Pop Culture Happy Hour

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Synopsis

Pop Culture Happy Hour is a lively chat about books, movies, music, television, comics and pretty much anything else that strikes a nerve, all in a weekly roundtable from NPR. Features "Monkey See" blogger Linda Holmes and an occasionally rowdy cast of characters. Join the club at NPR.org/pchh.

Episodes

  • The Last Duel And What's Making Us Happy

    15/10/2021 Duration: 26min

    It's been more than 20 years since Ben Affleck and Matt Damon wrote their Oscar-winning screenplay Good Will Hunting, but that changes with Ridley Scott's bloody epic The Last Duel. Co-written by Oscar nominee Nicole Holofcener, the film features performances by Damon, Affleck, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. Together, they play out a tale of anger, vengeance and the fine points of 14th century property ownership.

  • Squid Game

    14/10/2021 Duration: 30min

    The Korean drama Squid Game is a worldwide sensation. According to Netflix, it's topped their rankings in more than 90 countries. Written and directed by the filmmaker Hwang Dong-Hyuk, it's a violent and artful horror miniseries, a survival drama, and a commentary on debt and capitalism. With a plot that's both simple and ambitious, the series is fast-paced but character-driven, and unbelievably addictive to watch.

  • MAID

    13/10/2021 Duration: 18min

    Based on Stephanie Land's memoir, the Netflix series Maid stars Margaret Qualley as a single mom who must learn to survive on public assistance. While the series takes a hard look at the logistics of poverty, it's also a riveting personal story that will keep you guessing until the very end of its tenth episode.

  • Y: The Last Man

    12/10/2021 Duration: 21min

    The FX on Hulu drama Y: The Last Man is the latest in a long line of post-apocalyptic narratives of TV, but this one comes with a novel twist: A mysterious event wipes out every mammal on Earth with a Y chromosome, except for two: an aimless would-be escape artist named Yorick, and his companion monkey, Ampersand. In a world overrun by militias and fueled by paranoid conspiracy theories, a beleaguered government attempts to rebuild — and keep certain secrets from getting out.

  • Soul Train

    11/10/2021 Duration: 34min

    When Soul Train was first nationally syndicated in October of 1971, there was nothing else like it on TV. It became an iconic Black music and dance show — a party every weekend that anyone could join from their living room. In this episode of It's Been A Minute With Sam Sanders, we break down the lasting influence of Soul Train on our culture, with Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Little Devil in America.

  • No Time To Die And What's Making Us Happy

    08/10/2021 Duration: 23min

    No Time To Die is Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond. This time, he's dealing with the skeletons of his past while trying to build himself a future. That future may or may not include Léa Seydoux, who returns as Madeleine Swann — she's nursing a secret involving Rami Malek's Safin, who's a kind of classic Bond villain, factory-installed with a master plan, a secret headquarters and access to a terrible bioweapon. The film is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, and add newcomers Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas to join in on the action.

  • Venom: Let There Be Carnage

    07/10/2021 Duration: 14min

    Venom: Let There Be Carnage is not your standard superhero action flick. With more human-on-goo romance and symbiote-on-symbiote violence, the sequel to 2018's Venom already posted the biggest box-office opening weekend of the pandemic. Tom Hardy returns as reporter Eddie Brock and voices Venom, and he's joined by Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, Naomie Harris and Reid Scott in a film that makes up for lack of plot with plenty of action, passion and utter chaos.

  • The Guilty

    06/10/2021 Duration: 14min

    Director Antoine Fuqua is no stranger to compromised cops — he famously put Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke through their paces in Training Day. Now, he's back with The Guilty, a Netflix thriller that stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a suspended police officer temporarily assigned to 911 dispatch. A call comes in from a woman in terrible trouble, and for the rest of the film, we follow his efforts to rescue her without leaving his desk.

  • Beyoncé's Homecoming

    05/10/2021 Duration: 21min

    Two years ago, Beyoncé unleashed two major projects called Homecoming. On Netflix, a documentary captured the process of putting on headlining appearances at the Coachella Music Festival. She also surprise-released a double-length live album containing just some of the highlights from Beyoncé's Coachella performances. In this encore episode we're revisiting our conversation about Beyoncé's Homecoming.

  • Star Wars: Visions

    04/10/2021 Duration: 17min

    Star Wars: Visions is a new animated anthology series on Disney+ that brings together seven anime studios to tell nine stand-alone Star Wars stories. There's some recurring elements — Padawans and Masters, Lightsaber duels — but the choice to view the Star Wars universe through an anime lens isn't merely cosmetic. There's a wholly different sensibility at work in the animation, the imagery, and especially, the storytelling.

  • The Many Saints Of Newark And What's Making Us Happy

    01/10/2021 Duration: 25min

    If you've been waiting for more of Tony Sopranos's universe, you're in luck. The Many Saints Of Newark isn't a sequel but a prequel to the influential HBO series The Sopranos. Co-written by Sopranos creator David Chase, the film examines how the man we knew on television as mafia boss Tony Soprano was made from the kid and then the teenager we see here, portrayed by the late James Gandolfini's son, Michael.

  • The Sopranos

    30/09/2021 Duration: 25min

    The Sopranos changed television. The HBO series was centered on mobster Tony Soprano — a deeply flawed male antihero played by James Gandolfini. But the thing that really set The Sopranos apart was the fact that Tony was in therapy, a genius touch that granted viewers special access to his inner conflicts. Today, we're taking your questions about the influential series — and delving into how it ended.

  • Scenes From A Marriage

    29/09/2021 Duration: 18min

    The original Scenes From A Marriage was an influential 1973 Swedish miniseries written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Updated for a modern audience, HBO's remake is written and directed by Hagai Levi, who takes many elements from the original, while making some important shifts. In this version, the five-part limited series stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain in an intimate story about a dissolving relationship with a constantly shifting dynamic.

  • 2021 Tony Awards Recap

    27/09/2021 Duration: 18min

    The Tony Awards came back last night, after being gone for over two years. It was an unusual ceremony — a mix of performances and award presentations that aired on two different platforms. It was all a coordinated, tuneful effort to lure audiences back to Broadway. And, it was a big night for Moulin Rouge! and The Inheritance.

  • Isabel Allende and Sandra Cisneros

    27/09/2021 Duration: 28min

    Isabel Allende and Sandra Cisneros loom large over the literary landscape. In fact, their respective careers have a lot of parallels. They both published their first novels around the same time: Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits was published in 1982, and Sandra Cisneros published The House on Mango Street in 1983. Today, we're teaming up with our pals at the fantastic Alt.Latino podcast to bring you interviews with both writers.

  • Dear Evan Hansen And What's Making Us Happy

    24/09/2021 Duration: 26min

    The stage musical Dear Evan Hansen debuted on Broadway five years ago. It won six Tony Awards, including one for its star, Ben Platt. It's now a movie, and Platt, who's now 27, is back to play Evan, a deeply troubled high school student who tangles himself in a lie. There's still singing, there's still dancing, and there are still a lot of questions to struggle with in this story. Plus, we remember the work of filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles.

  • Lil Nas X's Montero

    23/09/2021 Duration: 26min

    In just two short years, Lil Nas X has proven he's much more than "Old Town Road." He's taken a successful novelty song and parlayed it into a budding and influential music career. He's come out as gay and arguably become pop's biggest out star. He's a master of performance art and marketing, and his eponymous debut studio album Montero easily became one of the year's most anticipated projects.

  • Everybody's Talking About Jamie

    22/09/2021 Duration: 14min

    Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a coming-out story with some familiar contours, but it doesn't have your typical splashy musical pedigree. Adapted from a successful West End production, the Amazon Prime film follows Jamie, a teenage boy in England, who's determined to become a drag queen. Max Harwood stars as Jamie, and he's met with barriers and supporters along the way, including Sharon Horgan to the great Richard E. Grant.

  • Three Great Fiction Audiobooks

    21/09/2021 Duration: 08min

    Curling up with a good book is a pleasure with which we're all familiar. But when you find just the right narrator to bring characters to life, a novel can be even better. The right voice, or the right cast of voices, has pleasures all its own, beyond the printed page. Today, we're bringing you three favorite fiction audiobook recommendations worth a listen.

  • 2021 Emmys Recap

    20/09/2021 Duration: 17min

    It was a really good night for three very popular TV shows, and a groundbreaking night for Netflix. Yes, it was time again for the Emmys, which saw Ted Lasso, Mare of Easttown, and The Crown win big. There were also a few real surprises, genuinely touching moments, and memorable speeches — some memorable for perhaps all the wrong reasons.

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