What movies and television shows to watch this summer

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  • Geoff Bennett:

    From Top Gun to the latest Thor and Minions movies, summer blockbusters are making a comeback. Studios and theaters have been vying for movie goers to return given COVID hesitancy and increasingly fierce competition from streaming services. And the big studios and streaming giants battling it out means there's no shortage of content for movie and TV viewers,

    NPR TV critic, Eric Deggans joins us now to talk more about what we're watching and how we're watching it. It's great to have you with us, Eric. And I think, you know, I like a lot of people have what four or five streaming apps yet can never find anything to watch. So help us out. What are you watching? You're the expert.

  • Eric Deggans, NPR TV Critic:

    There's a bunch of great shows right now Better Call Saul on AMC is in the final episodes of the series. It's going to go away in a little bit. And it's the best show on television. So people should definitely check it out. There's a show called the Bear on FX that has finished its first season run, but it's a really great show about a chef who returns to his family's kind of rundown sandwich shop and tries to run it. There's also a wonderful show called The Old Man on FX that Jeff Bridges is starring in. So, a lot of great stuff on television and a lot of great stuff that you can catch up on pretty easily.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    You mentioned the Old Man, we have a clip of it. Let's take a look.

  • Man:

    Apparently we can match the transponders location to the location of the phone moving with it, and then reverse engineer the number. That would have surprised me. I didn't know that was a thing we could do.

    I tell you this park need to remind you that you have no idea how different the game is that the last time you played it. And partly because you've got about three minutes before they're on top of you.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    So it's hard to go wrong with Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow, what's that show all about?

  • Eric Deggans:

    So Jeff Bridges plays a CIA agent who was living under an assumed name for a long time. And suddenly he gets the sense that someone from his past is trying to kill him. And he thinks the CIA may be trying to help them do it. So he tries to go on the run. He's also — he has a daughter that he's trying to keep hidden as well we talked to, and he winds up enlisting the aid of a woman who's kind of innocent to it all played by Amy Brennaman.

    It's a really interesting series that's as much about aging, and about dealing with the legacy of all the decisions you've made as an adult. There are points in this show that can kind of feel like an acting exercise is a little too much, you know, really sort of heart rending scenes between two people. But when the show really gets going, it is really wonderful.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    You mentioned the FX show The Bear, which is streaming right now on Hulu. That's my favorite show at the moment. I will say it is stressful to watch, but it's enthralling. And as you mentioned, it's about the superstar chef who returns home Chicago takes over the family business after the death by suicide of his brother.

  • Man:

    I didn't know my brother was using drugs. What does that say? As we got older, I realized I didn't know anything about him. Really. He stopped letting me into the restaurant a couple of years ago. He just cut me off cold. And that hurt, you know.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    So that's the actor Jeremy Allen White. Why is that show connecting with you, Eric?

  • Eric Deggans:

    Was wonderful to me about this show is that it depicts a very specific environment, the kitchen, in a struggling sandwich shop in Chicago. I grew up in Gary, Indiana right next to Chicago, Chicago has a very specific feel, they do a great job of evoking what those kinds of sandwich shops are like, and the way people yell at each other behind the counter, even though the patrons are right there can hear that.

    On top of all of that, and, you know, this is a guy who was trained in some of the best kitchens in New York, and then he's trying to bring some of those values in there. And he has a quite a tough time about it. But you get to learn a little bit about how, you know, those kitchens work. It's a great character study too. You eventually find out that a lot of the characters are hiding things from themselves. And all of that gets peeled away, as you start to see them have friction with each other and try to deal with this situation that they're going. I really enjoyed the show.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Let's talk about Netflix because they are changing their business model. So you're either going to pay more for your subscription, or you'll pay less but there will be commercials. What do you think are the glory days of streaming over?

  • Eric Deggans:

    I don't know about that. I think what is happening is that Wall Street is being forced to have a more realistic view of what streaming can actually do. Netflix offered this promise to investors and Wall Street that they could continually and constantly increase their subscriber count. And they found that in the wake of increasing their prices this year in the wake of, you know, problems with inflation and people looking, you know, at their bottom line a little closer.

    And in the wake of a flood of competition from other streaming services like Disney plus and Hulu, their subscriber count has gone down by about 1.2 million people. So I think we're going to see less spending on new projects. I think we're going to see them try to crack down on the 100 million households who are getting Netflix for free by sharing passwords, and I think we're going to see them try to offer a cheaper tier of subscriber. So if they will offer you have a much reduced fee, and you watch a few ads, it might be a win-win for everybody if you think about it.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Yes. The way we watch changing what we watch. Eric Deggans, NPR's TV critic, appreciate you as always.

  • Eric Deggans:

    Always a pleasure.

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