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Pop Culture Happy Hour

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Pop Culture Happy Hour is a fun and freewheeling chat about the latest movies, television, books, and music.
300 Episodes
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2020 Grammys Recap

2020 Grammys Recap

2020-01-2700:21:17

We've just gotten done watching the 62nd Grammy Awards. Billie Eilish swept the night's four biggest categories and won five Grammys overall. But two major news events cast shadows over the ceremony: the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and a scandal inside the Recording Academy which includes allegations of vote rigging and sexual misconduct.
Competitive cheerleading is on a pop culture roll. Netflix recently dropped the documentary series Cheer, about a highly successful Texas squad. And USA is midway through the series Dare Me. Based on Megan Abbott's book of the same name, Dare Me is a moody thriller about a charismatic cheer coach and the best friends who are at odds over her influence.
Ford V Ferrari

Ford V Ferrari

2020-01-2200:18:183

Cars that are going very fast have been cinema staples for decades. In the Oscar best picture nominee Ford v Ferrari, we find out a little about what it can take to make them go that fast. Starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, the film indeed tells the tale of an epic battle of Ford versus Ferrari in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966.
A gambler, a rock, a ring, and Kevin Garnett are the primary ingredients in Uncut Gems, a thriller directed by Josh and Benny Safdie. Adam Sandler stars as compulsive gambler Howard Ratner, and the film is so tense that calling it tense seems completely inadequate.
The L Word: Generation Q

The L Word: Generation Q

2020-01-1500:14:543

From 2004 to 2009, the Showtime TV drama The L Word examined the lives of a group of queer women in L.A. The show was uneven, but it also marked an important milestone for queer representation on television. Now, the series has a sequel called The L Word: Generation Q. It's moved to a different L.A. neighborhood, it's added a diverse cast of new young stars, and it catches us up on the lives of Bette, Alice, and Shane, among others.
The war epic 1917 startled a lot of awards watchers Sunday night when it won the Golden Globe for best dramatic film. That's in part because it's just now going into wide release. 1917 is directed by Sam Mendes and follows two young World War I soldiers who are sent on a dangerous mission to deliver a crucial message. And just to increase the level of difficulty a little, the whole movie is crafted to look like one continuous shot.
2020 Golden Globes Recap

2020 Golden Globes Recap

2020-01-0600:14:065

We've just gotten done watching the Golden Globes. In TV, Succession, Fleabag, and Chernobyl won multiple awards. As for the movies, big winners included 1917, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Awkwafina, and Taron Egerton. We saw big speeches, a few surprises, and lifetime achievement prizes for Ellen DeGeneres and Tom Hanks.
We Revisit Friends

We Revisit Friends

2020-01-0300:21:329

Created by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, Friends was little more than a bunch of pals who hung out, dated and broke up with each other and a variety of guest stars, and had unrealistically large apartments. But 25 years later, it's still popular in endless reruns and on Netflix.
It's New Year's Day, so it's time to make some resolutions for 2020. We'll talk about what we want to change, how we hope to improve our lives, and what we plan to do. We'll also check in on last year's resolutions just to keep ourselves honest. We'll also make some predictions for the new year, and we'll undertake the often painful job of seeing whether we got anything right 12 months ago when we did the same thing.
Greta Gerwig was nominated for an Oscar for directing 2017's Lady Bird. She's following it up with an adaptation of Little Women that features two of her Lady Bird stars, Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet. Ronan plays Jo, the free-spirited March sister. She's joined by Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep. Gerwig also wrote the script, which makes some changes to the story and the structure of Louisa May Alcott's book.
Cats

Cats

2019-12-2500:22:486

What has ears, tails, Andrew Lloyd Webber music, and the Idris Elba/Taylor Swift duet you've been waiting for all your life? That's right, it's Cats, the new film adaptation of the musical that became a surprise smash in the 1980's. The movie directed by Tom Hooper, who also made the Les Miserables adaptation that won Anne Hathaway an Oscar. Cats wrestles with how to present a variety of cat characters, dance numbers, and even a drug-induced catnap.
It's time to say goodbye to a story that began in 1977 with a movie then known as Star Wars. Nine films later, this branch of the saga concludes with Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. In this chapter, director J.J. Abrams attempts the almost impossible by trying to bring all this in for a landing. Scavenger Rey, her friends Finn and Poe, and the mysterious Kylo Ren are all back for one last lap, and so are brief glimpses of many faces from movies past.
Our 15 Favorite Things Of 2019

Our 15 Favorite Things Of 2019

2019-12-1800:31:4213

We loved a lot of things in 2019. And now, as the year comes to a close, it's time to give you just a taste of some of our favorite things of the year. We've got movies, music, television, and theater. (Support your local station at donate.npr.org/happy)
The Mandalorian is the highest profile and most expensive original series to debut on the Disney+ streaming service. Set in the Star Wars universe soon after the fall of the Galactic Empire, it follows a be-helmeted, be-armored bounty hunter played by Pedro Pascal. He goes rogue to protect the most memeable thing to hit the Star Wars universe since Han shot first.
Marriage Story

Marriage Story

2019-12-1100:16:565

What's the opposite of a love story? It might be the new Noah Baumbach film Marriage Story, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple we meet when they're just starting their divorce. For the next two hours, we watch them argue and negotiate over how to separate and how to co-parent their young son. Marriage Story also stars Laura Dern and Ray Liotta as aggressive divorce lawyers and Alan Alda as a gentler hand who tries to give less combative representation. Baumbach both wrote and directed the film, which is now streaming on Netflix. And the film recently picked up six Golden Globe nominations.
The movies and the mob have made a winning combination for decades. The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Departed — and that's on top of television projects like The Sopranos. Now, Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese brings you The Irishman, and he's put together quite a cast. Robert DeNiro plays a hit man, Joe Pesci is his boss, Al Pacino is Jimmy Hoffa, and that's before you even get to Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano and others. In a sign of some of the changes shaking up the industry, The Irishman comes to you via Netflix, and is available to stream now. (Donate to a local station at donate.npr.org/happy)
The Morning Show

The Morning Show

2019-12-0400:18:082

Apple TV Plus launched a few weeks ago, and its highest profile series was unquestionably The Morning Show. Apple spent a massive amount of money on it and landed a cast that includes Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. It's the story of a morning news show that winds up in turmoil after the male anchor is fired following allegations of sexual misconduct. Aniston plays the female anchor left to pick up the pieces with a new partner, and Witherspoon is the local reporter who unexpectedly gets hired by the show after she goes on a rant while she's working at her previous job and the video goes viral.
Who can possibly play Fred Rogers? That's a question that the new film A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood tries to answer with a performance from Tom Hanks as the beloved TV host. In the movie a journalist played by Matthew Rhys has a transformative experience with Rogers that reshapes his relationship with his troubled father. A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood is directed by Marielle Heller, who most recently made the Melissa McCarthy film Can You Ever Forgive Me? It uses unconventional techniques to place the journalist's story within Rogers' land of make believe.
Knives Out

Knives Out

2019-11-2700:14:224

Whodunit? Was it Jamie Lee Curtis? Chris Evans? Michael Shannon? Don Johnson? Toni Collette? This is the question at the center of the marvelous new comedy Knives Out. The film is directed and written by Rian Johnson, of films like Looper and Brick as well as Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The stellar cast goes on and on to include Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, LaKeith Stanfield, and, playing the man in the whodunit to whom it was done, Christopher Plummer.
1.3 billion dollars will buy a lot of ice. That's how much Frozen made after its release in 2013. The film also gave Disney princess fans two new favorites in sisters Anna and Elsa, and it made a star of Olaf the talking snowman. Now the band is back together for Frozen 2, which finds Anna and Elsa on yet another adventure.
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Comments (45)

Presantha Pillay

I am a mum and I was freaked out by breast milk. Most people don't fall off to sleep in each others arms ...as it is an intimate act regardless of sexual orientation...its a comedy...that's why people loved Friends...its honest. People are not perfect.

Jan 9th
Reply

Gene Kang

it's not horror so she doesn't like it. wtf??? you're a film critic? yeah I stopped listening.

Oct 29th
Reply (1)

Darian Brown

Nope.

Oct 11th
Reply

Joshua Woods

Matt Damon in Talented Mr.Ripley was so creepy and excellent. loved his performance.

Sep 19th
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Oscar Munoz

Great Episode!

Sep 5th
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Karen Harkness

I love this show! Thanks for your review. Based on what was said I gave it a try.

May 19th
Reply

Angela Howard-Gibbs

Octavia Spencer in MA can't wait to see female African-American lead a Horror Flick!

May 4th
Reply

Presantha Pillay

I hated unicorn star... The character was so self absorbed and spoilt.

Apr 9th
Reply

Thomas Albert

With the entire panel serenading the show RUSSIAN DOLL, some even saying they'd re-watched episodes, I approached with enthusiasm. Alas, the best thing about it IS Natasha Lyonne who does nice things but does not really add much further dimension or surprise to a familiar character. The "Groundhog Day" conceit is there to add some spice from a "making a show" perspective, but didn't add much to me. Here is another case of fair to middling television spiced-up with cuss language and adult situations/talk. I lasted halfway thru the 2nd episode.

Mar 5th
Reply

Ilya Zverev

This movie is captivating and I was very happy the hosts shared this feeling.

Feb 25th
Reply

Bill Thiemann

One thing I really appreciated was that they did not have the presenters engage in the usual lame banter and jokes. Also for many of the awards there was a short video clip saying the names and details about the nominees. It seems as if they correctly decided to minimize the duties of the presenters- and that made to show much more watchable.

Feb 12th
Reply

Presantha Pillay

Kasey Musgrave has such a weak voice.

Feb 11th
Reply

musicworm

OMG I almost exited out at the end and missed the song! 😂

Feb 4th
Reply

Presantha Pillay

Can't we just enjoy the movie.... I loved it!

Feb 1st
Reply

Presantha Pillay

Brooklyn nine nine... Is overrated

Jan 23rd
Reply

Samantha Greenman

mac rŕ get1b

Jan 21st
Reply

Cedric Zhang

a!aq

Jan 15th
Reply

Cedric Zhang

w?$

Jan 15th
Reply

Mario Moorhead

I love the podcast but I must say I was very disappointed because there was no acknowledgement of how much of the original book was omitted and of course the fact that the ending was changed ?!

Jan 11th
Reply

nashu79

great review

Jan 8th
Reply
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