Photo: Amazon/Lionsgate

The movie to watch

The Big Sick

“Interesting anecdotes don’t always make for interesting movies; your story may kill at parties, but that doesn’t mean it belongs on the big screen. In The Big Sick, stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who plays Dinesh on Silicon Valley, and Emily V. Gordon, the writer and former therapist he married, dramatize the rocky first year of their relationship, with Nanjiani starring as a lightly fictionalized version of himself. That may sound, in general synopsis, like a story better told over dinner and drinks; besides friends, family, and fans of the podcast the two co-host, who was clamoring for a feature-length glimpse into the couple’s courtship? But there was more than the usual dating-scene obstacles threatening their future together. Collaborating on the screenplay for The Big Sick, Nanjiani and Gordon have made a perceptive, winning romantic comedy from those obstacles, including the unforeseen emergency that provides the film its title.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The album to listen to

Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory

“This isn’t the densely lyrical autobiography of Summertime ’06—even if Staples remains one of our preeminent rap stylists, with an ability to skip his voice high over the beat like some bastard fusion of Eazy-E and André 3000. Big Fish Theory veers off the course set by its predecessor, bucking the sophomore slump by ditching the vast majority of his old collaborators and peers in favor of the sort of whole-cloth artistic reinvention we generally associate with canonical greats like Kanye or Bowie. What’s even crazier is that he sticks the landing. It’s his second classic LP in a row.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The podcast to listen to

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Ear Hustle, “Cellies”

“Radiotopia’s new inspired podcast, Ear Hustle—produced and hosted by inmates of California’s San Quentin State Prison—opens the cell door wide enough that we can all peer in and see what life is like on the other side of the justice system. The debut episode focuses on the surprisingly intimate relationship of cell mates, including the courting process of finding a suitable living partner. A very humanizing look at an often ignored segment of society.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.


The video game to play

Nex Machina

“Nex Machina is a pretty direct reimagining of Robotron: 2084. Its several worlds are divided up into many individual arenas where your little dude dodges waves of bullets and killer robots while trying to save human civilians and rack up as many points as possible. Similar to enemies in Resogun, those robots explode into beautiful showers of tiny cubes that fill up the screen with their neon glow. The game is really leaning on its arcade roots, putting the focus on high scores while providing luxuries like ample continues and multiple modes, but it’s bolstered that purity with tons of secrets hidden in each world and a dash button that lets you make some particularly daring moves. It’s a glorious thing to look at and a simple pleasure to play.”
Read the rest of our thoughts on Nex Machina here.

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The book to read

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Anne Helen Petersen, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise And Reign Of The Unruly Woman

“Anne Helen Petersen resides in the same space as the boundary-pushing subjects of her essay collection, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise And Reign Of The Unruly Woman. As a senior culture writer at BuzzFeed, Petersen regularly puts her doctorate in media studies and years of experience in celebrity gossip to good use, calling attention to matters and people that other publications might dismiss offhand, like the significance of Kim Kardashian’s arduous pregnancy. Her cultural writings aren’t just a highlight of that particular site; they’re among some of the most insightful works in the field, period. … Even those unfamiliar with her previous writings will see that examining and otherwise championing these figures, who refused to be categorized or silenced, has always been part of her oeuvre. Working her way from world-class athlete Serena Williams to voice of a generation Lena Dunham, Petersen delves into how these women strain and rail against their social constraints.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The show to watch

GLOW

“There’s no questioning the way the show embraces the tackiness of its subject matter and setting. GLOW revels in the sorts of signifiers that would be easy punchlines in other ’80s shows. … The show is still plenty funny in its sincerity, boasting enough comic ringers to leaven the most dramatic material, while getting plenty of mileage out of the screwball friction between striver Ruth and curmudgeon Sam. … GLOW needs no persuading to take wrestling seriously. And if it struggles to get some of its larger points across, well, so did the original Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling. But it’s a totally winning, totally unique series, a battle royale of styles and tones that delivers victories to characters who can really use them.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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