The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for August

It’s Val Kilmer’s world, as seen through the eyes of Val Kilmer. Plus, Taika Waititi’s new comedy.

August 2, 2021 7:27 am
Val Kilmer sitting down in the documentary "Val", which was built from video the actor took over several decades
Much of the footage in "Val" was taken by Val Kilmer over the past few decades
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important cultural happenings, pop and otherwise.

DISCOVER: Reservation Dogs

Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo are behind this comedy that follows four indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma as they “steal, rob, and save in order to get to the exotic, mysterious, and faraway land of California.”  (8/9, FX on Hulu)

Other new TV series and specials: Mr. Corman (8/6, Apple TV+); What If … ?(8/11, Disney+); Nine Perfect Strangers (8/18, Hulu); The Chair (8/20, Netflix); Chapelwaite (8/22, Epix); Clickbait (8/25, Netflix); Only Murders in the Building (8/31, Hulu)


A self-portrait of one of Hollywood’s most interesting and enigmatic stars, this documentary on Val Kilmer is built from tapes that the actor himself shot over the past few decades. (8/6, Prime Video)

More new documentaries: Small Town News (8/2, HBO); Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union (8/3, HBO); Pray Away (8/3, Netflix); Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami (8/4, Netflix); UFO (8/8, Showtime); Misha and the Wolves (8/11, Netflix); Homeroom (8/12, Hulu); Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground (8/19, HBO Max); 9/11: One Day in America (8/29, Nat Geo)

WATCH: The Suicide Squad

James Gunn mainly ignores DC’s antihero tentpole from a few years back and reimagines the same concept: C-level villains (Polka Dot Man, The Detachable Kid) as disposable heroes. (8/6, HBO Max/theaters)

More new films coming to the small screen and big: John and the Hole (8/6, VOD/theaters); Vivo (8/6, Netflix); Beckett (8/13, Netflix); CODA (8/13, Apple TV+); Demonic (8/20, VOD/theaters); Reminiscence (8/20, HBO Max/theaters); He’s All That (8/27, Netflix)

STREAM: The Other Two

This caustic comedy’s return is a pleasant surprise after a year off — formerly on Comedy Central and now on HBO Max, this half-hour follows two loser millennial siblings who use their 14-year-old pop star brother as a means to their own success. (8/26)

Returning TV series and specials: Fantasy Island (8/10, Fox); Cribs (8/11, MTV); Brooklyn Nine-Nine (8/12, Fox); Slasher: Flesh + Blood (with David Cronenberg; 8/12, Shudder); Bachelor in Paradise (8/16, ABC); Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens (8/18, Comedy Central); The Walking Dead (final season; 8/22, AMC); Archer (8/25, FX); American Horror Story (8/25, FX)

Several People Are Typing book cover

READ: Several People Are Typing

The most 2021 novel of 2021 is a workplace satire following a mid-level employee at a public relations firm who unwittingly has his consciousness uploaded into the company’s internal Slack channel. Possibly a bit too on the nose for the moment, but Calvin Kasulke’s debut has earned comparisons to The Office and David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King. (8/31)

LISTEN: Big Red Machine

How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, the second release from Aaron Dessner (The National) and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), is just as collaboration-heavy as the first, featuring  the likes of Anaïs Mitchell, Taylor Swift, Fleet Foxes, Ilsey, Naeem, Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, Shara Nova, La Force, Ben Howard and This Is the Kit, among others. According to the band — or should we say The Band — part of it is “some version of The Last Waltz.” (8/27)

More new music: (8/6) Liars; George Harrison (re-release) … (8/13) Jungle; The Killers; Quicksand … (8/20) Deafheaven; Wanda Jackson; Lorde; Sturgill Simpson; Angel Olsen … (8/27) Chvrches; DMX; Halsey; Mouse Rat (yes, the band from “Parks & Recreation”)

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