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Entries in TV (335)

Tuesday
Jul142015

Q&A: Friday Nights, Voice Work, Underseen Gems

You asked some questions. I'm finally answering them. You know how this works. Please do chime in in the comments. The whole reason we do the column is for participatory flavor and that includes a pinch of you! Our Question of the Week which is Friday Night Lights themed is, annoyingly, from "Anonny" (how about a name?) so he/she gets to choose our next banner topic! (And how about our current "joy" banner. I put Jessica Lange in it for the first time and no one notices!?)

What is it, a crime? Is it a crime to look at Lange?

Pat Carroll recording UrsulaJAMES: Does the trend now that animated films only use "names" for voice work mean that we'll never see the likes of Pat Carroll again?

That would be among the greatest of cinematic tragedies. Unlike seemingly many TFE readers, though, I don't actually share an interest in voice actors getting Oscar nominations. But as with motion capture and the much discussed pioneering case of Andy Serkis, I do think this is where Oscar is really dropping the ball in terms of never giving out special achievement statues. I can't even remember when the last one was -- was it for Toy Story (1995) before there was the Animated Feature category? Pat Carroll's work as Ursula is the single greatest voice performance in the history of animation. (Team Experience shamefully put her in only 3rd when we took a poll)

The days of specialized voice talent getting prime opportunities like that are gone but there is hope: Pixar uses celebrities sometimes but they don't rely on them exclusively the way Dreamworks and other lesser studios do. And sometimes their "celebrities" aren't exactly household names so they aren't using them for advertising purposes, but because they genuinely love the voice. Wasn't Richard Kind a great choice for "Bing Bong" in Inside Out

DEBORAH: If you could choose one lesser-known movie each from the 70s, 80s, and 90s that everyone should see, what would they be (and why)?

THE ANSWER AND EIGHT MORE QUESTIONS AFTER THE JUMP...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul112015

Roger Rees (1944-2015)

He spent the last three months of his career treading the boards with Chita Rivera. There are a helluva lot worse swan songs. "The Visit" closed on Broadway in June and Tony winner Roger Rees, who was leading man to Chita River in that strange but beautiful musical, died yesterday less than a month after closing night, though he had had to leave the musical early due to illness. He is survived by his husband.

I first became aware of him when I was a kid when PBS showed The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982) miniseries in which he played the lead role and was Emmy nominated. I didn't know at the time that it was his signature role and he'd already won the Olivier and Tony for it. 

I had the privilege of seeing him on stage twice. When I had just moved to NYC in 1999, I went to an Off Broadway play to see Uma Thurman (he was her leading man) and I caught The Visit early in previews. He was having a rough time with the score that night... and I wondered about his health. I kept shooing the thought away -- it was just the grim melodrama of the musical, I told myself, in which Chita keeps essentially presenting him with his own coffin.

Though Rees easily hopped around in all three actors mediums, and appeared in films like Star 80Robin Hood Men in Tights, the Pfeiffer version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Prestige, and Frida, his most popular roles (aside from Nickleby) tended to be guest spots on television: West Wing and Cheers in particular. My favorite? My So Called Life (1994) in which he has a title role episode "The Substitute" wherein he played a rebel teacher who wakes Angela Chase up with his unorthodox instruction. 

Do you have a favorite memory of his work? 

Friday
Jun262015

Boo-Boo Linky

W Magazine Taraji P. Henson, always fun, talks about getting the acting bug, auditioning for Precious and falling in love with "Cookie" on Empire even though she didn't want to do TV again
AV Club Taraji also has a new leading film role as civil rights activist Ann Atwater who in 1971 had meetings with the Klu Klux Klan leader on reducing violence. 
IndieWire a fun interview with the always amusing Jennifer Coolidge, who hopes to get a wider range of roles. "maybe I should write something"
BBC RIP "Avengers" star Patrick Macnee
Variety John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig, Rabbit Hole) will be honored at OutFest this year. He needs to stop being honored and start making another movie. 
Empire Aaron Eckhart to star in new thriller shot in real time. It's called Live! Eckhart's one of those actors I root for even though he keeps making movies I don't want to see. (sigh)
Vanity Fair is always trying to make Jennifer Lawrence happen. She already happened of course ;) but they just don't quit with the love fest -- they're already pushing for Oscar #2
New Yorker for any of you rebels who haven't been feeling Inside Out here's a negative review from the always interesting Richard Brody on "the curse of the Pixar universe"
/Film a new Star Trek started filming. Rumored title is Star Trek Beyond

 

Emmy Voting Ends Today
I know you diehard cinephiles are probably relieved that we won't be talking about TV so much next week but we hope you cinephiles who don't differentiate between screen sizes anymore (there seem to be more and more of you) have enjoyed this experiment. We have to keep experimenting to keep the site alive you know. In case you missed any of our FYCs here's an index of the acting writeups -- we tried to cover as many different series as possible during those --  our final ballots for drama and comedy, as well as guest blogs from Cara Seymour (The Knick) and Ann Dowd (The Leftovers) which we were super proud to host. It was fascinating to hear some of what went in to creating those memorable and surprising religious figures.

Happy Pride Month
THR on today's young male movie stars courting gay audiences. They're  trying to make "Stromo!" happen. But isn't it already called "Hetemo"?
MoMA acquires the original rainbow flag which is now 37 years old. Happy birthday flag. 

Showtune to Go!
And let's combine "Pride" with "Emmy Voting" for the finale. Since neither Jonathan Groff nor Sutton Foster are likely to receive Emmy nods for their terrific work in Looking and Younger respectively, we want them to know that they are loved. And obsessed over. In many places if not on Emmy voter ballots. So here's Jonathan's tribute to Sutton Foster in Anything Goes. It has 283,000+ views on YouTube so at least 190,000 other people besides me have watched it! And yes I've probably shared it before but it bears watching again.

and again. 
and again.
and again. 

Wednesday
Jun242015

Team Experience: Collective Emmy Ballot, Drama 

Part 1 of 2... DRAMA!
Part 2 -- Comedy 

Eleven members of our team* turned in full Emmy ballots. I've compiled the results for you here. This is a very limited pool versus the thousands from the Television Academy who will vote on the actual Emmys but I thought it might be interesting for readers who are invested in this 'new golden age' of television. 

REMINDER: THESE ARE NOT PREDICTIONS

What follows is what we communally hope for when the nominations are announced. Voting on the nominations for the real Emmys ends this Friday, June 26th. The nominations will be announced on July 16th (what takes them so long to tally it?) and the ceremony happens on September 20th. It's a ridiculously wide spread of time -- nearly double the Oscar voting spread.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

  • The Americans (FX)
  • Empire (FOX)
  • Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • The Leftovers (HBO)
  • Mad Men (AMC)
  • Masters of Sex (SHO)
  • Orange is the New Black (NETFLIX)

Twenty-two different series received at least one vote but there were no votes at all for two Emmy regulars in this category (Downton Abbey & House of Cards). No series made every ballot though Mad Men and Masters of Sex were out front together in that regard. I forgot to hold a tiebreaker vote between The Leftovers and The Fall for the final slot so I made the choice myself, and erred on the side of way more ambition though The Fall was arguably more consistent. The nearest misses were The Affair and Agent Carter. The Agent Carter contingency surprised me even though I adore the show but then we're friendlier to non-prestige genre shows here (The Flash, Orphan Black and Daredevil also received votes). We shouldn't bring up the painful years of snubs for Battlestar Galactica and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, two of the finest shows TV ever produced. Neither of which could get arrested by Emmy voters in major categories. (sigh)

Acting Categories after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun222015

FYC: RuPaul's Drag Race for Best Reality Competition

We're almost at the end of our FYCs. Team Experience was asked to share their individual dream picks for Emmy nominations. Here's Manuel ...

I don’t even have to tell you how stale this relatively new Emmy category is (The Amazing Race has won 10 out of 12 times the statuette has been awarded with only 12 shows ever nominated) before I get to vocalize my frustration - if not surprise - at the fact that RuPaul’s Drag Race has even yet to be nominated.

I mean, is that okay?

Drag Race is that rare show that can sport an arched eyebrow that tells you we should take everything in good fun while offering a shoulder to cry on because the struggle is real, y’all. Its greatest strength as a television show is that its sentimentality isn't framed in opposition to its campy exterior or its ironic posturing, it's actually endemic to them. This, of course, wouldn't be possible without RuPaul, who can stage a heart to heart while sharing a tic tac for lunch. It's a show that can take a seeming contradiction ("I want to see the REAL you by having it come out through layers of make up and various wigs and affectations and gif-ready reaction shots") and improbably enough, make it werk.

Even after seven seasons, Drag Race remains a fascinating experiment in reality TV competition which doesn't just explicitly admit the strangeness of its own genre trappings but uses them to create the most cogent oral history of the trials of drag queen herstory since Paris is Burning. Think about it: this season alone dealt with the palliative powers of drag when it comes to dealing with addiction (Katya & Fame), trauma (Pearl, Kennedy), rejection (Jaidynn, Trixie), aging (Tempest, Mrs Kasha Davis), storylines that have become so familiar to the show only because they have become intrinsic to understanding the very nature of drag. That Logo and Ru can accomplish that while giving good gif, well, that's Emmyworthy.

 

Can I get an Amen up in here?


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...]

Click to read more ...