Plus, an update on a Sarasota "Big Brother" contestant.
Emmy nominations dropped last Tuesday. As I've said before, doing the Emmys right in this age is basically an impossible task. There are too many shows, and although the hit rate for these shows might be lower than it's ever been, there are enough good ones by sheer force of will that watching them all has to be mind-numbingly difficult.
THAT SAID, there are some weird-ass Emmy nominations this year. Four actors from "Ted Lasso" in the Best Supporting Actor - Comedy division? I adore "Ted Lasso" — more on that in a bit — but spread the love, y'all! Four Best Supporting Actress - Drama noms from "The Handmaid's Tale"? Four Best Guest Actor - Comedy noms from "Saturday Night Live"? In this economy? A Best Drama nom for "Lovecraft Country" — a show I liked, but with serious reservations — but not "Perry Mason"? HBO didn't even pick up "Lovecraft Country" for a second season, yet it has 18 nominations.
It seems like Emmy voters picked like eight shows and said: "OK, we're just going to spread the noms between these shows for every category no matter what. Everyone cool with that?" I guess that IS one way to cut down on the "too much content" problem, but I don't know how many fans will be pleased by it.
(Matthew Rhys did get a Best Actor nom for "Perry Mason," thankfully, and I'm glad that Yvonne Strahovski, known for "The Handmaid's Tale" and also for being a major celeb crush of Young Ryan, got her second Best Supporting Actress nom as well. Hope she wins this time.)
- The trailer for "Jackass Forever" dropped this week, and I am delighted to report that Johnny Knoxville and company seem to be as wild as ever despite being approximately 345 years old. All signs point to this being the last entry in the "Jackass" canon, at least with the original crew involved, and it appears they're going out with a literal bang.
- Netflix's earnings report includes news that the service will be getting into the gaming sphere soon, per CNBC, with a focus on free mobile games. I'm often critical of Netflix in this column, but I think this could prove to be a smart move. I, for one, am certainly more likely to play a game for 10 minutes on my phone than I am to watch a two-hour movie on that tiny screen.
- Park Chan-wook, the director of the Binge Blog-approved films like "The Handmaiden" and "Stoker" as well as all-time classic "Oldboy," is teaming with Robert Downey Jr. on a new Vietnam War satire where RDJ will play multiples roles as the main antagonist(s). This is a weird, weird stew, but it sounds delicious.
It is now time for a new segment in the round-up that I like to call:
How is Alyssa doing on "Big Brother"?
Sarasota's own Alyssa Lopez is on CBS summer reality show "Big Brother." She was nominated for eviction in week one — a dumb move made by Head of Household Frenchie for reasons no one has time for right now — but survived via an 11-2 vote.
It is currently week two. Nominations for eviction have been locked, and Alyssa is safe.
This has been "How is Alyssa doing on 'Big Brother'?"
Festival de Cannes, the biggest film festival in the world, returned in 2021 after taking a year off in 2020 for, well, you know. It ended over the weekend. With the festival's return came a deluge of reviews either skewering or praising films from many acclaimed directors. Not every film shown at the festival will get a U.S. release in 2021, but many of them will. I put together a short list of films I'm looking forward to watching whenever they get released.
"The French Dispatch" (Dir. Wes Anderson)
Wes Anderson's latest film has been described as a love letter to journalism, so I obviously have to put it first. An anthology movie following a handful of different moments in the fictional history of the titular newspaper, "The French Dispatch" is said to be one of Anderson's most inventive films visually, which is saying something. A few reviews have mentioned that this is one of Anderson's least emotional films — that tends to happen with anthologies — but other reviewers haven't been bothered by that. Either way, expect the film, which stars Anderson's usual crew of Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray and more, to be a player come Oscar season.
"Titane" (Dir. Julia Ducournau)
The follow-up to Julia Ducournau's debut horror film "Raw," which I love, "Titane" doesn't have an official synopsis from distributor NEON yet, but the reviews out of Cannes make it sound like it is a more-than-worthy sophomore effort — if you're on Ducournau's wavelength, at least. Although the exact plot remains under wraps, it apparently involves star Agathe Rousselle getting some metal drilled into her head, getting a little too obsessed with a car, going on a killing spree and posing as a missing child. More than one review has referred to the film as "demented" (and meaning it as a positive). Oh, and it won the dang Palme d'Or, the most prestigious prize in film this side of the Oscars. Ducournau is now the second female director to win the prize and the first to win it solo, as Jane Campion was a co-winner for "The Piano" in 1993. Everything about it sounds like a one-in-a-million experience, and I can't wait.
"The Worst Person in the World" (Dir. Joachim Trier)
A far cry from other Joachim Trier films like "Thema" and "Louder than Bombs," "The Worst Person in the Worst" is said to be a rom-com with touches of Nora Ephron. Starring Renate Reinsve as Julie, a woman oscillating between two men as she ages into her late 20s, the film might not rewrite any rom-com rules, but it is said to be funny, moving and, in an age where rom-com relationships are more cute than anything, genuinely hot. It topped a handful of Cannes rankings from critics I like, so I'm optimistic about this one.
"Annette" (Dir. Leos Carax)
The film that kicked off Cannes this year, "Annette" divided critics, but what they had to say only made me more interested in seeing it. "Annette" is a musical written by cult UK band Sparks. It's about a stand-up comic (Adam Driver) and his wife (Marion Cotillard) as they prepare to have a baby. From the reviews, this is really Driver's show, embodying the kind of toxic guy who would use his child as a pawn in the war over control of his and his wife's lives. That's no metaphor; the baby in "Annette" is literally a puppet. Some reviews say the film is too self-indulgent, but others praise Driver's gigantic performance and the beautiful, Earth-shaking cinematography. I'm excited to see it and figure out where I fall.
"Drive My Car" (Dir. Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
An adaptation of a Haruki Murakami short story, "Drive My Car" is the story of a stage actor who discovers that his screenwriter wife has been having an affair with one of her colleagues. Before he can talk to her about the affair, she dies. Years later, the actor deals with the grief of her death and learns about the secrets she left behind. As of Tuesday, "Drive My Car" had the highest average score (3.5/4) of any competition film at the festival, according to Screen International's annual survey of critics.
"After Yang" (Dir. Kogonada)
In the future, a Black mother and white father have trouble moving on when Yang, the artificial intelligence helper they purchased to teach their Asian daughter, Mika, about her heritage, suddenly breaks down. "After Yang," Kogonada's second film, stars Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith and Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, as well as Justin H. Min as Yang. Critics are calling the film a sensitive sci-fi meditation on loss, race and humanity. Bring some tissues to this one.
"Memoria" (Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Tilda Swinton stars in "Memoria," the new film from critical darling Apichatpong Weerasethakul, as a Brit living in Colombia who starts to hear a thumping sound everywhere she goes. It turns out only Swinton can hear the sound. The film is her journey to discovering what this sound is and why she is hearing it, and it takes her to some unexpected places. It has been described as a "mystic odyssey." I've avoided knowing much more about "Memoria" than that. By all accounts, it sounds like something I want to go into as fresh as possible.
"Ted Lasso" (2020-present)
Apple TV+, rated TV-MA, two seasons (22 episodes)
The highly anticipated season two of "Ted Lasso" drops today (Friday). I'm quite stoked to watch it, but before I do, I need to say something important.
I know that there's probably people out there who have not yet watched season one of the show and will be looking to catch up before the premiere, or people who have never even heard of the show before. I'm talking to you all right now, not the "Ted Lasso" choir. I, like most everyone on the internet, agree that you should watch the show. It is a good show, a show that I honestly think everyone can get something out of, even (or especially) if you don't care about soccer.
When "Ted Lasso" was pitched to me last summer by, uh, all of Sports Twitter, it was billed as being the following things: funny, charming and, above all, nice. It is a nice show about a nice man who wins everyone over with kindness despite cultural challenges. "Wow, this show makes me so happy. It is such a joy, such a warm balm during these difficult times," they said. That is not a quote from any one person, but it might as well be. And although none of those descriptors are necessarily false — just the opposite, in fact — they also do not fully paint a picture of "Ted Lasso."
Because folks, "Ted Lasso" is sad as shit.
For the newbies, "Ted Lasso" is a show based on a series of commercials starring Jason Sudeikis as the titular soccer coach. Lasso moves to England to coach a Premier League team after making his bones in the U.S. as a college football coach. He knows nothing about soccer; in fact, his only real claim to fame is a viral video of himself dancing with his college team in the locker room. This is no problem for Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), the new owner of AFC Richmond, the team she acquired in her divorce settlement with Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head). Welton, knowing Mannion still adores the team, wants to destroy it from the inside. The first step to doing that is hiring Lasso, who is a dolt — or so she thinks.
From this jump-off point, we meet people like Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), Lasso's right-hand man; Nate (Nick Mohammad), the team's quiet, picked-on equipment manager; Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), the team's aging star midfielder; Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster), the team's young hotshot goal scorer; and Keeley Jones (Juno Temple), the woman caught between Kent and Tartt who becomes an important confidant to Welton.
As Lasso gets more ingrained with the team, Welton starts to understand his unorthodox coaching style and even respect it. And although there are certainly funny and silly moments along the way, the show often takes the time to portray all these characters as well-rounded human beings with real-world problems. "Ted Lasso" touches on doomed marriages, long-distance relationships between parents and their children, career failure, verbally abusive romantic relationships, midlife crises and more things I can't think of right now. The pilot episode of this half-hour comedy series had me welling up, and it only got worse from there. There's heavy stuff throughout the series, and basically all of it is portrayed in a moving, effective way. You will have your heart ripped out.
As long as you know that, dive in. Because it is funny, charming and nice. It teaches wonderful lessons about how to interact with people in the real world. You will fall in love with the whole "Ted Lasso" gang. I haven't seen season two yet, so I don't know if the tone of the show changes at all, but I doubt it will.
Just remember which reviewer was brave enough to tell you the truth about "Ted Lasso" while you smile through your tears.
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