What We’re Watching: Born on the Fourth of July

Title: Born on the Fourth of July

Directed by Oliver Stone

Genre: War, Biopic, Available via DVD at Durham Tech Library

This movie was reviewed by Kyle Minton, Reference Librarian.

Why did you choose to watch this film?

I watched this the day before the 4th of July, primarily because of the holiday and I had not seen it before. It is notable for being part of Oliver Stone’s trilogy regarding the Vietnam War, which includes Platoon (1986) and Heaven and Earth (1993). The movie won Stone (who served in Vietnam as an Infantryman) his second Academy Award for Best Director and is based on a memoir written by Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, who is portrayed by Tom Cruise in the film. The film follows a dramatized depiction of Kovic’s journey through military recruitment, active deployment and the war injury that paralyzes him below his chest. The film’s climax follows Kovic’s depression regarding his injury and adjustment to civilian life as the war rages on, until Kovic finds new vigor in participating in anti-war demonstrations with other Vietnam War veterans.

In addition to the DVD, Durham Tech Library has an eBook of the memoir available for users.

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What We’re Watching: Summer of Soul

Title: Summer of Soul (…or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

Genre: Documentary film, available on Hulu

This movie was reviewed by Julie Humphrey, Durham Tech Library Director.

Why did you choose to watch this film?

I’ve missed live music and concerts so much during the pandemic. I relished the chance to watch some amazing live performances from incredible African American musicians from the 1960’s.

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What We’re Watching: Exterminate All the Brutes

Exterminate All The Brutes (HBO Original)
Available through Durham Tech’s Films on Demand database

Exterminate All the Brutes, Raoul Peck’s four-part documentary series, portrays the historic patterns of colonialist violence and genocide through powerful dramatizations. Peck includes pockets of deadpan comedy through his direct, sneering narration by having white western actors verbally deliver the thin historic justification for conquest directly to indigenous audiences. The result is a unique series of visual essays that trace this historic pattern of violence right up to the political tensions that characterize our present moment.

This documentary was watched by Kyle Minton, Reference Librarian for the Main Campus and Northern Durham Center. 

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What We’re Watching: Bridgerton! (and Romance Reading through Dogwood Digital)

bridgerton, on Netflix December 25, 2020

Title: Bridgerton, Season 1 (available streaming on Netflix)

Genre: Period drama; Romance; Regency Romance

This series was watched by Rachel Smith, Northern Durham Center Librarian. 

Set in 19th-century London, Bridgerton centers on the aristocratic Bridgerton family. The widow Violet, Dowager Viscountess Bridgerton is mother to eight children. As eldest daughter Daphne Bridgerton enters her first courting season with Queen Charlotte’s favor, she meets Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings and best friend of her eldest brother, Anthony. Despite being encouraged by his mentor, Lady Danbury, the Duke is determined not to ever get married and he plots with Daphne to secure his bachelordom and to secure her a suitable marriage.

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What You Could Be Watching: The Hayti Heritage Film Festival

The Hayti Heritage Film Festival, created in 1994 to create and celebrate a “Black film ecosystem in the South” and normally held in Durham at St. Joseph’s United AME Church, is mostly virtual this year. 

Hayti Heritage Film Festival-- The Hero's Journey: Call to Action, March 1-6, 2021

Now in its 27th year, the films are centered around the theme of “The Hero’s Journey,” and has a combination of films and panels, running from Monday, March 1 to Saturday, March 6. While most films will be screened online, there will be a few drive-in movies. 

Check out the schedule to purchase tickets or passes

The Hayti Heritage Foundation hosts events throughout the year, including walking tours of both Black Wall Street and the Hayti neighborhood (by appointment). For more information about historic Durham, including the Hayti neighborhood, keep reading. 

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What We’re Watching: All American [tv series]

Need a little more football in your life? 

All American

This show was watched by Rachel Smith, Northern Durham Center Librarian.

Title: All American (tv series; 2 seasons available streaming on Netflix and the CW)

Genre: Drama

The series opens when a rising high school football player from South Central Los Angeles is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High. The show details the wins, losses, and the struggles of two families. They are in the same city, but they’re from two different worlds— the poverty-stricken Crenshaw and the well-to-do Beverly Hills. Friends, Family, and Football reign supreme in this series. 

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What We’re Watching: The Forgotten Plague

Curious about previous infectious disease outbreaks as we live through this one? Are these times really unprecedented?

Check out the PBS American Experience documentary The Forgotten Plague: Tuberculosis in America,  available for free for all Durham Tech faculty, staff, and students and streaming through Films on Demand.

'The Forgotten Plague: Tuberculosis in America' PBS American Experience Documentary

This documentary is recommended by Durham Tech biology and microbiology instructor Dorothy Wood. 


What We’re Reading: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

 This book was read by Julie Humphrey, Library Director.

Title: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Author: Bryan Stevenson
Genre: nonfiction, memoir
Read Great Things 2020 Categories: A book about civic engagement; A book that has won an award, and A book suggested by a Durham Tech Librarian

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New books on screen this spring

Books on Screen
Image from UNC Charlotte Library 

There are several movies and TV shows coming out this spring based on books.  Several book adaptations have been released as TV series or films earlier this year as well. 

It can be really enjoyable to read the book and watch the show or movie.  So far, I’ve watched The Plot Against America, Killing Eve, and Normal People. I’m currently reading Just Mercy and then plan to watch the film. Little Fires Everywhere is in my book stack to read, and I want to watch the show as well.