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

Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela and Eureka O'Hara take small-town America by a storm on HBO's We're Here.
Khun Min Ohn
Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela and Eureka O'Hara take small-town America by a storm on HBO's We're Here.

It was the week that Carole Baskin sued Netflix and Royal Goode Productions over the upcoming Tiger King sequel. It was also the week that the first Harry Potter film turned 20 years old. And it's also the week where NPR Music has alistening party for Snail Mail's new album, "Valentine."

Here's what the folks at Pop Culture Happy House have been paying attention to.

We're Here, HBO

If you're unfamiliar with We're Here, it's the HBO show where three drag queens go to a small town in America and help put on a drag show where local queer people are in some stage of their journey. Maybe they're not out to their family, or maybe they're out and they want to really own it. But essentially, these three drag queens known from RuPaul's Drag Race descend on a town and put on a show.

It has so much heart, and it's been really lovely to watch. That show is just, you know, when I need to see humans connect and just hopefully let each other in — even though some of the parents can still be hard to watch at times. It makes me feel better than it doesn't by a mile. And that's one of the things I need right now. And so it's one of the things making me happy. — Daisy Rosario

A Tear in the Fabric of Life, Knocked Loose

I'm kind of a noob when it comes to metalcore and this side of hardcore. But this EP, when the guitars go, "chugga chugga?" You feel it. It's spooky and the bass tones are nasty and gnarly.

It's about a car crash that kills the protagonist's partner. The EP is full of songs about guilt and survival, and it's like mixed in a way that feels like the lead singer is climbing out of hell. It's crazy. — Andrew Limbong

Parasyte: The Maxim, Netflix

This anime centers on a 17-year-old high schooler named Izumi Shinichi who gets taken over by a parasite. The parasite fails to take over his head and conveniently only manages to take over his right hand, which means that they both retain their separate brains and personalities. And Shinichi finds himself battling adversaries who are trying to eat him and his friends while also maintaining the facade of being a normal high schoolboy.

I really liked this anime because it's funny. There's a lot of fun banter between Shinichi and this alien, but it's still a sci-fi horror anime, so there are plenty of cool monsters. There's lots of gore and quite a bit of angst. Parasyte is just mean enough that it'll keep you guessing about who will survive to the end, which made me happy. So if you're looking for body horror and existential questions about humanity and morality, I would highly recommend it. — Mallory Yu

Host on Amazon Prime Video

I am a little over a year late to this party, but the film Host is a British horror movie set entirely on a Zoom call during the pandemic. It came out when the whole notion of watching a Zoom call for entertainment was the very last thing on my mind. But, you know, enough time has passed, and it was spooky season over this past weekend.

It's about a group of friends who turn one of their weekly calls into a seance. Guess how that goes? It plays out in real-time. It uses the limitations of the form really to its advantage. It's very clever. There are actors playing normal people. This kind of thing is made or broken on how much you buy into the fact that it's candid. And if I haven't convinced you yet to check out this film, let me just say three words in a hyphen: Fifty-six minutes. Sold, right?

Watch it on your laptop wherever you normally take zooms — gets a little extra oomph. — Glen Weldon

NPR Kroc Fellow Mia Estrada adapted this Pop Culture Happy Hour segment into a digital page.

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Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.
Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.
Daisy Rosario