The ever-growing glut of great new TV, movies, books, music, comics, and podcasts can be a lot to keep up with. So we here at Vox Culture — where our current obsessions include Harry Dean Stanton’s final film, revisiting some of the best music of the ‘90s, and the return of Brooklyn Nine-Nine — have a few suggestions for how to make the best use of your pop culture–consuming time.
Here are seven items you should really consider adding to your pop culture queue.
Watch/listen: HAIM’s new performance video, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, adds a spellbinding new layer to their music
HAIM’s new album Something to Tell You is great, but some bands are a whole different animal live, and HAIM is for sure one of them. The three sisters are electric in concert, throwing their entire bodies into their music while remaining almost freakishly in sync. To see HAIM live is to understand their songs on a completely new level, which is why it’s so cool that Paul Thomas Anderson — the force behind Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood — decided to direct Valentine, a fantastic, intimate mini concert film of the trio performing three songs from Something to Tell You in a recording studio. You can watch the full 14-minute video on YouTube, and trust me: You’ll want to stick around until the very end for the spectacular drum finale. —Caroline Framke
Watch: The Houses October Built 2 is a fun seasonal sequel
The charm of 2014’s The Houses October Built (which is now streaming on Netflix) was embedded in its premise: a found-footage tour of pop-up haunted house attractions all around the country in the weeks before Halloween. This year’s The Houses October Built 2 reboots our expectations about the ending of that first film while expanding its purview beyond traditional haunted houses to sample alternate but similar attractions like Escape the Room games and zombie runs. The result offers a fun riff on an old theme, a nice October aperitif. —Aja Romano
Watch: Lucky is the perfect swan song for the late Harry Dean Stanton
Harry Dean Stanton left a half century of remarkable roles behind when he died on September 15, but his final big-screen turn — as a 90-year-old avowed atheist facing down his own immortality — is almost too perfect to believe it wasn’t planned. Lucky, now in theaters, is a philosophical comedy about the meaning of life and friendship, and it features a great appearance from a raft of supporting actors, most notably Stanton’s long-time friend and collaborator David Lynch as a man slightly obsessed with his lost pet tortoise. It’s the ideal conclusion to a great career, and a gift to all of Stanton’s fans and admirers. Rest in peace. —Alissa Wilkinson
Listen: Josie and the Pussycats’ soundtrack gets a purple vinyl reissue, is still totally jerkin’
Josie and The Pussycats has become a cult favorite since it bombed in theaters back in 2001, its peppy satire of millennial teen culture, marketing, and consumerism having grown only more biting in the ensuing years. Despite its longevity, though, it’s about as 2001 as movies get, from its midriff tops and low-cut jeans to its Carson Daly cameo to, most notably, its stellar soundtrack of pop-rock originals. That soundtrack is now getting a slick new reissue via Mondo — on purple leopard-print vinyl, no less — which is as good a reason as any to revisit its glossy charms.
Drawing from a deep well of songwriting talent that includes Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz, the Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin, and many more (plus the vocal contributions of Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley, the singing voice of Rachel Leigh Cook’s Josie), the Josie soundtrack is a perfect snapshot of the musical era, when rock ’n’ roll ceded the mainstream to bubbly pop, and the concept of musical authenticity was turned on its ear — thanks in part to one of the greatest albums by a fake band ever. —Genevieve Koski
Watch: this Youtube series in which teens are mystified by ‘90s music will make you come to terms with your mortality
Youtube’s React Channel is built around the simple principle that it is fun to watch people react to things (video games! Getting pie thrown in your face!), but for my money its most fascinating gimmick is the one where teenagers are made to listen to music from the ‘90s and then asked if they know it, only for the teenagers to respond with profound confusion and astonishment.
“This sounds like it was on Guitar Hero!” chirps one fresh-faced young girl when faced with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
“Wow. That was aggressive,” says another.
It’s a chance to see the canon formation in action (The Pussycat Dolls’ “Dontcha” appears to be safe for future generations, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers may not stand the test of time), as well as to feel casually superior to the Youths of today. Simultaneously, you will likely be forced to accept that you were once young and are no longer, while recognizing that the Youths of today will one day, like you, watch and marvel as the music of their childhood is dismissed as a throwback. You can spend hours getting lost in the experience. —Constance Grady
Watch: Brooklyn Nine Nine is back, and it’s still one of TV’s most reliably funny shows
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been solid since day one, and that’s as true ever even as the show enters its fifth(!) season. The Fox comedy returned this week with the first part of a two-part premiere, throwing Andy Samberg’s happy-go-lucky Jake and Stephanie Beatriz’s surly Rosa into prison for a crime they didn’t commit and adding some weighty, higher-than-usual stakes. Not only did the show unveil Jake’s new prison beard, it also proved it can remain a very funny sitcom while pointing out the many, many injustices inherent in America’s prison system — no small feat. Also, Jake’s only friend in prison is Tim Meadows, and Andre Braugher’s Captain Holt is still the king of hall-of-fame line readings. You can stream the entire series to date on Hulu right now. —CF
Watch: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s tremendous The Vietnam War is fully available to stream
If you’ve been waiting for all 10 episodes — and all 18 hours! — of The Vietnam War, the latest sprawling American history documentary from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, to be available to marathon, your time has come. The full series is now up on PBS’s website (and if you live in the US, you should be able to see the whole thing for free, even without a cable subscription). Be warned, though: The Vietnam War is not an easy watch, as the war becomes an endless quagmire and both sides suffer many casualties in an increasingly pointless conflict. Maybe space it out a little bit, is all I’m saying. But definitely watch it, because it’s one of Burns’s best works. —Todd VanDerWerff