Throwback Thursday: Escaping Polygamy (2014-Present)

For most of human history, marriage has not been between one man and one woman. Polygamy was a common practice. Though it is not the norm these days, there are still men who are married to multiple women at the same time.

Escaping Polygamy is a reality show that has been on Lifetime’s schedule since 2014. It can also be viewed on Hulu. The program follows three sisters from Salt Lake City who escaped a polygamous group. Their goal is to help as many women as possible to do the same. They come from the FLDS and AUB Church, where polygamy is the norm and young girls are often married off to men who are sometimes many years their senior.

Though this is reality television, I feel like it is more “real” than other programs in the genre. What these women are doing (if they are being truthful) is allowing these girls to live on their own terms and not be forced into second-class citizenship.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Rosaline Review

Romeo and Juliet is one of the most iconic stories in human history. William Shakespeare‘s tale of love, hate, and war has been told and retold across centuries.

The new Hulu film, Rosaline, asks the following question: what happened to Romeo’s (Kyle Allen) first love, Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever)?

After being dumped for her younger cousin, Juliet (Isabela Merced), Rosaline will do anything to get him back. Adding to her troubles is Dario (Sean Teale), the guy her father wants her to marry. He is interested in her, but she only has eyes for Romeo.

Rosaline is fun to watch and entertaining. It is an interesting twist on a chronicle that we all know. Dever is perfectly cast as the title character, bringing a new perspective on Romeo and Juliet. As she does in Ticket to Paradise, she proves that has the romantic comedy chops to revive a genre that sorely needs a kick in the figurative behind.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Rosaline is available for streaming on Hulu.

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Hoarder House Flippers Review

There is an old saying:

You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Though this phrase is usually used when referring to people, it can also be applied to property. In the world of home renovation, when the average person sees trouble, a flipper sees possibility.

The new Hulu home renovation show, Hoarder House Flippers, takes this concept to the nth degree. The program follows three teams of flippers who buy homes that have a double negative against them: they are in need of desperate repair and formerly owned by hoarders. The goal is to fix up properties and sell them for maximum profit. Along the way (which is par for the course), there will be unforeseen problems and disagreements.

I admire the people who take on projects like this. It takes guts and creativity to see through the mess and the challenge. Though this show is thoroughly predictable, what I take away from it is the vision of a home that needs a family to fill it with love and memories.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Hoarder House Flippers are available for streaming on Hulu.

Not Okay Movie Review

Social media is a wonderful thing. It connects us with like-minded individuals and opens the door to meeting people that we wouldn’t meet otherwise. The problem, however, with it is that it often creates an image that may not reflect reality.

The new Hulu movie, Not Okay, takes on this concept. Danni (Zoe Deutsch) is an NYC-based wannabe writer whose romantic and social life, in addition to her career is in the toilet. Adding insult to injury, she has zero Instagram followers.

Faking a trip to Paris, she suddenly has the attention she has been wanting. That attention grows tenfold after a terrorist attack. Danni has to pretend that she survived it. Labeled a hero upon her “return” home, she becomes friends with Rowan (Mia Isaac). Rowan is a young woman who is a true survivor. While dealing with her own trauma, she is trying to create a better world. She also attracts the attention of her long-time crush, Colin (Dylan O’Brien).

The facade has to be come down eventually. When it does, the fallout is spectacular and reveals the truth of our current-day culture.

I really liked this movie. It speaks to the need for approbation via the Internet and the truth that this approval is not always real. Though it took a little too long to get to the end, it was overall, an enjoyable film. I also enjoyed Danni as a character. Though she is inherently unlikeable, I still wanted to follow her story.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Not Okay is available for steaming on Hulu.

The Princess Movie Review

The stereotype of a fairy tale princess is as follows: a damsel in distress (who may or not be unconscious) waits for a man to rescue her and save the day.

The new Hulu movie, The Princess, takes this stereotype and smashes it into pieces. When we first meet the title character, simply known as The Princess (Joey King), she is laying on a bed and wearing a beautiful white wedding dress. Opening her eyes and sitting up, her hands and legs are chained together. After refusing to marry King Julius (Dominic Cooper), she must fight against an army to save her family and her kingdom. Aided by Linh (Veronica Ngo), they join forces to stop Julius before he takes what is not his by any means possible.

The Princess is easily one of my favorite films of the year. This is my kind of princess. She is a badass, she is intelligent, and is not afraid to fight for what is important to her. It is a glorious, bloody, and gory 90-minute tale of a young woman who is not waiting to be rescued. We need more stories like this.

Do I recommend it? 100%.

The Princess is available for streaming on Hulu.

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Dirty Rotten Cleaners Review

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find cleaning my home to be a chore that I would do without if I could. But it has to be done, so I just suck it up and get it done.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners premiered on A&E last year. This reality show follows two different cleaning companies in Florida as they clean the properties of their customers. Their task is more much than the standard clean. Many of these houses are filthy, filled to the brim with junk, and covered in mold.

What I like is that unlike other programs within the reality television genre, the truth about this job is not glossed over. It is genuinely gross and dangerous. Similar to its’ sister show, Hoarders, the clients are not used for a laugh or pushed into a stereotype. They are merely the patrons who need their properties cleaned.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners is available for streaming on Hulu.

Fire Island Movie Review

One of my favorite things about a book like Pride and Prejudice is that the story can be taken out of the Regency era and still be relevant.

The new Hulu movie, Fire Island, is a modern LGBTQ-centric adaptation of the beloved Jane Austen novel. Noah (Joel Kim Booster, who also served as the screenwriter and executive producer) and Howie (Bowen Yang) are part of a group of five queer friends who spend a week every summer on Fire Island. They stay with Erin (Margaret Cho), who is their unofficial “mother”.

While on the island, Howie has an immediate connection with Charlie (James Scully), a handsome doctor. Noah, on the other hand, gets off on the wrong foot with Charlie’s lawyer friend Will (Conrad Ricamora). Over the course of the week, there is miscommunication, possible romance, and unspoken feelings that will force these men to speak their truths and find the courage to open their hearts to love.

I love this movie. It is funny, charming, entertaining, and adorable while being true to Austen’s original text. It proves that love is love and underneath it all, we are all human beings. These days, representation counts more than ever. This film is a lovely romance, a delight to watch, and the perfect thing to watch during pride month.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Fire Ireland is available for streaming on Hulu.

Throwback Thursday: The White Princess (2017)

When we are told of fairy tales, of Princes and Princesses, of Kings and Queens, most of the narratives end in the same way. The reality of this world is not as black and white and far more complicated.

The 2017 Hulu miniseries, The White Princess (based on the Phillipa Gregory book of the same name), is the story of the marriage of Elizabeth of York (Jodie Comer) and Henry VII (Jacob Collins-Levy). It starts off as a marriage of convenience, to end a decades-long civil war. The obstacles are many: Henry’s controlling mother, Magaret Beaufort (Michelle Fairley), Elizabeth’s love for another, and the belief that a missing York heir could unseat Henry from the throne.

If this union cannot bring England together, it could mean another generation who will know nothing but bloodshed and death. When a young man appears, claiming to be Elizabeth’s brother and the rightful heir, the fate of the nation rests on the shoulders of the young Queen. Does she follow her heart and the husband whom she has fallen in love with? Or does she choose her family over Henry?

This series is so good. The acting is superb, the drama is nailbiting and the power behind the throne is the women. What they lack in rights and a voice, they make up in intelligence, fortitude, and a backbone is nothing short of badass.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The White Princess is avaliable for streaming on Hulu.

Pam & Tommy Review

There is no more infamous 1990’s couple than model/actress Pamela Anderson and her musician ex-husband Tommy Lee. The release of their sex tape in 1995 was both a novel event and a harbinger of the upcoming change when it came to Hollywood and celebrities.

The new eight-part Hulu series, Pam and Tommy, is the story of said sex tape and the whirlwind it created. It starts with a constructor worker named Rand (Seth Rogen, rocking the ultimate 90’s mullet). Unhappy that he has not been paid for his work and drowning in debt, he sneaks back into the house and steals a safe. Among the items in the safe is a private tape of newlyweds Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan).

Selling it as both a means of revenge and paying his bills, he has no idea what he is about to unleash on the world.

The narrative type is the following: “you think you know, but you have no idea”.

I’ve only seen the first episode so far. I’m not completely hooked, but there is enough of a narrative that I am curious where the series is going. The draw so far is the lead actors. James is completely unrecognizable underneath the wig, the prosthetics, and the voice. It’s certainly an out-of-the-box role for her, but not in a way that I think will be detrimental to her career. So far, I’m impressed. Stan is not as much as a stretch, but he is certainly effective as Lee.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Pam & Tommy is available for streaming on Hulu.

Women of the Movement Review

There is no stronger love than a mother for their child. There is also no stronger force when said mother believes that her child has been wronged.

Women of the Movement is a six-episode miniseries that aired on ABC before moving to Hulu. It tells the story of the murder of Emmett Till (Cedric Joe) in 1955 and his mother’s, Mamie Till (Adrienne Warren) fight for justice. In August of that year, Emmet is spending part of his vacation with family in Mississippi. Raised in Chicago, he is unaware of the unofficial rules of the Jim Crow South. He supposedly makes a lewd comment at a White woman. Two days later, Emmet is taken in the middle of the night, tortured, and killed.

Upon hearing that her son (and only child) will be returning home in a box, Mamie funnels her grief and anger into ensuring that the men who slaughtered Emmett will spend the rest of their days in prison.

OMG. I was hooked the entire time. At its heart, it is a love story between a parent and their child. If Mamie had laid in bed the entire time, relying on food, alcohol, or another outside source to dull her sorrow, it would be completely understood. Instead, she stood up for Emmet. In doing so, she opened another door to the Civil Rights movement and broke the glass ceiling for both women and Americans of color.

The thing that struck me was that Till was not the first and is certainly not the last young man killed for their skin color. It is almost seventy years since this boy’s life was taken. There is no doubt that the hard work of multiple generations has paid off. But there is still a long road ahead of us.

It would be a shame if Warren does not receive any sort of nomination for this role. It is her performance that held me by the proverbial throat and kept me hoping that justice would prevail, even when history tells us otherwise.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Women of the Movement is available for streaming on Hulu.

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