We're already halfway through July, and as yet another summer rolls on by, we want to make sure you slow down a little and enjoy it. Once again, we've got a little bit of everything in the Friday Five, so that you don't miss any of the biggest hits of the summer. Whether you're looking for a music documentary, a new beach jam, or to catch up on maybe the biggest play of the NBA season, it's all there. So take a minute, slow down, and enjoy all that this summer has to offer!
Summer of Soul
Everyone knows all about Woodstock, but in that same summer of 1969, there was another massive music festival in New York that was lost to time. Until now. Summer of Soul, directed by Questlove, tells the story of the Harlem Cultural Festival using never-before-seen archival footage of the event, as well as short interviews with some of the attendees and performers. It is largely a concert film, and the performances are absolutely incredible. All-time greats like Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and Nina Simone highlight the loaded lineup of soul musicians that took the stage in Harlem. The footage is spectacular, especially considering that it has been sitting in a basement for the last 50 years. It’s pretty stunning that this story hasn’t been told before, but it still feels very relevant a half-century later, and the music obviously still holds up. While you can stream it on Hulu, we definitely recommend trying to see it in theaters, just to let the music wash over you.
While we’re talking about under-seen media, we’d also like to recommend that you check out Showtime’s Black Monday. The Don Cheadle-led comedy is about to wrap its 3rd season, and it definitely doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Cheadle crushes it in a starring role, but his supporting cast is also incredible, featuring Regina Hall, Paul Scheer, Yasher Ali, Andrew Rannells, and Casey Wilson - just to name a few. Black Monday’s first season explores the crazy world of drugs and finance leading up to a fictionalized version of the 1987 Stock Market collapse. The over-the-top, ridiculous comedy of the show pairs with real social commentary, taking a unique look at a world that’s become pretty prevalent as a television setting. The creators of the show also do a great job transforming the series from season-to-season, keeping the same story going but in fresh environments (and a new decade). A lot of the great R-rated comedy is moving from movies to television, and Black Monday is just another example of a show you should check out if you’re looking for a laugh this weekend.
Tai Verdes - “A-O-K”
Sometimes, you just want a song to tell you that everything is going to be alright. And, like the title suggests, the Tai Verdes jam “A-O-K” does just that. Our go-to song this week, Verdes’s track is super upbeat, with bright sounding instrumentals accompanied by incredibly positive lyrics. Aside from a peppy guitar part and a familiar-sounding summery beat, there are some cool auxiliary sounds that really take the track to the next level. There are whistles, stomps, claps, and vocal effects that all add to the light-hearted fun of the song. It’s a very entertaining song, and will fit right in on any sort of summer playlist, whether you need to get through the workday grind or enjoy a day in the sun.
Giannis's Game 4 Block
The NBA Finals are all tied up at 2-2, and as expected, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a huge reason why. But while his offense has been the major storyline of the first four games, it was his show-stopping block of a Deandre Ayton alley-oop that we want to talk about here. The Greek Freak broke the internet with probably the defensive play of the year, and one of the greatest blocks in NBA Finals history. As the clock ticked down at the end of the 4th quarter, it looked like Devin Booker had found Ayton for a game-tying dunk… until he didn’t. Giannis got back, swatted the shot, and changed the course of the series, and it’s pretty hard to describe how impressive of a feat it was. It’s a jaw-dropping display of athleticism, and we’ve just been watching it on loop since Wednesday night. We’ll let the play do the rest of the talking here, but one thing is for sure: If the Bucks come back to win this series, you’ll be seeing that play on highlight reels for a LONG time.
@Gebonions "Viva La Revolution"
We here at King Penguin are suckers for good 3D animation, and we wanted to highlight one video that caught our eye this week. This chess animation from @Gebonions is really cool, and while it looks very simple on the surface, all of the details are super impressive. Even just the way the pawn moves, rippling and wobbling as it goes along, is such an interesting transformation. The “action” is fun, taking simple chess moves and bringing them to life, and the take down of the rook is very reminiscent of the old Pixar intro. On top of the animation, in just a few short seconds, the video tells a classic underdog story, without needing any words or narration. It’s not always all about big budgets and massive effects - sometimes the simple stuff is the coolest.