What's making us happy: A guide to your weekend listening and viewing
This week, we remembered Harry Belafonte, looked at Apple Music's new attempt to bring Bach the classics, and got a preview of the upcoming Zelda game.
Here's what the NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
Broker episode of Hell Gate podcast
As a New Yorker, I feel like there are a lot of things that I'm just uninformed about, and one of those things is brokers and broker fees. I recently listened to an episode of the Hellgate podcast, and they basically interviewed a broker. You learn about the history of broker fees, and why they exist. Should they exist? Should they not exist? I feel like if you rent an apartment in New York, it's probably worth a listen. I feel like I don't do a good enough job educating myself on tenant rights and why things are the way they are. And the broker is really funny. She is sort of like someone I could see myself, like, meeting at a party not, you know, not the usual brokers I've dealt with.
- Priya Krishna
Bend It Like Beckham
I was going to talk about Bend It Like Beckham. I re-watched it, it's on Disney+, and it just made me so happy. It really took me back to being a teenager and wondering, like, would I ever get to do what I want to do? The movie just still works so well. The pacing is so good. The humor is so specific. You know what? I am not ashamed to say that Jonathan Rhys Meyers in this movie is an incredibly beautiful man, and I will take a love interest if he looks like that.
And I would also encourage people to watch the rest of [director] Gurinder Chadha's filmography, like we don't talk enough about her work. Also Mira Nair's work and how important they were in breaking boundaries for female directors, and female directors of color. Blinded by the Light is another film that Gurinder Chadha has made. ... it was sort of like the male version of Bend It Like Beckham. It was so good, but it totally disappeared, made very little impact. And it bummed me out because, again, it was hitting the pleasure center part of my brain.
- Roxana Hadadi
The Criterion Channel's 'Starring Michelle Yeoh' movie playlist
I think it's pretty obvious why it's bringing me joy, because obviously it's Michelle Yeoh kicking ass. I have recently watched the really goofy movie Yes, Madam, in which she has this, like, short '80s power lady haircut. And she plays a good cop who is paired up with a bad lady cop from Scotland Yard. And the two of them just kick so much butt across Hong Kong, it's really goofy. And then The Heroic Trio, which also features Maggie Cheung and Anita Mui. The three leads have to get together to fight an evil eunuch who lives underneath the city. And I should warn people listening that it can get pretty dark. But it's also just a genuine joy to watch Michelle Yeoh square up against and with Maggie Cheung and Anita Mui, these like icons of Hong Kong movies. I'd also be remiss not to mention Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which is, of course, a jewel.
- Mallory Yu
I've been re-watching Review, the great TV series that aired on Comedy Central. It was based off an Australian TV series, and this version stars Andy Daly as Forrest MacNeil, who is this, like overly enthusiastic and pretty dim critic who sets out to review basically all aspects of life. And basically the setup is, it's like a mockumentary style. He has a co-host named A.J. Gibbs, who's played by the delightful Meghan Stevenson, who manages to be both bubbly and deadpan as she announces Forrest's new prompts. And so viewers and I put "viewers" in quotes, because these are obviously actors, but they, you know, ask him to try out things. Like what is it like to get addicted to drugs, or sleep with a celebrity, or experience road rage? He will not not do something no matter what it is. As the show progresses, you have to kind of watch in order, because there's threads that move along. He gets divorced because one of the prompts is what is it like to get divorced? And then his ex-wife pops up from time to time and is really angry with him. It is so funny, and I think what I love is that it's a sort of very smart satire of Internet personalities who will do stupid things for likes and clicks. And it's also just an interesting commentary on white masculinity in so many different ways.
- Aisha Harris
More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter
by Linda Holmes
I really liked comedian Zach Zimmerman's new memoir, with the great title Is It Hot in Here (Or Am I Suffering for All Eternity for the Sins I Committed On Earth)? It's about a whole lot of things, and it's funny, and it's insightful.
I had a great time watching The Flop House cover Battlefield Earth in a stream of a recent live show. You can still get a ticket to watch the stream, which is an interesting example of a more "produced" live show video that doesn't just look like somebody stood in the back with a camera.
There has already been a Hulu take on the true-crime story of Candy Montgomery, who famously killed a friend of hers with an ax. Now, there's an HBO Max (I guess just MAX now?) version called Love & Death, starring Elizabeth Olsen. I'm not sure it's all that good, but I do think she has some fascinating moments, and if you watched Candy on Hulu, you might find the compare-and-contrast fascinating.
NPR's Tilda Wilson adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
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