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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in HBO (32)

Wednesday
May202015

HBO’s LGBT History: Tidy Endings (1988)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed films and miniseries produced and distributed by HBO.

Last week we gave a brief overview of the purpose of this small miniseries and we went down memory lane as we reminisced about our favorite LGBT characters from HBO TV shows. All of your comments made me want to pop in episodes of The Wire, The Comeback, Oz, Sex and the City, The Larry Sanders Show, Game of Thrones and True Blood, even! Unsurprisingly, though, most of you singled out Six Feet Under’s David Fisher (Michael C. Hall), definitely one of the most well-rounded gay men that has ever graced our television screens. How appropriate then that we officially kick off the series with a death and a metaphorical haunting.

Tidy Endings (1988)
Directed by: Gavin Millar
Written by: Harvey Fierstein
Starring: Stockard Channing, Harvey Fierstein.

By 1988, when HBO first aired Tidy Endings, its first gay-themed TV film, the cable network was still in the process of breaking away from being merely another cable provider. After successfully building from its subscriber base in Pennsylvania and New York by becoming one of the first cable providers to transmit their signals via satellites in 1975, HBO entered the 1980s understanding that while Hollywood reruns were its bread and butter, it would need to create its own content if it wanted to distance itself from other rising networks like Showtime and The Movie Channel. [MORE]

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Monday
May182015

Review: Bessie 

TFE's newest contributor Angelica Jade Bastién on HBO's latest biopic

For over two decades Queen Latifah has been trying to bring the life of Bessie Smith, the legendary "Empress of the Blues" who found success in the 1920s and 1930s, to the screen. Despite Bessie's life being a perfect mix of glamour and tragedy that seems tailor made for a biopic I'm not surprised it has taken Latifah this long to bring her story to life. Bessie Smith (Queen Latifah) is a rough hewn, country, bisexual, and passionate broad. The film doesn't sand off her edges or shy away from her contradictions instead it embraces them. Bessie tracks the legend from her early days as a singer with her older brother/manager, Clarence (Tory Kittles) always in her corner to the Great Depression when all her personal and professional success falters. 

Anyone familiar with women's pictures knows the emotional terrain Bessie is covering. But what makes this women's picture downright transgressive is its sympathetic,multi-layered portrayal of black queer desire...

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Wednesday
May132015

HBO’s LGBT History: The Beginning

Manuel here kicking off a mini-series of sorts focusing on HBO's decades-old commitment to telling quality LGBT stories. I spent much of this spring recapping Looking here at The Film Experience and as polarizing as many (both here and elsewhere) found the show, it remained the sole American television show centered on the gay male experience to air last year. As we all know, shortly after the season 2 finale, HBO understandably pulled the plug; the show garnered a mere 0.298 million viewers for that episode, a mere pittance when compared to their Westeros-set hit, but also nearly half of what Lena Dunham’s show metered that same evening. And so, to fill the void and build up to a very gay-friendly upcoming HBO film roster (Queen Latifah’s Bessie, that rumored Matt Bomer/Montgomery Clift biopic, the Looking wrap-up film), we’re diving headfirst into a crafting an oral LGBT history of the network that gave us Patrick, Richie, Kevin, Agustin, and Dom, but which had clearly paved the way for such a show with a long storied list of LGBT stories even before it became the ratings giant it is now.

To say HBO, as a cable provider, as a television network, and as an independent film producer, has changed the media landscape is perhaps a bit of an understatement. Its long-running tagline, “It’s not TV, it’s HBO” spoke to the core of what has made HBO such an institution. Despite various attempts at replicating its successes, HBO remains staunchly and idiosyncratically itself. Netflix and Amazon may be sniping at its heels but with a bucket load of Emmys, a gigantic and zeitgesty fantasy series on hand, and its new streaming service (anyone sign up for HBO Now, yet?), the cable giant is showing no signs of aging.

[Angels in America and Your Requested Participation after the jump...]

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Monday
Mar232015

Looking For Home: I am a simple man

Manuel here, back from a week away to chat up last night’s season’s (series?) finale. Thank you Nathaniel for filling in, though I’m sorry you had the unlucky job of recapping my least favorite episode so far! We’re clearly of one mind of the way the show hit a low-point mostly by telegraphing rather than embodying its own story beats. Thankfully, the season finale worked wonderfully as an introspective examination of the fraught ride to successful gay intimacy.

By the second episode of what turned out to be a self-assured and all-out fantastic second season, when the illicit domesticity of Kevin and Patrick took center stage, I noted that the HBO show was great at asking the following question:

What does intimacy look like within a community that is still encumbered by secrets and closets, even as it prides itself on openness and honesty?”

That question could just as easily work as preface for this episode...

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Monday
Mar162015

Looking for Sanctuary 

Hi Kids, it's your host Nathaniel. I'm subbing for much hipper gay Manuel who has been doing a great job recapping "Looking" this season all while preparing to defend his thesis -- Overachiever! Meanwhile I've watched from the sidelines desperately worried about this shows possible cancellation. Whereas I had a pure simple crush on the show in Season 1, now in Season 2 I'm basically admitting full thorny adult love. Which worries me. Happy endings aren't really this show's strong suit. And I don't mean that euphemistically... unless you count that time that it got in Augustin's eye. OUCH!

"Looking for Sanctuary" after the jump...

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Monday
Mar022015

Double the Looking: Looking for Gordon Freeman & Looking for a Plot

Hello everyone, Manuel here to recap Looking's newest episodes. We took a little break last weekend since it was the Holy Night of Awards (may this be your daily reminder that Julianne Moore has an Oscar!) and so we’re back this week with two brand new episodes. And boy were they good! I’m actually happy I can talk about these two episodes in tandem. One a comedic showcase the other a dramatic detour, one a sprawling ensemble set-piece, the other an almost bottle-episode character-driven piece, they exemplify the strong work Haigh & co. have been doing this season. 

More...

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