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Culture Index: ‘Groundhog Day’ Musical, ‘Veep’ Returns, ‘Fate of the Furious’ and More

Six great things you should check out this week

Culture Index: 'Groundhog Day' on Broadway, 'Veep' Returns, 'Fate of the Furious' and More

Spring is tough because, on one hand, you want to be outside as much as possible. On the other, a lot of great films come out and our favorite shows return to television. With that, we’ve got a mix of things the Rolling Stone editors are into this week, including a few books you can read outside, and some movies and a Broadway version of an iconic comedy you can see when it cools down at night. 

Sarah Gerard’s ‘Sunshine State’

Make fun of it all you want, but Florida has given us a number of great writers and books, from Elmore Leonard’s Get Shorty to Karen Russell Swamplandia, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that another one of its natives, essayist and critic Sarah Gerard, went back to her home state to find inspiration for this stunning essay collection. 

'Chewing Gum' on Netflix

Netflix

‘Chewing Gum’ on Netflix

Michaela Coel’s “cringe-comedy into one young woman’s carnal-knowledge coming-of-age nightmare” was the talk of Twitter this week. The British sitcom about “an evangelical Christian, Beyoncé-crazed virgin who’s stuck in the middle of navigating a world of sexual discovery, interracial dating and identity crises,” is the latest binge-worthy show on Netflix to cross the pond and resonate with American viewers. 

'Fate of the Furious'

‘Fate of the Furious’

The Furious franchise returns in the post-Paul Walker era and finds a split in the family when Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto goes to work for an evil organization. Things get all weird when the previous film’s bad guy, Deckard Shaw played by Jason Statham, is released from his super prison and tasked with helping out the good guys that put him there in the first place. 

Raymond Lee, who plays the groundhog in the upcoming Broadway show "Groundhog's Day," in Central Park in New York, Feb. 10, 2017.

Amy Lombard/Redux

‘Groundhog Day’ on Broadway

Actor Andy Karl is no stranger to re-imagining an iconic movie character – he had the dubious privilege of crafting a singing Rocky Balboa on a Broadway stage after all – but following Bill Murray’s unforgettable performance as an asshole weatherman in the 1993 film Groundhog Day creates its own peculiar challenges. First: how to keep the constant repetition of reliving the same day in perpetuity from becoming a bore. Luckily Karl has the charisma and singing chops to make a musical adaptation even more compelling than the original source material. The colorful ensemble cast also make Punxsutawney, Pa. special, but it’s songs by Tim Minchin – including one about multiple suicide attempts and lyrics that reference repeated masturbation – that brings the dark material to a whole new level of remarkable, subversive genius.

Durga Chew-Bose’s ‘Too Much and Not the Mood’

This slim collection of essays ushers in the start of what will hopefully be a long run of books by essayist and critic Durga Chew-Bose. Picking apart art and literature and blending it with observations from everyday life, Chew-Bose could make even the grayest day seem beautiful and fascinating. 

Veep new season 2017

HBO

‘Veep’ Returns

As Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ beleaguered character Selina Meyer has learned in past seasons of Veep, the only thing harder than being vice president is president, and now – at the beginning of the HBO political satire’s sixth season – she’s learning the only thing more challenging than being president is not being president. The season premiere opens with Meyer sitting for an interview with her former director of communications, the smarmy Dan Egan (actor Reid Scott), who has wiggled his way into a morning-show TV gig and is still capable of pushing her buttons. One embarrassment leads to another on the air, and before long Meyer has stuck her foot in her mouth far enough to affect the full diaspora of the Meyer cabinet and their associates. As the show reveals, almost everyone is in some desperate situation – the funniest of which is former press secretary Mike McLintock (Matt Walsh) who’s now saddled with three babies and no clue about how to raise them. In typical Veep fashion, the chaos escalates quicker than a Trump tweet to hilarious effect.

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