In A State of Grief (Television Thoughts: Sorry For Your Loss, Facebook Watch)

MV5BODA1NDUzNjUtNzQ3ZC00YzYxLWIyMzUtNmQ3OWMxZTlmMWNiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTA5NzQxMjQ@._V1_Narratives dealing with grief is a tricky thing, because all of us grieve differently.  Sometimes grief hits us at the most surprising times, a lot of times we are grieving and we don’t even realize that we are.  ‘Sorry For Your Loss’ captures big parts of grief, and it does so sensitively, and with truth and honesty. I started watching the pilot with half a heart, but by the end of its twenty nine minute running time, I found I gained a bleeding one.  In the center of the show is Leigh (played by Elizabeth Olsen) who plays a grieving young widow whose husband has just passed away. She hasn’t been back in their apartment in months, preferring to be with her sister (Kelly Marie Tran who is recovering addict, and her mother (Janet McTeer !) who owns the fitness tudio where they are all working.

There are a lot of layers to the piece. We don’t really know what caused her husband’s death, and there are hints that he may have kept a lot of secrets from her, and this just adds to the texture of the story line. Olsen is fantastic, and we totally get the messiness of what she is going through – the deep sadness, the confusion, the longing, the surrealness of material things remaining the same as its owners are gone. Believe you me, I have been there. There are times that grief still envelopes me, there are times that I still look for new purpose after grief has taken over. I know and have felt these emotions that the characters here are experiencing – and the writing rings so true. And this makes this show so compelling – and important – for me.

Love Letters Straight From The Heart (Movie Thoughts: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before)

to-all-the-boys-ive-loved-before.119306I read YA novels because I love its purity, and also it’s hopefulness. When we are young, we still do not have the cynicism and jadedness we have as adults, and I like that even for 120 minutes, I could get lost in that world, with that feeling. Obviously, I know what real life is now, where I value pizza more than love. So of course, I loved Susan Johnson’s ‘To All the Boys I Loved Before,’ a movie based on a YA novel I loved reading years ago. I even remember the gimmicky premise – Lara Jean (Lana Condor) writes letters to boys she has feelings for, sort of like journal entries. She then hides them with obviously no intentions of sending them. But mysteriously, they get out, and well, there you go. Lara Jean then goes to a ‘fake dating’ scenario with Peter (Noah Centineo, a breakout star here) in order for him to get an ex jealous, and for her to gloss over her crush for her sister’s ex. Then we all know where this goes – they slowly fall for each other.

The great thing about the film is it just plugs these tropes perfectly, and because of the charming cast – Condor and Centineo are great together – you not only go along, you even root for both to fall faster. This film reminds me of the John Hughes teen flicks of my youth (wisely referenced here) and since Gen Y kids deserve the same kinds of stories. An added bonus – great to see an Asian lead (this film is dropping the same week as ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ even) though perhaps it is slightly jarring to see John Corbett as her dad. This is cute and romantic, and I can[t wait to see it again. Thanks, Netflix.

Love Goes Indoors (Webseries Thoughts: Indoor Boys Season 2)

 

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I have just watched every episode of the second season of Indoor Boys, and it’s just so freaking good. I swear, I get more enjoyment out of a nine minute episode of this than a full season of something else. And Alex Wyse and Wesley Taylor are both so good that I sometimes cannot separate their characters to how they would be in real life. Well, I don’t really know them, but I hear Nate and Luke’s tone on their social media postings. And that’s really just my problem.

The second season brings them back to New York. Nate (Wyse) visits his family here, and of course he has to see Luke (Taylor) and of course, there’s all the suppressed emotions there. This show is great at showing how blurred lines can get in friendships, especially if there is some kind of attraction there. But, Luke is and always will be a player, and I cannot help but feel bad for Nate. Even if they get together, I can almost tell that Nate’s heart will be broken. And besides, why would he subject himself to going there, when he has Aaron ready and waiting for him, in love with him. Things come to a head at the end of the season, and we get to some kind of conclusion – or do we?  All I know is that I am enthralled by this series, and excited for it to come back.

Midlife Crisis (Webseries Review: West 40s)

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Look, I really thought I was going to relate to ‘West 40s,’ a new web series abotu gay life in your 40s while living in Hells Kitchen in New York City. But I was just…annoyed. These guys are just trying way too hard…to be campy, to be relevant, to be sexy. They look and sadly, feel like caricatures of real people and for the life of me, I don’t know how anyone can stomach watching them. I braved the whole first episode and found that I could and should have used my time more wisely. The show feels like a bad midlife crisis.

No Pill To Swallow (Webseries Thoughts: Surrogate, Blackpills)

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Based on the first two episode of this show, save your time, money energy. This show, originating from France, is one those trying-too-hard-to-be-edgy shows. It’s about a show about a doctor who acts as a ‘surrogate’ for people having sex problems. You would think the premise is titillating, but it’s just… dumb. And boring. The episodes are only ten minutes in length but they felt like a million years. My time is much more precious so, sorry…

Tan Men (Webseries Thoughts: Meet The Morecocks: Team Tan, Cockyboys)

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The third installment of Cockyboy’s Meet The Morecox is titled ‘Team Tan,’ and focuses on Levi Karter and Ricky Roman. The title stems from a hashtag that became popular on Twitter because both Karter and Roman are the only men ‘of color’ from the Cockyboys roster. (‘But I don’t even understand Spanish,’ Karter muses) I was particularly drawn to this episode, because I have a porn crush on Karter, and even took a selfie with him when I saw him at a club last year, and I thought it would be nice to see some back story on the real Levi.  And we get a little bit of that – we learn that he is from Ohio, and had some coming out issues with his mom. Well, not necessarily from coming out as gay (she is super supportive) but from being a porn star. Apparently, he had already some some scenes but never told her, and was outed by a meddling aunt when it got around their small town. He came into class one day and saw ‘Levi Karter’ scrolled on the blackboard. This necessitated a meeting between Jake Jaxson, one of Cocky’s owners, to have a meeting with her, and he tears up when relating what she said: ‘I just wanted him to settle down with a nice man.’  Later we see footage of Karter tearing up after attending his first Pride parade. It was nice to see that side of Karter, which makes him love him more – he seems to be a nice, decent kid.

My only complaint here is that I wish it was longer. At only an hour per episode of the docuseries, one feels short changed. And why the big gap between episodes, too? But I like the fact that the studio makes these to make us know their models just a little more intimately – int he more wholesome sense.

Apparently Transparently (Television/Webseries Thoughts: Transparent Season Two, Amazon Streaming)

trans2I’ve been meaning to watch the watch the second season of Transparent, and I have been dragging my feet. But a couple of days ago. I had this desire to binge watch something, and I thought of this show. The second season was dropped in December so I am only seven months late for this party – though I am just in time for the third season, which is coming around the third week of September.

The season starts without any ‘recap’ scenes, and momentarily I was lost. While I do recognize all of the main characters, the first scene takes place in a wedding, and the whole cast is thrust upon you, and I admittedly had to think about who some of these people are. But that doesn’t become a problem, the drama will keep you up to speed right away. Each episode runs at approximately 29 minutes, but they feel like full minutes. I am amazed at how some episodes pack so much everything in that amount of time.

Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) seemed to take a little bit o fa back seat this time around. If the first season was all about her initial transition, this season is a continuation of her journey, but focuses more about how her decision has affected, and is affecting her family. And boy are these kids all messed up. Every single one of them have confusion in their mind and hearts, and Sarah (Amy Landecker) starts the ball rolling by breaking her wedding even as the guests are dancing the conga line. Ali (Gaby Hoffman) and Josh (jay Duplass) follow through with mistakes, and by the end of the season, we see them all in much different states from where they start.

I love the fact that these are flawed individuals, unapologetic, and just out for their own happiness, regardless of who it affects the people they love. Oh wouldn’t it be a happier place if the world did as such. But then again, if we all did, more drama would be created. And there’s a lto of drama here, which can turn soap opera at times, but in the best way possible. I was riveted.

And the acting by everyone is top notch. I like the fact that they are giving Judith Light much more to do here, and she slays the Jewish mother persona so realistically I feel like I can smell the bagels in her house. Not one performance is out of sync here. By the end of the ten episodes, I felt liek I knew everyone better, and even if they annoy me at times, I felt affinity. Just like, you know, family.