Pop Culture Happy Hour

by NPR (podcasts@npr.org) · · · · 144 subscribers

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.

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If there's one thing we can tell you about 2021, it's that we didn't see it coming. And we might not see 2022 coming either, but we're going to try — by making some pop culture predictions for next year. And on top of that, we'll look at last year's …
Don't Look Up Dec. 28, 2021
The new Netflix film _Don't Look Up_ has a crazy Academy Awards pedigree. Writer-director Adam McKay won an Oscar for _The Big Short_ and the Oscar- studded cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as scientists who discover that a massive comet is hurtling toward Earth. The only problem: They …
Insecure Dec. 27, 2021
When _Insecure_ premiered on HBO in 2016, Issa Dee (played by the show's co- creator Issa Rae), her bestie Molly (played by Yvonne Orji) and the rest of their cohort were a bunch of millennials who were stuck in unhappy relationships and jobs, and didn't have a clue how to …
Licorice Pizza Dec. 23, 2021
_Licorice Pizza_ is a freewheeling slice of life story about an odd friendship/flirtation set in the San Fernando Valley. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film stars Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim (who play 15- and 25-year-olds, respectively) as they deliver waterbeds and embark on meandering adventures during …
When _The Matrix_ opened in 1999, it thrilled audiences with its strangely cerebral mix of stylized violence, existential crisis, and tight, black leather. The new movie _The Matrix: Resurrections_ continues the story. Directed by Lana Wachowski, the film takes us back inside the simulation that the machines are using to …
Being the Ricardos Dec. 21, 2021
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were _the_ TV power couple. In the new film _Being the Ricardos,_ we spend an eventful week with Lucy (played by Nicole Kidman) and Desi (played by Javier Bardem) as they try to get a show on the air. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, …
Nightmare Alley Dec. 20, 2021
_Nightmare Alley_ is a stylish neo-noir that's as seedy as its title sounds. The film is directed by Guillermo del Toro and is inspired by the book and 1947 movie adaptation of the same name. It stars Bradley Cooper as Stan, an ambitious 1940s drifter who joins a traveling carnival …
In _Spider-Man: No Way Home_ , we spend time with some familiar characters. The film stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Zendaya as MJ, and, this time, also brings in Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), plus an array of villains who'll already be familiar to fans of the franchise. But …
It's tradition here at _Pop Culture Happy Hour_ to look back on some of our favorite things from the last 12 months of television, movies and music. Today, we're revisiting the pop culture that thrilled us, moved us and kept us company in our best and worst moments.
Spotify Wrapped Dec. 15, 2021
Spotify Wrapped has become both an annual end-of-year event, and a viral sensation. In 2019 the service starting pairing its year-end listening data with eye-catching and extremely shareable graphics. But, when the algorithm curates so much of our listening experience... are we just creating a perpetual feedback loop?
Hawkeye Dec. 14, 2021
Marvel's latest TV entry is the series _Hawkeye_. Jeremy Renner reprises his role as the arrow-slinging Avenger, and the show gives us a glimpse of what the guy gets up to when he's not busy saving the universe. Here, he's just trying to enjoy New York at Christmastime with his …
It's A Wonderful Life Dec. 13, 2021
For many, _It's A Wonderful Life_ is the quintessential Christmas movie. George Bailey's story is filled with life lessons, the importance of community, and a little kid playing carols on the piano. While it wasn't a box office hit when it first debuted 75 years ago, _It's A Wonderful Life_ …
The classic musical _West Side Story_ has now been remounted and rethought in a new film directed by Steven Spielberg with a screenplay from Tony Kushner. The new film stars Rachel Zegler as Maria, Ansel Elgort as Tony, and Ariana DeBose as Anita. Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the …
The Beatles: Get Back Dec. 9, 2021
_The Beatles: Get Back_ captures the tumultuous process of writing and recording some of their best-known songs. Directed by Peter Jackson, the mammoth three-part docuseries shows the day-to-day boredom and grind and thrill of life in the studio — plus, lots of goofing around and never-before- seen footage of The …
Succession Dec. 8, 2021
Season 3 of HBO's _Succession_ had us all — yet again — asking ourselves that perennial question: Why do we love watching this show about terrible, horrible, no-good, and very bad people? We may still not know the answer, but it's been a wild ride with the Roy dynasty nonetheless. …
The Wheel of Time Dec. 7, 2021
Amazon Prime's _The Wheel of Time_ series is an adaptation of Robert Jordan's best-selling 14-volume fantasy epic of the same name. It's set in a high- fantasy world of magic and mystery, and it stars Rosamund Pike as Moiraine, a member of the Aes Sedai an elite organization of female …
2021 Best Books Dec. 6, 2021
NPR's Books We Love is back! Previously known as the Book Concierge, we have a whole new crop of great reads and today, we're highlighting a few NPR staff picks. Whether you want sci-fi or romances, books about politics or literary fiction, you can find exactly what you're looking for, …
The new Netflix film _The Power of the Dog_ stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons as a pair of brothers who run a cattle ranch in Montana in the 1920s. When one brother marries, and brings his new bride (Kirsten Dunst) and her teenage son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) back to live …
Tick Tick Boom Dec. 2, 2021
The Netflix movie _tick, tick...BOOM!_ is the story of composer Jonathan Larson and the musical he wrote a few years before he wrote _Rent_. The film marks the directorial debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda, and stars Andrew Garfield as Jonathan. It's set in 1990 and takes place over a few days …
Adele's 30 Dec. 1, 2021
Adele is one of the most successful artists of her generation. Her last two records combined sold more than 25 million copies and both won Album Of The Year at the Grammys. Now, the U.K. pop star has put out her fourth studio album _30,_ which finds Adele reflecting on …