DON'T MISS THIS!
Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment(s) Du Jour
Six Short Reviews

"While there was imagination to Swiss Army Man, I am on the hate side of it." -Chris

 "I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane on a long flight Tuesday. It felt like a cross between Misery, Room and an end-of-the-world sci-fi horror B movie. I liked it." -Paul

Keep TFE Strong

 

LOVE THE SITE? DONATE 

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

Subscribe

Entries in TV (446)

Wednesday
Oct072015

HBO’s LGBT History: Curb Your Enthusiasm (1999-2011)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we looked at Tanaz Eshaghian’s documentary Be Like Others, an unflinching portrayal of trans people in Iran. In many ways, it falls right in line with HBO’s commitment to sparking and hosting button-pushing conversations on contemporary issues like they’d done before with Common Threads, Rosie’s All Aboard! and Middle Sexes. But you know what else HBO is known for? Hilarious comedy, which is what we’ll be discussing today.

When I talked about the gay stereotypes that litter HBO comedies, a handful of you pointed to the “Larry vs. Michael J. Fox” (HBO Go) episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm as a helpful complement to that discussion. The plot of the eighth season (and potential series) finale follows Larry’s escalating cold war with upstairs neighbor Michael J. Fox (“Just having Parkinson’s doesn't give you carte blanche to take advantage of the non-Parkinson's!”) while the B-plot has him meeting Greg, the seven-year old son of Jennifer (Ana Gastayer), the woman he’s been seeing. As Greg is an avid fan of Project Runway and a swishy one at that, Larry decides to get him a sewing machine for his birthday which all but appalls his mother:

Jennifer: He is a happy, healthy, normal seven year old boy. What is the matter with you?
Larry: Ehh, I think he might be gay.

As if the episode’s use of Parkinson’s disease as comedy fodder wasn’t enough, the episode’s continued pushing of Greg as a gay kid (he’s “pre-gay” Larry notes) is classic Larry David: awkward, borderline inappropriate but for that all the more hysterical. It also features one of the few examples of pre-teen homosexuality in our HBO history. Jennifer’s own anxiety that Larry might be thrusting homosexuality on a kid who is barely seven years old mirrors much of our modern ideas of homosexuality. Kids can be effeminate. They can be sissies. They can be pansies. They can enjoy Project Runway. But that, we are told, in no way means they’ll grow up to be gay. Even in that sentence construction, we espouse the belief that homosexuality is something for grownups, irrevocably tied to same-sex desire and thus tied to hormones, puberty, and of course, sex.

What does Greg love about Project Runway? "The fashion!"

The radical humor of the episode lies in not shying away from calling that myth out; indeed, young girls are encouraged to think of their future husbands thus inscribing in them a heterosexuality that, at a young age, need not be tied to their sexual preferences; why should gay kids be treated any differently, with their gayness both signaling but not encompassing actual sex? True, it falls on pretty well-worn stereotypical territory, but for those of us who were called out as sissies and pansies for our aversion to sports and penchant for “feminine” cultural objects, Greg’s unabashed swishiness is particularly refreshing to see. That his mother seems to want to not even consider thinking about what that may mean for his sexuality and that Larry’s own approach to the issue begins with a question of whether raising Greg will be somewhat difficult for Jennifer (given, you know, how he is and all), would warrant more unpacking if the episode didn’t give Greg so much autonomy and confidence. Plus, with sewing skills like that - he singlehandedly crafts a throw pillow with the fabulous design Larry taught him about (the swastika) - you know he’ll be fine.

Fun Awards Fact: Michael J. Fox was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy for his portrayal of himself on the show. He was also nominated that same year for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama for his work on The Good Wife. He lost both his bids that year, though I’m sure he found solace in his five previous Emmy wins.

Next week: We’ll continue talking about HBO Comedies as we revisit the two big screen adaptations of arguably the most talked-about HBO comedy of all time: Sex and the City. So bring your Cosmos, wear your Jimmy Choos and be prepared for plenty of puns!

Wednesday
Sep232015

In Appreciation of Regina King

Kieran here to take a moment to praise the talents of the great underappreciated, enduring and (as of Sunday evening) Emmy-winning actress, Regina King. It was truly a wonderful moment when Taraji P. Henson, still reeling from that moment of Terrence Howard creepery, excitedly announced Regina King as the winner. The Emmys can often feel like a yearly recitation of the same list of names, but wins like Regina King's are what make awards shows that honor acting great. Like Melissa Leo or Octavia Spencer, it's always heartening to see hard working, talented and enduring character actresses finally get recognition.

My earliest memory of King was in Boyz N the Hood (227 is a little before my time) where she brought a welcome side-eye skepticism and levity to that male-centric outing, great as it was. I haven't seen the film in a couple of years, but her lines easily remain the most memorable and quotable. I feel similarly about her performance in Ray, a film that suffers from its trite biopic structure but comes to life most when King's Margie is on screen. She's consistently great, shoring up projects and roles that often don't deserve her, frankly.

King has worked steadily for the past three decades but prior to her nod for American Crime, she had never been nominated for an Emmy. Or a Golden Globe. Or a solo Screen Actors Guild Award (she was nominated with the cast of Ray in 2004). Or an Oscar. Given the breadth and longevity of King's career, this is a little shocking. She's clearly under-appreciated, even by me. I failed to cite her as one of my ten favorite Emmy nominees, though she was great on American Crime and wholly deserving of the win.

Hopefully seeing Regina King win an Emmy will prompt directors and producers, many of whom I'm sure she's already worked with (seriously...check out her IMDb. The woman never stops working) to unlock their imaginations about what she's capable of. She's shown her versatility in a wide range of genres and in roles of all sizes. The time has long passed for King to have her moment in a great leading role worthy of her talents.

What's your favorite Regina King performance? What director would you like to see her paired with? Discuss in the comments.

Monday
Sep212015

Emmy Cool-Down 

Emmy Post-Mortem
Pajiba all the times Mad Men lost acting Emmys. To this we add Christina Hendricks to Uzo Aduba (2015) and Elisabeth Moss to Viola Davis (2015) so they went 1 for 36 for eight years of an entire cast -- including the day players -- doing totally brilliant work. This is one of the reasons (only one) that the Emmys truly suck.
Slate a superb analysis of why Jon Hamm never won until now.
Glenn Dunks offers a neat solution for a couple of EGOT seekers
Vanity Fair 10 best reaction shots from the ceremony
Awesomely Luvvie on the "Blackest Emmys Ever" - I especially appreciate the shout out to future understandings of diversity because I long for the day when everyone realize that diversity does not mean white + black. But there's some time to go before we get there, you know?
E! Online covers the important stories. WHO WAS ALISON JANNEY'S SUPER HUNKY DATE? 



Six Afterthoughts on the Big Night

1. I really should have posted my predictions because they were spot on this year in regards to Veep and Game of Thrones emerging as the big winners with a nauseating mix of sameness in the acting categories mixed with new winners but only when they had no other choice. The new rules, which no longer require blue ribbon panels or for voters to have watched the nominees, are bound to eventually lead to even more repeat winners if you ask me. If a show is as popular as Game of Thrones it will be awfully tough to beat in a contest where no one voting needs to have watched any shows, even the current season of the one they're voting for.

2. Congratulations to the incredible Frances McDormand, the latest thespian to achieve the coveted Triple Crown (screw the overrated EGOT - Grammys are not an acting competition!). What's even more incredible is she is a) nothing like a typical leading lady  b) won all three awards for leading roles in c) excellent properties: Fargo (1996), Good People (2011), and Olive Kitteridge (2015). 

3. I'm saddened that Matthew Weiner didn't win the writing Emmy for Mad Men's "Person to Person" since ending an iconic TV show is so hard to do superbly. I met him briefly at TIFF at a movie party held shortly after this "In Conversation" event (which I did not attend) and he was super gracious when I told him he nailed the most difficult dismount ever with that episode. He did win three writing Emmys for the show though for "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" (S1.1), "Meditations in an Emergency" (S2.13), and "Shut the Door. Have a Seat" (S3.13) and since I'm always griping about people winning multiple Emmys for the same show perhaps 3 is enough. It's just too bad they weren't a little more spaced out since Mad Men was that rare show that did not depreciate as it went along. Which is why it's officially my favorite show of all time. I never thought anything would replace Buffy! 

4. For those following along at home Nathaniel's all time favorite shows (excluding 1 season wonders and not considering shows still on the air) probably go something like this... 1: Mad Men (2007-2015); 2: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003); 3: Twin Peaks (1990-1991); 4: Sex & the City (1998-2004); 5: Once & Again (1999-2002); 6: Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009); 7: Pushing Daisies (2007-2009); 8: 30 Rock (2006-2013); 9: Roseanne (1988-1997); 10: The Muppet Show (1976-1981). As you can see I'm not really into classic television, largely because laugh tracks make me crazy and the serialized drama has really stepped up its game in the last two decades though the shows just off this list are some combo of Six Feet Under, Friends and 80s dramas like Dynasty and thirtysomething. I suspect we're going to see some levelling off now of the rise in quality since we're already getting clichés that spring mostly from this new golden age. If someone greenlights one more anti-hero show. Ugh. 

5. Can we create a statue that honors Best Speech and the nominees can be culled from all Awards Shows each year? Viola Davis wins this statue basically whenever she wins a statue of any kind in a given year because WOW. Remember her amazing SAG speech about dreaming big? And then last night's tremendous historically minded but forward looking diversity plea. Queen. 

6. We'll do a red carpet lineup soon and be done with the 2015 Emmys and then we'll start the whole process of dumb hope then disillusionment all over again for next year when Emmy stays set in its awful repetitive ways.

7. 

 

Sunday
Sep202015

Emmy Winners, 2015

Which of the prizes warmed the cockles of your heart? Which caused a blind rage? And which caused you to make these Amy Poehler or Lena Headey faces? 

Comedy Series, Comedy Veep (1st win in this category)
Lead Actress, Comedy
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (6th win, 4th consecutive from this series, from 20 nominations from 3 series) which means that two iconic characters Lisa Kudrow's "Valerie Cherish" and Amy Poehler's "Leslie Knope" were never rewarded for their genius
Lead Actor, Comedy
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent (1st win for this role, 7 total nominations from 3 series)
Supporting Actress, Comedy
Alison Janney, Mom (6th win, 2nd consecutive for this role, 10 total nominations from 3 series)
Supporting Actor, Comedy Tony Hale, Veep (2nd win for this role from 3 nominations) 
Writing, Comedy Veep (1st writing win for this series from 2 nominations)
Director, Comedy Jil Soloway, Transparent (1st directing win for this series)

Drama Series Game of Thrones (1st win in this category)
Lead Actress, Drama Viola Davis How To Get Away With Murder (1st win, also the 1st woman of color to win in this category
Lead Actor, Drama Jon Hamm, Mad Men (1st win in this category)
Supporting Actress, Drama Uzo Aduba Orange is the New Black (2nd consecutive win for this character)
Supporting Actor, Drama Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (2nd win this category)
Writing/Directing Game of Thrones 

Limited Series / Movie Olive Kitteridge
Lead Actress Limited Series/Movie
Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge (1st win)
Lead Actor Limited Series / Movie
Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge (1st win)
Supporting Actress Limited Series/Movie
Regina King, American Crime (1st win)
Supporting Actor Limited Series/Movie Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge (1st win)
Director, Limited Series/Movie Lisa Cholodenko, Olive Kitteridge (1st win)
Writer, MiniSeries/Movie
Olive Kitteridge 

Reality Competition The Voice
Variety Talk Show Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Sketch Show Inside Amy Schumer 

Friday
Sep182015

Team Experience: 2015's Best Emmy Nominees

Andrew here with some more Emmy treats.

In anticipation of Sunday's big night for TV, the television lovers at The Film Experience are bringing to you a special Team Experience top 10 list.Sure, each year a handful of Emmy nominees leave us scratching our head in confusion, but we wanted to celebrate the citations that the voters got right this year and compiled our list of favourite nominees. Unlike usual Team Experience top 10s, though, we're offering you a look at each of our individual top 10s.

Nathaniel always points out how interesting individual ballots in awards tends to be more dynamic than the final tally and to celebrate the wide range of nominees in the prizes still to be handed at Sunday's ceremonies. So, we disregarded the already decided on categories from the Creative Awards ceremonies and from the 26 categories to be decided on Sunday, our twelve person team each submitted their favourite of the nominees.

Unsurprisingly, our individual ballots were full of Actresses. Go below the jump to see them all.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep132015

The Morning After: Creative Emmy Award Winners

Andrew on the Emmy Awards, Round 1

Are there too many Emmy Award categories? On one hand, considering that that they need two separate ceremonies to get through all the winners, it seems a reasonable thesis. It lends a longness to the procedures but how nice that they recognise everything, and appreciate the difference between prostethic and non-prostethic make up, credits music, and title design? 

Yesterday, eight days before the regular Emmys, the Creative Emmy awards were presented with prizes for costumes, choreography, production, design, music, guest acting and even TV movie. The creative Emmys, unlike craft prizes at the Oscars, are rarely a good indicator of what wins the big prizes. But let’s look at the notable winners and ponderwhether some of the surprises of last evening might carry over to next week's official ceremony. 

THE WINNERS AFTER THE JUMP...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep102015

"Best Shots" from the Emmy Nominated Series

Andrew here with a special Hit Me With Your Best Shot inspired look at the best looking TV shows (according to Emmy voters).

The Creative Arts Emmy Awards are handed on this Saturday (September 12), the precursor to the main ceremony billed for the next week. So, in anticipation of Saturday's ceremony where all technical and visual prizes will be handed out here's a celebration of the cinematographic side of television.

The cinematography side of TV has been divided into two categories, instead of one, since 2000: Cinematography for a Single Camera Series (most, if not all, dramas on TV right now, and many comedies), Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series (predominantly CBS comedies). (They briefly flirted with dividing the category by episode length in 2008 and 2009 and then returning to this current, which just goes to show how indecisive the Emmy rules committee can be.)

It's easy to see which category Emmy voters consider superior. There are 7 single-camera nominees, and 4 multi-camera nominees, and having watched all eleven episodes we're following their bias and focusing on the single category, too...

CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR A SINGLE CAMERA SERIES NOMINEES

7 nominees across 4 shows to represent the best photograped shows on television. One shot from each show follows to help you decide which to root for on Saturday.

Click to read more ...