"Slow Horses" Is Not to Be Missed and "The Lost City" Is Pure Romantic-Comedy Fun
The Best Movies, TV, Music, Books, and Comics April 8-10
We picked up thousands of new subscribers this past week, so I thought this would be a good time to welcome you newbies to a regular feature of my Substack empire: The Weekend Boost. I know many of you might find this feature surprising because you’re expecting me to rant about social injustice and racial politics. You can’t see me right now, but assume I’m shaking my fist in outrage about something or other.
If you read the description of my site, you’ll see that I like to write about the intersection of sports, politics, and popular culture. Wonder why a guy known for slamming basketballs, slamming politicians, and making bald look goooood has the audacity to write about these topics?
Well, I do have some experience: when it comes to movies and TV, I’ve acted in dozens of them. I was also a writer on the Veronica Mars show and sold a TV series I’d written to Warner Bros. When it comes to music, years ago I used to be the head of my own record company specializing in jazz. When it comes to books, not only am I a voracious reader, but I’ve written over a dozen bestsellers. When it comes to graphic novels, I’ve been reading them for over 60 years. I also wrote my own graphic novel a few years ago and am currently writing another one.
Most important, I like sharing with all of you the things that bring me joy and make my week better. I’m hoping it will do the same for you. So, here’s some pop culture coming at you.
The Lost City
Directed by Adam Nee & Aaron Nee
There hasn’t been a good romantic-comedy in years. That’s because they’ve been replaced by buddy-action movies which follow the same formula but without the kissing. If you look at Unchartered or Red Notice, you’ll see they are thinly disguised romantic-comedies with the main courtship ritual occurring between the male leads (Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg; Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds). Sure, there are sexy, tough, smart women along for the ride just so we’re clear about the leads’ sexual orientation, but otherwise they are mano a mano romantic-comedies.
That’s why I always roll my eyes when I hear some people complain about romantic-comedies because they’re predictable. Was there any doubt in Unchartered and Red Notice what would happen? Are you surprised at the end of tragedies when the protagonists die (What? Hamlet bites the dust?)? The cool thing about storytelling is that even though the audience knows the basic structure of whatever they’re watching, really good writers and directors find ways to make moments fresh and original, thereby delighting the viewer.
That’s what happens in The Lost City. Sure, there are echoes of Romancing the Stone, but the writers, directors, and cast make this a wholly fun and exciting experience. Sandra Bullock as the kidnapped romance writer and Channing Tatum as the cover model determined to rescue her are charming and funny. Brad Pitt as the trouble-shooter hired to help rescue her brings is wonderfully disarming and so, so funny.
You want to go to the movies and have a good time? Then go see this movie and laugh and swoon and leave feeling good. Also: don’t miss the mid-credits scene because it is one of the cleverest ones I’ve ever seen. I laughed aloud at it.