What to look forward to: 5 Things summer preview

·15 min read

On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast:

Summer. The weather, the sports, the cookouts, the optimism. What are you most looking forward to about summer? Sitting down to read a new book? Watching a blockbuster film in the theatre? Maybe some political races? The team at 5 Things asked around at USA TODAY to see what some of our collogues are looking forward to.

USA TODAY National Political correspondent David Jackson talked about one of the most expensive congressional primaries ever and the unlikely place its happening.

USA TODAY'S Entertain This host Ralphie Aversa talked about upcoming summer concerts, films and the release of a highly anticipated album.

USA TODAY'S Books Editor Barbara VanDenBurgh shared some of her favorite new releases including one that will soon have a movie sequel.

What are you looking forward to? Tell James Brown on Twitter here.

To follow David Jackson on Twitter, click here.

To follow Ralphie Aversa on Twitter, click here.

To read more Barbara VanDenBurgh 's book reviews click here.

Podcasts: True crime, in-depth interviews and more USA TODAY podcasts right here.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

James Brown: Hello, and welcome to 5 Things. I'm James Brown. It's Sunday, May 29th, 2022. On Sundays, we do things a bit differently, focusing on one topic instead of five. In this week, we're looking forward to summer.

One of the things I like best about summer is the optimism, the weather, the gatherings, the cookouts, the sports. And for people like me, who live in cold weather places, we get to forget it snows half the year. What are you looking forward to this summer? Let me know @jamesbrowntv on Twitter, or email me at jabrown@usatoday.com.

I asked that question to a few of my colleagues, and they told me what's coming up in the worlds of entertainment, politics and books. USA Today, Books Editor, Barbara Vandenburgh, says a sequel to one of our favorite films will be released in book form in the next few months. Entertain This, host Ralphie Aversa, says the legendary Quincy Jones is credited on the new Harry Styles album. And as USA Today, National Political correspondent, David Jackson, tells us, one of the most expensive congressional primaries ever is happening in an unlikely place.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a returning champion. David Jackson's with us. How you been?

David Jackson: Fine, sir. How are you?

James Brown: I'm doing great. I'm glad to have you back. I would love for you to break out your crystal ball. Just looking forward over the next couple of months, what are the big political stories, things that you know are coming, things that our listeners should be on the lookout for?

David Jackson: Well, we know about a few things that are happening that are going to be quite interesting. One of them is the Congressional Committee that's investigating the insurrection of January 6th, 2021. They're going to be starting public hearings. I think the first one's on June 9th. And they're going to go through in pretty granular detail about Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election last year and how it basically led to the attack on the US Capitol, on January 6th. So we're expecting a lot of interesting testimony and a lot of fireworks and basically a lot of Democrats accusing Trump of trying to be an election thief and a lot of Republicans saying that Democrats are politicizing legitimate complaints about the election. And we're expecting at least six public hearings and a lot of documentation to come out. So it'll go a long way towards being able to reconstruct what happened during those two months after the 2020 election.

Another event that we're expecting is the Supreme Court is going to hand out its real decision on abortion. We think that's going to happen in late June. Now, we've read a lot of stories about this preliminary opinion they have and it sure looks like the court is going to strike down the Roe versus Wade ruling from 1973, but that's just a draft opinion that's being circulated among the justice, that's not the final product. We're expecting that product to come out again in late June or early July. And that will just revive the firestorm over the abortion issue, which is liable to become a very big thing in the upcoming midterm elections in November. Democrats feel like it's an issue that can really boost their chances, where Republicans feel the same way. The anti-abortion faction has been a big vote getter for them in decades passed, and they seem to think that that will continue even after the Supreme Court gives them the ultimate victory in striking down Roe versus Wade. So, that's going to happen.

We're also going to continue to have primaries throughout the summer. Particularly the most interesting being in August when Wyoming Congresswoman, Liz Cheney, seeks reelection. She's of course, as the top target of Donald Trump. Trump's very mad at her because she voted to impeach him over January 6th. So he recruited a challenger to run against Cheney. And it's a multimedia... It's one of the most expensive house races of all... One of the most expensive house primaries of all time. So a lot of Republicans from across the country have poured money into that race and that's going to be in mid-August and it'll be Liz Cheney against a Wyoming Lord named Harriet Hageman. And that'll be an interesting test of Trump's influence in the Republican party, and good exposure on the divisions within that party is they move ahead to try to win control of Congress in November.

James Brown: When it comes to the Cheney race, are we talking hundreds of thousands, are we talking millions, are we talking tens of millions?

David Jackson: In a per voter race, it's probably going to set the record for the most expensive. Got not a lot of voters in Wyoming, but there are already millions and millions of dollars being spent because a lot of traditional Republicans like Cheney, they don't like Donald Trump. So they're giving her money to try to hold onto her seat. And there's a lot of Trump money in Wyoming and across the country that's going to go all out to try to defeat her. So that's going to be a very expensive race in this liable set of records.

James Brown: Entertain This host, Ralphie Aversa, has one of the coolest jobs at USA Today. He interviews entertainers of all types. Here's a few of the things he's looking forward to this summer.

Ralphie Aversa: From a movie standpoint, I think it's headlined by Top Gun. And Top Gun: Maverick, obviously is going to come out Memorial Day weekend. And the review so far have been glowing. Tom Cruise told our Bryan Alexander at the premier in San Diego that he wanted to wait until this movie could be seen on the big screen, and now he gets that chance. And I think it's going to just have a massive summer. It's a big summer for movies, period though, because you have the new Jurassic World film as well, you have the new Thor film, you have a lot of things coming out, the Buzz Lightyear film as well, with Disney Pixar. So a lot of stuff to look forward to at the theaters.

James Brown: Really interesting on theaters, just in general. This is the first actual full summer back where you have a full slate where we will probably have packed theaters, I'm presuming.

Ralphie Aversa: It is hard to know, but that said, you have movies that certainly would warrant that. So we'll see how it plays out throughout the summer. You're also going to have back though, a full slate of live summer concerts and outdoor venues. I spoke this week with Pat Monahan, the band Train, just released its 11th studio album, AM Gold. And Pat, tongue in cheek, but I think he was being somewhat serious. He said, "Look, if you're not going to come see us on tour..." And they're doing all the outdoor amphitheaters with Jewel and Blues Traveler, "Go see something, go see some live music." We were deprived of it for so long and we've lost so many greats over the past couple of years. Go see someone and have that live music, human experience. And I'm really looking forward to that being back this summer as well.

James Brown: I think he makes a really great point there and I like Train. I've seen Blues Traveler, and I don't think I've seen Jewel. I totally would be down to go see them.

Ralphie Aversa: Absolutely. I think in so many different cities across the country, you have these outdoor venues that for the most part have gone unused over the past two, two and a half years. And so a lot of those amphitheaters will see jam packed audiences, and those lawns will be filled and you'll be able to experience a lot of live music, which will be cool.

James Brown: What else is on your plate? What else jumps out to you, comes to mind over the next few months?

Ralphie Aversa: From a TV standpoint, obviously you have these Stranger Things season coming out, obviously. So, that is gaining a lot of press. And that will be, I think, talked about throughout the summer on Netflix. And then from a music standpoint, this weekend is a big weekend for music, obviously not just with Train and some other releases, but Harry Styles. The Harry styles album, it's his third solo LP. It's called Harry's House. Our Melissa Ruggieri, reviewed it and gave it a pretty glowing review. He's going to be performing this weekend at UBS Arena on Long Island. And then of course he'll be performing as well. But when you're at Harry's level, you're not just doing outdoor amphitheaters, you're doing arenas. And I'm sure for him, stadiums, which he used to do with One Direction, aren't that far away either.

And so the new Harry album, I got to say, I've been listening to it. We're covering it this weekend for USA Today's, Entertain This. It is really, really good. So it's great to see good Pop. I'm a big fan of Pop music. You mentioned I was in radio. For those who don't know I was in radio for a number of years primarily and was on Pop Radio. And so a good Pop song always catches me.

James Brown: You got a favorite track?

Ralphie Aversa: Quincy Jones has a co-write on the new Harry Styles album because he sampled a 1978 song from The Brothers Johnson. It's a song called Daydreaming, on Harry's album, and it's probably my favorite.

James Brown: USA Today, Books Editor, Barbara Vandenburgh, and I don't have a ton in common, except a mutual favorite crime movie. Our listeners can't see you right now, but I can, and I see a stack of books right behind you. Is that emblematic of your life?

Barbara Vandenb...: Yes, it's a problem. There are 10 of these scattered throughout the house. It's a fire hazard. If this house ever catches on fire, I'm screwed. It's all books.

James Brown: Do you get promos? Do you get books earlier than the rest of us?

Barbara Vandenb...: Oh yes. Yes, basically if I... Unless it's a really scandalous celebrity tell all memoir, if I want a book early, I just need to reach out to the publisher and they'll send it to me, which is a power I try not to abuse, but it's very exciting to get all of the books early. It's ruined me. I can never have another job because then I'll never get the books early. So, you guys are stuck with me.

James Brown: I could read it all over your face. The joy as you articulate, "Hey, I get all the books early." Yes, it's...

Barbara Vandenb...: Right? As far as jobs go, it's not a bad one.

James Brown: So tell me about the books that you're really excited about this summer.

Barbara Vandenb...: Well, a book that actually literally just came out last week is one that I'm really excited about and that I think people are going to love. It's called This Time Tomorrow, by Emma Straub. It's a really delightful take on the time travel story, and it plays interestingly with time travel tropes. So it's a novel and it's about this girl, Alice, who... She's about to turn 40, which resonates with me because I just turned 40. And she falls asleep on her 40th birthday and she wakes up and she finds herself 16 years old, again.

So very much like a 13 going on 30, situation but in reverse. She's got the perspective of a 40 year old, but she's 16 again. And it gives her a different perspective on her father, who's 40 years old himself. And she sees now, what he was going through at the time and better appreciates it. And it just... It's a really charming book. It's really clever. It has a lot of interesting things to say about hitting this first phase of midlife and it's full of elder millennial nostalgia and Pop culture. That as somebody who was a teenager in the 90's really resonated with me. I think this book is going to be... It's going to do huge. I'll be surprised if it doesn't get turned into a movie.

James Brown: Well, tell me about the nostalgia. I am an elder millennial myself. I just turned 38. Why would we notice?

Barbara Vandenb...: Oh, the music, the movie. She wakes up in her bedroom and has a poster of the movie, Reality Bites, in her bedroom. And so it goes down on a Reality Bites, memory lane walk and yes, just absolutely chock full, but not in an obnoxious way, of Pop culture references and callbacks. And if you were a teenager in the 90's, you're going to recognize it.

James Brown: Well, what else is around the corner?

Barbara Vandenb...: I'm really excited to read a book coming out June 7th. It's a novel by the author, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, called Woman of Light. Now, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, is a native and Latina author from Colorado. She's a national book award finalist for her short story collection, Sabrina and Corina, which came out a couple years ago. So this is her first novel. It's a multi-generational historical tale set in the American west. And it tells the story of Luz "Little Light" Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, who begins to have visions of her ancestors and the forces that have threatened her indigenous family.

So, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, is a really, really beautiful writer. Sabrina and Corina is a gorgeous collection of stories. She knows how to write a sentence. But I'm really interested in reading a Western that centers indigenous voices and experiences that isn't about the typical white cowboy, really excited to see what she does with this. I think it's going to be really big because her short story collection was just phenomenal.

James Brown: If you were to, based on what you know, pick the blockbuster that nobody's talking about, to come, what would it be?

Barbara Vandenb...: Well, I don't know about the blockbuster. I can tell you about the blockbuster probably everybody's talking about.

James Brown: Tell me about it.

Barbara Vandenb...: Heat 2, by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner. So did you ever see the 1995 film, Heat, starring Robert de Niro and Al Pacino?

James Brown: I love that film.

Barbara Vandenb...: It's an amazing film.

James Brown: Pacino and de Niro together? When? That never happens. There's a book?

Barbara Vandenb...: Yes. So Michael Mann, who directed Heat, one of the all time great filmmakers. I love Michael Mann. He's teamed up with the Edgar award-winning thriller writer, Meg Gardiner. She's great. And they've written a sequel to that 1995 film, Heat. So it continues the film's story, it's exploring the gritty world of international crime organization, and the agents who investigate them. I have not read it yet. I am dying to read it. I love Heat, and I am so excited by the prospect that maybe they'll turn this into a movie. Maybe we're going to get a film sequel to Heat. And I'm just salivating at the prospect.

James Brown: As am I, I'm thrilled. Barbara Vandenburgh, thank you for joining me on 5 Things.

Barbara Vandenb...: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

James Brown: If you liked the show, write us a review on apple podcast or wherever you're listening, and do me a favor, share it with a friend. Thanks to Ralphie Aversa, David Jackson, and Barbara Vandenburgh, for joining me. I can't wait to have them all back.

What are you looking forward to this summer? Let me know @jamesbrowntv on Twitter, or email me at jabrown@usatoday.com.

Thanks to Alexis Gustin for her production assistance. Taylor Wilson will be back tomorrow morning with 5 Things you need to know for Monday. For all of us at USA Today, thanks for listening. I'm James Brown, and as always, be well.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 5 Things summer preview: What are you looking forward to about summer?

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