This week, K-pop group BTS announced they were enlisting in the military, goats and sheep clashed over salt, and Han Solo came to life in a California bakery.
Here’s what NPR’s pop culture happy hour team was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
Atlanta, Season 4
I devoted myself to Atlanta from the very first season. I really enjoyed seasons 1 and 2, I was confused by season 3 and going into season 4 I was worried. I watched season 4 – I won’t spoil it for those who walked away before or after season 3 thinking the show was going in a direction they didn’t like. I think season 4 brings back all the things I loved about the show. I followed every episode. I will definitely see them all again. It seems like once they physically brought the characters back to Atlanta, they got the show back on track where I wanted it to be. This season is really fun, really weird and asks a lot of questions. – Ronald Young, Jr.
The Lair of the White Worm
It’s scary season, which means it’s scary movie season. To help get you in the mood, you can go basic and on the nose with your “Halloweens” and your”Exorcists.” I don’t blame you, but I personally like my Halloween viewing a little more baroque — and by baroque I mean more camper than a drag queen in a pop tent.
At this time of year, I tend to feed on Vincent Price and Roger Corman movies because they’re really low-fi, but they’re also a lot. Personally, I would start with The crowas it features three bitchy, trying to outdo each other witch queens, played by Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre.
But my real recommendation is not a Corman Bailiff cut. This is the funniest and goofiest movie Ken Russell has ever made, the 1988 film, The Lair of the White Worm. In the film, Peter Capaldi is practically a toddler, he’s an archaeologist who unearths a strange giant snake skull on an estate in northern England owned by a Lord Denton, played perfectly by Hugh Grant, who is barely run out of layers in this thing. It exudes undeserved privilege. At one point in the film, the archaeologist wants to visit this cave, where remains have been found. The locals tell him that they have looked into the cave several times but he persists and asks to see it.
The reason for this movie’s season, the reason to watch this movie is Amanda Donohoe’s performance as the immortal leader of a snake cult. They don’t give Oscars for figuring out the damn mission. They don’t give Oscars for exactly what movie you’re in. If they did, The Rock wouldn’t win any this week, but she would get the Thalberg. She’s so funny and so playful and so perfectly suited for the role. The Lair of the White Worm is available to stream on Criterion Channel and elsewhere. –Glen Weldon
Reality TV on ad-supported broadcast networks
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images
What makes me happy this week are some of my discoveries on ad-supported free streaming networks, especially old episodes of Great British Bake Off on the Roku channel and old episodes of Project track on Tubi.
The new discovery, for me, Pastry shop the episodes not only include those that were from the BBC era that Netflix no longer has, but also the first two seasons that the US never even officially got. The Project track the episodes come from a bunch of seasons that didn’t air until the Christian Siriano and Karlie Kloss years. You have to put up with advertisements. They’re not always elegantly inserted, but for me it was worth watching the ads despite occasionally receiving the same ad over and over again. It was worth finding those episodes that I missed before. –Linda Holmes
More Recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour Newsletter
by Linda Holmes
Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor are both pretty good at Raymond and Raya film streaming on Apple TV+ which presents them as brothers facing the death of their father.
If you watched the HBO Max documentary series The latest movie stars about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward – and I hope you did – you’ll be interested to know that some of the same biographical material that was used for the series is also the basis of a posthumous memoir on Newman .
Wonderful writer Alice Wong wrote an article about living with a feeding tubeand I highly recommend him and all his work.
It doesn’t take long to recommend a collection of George Saunders stories, but I enjoyed it very much Liberation Day: Storieswhich is beautifully written but also pleasantly and oddly unsettling in many ways.
NPR’s Pilar Galvan adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment “What’s Making Us Happy” into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider subscribe to our newsletter for recommendations each week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple podcast and Spotify.