What's Making Us Happy: A guide to your weekend viewing, reading, and listening
Here's what the NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
Sampha's new album Lahai
Samphais well known as a guest on a lot of other people's records — you can hear him on Kendrick Lamar's and Alicia Keys' records. But he just released his own second album called Lahai.It is absolutely gorgeous — it's a very soothing, comfortable, genre-straddling sound that encompasses soul, pop and hip-hop in beautiful ways. He has a gorgeous voice and there's this kind of futuristic quality to the sound and to his voice that radiates through. (You can watch his Tiny Desk concert here.) I've been listening to this record pretty constantly for a couple of weeks now, and I absolutely love it. — Stephen Thompson
Tori and Lokita
Tori and Lokitais a film directed by the Dardenne brothers — you may remember them from Two Days, One Night — and this movie won a special prize at Cannes. And it's about two adolescent African immigrants who came to Belgium together. They're pretending to be brother and sister and they forge a strong bond. It's very intense, occasionally thrilling, and really moving. Lokita is trying to obtain a work visa but is having trouble, and meanwhile, both kids are making money by running drugs for a restaurant owner.
Like a lot of immigrant stories, a lot of bad things happen to both of these characters, and people take advantage of them. But, in the end, I think this movie really insists on their humanity and is very intentional in not exploiting these characters, even though within the narrative of the film they are being exploited. And it stars Joely Mbundu and Pablo Schils who are fantastic. It's streaming on Criterion Channel and also available for rent. — Aisha Harris
Rewatching Doctor Who with the subtitles on
Doctor Who is returning soon with Ncuti Gatwa with taking overas the Doctor. But before that happens, David Tennant is making history by returning for three specials, which will air sometime in November. So to prep for that I am rewatching the show, and am midway through Tennant's first season. It's even better than I remember, and that is true in no small part because this time I'm watching it with the subtitles on. I'm not just doing that because I'm older — I'm doing that because I am older and wiser. Doctor Who has always had sound mix problems and Tennant's Doctor tends to toss out jokes under his breath, and there are reams of jokes I didn't get the first time through. — Glen Weldon
Phillies post-season baseball
My Philadelphia Phillies are the team of destiny in my heart. They are a very fun team. I drift in and out of watching baseball because it's too stressful for me — the Phillies gave me multiple panic attacks of the sports variety in this postseason. But I really enjoyed the experience of watching my team do well. Even though they will not be going to the World Series, I greatly appreciated them this season. I recommend to everyone a piece that ran in Defector by the great and good Kelsey McKinney, which is called"Is The Phillies' Good Luck Charm A Dedication To Himbo Culture And Showing Clavicle?" which is a deep dive into the decision of some of the players to wear their shirts, open a couple buttons. — Linda Holmes
More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter
by Linda Holmes
Matt Singer's new book Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel and Ebert Changed Movies Forever is a delight, a labor of love that traces one of the most significant forces in film criticism in the 20th century. For those of us who grew up learning about movies from these guys on this show, it's a necessary and lovely read.
This week, I caught up with a complicated, thoughtful story from Lila Shapiro that Vulture ran in September about the lawsuit filed by the two then-teenage stars of Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. It raises a host of questions and is well worth a read.
I was very curious about Pain Hustlers, yet another based-on-a-true-story film about the evils of the pharmaceutical industry. It stars Emily Blunt as a single mom who gets a job as a rep for a new pain med and Chris Evans as her dirtbag boss. The reviews have been, at best, mixed. I think Blunt and Evans are both good — this is the most convincing dirtbag turn of his career, I'd say — although the story ends up retracing a lot of now-familiar ground. It's now on Netflix.
They're just beginning a limited rollout of the Alexander Payne film The Holdovers, which we'll be covering on an upcoming episode of PCHH. (It opens wide on November 10.) Mild spoiler alert for that episode? I really liked it.
Beth Noveyadapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" for the Web. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
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