Hulu's 'Woke' Ironically Lives Up to Its Name
Hulu's new TV show 'Woke' follows the story of black cartoonist Keef Knight's "woke" awakening after a brush with police brutality leads him to re-evaluate his relationship with art and social critique. Also, inanimate objects are now talking to him about embracing his blackness.It's a weird concept with great ideas, but 'Woke' makes some of the same mistakes it means to shed a light on. Keith and Aaron discuss in one of the most contentious episodes of the pod yet.
1BR, and the Cult That Recruits at IHOP
Season 1, Ep. 76
We talk about 1BR, the little horror movie that could... unseat Project Power as the top movie on Netflix. It's a story of utopian societies, utilitarianism, and keeping your cat close. Plus, Aaron and Keith recount their experience with a charismatic religious leader who eavesdropped on their conversation at the International House of Pancakes.f you like this episode, check out our interview with 1BR producer Alok Mishra and writer-director David Marmor. And read Alok's piece for MovieMaker about the insane misadventures that went into making the film.
Chadwick Boseman Memories
Season 1, Ep. 76
This episode, we talk about how Chadwick Boseman kept history alive with roles from Jackie Robinson to James Brown to Thurgood Marshall — and how Black Panther changed everything for movies.
Does Project Power Do Too Much?
Season 1, Ep. 75
Project Power, the latest Netflix action-adventure hit, has a new spin on super powers: What if a pill could make you outrageously powerful — for just five minutes?The film by HenryJoost and Ariel Schulman, written by The Batman co-writer Mattson Tomlin, stars a trio of stellar actors: Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dominique Fishback.But it also raises a question about the current action movie emphasis on universe-building: How can a movie tell a self-enclosed story while also hinting at the endless sequels and spinoffs to come? Can a movie do too good a job of universe-building, to the point that its main story feels incomplete?We liked Project Power well enough, don't get us wrong. But we wondered at times if it was doing too much... or not enough. It definitely gave us a lot to talk about.
Shirley is about the brilliant American Gothic author Shirley Jackson, whose mid-20th century work has influenced many of the creators we admire today. Shirley specifically dramatizes the period that Jackson wrote the novel Hangsaman, by introducing a young, recently married couple into her home. Jackson and her husband Stanley Hyman, a literary critic and university professor, provide the couple room and board as the young husband seeks university tenure.In exchange, Rose, the young wife, acts as a daily helper to Jackson who is struggling to write her book or finish chores around the home, let alone come up with a galvanizing idea to write her next great piece of fiction.The set up is straightforward but the execution is anything but.
Robert Pattinson: The Batman Who Laughs (At Exercise)
Season 1, Ep. 73
The lead for a superhero film has to be in phenomenal shape, capable of imposing criminals with their physical presence - or do they? Robert Pattinson, the newest actor to take on the role of Batman in the upcoming 2021 film, adamantly disagrees. In an interview with GQ conducted in April 2020, Pattinson made the case that anyone advocating for working out at all times is “part of the problem.” Presumably, his conviction against exercise is about the pressure to have the perfect physique in a capitalist, image driven society that makes us obsessed with striving for unattainable goals. Detractors would say he simply doesn’t want to work out. This episode of the Low Key podcast begins with a rant arguing the latter.
Black Is King Continues Beyonce's Visual Album Winning Streak
Season 1, Ep. 72
Today’s episode of the Low Key pod covers Beyonce’s visual album Black Is King, a re-envisioning of the classic Lion King tale through the talent and vision of black folks across the globe. In fact, each song for this project was part of Disney’s CGI-live action 2019 Lion King remake, but Black Is King adds additional layers and textures to each rendition by introducing a wide array of African people, tradition, and modern experience. Some audiences will be bewildered and others will not be able to find the words to explain why this is such an important piece of art beyond typical rating critique. Black Is King is streaming now on Disney Plus.
The Business of Drugs
Season 1, Ep. 71
At the end of the first episode of Netfix's The Business of Drugs, host Amaryllis Fox says to the camera:"Legalization may seem pretty extreme to most Americans. But as long as the demand continues to climb, and the prices remain astronomically high because of no legal competition, I can't help wonder whether legalization and regulation is the only real option, and prohibition is just an illusion to make us all feel good."Humans have used substances to induce soberless states since the beginning of time, but The Business of Drugs breaks down how our shared global habit is causing chaos for forgotten people. On this episode of Low Key, we talk about destigmatizing addiction, how poverty fuels drug markets, and whether legalization would help.
Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado
Season 1, Ep. 70
In this episode we explore Netflix's Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, about a Puerto Rican TV astrologer who rose from humble beginnings to become a sequin-caped inspiration to millions.With his distinctive look, aura of mystery — especially about his sexuality — and ability to blend many religious beliefs into a medley of optimism, Walter Mercado gave hope to the hopeless — until an ugly legal dispute yanked him from the air and cost him control of his own carefully cultivated image.:45: Our late-night infomercial memories3:00: Is the Michael Jordan-approved The Last Dance real journalism? Is Walter Mercado getting the Michael Jordan treatment?5:45: "Celebrities nowadays are derivatives of celebrities back in the day."5:50: How Walter Mercado was like Michael Jackson and Prince7:05: About that psychic phone line...7:50: How is Walter Mercado different from a televangelist?8:50: "You just can't swindle a swindler"10:00: Let's talk about Walter Mercado and his manager's relationship11:45: Zodiac signs12:40: "What's the difference between a Walter Mercado and a Tony Robbins?"15:00: Tim has the same religious beliefs as Walter Mercado: "No one has a monopoly on God"18:00: "He had a much better life than most people have"24:00: A Billy Dee Williams story (and here's the background on the gender-fluid story)27:00: Another excellent famous-person story30:55: "The only person I ever saw solve racism was Prince"31:50: "Netflix, again, coming through on the diversity point before it was fucking cool. ... They've been on this train."33:15: Netflix's $120 million donation to HCBUs36:00: "I have an appreciation for any man that dresses up like a wizard"Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado is now streaming on Netflix.