This week's Friday Five features some all-time legends and some up-and-comers, as well as a medium-bending podcast that's worth a listen. Whether you are looking for a thriller, a doc, or a summer jam, Volume 86 has got it. And if you just want to hear a couple of guys talk about making movies, well, we've got that too!
Emily The Criminal
Aubrey Plaza has long been one of our favorite comedic actresses, with hilariously off-kilter performances in hits like Parks and Recreation, Funny People, and Safety Not Guaranteed. Recently, Plaza has gone headfirst into drama, and her latest movie Emily The Criminal has us very excited. Plaza's comedy has always managed to keep us on edge, so it shouldn't be a surprise that she's now starring in thrillers designed to make you squirm. Emily The Criminal is set in the world of fraud and (as the title would suggest) crime, and we've made no secret about our love for a good crime thriller. While we love a massive summer block buster, we also want to make sure that people keep taking creative risks and making small movies -- so we have to show our support for a movie of this size getting a big release. It might not help you relax on one of your final summer weekends, but it is definitely worth seeking out this new thriller as soon as you can.
Every few years, it seems like Hollywood syncs up on a hot topic, and we get dueling narrative and documentary projects about iconic figures. This year, it happens to be the Los Angeles Lakers. While the HBO show Winning Time controversially brought the Showtime Lakers to life, Hulu's new docuseries Legacy is the "true" history, from the 80's until now, from the point of view of the people who were there. Legendary director Antoine Fuqua helms the project, which kicks off with Jerry Buss purchasing the Purple and Gold, and follows the story all the way to the present. It touches on the glitz, glamour, and celebrity involved with the Lakers, and of course all the championships to follow. Most of the figures who have dominated Lakers lore are larger than life, and they're all on camera, giving interviews to propel the doc. Celebrity super fans also make an appearance, as Jack Nicholson and Rob Lowe are just two of the notable figures that appear in the trailer. Fuqua's doc also dives into the tragic elements of the Lakers dominant run, including the death of Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson's HIV diagnosis. A few years ago, everyone devoured the 10 episodes of The Last Dance, and now we have the chance to do it again with a different iconic franchise.
A Streetball Mixtape
Speaking of highlight-reel basketball, a new(ish) 30 for 30 podcast documented the rise and legacy of streetball in America, and did it in a way that the sport deserves. This isn't an ordinary podcast episode, but, true to the name, is more of a mixtape. It is a series of interviews and vignettes, each done in a unique style, that paints the whole picture of the history of the game. There are live game sounds, crowd noise, and a ton of hip hop tracks woven together around the interviews to give them a truly authentic feel. A lot of documentary podcasts can feel extremely one-note, and can sometimes lack character because of the lack of b-roll footage. But you don't really miss that in A Streetball Mixtape, which is a testament to the creativity of the producers behind the show. Streetball players were artists and freestylers in their own right, so it's cool to see how a podcast can mold itself around that idea, and tell a better story because of it.
Brad Pitt Video Club
We don't hide how much we love listening to actors and filmmakers talk about their inspirations, and the French series "Video Club" brought us another interview worth listening to. Konbini, a French media company, brings famous actors and directors into a "video store" and sets them up to talk about their own filmography, as well the classics that shaped the way they work. This week, they had Brad Pitt and David Leitch stop in on their Bullet Train media tour, and it was terrific. They first talked about their early days working together, Pitt as a star and Leitch as his stuntman, but it quickly evolves into their reverence for other artists. Listening to Pitt nerd out about scenes and emotions and inspirations is impressive in his own right, but he is matched by Leitch's love for old stunts. Leitch and Pitt share an admiration for Jackie Chan, and they succinctly describe how it influences the character of their work now. This episode alone was enough to get us to dive down the rabbithole of the entire series, and if you're still reading this, we bet you'll be just as interested.
St. Lucia - Touch
Our musical selection this week also is nostalgia-tinged with some modern flair. St. Lucia put out a new single "Touch" which feels like it was plucked straight out of the synthesizer-fueled 80s pop era and brought into 2022. The intro wouldn't feel out of place on a Toto album, and the drums keep grooving the entire song. Say what you will about the quality of music from the era, but one thing is for sure: it plays really well on a sunny day. St. Lucia, in capturing that feeling, also created a perfect end-of-summer hit. It's just mellow enough to enjoy on the beach, while keeping the upbeat propulsion needed for a good car tune. And when the vocals really go up a register in the chorus, you are instantly transported to a sunny day. It might be August, but St. Lucia delivered another hit for your summer playlist.