Let’s Get Political (Television Thoughts: The Politican, Netflix, Pilot Episode)

ThePolitician_Vertical_GeorginaPayton_RGB_UK20190815-6077-1bxw55I always say that I want to dig in my long long list of television to-be-watched pile, but I couldn’t resist vaulting all of that in favor of Netflix’s ‘The Politican,’ only because Ben Platt. I kind of like his work, even if at times I disagree with his artistic choices (a lot of his overwrought singing exhausts me)  And this was so heavily advertised on all the things that I am interested in that I feel like I am its target audience, for better or worse. Plu it has Bette Midler in it somewhere, so what’s the harm?

Well, the verdict is that I will keep watching. There’s a lot in the pilot that interested me – it’s glorious to watch, first of all, with beautiful people (David Corenswet, where have you been all my life?) and its slickness is addictive. But I wonder if I will hate watch it as well, as there are a lot of things that bothered me. First of all, I saw a lot of similarities with ‘Glee.’ Is  Payton Hobart just a variation of Rachel Berry, someone who manufactured all her life so she can achieve a certain goal? And the high school setting feels as familiar, albeit with actors who look like they are in their 30s. There is even an identical disabled character here, and musical numbers with songs that are so ‘obviously chosen’ they make me cringe. Yes, I thought Ben Plat singing ‘River’ was fine, but singing that song about a character named River? Well, even Stevie Wonder could have seen that a mile away. But for sure, it has already lured me enough to want to go back. Jessica Lange is always a treat to watch but Gwyneth Paltrow playing a caftan wearing Gwyneth-Paltrow like character alone is worth the monthly Netflix subscription. Most importantly, I think the show will inspire me to write more about what I think about it.

The Good Fight (Television Thoughts: Feud, F/X: The Rest Of Season One)

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I have just finished the last episodes of F/X’s Feud, and I cannot believe how touched I was by the series.  This has always been the story of two women, separately, who once was together, but spent a lot of both their lifetime coasting on their feud. It is also a story of how we put people on a pedestal, only for us to tear them down once we have no more use for them.  But what really touched me more is how gay men figure prominently in the lives of both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. It seems that gay men have devotion and loyalty t their idols, and it may stem from their seemingly lonely lives. men who have come to idolize these two women come from a generation when they cannot really be out, and these women were the ones they turned to for identification, for company, for comfort. Look at that scene wherein a young gay man asks for Crawford to autograph her book and tells her “you’re a survivor!’  In his eyes, she is someone he looks up to – because he probably thinks of himself as one as well, escaping his small town, ending up in New York City to be himself.

And Jessica Lange’s Joan is a real, three dimensional human being. It is a carefully constructed performance but it’s most touching, and elegant, with grace and control. I know she has won the Emmy, but please start engraving her next one for here. Sarandon’s Davis is uneven – I still see Sarandon there instead of the character, but it’s not all bad. I sometimess see glimpses of brilliamce but it just falls short especially next to Lange’s.

This is a series I will follow. Apparently, the second season will focus on Charles and Diana. While I have high hopes for that one,  it would be hard to top this feud.

Wild Snooze (Movie Thoughts: Wild Oats)

v1-btsxmjiymtc2nttqoze3mtuxozeymda7mtywmdsyndaw‘Wild Oats’ is a wonderful idea. Just imagine – putting Shirley McLaine and Jessica Lange in a comedy (okay, even adding Demi Moore to the mix)  And the premise is precious: Eva (McLaine) mistakenly gets a $5,000,000 check instead of $50,000 and she and her friend Lange decide to cash it and hide in the Canary Islands. It had such potential – kind of an American version of Absolutely Fabulous. Somewhere along the way, this film literally got lost. It premiered in Lifetime and then got a theatrical release that, obviously, bombed. But that’s not even the worst of it – the screenplay is a hodge podge of tired ideas and I couldn’t help but feel bored ten minutes into the movie. McLaine and Lange looked like they felt the same way – their performances should be higher energy but it seemed like they couldn’t be bothered as well. About halfway through, I couldn’t wait for this film to finish and felt it was a waste of my time and energy, and felt sorry both all involved here