Visible Scars (Television Thoughts: A Teaacher S01 E10, Hulu)

I have to say that I really liked the way this series ended. I initially thought everything was just a little too abrupt but as I think about it, perhaps not. On this episode, we see both Eric and Claire ten years later. It’s the High School reunion, and Eric is older (he looks older) but there are things about him that remain the same – you can see how the whole episode has lingered with him. Meanwhile, Claire has (kind of) moved on – she has remarried, found someone who can accept her and her past, and even children with him. A chance encounter at the supermarket triggers everything again for her – she texts wanting to meet. The restaurant meeting is awkward, but kind fo cathartic for both, as he tells her that it has taken years for him to accept the fact that he had no fault in any of this – that she initiated the affair, and he was young and wouldn’t have known better. This made me realize how something like this would make a difference in someone’s life, of someone so impressionable. What Claire did was really awful, and even though she has had a chance to move on, it will never be the same for her, too. (She can’t go to PTA meeting) But the effect for him is worse – it has scarred him forever…

You’re An Education (Series Thoughts: A Teacher, Hulu, E01-03)

‘A Teacher’ is an uncomfortable watch – that’s my reaction as I finish watching the third season. It stars Kate Mara and Nick Robinson as a high school teacher and student, respectively. She has just started at an Austin area high school, he is the star soccer player. She is a bored housewife trying to have a baby, he has a sensitive demeanor unlike his other classmates. I can see where the attraction from both sides coem from. And of couirse, by the end of the third episode, the inevitable happens – they have sex.

yes, it’s a jarring concept, but the show makes you a little complicit with the affair. The two make such an attractive couple, and they are both great actors that I have to admit I was kind of rooting for the two of them to get together. And then I realize, yikes, she is his teacher, and we are reminded of the warning title in the beginning of the show that scenes of grooming can be uncomfortable to watch. The narrative is just starting, and yes, I am already hooked into finding out what happens next – the consequences, the heartbreak, the legal trouble they both get themselves into.

In Love Again (Movie Thoughts: Love, Simon)

luvsimI remember reading the Becky Albertalli book ‘Simon Vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda’ years ago when it was first popular. I even think it was the very first gay YA book I read, and introduced me to the explosion of great YA novels. When I started seeing the trailers for ‘Love Simon,” I did not connect until later that this movie is an adaptation of that book. I should have, because I loved the book. I don’t remember too much about the minor details of the book, but the film stands on its own, and I think will connect with the younger generation. This is a movie that Mike Pence will not want you to see, and I hope it drives everyone to go see it.

It’s the movie I have most connected with since seeing ‘Call Me By Your Name’ late last year. This film has been perfectly described as a John Hughes kind of movie for this generation, and it’s apt. Greg Berlanti has directed a great film, written by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker (who write for ‘This Is Us.’) It’s topical, it’s hilarious, it’s tender and touching, and even though it is a movie with a gay angle, it has universal appeal. i think a lot of people will be able to relate to the lead character, Simon, who otherwise leads a normal, well-adjusted perfect life – aside from having a big secret, and that he is gay. When a young man from his school anonymously confesses on the school blog that he is gay, this gives Simon an opportunity to communicate with him, and tell him that, he too, has the same secret.

Nick Robinson is swoon-worthy in the title role – and he is a great young actor, possessing just the right amount of vulnerability for the character. I suspect this will catapult him to stardom – boys and girls will fall in love with him. And they have cast the perfect people to be his parents – Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel, although it really makes me feel old that these age contemporaries of mine are playing parents of teenagers.

In the sneak preview screening I went to, the mostly young crowd screamed and applauded at all the right places, and it warmed my heart that everyone started applauding when the two male characters kissed for the first time. Of course, this is in Los Angeles, but I suspect people will react similarly everywhere. I cannot recommend this more highly.

They Tried To Make Him Go To Rehab (Movie Thoughts; Being Charlie)

large_large_suttu4kqxny9rcou4dgdn086nqw‘Being Charlie’ is Rob Reiner’s latest effort, from a script by his son Nick (who co wrote the script with Matt Elisofon) and a lot of critics are saying it is his best film in two decades. I like this film a lot, and I didn’t at first – how many times can you see a film about a rich white kid struggling with addiction and rehab?  There are parts of this film that exhausted me, and there’s a part of me that cannot understand how otherwise privileged kids turn to addiction. But of course I also know that addiction is a sickness, and needs to be treated. What makes this film good is its humor – the young Reiner found the right balance between cynical comedy and honest drama. This film is supposed to be based on his bouts with rehabilitation, so he knows what he is talking about (He apparently met his co-scriptwriter in rehab) And Nick Robinson, who plays Charlie has magnificent screen presence (I couldn’t take my eyes off him) and knows how to line between sweet, devious, manipulative, downtrodden. He will be a big star. I guess I am going to be dating myself here, but it was a tad disconcerting to see Cary Elwes here playing his father, since I had such a big crush on him, and now he is as middle aged as I am. But that’s just me, don’t let that hinder your enjoyment of the movie. Elwes is fine here, as is the rapper Common, who plays Charlie’s counselor.