Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

The Man Who Came to Dinner

March 15, 2018

I wish I had a category called “return to later” like I do with books on Goodreads I think are good, I’m just not in the mood to finish. Such is the fate of The Man Who Came to Dinner, a 1941 comedy based on the play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart starring Monty Whoolley, Bette Davis, Billie Burke, and Mary Wickes. Woolley plays a famous author who gets stranded in a small Midwestern town and ends up alienating everyone around him. Classic film critic Steve Hayes felt Woolley’s character was the quintessential fussy urban gay man, which made me add this to my to watch list since I’m always looking for hidden classic film gems with LGBT content or in those days – LGBT implications. For some reason, after finishing about a quarter of the two-hour film, I lost interest. It’s a well-made film. It just didn’t speak to me. Perhaps another time. For now, I’m giving it a 3 out of 5. Next.

By the way, this is the last DVD I received from Netflix after cancelling my DVD subscription.


Nailed It!

March 13, 2018

Netflix new food contest show, Nailed It! showed so much promise in theory thanks to the inclusion of NYC chocolatier Jacques Torres. Unfortunately the fun of this show – taking regular people and making them attempt to recreate confection masterpieces loses its gleam due to tacky stunts from the show’s host Nicole Byer. To her credit, I’m sure she’s just following what the producers tell her to do. But the over-the-top, loud-mouthed antics rubbed me the wrong way. Some finesse would have gone a long way. I realize Nailed It! is a comedy show about the failures of baking. Turning down the LOL track would have helped the series succeed. 1 out of 5. Next.

Mozart in the Jungle: Season 4

March 11, 2018

Breezed through the 10 half-hour episodes of Mozart in the Jungle: Season 4. It started out quiet, not sure where it was headed. I’m glad I stuck around because once they got to Japan, everything fell into place. Lots of great moments as Lola Kirke’s Hailey continues to discover herself, Rodrigo continues to unravel, and Gloria and Thomas find their footing,  expertly walking the line between complicated supporting character and punch line. This was the season John Cameron Mitchell guest starred as an annoying choreographer. He nailed that role. It was also the season the writers made it clear how difficult it is for women to be conductors. The producers balanced the gender gap between writers and directors which always makes me feel better about supporting a project. My only issue with the writing is poor Cynthia. Saffron Burrows has second billing in the credits but the writers seem unsure what to do with her character. I have a hard time understanding that. To me, Cynthia has always been fascinating and could have her own show. I give Mozart in the Jungle a 3.5 and leave it at that.

Shared Rooms (not exactly take 2)

February 5, 2018

I love Christmas. I also love sweet gay male indie films. So Shared Rooms piqued my interest. Also I loved filmmaker Rob Williams’ earlier holiday film, Make the Yuletide Gay.

Ugh, wait. I just went to save the DVD box cover art for this review and realized I already had it in my folder. Which means I already watched this film. Full disclosure, I started this review after watching a few minutes of the film, figuring I could queue it up and get the rest of the review done quicker. No need to worry about any of that because I’ve already reviewed the film a year and a half ago in 2016! And I even purchased a copy of the film! Oh well, I’ve always said Reel Charlie acts as a memory jog. Guess I need to jog a bit more these days.

Here’s the original review.

Insecure: Season 1

February 4, 2018

Watched the first three episodes of Issa Rae’s Insecure (HBO) this weekend. Enjoyed the writing and wit. She explores the intersections of race and gender in Los Angeles beautifully. Certainly not an easy thing being a woman of color in our culture. Smart stories and natural acting from the cast. Created by Rae and Larry Wilmore. Premise revolves around a 29 year-old African-American woman who’s still single (although living with her boyfriend), no children, and working for a non-profit. She’s ambivalent about her life choices. Makes for a good jumping off point. In the end, the all 20-something cast didn’t interest me. That’s certainly not a slight on the quality of Rae’s Insecure. I’m simply at an age where I’m more interested in older, complicated characters. 3.5 out of 5.

Love & War: Season 1, Episode 1

February 1, 2018

Sometimes you just can’t go home again. I remember being so excited when Susan Dey announced she would star in a Diane English (Murphy Brown) sit-com after leaving L.A. Law. Dey exited Love & War after the first season citing creative differences. The reality stemmed from the lack of chemistry between co-star Jay Thomas and Susan. Amazon Prime streams the first two seasons of Love & War. Annie Potts (Designing Women, The Fosters) took over for Susan in Season 2. It doesn’t take long for the awkwardness to set in during the pilot. That coupled with the leads breaking the fourth wall to discuss their feelings about each other made for a cringe-worthy episode. Those of you familiar with Reel Charlie know how much I adore Susan Dey. It is with heavy heart I give Love & War a 2 out of 5. Next.

One Day at a Time: Season 2

January 31, 2018

I can’t say enough about Netflix’s reboot of Norman Lear’s One Day at a Time. The show emits a message of love and respect wrapped up in a dopey situation comedy format. Yes there’s slapstick humor. And lowest common denominator humor. But there’s also smart writing, attention to character development, embracing contemporary issues in an honest way with a Cuban-American family who defines what it means to be American. Cracking idea to recast the series from a Latinx perspective. And I love that Elena, the teenage daughter is an out and proud lesbian. Her butch comment made me laugh so hard. Adorable. Super cool cast including Justina Machado (Six Feet Under), Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Stephen Tobolowsky, new cast member and trophy boyfriend Ed Quinn and legend Rita Moreno. One Day at a Time creates a perfect blend of mindless entertainment with in-your-face current topics. Yeah, I’m bumping this one up to a 4 for Season 2. I laughed a lot during the twelve episode arc. And adored their politics.

Grace and Frankie: Season 4

January 28, 2018

Grace And Frankie

Grace and Frankie continues to be a mixed bag for me. Just when I’m ready to give up, something clicks and the stories feel real and I feel a part of the show. Season 4 took its good old-time getting me to that place. Lots of silliness mixed with awkwardness. At the very least, the balance between the girls, the kids, and the ex-husbands seems to flow better each season. There’s even room for additional characters – boyfriends, thrupple potential, kids’ partners, along with oddballs and girlfriends. All in all, I enjoy the show. It just never seems to bowl me over like it finally did in Season 2. I gave the show a 4 out of 5. Seasons 1 & 3 each got a 3 out of 5. Same for this season. Wondering where they might head next.

Lady Bird

January 23, 2018

Someone once commented to me on what I believe is one of the best gay male films ever produced, Weekend. The friend (who is straight) told me he just didn’t get the hype. To him it was just a movie about a weekend affair. To me, it represented so much more because I rarely see my stories on the big or small screen. Certainly that has been slowly changing, but it’s still a thrill to see LGBT stories come to life. I say all this because although Lady Bird didn’t necessarily speak directly to me, I get the hype. I get why people and particularly women I know are loving it. It’s a beautifully made indie film. And one of the purposes of an indie film is to speak to a specific group of viewers. I believe Lady Bird does just that. It speaks to people who’ve been raised Catholic (full disclosure, that actually is me). Lady Bird also speaks to mothers and daughters. And daughters and mothers. Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Tracy Letts compliment each other beautifully as high schooler Lady Bird, her mother and her father. Lady Bird is a simple story with a lot of heart. It’s a true coming of age film. The additional scene at the end didn’t make sense to me. Seemed like the natural ending to the film happened as she left for college. Other than that, it was a satisfying film. 3.5 out of 5 for the much-heralded Lady Bird.

Brooklyn Ninety-Nine: Season 1, Episode 1

January 22, 2018

Took a shot at watching the cop spoof show, Brooklyn Ninety-Nine starring Andy Samberg (who is kind of adorable), Andre Braugher, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, Terry Crews, and Joe Lo Truglio. There’s a certain style to this comedy which falls somewhere between Parks and Recreation and Reno 911. I don’t really get either style of humor. But I wanted to give the show a shot. It’s well-produced and has funny moments. It’s just not my taste. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. As I say often on Reel Charlie, comedy is extremely subjective. If either of the shows mentioned are favorites of yours, consider checking out Brooklyn Ninety-Nine, now in its fifth season. 3 out of 5.

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