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Entries in HBO (39)

Wednesday
Jul012015

HBO’s LGBT History: 1998, The Year in TV

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

 Last week we revisited one of Angelina Jolie’s best performances in Gia, the first HBO film to center on a female LGBT protagonist. Today we're focusing solely on TV in a pivotal year for HBO: 1998, a year before a certain mob guy would redefine a network and the TV landscape in general.

1998. What a year! The months apart premieres of Sex and the City and Will & Grace could easily cement it as one of the gayest years in recent memory, but that would tell only part of the story. The year after Ellen’s “The Puppy Episode,” gays were, seemingly, “going mainstream.” Yes, the troubled production and distribution of 54 showed there was still hesitancy over telling openly queer stories in Hollywood (especially those that stepped outside known gay narratives), but films like The Object of my Affection, High Art, Gods and Monsters, Wild Things, Velvet Goldmine (Gia even!) would continue to pave the way for Hollywood’s embrace of an exploration of gay suburban desperation in Sam Mendes and Allan Ball’s American Beauty the following year.

And on TV? Well, HBO offers us a great cross-section of how networks were diversifying its stories to include more (if not broader) LGBT representation.

Oz, Sex & The City and more after the jump...

Tracey Takes On… “...Marriage.” (January 4 1998)

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Tuesday
Jun232015

HBO’s LGBT History: Gia (1998)

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

Last week we looked at the tender In the Gloaming, Christopher Reeve's directorial debut starring Glenn Close. And while that film ultimately focused on Close's character (her gay son is dying of AIDS), today, for the first time since we started this project, we get to focus on an LGBT protagonist that isn’t a gay man!

We follow instead a gorgeous woman (Angelina Jolie) who's as sexually adventurous as they come, leading on men and women alike, lighting the modeling world on fire, and falling hard (to the point of stalker-ish behavior) for a certain make-up girl that'll be all too familiar for all of you LOST fans.

Angelina Jolie's "Gia" breakthrough is after the jump...

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Sunday
Jun212015

FYC: Melanie Lynskey for Best Supporting Actress, Comedy

Team Experience continues to share their individual dream picks for Emmy nominations. Here's abstew on TFE favorite Melanie Lynskey...

With this year's rule-change that half hour shows will be automatically placed in the comedy categories and hour-long ones in drama, we worry about the shows that don't necessarily fit so easily into either category, regardless of their running times. But then again, Melanie Lynskey currently giving one of the year's best comedic and dramatic performances in HBO's Togetherness, has always been an actress undefined by categorization. Equally at home in traditional sitcoms (playing kooky neighbor Rose on Two and a Half Men) as she is in dramatic film work (her film debut in Heavenly Creatures is still a haunting revelation), Lynskey utilizes her skills from both (along with a sure hand at improv, recently seen in Happy Christmas) to play Michelle, the unhappily married wife and mother on the Duplass Brother's relationship dramedy. [More...]

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Tuesday
Jun162015

HBO’s LGBT History: In the Gloaming (1997)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions. This series is usually on Wednesday's but tomorrow Ann Dowd is in the house. Stay tuned! - Editor

Last week we looked at the earnest adaptation of one of the best-selling non-fiction account of the early years of the AIDS epidemic, And the Band Played On. It feels rather like a backhanded compliment to the well-meaning if sprawling film, but you should really watch it to see Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, Ian McKellen, Swoosie Kurtz and Richard Gere doing their thing. This week, we’re still not done looking at the AIDS epidemic. You have to begin to wonder whether HBO knew there were other stories worth telling that included the LGBT community, but then AIDS really was seismic in the way it defined LGBT representation in the decade(s) that followed, so it’s hard to argue against its ubiquity.

But ubiquitous doesn't describe the next topic: Here we are with the moving directorial debut of a famous actor starring a six-time Oscar nominee, an Oscar winner, a future Oscar nominee, a startlet from a Hollywood dynasty, and a young actor who’d go on to become a Tony winner and then the star in a long-running successful medical drama, and it is almost impossible to find. This week we're talking In the Gloaming... 

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Wednesday
Jun102015

HBO’s LGBT History: And the Band Played On (1993)

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

Last week we looked at a biopic of one of the most reviled political figures in twentieth century American history in Citizen Cohn. This week we continue our collection of HBO AIDS films (notice that every single film we’ve discussed so far has been centered on the epidemic: from the Harvey Fierstein chamber piece, Tidy Endings, to Epstein & Friedman’s Oscar winning doc, Common Threads and even that James Woods’-led biopic which structured itself around Cohn’s own battle with the disease) by looking at And the Band Played On, a film you should all watch if for no other reason than to see the eclectic cast Aaron Spelling (yes, he produced it!) assembled.

Lily, Sir Ian, and a troubled production history after the jump...

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Wednesday
Jun032015

HBO’s LGBT History: Citizen Cohn (1992)

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

Last week we looked at one of the greatest documentaries on the AIDS crisis ever committed to film, Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1988), and discussed HBO’s remarkably solid Oscar track record. This week, we enter the 1990s, a time when HBO’s clout when it came to made-for-TV movies was on the rise and when its stronghold on the respective Emmy category would begin: did you know that HBO has won the Emmy for Best TV Movie all but two times since 1993? It’s clearly poised to keep the streak going with yet another LGBT property, Bessie (reviewed).

Citizen Cohn (1992) [Watch here]
Directed by: Frank Pierson
Written by: David Franzoni
Starring: James Woods, Joe Don Baker, Joseph Bologna, Ed Flanders and Lee Grant

If you look at the early HBO TV movies you notice they favored (much like Lifetime does nowadays) real-life stories that were provocative in subject matter yet packaged in rather unremarkably-shot films. While the sophistication of historical retellings like John Addams, Recount and Game Change have become banner examples of what HBO Films can produce, its earlier iterations looked more like Citizen Cohn. The film does its homework and relentlessly shows Roy Cohn for the petty, petulant bully he was, both as a member of the McCarthy committee on investigations on Communist activity and as a divorce lawyer in New York. [More...]

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