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What's Making Us Happy: A Guide For Your Weekend Watching, Listening And Reading

Summer is well underway now, with big movies — such as Black Widow -- opening, summer songs blasting out of car windows, and books accompanying vacationers to beaches. We're listening, watching, reading and otherwise absorbing everything we can.

Hot White Heist, Audible

Hot White Heist
/ Audible

Hot White Heist is a six-episode scripted comedy podcast created and written by Adam Goldman. Hot White Heist is about this cabal of lesbians who convince Jude (voiced by Bowen Yang) to put together a team to steal from a top-secret, maximum security cache of presidential sperm stored underneath the Space Needle. The voice cast is queer comedy royalty: Yang, Jane Lynch, Cynthia Nixon, Margaret Cho, Mj Rodriguez, Cheyenne Jackson, Bianca Del Rio, Abbi Jacobson, Peppermint, and it's directed by Alan Cumming. I was pleasantly surprised by how richly sound designed it is — a lot of the humor comes from just how completely it places you in its world. I can't recommend it enough. – Glen Weldon

Neonoir Month, Criterion Channel

July on the Criterion Channel is neonoir month. It is making me cynical, frisky, paranoid, jealous, despondent — all the noir emotions — but I guess you could say it's making me happy. Some are movies that I love and can recite line by line and will nevertheless most likely watch again: Chinatown, Manhunter, Blood Simple, Body Heat. Others I have seen but shall certainly be taking this opportunity to reacquaint myself with: The American Friend, Eyes of Laura Mars, Night Moves, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, The Last Seduction and Brick. And some movies I have never seen but have long been on my to-watch list and I will definitely get to them this month: Across 110th Street, The Long Goodbye and Mona Lisa. — Chris Klimek

The Plot Thickens podcast, Season 2, TCM

I have spoken on this show before about my deep, deep love of the book The Devil's Candy, by Julie Salamon. She was on the set of the 1990 film The Bonfire of the Vanities starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith. Everybody thought it was going to be this gigantically successful mega movie but it was a huge flop. Salamon was given so much access — they let her in on meetings about budget, and schedule, and people being mad at each other. It is such an incredibly wonderful, juicy book. And she is now narrating this podcast season, telling this story. You should read the book; you should listen to the podcast. – Linda Holmes

Nobody, Universal Pictures

When thieves break into Hutch Mansell's (Bob Odenkirk) suburban home, it reawakens a dormant past identity, bent on violent vigilante justice. In some scenes, Christopher Lloyd, who plays Hutch's father, steals the show. This spectacular movie is an absolute riot. — Vincent Schilling

And a couple more bonus picks from Linda Holmes:

"Charles Manson's Hollywood," You Must Remember This podcast
Sometimes you have to dig deep into the archives and admit that while you're getting to something (very) late, you still want to make sure you recommend it. Karina Longworth's Hollywood history podcast You Must Remember This featured its Charles Manson season all the way back in 2015 (it begins at episode 44), but there's no wrong time to catch up. I found the season absolutely fascinating in its examination not only of Manson as a figure, but the way his crimes wove into the movie scene at the time.

"The Other Woman," by E. Alex Jung, Vulture
E. Alex Jung (whom you've heard a few times on PCHH) wrote a profile of Jennifer Coolidge as she prepares for a stupendous turn on the new HBO series The White Lotus, and it's absolutely enchanting. Speaking of which: We'll be talking about The White Lotus on the show in a bit, but I can tell you I highly recommend it and think you should absolutely check it out on HBO this weekend if you can.

"The Subversive Joy of Lil Nas X's Gay Pop Stardom," by Jazmine Hughes, The New York Times MagazineJazmine Hughes wrote a fabulous piece about Lil Nas X that I found marvelously personal and lively.

There's more where this came from! Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, videogames and more. Subscribe here >>

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