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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Detroit'

John Boyega plays security guard Melvin Dismukes in <em>Detroit.</em>
Francois Duhamel
Annapurna Pictures
John Boyega plays security guard Melvin Dismukes in Detroit.

With host Linda Holmes still in Los Angeles, where she's attending the Televisions Critics Association press tour, Glen Weldon and I have assembled without her for a discussion of director Kathryn Bigelow's new film, Detroit. We're joined by our pals Gene Demby (from NPR's Code Switch) and Aisha Harris (who hosts Slate's Represent podcast).

With its intense and unsettling depictions of police brutality in the summer of 1967, Detroit got under our skin in different ways, and raised a lot of larger questions, which we at least attempt to answer: Whom, exactly, is this movie for? Is it necessary? And how rigidly do Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal adhere to history — which is itself up for debate? (On that last point, we refer you to this excellent essay Aisha wrote for Slate.)

All summer, we're recording two episodes of Pop Culture Happy Hour each week, and this is the first. Check back in on Friday for a spirited and recommendation-intensive discussion of Stephen King — his writing, his strengths and weaknesses, and some of the many adaptations of his work — as well as What's Making Us Happy this week.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)