Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 7/10/20

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BRAVE NEW WORLD (CREDIT: Steve Schofield/Peacock)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Greyhound (Streaming on Apple TV+) – Tom Hanks joins the Navy.
The Old Guard (Streaming on Netflix) – Starring Charlize Theron and directed by Love & Basketball‘s Gina Prince-Bythewood!
Palm Springs (Streaming on Hulu) – Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti relive a wedding reception over and over again.

TV
Brave New World Series Premiere (July 15 on Peacock)
30 Rock Upfront Special (July 16 on NBC)

Music
-My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall II

 

Original Streaming Movie Catch-Up: Some Positive Thoughts About ‘Cam’

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Cam (CREDIT: Netflix)

Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Imani Hakim

Director: Daniel Goldhaber

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Release Date: November 16, 2018 (Netflix)

Cam is a very sex-positive movie.

That might sound like an obvious thing to say. ESPECIALLY if you’re familiar with the synopsis. Madeline Brewer (the star of the film) plays Alice, who works as a webcam model. That is to say, she puts on live shows on the Internet of herself performing in a sexual manner. But then her feed is commandeered by someone (or something) that looks exactly like her, and she has to do her darndest to recover it.

There’s no tsk-tsking about Alice’s chosen profession, even during moments when you think there might be. Sure, there are a few bozos who overstep boundaries, but that’s more than counteracted plenty of support. For example, when the truth about Alice is revealed to her mom, you’re primed for her reaction to be, “You have brought great shame to this family.” But instead, she recognizes an increased confidence in her daughter as she slips into her online persona and basically says to her, “I’m so proud of you.” There’s actually a bit of miscommunication in that moment, but it’s nevertheless nice to have that boost when you’re in the fight of your life against a ghost (or whatever the doppelgänger is).

Human beings are sexual creatures. Supernatural entities that steal our identities can’t stop that. But it sure is scary when they try to.

I give Cam 400 Tokens.

That’s Auntertainment! Episode 14: Best TV Comedies of the 2010s Part 1

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Aunt Beth and Jeff are looking back at what made them laugh on the small screen over the last decade as they reveal their lists of the Best TV Comedies of the 2010s. Part 1 covers #’s 10-6, which feature kooky families, animated critters, and plenty of clowning.

They also take some time at the top of the show to marvel at the laugh-filled career of the recently deceased Carl Reiner.

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 7/3/20

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Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Podcasts
R U Talkin’ RHCP RE: Me? – The Scotts are back at it again!

Sports
-2020 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest – They’re chowing down inside this year!

Stage on Screen
Hamilton (July 3 on Disney+) – The Broadway sensation arrives just in time for the country’s 244th birthday!

‘John Lewis: Good Trouble’ Has a Compelling Subject, But It Needs to Go Deeper

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John Lewis: Good Trouble (CREDIT: Magnolia Pictures)

Starring: Congressman John Lewis

Director: Dawn Porter

Running Time: 96 Minutes

Rating: PG for Reminders of Real-Life Prejudice

Release Date: July 3, 2020 (Theaters and On Demand)

If you want to demonstrate how the American civil rights movement that reached its apotheosis in the 1960s continues to this day, you could do much worse than making a documentary about John Lewis. This man marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, and he’s gone on to represent Georgia in Congress for over 30 years. Over the course of his life, he’s been present for important change that has already happened, and he continues to fight for important change that still needs to happen. Just showing footage of where he’s been and where he’s headed ought to be galvanizing, especially in a time of a great national reckoning with race. But John Lewis: Good Trouble never fully captures the fighting spirit of its subject.

The trouble with Good Trouble, particularly for any viewers who are generally tuned into the trends of cinema and current events, is that the topics it touches upon are covered more thoroughly in other recent documentaries. If you want a historical outline of what has led to so much of America’s racial prejudice, check out Ava DuVernary’s 13th. Or if  you want to be on top of voter suppression, Slay the Dragon is essential viewing. Good Trouble, on the other hand, works mostly as a reminder that these problems exist. It’s nice to know that Lewis is still around in these battles, kicking up the sort of stir that the title refers to, but the inspiration can go only so far if you already knew that about him.

There is one interesting episode that covers the 1986 Congressional election. In the Democratic primary, Lewis squared off against Julian Bond, a close friend and fellow African-American activist. It was a bitterly fought contest in which Lewis implied that Bond used cocaine and emerged victorious thanks to his strong performance among white voters. The strain among these two clear allies must have been significant and surely dramatic enough to devote more than the few minutes that Good Trouble allows it. The fact that the film so quickly switches back to focusing on Lewis’ accomplishments doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s meant to cover up any faults so much as it comes off as cinematic carelessness. Even the most righteous among us have complicated stories; Good Trouble struggles to make that clear.

John Lewis: Good Trouble is Recommended If You Like: Biographical inspiration, but don’t mind some repetition

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Marches

Dear ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’: I Feel the Joy!

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EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: The Story of Fire Saga (CREDIT: John Wilson/Netflix)

Starring: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, Melissanthi Mahut, Demi Lovato, Graham Norton

Director: David Dobkin

Running Time: 203 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for “Full Nude Sculptures”

Release Date: June 26, 2020 (Netflix)

I have decided to judge the success (or lack thereof) of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga by whether or not it made me want to watch the actual Eurovision competition.

So, did Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga make me want to watch the actual Eurovision competition?

Yes! Very much so!

And that’s significant because previously my interest was in the “Hmm, maybe” vicinity. So that’s got to be an increase of about 50 percent.

I get the sense that a lot of the real-life Eurovision entrants are like Will Ferrell characters, particularly the sincere variety that includes the Icelandic dreamer Lars Erickssong. Or at least I hope that’s the case! Every time I’ve ever heard people talk about Eurovision, they make it sound like the singers are genuine heart-fueled dreamers. So while watching The Story of Fire Saga, I realized, “Oh right, of course, the appeal is obvious.”

Contests like Eurovision can also be counted upon to reveal up-and-coming talented individuals who make you go, “Why am I only now just hearing about you?” That happened for me in Eurovision the movie in the form of Melissanthi Mahut, who plays Greek hopeful Mita. I predict and pray for big things for her in the coming years.

I give Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga 3 Knives out of 4 Elves.

Hey, You Guys Are Reading the WORST Review of ‘Eric Andre: Legalize Everything’ on the Internet!

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Eric Andre: Legalize Everything (CREDIT: Brian Roedel/Netflix)

When you go to an Eric Andre show, you know what you’re getting yourself into. (Or at least you’d better.) But that sense of familiarity can also lead to a bit of a problem, or perhaps a challenge. Eric is always ready to regale us with stories of his drug-fueled and sex-filled escapades, and we know that, so there’s not much shock value to him delivering the most graphic details, whether they’re fully real or a tad embellished. Compare that to The Eric Andre Show on Adult Swim, which derives its wonderment from him interjecting his shenanigans into the unsuspecting public.

Ergo, the most satisfying moments of Andre’s Netflix special Legalize Everything arrive when he ropes in some folks who have no idea they’re about to become comedic cannon fodder. Like the boyfriend of an ex-fling of Eric’s who’s basically a jerkwad 80s movie villain, whom we get to know via a revealingly aggressive text exchange. Then there’s the (very cool) mom of an audience member who finds herself pranked into a surprise FaceTime session. Where others might lean back in the name of safety and propriety, Eric Andre always charges ahead like the most adorable butt-sniffing pit bull. He’s the wokest hedonist there ever could be. You know what he believes in? “Live, laugh, love.” We should all be filled with such ranch.

Ranking All the ‘Alien’ and ‘Predator’ Movies: Whoever Wins, We Win Also

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More than a few people have called me spacey, so I thus feel a spiritual connection to the extraterrestrial creatures from the Alien and Predator franchises. I daresay we’re kindred spirits in many ways (except for the parts about killing lots of human beings). Therefore, it has always been part of my destiny to rank every film in these series and share my rankings with all of you, my lovely readers. I’ve split the rankings up into sections for the two franchises proper as well as the “Versus” films, and then there’s a combined list at the end. Please enjoy all the camouflaged, chest-bursting fun!

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That’s Auntertainment! Mini-Episode: Karaoke Korner 7

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CREDIT: Billy Joel/YouTube Screenshot

“Karaoke Korner” strikes again! This time the lineup comes courtesy of Wesley Woods (Jeff’s cousin, Aunt Beth’s son), and it goes a little something like this: Long Island Troubadour Billy Joel, Funk Queen Chaka Khan, and Jamaica’s Own Toots and the Maytals.

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 6/26/20

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EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: The Story of Fire Saga (CREDIT: John Wilson/Netflix)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Streaming on Netflix) – Starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as an Icelandic pop duo, just as the Fates predicted.

Music
-Haim, Women in Music Pt. III

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