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American Gods, Movie Magic, and Stark Revenge

This week’s CWIC PICKS (Clay’s Week In Culture) involve gods, magicians, and one the most epic medieval battle to ever appear on screen.

Hope everyone had a nice Father’s Day weekend. 

I spent the afternoon yesterday taking in Pixar’s titanic new film Finding Dory, which opened to a whopping $136 million in the U.S. and Canada, the largest opening ever for an animated film. Wonderful film, though I still think the original is better.

Interesting to see how various celebs enjoy being dads. Late Night host and Pittsburgh fan Seth Meyers enjoyed his first Father’s Day.

I'm crushing my first #fathersday as an honoree

A photo posted by @sethmeyers on

The first family also had a splendid day at Yosemite National Park, where they hiked and camped in a cabin in honor of the 100th anniversary of the creation of America’s National Park system. FLOTUS Michelle Obama posted a nice shot of the fam.

Happy Father's Day ❤️

A photo posted by First Lady Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on

The Obamas spent the previous day at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. You can see some other great candid moments of the president just being a sightseer through the lens of White House photographer Pete Souza.

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So what else has been good lately? I wrote about my upbringing in a hockey town in Little Lords on Streets of Coal. Fun memories of growing up Gen X and an awkward adolescent photo to boot.

Here are three other things grabbing my attention this week. It’s Clay’s Week In Culture. CWIC Picks.


Been wanting to read this classic from Neil Gaiman for a long time now. American Gods tells the story of Shadow, who encounters some mysterious characters along his journey.

The myths brought to America from other lands have given life to actual gods who look a lot like us. But there are new gods here as well as Gaiman explores the age of technology and information, for example. I’m listening to the audio version, a full cast performance made for the book’s 10th anniversary. Excellent stuff so far.

American Gods is being adapted for a series on Starz, premiering in 2017. Season 1 will have 10 episodes. Pretty impressive cast.


I’ve loved magic since I was a kid. I never missed a TV special and saw David Copperfield live three times. Stories of Houdini and movies such as The Prestige always entice me. So of course I was excited when Now You See Me came out in 2013.

Now You See Me 2 delivers exactly what I hoped for, a fun, exceedingly cool, popcorn romp with great effects, plot twists galore, and solid acting from a dynamic cast. Sure, the story isn’t perfect, but this ain’t Citizen Kane, although Orson Welles, huge fan of magic he was, would have enjoyed this franchise.

The absence of Isla Fisher is a bit disappointing, but what can you do? Director John M. Chu did a great job and appears poised to move to the next level. Good for him, especially since Hollywood so badly needs to improve it’s portrayal of people of Asian heritage.


It’s being called The Bastard Bowl, among other things. Last night’s episode 9 of GoT season 6 is one of the most epic entries in television history. From the dragons of Daenerys to the Sansa v. Ramsey showdown, the episode is masterful. The battle is, from my view, the best cinematic portrayal of medieval warfare ever done. And that calvary charge was real!

Question for you GoT fans: How will this season wrap up in next week’s big finale?


One final sad note. As I sat down to watch Finding Dory, the news broke that actor Anton Yelchin had died in a freak accident at his home. Not only am I a massive fan of the recent Star Trek movies guided by J.J. Abrams, in which Yelchin played Chekov, but he also played one of my favorite literary characters ever in Odd Thomas, created by Dean Koontz.

I first saw Yelchin as a kid in Hearts In Atlantis, holding his own opposite Anthony Hopkins. Yelchin seemed to be a likable guy, as winsome as his boyish onscreen presence. Sad to lose someone so young and with so many stories left to tell.

So those are my picks for the week.

What are you enjoying lately?

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By Clay Morgan

Clay Morgan is the author of Undead. Say hi on Twitter.