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The amazing life of John McCain - war hero, politician, presidential candidate, statesman - is the subject of a new HBO documentary, “John McCain: For Whom The Bell Tolls,” and it is very much worth your time.

McCain currently is battling brain cancer, and it seems to be a foregone conclusion that he is nearing the end of the road, though he has faced the end before and survived. But, remarkably, while McCain seems comfortable looking back, he seems anything but mournful; he hopes that he has done some good, feels that he has lived with honor, is willing to acknowledge his mistakes, and has strong feelings about the health of the nation and our politics.

McCain’s is the central voice of the documentary, but there are generous and heartfelt testimonials to his life and career from politicians as disparate as Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. As polarized as our politics may be, there seems to be a sense even among those who may disagree with him on issues that McCain’s priority has been fulfilling the American ideal and promise.

As good as the documentary is, it made me want to read McCain’s latest book, “The Restless Wave.” McCain’s “Faith of My Fathers” remains one of the best memoirs I’ve read, and I am looking forward to settling down with what McCain says almost certainly will be his last book.

In the documentary, the point is made that after a lifetime of teaching us how to live, McCain now is teaching us how to die. Not enough can be said of this extraordinary American.

Showtime, meanwhile, has an ambitious four-part documentary called “The Fourth Estate,” which is a behind the scenes look at how the New York Times covered the first year of the Trump administration. I’m sure that not everyone will like it, but I thought it largely was a warts-and-all look at a bunch of people who mostly want to get it right - not just in its political coverage, but also in its Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the sexual harassment and Me Too movement (at the same time as the Times had to deal with its own problems in this area).

If you’re willing to come to it without feeling that the Times is the devil incarnate, you may find it both instructive and illuminating. If you cannot do that, well, you wont want to watch it anyway.

Ah, Solo. The new film about Hans Solo’s early days has gotten a mixed critical reaction, but I have to admit that I liked it more than I expected. Written by old Star Wars hand Lawrence Kasdan and his son, Jonathan Kasdan, Solo fills in some narrative blanks, offers some fresh perspectives on an old legend, and even springs some plot surprises on audiences that have been steeped in this mythology since the late seventies.

Alden Ehrenreich is no Harrison Ford, but he grew on me as the movie went on; the truth is that he not only makes us realize how good Ford was, but how misguided it would be to reboot the Indiana Jones character with a new actor.

Donald Glover is terrific as Lando Calrissian, and Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Emilia Clarke are all terrific - better than the movie, if I’m being honest.

Solo isn’t close to being the best of the StarWars movies, but it is a lot better than The Phantom Menace.

I have a couple of wines to recommend to you this week - the 2016 Flor de Verano Albarino from Spain, which was wonderful with a spicy shrimp dish I made, and the 2017 Messanges Rose from France, which is made from Cabernet Franc, was perfect with a mushroom frittata I cooked last night.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

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