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Pop Culture Happy Hour
Get obsessed with us. Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more. Join arts journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson, and Aisha Harris - plus a rotating cast of guest pop culture aficionados. The Happy Hour team leaves room at the table for exploring a range of reactions and opinions on every bit of the pop universe. From lowbrow to highbrow to the stuff in between, they take it all with a shot of cheer.
June 14, 2021
'Sweet Tooth' Is A Weird And Wonderful Hybrid
The Netflix series Sweet Tooth is a strange mix. It's a dystopian tale of societal collapse in the wake of a deadly virus and the rise of human-animal hybrids. It's also a warm, humane, lushly shot fable of hope and humanity. Which is to say, it is itself a kind of strange hybrid — think The Road meets Paddington 2; The Walking Dead meets Pushing Daisies.
June 11, 2021
In The Heights And What's Making Us Happy
Before Hamilton made him a household name, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music and lyrics for the musical In The Heights. The Broadway production won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The film adaptation, directed by Jon M. Chu, stars Anthony Ramos as Usnavi. He hopes to return to the Dominican Republic, where he can live out the dream of his late parents. In fact, just about everyone in this story has big dreams and mountains to climb.
June 10, 2021
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The 2013 horror film The Conjuring made more than $300 million and spawned a blockbuster cinematic universe. The main Conjuring movies center on the heavily fictionalized accounts of two real-life demon-hunters, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who solve paranormal mysteries. In the new, third film in the series, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, our heroes try to figure out what compelled a young man to brutally kill his landlord.
June 9, 2021
Keeping Up With The Kardashians
After 20 seasons, multiple marriages, babies and scandals, Keeping Up With the Kardashians is finally coming to a close. The E! reality series is leaving behind quite a legacy (or wreckage) in its wake. It's the end of a reality-TV era, but whatever your tolerance for the brand, the Kardashians won't be disappearing from American culture any time soon.
June 8, 2021
The new Hulu movie Plan B is about best friends Sunny and Lupe (played by Kuhoo Verma and Victoria Moroles), who go on an emergency road trip. They're not on the run from criminals or some terrible misunderstanding. They're trying to get to a Planned Parenthood office to get a morning-after pill for Sunny. The girls have a long night of crazy adventures and heartfelt conversations. Directed by Natalie Morales, the film is a really good mix of silly and honest and unexpected.
June 7, 2021
Bo Burnham: Inside
Bo Burnham's new Netflix special Inside is not stand-up comedy. It's one-man isolation theater, shot in one enclosed space and bursting with musical performances and video sendups of genres from sad-dude acoustic guitar songs to '80s synth pop. Filmed over more than a year of pandemic disruption, it's whimsical, biting, empathetic and full of earworms.
June 3, 2021
On the HBO Max series Hacks, the great Jean Smart plays a legendary stand-up comic whose longtime Las Vegas residency is threatened by a casino owner looking for some fresh blood. Hannah Einbinder plays a promising young comedy writer who's fallen on hard times. Grudgingly, the two women start working together, arguing incessantly. But somewhere in among the barbs they're always trading, something like mutual respect begins to emerge.
June 2, 2021
When Pose burst onto the scene in 2018, there had never been anything quite like it before: Here was a scripted TV series on a major network centering trans and queer black and brown people, and the New York City ballroom culture they cultivated in the 1980s and '90s. Now, after three seasons, it's time to say goodbye to the beloved Pose family.
June 1, 2021
A Quiet Place Part II
told the story of a world overrun by monsters who kill anything that makes a sound. Starring Emily Blunt and the film's director John Krasinski, it was a blockbuster in 2018. Now, after a long delay, A Quiet Place Part II is finally hitting theaters, and picking up where the last movie left off.
May 31, 2021
Comedian Patti Harrison
Patti Harrison is known for bringing her absurd, caustic, yet charming comedy to supporting roles on shows like Search Party, Broad City and Shrill. But now she's in a starring role in the romantic comedy Together Together. In it, Harrison plays a young single woman who agrees to be a gestational surrogate for a single man in his 40s, played by Ed Helms. It's Been A Minute host Sam Sanders talks to Patti about what it was like to play a role different from everything she's done before, why Together Together is even billed as a rom-com, and the quandary of representation as a trans woman.
May 28, 2021
Cruella And What's Making Us Happy
One of the biggest, baddest and certainly most stylish of Disney villains is getting an origin story. In the new film Cruella, Emma Stone plays young Estella, an orphan on the streets of London in the 1970s. She's a thief with an eye for fashion, whose life fatefully intertwines with imperious fashion designer the Baroness, played with icy hauteur by Emma Thompson.
May 27, 2021
BTS And More: A Guide To K-Pop
Last year, the South Korean pop group BTS topped the U.S. charts with the blockbuster earworm "Dynamite." Now, they've got a new hit, called "Butter." But the story of K-pop extends well beyond BTS. And it goes back decades with a huge array of styles and sounds.
May 25, 2021
Master Of None
The Netflix show Master Of None has finally returned following a four-year hiatus. This time around the focus is on Lena Waithe's character Denise and her partner (played by Naomi Ackie) as they wrestle with their relationship and trying to conceive. Noticeably absent on screen for most of the season is Aziz Ansari's Dev, the central character of the first two seasons. The result is an installment that feels less like a narrative continuation of the series and more like a spin-off. But is this standalone season worth your time?
May 24, 2021
Olivia Rodrigo, Drivers License, And Sour
When this year began, Olivia Rodrigo hadn't even released a single as a recording artist. But by mid-January, she was setting streaming records and sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100. "Drivers License" was an instant sensation and one of this year's biggest songs. And now, Olivia Rodrigo has her first full-length album, called Sour.
May 21, 2021
Army Of The Dead
Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead is a zombie heist film that follows a team of mercenaries led by Dave Bautista. This rag-tag bunch faces wave after wave of zombies in an abandoned, cordoned-off Las Vegas as they attempt to steal millions of dollars from a casino swarming with the undead.
May 20, 2021
Mare Of Easttown
In the HBO series Mare of Easttown, Kate Winslet plays a detective in a small town just outside of Philadelphia. Her character Mare is conducting a murder investigation, and there's a missing girl who may or may not be connected to that case. Meanwhile, Mare's family is falling apart on the heels of a recent tragedy. Plus, there's the accents — we'll talk about the accents.