Show cover of Pop Culture Happy Hour

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.Make your happy hour even happier with Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus! Your subscription supports the podcast and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at plus.npr.org/happyhour

Tracks

Sort Of
The HBO Max series Sort Of follows Sabi, played by Bilal Baig, a gender-fluid millennial in Toronto trying to figure their life out. They're the child of Pakistani parents, they've got a loser boyfriend, they work at a queer bookstore/bar and they're a nanny to a troubled professional couple with a couple of troubled kids. It's a slyly innovative show that makes for a great Saturday afternoon binge. The series recently returned for a second season, so we thought it would be a good time to revisit our conversation about the first season.
19:49 05/12/22
The Fabelmans and What's Making Us Happy
The Fabelmans is Steven Spielberg's semi-autobiographical and deeply personal film about a Jewish American boy who dreams of making movies. Growing up he learns to tell stories through his 8mm camera while life-altering events within his family's household significantly affect how he views the world. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Judd Hirsch.
30:06 02/12/22
Strange World
In Disney's new animated adventure Strange World, a family gets lost in a mysterious land underground. It's a story about discovery and intergenerational conflict — with a cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, Jaboukie Young-White, and Dennis Quaid.
14:53 01/12/22
Disenchanted
The Disney Plus movie Disenchanted brings back Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden in the continuing story of a cartoon princess making a life in the real world. A follow-up to 2007's Enchanted, it has more songs, gags and conflicts between fairytale life and reality that animated, so to speak, the original.
15:53 30/11/22
Bones and All
Luca Guadagnino's weirdly beautiful romance Bones and All is a familiar road trip tale of young, angsty lovers drifting from state to state against the backdrop of breathtaking wide-open vistas. But the kicker is that the couple, played by Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell, are — wait for it — cannibals. And they're on the lookout for their next feeding. Subscribe to Pop Culture Happy Hour Plus at plus.npr.org/happyhour
15:47 29/11/22
Wednesday
The Netflix series Wednesday breaks the beloved Addams Family character Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) out of her home environment and into the gloomy, gothy Nevermore Academy. It's the alma mater of parents Gomez (Luis Guzmán) and Morticia Addams (Catherine Zeta-Jones). As Wednesday navigates her new environment she's drawn into the investigation of a series of grisly murders. The show was created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville) with Tim Burton directing half of the episodes
14:38 28/11/22
Ricki Lake
The Pop Culture Happy Hour team is off today, so we're bringing you an excerpt of the podcast Raised By Ricki. If you were a fan of Ricki Lake's talk show back in the '90s, this is the podcast for you. Ricki is back, and each week she's breaking down all the historic moments from her hit talk show with her co-host Kalen Allen. Part re-watch podcast, part cultural retrospective, Raised by Ricki features conversations with John Waters, Andy Cohen, Sally Jessy Raphael, and many more. In this excerpt, Ricki sits down with writer and podcast host Tracy Clayton. Tracy watched Ricki Lake every day after school, and talks about what makes the show so unforgettable, the importance of seeing Black representation on-screen, and how Ricki influenced her own career in media.
33:39 25/11/22
Latinos in Hollywood
The Pop Culture Happy Hour team is off today, so we're bringing you a story from Mandalit del Barco's radio series about Latinos in Hollywood. Latinos have been a part of Hollywood since the days of silent movies, but they continue to be underrepresented in front of and behind the camera. For example, there aren't many Latina actresses in leading movie roles-- fewer than two percent, according to USC's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. And those who do make it also multitask as directors, producers, and activists.
08:05 24/11/22
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery And What's Making Us Happy
What has a murder mystery, a big cast of stars, some amazing fashion, and the deep blue waters of Greece? The eagerly awaited Glass Onion, the follow-up to the 2019 Oscar-nominated comedy Knives Out. Daniel Craig returns as brilliant detective Benoit Blanc and this time, he's trying to solve a murder that involves a tech billionaire and his glamorous but sketchy friends.
21:07 23/11/22
2022 Christmas Movie Guide
It's that time of year again, when many cable outlets and streaming services put on their holiday best. That's right, it's holiday movie season, and we're diving in. From the splashy musical Spirited featuring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds to a big comeback for Lindsay Lohan, we're dipping a toe in some of the highest-profile movies of this season.
16:30 22/11/22
Songs For Cleaning The Bathroom
Maybe you've got guests coming over for the holidays. Maybe an onslaught of news has kept you glued to the couch or hiding under your covers. Either way, you need to clean the bathroom, and you need a playlist. In this encore episode, we're recommending three songs for cleaning the bathroom.
05:59 21/11/22
Screening Ourselves: The Color Purple
In the final chapter of our special documentary series Screening Ourselves, host Aisha Harris recounts the debates ignited by Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple. The 1985 film is remembered as a fan-favorite centering Black women's lives, but the acclaimed adaptation of Alice Walker's novel was received quite differently among female viewers and male viewers.
46:33 20/11/22
She Said and What's Making Us Happy
The film She Said is about the New York Times investigation of movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Zoe Kazan plays Jodi Kantor and Carey Mulligan plays Megan Twohey. Their reporting on Weinstein's sexual misconduct and assault allegations contributed greatly to the #MeToo movement, and helped lead to criminal charges that sent Weinstein to prison. The film was directed by Maria Schrader and written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz and is in theaters now.
29:54 18/11/22
Yellowstone
Even if you don't watch the TV show Yellowstone, there's a good chance you know people who do. The very popular western is entering its fifth season, it's already got multiple spin-offs planned, and it's not slowing down. Kevin Costner plays the patriarch of the Dutton family, and their story and sprawling ranch is one of television's biggest current success stories.
24:15 17/11/22
Atlanta
When the FX series Atlanta arrived six years ago, it was unlike anything else on TV. It depicted its namesake city as a surreal landscape rich with offbeat characters. And it turned its creator and star Donald Glover from a niche comedic actor and rapper into an A-list Hollywood auteur. Atlanta recently concluded its fourth and final season, and it remained dark and weird until the very end. But did it go out on top?
25:27 16/11/22
The Crown
In the latest season of Netflix's The Crown, a new cast steps into the roles of Queen Elizabeth II and her family just in time for the 1990s – and a series of scandals growing out of the bitter separation and divorce of Prince Charles (Dominic West) and Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki). The world around the royal family undergoes sweeping changes while Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton) strives, in her own stolid way, to hold on to privacy, tradition, and duty.
20:25 15/11/22
Mood
The excellent BBC America/AMC+ drama series Mood considers how one young woman, at one of her most difficult moments, finds herself making choices she assumed she never would. Its writer and star is Nicôle Lecky, and the show is about sex work, social media and the way economic reality can make following your true passions very challenging.
16:08 14/11/22
Screening Ourselves: Basic Instinct
In the second chapter of our special documentary series, Screening Ourselves, host Aisha Harris revisits the politics and legacy of Basic Instinct. Paul Verhoeven's 1992 thriller is a sexy and violent cult classic. But the film was also a problematic mainstream portrayal of queer women at a time of great political crisis for LGBTQ politics and representation.
45:07 13/11/22
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever And What's Making Us Happy
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the sequel to 2018's Black Panther, which starred the late Chadwick Boseman. This film begins with T'Challa's death and allows its characters time to grieve him, including his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) and his mother Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett). But a new threat rises out of the waters in the form of Prince Namor (Tenoch Huerta). The film is directed by Ryan Coogler.
25:21 11/11/22
Love Is Blind
The reality dating show Love Is Blind is built around a simple premise: Couples date without meeting face to face, fall in love with each other's personalities, and don't meet in person until after they've gotten engaged. Viewers are bound to have strong opinions on the couples. The Netflix show just wrapped its third season, and we're going to unpack what happened.
19:03 10/11/22
Andor
The new Disney Plus series Andor tells the story of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), the rebel captain who stole the plans for the Death Star in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This series takes place years before that, and traces Andor's evolution from an apolitical scoundrel to a rebel hero dedicated to the cause of freedom. The series was created by Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter behind Rogue One.
20:51 09/11/22
Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman was a gifted actor who was probably best known for his role as T'Challa in Black Panther and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We'll be talking about the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever later this week, but today we're revisiting our episode looking back at some of Chadwick Boseman's essential performances.
18:16 08/11/22
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
You should expect to learn nothing about the life of "Weird Al" Yankovic from the new film Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. That's because in keeping with his history of parody and comedy and sendups, the film, starring Daniel Radcliffe, is itself a sendup of biopics. From unsupportive parents who hate the accordion to a scandalous affair with Madonna, the movie is an avalanche of fictions mixed with the occasional dash of truth.
16:19 07/11/22
Screening Ourselves: The Godfather
Today we debut Screening Ourselves, a new documentary series hosted by Aisha Harris. The Godfather is considered an American film classic with an enduring legacy that still shows up in TV, hip hop, and even Muppet culture. But the film also sparked a complicated relationship with the real-life Italian-American community about how they were seen and screened. In this episode, Aisha looks into the politics and the legacy of representation in Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather saga.
43:30 06/11/22
The Banshees Of Inisherin And What's Making Us Happy
In The Banshees Of Inisherin, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play two longtime drinking buddies who face a crisis when one of them decides he really doesn't want to be friends anymore. Set on a fictional island off the coast of Ireland, the film was written and directed by Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and is in theaters now.
19:40 04/11/22
Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities
The Netflix anthology Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities looks at horror storytelling from many angles. Its eight installments come from different directors, and it includes both new stories and adaptations of tales from writers like H.P. Lovecraft. The mix of the tragic, the comic, the just plain scary, and the gross will serve a lot of different horror appetites.
20:23 03/11/22
Interview with the Vampire
If you're familiar with Interview with the Vampire — because you read the Anne Rice novel or you saw the 1994 movie — the new AMC series has some surprises in store. The story still revolves around a young man named Louis, his handsome vampire lover Lestat and Claudia, the creepy vampire child they adopt. But it's funnier, sexier and queerer than you remember. Most importantly, this Louis isn't a white plantation owner — he's an ambitious and closeted Black man.
15:55 02/11/22
Till
When 14-year-old Emmett Till was murdered by two white men in 1955, his mother Mamie Till-Mobley became a voice of the civil rights movement. And now, the events surrounding his death have been dramatized in the new movie Till. Danielle Deadwyler's performance as Mamie is the focal point and standout, as she taps into the depths of a mother's grief.
17:16 01/11/22
Movies For Scaredy Cats
It's Halloween, and maybe you're into the idea of horror movies, but you aren't looking to be grossed out by gore or freaked out by jump scares. If that's the case then this is the episode for you. In this encore episode, we're revisiting a conversation about three great horror movies for scaredy cats.
09:46 31/10/22
Wendell & Wild And What's Making Us Happy
Director and animator Henry Selick, best-known for films like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, has teamed up with co-writer Jordan Peele for Wendell & Wild, a new stop-motion animated movie from Netflix. Peele also stars in the film, reuniting with Keegan-Michael Key as a pair of demon brothers who escape the underworld with the help of Kat, a teenager with a tragic past.
26:05 28/10/22