We know it can be hard to stay focused and creative during the summer, but hopefully you can find something to inspire you in Volume 80. And if not, you'll at least have a lot of laughs to help you procrastinate! Enjoy the comedies, jams, and designs of this week's Friday Five.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Summer blockbuster season keeps on rolling along, as this week marks the release of Thor: Love and Thunder. While we aren't generally the biggest fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Taika Waititi-led Thor films are an exception to the rule. The director managed to bring his own comedic voice and spirit into Thor: Ragnarok, which led to (in our eyes) probably the most enjoyable entry in the MCU. If the trailer to Love and Thunder is any indication, Waititi was up to his usual tricks in this follow up. Chris Hemsworth reinvented the Thor character with the help of the writer-director, and brings some real comedic chops to the big screen. Alongside fellow cast-members Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman, and Waititi himself, there shouldn't be any shortage of laughs. On top of all that, Christian Bale returns to the world of superheroes, this time to play the villain Gorr the God Butcher. We are huge fans of pretty much everything Waititi touches, from What We Do In The Shadows to Reservation Dogs, and hopefully he keeps his hot streak rolling with Love And Thunder. Beyond enjoying his comedy, though, we really appreciate someone sticking to their guns creatively, and letting their voice shine through the corporate machinery. And ff nothing else, we're guaranteed a great new soundtrack coming out of the weekend.
While Thor leans into some lighter moments and innuendo to get its laughs, our TV selection this week is much more in-your-face. The Bear is a kitchen dramedy that is new to Hulu, and it is absolutely worth a watch -- even if you can only stomach an episode or two at a time. The show tells the story of an award-winning, hotshot young chef who returns home to run the Chicago sandwich shop that his brother left behind. The Bear brings a similar chaotic, stressful energy that made Uncut Gems so successful, and drops it into a steaming hot kitchen. As veterans of the food service industry, we can say it is absolutely spot-on in its depiction of a kitchen during a dinner rush. Jeremy Allen White headlines the cast as Carmy, the chef responsible for cleaning up a rough-around-the-edges kitchen crew, and much of the comedy comes from his new staff's disdain for his management-style. The Bear is by no means a sit-com, and you shouldn't expect to get too comfortable while watching. But it is absolutely worth taking a few hours out of the son to commit to this show.
Lit Night with Desus & Mero
We love Seth Meyers' day-drinking segment -- we've even featured it a couple times on the Friday Five. Recently, comedy duo Desus & Mero took it upon themselves to flip the script on Meyers and have him get drunk on their show. The results were hilarious. While Late Night With Seth Meyers is on NBC, and is thus bound to some tighter censorship rules, Desus & Mero has no such concerns on showtime. So when Meyers and the Bodega Boys get drunk at a Times Square institution, there's no filter to hold them back. It is always fun to see a comedian like Meyers get to truly be himself, because he is incredibly smart and quick, but also has a vulgar side that is hidden on his own show. Meanwhile, Desus and Mero are always off the rails -- adding alcohol is just putting more fuel on the fire. We were truly laughing out loud for most of the segment, and for fear of ruining any of the jokes, we'll just tell you to go ahead and watch it. Whether you need to brighten your mood or just want a quick laugh, "Lit Night" will deliver.
The Rare Occasions - Seasick
Our music selection this week is a pretty exciting one, because it lets us shout out a band that has its roots in our hometown. The Rare Occasions is an indie-rock band that was formed in New England, and like us, packed it up to head West. Their latest single "Seasick" is a fun, upbeat jam perfect for a summer drive. The drums are grooving, the guitars are rocking, and the vocal effects offer a very unique sound to the band. Each section of the song, from the bridge to the chorus to the verse, also offers something different, and there is a ton of variety packed into the quick two-and-a-half minute runtime of the song. Outside of just the music, it's so cool to be including musicians that we used to see at local Battle of the Bands! We're always proud to rep Rhode Island (or Boston), and to try and get more people listening to smaller acts. It motivates us to keep on going, too, and striving creatively. So don't just stop at "Seasick," -- go check out The Rare Occasions' other tracks, too!
Speaking of smaller, local artists, South By Southwest just announced that they are expanding into Australia in 2023, which is an awesome move for the artistic community at large. But specifically, we want to highlight the video SXSW used to make the announcement. Australian motion designers/animators Jonathan Pui and Danny Stern collaborated to create a super cool, interesting, and action-packed short video to advertise the festival, and it really popped out on our feed this week. They took a shared color palette and worked it into a bunch of animation styles, giving the video a super cohesive feel despite the drastically different looks. We found something to love in each mini segment, from the hand-drawn elements of the music scene to the photo cutouts in the film section, and everything felt fresh and new. So much is jam-packed into such a short video, but it doesn't feel cluttered. Each artist is also great individually, and they also do a ton of behind-the-scenes content regarding their own art. We love seeing inside other creators' processes, especially when it leads to great work like this. So be sure to go follow Jonathan Pui, Danny Stern, and all the awesome artists who pitched in to making the SXSW video happen, because they're sure to bring some new life to your IG scrolling.