Summer is flying by, and somehow it is already August. But this week's Friday Five has everything we need to slow down and enjoy the next month. A great blockbuster, inspiring doc, and killer summer jams will always help us sit back, relax, and enjoy the days ahead.
Brad Pitt in an action-comedy about assassins on a train? Say less, we're in. Bullet Train finally releases this week after a lot of anticipation, and we can't wait to see it. It helps that the recent heat wave makes it very enticing to go sit in a cold, air-conditioned movie theater. But even if that wasn't the case, we'd be rushing out to go see the latest Pitt-led summer blockbuster. It looks light, breezy, fun, and funny, which are all crucial to our summer movie preferences. While Pitt is the obvious star and headliner, the cast is pretty loaded behind him, too. Bad Bunny, Sandra Bullock, Michael Shannon, Brian Tyree Henry, and Hiroyuki Sanada all co-star in this frenetic action movie, and that's just really the tip of the iceberg. Bullet Train is also directed by David Leitch, who has become the king of the action world in a pretty awesome arc, rising from stuntman to A-list director. We have to admire his passion and creative fire to eventually get where he wanted to be in Hollywood -- not to mention the killer action sequences that define all his films. If you weren't sold already, the trailer should do the trick, highlighted by an incredible cover of "Stayin' Alive." We're starting to get some big-time releases as the summer rolls along, and Bullet Train checks all of our boxes.
Light & Magic
Speaking of Summer Blockbusters, there's a new Disney+ docuseries about the original kings of the genre, and we highly recommend you check it out. Movies like Star Wars changed the industry when it came to big, theatrical releases, and it was only possible thanks to the technical innovation of George Lucas's company Industrial Light & Magic. The docuseries Light & Magic goes behind-the-scenes of one of the most important production companies in Hollywood history, and tells the story of how some of the biggest movies ever really got made. ILM pushed the envelope when it came to special effects, and thankfully, Lucas had the camera rolling during the making of these movies, too. Ever wonder how they made the Millenium Falcon fly back in the 70s? Now you can see it. Everything from Star Wars to Indiana Jones to E.T. to Jurassic Park relied on the studio's technological advancements, and now the crew that was behind all that technology is being celebrated. The docuseries is directed by Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark along with the last two films of the original Star Wars trilogy, and features interviews from some of the most influential filmmakers in the industry. We talk all the time about being inspired creatively, and this is a story all about people who were so driven, that they changed the way movies were made.
The Movement - Always With Me
Just in time for the dog days of summer, The Movement released the rest of their killer beach album Always With Me. We've already featured a single from the album, "Sounds of Summer" as part of an earlier edition of the Friday Five, and now we've got the whole thing to vibe out to. The album's title track kicks it off with some horns that can only be described as "beachy" and really just jams out from there. The Movement's sound is heavily influenced by reggae, as well as alternative-reggae bands like Sublime and Slightly Stoopid, and it shines through on the album. All the instrumentation, the bouncing rhythms, and the vocal patterns just beg to be played on the sand somewhere. Whether you're cooling off at the beach, a beach bar, by the pool, or just in front of your air conditioner, Always With Me will put you in the right frame of mind to have a great day.
Newport Folk Festival
The Movement gives you beach music, but the Newport Folk Festival literally gave us music on the beach. Or close to it. Once a year, the biggest names in folk and folk-adjacent music descend on the Rhode Island coast, and the 2022 lineup was one for the ages. Nathaniel Rateliff was one of the headliners, and he surprised the audience by performing all Paul Simon songs. Then, towards the end of his set, Simon himself appeared on stage to play along with some of his biggest hits. Not to be outdone, Brandi Carlisle brought out the legendary Joni Mitchell to perform her first live set since a 2015 brain aneurysm. The entire festival has the vibe of a big, friendly jam session, and the setting makes it even more magical. Artists like The Roots, Marcus Mumford, Bleachers, Maren Morris, The National, and Lucy Dacus also rounded out the lineup, which was truly stacked. Luckily for those of us that were unable to make it in person (or via boat), the festival's Youtube channel has all the highlights. So if you're feeling left out, just put on one of the performances and pretend you're folking out at Newport instead of sitting behind a desk.
Industry Season 2
While our music choices this week might be relaxing, our TV choice is admittedly a bit stressful. Industry was one of our favorite shows of 2020, and we have been eagerly anticipating its second season for the last year and a half. Now, the degenerate employees of the investment bank Pierpoint are back and more on edge than before. Industry's first season was notable for being one of the first work-place dramas that focused solely on the youngest, lowest-level employees of a big industry, and that led to some truly remarkable characters. Like any show about the world of big finance, there's a lot of big-spending, backstabbing, booze, drugs, and sex, and it definitely isn't for the faint-of-heart. The show's creators, Mickey Down and Conrad Kay, based the show (in part) on their experience working in the industry, so there is a lot of technical jargon being thrown around. But don't worry -- you don't have to understand any of it to enjoy the show and understand its message. Underneath all of the up-tempo, high energy action is an incredible score and soundtrack that complements the business on screen perfectly. We've even just listened to the show's music when we've really needed to focus on some work. While we can't say it'll calm you down, if you're looking for a new show to entertain you once a week, Industry is it.