The sports calendar is rocking, Oscar season is here, and we have more TV comedies than we know what to do with -- safe to say the Friday Five is looking good. Whether you need to laugh, focus, or be inspired by an incredible feat of athleticism, we've got what you're looking for in Volume 95!
The Banshees of Inisherin
We have to admit, the big-ticket Oscar buzz movies have been a disappointment so far this year. However, we have a feeling that's about to change -- and a huge reason for our optimism is the newest entrant into the race, The Banshees of Inisherin. Martin McDonagh's latest reunites his In Bruges co-stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in another dark take on the buddy comedy. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of an Irish island, Banshees has already been racking up nominations, hardware, and stellar reviews from the festival circuit. It is finally hitting US theaters this weekend, and we plan on racing out to go see it. The two stars are always electric, especially when put on screen together. Based on the trailer, their chemistry from In Bruges hasn't faded one bit. McDonagh's sense of humor is definitely dark, and Banshees promises to have some drama and sentimental, emotional moments in addition to any hard jokes. But whatever you're in the mood for, we recommend checking out The Banshees of Inisherin this weekend -- especially since we want to see this type of movie continue to get theatrical runs.
If you're in the mood for even more dark Irish comedy, Apple TV+ has you covered. Bad Sisters probably is a bit heavier on the jokes than Banshees, likely due to the pedigree of co-creators Sharon Horgan, Dave Finkel, and Brett Baer. Horgan, also a star of the show, created and starred in the hilarious Catastrophe, while Finkel and Baer both served as writers on standout comedies like New Girl and 30 Rock. That doesn't mean Bad Sisters is all fun and games, though. The show follows a group of sisters being investigated in the untimely death -- and potential murder -- of their horrible brother-in-law. Each episode reveals the plot through bits and pieces of flashbacks and present-day investigations, and it is truly laugh-out-loud funny. There's also an element of mystery and suspense that will keep you watching through all the cliffhangers at the end of episodes. While it takes the show an episode or two to hit its rhythm, it really hums by episode 3 -- which is a lot faster than it takes your average comedy. And luckily for you, the season finale released this past weekend, so you can just kick back and binge the entire mystery in one go if that's what your heart desires.
Bleacher Report has carved out a lane in the sports media world by developing short, animated comedy series that revolve around the storylines of professional sports leagues. Game of Zones is probably their most successful project, which focused on the NBA and wrapped a few years ago, but Gridiron Heights and The Champions kept the brand rolling. This season, B/R is taking on a new genre: Anime. Their latest series Hero Ball combines NBA storylines, anime, and comedy to put out a truly unique offering. It seamlessly blends a deep knowledge of typical anime tropes with a love of the NBA, and we're excited to see how it incorporates other star players' attributes as the season goes on. Plus, we appreciate the Dunkin Donuts joke made in the first episode, even if it's at the expense of our hometown fanbase. On top of all that, we love to see something break the mold of the typical sports news cycle, and this will be a really interesting lens to follow the league. We'll keep on watching to get our fill of quality animated content, some good jokes, and of course, all things NBA.
The NBA Returns
Speaking of the NBA, the return of professional basketball is dominating our media consumption this week, so we have to include it in the Friday Five. Between the games themselves, podcasts, prediction pieces, and animated shows like Hero Ball, we are on a pretty heavy NBA diet this week. And all due respect to baseball, which is in the middle of its postseason, the newly-returned NHL, and the mid-season NFL, no sport offers jaw-dropping highlights at the rate of the NBA. We are constantly inspired by athletic feats that no human should be capable of. And there are so, so many storylines to watch out for as both conferences are pretty loaded. Can the Warriors overcome the drama and compete for a repeat title? Will Nikola Jokic's unreal passing make it an MVP three-peat? Can young phenoms Luka Doncic, Ja Morant or Zion Williamson take their teams over the top? Will the new-look Wolves or Cavs break through after massive offseason additions? There are so many things to look out for -- and that's just about the teams that will be competing for the title. On the other end of the spectrum, we might have an all-time tankathon as teams try to improve their lottery odds for the most-hyped prospect since LeBron: Victor Wembanyama. We'll try and mix in other sports as well, but few things get us as hyped as a brand-new NBA season.
Lofi Covers Playlist
Now that we've gotten the high-flying, adrenaline-packed action out of the way, we can settle down for our musical selection this week. Instead of a new single or a throwback album we've been vibing with, we are switching it up a little bit. When we can't settle on a mellow album, or we are working on a project that requires strictly instrumentals to focus (it happens), we will often turn to lofi tracks on Spotify. And while we need to shoutout Chill Lofi Study Beats, lately we've really been relying on BeatTape's Lofi Covers playlist to get us through our work week. The playlist offers the zen, focus-enabling vibes of normal lofi music, while still giving you a taste of popular tracks that you'd have on a normal playlist in your day-to-day life. A few of our favorites are definitely the versions of "Redbone" and "I Want It That Way" from LAV8, as well as the "Creep" remix from owlh. Whatever tasks you have to get done this week, just put on some great headphones, queue up the Lofi Covers playlist, and let yourself totally zone in on the mission at hand. It always works for us, and hopefully you'll have the same success.