This month in culture

Our guide to what should be on your radar

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From our June 2024 issue

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The Fall Guy

In theaters now

Ryan Gosling’s career is rather bizarre if you think about it, from drippy romcom protagonist in The Notebook to brooding car noir hero in Drive to laughable failure in The Nice Guys to musical star in La La Land and Barbie. Now he takes a stab at renewing his hardass ways in The Fall Guy, an adaptation of Lee Majors’s 1980s series which pairs him with Emily Blunt and is, in a way, an homage to the careers of “stars who do their own stunts” even if Gosling does not do so himself. There’s even a stunt show planned…

The Fall Guy

In theaters now

Ryan Gosling’s career is rather bizarre if you think about it, from drippy romcom protagonist in The Notebook to brooding car noir hero in Drive to laughable failure in The Nice Guys to musical star in La La Land and Barbie. Now he takes a stab at renewing his hardass ways in The Fall Guy, an adaptation of Lee Majors’s 1980s series which pairs him with Emily Blunt and is, in a way, an homage to the careers of “stars who do their own stunts” even if Gosling does not do so himself. There’s even a stunt show planned for Universal Studios’ Hollywood theme park based on the movie, prior to its release. This is a movie about making movies the old-fashioned way, where people fell off things and broke bones and lied and limped, and green screen was the maximum effort. A welcome return for a retro form.

— Ben Domenech

Fallout

Amazon Prime, streaming now

The video-game adaptation is an uncertain path. As much as the success of HBO’s The Last of Us proved the possibility of the genre, it was at points a shot-for-shot remake of a heavily cinematic game. Not so with Fallout, an uneven and often buggy but immensely popular series that includes a throwback soundtrack and a tendency toward dark, post-apocalyptic humor and gruesome cinematic kills that might not be fit for average viewers. Yet Jonathan Nolan has achieved all of that, along with cementing one of the greatest character actors of the past two decades, Walton Goggins, in an iconic role as a noseless ghoul based on western actors of yore. The series is a fantastic hit for Amazon, which has previously found success not with their high drama attempts but bloody fun with The Boys and Invincible. It turns out Prime Members like the blood splatter escapism over woke rebrands.

— BD

Unfrosted

Netflix, streaming now

Based on a joke from Jerry Seinfeld’s routine and most likely stemming from his apparent obsession with breakfast foods generally, Unfrosted is the farcical tale of a frosted-breakfast pastry war between Kellogg’s and Post and the race to invent the Pop-Tart. Starring Seinfeld himself and co-written with frequent collaborators and former Seinfeld scribes, the film is chock full of more celebrities than we have space to mention. We’re also very excited about a movie finally giving Michigan its rightful place in breakfast lore history.

— Zack Christenson

The Veil

Hulu, streaming now

We like almost anything from Steven Knight, the creator behind favorites like Peaky BlindersTaboo and the criminally underrated Rogue Heroes (probably because it was relegated to a streaming service most people don’t know exists in MGM+). So we’re very interested in his latest, a six-episode spy thriller starring Elizabeth Moss with a British accent. The trailer promises a cat and mouse game set across the usual romantic spy locales from Paris to Istanbul. There’s always room for games of international intrigue with geopolitical consequences in our queue.

ZC

Furiosa

In theaters May 24 

The out-of-nowhere success of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015 was an astounding feat. The visually striking Tom Hardy-led display from a director absent from action cinema for two decades rocked the post-apocalyptic genre and spawned memes and imitators by the dozens. But since one-offs are a thing Hollywood really doesn’t do any more, he’s now composed a follow-up film in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga starring the talented Anya Taylor-Joy in Charlize Theron’s prior role. The spectacle may be there, but the verve and magic of Miller’s prior Mad Max films may be difficult to recapture, given what a unique combination of stars, effects and darkly humorous writing created such a stunning display. But at least it won’t be boring — Miller strapped a man playing a flame-throwing guitar to a massive hurtling truck backed by cartoonishly large speakers. He doesn’t do boring.

— BD

The Border, Willie Nelson

May 31

This release marks Willie Nelson’s 152nd album. The theme of The Border is, well, the US-Mexico frontier, but also the personal life of a border agent. Its lead song, which shares the name of the album, was written by Rodney Crowell and Allen Shamblin for Rodney’s 2019 Texas. Rolling Stone described Crowell’s song (“I work on the border/I see what I see,” “There’s a price on the head/Of every border patrol”) as having an “out-of-time feel, more humanist than political.” Nonetheless, current events have many assuming that the anthology will resemble a Trump rally. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are Willie’s own words: “I don’t believe in closing the border. We have a statue that says: y’all come in.”

— Juan P. Villasmil

Star Wars: The Acolyte

Disney+, June 4

The constant stream of new Star Wars series has been hit or miss for us, but we’d be remiss not to mention the upcoming The Acolyte. Set around 100 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, it follows a Jedi investigating the murders of fellow Jedi at what we assume is the hands of a Sith lord. We don’t know what to expect from this one — while the first seasons of The Mandalorian and Andor were fantastic, some of the other new live-action series have been a disappointment. Regardless — it’s worth a watch.

— ZC

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld

Hulu, June 7

Leave it to Karl Lagerfeld to make me wish I had paid more attention during high-school French. The trailer for the subtitled six-episode miniseries is a pinball whiz of fabulous characters, costumes and spectacle-less Karl, before the spectacular of later career fame. His glasses are thinly shaded or absent in this series, allowing a rare glimpse of the man before he became the maker of so many looks. Daniel Brühl portrays Lagerfeld as a man on the precipice in this tale of rivalry, love and perseverance set in the 1970s Parisian fashion world. Though the outcome is well known, the making of his iconhood is as closely guarded as the couture he oversaw.

— Calla Di Pietro

Bad Boys: Ride or Die

In theaters June 7

The Bad Boys are back. The fourth film in the buddy-cop action series, Bad Boys: Ride or Die is coming to theaters at the start of the month. In an entertainment industry awash with remakes and sequels, here’s one that might actually be welcome. Bad Boys never takes itself too seriously so it can be as goofy and insane as is required to stand up the idea that two near-sixty-year-old men are capable of running and gunning their way out of a Miami PD frame job.

— Amber Duke

The Boys, season four

Amazon Prime, June 13

American television’s worst British accent is back: New Zealander Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher (he’s meant to saaaand liiike eeee’s fraamm Laaaaanndaaaan) and his rag-tag band of superhero hunters come back to Amazon Prime for a fourth helping of The Boys. Last season ended with all-American psychopath “supe” Homelander (Anthony Starr, also a New Zealander) murdering a protester in cold blood — and being cheered for it by the crowd. Expect even more bloody, R-rated antics that send up the worlds of Marvel and DC…

— Matt McDonald

House of the Dragon, season two

HBO, June 16

The first season of the Game of Thrones prequel mostly constituted foreplay: a lot of time establishing which faction was which, which acts of incest were fine and which were passé and slowly watching Paddy Considine’s King Viserys degrade into nothing and cause a succession crisis upon his death. The tragedy of the final episode sets the stage for Queen Rhaenys’s Blacks to face off against her half-brother Aegon’s Greens in the Dance of the Dragons to secure the right to succeed Viserys on the Iron Throne. Kin will kill kin, assassins will assassinate and dragons will fight dragons in orgiastic CGI glory. Readers of George R.R. Martin’s history of Westeros Fire and Blood know what’s in store, but that’s not to say it won’t be fun seeing it brought to life while he finishes the long-awaited (thirteen years and counting) sixth book in his A Song of Ice and Fire saga. Throw another Targaryen on the barbie, won’t you?

MM

Kinds of Kindness

In theaters June 21

Fresh off their Oscar-winning run for Poor Things, Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and actress Emma Stone have teamed up once more for something a bit different from their last two outings (the first, The Favourite, was also a period piece with widespread acclaim). While the trailer doesn’t give too many clues to the actual plot, what we do know is that’s it’s an anthology film of sorts following three different people on their journeys through life. That’s not a lot to go on, but the fast-paced trailer and music choices are enough to make us excited. The cast rounds out with Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe and Margaret Qualley, all Spectator favorites. If it’s as great as Poor Things, we’re in for a treat.

ZC

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s June 2024 World edition.

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