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Entries in TV (242)

Friday
Sep192014

Advice on Life and Movies - The Best of RuPaul's Reddit AMA

 

RuPaul Charles, Supermodel of the World and the mad genius behind the reality TV phenomenon RuPaul's Drag Race, took some time away from myriad hosting/singing/writing/producing commitments to host an AMA ("Ask Me Anything") on Reddit, with predictably delightful results. 

Along with discussing his career and favorite works of art, RuPaul also dispensed words of advice on fashion, confidence, and battling personal demons. Here are some of the best parts:

Why did you decide to go by your real name, RuPaul, instead of taking on a drag name?

Because I was stupid. It's important to use a stage name so that your real name doesn't appear on public records.

What's the fondest childhood memory you have?

The time my sister Renetta took me to the Canyon with a paper bag of cookies and a blanket, and told me "Ru-ru- this is a pic-nic." I was 5 years old. That's when I first learned about magic. Because to anyone else, it would be a paper bag and a blanket. But Renetta turned it into a magical event by calling it a pic-nic.

What makes a gay icon?


What makes a gay icon is someone who possesses both masculine and feminine qualities simultaneously. Someone with the power of Judy Garland and the vulnerability of Judy Garland is a shoe-in. The world we live in is made up of polar opposites, black/white, male/female, night/day, and a human being who possesses both masculine and feminine - vulnerability and strength - is intriguing to us, whether they be a singer or actor or dancer, intrigues us, because THAT Is who we really are. We are this world, all of it, and when we recognize it in other people - that person gets our attention. That person becomes the representation of your own potential.

If you had to pick one movie for the whole world to watch, what would it be?

The Wizard of Oz. It says everything you need to know about what we are doing on this planet.

Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?

I love A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. And I love a Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. I also love the Tom Perrotta books The Leftovers, and my all-time favorite book is Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Who is your comedy icon?

Joan Rivers!

I loved you in But I'm A Cheerleader. What was your favorite part of working on that film?

It would be watching Eddie Cibrian's booty in those cutoff jeans.

Dealing with anxiety I have repeated many of your quotes to myself, to keep going, to stop judging myself, etc. But sometimes the saboteur seems to be screaming so loud that I can't avoid it. When the saboteur gets too loud, how do you deal with it?

You have to nurture another voice that counteracts the saboteur. And you have to also ask yourself - are you willing to give up the payoff you get from succumbing to the saboteur?

What would you say is your most important piece of fashion advice?

Be yourself. Know your proportions. And have a good tailor.

I've got an artesian well on my property and the water pressure is lousy. Any suggestions?

HAHAHA. Sissy that water!

 

Wednesday
Sep172014

Top Ten: Movie Stars Coming to TV

Margaret here, with a Tuesday Wednesday Top Ten. Ready to rank the incoming class of movie stars trying their hand at the small screen. Every TV season, a new group of movie actors crops up on the fall schedule, either because scarcity of good film roles or the lure of a hefty paycheck.

Here are the top ten series soon to debut, in order of how much we're looking forward a weekly date with their stars. Set your DVRs accordingly!

#10 True Detective - HBO - 2015

This spot is a placeholder for True Detective Season 2, the impossibly buzzy crime drama anthology series at HBO. While the show has yet to cast its leads, if any of the numerous rumours prove true it will certainly feature at least one famous and undervalued actor looking for a McConnaissance of his or her very own. Although it's not due until early 2015, it's safe to assume we'll be hearing at least as much about it all fall as we will any other show.

#9 Madam Secretary - CBS - 8 pm Sunday, 9/21

Téa Leoni stars in this drama series as a female Secretary of State. (Sure, she's got a globally-essential job, but what I want to know is can she have it all????) It's CBS, so unless it turns out to be a Good Wife-type anomaly, chances that it will be a formula-busting creative showcase are low. The supporting cast includes Tony winners Patina Miller (Pippin) and Bebe Neuwirth (Chicago, Sweet Charity), so we can always hold out hope for a musical number.

8 more starry series after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug302014

UHF (1989) - Let's Get Weird

Hello all, Margaret here to ask: in our Year of the Month, 1989, did anyone guess what cultural endurance "Weird Al" Yankovic would have?
 
By all rights he should have faded into obscurity after his surprising burst of mainstream popularity in the late 80s. Yet somehow, not only has he enjoyed a steady career these past 25 years, Weird Al is actually almost hip right now, coming off of 8 ultra-viral music videos, a spot in this year's Emmy telecast, and a #1 album on the Billboard chart. Capitalizing on this moment in the sun, Weird Al recently announced plans to write (and possibly direct) a second film. His first, released in 1989 during that early burst in popularity, was the critically maligned cult classic UHF. [more...]
 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug282014

Amazon Pilots: "Hand of God" 

Someone needs to have a long talk with Amazon about trying to compete with Netflix and the like with their original programming. Very first step (once you have content) is to make it accessible and advertise it. Advertise it AT LEAST on your own website where you have millions of shoppers. I'm a good case study. Ever since speaking with Dana Delany, a guest star here last month, I've been eager to see her new pilot that she and I talked about offline "Hand of God". I go to Amazon a lot and I've been wondering when advertisements would pop up for it and they never did. I had to search for it specificially and then once I was searching I had to instinctively know to click on a very small ad that said "Amazon Pilots" above the actual search results that showed me old attempts at original programming. They produced five new show possibilities but will any of them go to series if people don't know where to watch them?

Get it together Amazon or you're never going to be able to compete with Netflix!

 

For what it's worth, Hand of God was a gripping hour of television if, and this is an important caveat, you can stomach one more antihero show. (There are just so many of them). Ron Perlman stars and gets a pretty great 'WTF who/what is this?' opening scene for both a character and the pilot itself, beginning as it does with him naked in water, speaking in tongues. Turns out he's a very powerful judge who is losing it and whose son is in a coma. The Judge believes God is speaking to him and ordering him on a vengeance mission. We meet a ton of characters, none of whom appear to be entirely trustworthy.

Cons: Some of the expository bits were clunky (as they often are in pilots) and there was one subplot too many for a first hour. There are dozens of ways it could go wrong, mostly with overstatement; the Hand of God ministries scenes felt way too easy with immoral con-artist smarminess. Pros: But, that said, the pilot was well-acted stuff with at least two absolutely discomfiting and psychologically explosive scenes that manage to mess with multiple character's psyches. If the show continues it should look to the electric tension between the core family members (Perlman, Delany and Alona Tal as their daughter in law) and readjust the simplistic extremes of the peripheries. Film director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, World War Z, Finding Neverland) produced and directed and it's the kind of pilot that wisely whets the appetite while also feeling like a full chapter. The best reason to give it a try is the cast: Perlman is memorably unpredictable, Delany simmers with barely-veiled contempt, and among the supporting actors there's the always watchable Garret Dillahunt as a volatile born-again convict and Emayatzy Corinealdi (so great recently in Middle of Nowhere) as a high-priced call girl.

Hand of God and four more pilots (including one collegiate comedy starring "Assjuice" himself, Craig Roberts from this summer's Neighbors) are available for viewing now at Amazon. If in the Emmy aftermath, if you're ready for the new Fall TV season, have at them. As for myself, I'm so eager to get back to movies but August has been dull in that regard. Come rescue me, Fall Prestige Season, I need you!

Tuesday
Aug262014

Emmy Aftermath: The Repetitions, The Rules, The Fixes.

Well hear we are the day after the 66th Emmy Awards... or was it the 65th? or 62nd? or 60? It gets so hard to tell what with their refusal to spread the wealth. This number may not be 100% accurate but from my rough calculations anyone/anything who won Emmys last night had, on average, two previous statues.

No matter how great any one performance or show is, is it seems downright criminal to only honor that one thing. Think of how many people couldn't have Emmys for acting because of, say, Bryan Cranston's 5 statues for Walter White. I wish more voters would think of it that way. There's no argument among anybody who has watched it, even off and on like myself, that he didn't do great work but is his work 5 times greater than Jon Hamm's best work as Don Draper? 3 times greater than Michael C Hall's work as Dexter? And so on. He would have also prevented Kyle Chandler from that awesome tearjerking Friday Night Lights win had he been eligible that year. You just can't tell me his work is more valuable than all of those men combined and his Emmy run  blocked so many gifted actors from winning television's top honor. Same with Aaron Paul (3 statues) and Allison Janney (6 statues, 4 from one role). Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a slightly different case. She's a stellar performer (great in every series she's been in) but three statues is more than enough for the same performance especially when it means Amy Poehler's genius continues to go unrewarded. Yet at least Julia's 5 statues are distributed across 3 roles.

When you obsessively award one person over and over for the same performance you're really saying that nobody else in town is remotely of their calibre which is a depressing way to judge artistry, which is so subjective and has room for multiple conceptions of "Best". But perhaps the problem is in the voting process. (According to Gold Derby at least, voters rank the performances and whoever has the lowest score (i.e. you want first and second finishes, means that if you're everyone's second favorite you will probably win each and every year since the slightly more divisive series won't stand a chance. This could also explain why Modern Family just continues to hog Emmys though most critics think its glory days are long behind it. Maybe it's everyone's #2 and their number #1s are all over the place.)

"LESBIAN REQUEST DENIED" - Jodie & Laverne and several other OITNB nominees lost their categories.Though Emmy night wasn't at all interesting (I am reminded why I have never watched it religiously) the Emmy season was with all the controversies. For months there's been heated divisive arguments about Broadcast vs. Cable and whether they should be in direct competition. Official word is "we're not going to go there," that they'll never split up the categories. But couldn't some of the results in part have been about network TV actors finally rallying and saying 'enough with online and cable!'  HBO still led in actual wins  but it had very few televised wins so most of its triumphs were in the non-marquee categories. And Netflix, which has brought so much energy to the TV game, tanked. Orange is the New Black, easily one of the best and most-obsessed-over shows on TV, only managed two wins, neither of them televised. 

Herewith my proposal on how to fix the Emmys, to prevent all the controversial gaming of the system and the relentless repetition which does no service to an industry enjoying a lot of Golden Age goodwill. Every week on the internet you read about some new great achievement in television and everyone's top tens look different and people are just so excited with all that's on offer and every year at the Emmys the picture they present to the world is. 'We only make a few good shows. Sorry bout it.'

Proposed Rule Fixes

  1. No category hopping. Once you've submitted one way, you can't pretend you've become something else.
  2. Seriously consider best half hour series and best hour series instead of Drama vs. Comedy because nearly all the best work in any artform has both dramatic substance and a sense of humor. Orange is the New Black is hilarious but people kept being mad that it was placed in comedy because its drama is so effective. 
  3. If your name is in the opening credits you MAY NOT submit as a "guest" -- this is supposedly the guideline right now but very few actors follow it if they think they have a better shot at "guest." If you are in every episode, even if you're not in the opening credits, you MAY NOT submit as a "guest."
  4. Cap of three wins for any performance of the same role.
  5. Strict rules on number of episodes you must produce to qualify as anything other than a miniseries. I personally think the rule should be 10. How are shows with only 7 episodes competing in series? 

 Emmy really needs to lock down some rules about anthology series. Are they miniseries like AMERICAN HORROR STORY or regular series like TRUE DETECTIVE. It shouldn't be either or.

What do you think would help fix the Emmys? 

P.S. Here are my personal awards for last night's show

Best Duo: Julia Louis-Dreyfus & Bryan Cranston
Best Sports: The Mad Men actors who will complete this historic series with none of them ever having won for their terrific complex creations. And yet they show every year and smile and even endure the jokes about it now.
Classier Than It Often Is: In Memoriam
Dependably Funny Person Who Was Amazingly Funny: Amy Poehler
Dependably Funny Person Who Was Not at all Funny: Sarah Silverman
Most Ubiquitous Color: Orange (skin) vs Red (dresses)
Most Awesome Loser Reaction: Julia Roberts


Most Depressing Loser Reaction: Cicely Tyson 
Best Dressed: Lizzy Caplan
Hottest Arm Candy: Julianna Marguiles husband. In perpetuity.
Most Annoying Emmy Obsession: Seriously why even have a Reality category if you consistently ignore the really creative ones (hello RuPaul's Drag Race) and just hand The Amazing Race the prize ever year. 10 wins! Ridiculous
Most Satisfying Win: None. The closest would be The Normal Heart which I liked (but didn't love)
Happy Realization: There is room for at least a smidgeon of movement in next year's Best Drama races since Breaking Bad will be gone from all categories.
Bitter Realization: That won't help the repetitive factor in Comedy since Modern Family is still with us and still winning... and not just in the top category.
New EGOTs: None. And people we thought might edge closer (Julia, Cicely & Matthew) did not.

Photo that perfectly sums up Emmy night via Lena Dunham & Instagram

 

Tuesday
Aug262014

True Blood's Mercy Killing

Here's Adam Armstrong and me on the series finale of True Blood. My comments after Adam's -Nathaniel

One thing you should know about me: I am a pro-rationalizer. I don’t enjoy disliking things, especially when it comes to movies and TV shows. So many people, so much hard work, so on and so forth. Take for example, this one time, on the way home from seeing the third Paranormal Activity movie. I was so invested in the series I went to every midnight showing. I loved them. And then that movie played its final 20 mins, and it was fucking garbage. It was the American Horror Story: Coven of movies before Coven was even around.* Seriously, was Ryan Murphy a creative consultant for the ending of that movie? But, still, on that ride home, ridden with disappointment and rage, I clung to one aspect of the movie I liked in order to forcibly admire it. “BUT, THAT ROTATING FAN SHOT, RIGHT?!” 

However, some train wrecks are beyond extreme and unreasonable rationalization. As you damn well know, I was more than liking this season, especially when evaluated on the True Blood grading curve. But what the actual fuck True Blood? [more...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug252014

Emmy Winners. Live-Listing

Refresh your screen periodically
I'll have some sort of recap tomorrow and I'm live-tweeting here and there but I'll list the winners as they come in for those who want a handy reference.

UPDATE: Post-Ceremony Thoughts Here!

EMMY WINNERS 2014 - list is after the jump

Click to read more ...