Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

The Fosters: Season 5

October 19, 2017

The Fosters keeps getting better. Hard to believe the kids are so grown up after only five years. Stef and Lena continue to navigate parenting with a home full of teenagers. Each child has their own life, friends, loves, hopes, dreams. Side stories with the legal parents, birth parents, foster parents. It can seem like a lot, but it’s life and love and creators Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg do such a great job. I look forward to a new season each year. 4 out of 5 for this heartwarming family drama from Free Form.

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If We Took a Holiday (Short)

October 3, 2017

Oh my lord. I love Glenn Gaylord (Eating Out, I Do). Can’t believe I took this much time to see his short film, If We Took a Holiday. From YouTube,

If We Took a Holiday tells the story of a struggling L.A. actress (Nadya Ginsburg) who agrees to impersonate Madonna all day long as a birthday present for her recently dumped gay best friend (Dennis Hensley.) Shenanigans and life lessons ensue. The film is produced and written by Glenn Gaylord, Nadya Ginsburg and Dennis Hensley and directed by Glenn Gaylord.

This was so much fun! Nadya Ginsburg is a genius impersonator and Dennis Hensley was perfect as her gay best friend recovering from a break-up. Birthday celebrations abound. The nearly 18 minutes flew by. I laughed, I felt all gooey inside. Really outstanding. Yea! 5 out of 5.

Watch If We Took a Holiday on YouTube.

 

Transparent: Season 4

October 1, 2017

“Sleep and I shall soothe you, calm you and anoint you…”

Who knew the Pfeffermans were as obsessed with Jesus Christ Superstar as I was when I was a little boy. And they remember the words to the songs after all these years. Even Maura’s sister! Such a magnificent and glorious television series Transparent continues to be. Is this the most loving, dysfunctional family you’ve ever met? Does yours rival them? Mine sure doesn’t. Which is probably why I love watching them tick. This season the family connects with their spiritual and social roots on a trip to Israel. Every one comes together and then proceeds to find their own corner and take some time out to contemplate life: Josh at meetings, Sarah with Len, Ali at the farm, and Maura and Shelly meditating in the midst of the chaos. The only logical family member of Maura’s who gets any back story time this season is the luminous Davina, my favorite non-Pfefferman. We dig deeper into Davina’s past to find her vulnerabilities. I love Davina even more after this season. She is the heart, soul, and calm of the show. Alexandra Billings brings nuance and wisdom to the role. Can’t say enough how much I adore Transparent. 5 out of 5 for this family ensemble.

The Five

September 30, 2017

Honestly enjoyed the U.K. mystery series, The Five created by Harlan Coben. The 10-episode story features solid performances from O-T Fagbenle (Looking), Tom Cullen (Weekend, Downton Abbey), Sarah Solemani, and Lee Ingleby. The four play childhood friends facing the resurrection of a sibling gone missing case from 20 years ago. Although the middle of the story veers into several non-realistic plot turns, I hung in there and was rewarded with an exciting story filled with extremely satisfying characters. Normally I’d give something like this a 3.5 out of 5. But the addition of a librarian character with the major discovery scene taking place in a public library, the beautiful use of pop music, and the way each episode ends on a nail-biting question left me no excuse but to give The Five a 4 out of 5.

One Mississippi: Season 2

September 21, 2017

Spoiler alerts: What I found missing since discovering Tig Notaro’s projects which definitely weave real life with fiction is the idea of naming her sexuality. She certainly doesn’t hide being a lesbian. She just never says the word. It’s a very post-gay, urban stance – to imagine the culture has progressed to the point where it’s unnecessary for labels. We simply show up with a partner and if they are of the same gender, then that is who you are with. It’s a lovely thought for a Star Trek episode. But for the current world we live in, I disagree. For years I have said the world outside of urban gay ghettos doesn’t embrace everyone equally. That idea felt quaint and outdated to many. With the advent of the election last year, everyone’s eyes have been opened to the need to stand up and be counted – as a person of color, as a woman, as an immigrant, as a person of science, and as LGBTQ. So I was thrilled to see Tig name her sexuality. Tig uses the words gay and lesbian strongly during the first two episodes of her sophomore season of One Mississippi. It feels right especially in our post-election reality. However in the middle of all this, the audience is thrown a huge curve when fictional Tig explains to her yet requited love interest Kate (straight Kate as Tig’s brother dubs her) played by Tig’s real life wife, Stephanie Allynne that she’s dated men. No not before she came out, but after. She tells Kate that gender is something that’s specific from a distance, but up close its blurred. Uh what? Why isn’t her character bisexual? I can’t help but think in order for openly gay women and men to be considered reasonable and accepting, we are now expected to embrace having relationships with people of the opposite gender. Just in case anyone might want to label us closed-minded. Tig’s fictional character doesn’t talk about being bisexual. Or being mostly lesbian. She doesn’t talk about being attracted to trans or gender fluid people. She simply drops that bombshell and moves on. It makes absolutely no sense and colored my enjoyment of the series for the rest of the season. I don’t need every queer character to be a gold star gay like me. I know there are all kinds of people in the world. But this kind of posturing rings so politically correct and inauthentic, I’m not buying it. Especially not for Tig’s character.

I realize this argument is my personal argument. I own that. The rest of the season waffles between extremely artful expressions of golden age television and awkward trying too hard moments. I hung in there and will check out Season 3 if it gets renewed. I’m giving One Mississippi: Season 2 a 3 out of 5.

Atypical: Season 1

September 11, 2017

Atypical took me by complete surprise. I guess I wasn’t expecting to love it so much. Kier Gilchrist stars as Sam, an 18 year-old boy living on the Autism spectrum. Gilchrist proved his chops as son Marshall or (nickname) Marshmallow on Toni Collette’s The United States of Tara a few years ago. I just knew he and Brie Larson were destined for a great future. Gilchrist’s Sam is in his last year of high school. He’s beginning to want to break away from the safe world his parents have created for him. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport play his parents perfectly. Newcomer Brigette Lundy-Paine shines brightly as Sam’s younger sister who looks out for her quirky big brother. Rounding out the cast are Amy Okuda as Sam’s therapist and Nik Dodani as his dorky co-worker who is an unreliable fount of wisdom. Honestly the series focuses on the autism, but ends up being an ensemble piece as each character has their moment or two. Beautifully written, acted, and directed, I can’t recommend this enough. And 30-minute episodes makes this first season an easy four-hour commitment. Speaking of fours, I give Atypical a 4 out of 5.

Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party

August 24, 2017

What I thought might be a sweet YA indie film about a young Christian gay man coming out, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party turned into a much more complicated and satisfying look at suppression and desire in an ensemble of adults and teenagers. Henry Gamble turns 17. During the course of his birthday party young adults and their parents grapple with the confines of their lives – in particular their religious faith while examining their desire for love, happiness, and personal truth. A real surprise. I’m glad I finally gave Henry a shot. 3.5 out of 5.

Future Friends – Superfruit (YouTube)

August 23, 2017

What song do I keep playing over and over again at the gym? The latest summer hit song from gay bbfs Mitch Grassi & Scott Hoying (Pentatonix) duo project Superfruit.

“So if it all ends
I promise that one day
We could be future friends”

  • Future Friends – Superfruit

Listen to this dreamy song on YouTube.

Transparent: Season 3 (take 2)

August 15, 2017

Click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s updated review of the splendorous Amazon Prime original series Transparent.

Victor Victoria (first time on Blu-ray)

August 13, 2017

Click on the image below to read Reel Charlie’s review of the timeless classic film, Victor Victoria.


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