Friday Five, Vol. 87
It's the last Friday of August, but Volume 87 has plenty of summer content for you, from blockbuster tv shows to summer jams. We needed some inspiration to get us through the last of the dog days of summer, and this week provided.
Welcome to Wrexham
Two of our favorite comedic actors are bringing Ted Lasso into real-life, and lucky for us, there's a documentary about it. Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney decided to buy a struggling Welsh soccer club to try and turn it around, and elevate it through the ranks of English football competition. Welcome to Wrexham debuts this week, and it feels like more than just a publicity stunt or vanity project, as both Reynolds and McElhenney clearly love sports, underdogs, and (now) Wrexham AFC. They have won over their working-class fanbase, which was likely suspicious of them from the start, and have formed a bond with the community. And it's fun to see all of it come together as a docuseries, because likely the best characters won't be the Hollywood owners, but the locals who live and die with the team. It's an unscripted fish-out-of-water story that, if it goes well, could bring joy to a starving fan base as well as viewers of the show.
Dirty Heads - Midnight Control
Some more of our favorite artists have work out this week: Dirty Heads, friends of the blog, released their latest studio album today. We haven't gotten to listen to all of it, but we're really excited for this end-of-summer release. The singles so far have been great, highlighted by a cover of Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good," which they gave a reggae-influenced makeover it deserved. Their other single, "Heavy Water," goes in a different, more rock-focused direction, but it shows that the Dirty Heads have range. As a band, they really define the beach music genre, so you'll have a new album just in time for your big Labor Day Weekend plans. While we like to live in a summery state of mind year-round, we admit that the "summer music" season does have an end -- but we still have a few weeks we'll be able to crank this on repeat.
David Leitch Film Breakdown
Like summer music, there's a definitive Summer Blockbuster season. This summer has been dominated, in part, by the Bullet Train press tour, and it just keeps delivering content. While we've already featured a little bit about director David Leitch on here, Vanity Fair really got the full story. Leitch breaks down the inspiration for, and making of, five iconic action sequences from his various films, and it's so cool to watch. Practical effects are such a specific art, and Leitch really uses his fight scenes as their own language. He's very funny, and is so deeply knowledgeable about movie history, so he's an incredibly interesting interview. He's also just living his Hollywood dream - moving all the way up from stuntman to director. But it makes sense, because he has so much creative vision and knowledge that he's ready to share.
House of the Dragon
Moving right on from the practical to the digital -- our TV pick also relies pretty heavily on its effects team. Game of Thrones was one of the biggest shows of all time, and after a very bumpy road, the first of GOT's spinoffs finally reached the air this week. House of the Dragon premiered Sunday on HBO, giving us a look at what Westeros was like in the age of the dragons. It'll definitely mean more for fans of the original, but if you didn't want to binge your way through all of those seasons of Thrones, there are plenty of primers to get you ready. After the bad taste that the last season left in peoples' mouths, it seems like House of the Dragon has started to turn that reputation around a little bit. While we much prefer original stories, the Game of Thrones universe, as created by George RR Martin, obviously is a massive sandbox to play in. Hopefully the show can use its large platform and budget to surprise us creatively, and push the boundaries of TV, just like the original.
On the other end of the budget (and effects) spectrum is the new A24 release, Funny Pages. It's based in the grungy world of comics, and it is out there. It is gritty and weird, but feels like something wholly original out in theaters, which is very exciting. The Safdie Brothers had to rescue Funny Pages from development hell, as it was shot pre-COVID and then just sat around for a while. It also happens to be the feature debut of actor Kevin Kline's son, Owen. While the younger Kline started down the acting path of his father, he decided he wasn't into it, and moved behind the camera. He's created numerous comics himself, written short films, and worked on the Safdies' film crews, working his way up through the industry. Hopefully it's a young, new creative voice that can cut through some of the noise. If not, his feature debut at least seems incredibly bold.