Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 5/27/22

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CREDIT: Lucasfilm Ltd.

 

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
The Bob’s Burgers Movie (Theaters) – Alright!
Top Gun: Maverick (Theaters)

TV
Obi-Wan Kenobi Series Premiere (May 27 on Disney+)
South Park: The Streaming Wars (June 1 on Paramount+)
The Orville Season 3 Premiere (June 2 on Hulu)

Music
-Def Leppard, Diamond Star Halos
-Wilco, Cruel Country

Comedy
-Norm MacDonald: Nothing Special (May 30 on Netflix) – Posthumous comedy.

‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ is Here to Ask: How Can You Possibly Resist Seeing the Belcher Clan on the Big Screen?

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The Bob’s Burgers Movie (CREDIT:
20th Century Studios/Screenshot)

Starring: H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Larry Murphy, Kevin Kline, Zach Galifianakis, David Wain, Gary Cole, Sam Seder, Aziz Ansari, David Herman, Brian Huskey, Jenny Slate, Ron Lynch, Stephanie Beatriz, Nicole Byer

Directors: Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman

Running Time: 102 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Some Surprisingly Scary Situations

Release Date: May 27, 2022 (Theaters)

Has it really been 12 seasons and over 200 episodes of Bob’s Burgers already? It somehow still occupies that “New Show” headspace in the Media Consumption Lobe of my brain, and yet an entire generation has now been raised by the Belcher crew. However long it’s lasted, this delightfully quirky animated Fox standby remains a reliable AND exciting part of my viewing routine. It’s a perfect way to spend a half hour on a Sunday evening (or the next Monday morning, or sometime later in the week when Peak TV obligations are really piling up). Just as middle child Tina still goes crazy over butts after all these years, so too am I eternally jazzed about the prospect of a big screen Belcher adventure as if it were the first time I were ever going to the theater. As long as it stays true to its underdog self, then I and legions of other loyal fans will be satisfied.

What’s profoundly striking about The Bob’s Burgers Movie is how much it doesn’t differ from a typical episode, beyond the stretched-out running time. Yes, the screen is a little wider, and the animation is a little more high-definition. But there’s no big-name stunt cameos or any trips across the universe. Instead, the whole thing is confined to a few of the typical locations in the same old anonymous East Coast beach town with the regular voice cast doing what they’ve always done.

What is different is that the stakes are a little higher. The family restaurant is the closest it’s ever been to bankruptcy, Tina’s ready to ask longtime crush Jimmy Pesto Jr. if he’ll be her summer boyfriend, the danger at hand is legitimately life-threatening, and there are some wonderfully go-for-broke musical numbers. But once again, these are motifs that have already come up multiple times on the show, so it’s only mild heightening. True, it’s not every day that a giant sinkhole opens up in front of Bob’s Burgers and makes it basically impossible for customers to enter. Nor is it every day that skeletal remains are found in front of the restaurant, and in a giant sinkhole no less. And that is what happens in the movie, as it sets off a juvenile murder investigation and some renegade burger cart hawking on the boardwalk. To the uninitiated, that might indeed sound like something wonderfully out-of-the-ordinary. But this is an adaptation of a show that just pulled off an ambitious Blade Runner homage in its most recent season finale. I’m not complaining about this familiarity; instead, I’m happily listing all the ways that The Bob’s Burgers Movie feels like home.

So, the first big-screen adventure of one of my favorite animated families is far from mind-blowing, but as I walked out of the theater, I had this thought: wouldn’t it be lovely if this became a new annual tradition? On the weekend after the latest season finale, we always get a new Bob’s Burgers movie. We spend most of the year getting our patty-bun-and-topping fill at home, and then we commune with our fellow burgerholics out in the wild, and maybe introduce a few new friends and family to the routine each time. Isn’t that a world you’d like to live in? Isn’t that a world you’d like your children to live in? We’ve already had so many Burgers of the Day, now it’s time for the Burgers of the Year.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie is Recommended If You Like: Food Puns and Thick Buns

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Burgers of the Day

How Many Men Does It Take to Man Up ‘Men’?

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“Men!” (CREDIT: A24)

Starring: Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, Paapa Essiedu, Gayle Rankin

Director: Alex Garland

Running Time: 100 Minutes

Rating: R

Release Date: May 20, 2022 (Theaters)

Men, men, men, men, manly men, men, men… I’m sorry if any reference to Two and a Half Men gives any of my readers immediate stress nightmares, but I couldn’t get that repetitive theme song out of my head in anticipation of seeing the Alex Garland-written-and-directed Men. So that’s what’s setting the tone of this review, and we’re simply going to have to deal with it. I’m a musically-oriented person, and that’s just the way it is. If you name your movie “Men,” then I’m going to get a song about men stuck in my head! Thankfully, though, that earworm vibe is sort of appropriate. It’s kind of what the widow Harper Marlowe (Jessie Buckley) experiences herself in a much darker fashion. So in a roundabout sort of way, my subconscious knew exactly what to do to take care of me. It definitely helped to process that climactic “birth” scene.

Grade: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Man!

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Takes It to the Limit

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Top Gun: Maverick (CREDIT: Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Monica Barbaro, Charles Parnell, Jay Ellis, Greg Tarzan Davis, Bashir Salahuddin

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Running Time: 131 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Danger Behind Enemy Lines

Release Date: May 27, 2022

Let’s throw it right out there to begin. Does Top Gun: Maverick make me once again want to have the need, the need for speed? I won’t mince words: sort of, but not exactly. Those aerial acrobatics certainly had my adrenaline pumping, but patience is a virtue when watching this movie. Two hours and eleven minutes isn’t exactly a bloated running time for a big blockbuster action sequel, but when the majority of the action consists of training sessions leading up to The One Big Mission, you feel the weight of the wait. And as far as I, a humble movie viewer, can tell … that is exactly what everyone involved was going for! We get to see the work that goes into pushing limits, we all hold our collective breath, and we pray that everyone makes it out of the danger zone. And then Lady Gaga brings it on home with a rapturous rock ballad. That’s the formula for Top Gun Success in 2022.

You may be wondering why Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is still flying with the new class of pilots 36 years after we first met him. It’s not just because Tom Cruise is incorrigible about doing his own stunts. Metatextually, that is the reason, of course, but within the context of the narrative, it’s because Maverick just doesn’t want to be promoted beyond captain. Responsibility blows, right? Nevertheless, this state of affairs means that he’s the best person to train the new crop of Top Gun pilots (which includes at least one offspring of a former colleague) for an impossible mission. And what a doozy of an impossible mission it is, as they have to wipe out a uranium enrichment site in some mountainous nation (that remains hilariously unnamed the whole movie) by executing some dangerously sharp descents and ascents. It’s a very specific, contained situation to build an entire story around, and it mostly works.

If you’re hoping for the same bonhomie as the original, it’s certainly there, with a round of beach football taking the place of the volleyball. But the main attraction is all the clearly defined aerial action. The maneuvers require so much G-force that loss of consciousness is fully expected. We’re talking fainting while piloting thousands of feet up in the air! I could feel myself being flattened like a pancake in my seat just watching it. This is a portrait of the test of human limits that will have your throat in your stomach, your brain in your toes, and your soul dying and reincarnating. The danger zone is alive and well.

Top Gun: Maverick is Recommended If You Like: Watching planes fly by before football or baseball games

Grade: 4 out of 5 G-Forces

jmunney’s Favorite Music Instrument Rhythm Video Games

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From approximately 2007-2012, I loved nothing more than music video games, specifically music rhythm games that involved plastic instruments. So I’ve decided to look back and rank all the ones I regularly played back in the day (Please inquire if you would like a further explanation of any of my placements)”

14. Rocksmith
13. DJ Hero
12. Green Day: Rock Band
11. Lego Rock Band
10. Guitar Hero 2
9. Guitar Hero: World Tour
8. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock
7. Guitar Hero: Van Halen
6. Guitar Hero 5
5. Guitar Hero 3
4. Rock Band
3. Rock Band 3
2. The Beatles: Rock Band
1. Rock Band 2

(This ranking originally appeared in my newsletter. If you would like to subscribe, head over here.)

Jeff’s Wacky SNL Season Finale Review: Natasha Lyonne/Japanese Breakfast

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SNL: Kenan Thompson, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, Natasha Lyonne, Kate McKinnon

Big weekend for Natasha Lyonne. She was spoofed by Jinkx Monsoon in the Snatch Game on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, and now she’s hosting the season finale of a little show called Saturday Night Live. She’s a New Yawker, SNL‘s a New Yawker, I bet it’ll be right up her alley.

And what about Michelle Zauner? I guess it’s only appropriate that her band Japanese Breakfast would eventually end up on SNL, considering that they probably actually are eating breakfast in Japan while SNL is airing in America. Actually, now that I look up the time difference, it might actually be lunchtime instead. Or maybe a late breakfast could still be happening! If anyone knows Japanese mealtime traditions, let me know.

Now on to the review section of this review! This whole season, I’ve been listing the sketches in various oddball orders, so for the season finale, I’ve decided to repeat the order that I enjoyed the most. And that order is… Views on SNL‘s YouTube channel (Most First). What can I say, I like getting a sense of what’s popping with viewers.

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That’s Auntertainment! Episode 45: The Beatles

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You’re never gonna believe this, but … Jeff and Aunt Beth are both HUGE fans of The Beatles. And incredibly enough, so are several other members of their family.

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 5/20/22

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The American Rescue Dog Show (CREDIT: Maarten de Boer/ABC)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Downton Abbey: A New Era (Theaters)
Men (Theaters)
Emergency (Theaters and on Amazon Prime Video May 27)

TV
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 7 Premiere (May 20 on Paramount+) – It’s the Winners Season!
Don’t Forget the Lyrics Series Premiere (May 23 on FOX) – Another music game show?!
Beat Shazam Season Premiere (May 23 on FOX)
-The American Rescue Dog Show (May 25 on ABC) – Hosted by the Holey Moley guys.
That Damn Michael Che Season 2 (May 26 on HBO Max)

Music
-Flume, Palaces
-Harry Styles, Harry’s House
-Lykke Li, Eyeye

Sports
-147th Preakness Stakes (May 21 on NBC)
-French Open (May 22-June 5 on Tennis Channel and NBC)

Sonic is a Party Dude, but is ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ a Party Time?

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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (CREDIT: Paramount Pictures and Sega of America)

Starring: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter, Idris Elba, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Shemar Moore, Lee Majdoub, Tom Butler

Director: Jeff Fowler

Running Time: 122 Minutes

Rating: PG

Release Date: April 8, 2022 (Theaters)

Early on in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the little spiky blue guy has the house all to himself. So he and Ozzy the golden retriever just kick back and PAR-TAAAAAAY!!!! That’s the kind of Sonic movie I want. Just a CGI hedgehog and a chill pooch hanging out and having fun. And there’s no reason to have any anxiety about the mess they make, because thanks to Sonic’s super-speed, he can just clean everything up in a literal second! Why not take advantage of that? Anyway, that’s only a small portion of this sequel. I guess I’m totally fine with the decision to have Sonic team up with the Fox Fellow and the Echidna Dude to take down the Wacky Mustache Man, but it would have been a lot nicer if the dog had also been there the whole while. That’s all I’m saying.

Grade: Doggone It!

‘Emergency’ Has an Attention-Grabbing Premise and Compelling Execution

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Emergency (CREDIT: Quantrell Colbert/© 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC)

Starring: Donald Elise Watkins, RJ Cyler, Sebastian Chacon, Sabrina Carpenter, Maddie Nichols, Madison Thompson, Diego Abraham, Summer Madison, Gillian Rabin

Director: Carey Williams

Running Time: 105 Minutes

Rating: R for College Partying Gone Way Wrong

Release Date: May 20, 2022 (Theaters)/May 27, 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)

Is it an emergency if you don’t see the 2022 film Emergency as soon as possible? Its title certainly sounds urgent, and I’m sure you don’t want to find out that somebody died because you, Very Specific Theoretical Audience Member, didn’t watch one particular movie when you very easily could have. Now before I go any further, let me be clear that I’m being HYPERBOLIC. I don’t want anyone to get it twisted! Let me also be clear that you don’t have to see any movie that you don’t want to see, no matter how much everyone else is talking about it. But even after all that preamble, I’ll confidently declare that you may still want to check out Emergency, as it offers a fascinating premise that leads into horrifying, hilarious, and thought-provoking directions.

Sean (RJ Cyler) and Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) are two best buds and college roommates who just want to spend their Friday night making their way through a mythical rotation of campus parties. Well, that’s all Sean wants to do. Kunle’s on board, too, but he’s also worried about his bacteria cultures for a lab project, especially since a botched assignment could run afoul of his looming transition into grad school. But all  of that is waylaid when they discover a random semi-conscious girl (Maddie Nichols) on the floor of their apartment. Their other roommate Carlos (Sebastian Chacon) has no idea how she got there, and they immediately become concerned about the optics of three black and brown dudes hovering over a drunk white girl.

So instead of calling 911, the boys attempt to drive her to the hospital, which isn’t exactly a more prudent decision, as it leads to a series of increasingly dangerous misunderstandings. Getting the girl in an ambulance almost certainly would have been much better for everyone involved, but it’s not hard to understand their trepidation. It’s always tricky to make a movie like this one that taps into people of color’s deep-seated mistrust of authority, as it will unavoidably awaken raw emotions. So I won’t be surprised if Emergency is an automatic turn-off for some viewers. Nevertheless, I appreciate its uniquely thoughtful, grounded approach. At its core, this is a story of college kids who let a situation get out of hand, as so often happens in a college setting. The weightier threats linger because that’s just what a significant part of this country is like.

Emergency is Recommended If You Like: Maximum Tonal Discomfort

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Busted Taillights

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