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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Is Tootsie the Greatest Movie?

"I freaking love this list, and it promises to derail my professional life for the next few days as I dive deep into the data." - Corey

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"My big issue with this list is the total lack of animation- but I suppose that makes sense if it's generated by actor picks." - Austin

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Entries in TV (335)


TV @ the Movies: "The Americans"

NEW SERIES! Since our eyes always flash and a smile spreads when a movie is referenced on a tv show we're watching, we've decided to make it a habit to share these cross-platform romances with you. Whenever we see one worth discussing, we'll share it. To kick things off, here's Andrew binge-watching The Americans...

The Americans follows the machinations of two KGB spies living in the US posing as Americans in the early 1980s during The Cold War. Like Mad Men (the genesis of The Film Experience’s TV at the Movies love affair), the show does some impressive things when playing with the period, while never going overboard. Key cultural references from television to film to music (a significant scene was set to Yaz’s “Only You”. Remember Yaz?)

This movie moment from “Stingers” (S3E10, a series best from the show) is too good to pass up...

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HBO’s LGBT History: Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

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

Last week we talked about Cheryl Dunye’s Stranger Inside, a female prison drama that makes that Netflix series feel like a light-hearted romp. I highly recommend it; though, as with many of the films we’ve been looking at these past few weeks, it is not readily available for streaming (it is available on YouTube). This week, we pause on one of HBO’s greatest shows, Six Feet Under, which features one of the most fully realized gay male characters ever seen on television, David Fisher, played by Michael C. Hall.

Premiering as it did after The Sopranos and proving HBO’s swaggering arrival into prestige TV was no fluke, Alan Ball’s melancholy meditation on death, mental illness, and sexuality, nevertheless always felt, as David Fisher himself, like the dutiful, kinda gay, and oft-ignored middle child in HBO’s eyes; Six Feet Under thus lived (and died) in the shadow of its more popular and charismatic older brother.

That’s not a knock on David Chase’s drama but a reminder that Tony Soprano’s show was a gargantuan hit that’s since become the poster child for "HBO drama," if not for the entire “Golden Age of Television” writ-large. It both paved the way and reaped the benefits of the daring work showrunners like Tom Fontana (Oz), David Simon (The Wire), Daniel Knauf (Carnivale), Steven Soderbergh (K Street), and, of course, Ball himself, were producing during the early 2000s.

Ball’s series feels like an outlier among those early HBO dramas; Six Feet Under, more expertly than Ball’s Oscar-winning film, American Beauty and with more nuance than his later vampiric sudfest, True Blood, thrives on that much maligned genre which earns immediate scorn, melodrama. Indeed, with its focus on grief and mourning, the show constantly wears its teary-eyed heart on its sleeve, shamelessly tugging at its audience’s heartstrings. [More...

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Titus Andromedon and the "GBF"

Please welcome new contributor Kyle Turner to the team, who has previously Smackdown'ed right here. In the wake of the Emmy nominations, he's here to talk about one very particular film & tv trope - Editor

In Tina Fey’s book of autobiographical essays Bossypants, she describes with delight and nostalgia her time growing up working at the Delaware County Summer Showtime program for the arts. And while her experiences about her background in theater are the surface, it’s her relationship to the queer community that serves as, perhaps, the thesis and thematic core of the essay. She writes carefully, balancing emotional reaction of the present juxtaposed against examining the events in hindsight. She talks about the lesbian best friends she had for several years, the way her hometown was like “Gay Wales” (“What Wales is to crooners, my hometown may be to homosexuals – meaning, there seems to be a disproportionate number of them and they are the best in the world!”), and, most important, the role of LGBT people in her personal narrative(s). She writes

I thought I knew everything after that first summer. ‘Being gay is not a choice. Gay people were made that way by God,’ I’d lectured Mr. Garth proudly. But it took me another whole year to figure out the second part: ’Gay people were made that way by God, but not solely for my entertainment.’ ”

In one quote, Fey pinpoints a problem that mainstream media often has when depicting queer (usually male) characters: they’re often asexual, thinly written, or designed with tropes built in as opposed to given the benefit of complexity that their straight counterparts more reflexively are given. They are, in a word, tokenized. [More...]

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Open Small Screen List Thread

Team Experience and I have been talking off blog about how better to handle TV coverage going forward. The disappointing Emmy nominations reminded us that while there's plenty of great work being done on TV, focusing on the Emmys turns out to be not even remotely the best way to honor it since they only have time for about 10 shows which they hang on to year after year. While we're never going to become The TV Experience (you need not worry movie-going cinephiles) nor will we be joining the traditional recapping game --- we experimented a bit but there's more than enough of that online and it wasn't really our thing --  but with the big screen / small screen / web screen lines are ever blurrier it's time to have at least a weekly column devoted to it.

Plus, the whole time I was watching Penny Dreadful Season 2, I was like 'Nathaniel, WHY are you not discussing this regularly with TFE readers? It's so gonzo and worth talking about!'

So our questions to you (yes even you who never comment - speak up) are:

1. What are your 10-15 favorite current shows that you (here's the key part of the question) most love to read about / discuss with others? 

2. What are your 10 favorite shows of all time (that are no longer airing)?

3. Which shows that are not endlessly obsessed over online (like, say, Game of Thrones), should be?


Emmy Noms 2015 ~ First Impressions, Comedy

While yours truly hasn't done the full statistical research to back this statement up it seems at cursory glance that the Comedy Series portion of the Emmys is ever so slightly less set in stone year to year than the Drama side. But with Orange is the New Black, last year's strongest new comedy, vacating the premises for Drama contending with Season 2 there's a bit of wiggle room here and there in addition to their usual eenie mini mo playfulness in the sixth slot in most categories. More importantly this past TV season was particularly strong when it came to new comedies. So many freshmen or revived series won strong reviews and/or much media attention (Transparent, Jane the Virgin, Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, The Comeback, Grace & Frankie, etcetera) that it stands to reason that the Comedy nominations will look much different than they usually do. 

But do they? Find out after the jump...


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Emmy Noms 2015 ~ Drama/MiniSeries, First Impressions

Emmy Awards will be held on Sept 20th this yearYou've surely already read Team Experience Dream Drama Ballots so you'll know that for many of us Emmy Nomination morning can be a Waking Nightmare. For all the talk of "The Golden Age" of television, there's precious little evidence of that in what is essentially the official industry record each year. "But these are high quality shows!" You protest. Well, yes but...

Even if you accept as the gospel truth that all of the Emmy nominees are of high quality, a true golden wouldn't support a great deal of repetition. A true golden age would suggest such a high level of quality in the competitive pool that the nomination shortlists in each category would be quite volatile from year to year with slight or major dips or rises in quality for entire shows and individual characters reflected in dozens of different names and titles in the Emmy categories causing a revolving door effect rather than a copy and paste effect with some people popping up sporadically, others once and never again, etcetera. This is rarely if ever the case with Emmy. Once you're in the list you tend to stay in, screw the merits of individual episodes, character arcs or seasons that are officially in play. Hence no Golden Age... at least not according to Emmy. Maybe they'll catch up sometime? Yet with their darling Breaking Bad off the air, last year's disruptive force True Detective ineligible (no new episodes during the eligibility period), and Orange is the New Black forced to switch from comedy to this category by the Academy itself, changes were practically forced upon the Emmy voting body.

Did it free up their thinking? Let's find out. The nominee list with first impression commentary after the jump...

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