We are nearing the end of the year, but the action on the Friday Five has not slowed down. We've got blockbusters, fast cars, the Wild West -- even our interviews were on the move this week. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the thrills of Volume 98.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The original Black Panther was an absolute sensation, crushing at the box office, breaking down boundaries for superhero films, and even garnering a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. All of that success means the sequel has a lot to live up to, and even if it can’t reach the highs of the original, we’re excited to go check out Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters. Above all else, we are excited to see Ryan Coogler and Co.’s tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, who starred in the first installment, and tragically passed before the start of filming the sequel. From a creative standpoint alone, it was a massive undertaking. The script had to be overhauled, and the directions of multiple Marvel Cinematic Universe movies had to be altered. Beyond that, there is obviously the emotional burden of passing the torch from a beloved and talented actor. The reviews are positive so far, and we are ready to see it for ourselves. Plus, based on the trailers (and the previous story), there’s sure to be a lot of awesome action built into the plot. We definitely trust Ryan Coogler as a filmmaker, and while we aren’t always the first people to race out to see an MCU movie, we are pretty pumped for this one.
Now, onto a genre we are always excited to check out: The Western. Amazon’s latest miniseries is The English, starring Emily Blunt. Any project that can pull a star of Blunt’s caliber into the world of television is worth a shot, and The English has the makings of something we’ll really enjoy. It’s a tale about revenge on the frontier, as Blunt’s character “crosses a violent landscape built on dreams and blood.” Talk about a sick logline! There appears to be a pretty good level of carnage in this one, so it definitely won’t be for the faint of heart. But we’ve been waiting for the next great Western to hit our TV screens, and hopefully Hugo Blick managed to get it right. Chaske Spencer matches Blunt blow-for-blow in the trailer as her partner on this mission, and we are always excited to see a newcomer on the rise in the action scene. Tom Hughes, Steve Wall, and Stephen Rea headline the rest of a cast that leans heavily on English and Irish actors you’ve probably seen in other projects, but don’t know their names yet. It is only six episodes, and they are all out and ready to be binged. While the weight of the show might slow you down a bit, you definitely will have to take a trip to the wild, wild west this weekend.
Las Vegas GP Launch
Speaking of the Wild, Wild West, Formula 1 hit the Strip this weekend to kick off the festivities surrounding the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix. Set to debut a year from now, the latest F1 race to hit the United States is taking place in our own backyard. While there weren’t any actual races this weekend, there was plenty of content, and we got to see a whole bunch of cars ripping around very familiar streets in the heart of Vegas. There was a lot of video from the weekend that helped capture the excitement of the launch, starting with the introductions of star drivers Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, and Sergio Perez. We also got an incredible look behind the wheel for a demo lap down the Strip courtesy of Mercedes. It’s a bummer that we still have to wait another year for the full festivities to commence, but if this weekend was any indicator, the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix is going to be incredible.
Futurebirds - Sympathy for the Devil
Typically, we’d advise against trying to cover any of the classics from the all-time greats like the Rolling Stones or the Beatles – especially if you aren’t an all-time great yourself. But one of our favorite rock/country/indie bands working right now took on the challenge, and put out a jam we’ve had on repeat the last few weeks. Futurebirds covered the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” and made it their own, while still leaving in the core elements that made it such a massive hit. Sure, no one can top Mick Jagger’s vocals – it’s the signature of the Rolling Stones’ sound. But the vocals on the cover reflect the mellow rock vibes of the Futurebirds, and it fits right in on any upbeat, chill playlist you might have put together this fall. The band has kind of a dirty guitar sound on most of their tracks, and they hold true to that in the intro – but the instrumentation sounds a lot like the original once the chorus hits. And of course, the percussion is really grooving. They round out the jam with a guitar solo that would hopefully make Keith Richards proud, as any cover of the song would need. Of course, nothing will ever hold a candle to the original – but if you want a slightly mellowed out version of one of the great all-time rock songs, the Futurebirds have your answer.
Hiking With Kevin Nealon
We are always fans of atypical interview shows and formats, and comedian Kevin Nealon has a show that literally takes his guests off the beaten path. Hiking With Kevin was on a bit of a break, but Nealon kick-started a new season with Paul Rudd, and the result was picture perfect. Rudd has always been a terrific talk-show guest, as seen by his numerous appearances on Conan O’Brien’s shows, and his banter with Nealon made for a great episode. But it isn’t just the Rudd episode that drew us to the show. There is a back catalog with Nealon, the former Weekend Update Host, chopping it up with a wide variety of actors and comedians. Shows like Hot Ones or Desus and Mero have gotten great interviews by taking funny people out of their comfort zones, and Nealon does the same by getting stars to put on hiking boots and hit the trails. Whether you’ve got twenty minutes or a whole weekend to kill, take a dive down the Hiking With Kevin rabbithole.