It was HOT this week. And, at least where we are, the heat wave is continuing into the weekend. Whether you're planning on beating the heat in an air conditioned movie theater, at home watching TV, or on the beach with a great playlist, this week's Friday Five has you covered with all sorts of summer content recommendations.
Sure Sure - “This Must Be The Place”
Cover versions of all-time great songs can be tricky. Why would you listen to a “lesser” version of a classic track? While we tend to agree, we couldn’t stop listening to Sure Sure’s cover of “This Must Be The Place” this week, so it has to kick off our Friday Five. The Talking Heads’ hit is basically perfect, but there’s something about the cover that just feels right on a summer playlist. It takes one of the most recognizable instrumental hooks in rock history, and brings it into the present day, giving it a more chill, modern pop-rock feel. The Sure Sure version strips away some of the eccentricity that comes with David Byrne’s vocals, and the instrumentation feels right in line with genre hits of recent summers like “Sedona” and “California.” And yet, they still don’t lose the comforting, homey vibes of the original. While both are fantastic, if you’re only picking one to power you through a hot summer day, we’d go with the cover.
In The Heights
After some false starts, the first Big Event movie of the summer might finally be here. In the Heights, which hit theaters and HBO Max last week, checks off a lot of the boxes of a traditional summer blockbuster. It’s a film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway success, and it takes place over an incredibly hot summer week in Washington Heights. You can feel how stifling the heat is for the characters, which makes the movie theater air conditioning seem like an even bigger luxury! It’s fun, bright, and uplifting, with plenty of massive musical numbers and set pieces that really shine on a big screen. Even though it’s on HBO Max, we recommend seeing it in a theater if possible, because the huge sound system definitely makes a difference. Although fair warning, it is two-and-a-half hours long, so you might have to step out to stretch your legs. A lot of In The Heights feels like a giant block party, and as we head into this post-pandemic summer, it was exactly the thing we needed to kick things off.
Variety’s Actors on Actors
We always think it’s cool to hear actors and creators discuss how they bring different characters to life, but it is even cooler when the interview is conducted by another great performer. Variety’s Actors on Actors series is back, featuring the stars of the 2021 TV season interviewing one another about the most impressive characters and performances of the year. While all of the discussions are great, we were particularly excited to see a few former Friday Five entries get a well-deserved spotlight. Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) and Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision), two of the strongest comedy performers on television, break down how Sudeikis managed to turn a commercial into one of the most beloved characters on TV. Meanwhile, Hollywood legend and Hacks star Jean Smart gets to pick Bowen Yang’s brain about what it’s like to be on SNL. Other interviews feature stars like Chris Rock, Nicole Kidman, and Pedro Pascal, among a long list of huge Hollywood names. If you really feel like it, you can go down the rabbithole and check out past years’ interviews, too -- but we recommend at least checking out the 2021 TV series this weekend.
With Hacks and Mare of Easttown both ending (link to Friday Fives), we have spent some time trying to figure out what new shows to watch. But sometimes, it’s just best to go revisit a classic -- and luckily, with all the streaming services, it’s easier than ever. This last week we have been absolutely crushing a Party Down rewatch on Hulu, and it remains as incredible as ever. The show, originally on Starz, is one of the most famous “cancelled-too-soon” comedies, and it only got a two season run. It’s the show where Adam Scott got his big breakout role, and he’s surrounded by a loaded cast featuring Lizzy Caplan, Jane Lynch, Megan Mullaly, Kristen Bell, Ken Marino, Martin Starr, and many others! Each episode revolves around a different catered event, so it is super easy to jump between episodes - and it’s a fun way to kick off a summer hopefully filled with big parties and events. While we always like staying up to date with what is new, sometimes it’s fun to just go back to the classics.
Chameleon: High Rollers
For the first time ever, Friday Five is diving into the podcast arena! Season 2 of the dramatic true crime podcast Chameleon just released its first couple episodes this week, and the season is off to a great start already. We loved Season One of the podcast, which investigates stranger-than-fiction cases involving con artists, so we were really psyched for new episodes to drop. We highly recommend you go back and check out those older episodes, too, which focused on a legendary Hollywood grifter. Season Two heads to Las Vegas, investigating an incredibly tangled FBI case around money laundering and shady businessmen. There are affairs, conspiracies, stings -- all things that make for an incredibly exciting story. You can go listen to the first couple episodes now, and stay caught up with the wild story, or save them all for a long road trip. Either way, Chameleon: High Rollers is telling a story you won’t want to miss.