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What's making us happy: A guide to your weekend reading, listening and viewing

Jennifer Aniston as Audrey Spitz and Adam Sandler as Nick Spitz in <em>Murder Mystery 2.</em>
Jennifer Aniston as Audrey Spitz and Adam Sandler as Nick Spitz in Murder Mystery 2.

This week, we watched a comedy-drama about two characters with road rage, did a deep dive on Top Chef, and learned about a doctor's struggle to save himself and others.

Here's what the NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.

Murder Mystery 2

When I'm trying to watch a movie these days, my brain has to be completely shut off all the way. So I turned to Netflix's Murder Mystery 2, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. I have to say, I enjoyed the first one. I enjoyed the second one. It took me exactly to where I wanted to go, which was just, like, smooth brain-ville. The jokes were there, talking about the script. I really enjoy Jennifer Aniston out of the usual milieu that she's in. And Adam Sandler, when he is bringing it, he really is one of the greats. I know it's like the most boomer-y choice I could make, but Murder Mystery 2, guys, if you just want to check out, have a few laughs, and eat dinner on the couch, you will not complain afterwards.

— Amil Niazi

If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

/ Hyperion Avenue
Hyperion Avenue

What's making me happy this week is a book by Julie Murphy called If the Shoe Fits. I believe it came out in 2021, but I bought it and I never got around to reading it. I am one of those millennials that likes to buy books to have them, but not necessarily to read them, and then this one was at the top of the list.

It's a modern take on the fairy tale Cinderella. But at the center of the story is Cindy, a plus size woman who is sent to be on a Bachelor-style romance show where she meets her Prince Charming and kind of goes through the phases of trying to win him. It's a romance story. I haven't finished it yet. I'm only about halfway through the book, but I've really been enjoying it. I think it's a great depiction of navigating life in a fatphobic world. And I really like that they're centering this woman at the center of this specific story. But it's also fun.

As someone who watches The Bachelor, except for this season, I did not like their choice for the bachelor. Just want to say that on the record. But as someone who enjoys that show, I really loved reading this book and kind of like seeing them go behind the scenes and talk about producing and all of that as well as tell a pretty cute romance story.

— Ronald Young Jr.

Dear Prudence by Daniel M. Lavery and You Will Find Your People by Lane Moore

/ HarperOne

I've got two books that are making me happy. One is the book Dear Prudence, written by Daniel Lavery, who's the previous Dear Prudence writer. So I work at Slate. We have a Dear Prudence advice column. This book is a collection of letters and answers, and I really like reading them back to back, I honestly do.

My other recommendation is the second book by somebody who has made me happy in the past. This is a comedian, writer, super-talented human of all trades: Lane Moore. It's a book called You Will Find Your People, and it's all about how to make adult friendships. I keep reaching for this book, because as I keep reading more and more advice columns, I just see how consistently asking about making friends as an adult comes up. Lane is so smart and has written a really great book about it.

— Daisy Rosario

boygenius' the record

Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker of boygenius.
/ Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist
Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker of boygenius.

We've talked about a lot of different cinematic universes is on this show, and what is making me happy is the boygenius cinematic universe. The fantastic supergroup boygenius put out a great record last week called the record. I love it dearly. My favorite song so far is one of the singles "Not Strong Enough," which is one of the most quotable songs of the year. I love it so much. I love this record, and I love the fact that there is a cinematic component to the boygenius cinematic universe in the form of a short film directed by Kristen Stewart... There is a 14 minute boygenius movie which you can stream on the internet right now. I love just being able to dive into a whole bunch of great new music by people who've really never made music I don't love.

— Stephen Thompson

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

by Linda Holmes

The lovely John Moe invited me to appear on his new podcast Sleeping With Celebrities, in which various people explain some topic or other in the most sleep-inducing way possible, to help you drift off. I covered one of the subjects in which I have an unreasonable amount of expertise: the early seasons of Melrose Place.

I strongly recommend this interview with Philadelphia Phillies player Bryce Harper, in which, among other things, he discusses his affinity for the work of the romance writer Elle Kennedy.

Also recommended: Josh Gondelman has a list out of the 12 Most Boston Celebrities, Ranked By Boston-ness.

NPR's Teresa Xie adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amil Niazi
Ronald Young Jr.
Daisy Rosario
Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
Teresa Xie
Teresa Xie is a reporter who specializes in media and culture writing. She recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied political science and cinema. Outside of NPR, her work can be found in Pitchfork, Vox, Teen Vogue, Bloomberg, Stereogum and other outlets.
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