A24 has announced that former teen idol/vocal bible Brandy “Impossible Things Are Happening Every Day” Norwood will star in The Front Room, a psychological-horror film directed by The Eggers Brothers. Before I finished reading the press release, I had to open up my 400th tab to see if they were related to the “Spielberg of A24” and found out they are!
A lil rundown on the Brothers Eggers: Max and Sam are twins, and The Front Room is their directorial debut. They have pretty sparse IMDB pages, with a major credit a piece. (Sam co-wrote the 2018 doc Olympia — about Dukakis — and Max co-wrote The Lighthouse with older bro Robert Eggers.)
Adapted from a short story by Susan Hill, The Front Room follows a newly pregnant couple who invite their estranged ultra-religious grandmother to move into their home and are forced to deal with the consequences of this act of charity.
On Aug. 24, model and Euphoria regular Barbie Ferreira is leaving the controversial HBO series, which all but cut her character, Kat, out of the action in season 2. Ferreira, who played a minor role in the Jordan Peele’s blockbuster hit Nope, announced her departure from the critically acclaimed series via an Instagram story:
Ferreira’s character was a fan favorite and perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the award-winning series’ first season. A plus-size teen learning how to embrace her curves and navigate new love, Kat was the type of character that similar teen shows would’ve relegated to the background, where she’d only peek out to help the lead character resolve a problem. But in season 1, this depressing trope of the plus-size friend with zero dimension was turned on its head. Sure, there was no fairytale ending but it felt like viewers were being treated to something truly special. But fans were upset with Kat’s lack of character development and reduced presence in the sophomore season’s narrative, which largely focused on Rue’s addiction and Cassie’s downward spiral.
Back when season 2 was airing, rumors swirled on social media about a conflict between Ferreira and Euphoria showrunner/director/producer/writer Sam Levinson. In February, The Daily Beast ran a story about the unconfirmed feud, alleging that Ferreira was unhappy with Kat’s development and had walked off the set at least twice during filming, according to unnamed production sources.
Whether or not we ever find out the real reason for Ferreira’s departure, it’s safe to say that Kat’s presence on the show will be greatly missed. (Personally, I’d love to see Ferreira lead a rom-com.)
At the top of 2022, I proudly declared that I would not add another streaming platform to my roster. Four months later, I caved in after seeing a preview for a new Ben Whishaw medical series—think if House was a depressed, thirty-something British OBGYN working at a county hospital where both gut-wrenching and darkly funny shit happens. Unfortunately for me, the show was on a platform that wasn’t dinging my account on the reg. I made a compromise with myself and decided to sign up for the platform’s seven-day free trial—which would be more than enough time to watch the series before canceling my subscription before the first charge. Seconds after signing up I forgot about unsubscribing, as I am wont to do. Too lazy to go through the cancellation process, I figured I’d just see if there was anything worth watching.
The platform has a decent-ish amount of content, much of which is pretty good. Horror fans can watch every episode of The Walking Dead and its 4,000 spin-offs and post-shows and pre-shows and behind-the-scene shows. There’s also Mad Men, the Breaking Bad universe, a ton of BBC series including Killing Eve and The Watch, and original content like Kin (an Irish crime drama starring Mr. Daredevil himself) and classic American-action flicks like Young Guns.
So in an effort to turn lemons into lemonade, I have compiled a list of AMC Plus shows that you, too, should check out when you forget to unsubscribe. In no exact order:
The North Water
Starring Colin Farrell, Stephen Graham, Jack O’Donnell
5 episodes/about 50 to 60 min a pop
Whale hunting fucking sucks, or so is the case in this thriller miniseries starring a spectacularly scruffy and grumbly Farrell and a typically gruff Graham. The five-part series follows an ex-army surgeon who winds up joining a whaling expedition through the Arctic in the mid-1850s. The motley crew aboard the good ship is as ultra-violent as they come — they’d be right at home in a Westeros-like situation. Farrell turns in a Tom Hardy—inspired performance full of grunts and violence and stalking about, imposing their grown-man forged from steel attitudes on their prey.
Lil’ fun fact: The show was shot on location in The Arctic, which wound up helping the actors get deeper into character. “[It was a] very harsh environment indeed, it had to be,” O’Connell told Newsweek. “I don’t think any of the characters we’re playing have an easy time of it. So, for me it was an absolute pleasure to have that factor of the character already taken care of. Just being able to react to what we’re dealing with.”
This Is Going To Hurt
Starring Ben Whishaw, Ambika Mod, Michele Austin, Rory Fleck Byrne
7 episodes/about 45ish minutes a pop
Based on the Adam Kay’s 2017 book, This is Going to Hurt is a medical dramedy that follows the daily lives of junior doctors who work in a maternity ward at a National Health Service hospital. The equally hilarious and gut-wrenching series highlights the horrific working conditions that many health care professionals endure with little-to-no support.
Whishaw shared some insights about the role with Radio Times. “The thing that the show has done for me in terms of opening my eyes is just the sheer levels of exhaustion. It shouldn’t be shocking because it’s so obvious if you think about what these people are actually doing and dealing with every day. But I don’t think we’re encouraged to reflect on that. I think we take it for granted, actually.”
Watching the characters work never-ending shifts while dealing with actual matters of life or death is second-hand exhausting in a way but the humor throughout does a good job of giving us a break from the heaviness. The heart of the show lies in its two leads: Whishaw’s Adam and Ambika Mod’s breathtaking performance as Shruti, a student doctor that gets thrown into the deep-end. Nervous but dedicated to making her parents’ proud, Shruti is forced to learn on the job with little help from her wisecracking, disinterested mentor Adam. And thanks to Mod’s haunting and authentic portrayal, Shruti becomes the one that audiences root for—though Adam is the series’ hero.
Lil aside: Since Perfume, Ben Whishaw—affectionately known in the Bowie household as “Whishees”—has been my eye-acting king. He has a few signature eye quirks and looks that evoke so much empathy in me as a viewer. He’s also the only actor who consistently makes me want to give their character a hug. They’re often so stressed and lovelorn and well-intentioned! More rom-coms for Ben please. Some lighter fare for my tortured British thespian prince!
Stuff to Watch
AMC Plus, like Netflix and Prime, has a function that allows users to save the shows/movies they want to watch. It’s called My Stuff, and here’s a lil peek into mine:
Gangs of London
I love a good British gangster drama and this title card suggests that things are about to go down in jolly ol and the dude from Peaky Blinders is big stressed about it.
Spin Me Round
Allison Brie always chooses such interesting roles (justice for Glow!) and Spin Me Round may be no exception. To my complete delight, this trailer is a study in controlled chaos and then Aubrey Plaza shows up talking shit in Italian, so it’s a must-watch at this point.
This innovative sketch show centers on a fictional music variety hour – a la Soul Train – hosted by Sherman McDaniels, a Don Cornelius—type showman. Luckily for me and this AMC Plus subscription that I’ve allowed to stay on my bulging streaming roster, I get to check out the new season of Sherman’s Showcase when it debuts on the platform on October 26. According to Variety, a slew of guest stars are slated to appear in the new season: Issa Rae, Demi Adejuyigbe, Desi Banks, Laci Mosley, Dewayne Perkins, and Jay Pharoah.
Fans of Kenan’s “What Up With That” SNL sketch will likely love the hell out of this series. Catch the first season of Sherman’s Showcase on Hulu (unless they’ve pulled it by the time you read this. Them’s the digital breaks.)
*** As you may have guessed by the “quality” of this post, this is not an ad for AMC Plus — but man, my bank account would be happier if it was.
I came across this jewel of a trailer and needless to say I was extremely titillated. The moody, Refn-like trailer showcased the ever-beefy, bespectacled, former Game of Throner stepping into a Mad Max-esque landscape complete with a Keanu Reeves villain with a bad cop-stache and my forever beloved Giovanni Ribisi. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Keanu go full villain so it will be lovely to see him embrace his inner-Nic Cage acting nuttiness.
Bad Batch has locked down my actor crushes from the past and present so super kudos to the casting director and agents that made this visual fantasy possible. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that the female lead (model-turned-actress Suki Waterhouse) is not reduced to a half-naked accessory piece. Not a great sign that the trailer starts off with her being kidnapped and abused but I will reserve judgment until it gets to theaters on June 23rd and I can see the whole film.
Who would’ve ever thunk a tweet from 2013 would come back to haunt little ol’ me? Well, I certainly did. When my best good friend told me that my tweet was featured in a Tom Hardy post that had 10,000 shares. If Beyoncé has the Beyhive and so on, what are Tom Hardy lovers called?? (Besides people with good taste.) I need to figure it out so I can embrace the hell out of that.
On a somber note, we all made Myspace mistakes, Tom. We must all be a little more careful in what we post on the web because you never know if it will come back to bite you in the ass 7 years later when you’re one of the biggest actors in the world.
As much as I am in love with the success of recent hit shows starring and created by my kinfolk— Blackish, Empire, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and the Larry Wilmore Show—I can recognize that diversity is not just for black people. There is a staggering lack of representation of any other POCs on television. This last TV season saw the addition of the Cristela show, an ABC comedy about a Mexican American working woman who’s trying to get her law career off the ground while dealing with her family. I caught a few episodes, which were unfortunately relegated to a Friday night timeslot.
ABC should be applauded for moving us all a bit closer to being represented in primetime. Although, I’m sure their move toward diversifying their shows is strictly money-based, at least they have the balls to know that the viewership exists and wants to be fed and are actually feeding them. In the same way Scandal’s success made it easier to see a network on Empire, I’m sure the Empire phenomenon will spawn a whole new crop of diverse shows and I am happy for that.
In the meanwhile, I haven’t seen an Asian family on network TV since Margaret Cho’s show aired in the nineties. It was hilarious and she absolutely does not get enough credit for being a trailblazer. When I heard about Fresh Off The Boat, I was intrigued. One, I worked at a bookstore at the time and the book it is based on by Eddie Huang was selling like gangbusters. The cover was hysterical looking and the title was eye-catching and after reading through a few chapters, I was sold.
This guy was hilarious and relatable. Also, his book and the show are set in the nineties, which, in my opinion, was the best decade ever. His tale of growing up in Orlando and then New York being the fish out of water is universal. Most of us have been there. It offered me a new take on the family experience through Huang’s eyes. He also has a great writing voice: funny, unique, and clever. After last night’s pilot premiere and second episode I was thrilled to find out that the book translated beautifully into a sitcom.While they definitely toned down a lot of Huang’s sentiments, it all still worked. The opening scene of a young Eddie trying on his b-boy outfit in the dressing room and having his mother deny him his swag because of the price point had me in stitches. The show is wonderfully cast and I genuinely look forward to seeing how many of the tales from the book make it into future episodes.
I hate that this show and Blackish have to go up against Empire, which is dominating Wednesday night TV for the foreseeable future. In a dreamworld, I would love to see Blackish and Fresh Off the Boat take the 8 o’clock hour so their success is not derailed by the titan that is Empire. ABC could place proven hits Modern Family and The Middle in the 9 o’ clock hour and retain much of its core audience. I want so desperately for all these shows to have their time in the sun. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen a programming hour encompass the essence of the America I live in.
Last year, one of the best shows in television came into my life: Broad City. The story of 2 real, funny, clever, reckless girlfriends, Broad City is a show that the 20-40 year old female demographic desperately needed. Watching the New York-based adventures of Abbi and Ilana as they cause chaos among the coworkers, attempt to score weed and men, while maintaining the realest friendship on TV makes me and every woman I know so hopeful, nostalgic, emboldened, and excited. It’s not often that we’re allowed to see women be goofy and sex positive. It’s even more rare to see 2 women on TV not destroy each other over men or even constantly talking about their men.
Abbi likes her neighbor Jeremy but it isn’t all she talks about. She has a job as a janitor at a gym. She is a career woman who wants to move up the rankings and become one of the trainers. Her self-involved, meathead of a boss constantly taunts and tests Abbi, but she is resilient and always comes through for him no matter how much he chooses to ignore her desires for a promotion and her career goals. Abbi is all of us. She also had one of the funniest moments in TV during the early parts of the second season when during a massive heatwave she found herself in an apartment with air conditioning…alone. She mimed out Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” as she sauntered through that cozy apartment reminding us all that it’s the little things like air conditioning in the middle of a New York heatwave that need to celebrated with the best pop song performances.
Meet Ilana. She is Abbi’s best friend and she does not give a single fuck. She wears what she wants, does what she wants, and commands the hell out of a room. She’s like Lucille Ball on LSD and she is the such a master of absurd physical comedy. She has a job (barely) as a telemarketer and when she does manage to show up, she shows UP. Her boss is on the verge of a nervous breakdown when she’s in the building and her coworkers are not her biggest fans but everyone loves Ilana despite her lack of expected social responsibility. She is ride or die for her bestie Abbi even in the midst of going into anaphylactic shock over a shellfish allergy or doing a passport job of babysitting Abbi after a dental procedure. Besides her devotion to Abbi, my favorite thing about Ilana is the way she handles her sexual relationship with her dentist homie/lover/friend, Lincoln played with straightman coolness by the increasingly popular and very funny comedian Hannibal Buress. She is not looking for anything serious though it is obvious that Lincoln would wife her up in a heartbeat. As much as Ilana plays around, she doesn’t actually use this knowledge against him. It is what is.
Though the show is a bit wacky and grounded just outside of reality, it is so nice to see women perform antics like this on TV. The girls don’t hit us over the head with any abrupt feminism reference, or are forward about their feminist objectives like Lena Dunham’s Girls, but they still manage to embody the feminism spirit that so desperately need to be shared on any network but especially the male-dominated sphere of Comedy Central. It should go without saying that women are funny, but let it be known that our humor is not just Sex in the City or Girls, we have some Broad City in us as well. Thanks Abbi and Ilana.
I awoke this morning to the news that Ava DuVernay, a brilliant and talented director of many amazing films (who happens to be an African-American woman) was nominated for a Golden Globe. I have followed Ava’s directing career since the release of her documentary, This is the Life. She provided an insight into hip-hop culture that I had never seen before—she opened my eyes to all the cinematic possibilities. I have eagerly watched her talents blossom and her scope widen over the years. With the release of Selma next month, DuVernay stands to break even more ground by becoming the first African-American woman to receive an Oscar nomination and, God willing, an Oscar in March 2015. It will not be a “pity-Oscar” or an “affirmative action Oscar,” no, she will win because she provided the best direction of a film and because she is one of the best working directors in the world today—male, female, white, black, or otherwise.
I floated while eating my bowl of oatmeal this morning. She’s one step closer. I was a proud fangirl flipping through my tablet to see what other movie news had transpired when I came across this headline:
“Scott Rudin Apologizes After Leak Of Sony’s Hacked Racially Insensitive E-Mails On Barack Obama”
Racially insensitive? Nice wording. That’s the tidiest PR way of saying:
“Hey guys, the execs of our billion dollar company just got caught insulting the leader of the free world with some blazing hot racism and we’re kind of hoping an apology will shut up all YOU PEOPLE who might take offense at our casual racism and continue to give us your hard earned dollars for such upcoming gems as “Jump Street Meets the Men in Black” and “Spiderman Reboot #4.”
And below that headline was the statement that Rudin released:
“Private emails between friends and colleagues written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity, even when the content of them is meant to be in jest, can result in offense where none was intended,” he told Deadline. “I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive — and not funny at all. To anybody I’ve offended, I’m profoundly and deeply sorry, and I regret and apologize for any injury they might have caused.”
Things are a bit too racially charged in this country for us to pretend that the email hacking is a bigger deal than the content of the email. Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin just got Donald Sterling’d. We took The Clippers away from him, post-haste, so why should Pascal and Rudin not feel some heat? I wonder if they were thinking of the fact that some of the biggest grossing releases for their studio are movies with African-American leads like Kevin Hart, Jamie Foxx, and Denzel Washington.
If you operate so casually using the company email, I’d hate to hear the punch lines of your dinner party conversations. You are in positions of power, not as great as Obama, but positions that affect the public’s entertainment. I wonder how long you’ve been scared that this info would be released? Was it an afterthought? Is the worst yet to come? I shudder on your ignorant behalf.
The recent candid interviews from Chris Rock have only shown a brighter spotlight on the race problem in Hollywood. He doesn’t believe that things will change in our lifetime, but I hold onto hope. As long as the DuVernay’s and Shonda Rhimes’ of the world continue to dominate and uplift then we may actually seem some change. It doesn’t matter that commercial Black films are making big money and that the Black movie-going audience is growing. There is an appalling lack of respect for us that is ubiquitous in Hollywood. We don’t only watch “Black movies” we watch movies, in general. We support “our movies” as it is the only chance we have to see people who look like us represented on the big screen. I’m going to watch “Top Five” tomorrow and I’m going to buy 2 tickets because I want more movies like that to get made.
We are not just the reflection that reality TV has created of us. We are not just looters on the nightly news. We are not illiterate. We are not only knowledgeable about our own cultures. We are innovative, intelligent beings who balance the immeasurable eternal weight of negative public perception on our backs. Like every culture, our people are bad, good, and in between.
Amy and Scott, like my beloved sitcoms from the ‘80s and ‘90s, I want to end with this personal anecdote that doubles as a moral conclusion. Cue the saxophone slow-riff.
I’ve kept a journal since I was 9 years old. One day, I was writing a very explicit paragraph chastising my mother for not letting me watch “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (I wanted to watch a non-minority movie * gasp *) until I finished watching the dishes. My dad (Yes, my dad, stereotype de-mythed!) walked into the room to talk to me and I threw my journal to the opposite side of the room.
“Why’d you do that?” he asked me. “I don’t know.” My general response to all potentially bad situations when I was 9.
He walked over to the journal and picked it up as my heart nearly thumped out of my chest. I looked around feverishly. I could probably jump out of the window and make a run for it.
He passed the journal back to me and said, “I know you like to write but don’t write things you wouldn’t want others to read. You never know who your audience might be.” I shook my head in understanding and he walked out of the room. I cried because I thought about how my mom might feel if she had read the terribly defamatory things I wanted to write about her. This was 1991, long before the days of social media and NSA wire-tapping. My empathy wrecked me. I’m not sure if my dad’s advice applies to all situations (I actually think he may have been admitting to reading my journal) but it definitely always makes me think of others before I character assassinate.
Today, I operate under the notion that my words could be read by the Queen of England or the head of Sony Pictures. This keeps the writing honest and responsible. Be responsible and leave the jokes to the comedians. Outrage is so exhausting. I wish we could have a break.
It’s almost 2015—can we just try to do better?
*This article by Danger Bowie was previously ran on blackgirlnerds.com on December 12, 2014*
I’ve been a Chris Rock fan since I was a young teen. The scream cadence and repetition of his all-too-familiar voice has always brought me laughs. I can remember going to the theater to see “Head of State” and his other various films on the day of their release and tomorrow will be no different. My excitement has only increased after reading a string of press interviews Rock has done over the last 2 weeks.
Here are a few unforgettable and poignant Rock quotes:
“I’ve got artsy taste, which is great and not great at the same time. I’d rather work with Wes Anderson, but I don’t look like Owen Wilson. I’d love to work with Alexander Payne and Richard Linklater. But they don’t really do those movies with black people that much.” —Rolling Stone
“There are almost no black women in film. You can go to whole movies and not see one black woman. They’ll throw a black guy a bone. OK, here’s a black guy. But is there a single black woman in Interstellar? Or Gone Girl? Birdman? The Purge? Neighbors? … I go to the movies almost every week, and I can go a month and not see a black woman having an actual speaking part in a movie.” —The Hollywood Reporter
“I don’t want to [act] in anything that [takes place] before the Jackson 5. Anything before them is just black misery. Everything before the Jackson 5 is essentially slavery, or close to it. So as far as I’m concerned, Michael, Marlon, Tito, Jermaine and Jackie ended slavery.” —Rolling Stone
I wish he’d write another memoir or a political humor book, like Bill Maher. His last book, “Rock This!” was written in the late ’90s.I don’t always agree with everything he says but his thought process and the way he breaks down ideas is bar none. Warm it up, Chris!
My dear multi-talented, sexy, adorable, parasocial love Tom Hardy is proving, yet again, that he is a forced to be reckoned with. FX has ordered Taboo, a new drama series from Ridley Scott with Tom set to star.
Set in 1813, Taboo is based on an original story by Hardy and his father, Chips Hardy. In Taboo, Hardy plays the lead role of “James Keziah Delaney,” a rogue adventurer who returns from Africa with 14 ill-gotten diamonds to seek vengeance after the death of his father. Refusing to sell the family business to the East India Company, he sets out to build his own trade and shipping empire and finds himself playing a very dangerous game.
Scott said, “FX is the perfect partner to engage with this dark, fantastic world that Tom and Steven have created. We¹re glad to have them on board.”
Hardy added, “Taboo is the first major production our company, Hardy Son & Baker, is setting sail on, and it gives me great pleasure to know that we are in partnership with FX and the BBC. I believe with the high standard of creative talent – with Steve Knight and Ridley Scott at the helm – and with the support and backing of these two great broadcasters, we have found the perfect home and team for Taboo.”
I love that he conceptualized the story with his Pa. Too cute. I shall wait with baited breath until 2016, Mr. Hardy. Until then, enjoy this picture of Tom on the set of The Drop with Rocco the dog.