Summer makes for hard times for sports fans, with even soccer and the NBA’s C-listers starting to look attractive as the only distractions from Major League Baseball. The NBA Summer League’s Orlando season and World Cup semifinals are where it’s at for baseball-bored fans this week. There’s also a new, sci-fi tinged drama starring Halle Berry, and a bunch of cool new movies to check out at home.
Here are the 10 best reasons why this week won’t suck.
Watch Dogs: DLC
Along with Infamous: Second Son, Watch Dogs – a tale of a superhacker set loose upon Chicago — is the best open world game to come out in the first half of the year, and continues to up its replay value with downloadable add-ons. Three single-player missions have you taking out surveillance devices, raiding a businessman’s palatial estate and swiping a weapons package from gangsters. There are also new weapons, including a biometric rifle and auto-6 pistol, as well as character attribute bonuses. It’s $7 alone, and accessible with the $20 season pass.
NBA Summer League — Orlando
(All week, NBA TV)
If you’re into the college basketball scene, you’ll want to keep up with the NBA Summer League, where draftees and free agent signees scrap for their professional lives in AAU-style tournaments. This is frantic, enthusiastic basketball, which is more than you can say for the league’s laid-back, endless regular season. Check out NBA.com’s summer league site for schedules.
Yankees at Indians
(Monday, 7 p.m. EST ESPN)
A pair of teams with star-studded rosters have been hanging out at around .500 all year, which in this era of playoff expansion is good enough to be in the running for a wild card. Nick Swisher, who is raking for the Indians this year, gets a shot to show up his former team. This is also the latest stop on the Derek Jeter farewell tour will collect cheers and jeers at the Mistake by the Lake.
National Video Games Day
If you needed an excuse to call in sick and spend all day glued to Titanfall or Watch Dogs, here you go. By decree of President Mario, you are mandated to ignore all responsibilities and social commitments and spend some quality time with your controller.
The Raid 2 on Blu-ray/DVD
Back in 2011, The Raid: Redemption introduced mainstream moviegoers to the frenetic Indonesian action flick scene with its Die Hard-like tale of battles within a crime lord controlled-skyscraper. This sequel, which is a bit like The Departed, follows an undercover cop’s attempts to infiltrate an organized crime ring. The Blu-ray includes director Gareth Evans’ commentary, a making-of featurette and a filmmaker Q&A.
World Cup Semifinals
(Brazil v Germany: Tuesday 4:00 PM EST | ESPN)
(Argentina v Netherlands: Wednesday 4:00 PM EST | ESPN)
The tournament that started three weeks ago with 32 teams is down to its final four, and all the teams left are unbeaten. Europe takes on South America in both matchups. Freewheeling host Brazil takes on the suffocating German defense, while Argentina and the impossible great Leo Messi tries to light up the Netherlands’ defense. The winners play for the title, and in true, oddly foreign style, the losers must stick around to play a meaningless third-place game.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa .5 on Blu-ray/DVD
Johnny Knoxville turned a Jackass skit into an Oscar-nominated movie (seriously, it got a nod makeup), dressing up in old man makeup and toting around a kid (Jackson Nicoll) to put unsuspecting saps in awkward situations. This director’s cut rerelease crams 40 more minutes of uncomfortable, usually hilarious WTFness into the package. Blu-ray extras take a look at the evolution of the character and feature cast interviews.
Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 and II on Blu-ray/DVD
Danish director/troublemaker Lars von Trier unloads his disturbing visions of sexuality in this two-part mindbender, which stars Charlott Gainsbourg as a sex-addict who recounts her sultry tales of dalliances to a creep (Stellan Skarsgard) who jumped her in an alley. The Gainsbourg character is played in flashbacks by the comely Stacy Martin in part one, while Gainsbourg takes things into her own hands (and mouth) in part two. Featurettes examine the characters, filmmakers, and of course, the many, many sex scenes.
Extant Series Premier
(Wednesday, 9 p.m. EST, CBS)
Halle Berry tries her hand at the TV network drama thing, playing a space traveler who returns home to her family pregnant — hopefully with an alien baby, if this series has any chance of being awesome. Goran Visnjic of E.R. fame plays her eyebrows-raising husband. Steven Spielberg is executive producer, which doesn’t mean all that much, considering he’s executive producer of seemingly one out of every three shows and movies that exist.
National Pina Colada Day
Get your pina colada on Thursday night and you’ll finally be immune to accusations that you’re ordering a girly drink because you can’t handle your beer and liquor like a man. Nah, today you’ll be justified for mixing your rum with tropically delightful sugar mix. There’s still no excuse for your appletini obsession though.