John Carney reinvented the movie musical with "Once," "Sing Street" and "Begin Again," celebrating the healing power of catchy tunes. His latest sticks to the same formula. In "Flora and Son," streaming Friday on Apple Plus TV, Flora (Eve Hewson) struggles with her temper and a difficult teen, Max (Orén Kinlan). The only thing the two seem to have in common is a gift for creative cursing.
Then mom finds a discarded guitar in the trash and Max learns how to create hip-hop on the computer. What follows is a series of collaborations that will put a big smile on your face.
Hewson's ability to harmonize is no surprise; she's the daughter of U2 frontman Bono. But she's also a spunky actor, particularly memorable when she's flirting with an online music teacher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, looking like a post-grunge Eddie Vedder). She deserves to be considered for an Oscar nomination.
It's more likely that she'll get awards for helping to write some of the movie's great original tunes, which hold up nicely alongside snippets from the catalogs of Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell and Hoagy Carmichael.
Snobs will slam Carney for making films that simply patch together silly love songs. But what's wrong with that?
Also this week
'The Golden Bachelor'
Leslie Fhima, a Minnesota fitness instructor who once dated Prince, is among those looking for love in this intriguing twist on the "Bachelor" formula. The hot-to-trot prize is 71-year-old Gerry Turner, who will be choosing from a field of 22 age-appropriate contestants. In addition to Fhima, the field includes Patty James, the mother of Season 25's "Bachelor" star Matt James, and Renee Halverson-Wright, a former Chicago Bears cheerleader. The show is immediately followed by "Bachelor in Paradise." 7 p.m. Thursday, KSTP, Ch. 5
'People's Choice Country Awards'
Morgan Wallen leads the field of nominees in the launch of this new awards show that will include special tributes to Toby Keith and Wynonna Judd. One star who probably won't be making an appearance is Maren Morris. She recently announced that she's distancing herself from country music, accusing the genre of racist and sexist attitudes. She criticized Wallen in 2021 for his use of a racial slur. 7 p.m. Thursday, Peacock
This slow-burning mystery is a throwback to those '70s films where the detective is always one step behind the audience. This time around, the clueless hero is played by Benicio Del Toro, who also contributed to a script that too often wanders away from the plot. It's not "Chinatown." Director Grant Singer is best known for doing music videos, which may explain why one of the suspects is played by Justin Timberlake. Friday, Netflix
'How to Fix a Pageant'
The New York Times documentary unit is behind this in-depth look at the recent scandals that have tripped up the Miss USA Pageant with reporters making good use of testimonials from former contestants. It's probably no coincidence that the scathing investigation premieres the same day the 72nd Miss USA Pageant is taking place. 9 p.m. Friday, FX (streaming on Hulu starting Saturday). Pageant airs at 7 p.m. Friday, WUCW, Ch. 23