sometimes in life, you have to visualize what you want and then take it. She’s never afraid to step up and make the most of an opportunity. Continue reading

Celebrating the 65th Anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain

If you ask me what my favorite musical is, my answer will be the 1952 MGM musical comedy Singin’ in the Rain. In 2007 the American Film Institute ranked this movie #5 in AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time, so I know I’m not alone. I don’t know if it’s Gene Kelly spinning in circles with an umbrella, Donald O’Connor flipping off walls, or Debbie Reynolds doing the hula during the “Good Morning” dance routine, but there is something about Singing in the Rain that captivates us and keeps us singing 65 years after its release. Here are some facts you may not know about one of America’s favorite musicals:

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3 Must See Movies This Black History Month

Anyone who knows me at all understands that I am a movie junkie. So when thinking about Black History Month, I can’t help but think one of the best ways to celebrate is to go down to your local cinema and check out some of the great films that are out about black-American culture and black-American history.

The first movie you should check out is Hidden Figures. This is the true story of mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who were all employed by NASA and were the masterminds of calculating trajectories and orbits to get the first American, astronaut John Glenn, in to space. Katherine Johnson was also given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November of 2015 by President Barack Obama for her work with the space program.

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National Popcorn Poppin’ Month

PopcornBlog.pngOctober is National Popcorn Poppin’ month and there is no better way to celebrate it than with popcorn and a movie. I have found some really fun popcorn recipes and paired them with appropriate films. Get your popper out and get ready for an evening at home with some great tasting popcorn and a movie.

Chocolate Almond Popcorn
In the mood for something sweet? You might think the perfect movie for chocolate almond popcorn would be Chocolat with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche.  But let’s go in a different direction and honor the late Gene Wilder by watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Enjoy your chocolate popcorn as Charlie discovers a world of pure imagination. Continue reading

10 Movies that Inspired Stranger Things

In an era where there are hundreds of new shows and movies to stream each month, it’s amazing we’re still talking about Stranger Things three months after it debuted on Netflix. There’s a good chance it may end up the biggest pop culture landmark of 2016. And I couldn’t be happier about that.

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Yes, it leans on the past a little too much, but Stranger Things isn’t just a remix of early ‘80s nostalgia. I don’t want to build the show up too much for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, except to say I think you’ll like what you find.

For those who have watched it and can’t wait for the second season, here is a list of movies that most likely inspired the show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers. They’ll help tide you over till next year, and most of them will fit perfectly into your rotation of scary movies. I hope you pick at least one of them to enjoy/laugh at/patiently sit through for your friend or spouse this Halloween season.

**Oh – and some minor spoilers for Stranger Things.** Continue reading

Books Can Take You Places: London

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to 11 different cities and our journey around the world is far from over!  This month let’s londonexplore all that London, England has to offer.

I had my first visit to London when I was eight-years-old. I remember reading Michael Bond’s A Bear Called Paddington and so wanted to visit Paddington Train Station. Now as I prepare for my umpteenth trip to England, I have just finished reading Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. I so want to visit the London Below. I just need to find the Floating Market.


With over 2,000 years of glorious history under its belt, London’s influence on the English language, world literature and Western culture in general is impossible to overstate. From Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens to Lennon, McCartney and Jagger, enough legends have lived and worked here to fill a few dozen double-decker sightseeing buses.

HOW TO GET THERE

music-note-21 Abbey Road, The Beatles • book Bleak House, Charles Dickens • slate_film-512 Blow Up slate_film-512 A Clockwork Orange book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling • book High Fidelity, Nick Hornby • book The Importance of Being Ernest, Oscar Wilde • music-note-21 The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society, The Kinks • music-note-21 London Calling, The Clash • slate_film-512 Mary Poppins book Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf • slate_film-512 Notting Hill music-note-21 Quadrophenia, The Who • music-note-21 (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis • book White Teeth, Zadie Smith Continue reading

Books Can Take You Places: Nairobi

Already this year, we’ve taken a trip to 10 different cities and our journey around the world is far from over! Nairobi This month let’s explore all that Nairobi has to offer.

No longer just a hub for safari tourism, Kenya’s capital city boasts a vibrant cultural scene encompassing music, film, art and literature. While many of the best-known books set here were written by Europeans during times of British colonization, Kenya has a long storytelling tradition of its own. Today, important Kenyan authors are increasingly making their voices heard around the globe.

HOW TO GET THERE

music-note-21 Benga Blast!, Daniel Owino Misiani and Shirati Band • slate_film-512 Born Free book Coming to Birth, Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye • slate_film-512 The Constant Gardener book Dreams From My Father, Barack Obama • music-note-21 En Mana Kuoyo, Ayub Ogada • book The Flame Trees of Thika, Elspeth Huxley • book A Grain of Wheat, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o • music-note-21 Mama Africa, Suzzana Owiyo • slate_film-512 Nairobi Half Life book One Day I Will Write About This Place, Kenneth Binyavanga Wainaina • book Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen • book Unbowed, Wangari Maathai • music-note-21 Unbwogable, Gidi Gidi Maji Maji Continue reading

Hit Pause for VCR Day

National VCR Day is June 7th, so it’s time to pull out your favorite VHS tapes and binge. (What—you don’t have any VHS tapes? Well, I know where you can get some—lots of ‘em—cheap!)

The VHS format, alas, has been pushed aside by DVD, Blu-ray and streaming formats, but we still keep a supply of them at HPB. And we found out that one of our very own, Dallas District Trainer Ben Jousan, is an avid collector. He even appears in the wonderful documentary about VHS, Rewind This!, from 2013. We recently got Ben to do a little show & tell for us, walking through some of his collection’s highlights with the Buy Guy. Check it out. (And you don’t have to rewind!)

I’ve got a pack of microwave popcorn and my clamshell-case copy of Swiss Family Robinson and am ready to celebrate!

Steve is the”Buy Guy” at Half Price Books Corporate.

5 Sci-Fi Films to Show a Little More Love

May 25th, 1977: Star Wars premieres in theaters and takes the world by storm.

May 25th, 1979: Alien premieres in theaters and terrifies audiences senseless.

This makes May 25th just about the coolest day of the year in my book. I thought about writing something about both films for this Memorial Day weekend. But you know what? They get enough love.

Don’t get me wrong. Star Wars and Alien are great – they’re classics for a reason. But they both have their own celebration days now, for goodness’ sake. They’re good. So let’s instead talk about a few sci-fi films that could use a little love. These movies are all from the 70s and 80s. Keep in mind, these films are all products of their time. Some moments may not have aged gracefully – and I don’t just mean their special effects. Still, they’re a fun time capsule of who we were and what we thought the future might look like.

If you’re looking for something new or different to watch this Memorial Day weekend, give one of these movies a chance.

Silent Running (1972)

In the future, all plant life on Earth is dead. A few vestiges of vegetation still exist far away from Earth, in biodomes being hauled through our solar system by commercial freighters. When the powers that be decide that keeping these biodomes is an unprofitable frivolity, the freighters are recalled back into commercial service. A crewmember on one of these ships, played by Bruce Dern, fakes the destruction of his ship and sets off into deep space alone, with only the companionship of three robots, hoping to preserve the last forests known to mankind. Continue reading