Here at King Penguin, we usually like to cruise along on some chill vibes. However, that wasn't quite the case this week, as we leaned more towards heart-pounding, edge-of-our-seats action. Of course, we still found time for a laidback EP to lower our heart-rates, but the Friday Five this week is more of a thrill ride than usual. So dive in and check out the legends that made up Volume 70!
We Own This City
We start things off with yet another hugely anticipated show hitting HBO. David Simon and George Pelecanos are back in Baltimore with the brand new We Own This City, and we are really pumped. The duo masterminded one of our all-time favorite shows, The Wire, so this must-watch television for us. It’s based on a nonfiction book about Baltimore policing, so it’s sure to share a lot of DNA with The Wire - though this effort is only a six episode miniseries. It’s directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, who led the Oscar-nominated King Richard, so there’s plenty of talent working on this project beyond just Simon and Pelecanos. Jon Bernthal headlines the cast, and puts on a pretty mean Baltimore accent, at least for the trailer. While We Own This City has a lot to live up to, if it can be even half as good as its predecessor, it will go down as some of our favorite television of the year.
In the age of Marvel and Disney and IP blockbusters, there are a lot of genres of movies that “can’t get made anymore.” Seemingly, a viking revenge epic would be one of them. However, fresh off the Oscar-nominated The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers had other ideas. The Northman looks pretty wild, and definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. A shredded Alexander Skarsgard leads a truly star-studded cast featuring Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, and Anya Taylor-Joy, among others. This type of movie might not be for everyone, but you have to at least admire the creative swing (and financial risk) Eggers and the studio took to make the movie. It’s gritty and full of heart-pounding thrills, and there are some jaw-dropping action sequences in the trailer alone. We’ll recommend checking this one out in theaters, not only for the grand scale of the movie, but to support studios writing blank checks for artists to pursue their visions to the fullest.
Ja Morant Dunk
At some point, we’re going to have to make a Friday Five Hall of Fame, if only to be able to feature Ja Morant in even more content. The Memphis Grizzlies superstar once again provided a highlight worth sharing, and this time, it was in the playoffs. Morant put Malik Beasley on a poster, dunking from preposterously far away on the court. Not only did he shock the entire internet, but he sparked a massive comeback for his squad, too. We are running out of things to say about Morant, but we’ll say this: even if you don’t really like basketball, you should try and watch a Memphis game sometime. Morant regularly does things that no human being should be able to do, and he’s still only 22. That means he’s probably still getting better! We should always be grateful for the opportunity to watch a master at work, and at this point, it’s pretty fair to say Morant has mastered the in-game dunk. If we don’t get any more Ja highlights until next year, we’ll be OK, because we can just play this on loop. But we have to imagine there will be more to come in the next few weeks.
The Movement - No Worry
Alright, time for a breather from all the action. And we have the perfect EP for a little weekend relaxation. The Movement’s No Worry is 13 minutes of musical bliss, and it has “beach weekend” written all over it. The reggae/electronic beats all flow really nicely together, creating a lovely vibe that you’ll want to leave on repeat all day. And, as the title of the album would suggest, the lyrics are all about kicking back and letting your worries slip away. While the weather hasn’t quite warmed up everywhere yet, you might as well add No Worry into your rotation now. Even if it’s not summer, you can be in beach mode in your mind. Plus, you’ll want to have this queued up when beach weather finally does hit.
Better Call Saul Season 6
We already brought you one follow-up to an all-time great show, so why not one more? While We Own This City is more of a spiritual sequel to The Wire, Better Call Saul is an actual prequel to Breaking Bad, and it’s back with its sixth and final season. Whether or not you watched the original, it is worth checking out Better Call Saul (and obviously Breaking Bad, too). Bob Odenkirk is masterful as Jimmy McGill, AKA Saul Goodman, and it’s fascinating to watch his transformation into the iconic TV lawyer. But it’s not just Odenkirk. Rhea Seehorn, Michael Mando, and Jonathan Banks are all remarkable as well, leading a very balanced cast of old and new characters. Saul offers the same incredible writing as Breaking Bad, though with a bit less gratuitous violence – at least at first. Some people would even argue that Season 5 of Better Call Saul topped anything that the original show put out! However you slice it, Vince Gilligan has made another iconic show, and you should catch it while it’s still on. Behind on the show? The first five seasons (as well as all of Breaking Bad) are ready and waiting for a Netflix binge.