Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

History of the World, Part II

March 11, 2023

Over forty years ago, Mel Brooks was on a roll. His seventh directed film, History of the World, Part I, made a lot of money. I remember loving his films. Today, I’m not so sure they would hold up. Perhaps moments, but an entire movie? Probably not. Someone at Hulu decided to create a sequel, History of the World, Part II which follows the Mel Brooks format precisely. Lots of sight gags and irreverent scenarios. I tried watching this new incarnation. I chuckled at Abraham Lincoln hitting his head over and over again. I chuckled at the youngest Romanov child as an influencer. And that was about it. My sense of humor has evolved over my lifetime. Not saying Mel’s humor is any less sophisticated than something that might make me laugh out loud. Just saying it’s not my sense of humor. 2 out of 5. Next.

History of the World, Part II currently streams on Hulu.

The Golden Girls: Ageless

February 3, 2023

Reelz Originals presents a new documentary, The Golden Girls: Ageless on the continuing love for Dorothy, Sofia, Blanche, and Rose. Under an hour, the show talks about the reasons we still worship this perennial favorite and all the ways fans share their love these days including a Golden Girls cruise, a new book, new merch, and even a significant place at the Comic Cons table. And not so surprising – 3 of the talking heads are gay men. So much fun realizing I’m not the only stan in the house. Narrated by Valerie Bertinelli who starred with Betty White in Hot in Cleveland, I give The Golden Girls: Ageless a 3 out of 5.

Watch The Golden Girls: Ageless on Tubi.TV for free.


7 Women and a Murder (7 donne e un mistero)

January 31, 2023

Italian locked room murder mystery and comedy, 7 Women and a Murder is a remake of the 2002 film 8 Women by François Ozon, and the play Huit femmes by Robert Thomas. Kooky, campy, silly and lots of fun, this film is a perfect antidote to a long week at work or a difficult time navigating the news. 7 Women boasts an impressive international cast including Margherita Buy (His Secret Life), Diana Del Bufalo, Sabrina Impacciatore, Benedetta Porcaroli, Micaela Ramazzotti, Luisa Ranieri and Ornella Vanoni. Full disclosure, I fell asleep during the ending (that’s happening more and more lately) and couldn’t figure out who the murderer was. So I will be rewinding some early evening this week to find out whodunnit. Meanwhile the rest of the film I was awake for was charming, silly, and made me laugh out loud in places. And it all takes place during Christmas! 3.5 out of 5 which means it’s may not be perfect, but it’s worth a try if the details interest you.

7 Women and a Murder currently streams on Netflix.
By the way, have you noticed the outstanding international content Netflix is purchasing? I’m very happy to see that.

Mack and Rita

January 15, 2023

Yes, I watched the Diane Keaton project, Mack and Rita. I keep hoping Keaton will create something new that’s not insipid. I know she’s always playing Diane Keaton, but remember Manhattan Murder Mystery, Radio Days, The Little Drummer Girl, Reds, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and Annie Hall? Can there really not be any decent scripts for her? I don’t know. Mack and Rita wasn’t horrible. It was predictable. I made it through to the end. It’s a light movie spelled lite. It’s goofy Diane Keaton playing yet another version of goofy Diane Keaton. Oh well. La de dah. Her kids are set for life. Good for her. I’ll keep hoping she eventually does some amazing indie film that knocks my socks off. Meanwhile I made it all the way through Mack and Rita so 3 out of 5.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

January 7, 2023

I wanted to wait for a few days into the new year before posting a negative review. I didn’t like the first Knives Out. But so much fuss over the sequel, I thought Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery might redeem itself. Not sure why these films are so dull and devoid of camp. I sound like a broken record bringing up Clue again, but seriously Hollywood, watch that film and craft a modern day story in that vein with that type of humor. I will say the second half of Glass Onion gets better once Janelle Monáe’s character reveals herself to be someone else. That’s the only spoiler I’ll list. But then it quickly returns to dull. I realize comedy is subjective. That’s been one of the overarching lessons on Reel Charlie. But I seriously do not think these big budget comedies try hard enough. 2 out of 5. Next.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery currently streams on Netflix.

Best of Reel Charlie 2022

December 31, 2022

Before we enter the hopeful year of 2023, read on for Reel Charlie’s favorites in books, music, podcasts, film, and television from 2022.

Books (links to Goodreads)

Another great year of reading thanks as always to Goodreads for keeping me focused, my colleagues at work for keeping me open, and my Kindle Paperwhite for making it fun to obsess over books. I also want to give a shout out to audiobooks (hoopla, Libby free with your library card) which have helped me read/listen to so many more books throughout the year. I read 51 books this year. These are my favorites:

Apparently There Were Complaints: A Memoir by Sharon Gless – she’s amazing.
A Do-Si-Do With Death (Stan Kraychik Mystery #7) by Grant Michaels – a new book from a beloved series.
Flash Fire (The Extraordinaries, #2) and Heat Wave (The Extraordinaries, #3) by T.J. Klune – amazing YA superhero snark.
Hell of a Book by Jason Mott – fascinating.
The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish – love love love this queer holiday rom-com home swap.
Knock Off The Hat (Clifford Waterman Gay Philly Mystery #1) by Richard Stevenson – saying goodbye is never easy. RIP Richard.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo – yes yes yes this is lesbian historicial YA brilliance.
Lavender House by Lev A.C. Rosen – wonderful queer historical mystery.
Legacy in the Blood (Chiara Corelli Mystery #4) by Catherine Maiorisi – need to go back and start this series.
The Measure by Nikki Erlick – my favorite big release.
continued with A Nick Williams Mystery by Frank W. Butterfield. In 2022 read books 8 & 9. Only 22 left to go in this 31 book series. Nick and Carter are my fantasy everything from my parents’ generation.
Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune – favorite book of the year.
Unprotected by Billy Porter – this man is amazing.


Regular readers to Reel Charlie know that I am not engulfing new music like my younger, or more daring counterparts. That said this year I listened with glee to:

Top Genres
New Wave Pop
Dance Pop
Adult Standards

Top Artists
Will Young
Olivia Newton-John (RIP)
Bette Midler
Kylie Minogue
Saint Etienne
Jessie Ware
Diana Krall
Idina Menzel
George Michael
The Ones

Also, a new anthem: Lizzo’s About Damn Time.

Movies & Television (links to Reel Charlie reviews)

This year I have wondered if my viewing has shifted to a more comfort zone reality. In other words, am I watching more things that soothe me, or mildly entertain me as opposed to watching programs that challenge and inform me? Let’s look a little closer at the lists below for an answer.

Here are Reel Charlie’s favorite films and series from 2022:

Documentaries (including podcasts and stand-up):

The Andy Warhol Diaries – delighted by this doc series focusing on Warhol’s romantic relationships.
Rothaniel – amazing tell-all stand-up.
Sound Barrier: Sylvester – incredible podcast on colossal talent Sylvester.
The Standups: Season 3 – where I first saw Janelle James (Abbott Elementary).
Visible: Out on Televisionoutstanding docuseries covers LGBTQ+ life from the 50’s to present.


Bros – couldn’t believe, LOVED and own this on Blu-ray.
Coda – one of the best Hollywood films of the year.
Downton Abbey: A New Era – I am a Downtonite, and yes I adored this.
Everything Everywhere All at Once – my favorite Hollywood film of the year and own it on 4K.
Fire Island – LOVE, great indy film, funny and poignant.
Flee – animated non-fiction film about one gay man’s quest for a safe life.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande – so wonderful, older women rule.
Red Rocket – another indie gem, this time about a porn actor coming home.
State of the Union – saw this one for the first time, more Tracy/Hepburn magic.
Written on the Wind – saw this for the first time as well. Sirk magic.

Television (including limited series):

And Just Like That: Season 1more Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte.
All Creatures Great and Small
: Season 2 – more warmth and critter love.
Around the World in 80 Days: Season 1 loved this so much more than I expected.
As We See It: Season 1 outstanding, authentic lives of Gen Z on the spectrum.
Better Call Saul: Season 5outstanding, despicable can’t stop.
Better Call Saul: Season 6 (series finale) – bye Jimmy and Kim. Nacho forever.
Borgen: Power & Glory – one of the best of the year. Birgitte rules.
The Crown: Season 5 – quiet, reflective.
Feud: Bette and Joan– finally streamed, amazing.
Five Days at Memorial – amazing series about a NOLA hospital after Katrina.
The Great British Baking Show: Collection 10 – my joy, my love.
Julia: Season 1 – another surprise I wasn’t expecting to love.
A League of Their Own: Season 1 – outstanding one of the best of the year.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 4 – continuing Midge’s saga.
Only Murders in the Building: Season 2 – loved this season better than the first.
Ozark: Season 4, Part 1 – heavy, heavy…
Ozark: Season 4, Part 2 (series finale) – goodbye Wendy and Marty.
Russian Doll: Season 2 – wacked out even more than the first season.
Somebody Somewhere: Season 1 – wow I really loved this one.
Sort Of: Season 1 – a new voice and room at the table. Sabi rules.
Sort Of: Season 2 – full of angst and growing pains. Sabi grows.
We Own the City – more David Simon magic.
Wisting: Season 2 – outstanding Nordic noir.
Wisting: Season 3 – Maggie’s back.
Work in Progress: Season 2 – heavy and rewarding.

Take Two (watching beloved film and television again):

The Crown: Season 4 – the introduction of Diana.
Don’t Look Up – better the second time.
Downton Abbey: A New Era – a thousand times yes!
Downton Abbey: The Movie (the first movie) – see above.
The Guilded Age: Season 1 – so much better the second time around.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Murder Under the Mistletoe – my drag name would be Phryne.
Rock Hudson’s Home Movies – outstanding indie doc from 30 years ago.
Shadow of a Doubt (4K) – possibly my favorite Hitchcock, definitely his.
Single All the Way – a new classic holiday treat.

Special Posts from 2022:

Reel Charlie Speaks Podcast
One Book One Town (Fairfield, CT) Announcement: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
We Are All Golden Girls
GLAAD’S 2021-2022 Where We Are on TV Report: LGBTQ Representation Reaches New Record Highs
TJ Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea: a place in LGBTQ Literature
Queer Writers of Crime Book Recommendation #1
Author TJ Klune: In Conversation
Reel Charlie celebrates 13 Years!
It’s A Lot Like Falling in Love: Legacies of Naiad Press and the Tallahassee Lesbian Community (Naiad Press)
Leslie Jordan: 1955 – 2022


What were your favorites in 2022? Thank you for continuing this journey with me. I love reviewing film and television on Reel Charlie. Onward 2023, another year of incredible film, television, music, podcasts, and reading!

Bros (take 2 and on Blu-ray)

December 9, 2022

Bought the blu-ray for Bros. Loved it even more the second time around. Click here or on the image below to read my updated review and updated rating!

We’re Here: Season 1

November 11, 2022

The third season of the docuseries, We’re Here premieres this month on HBO Max. The title refers to a chant my generation created in the 1990’s – “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used to It.” You can catch the first two seasons now. The premise is familiar. Three drags queens enter a small town and transform lives with their wisdom and performance. From HBO,

Follow renowned drag queens Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara, and Shangela as they continue their journey across small-town America, spreading love and connection through the art of drag.

I enjoyed the two episodes I watched of the first season. It’s fun, breezy, peppered with conflict from the town, and all gets wrapped up by the end of the episode. It’s the way the entire world should be. And why not dream it. If we can imagine it, then it is possible. Yes, there are more than comparisons to Priscilla and To Wong Fo. Let’s face it, this is a result of RuPaul’s success and the granddaughter of both movies combined. But that’s not a bad thing. Every generation needs a bit of glitter and transformation to thrust them forward. Bravo to the girls of We’re Here. I only stopped watching because the young man in episode 3 broke my heart. I am sure his story ended well, but I just couldn’t sit through another gay man expressing internalized homophobia by following the teachings of a church that hates gays. If anyone’s seen the episode and knows it ends well, let me know. 3.5 out of 5.

We’re Here currently streams on HBO Max.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

November 9, 2022

I wanted to love Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris so much. Leslie Manville is a dream actor. Loved her for years in all the Mike Leigh films she acted. I know this film is meant to be lighthearted. I welcome that. But the movie fell flat. The French stereotypes were boring, not funny. 2 out of 5. Next.


November 1, 2022

I finally caught Bros this weekend. I did not go to see it in the theater, but I did support Bros by renting it through Amazon. The price was similar to what I would have spent for 2 tickets. Felt good to support this new gay glass ceiling smasher. Bros is the first LGBTQ rom-com to be produced by a major Hollywood studio. In case you’re reading this years from now, it’s 2022 and yes society should be ashamed. But let’s not dwell on the crooked path to equal rights every minority continues to experience. Instead let’s talk about Bros. I loved it. I know! I was a little scared. I’m not the biggest Billy Eichner fan. I’m angry a lot myself and shout more than a bit – mostly at home – apologies to my best friend whom I live with. So I was worried I may not enjoy the film. Billy’s character Bobby was neurotic and talked a lot and screamed a lot. It also worked for the film. Bros is a perfect rom-com. Bobby meets Aaron played by the dreamy (understatement) Luke Macfarlane. They are polar opposites and both are relationship-phobic. Bobby’s the executive director of the new LGBTQ History Museum opening up in NYC. Aaron’s a lawyer who’s comfortable, if not passionate about his craft. Bobby’s got body issues. Aaron’s a fuck god. The film doesn’t shy away from topics gay men discuss. The sex scenes are natural, funny, and hot. Seriously Bros is a winner. It’s a perfect formulaic rom-com which will hopefully pave the way for bigger studios to make more matter of factly big budget, queer films. It’s silly, it’s campy, it’s sexy, it’s awkward, it’s serious in moments, it’s got a happy ending. It hits all the right notes. Bravo to Billy who co-wrote, executive produced and stars in the film. 4 out of 5 because like most big Hollywood films, it needed a bit of editing.

Bros currently streams on Peacock and is available on disk from your local public library.

12/2022: Bought the Blu-ray of Bros and loved it even more the second time around. It’s silly, stupid, smart as hell, romantic, and sophisticated simultaneously. Billy Eichner should be very proud. A perfect date movie, and a perfect microcosm of the complicated dance it is to be a man who loves men in 21st Century USA. Raising my rating to 5 out of 5.

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