This week was packed with fun, breezy, romping content that entertained and inspired us, and it all ended up in Volume 106. From our movies to our music, there was an electricity in the air to kick off 2023. The Friday Five this week also pays tribute to one of our favorite creators, and someone who has regularly inspired us over the last few years.
After the incredible success of 2019's Knives Out, Netflix backed up the Brinks truck for writer/director Rian Johnson to make more Benoit Blanc mystery films. The first sequel, Glass Onion, is proving that to be a wise decision. Glass Onion arrived on Netflix over the holidays, and quickly hit number 1 on the streaming site, and for good reason. Like the original, it's just a good old-fashioned romp, and a truly fun movie experience. Daniel Craig headlines as the hilariously brilliant detective Blanc, and a star-studded cast performs well around him. Janelle Monae, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., and Dave Bautista bring both humor and thrills to the movie, and that's just the main cast. There are cameos galore in this truly COVID-era mystery, from Ethan Hawke to Yo-Yo Ma, and just enough intrigue to keep you on the edge of your seat. Like White Lotus, it doesn't *entirely* matter how much you care about the mystery, either. It's just fun to watch a bunch of charismatic, funny, talented actors galavant around a beautiful setting. Sometimes that's all you need, especially from the comfort of your own couch.
On the other end of the "romp" spectrum is Damien Chazelle's Babylon. While this movie is a lot of fun, it isn't nearly as breezy as Glass Onion. It's a behemoth, clocking in at 3 hours, and there is a ton of booze, drugs, sex, and movie-making magic to fill the time. Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt headline a cast that, again, is just loaded with stars. Based on the log-line, trailer, and cast list, this movie was one of our most-anticipated heading into the end of last year. And while perhaps it's a bit bloated, it is something you have to go check out on the big screen while you can. Chazelle took an absolutely massive swing on this one, and has certainly come a long way from his meteoric rise after Whiplash. We love a movie about old school Hollywood, love Robbie and Pitt, and just love a spectacle. If you also check off any of those boxes, you should definitely head out to Babylon.
Zach Bryan - Revival (Live)
If you want to have a rowdy, rollicking time with your listening, too, we've got a track for you. The closer off of Zach Bryan's latest album, a live rendition of his song "Revival," is guaranteed to get your feet stomping at your desk. Really, the whole album All My Homies Hate Ticket Master is incredible, due in large part to the mythic Red Rocks setting. To make it even better, Bryan performed the show in the midst of a massive snowstorm. But if you're just going to add one song into your winter rotation, it should be revival. To put it simply, the song rips. There are huge solos, great string parts, and incredibly catchy lyrics that will have you quickly singing along. Plus, it's 11 minutes long, so you can really get into it. It'll make you feel like you're exploring the American West, whether you're cruising along in your car or relaxing on your couch. "Revival" is electric, and we recommend adding it to any and all playlists for the forseeable future.
Mark Cannataro Films
For fun on a slightly smaller scale, we highly recommend checking out video creator Mark Cannataro's Instagram page. Specifically, we were drawn to his behind-the-scenes video, detailing a project he did for the World Cup. The video itself, for Bleacher Report, basically brought the World Cup and Toy Story together, as all the major players were portrayed as action figures. Cannataro's BTS video brought the creator into the world, too, and explained how he created the whole scene. He showed how he modeled the action figures, customized the kits, and used a motion capture suit to pull off the action sequences. He also showed the creative thought process behind the Easter eggs in the video -- and some that didn't make it past the cutting room floor. We love how inventive the piece was, and are always huge fans of seeing the vision and work behind a creator's final product. While you're on Cannataro's page, we also suggest checking out his other work -- it's all pretty incredible. You can never have enough fun animation on your feed!
Ken Block Tribute
Unfortunately, we end this week's Friday Five on a sad note, but we'd be remiss if we didn't pay tribute to the late, great Ken Block. The legendary rally car driver and motorsports star, and founder of the Hoonigans, tragically passed this weekend. Block, and the Hoonigans, have made frequent appearances in the Friday Five, including in our 2022 wrap-up last week. The driver, who also founded DC Shoes and is simply one of the great all-time marketers in all of sports, brought us a lot of joy, and was really an inspiration for a lot of our creative endeavors. He pushed the boundaries, took risks, and had a vision that he pursued relentlessly. And those GYMKHANA videos kept us watching for hours. He was truly one of a kind, and definitely made a massive impact.