Read, Watch, Play: British Invasion, An Irish Icon, And The Rock

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paingain-1Photo: Courtesy of W.W. Norton; Paul McCartney; Paramount Pictures.
O, Labor Day. Ye of guilty Netflix binging, confronting awkward barbecuing situations, and finally tearing yourself away from the Internet to enjoy your last summer weekend before the September releases a deluge of stressful, NYFW-induced wrath. If there's one weekend where you need to really work your relaxation muscles (oxymoron? I don't care), this is it.

Read: Anything Seamus Heaney
The legendary Irish poet died at 74 on Friday, and while I can't say I've always been an avid reader of his, I'm well aware of his legacy and have read enough to know he's worth investing in a volume or two of his work. He's so often associated with the political turmoil that plagued Ireland during his lifetime, and rightly so, but I think that's a limited way of describing the true reach of his poems. When so much of the Irish poetry and prose known to the world at large is pre-20th century, he'll always stand out as a local voice with internationally appeal thanks to his challenging sense of rhythm and wry, imaginative syntax. Because I'm a translation nerd, I'm starting with his version of Beowulf, but The Government of the Tongue is also on my list.

Watch: Pain and Gain
Maybe you forgot about this faux-blockbuster, which pulled solid numbers at the box office but didn't receive nearly as much hype (both organic and advertising-induced) as Mark Wahlberg's subsequent release, 2 Gunz. Well, you're getting a second chance to do yourself a huge favor, as the DVD goes on sale this week. Please, please make time to watch it this weekend before it fades from memory. In a summer of overwhelmingly floppy, disappointing blockbusters — and this is coming from someone who genuinely finds Prometheus to be an excellently crafted film — this funny, campy, self-aware, and sometimes even poignant Michael Bay venture is somehow the one thing that will restore your faith in Hollywood. Oh, and did I mention The Rock? Because he is a genius, and really shines in this role, both figuratively and in the sense that his gigantic body is consistently slathered in various oils.

Play: "New"
I am a huge Paul McCartney fan. I don't know what the youths think, maybe that makes me weird or lame. But I will continue to enjoy every single minute of Ram, and I will also share my relative enthusiasm for his new track, erm, "New." It might not be groundbreaking but it's cheery and catchy and has some surprising moments. It will make you feel good. And that's what old friends are for, right?