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Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour is a fun and freewheeling chat about the latest movies, television, books, and music.

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Downton Abbey And What's Making Us Happy

If you thought the end of the series Downton Abbey would be the end of the Crawley family's adventures, a new film has arrived to prove you wrong. The movie continues the story of this very wealthy group and their loyal staff. The large cast is reunited, from sharp-tongued dowagers to scheming butlers. And this time, the King and Queen are coming for a visit.
2019-09-20
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Hustlers

Anyone who's surprised at the big weekend the new film Hustlers had at the box office probably shouldn't be. Not only does it star popular women like Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu, with drop-ins from Cardi B and Lizzo, but it got very good reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival. What's not to like? Hustlers is based on the true story of a group of women who danced at a strip club together and later drugged and scammed some of their wealthy Wall Street customers. Directed by Lorene Scafaria, the film is already generating awards buzz for Jennifer Lopez.
2019-09-18
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The Goldfinch And What's Making Us Happy

Donna Tartt's 2013 book The Goldfinch won a Pulitzer Prize for its story of a boy whose mother dies in a bombing. It's an epic tale of grief, abandonment, friendship, drugs, and a stolen painting of a goldfinch. Now, The Goldfinch has been adapted into a movie starring Ansel Elgort, Oakes Fegley, Nicole Kidman, Luke Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, Finn Wolfhard and Sarah Paulsen.
2019-09-13
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Steven Universe: The Movie

The animated show Steven Universe has told the story of a human-alien hybrid boy and the race of alien women called Gems who've helped raise him on Earth. The show has told lighthearted stories of life in the fictional Beach City ? and headed to space for a more epic saga about a group of intergalactic leaders, a past rebellion, and a plot to destroy the world. Creator Rebecca Sugar has said that there will be more episodes, but for now, Steven Universe: The Movie has just premiered on the Cartoon Network.
2019-09-11
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It: Chapter Two And What's Making Us Happy

The 2017 movie It was a massive blockbuster, and became the highest-grossing R-rated horror film of all time. Adapting the Stephen King novel of the same name, it tells the story of seven misfit kids in the late 1980s, and a supernatural being that preys on children in a small town in Maine. The sequel revisits the kids 27 years later ? they're now played by the likes of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader.
2019-09-06
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The Movies Of 1999

Just about every week, we talk about what we're watching or reading or listening to right now. Today, we're doing something different. We're going back 20 years to talk about some of the movies of 1999, including Drop Dead Gorgeous, Office Space, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. We'll talk about what holds up, what looks really different, and what we miss the most.
2019-09-04
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Fall TV Preview

It's autumn again. And that means we're getting a wave of new television. So it's time for the annual fall TV preview. Whether you like superheros or detectives, broadcast or cable or streaming, we're here to share what we're excited to see.
2019-08-30
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The 2019 MTV VMAs

We just spent three hours watching the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, which are never really about awards so much as moments: big performances and the memes and soundbites we may or may not remember for years to come. This year's show brought lots of Taylor Swift, and Missy Elliott, not to mention Lizzo, Normani, Lil Nas X, Rosalía and more.
2019-08-27
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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and What's Making Us Happy

The gang takes a look at Amy Sherman-Palladino's award-winning comedy, starring Rachel Brosnahan as a '50s housewife-turned-comedian. And, as always, What's Making Us Happy this week. Guests: Writer Katie Presley and Weekend Edition Books Editor Barrie Hardymon. (This episode originally aired on January 19, 2018.)
2019-08-23
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Glow

The panel discusses Netflix's new wrestling comedy GLOW with NPR's Code Switch Kat Chow. (This episode originally aired on June 23, 2017.)
2019-08-21
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Where'd You Go, Bernadette And What's Making Us Happy

In Maria Semple's novel Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Bernadette Fox is a wife and mother who mysteriously vanishes from her ordinary life in the middle of a personal crisis. Her daughter is left to piece together what happened. The new film adaptation is directed by Richard Linklater and stars Cate Blanchett as Bernadette.
2019-08-16
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Succession

Of all the TV shows about monstrous rich people, the HBO series Succession might be one of the most cutting. It follows heartless media mega-mogul Logan Roy and his ruthless children as they try to outmaneuver each other. And while the family is awful, the show is great. And if you're not watching it, you're missing out on a lot of high-quality scheming.
2019-08-14
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Veronica Mars And What's Making Us Happy

Back in 2004, Veronica Mars was a high school student working for her private-eye father on the side. After three seasons on the air and a crowdfunded movie in 2014, Veronica is back. Now an adult and still a detective, Veronica tackles a fresh mystery in a set of new episodes available on Hulu. She still works with her father, she's still in love with reformed bad boy Logan Echolls, and she still has a one-liner for nearly every occasion.
2019-08-09
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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

The new film Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham. The two play their characters from the Fast & Furious franchise, spun off into a fresh adventure. They race a mechanically enhanced super soldier played by Idris Elba to recover a deadly virus before it can melt the entire population of the planet into a series of small puddles.
2019-08-07
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The Farewell And What's Making Us Happy

In The Farewell, Akwafina plays Billi, a young woman whose beloved grandmother back in China is diagnosed with lung cancer. The family decides not to tell the grandmother that she's got only months to live ? a decision that Billi strongly disagrees with. The Farewell was written and directed by Lulu Wang based on a piece she did on This American Life.
2019-08-02
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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood is writer-director Quentin Tarantino's ninth film. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a fading western actor named Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as his loyal stuntman Cliff Booth. It's set in the changing Hollywood of 1969, and in many ways, it's a breezy romp through studio backlots and makeup trailers ? but hanging over every frame is the threat of violence, in the form of a very real historical tragedy ? the brutal Manson family murders in the Hollywood Hills. It's glossy L.A. nostalgia laced with grisly violence ? it's peak Tarantino, but does it work?
2019-07-31
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Queer Eye

Queer Eye is back for a fourth season, so we figured it'd be interesting to review our first impressions of the series, back when it premiered last year. We talk about the show's broader mission statement, the new Fab Five, and how thoroughly the world has changed since the first iteration of the show went off the air. (This episode originally aired on February 21, 2018.)
2019-07-26
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Jeopardy!

Jeopardy! has been in the news a lot this year, both for James Holzhauer's historic championship run and for Alex Trebek's recent cancer diagnosis. But when we talked about the long-running game show last year, it was just an eternal juggernaut. (This episode originally aired July 11, 2018.)
2019-07-24
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The Lion King And What's Making Us Happy

For the last few years, Disney has been turning its beloved animated films into live-action revamps . But this revamp isn't live-action ? even though it looks like it is. The digital animation is ridiculously advanced, bringing Simba, Mufasa, Scar, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa to eerie, ultra-realistic life. The voice cast is full of ringers ? Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Oliver, Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, Donald Glover and Beyoncé. But do the changes they make to the story ? and the songs ? improve on the original?
2019-07-19
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We Go To The Opera

What has music, neon signs, classic cars, and Vegas gangsters in a dramatic story of love and death? Believe it or not, it's the Metropolitan Opera's production of Rigoletto, which we recently checked out in New York. Not only did we see the show, but we went backstage to see how they make the show happen.
2019-07-17
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Los Espookys And What's Making Us Happy

Los Espookys is a very odd HBO comedy series about a group of horror-loving friends who start up a business that provides scary experiences for their clients.The six-episode series, which is now four episodes into its run, is co-written by two of its stars ? comedians Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega. Its biggest-name co-star, Fred Armisen, also co-wrote the pilot.
2019-07-12
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Midsommar

In the film Midsommar, writer-director Ari Aster follows up his cult horror hit Hereditary with a film about a literal cult. Florence Pugh plays a young woman who tags along with her awful boyfriend and his pals to a remote Swedish village as they enact their bloody rituals. We discuss the sun-drenched Scandanavian creepiness.
2019-07-10
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Spider-Man: Far From Home

In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Tom Holland's Peter Parker deals with the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame by not dealing with it ? he takes a class trip to Europe, attempting to leave his great power, and his great responsibility, behind.
2019-07-05
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Songs Of Summer, 2019 Edition

It's our second annual songs of summer spectacular! Every year at NPR Music we debate which hits might be remembered as "the song of the summer" ? sometimes it's a frothy pop song, or a star-packed hip-hop banger, or simply a song that gets played on the radio over and over again until we're beaten into submission. This week we're bringing in a revolving cast of my colleagues from NPR Music, each of whom will play us one song ? one nominee to be the unofficial Song Of The Summer for 2019.
2019-07-02
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'Yesterday' Imagines A World Without The Beatles

In Yesterday, Himesh Patel plays Jack Malik, an English singer whose career is going nowhere. His parents don't understand him, but he's got the support of his friends ? especially Ellie, his manager, played by Lily James. One night, Jack gets hit by a bus at the precise moment of a worldwide power outage. When he wakes up, he learns that he's in a world where the Beatles never existed. So he starts playing their songs ? the world soon hears them for the first time, and Jack finds his entire life upended.
2019-06-28
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We Spoil Avengers: Endgame

When Avengers: Endgame came out in late April, it got good reviews and it did huge business. As with everything we talk about, we didn't want to spoil it for you, so some of its biggest developments went un-analyzed. But no more. We thought this one deserved a second look before we bid this chapter of the Marvel Universe farewell. So today, we're discussing and revealing with abandon.
2019-06-26
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Toy Story 4 And What's Making Us Happy

The Toy Story movies have been skittering around the closets of our hearts for almost 25 years. Anchored by Woody the sheriff, voiced by Tom Hanks, they're central to the story of Pixar. Now we're up to Toy Story 4. This time, Woody has to protect a homemade toy named Forky, voiced by Tony Hale. Forky may just be a spork with a face, but he's special to Bonnie, the little girl Woody lives with.
2019-06-21
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Big Little Lies Returns For Season 2

When Big Little Lies came to HBO, it boasted a cast full of stars: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz and Laura Dern. For season two, they upped their game by adding Meryl Streep. The end of season one solved a mystery the show had been circling, and season two is about the aftermath.
2019-06-19
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Late Night And What's Making Us Happy

In the movie Late Night, Mindy Kaling plays Molly Patel, a woman who gets her big break in the writers' room of late night host Katherine Newbury. Newbury, played by Emma Thompson, is on thin ice with the network and wants to add Molly as a way of diversifying her very white and very male writing staff. But once Molly gets there, she finds that being considered a diversity hire comes with challenges of its own. Late Night also features John Lithgow, Denis O'Hare, and Reid Scott.
2019-06-14
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Olivia Wilde Is Quizzed On Buffalo Wild Wings

A few weeks ago we talked about the wonderful new teen comedy Booksmart. the film is directed by Olivia Wilde, who is also an actress known for her roles on House, The O.C., and Tron: Legacy. In this bonus episode, you'll hear Wilde's recent appearance on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. She played 'Not My Job' where she was quizzed about Buffalo Wild Wings.
2019-06-12
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The 2019 Tony Awards

We are recapping this year's Tony Awards. James Corden was back as the host, and it was a big night for the musical Hadestown and the Irish play The Ferryman. The musicals Tootsie and Oklahoma! also picked up multiple awards.
2019-06-10
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You Should Watch Fleabag. Here's Why.

In 2016, Phoebe Waller-Bridge presented the world with Fleabag. She not only writes the show, but she stars in it too. She plays a young woman only referred to as Fleabag who is bruised by external and internal struggles. And in 2019, the show came back for a wonderful second and, we're told, final season.
2019-06-07
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Rocketman

Rocketman is a new biopic about queer rock icon Elton John. It is in many ways a typical rise-and-fall, dangers of fame kind of rock star biopic. But there is a difference: this is a full-on jukebox musical on film. And star Taron Egerton doesn't just lip-sync ? he actually sings.
2019-06-05
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Booksmart and What's Making Us Happy

In the new movie Booksmart, two young women about to graduate from high school spend one last night trying to catch up on everything they missed. Starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, it's the directing debut of actress Olivia Wilde. The cast also includes Jessica Williams, Billie Lourd, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow and many more. And we really, really like it.
2019-05-31
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Our Great Big Theater Roundup

We recently packed up and road-tripped to New York to check out some selections from the current Broadway theater season. We went to musicals and plays, revivals and new works, and we have a lot of thoughts.
2019-05-29
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Aladdin and What's Making Us Happy

Aladdin is the latest Disney live-action remake of an animated classic. The 1992 original starred Robin Williams as the genie, and this time it's Will Smith. The genie is still blue and there's still a mischievous monkey. But director Guy Ritchie has some ideas of his own, too.
2019-05-24
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Game Of Thrones

After eight seasons, 73 episodes, and way too many characters busting out the phrase "bend the knee" all the time, HBO's Game of Thrones has come to an end. And there's a lot to unpack.
2019-05-20
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John Wick: Chapter 3?Parabellum and What's Making Us Happy

Once upon a time, a man named John Wick retired from his successful career as an assassin. But then he returned to it. And across what's now a three-film series, he's been having a heck of a week ever since.
2019-05-17
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Pokémon Detective Pikachu

The Pokémon universe has brought the world television cartoons, trading cards, video games, plush toys, the mobile-game sensation Pokemon GO, and a string of animated movies. Now, the franchise makes the leap into live action with a big-budget summer blockbuster called Pokemon Detective Pikachu.
2019-05-15
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People We're Pulling For and What's Making Us Happy

Everyone needs inspiration. And we need it too. So from time to time, we pause just to single out some of the people whose work we're appreciating. People from whom we want more. We call this segment People We're Pulling For.
2019-05-10
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Long Shot: Charlize Theron And Seth Rogen Mix Romance And Politics

While summer is a time of spectacles and sequels, there is always time for love. The new romantic comedy Long Shot stars Charlize Theron as a beautiful and sophisticated presidential candidate and Seth Rogen as the grubby speechwriter with her on the campaign trail.
2019-05-08
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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and Comedies About Music

We revisit our 2016 discussion of the film Popstar. We The also look at back at other films that find humor in the foibles of musicians.
2019-05-03
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Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos in Pop Culture

Nothing fascinates the world like a meteoric rise. Except, of course, for a spectacular fall. The story of the Silicon Valley startup Theranos and its young founder Elizabeth Holmes has both. And the coverage it's received has been huge. There's the book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, the podcast The Dropout, and the HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. Today we look at three ways of telling the same story.
2019-05-01
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'Avengers: Endgame' and What's Making Us Happy

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought us Iron Man movies, Thor movies, Captain America movies, Avengers movies, and many other superhero franchises over the last decade, and they all feed into one epic that ties up many of the loose ends. Today we're talking the juggernaut to end all juggernauts, Avengers: Endgame.
2019-04-26
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Beyoncé's Homecoming

On Wednesday, Beyoncé released two major projects. On Netflix, a new documentary captures the process of putting on headlining appearances at last year's Coachella Music Festival. She also surprise-released a double-length live album that contains just some of the highlights from Beyoncé's two ambitious Coachella performances. Both projects are called Homecoming, and they help immortalize a huge stage show full of dancers and drum lines and impeccable choreography and songs that reach across Beyoncé's career.
2019-04-22
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Our Summer Movie Preview

It's time again for our summer movie preview. We'll take a shot at guessing hits and misses, and we'll tell you what we can't wait to see.
2019-04-19
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We Offer Some Pop Culture Advice

Today we open up the vault to finally bring you a segment we recorded back in 2016 with our pal Audie Cornish. You'll hear us live in Seattle offering advice on some classic pop culture problems.
2019-04-17
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The Twilight Zone and What's Making Us Happy

It's been 60 years since The Twilight Zone first aired, with the voice and eventually the face of its creator, Rod Serling. Now, CBS All Access has brought the anthology series back in a new incarnation. This time, the host is Jordan Peele. He is also an executive producer, and the big cast includes Adam Scott, Kumail Nanjiani, Steven Yeun, Chris O'Dowd, Tracy Morgan, Sanaa Lathan, and a whole lot more.
2019-04-12
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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

For the last four seasons, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has followed Rebecca Bunch as she pursued love, dreaded her mother, and tried to address her mental health. The show stars Rachel Bloom as Bunch, who created the show with Aline Brosh Mckenna. Now, it's all over, and we're going to talk about it.
2019-04-10
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Shazam! And What's Making Us Happy

"Shazam!" is what young Billy Batson says to morph into a big red superhero. It's also the name of the new movie about him. Starring Zachary Levi as the big lug in the suit, Shazam! makes for a lighter DC Comics movie.
2019-04-05
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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