Tag Archives: Patti LuPone

Hollywood Review

Hollywood is full of dreamers. It is also full of racists, homophones, misogynists and bullshitters.

The new Netflix series, Hollywood, is set, in well, Hollywood. Then, as is now, seeing one’s name in lights is the dream of many. But that does not always mean that those dreams will become reality.

Jack Costello (David Corenswet) is tall glass of water from the Midwest with optimism and no acting experience. Needing to support his pregnant wife, Jack takes a job working for Ernie (Dylan McDermott). Ernie runs a gas station that “services” their client’s needs. Jack’s first client is Avis Amberg (Patti LuPone), a former actress and the wife of a studio head who is looking for “company”.

Raymond Ainsley (Darren Criss) and Camille Washington (Laura Harrier) are both looking for their big breaks. Raymond is a director and Camille is a contract player. Though their relationship is perfect from inside, both are aware of the racial pressures the moment they walk out the door.

Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope) has two strikes against him: he is black and gay. He is also a screenwriter with a completed biopic of Peg Entwistle. Hired by Ernie on Jack’s recommendation, one of his customers is Roy Fitzgerald (Jake Picking) aka the future Rock Hudson. Their relationship quickly expands beyond the professional realm.

Roy, newly christened Rock has been taken under the wing of powerful agent Henry Willson (an unrecognizable Jim Parsons). Before Henry can introduce his client to the power players, he requires a down payment via his own version of the casting couch.

Claire Wood (Samara Weaving) is another young actress who under contract. Though she has extremely close connections to those who can make her career, she wants to do it on her own terms.

I loved this series. I loved that it showed what could be in terms of representation without hitting the audience over the head. I also loved it it righted the wrongs of the past. Anna May Wong (Michelle Krusiec) and Hattie McDaniel (Queen Latifah) are finally given their due, if only on film.

Created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, this series is what fans expect from this particular film making duo. But while it stays with the frame of their particular style of film making, it stands out because of the subtle and not so subtle message of equality and loving yourself.

I absolutely recommend it.

P.S. If anyone deserves any nominations or awards from this cast, it is Jim Parsons. He is creepy and disgusting in the most fantastic way possible.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Netflix

Flashback Friday-Just Looking (1999)

Being a teenager is the most confusing, amazing and life altering experience that anyone will ever have.

In 1999’s Just Looking, Lenny (Ryan Merriman) is a 14 year boy living in the Bronx in 1955. Summer has just begun and Lenny has only one goal to complete by the time school starts: watch two adults, well, make whoopee, as was the phrase from the period. His mother Sylvia (Patti LuPone) sends him to Queens for the summer to live her pregnant younger sister and her husband. Meeting the gorgeous and much older Hedy (Gretchen Mol) turns Lenny’s world upside down.

Lenny’s original goal may be to catch two adults in the act, but he learn much more that summer.

Coming of age stories are nothing new. But in the hands of skilled writer, the coming of age story feels universal. It also helps that this film is set in the mid 1950’s, creating an emotional distance that allows the audience not only to consider the age of the main character, but the world he lived and grew up in.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Life, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Good For You, Patti LuPone

Any regular theater attendee knows and is warned beforehand to turn off their cell phones or put them on silent before the show begins. This is especially true when sitting either spitting distance from the stage or watching a small production in a small theater.

One woman did not heed the warning. During a performance last week,  an audience member was texting during Show For Days starring Patti LuPone. Not breaking character, Ms. LuPone grabbed the woman’s cell phone without ceremony, handed to the stage manager and returned to the stage as if nothing had happened.

I say good for her.

Like many people, I am addicted to my cell phone. It is never too far from my grasp. But there are times when it is best to keep the phone off. Going the theater is one of them.

The people who work in theater, both on and off stage, work very hard to create the illusion of the performance. The people attending the show want to be there and want the illusion. They pay good money (and believe me, the ticket prices for some shows are not cheap) for that illusion. To see someone texting or using social media during the performance breaks the illusion and ultimately ruins the show for all involved.

A lesson learned, not just for this woman, but any present and future theater attendees. Put the phone away. It won’t kill you to not look at your phone for two hours.

 

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