DEAR MOVIE TWITTER
There may not be a more complicated and messy empathy machine than Dear Evan Hansen. Both on stage and now in movie theaters, the story of outcast teen Evan fabricating a friendship with a classmate who killed himself — first to comfort the boy's grieving family before getting swept up in the lie for his own gain — walks the harrowing tightrope of compassion and cringe. But not painting in moral blacks and whites is kinda the point, and it actually pulls it off. Sure, the show's Broadway-turned-film star Ben Platt could've been recast younger (he was 27 during shooting; his romantic interest Kaitlyn Dever was 24, but no one seems enraged by that) but it's not too hard to suspend your disbelief if you want to enjoy the movie instead of trying to meme shame it. (SETH SOMMERFELD)
Just in time for the witchy fall season, my favorite vampires are back and bringing even more laughs for FX's third season of What We Do in the Shadows, airing Thursdays and streaming on Hulu. Based on the film of the same name from creators Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, the mockumentary series' quartet of centuries-old vampire roommates Nadja, Nandor, Laszlo and Colin Robinson — plus their loyal familiar Guillermo — have already this season taken an antics-filled vacation to Atlantic City's casinos, and comfortably settled into their roles as leaders of Staten Island's Vampiric Council. (CHEY SCOTT)
THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST
There's noteworthy new music arriving in stores and online Oct. 1. To wit:
Brandi Carlile, In These Silent Days. The reigning queen of Washington state singer-songwriters returns with more heart-wrenching tunes before making her SNL music guest debut later this month.
Illuminati Hotties, Let Me Do One More. Extend your sonic summer with Sarah Tudzin's latest blissfully bratty LP of sunny rippers and tenderpunk odes.
Various Artists, The Metallica Blacklist. I dare you to find a wilder array of artists — Miley Cyrus, Yo-Yo Ma, Jason Isbell, Flatbush Zombies, etc. — than the 53 assembled for this charity collection honoring Metallica's classic The Black Album. (SETH SOMMERFELD)