Pop Culture Happy Hour Pop Culture Happy Hour is a fun and freewheeling chat about the latest movies, television, books, and music.
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Pop Culture Happy Hour

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Pop Culture Happy Hour is a fun and freewheeling chat about the latest movies, television, books, and music.

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Dakota Johnson stars as Maggie Sherwood, Ice Cube as Jack Robertson and Tracee Ellis Ross as Grace Davis in The High Note. Glen WIlson/Focus Features hide caption

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Glen WIlson/Focus Features

In Tune With 'The High Note'

There have been countless movies about real and fictional musicians. And in the new movie The High Note, Tracee Ellis Ross plays the fictional legendary singer Grace Davis. Dakota Johnson plays Maggie, an aspiring record producer and Grace's personal assistant. The two women have to figure out everything from whether Maggie has a future in the music industry to whether Grace should take a residency in Vegas.

In Tune With 'The High Note'

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Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, star in the 2019 comedy Booksmart. Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures hide caption

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Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Why You Should Stream 'Booksmart'

Last year we talked about the movie Booksmart, and we really, really liked it. It's about two young women about to graduate from high school who spend one last night trying to catch up on everything they missed. Starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, it's the directing debut of actress Olivia Wilde. The comedy came out last summer — and it's currently streaming on Hulu and available to rent on demand. And because so many students are wrapping up their school year and graduating, we thought, what better time to look back at this terrific movie? (This episode originally aired on May 31, 2019.)

Why You Should Stream 'Booksmart'

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Lakeith Stanfield and Issa Rae star in The Photograph, written and directed by Stella Meghie. Emily Aragones/Universal Pictures hide caption

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Emily Aragones/Universal Pictures

Great Recent Movies We Missed

This is not a normal summer movie season. Theaters are closed, big projects are delayed, and we're missing the flood of new films that would usually have already started. But you don't have to go without movies. That's because even if you see a lot, you miss even more. We do too, and that's what we're talking about today: some recent films we missed that are well worth your time. Plus, we remember the lives and work of Fred Willard and Lynn Shelton.

Great Recent Movies We Missed

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Elle Fanning stars as Catherine and Nicholas Hoult as Peter in Hulu's The Great. Hulu hide caption

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Hulu

Huzzah! We're Russian To Finish 'The Great'

Hulu's new series The Great bills itself as "An Occasionally True Story." And it's a big story: a sweeping epic about Russia in the 1700s, full of palace intrigue, sex and violence, and the rise of Catherine the Great. Elle Fanning plays Catherine, and Nicholas Hoult also stars as the sociopathic emperor Peter. The show shares a lot of thematic DNA with the 2018 film The Favourite -- it was created by one of the film's screenwriters, Tony McNamara. And it's more than willing to scramble history in the service of a good story.

Huzzah! We're Russian To Finish 'The Great'

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Were you or were you not entertained by Russell Crowe in Gladiator back in 2000? Universal/Getty Images hide caption

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Universal/Getty Images

The Movies From The Year 2000

Twenty years ago, Harry Potter or Marvel, the movie landscape looked really different. Take a look back at some of the movies that came out in 2000 and why we think they're still relevant today.

The Movies From The Year 2000

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Maitreyi Ramakrishnan stars as Devi Vishwakumar on the high school romantic comedy series Never Have I Ever. Netflix hide caption

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Netflix

'Never Have I Ever' Binged A Show So Fast

The new comedy Never Have I Ever is a great binge from Netflix. It might remind you of a lot of warm and funny shows about navigating high school. Its hero is an Indian-American girl named Devi. She is juggling her friends, the boys she's interested in, and plenty of drama at home. One of the creators is Mindy Kaling, who gives the show some of the same energy she put into The Mindy Project. Devi is a little confused, a little selfish, and very consumed by her dreams of romance

'Never Have I Ever' Binged A Show So Fast

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The new adaptation of Sally Rooney's novel Normal People, stars Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne, and Paul Mescal as Connell. Hulu hide caption

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Hulu

A Hit Novel Comes To The Screen With 'Normal People'

When a popular book becomes a television series, the stakes are high. Sally Rooney's novel Normal People is no exception, and the very good Hulu adaptation has finally arrived. The new series tells the story of Marianne and Connell, who go to high school together in Ireland. We follow the couple for a few years as they drift toward adulthood, sometimes apart and sometimes together. And while the show features other characters like their mothers and friends, it's mostly a study of Marianne and Connell and how their relationship shifts.

A Hit Novel Comes To The Screen With 'Normal People'

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Derry Girls depicts teenagers at a Catholic school in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. Netflix hide caption

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Netflix

'Derry Girls' Just Wanna Have Fun

Derry Girls might remind you of a lot of warm and funny shows about high school. It has the group of loyal friends, the adventures and humiliations, and the slow progress toward adulthood. But these kids are taking on these challenges in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. It's a time when an ordinary day can be interrupted by everything from an encounter with soldiers to breaking news of violence. Still, high school rolls on, and high school students do too.

'Derry Girls' Just Wanna Have Fun

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Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls celebrate following Game Five of the 1991 NBA Finals on June 12, 1991. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images hide caption

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Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

'The Last Dance' Tries To Cut Through All The Bulls

In the mid-1990s, sports teams didn't get any bigger than the Chicago Bulls. Led by supermegastar Michael Jordan, the Bulls won six NBA championships in eight years. And now, ESPN is presenting a ten-part documentary series all about them. The Last Dance follows the Bulls' final championship season, and it dips back into history to look at how the dynasty was made. Plus, what's making us happy this week.

'The Last Dance' Tries To Cut Through All The Bulls

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In the game Donut County, get satisfaction in throwing objects in a big hole. Annapurna Interactive hide caption

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Annapurna Interactive

Beyond Animal Crossing: Game Recs For The Switch

We've been playing games. Stuck at home, exhausted from streaming all the good TV we can find, looking for distractions, we've all been exploring games for the Nintendo Switch. And not just Animal Crossing, either. We've been trying adventure games and puzzle games, beautiful games and silly games. And we have a few to recommend.

Beyond Animal Crossing: Game Recs For The Switch

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