Tuesday, January 16, 2018

MUDBOUND Beauty

I went to Netflix and started watching it shortly after midnight.  When it ended, about 2 hours and 15 minutes later, I sat there silent and moved and feeling rather blessed.  Like I had just experienced a stirring new member in the fine art of film.  This won't be a long review.  Maybe I'll get to talk about MUDBOUND in a podcast soon.  I'll keep you posted.  But, I will once again heap great praise upon director Dee Rees.  I first did that when I saw her 2011 film, PARIAH.  I will rejoice if Dee Rees gets a Best Director Oscar nomination for MUDBOUND.  She deserves it.
I would be so happy if Jason Mitchell got an Oscar nomination for his performance as Ronsel, the poor Mississippi Delta son who serves in the segregated troops of World War 2.
Jason Mitchell played Eazy-E in the critically hailed box office hit, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON.
I would cheer if Rachel Morrison makes Academy Award history as the first female to get an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematographer.

Two families in rural Mississippi on the brink of the Pearl Harbor bombing.  One family is white, the other is black.  Mud unites them on the land that can be a terrible beauty.  The look of vast fields topped by a dusk so pleasing to the eye can't erase the fact that the land is harsh and the weather can be unforgiving.  The white man, continuing a taught lesson of superiority, inconveniences the black family man with his need for help in the mud.  A white son and a black son will both be drafted to serve overseas in World War 2.  Both will signs of PTSD when they return home.  After the war, the world has changed.  But Mississippi has not changed for the two sons who return home.   The effects of war connects them. Will they be able to free themselves from the mud?

I watched MUDBOUND on Netflix because its a nominee for the SAG Awards and I'll be voting soon.

I want to see MUDBOUND again.  On a big screen in a movie theater.  It is that rich a visual experience -- like films directed by David Lean, Fred Zinnemann and George Stevens that went on to become classics.  So.... if you have Netflix and you're up for a fine film to watch... I highly recommend MUDBOUND.  Click onto the link to watch the trailer.  By the way -- Brava, to Mary J. Blige! What a performance.
https://youtu.be/f5RxhSvbHzQ.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Another Look at THE APARTMENT

To me, it's perfection.  Absolute perfection.  Billy Wilder's THE APARTMENT aired on a cable channel over the weekend and it was just the break I needed from the news of the day.  Good Lord, can you imagine how people in Hawaii must have freaked the hell out?  I prepared to watch THE APARTMENT when, earlier that same morning, some of us Americans thought that Trump could've been in a position like President Merkin Muffley in Stanley Kubrick's DR. STRANGELOVE.  Can you imagine him making that "Hello?....Hello, Dmitri?" phone call to the Governor of Hawaii?  Thank Heaven it was a false alarm.  Hawaii was not in danger of a nuclear missile attack.  A Billy Wilder classic took my mind off our Orange Mistake in the White House.
I watched THE APARTMENT Saturday morning and fell in love with it all over again.  I even felt tears of joy well up in my eyes at the famous "Shut up and deal" final line.
I gave Saturday's airing of THE APARTMENT my full attention.  I was not live tweeting it.  I was not on social media.  In giving it my full attention, I discovered something new that made me fall in love with Billy Wilder all over again.  I love the subtle yet powerful and accurate way he dealt with race in America.  He avoided the grand sweeping gesture -- like placing the action down South and showing KKK members in dastardly progress.  He showed those above the Mason-Dixon line slights, inequalities and insults that can be slipped into everyday life like an inter-office memo at work.  Look at his first teaming of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in 1966's THE FORTUNE COOKIE.  That is very much a Civil Rights era comedy, and a good one, often overlooked when film critics and enthusiasts write about the Wilder canon of classics.  A popular, well-paid, well-dressed and sophisticated NFL star, doing a favor for an injured white cameraman (Lemmon), picks up the injured party's arriving guest at the airport.  She assumes that he's not a dapper buddy doing a favor, but a chauffeur because he's black and driving.

What really stood out to me in my recent viewing of THE APARTMENT was the number of black people he incorporated into his look at corporate culture in New York City.  I loved it.  First of all, if you've read my previous posts and heard my podcasts, I do have a tendency to call up the sitcom FRIENDS as an example of a lack of racial diversity.  Nothing against that cast of fine actors.  But I lived in the downtown part of Manhattan where those friends lived.  The neighborhood does not lack for black, Latino, Asian and Middle Eastern faces just about every minute of the day and night.  When Carson Daly was the host of MTV's hugely popular TRL, you could walk through Times Square and see the loud crowds of black, brown and white teens eager to be selected to go into the building and be in the studio audience.  But a network sitcom about young hip adults in New York City showed all white faces.  In the 1990s.  We had more TV diversity in the 1970s with the Norman Lear sitcoms.  One of my dearest friends in life, the late Gail Joseph, was a top person in the NBC Publicity Department.  Gail was Jewish.  Gail took me out for a bite to eat and even she was perplexed at the uni-color of FRIENDS.  She'd lived in New York City for years.  I'd been to her apartment plenty of times.  She did not see the everyday racial diversity of New York City reflected in FRIENDS.

The lack of color, if you will, in SEINFELD caused me to lose interest in the sitcom early on.  I tried to give it a chance.  But when I saw the episode in which they thought having the characters accidentally set the flag of Puerto Rico on fire would be a big laugh-getter, that turned me off.  By the way, that particular episode got hundreds of calls from irate Latino viewers to the NBC switchboard.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and, for a year, I worked in the Screen Actors Guild Diversity Committee.  Our mission was to get more actors of color considered for even background work as extras.  There was a new ABC series getting a lot of advance promotion because it looked fabulous, festive and retro.  The show, about four pretty stewardesses in the early 1960s, was called PAN AM.  Because it was retro, we were interested to see if and how people of color would be worked into the show.  The series was set during the JFK administration.  There was no African American beauty among the four lovely stewardesses.  That was pretty much as expected.

But...in one of the first three episodes, there was scene in a very busy terminal in a New York airport.  We discussed this scene at SAG.  In the wide shot, with the hustle and bustle of early 1960s travelers, there were only four black actors in background parts.  There was a black couple with the woman in African garb, there was a black man in airport uniform carrying luggage for a white couple and another black man was shining shoes.  For in-flight scenes, you didn't see any black people as passengers.  The same applied for black actors on the sidewalks in the exterior scenes shot in Greenwich Village.  We had a problem with PAN AM, a show that premiered in the fall of 2011 and was cancelled within its first season.
Now look at Billy Wilder's THE APARTMENT, Oscar winner for Best Picture of 1960.  When first we see Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter as his desk in those rows of desks on an insurance company office floor that seems half the size of a football field, notice the number of black women in office attire delivering paperwork to desks.  At the big company Christmas party underway on C.C. Baxter's floor, notice the black women and men at the party in business attire.  Way more than the number of black people we saw in early episodes of ABC's PAN AM and way more than we see in those early years of FRIENDS as neighbors or coffee shop customers.

Black people work for the company in THE APARTMENT.  Black men are in the elevator, not as the elevator operators, but as shirt-and-tie wearing office employees going to or leaving work.  This is not to say that some stuffy old attitudes towards people of color don't exist within characters.
When Fran Kubelik has her first reunion drink with Mr. Sheldrake in the restaurant, notice that she walks into the restaurant and stops at the piano.  She smiles warmly at the Asian pianist.  He smiles very warmly back to her and plays what we come to know as the theme to THE APARTMENT.  She spots Mr. Sheldrake, the married men with whom she's had a soul-wounding affair, and sits down.  The Asian waiter is very happy to see her again.  "Nice to see you, lady," he says with a sincere smile.  He never looks at Mr. Sheldrake and Sheldrake doesn't look at him.  There is definite warmth and regard exchanged between Fran Kubelik and the two Asian men who work in the restaurant.  She even buys the album that the pianist recorded.  To Sheldrake, those two men are probably like generic domestics in his corporate executive mind.

Near the end of the movie, Sheldrake gets a shoe shine in his private office from a black male.  Sheldrake tips him a quarter or a half-dollar coin.  Sheldrake is highly-paid executive boss.  Did you ever see the 1953 musical, THE BAND WAGON, starring Fred Astaire?  Astaire plays a Hollywood actor who hasn't worked in a few years and has a meeting for a possible Broadway show.  In Times Square, he gets a shoe shine from a black man.  They connect like old buddies. Notice the faded Hollywood star tips the dude some folding money.

Those touches of Wilder's, his direction and use of actors, his visual subtleties give more texture to a scene.  They tells us more about how the characters relate to the world and how they relate within it.

From a heartbreaking, nearly tragic Christmas Eve, the spirit of Fran Kubelik will resurrect and light up at the end of New Year's Eve. She will start the New Year realizing that she is truly loved -- loved by the company co-worker who has Ella Fitzgerald albums in his record collection -- and who also walked out on Mr. Sheldrake.
I love THE APARTMENT.






Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Michelle Williams Needs a Better Agent

I read the story early Wednesday morning.  Robin Roberts interviewed an entertainment editor about it during GOOD MORNING AMERICA.  It was a major story on the ABC Evening News with David Muir.  Because of the Kevin Spacey scandal, reshoots had to be done on the movie ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.  Spacey's role was reshot with Christopher Plummer.  Two stars had to reshoot scenes.  The stars are muscular Mark Wahlberg and the strong actress Michelle Williams.  Reportedly, he got $1.5 million for his reshoots.  She got $1000.  This news comes on the heels of the TIME'S UP movement getting underway.  It shoots down sexual harassment, pay inequality based on gender and the imbalance of power in the workplace.  Here's one thing that really irks me about that report:  The two stars are represented by the same agency.  Michelle Williams -- girl, I know how you must feel.  I have been there to a lesser degree.  YOU are a 4-time Oscar nominee.
I have a couple of questions about this situation.  First, here's how I can relate to the news about Michelle Williams' low fee.  This came after we read that a female anchor on E! was not getting nearly what her male co-anchor got ... and Hoda Kotb is getting nowhere near what Matt Lauer got.  Michelle Williams has a wonderful reputation as a committed actress, a team player and a very gracious person.
Back in the early 1990s, after my three years on VH1, I was contacted by WNBC local news to be a regular on a new weekend morning news show that was soon to launch.  I was told I'd be doing entertainment interviews, film reviews in the studio and some lifestyle pieces.  This appealed to me.  I wanted to break through the color barrier of black folks never being seen as weekly film reviewers on news programs.  I took the job.  It wasn't big money but I was eager to continue the kind of entertainment interviews I'd done on VH1, the kind that some of the SNL folks upstairs from us had seen me do.  Well, the day before the show premiered, my duties were abruptly changed for no good reason.  I would not be doing film reviews or entertainment interviews in the studio. I'd be outside covering local community events.  My feelings were injured.  To add insult to injury, white producer said that she was sure I had "the skills" to cover entertainment.  She had never, ever looked at my VH1 demo reel.
 I called my broadcast agent and told him about this mess.  He sheepishly asked if I could take care of it myself.  Why?  He did not want to rile my WNBC local news boss who was also Matt Lauer's boss.  Matt was a new local anchor who was on the brink of making a big leap up to TODAY.  My agent -- soon to be my ex-agent -- also represented Matt Lauer.

I did push to do some entertainment interviews.  In the show's second month, I got Madonna to talk to me.  After that, I still had to do community events.  My goal was to move up to being an entertainment features contributor for the weekend network edition of TODAY.  I started in September 1992 and quit in January 1995 when I was told my work was excellent and I was popular with viewers but I'd never move up to full time employment and I'd never get network exposure.  Matt Lauer was network by then.  I gave notice.

Jump to the year 2000.  Two print columnists told me that ABC News was seeking a film reviewer/historian for a new live weekday hour-long show it was producing on Lifetime TV.  I aggressively pushed to get an audition.  I had to be aggressive because ABC News producers didn't think I knew anything about films.  One admitted that I was seen as a local funny "man-on-the-street" guy.

I auditioned and I got the job. I'd do an 8-minute segment every Friday which I'd write myself and I'd write reviews for the website.  I had a title -- "Entertainment Editor."  I was reviewing two new films a week, one DVD release, and spotlighting Women in Film history by recommending a classic film with a strong female lead performance.  That was my idea.
The pay was $500 a week.  The broadcast agent I had at that time was shocked to hear what ABC was offering.  "You should be getting $1500 a week for that!"  I told him who to call to negotiate.

He could not get me one penny more.  But you know what? I absolutely LOVED that job.  Films are my passion.  Also, I was doing something I never saw black people do on network TV when I was growing up -- film reviews. I hoped I'd be making an impression on network execs.

As for the pay, ironically my agent took 10 per cent of my weekly pay, as he was allowed to do per SAG-AFTRA union rules, for attempting to get me more money.  Some agents would've just passed because the pay was low.  Not this guy.  He also became my ex-agent.  There I was, talent for ABC News on a live national show every week doing something African-Americans never got to do every week on a network news program.. and I was taking home $330 a week.  After my agent took his cut.

My questions --- if you're an entertainment news reporter looking for a story -- are these:  What's the deal with agencies not taking care of their clients as well as they should?  The other question -- is the pay inequality in Hollywood and TV wider among performers who are people of color than it is for white talent?  Just wondering.

I have had national TV talent jobs since 1999.  The ABC News/Lifetime TV job was one, hosting a Food Network show that ran every week for six years is another and I worked with Whoopi Goldberg on her national weekday morning radio show that ran from 2006 to 2008.  The highest annual income I made for a national broadcast job from 1999 to now --- was $55,000.  By the way, my job on Whoopi's show started at $500 a week.  For a national show.

I bet white performers like Billy Bush, Mo Rocca and Carson Kressley made more -- and had better agents.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Loved Me Some Lena Waithe on CBS THIS MORNING

Yes, an inspiration and a role model can be years younger than you are.  And of the opposite sex.  To this Black man -- well into the AARP category -- young, gifted and Black Lena Waithe is an inspiration and a role model.   My introduction to her was when I discovered her fierce freshness and terrific comic acting skill on the Netflix sitcom, MASTER OF NONE, starring Aziz Ansari.  She plays what she is in real life -- one of his best friends and a smart young female who's openly lesbian. She is a master at underplaying a comedy scene and casually tossing off a comedy line in a most memorable way.  It's so natural.  Lena Waithe wrote one of the best episodes of that sitcom or of any other sitcom I saw last year.  Her character comes out to her family at Thanksgiving.  For that episode, she deservedly won an Emmy.  Lena Waithe became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series.
For Showtime, she has created a new drama series set in Chicago, her hometown.  She's also the executive producer.  The series is called THE CHI.  It's Tuesday, January 9th, and I saw Lena Waithe visit CBS THIS MORNING for an in-studio interview.  She was excellent.
She told Gayle King how deeply she connected to Oprah Winfrey's recent special achievement award acceptance speech on the Golden Globes.  Oprah mentioned how seeing Sidney Poitier win the Oscar for LILIES OF THE FIELD was so significant to her as she watched, a little girl in Milwaukee.

I fully understand how Oprah felt.  We're the same age.  I vividly recall being a little boy, sitting on the living room floor in front of the big bulky box of a black and white TV, and watching when Anne Bancroft announced "...and the winner is...Sidney Poitier!"  There he was with his excited, joyful, grateful and handsome self in a tuxedo.  Anne Bancroft, a future co-star, was also joyful and excited. She kissed him on live TV in that Civil Rights era when network TV execs tried to forbid such a public display of interracial affection between artists.
I remember Mom and Dad gasping with "Hallelujah" happiness and saying "He did it!" when Sidney Poitier's name was announced as the Best Actor Oscar winner.  He was the first Black man ever nominated for an Oscar -- and the first to win.
Seeing Mr. Poitier that night made me feel so significant, as I'm sure it did Oprah too.  I felt hopeful.  I felt that there could be a place for me also in an entertainment field.  I saw myself, my family and our community represented in his wonderful presence.

Today, Lena Waite said that she had the exact same feeling when she watched the Oscar and Halle Berry became the first Black woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress.  That was in 2002.  Halle Berry is, as of now, still the only Black woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress.

In the lives of Lena Waithe, Oprah Winfrey and myself... this is proof that representation matters.  If you've read my previous blog posts and listened to my podcasts, you know that I (with Keith Price) constantly call out the need for people of color to be seen on TV reviewing new films and adding insight to classic movies.  The field of film critics and movie hosts that many of us grew up seeing has lacked race and gender diversity.  Tiffany Haddish recently gave such a warm, funny, grateful and memorable acceptance speech at the recent New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner that she should've received a second award for her speech.  She won for her supporting role performance in the hit comedy, GIRLS TRIP.  During her speech, she mentioned that the only movie critics she'd ever seen growing up were Siskel and Ebert on TV.

I'm not an actor with the range and gift of Sidney Poitier.  I wish I was.  But my love affair with the art of films, new and old, started when I was a little boy in South Central L.A.  Our family was in the curfew area during the Watts Riots of the 1960s.  Just nine months before Sidney Poitier won his Oscar, my parents had me join them watching the long CBS live news telecast of the now-historic March on Washington.  We saw Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech when it happened.  The March on Washington for Civil Rights.  African-Americans demanding the right to vote, the right to a decent education, the freedom to sit at a lunch counter and have a sandwich without the fear of being beaten or killed, the right to use a non-segregated restroom.  Think about it.

I went into TV with the intention of changing images about Black people in and from South Central L.A.  In addition to that, I wanted to show that we too should be added to the network TV discussion of films and be added to the conversation with filmmakers.  We have knowledge.  We have history. We have a voice.
And that's why I tried to present race and gender diversity when I had the opportunity to host film talk on TV.
I feel that it's still important.  Just like when I saw Sidney Poitier win the Oscar and when I was moved by Oprah's acceptance speech Sunday on the Golden Globes, I felt very significant -- and proud -- watching Lena Waithe today on CBS THIS MORNING.  Representation matters.

Look for THE CHI on Showtime and MASTER OF NONE on Netflix.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

She's the Star of LADY BIRD

She's gone from THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL to BROOKLYN to Sacramento.  And she may add another Oscar nomination to her credits later this month.  I find young Saoirse Ronan to be an absolutely fascinating actress.  Back in the 1930s when Zero, the new lobby boy for The Grand Budapest Hotel, falls in love with Agatha the pastry chef, I felt "What's not to love?"  Agatha was like a sweet gourmet pastry come to life.  I loved Saoirse Ronan in THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.
 
She took us to conservative, Catholic Ireland in the 1950s.  She played the warm, witty, independent young woman determined to find a new life for herself.  The lovely Irish immigrant will find that new life in Brooklyn.  For her performance in BROOKLYN (2015), Saoirse Ronan received a very well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
                                                                             
Now look at her as the high school senior in a post-9/11 America soon to graduate from a Catholic school in Sacramento.  She cannot wait to flee her hometown and relocate to someplace vivid and interesting, someplace with cultural offerings.  But she's from a working class family, money is tight, and her working mom is a heavy passive-aggressive piece of furniture.  This high school senior call herself... Lady Bird.  LADY BIRD, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, may bring Ms. Ronan another Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Yes.  You just saw the same young woman as the lead actress in both of those movies.  See what I mean?  She's absolutely fascinating.

On the January 7th edition of CBS SUNDAY, Greta Gerwing was interviewed in her hometown by a CBS reporter.  Gerwig is from Sacramento.  In a voiceover during the feature, reporter Tony Dokoupil said that LADY BIRD is celebrated as "the best reviewed movie of all time" on Rotten Tomatoes.  I liked Dokoupil's piece but I felt he was wrong.  I went to the Rotten Tomatoes site.  LADY BIRD got a 99%.  Before Greta Gerwig's film, Jordan Peele got a 99% for GET OUT, the psychological horror film that he wrote and directed.

Just a note for CBS SUNDAY.  Go look for yourself.  Search *Lady Bird Rotten Tomatoes rating*.  Check out the numbers.  Then search "Get Out Rotten Tomatoes rating* and check out those numbers.

I'll review LADY BIRD on my podcast.  But I will tell you this here and now -- Saorise Ronan is, once again, remarkable.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Lovely Black Historymaker on TCM

Her name was Hadda Brooks and I first blogged about our Miss Brooks in August 2014.  If you're a true classic film enthusiast, you've probably seen her in one feature starring Humphrey Bogart and another one starring Kirk Douglas.  But you may not have known that she was a trailblazer for African American performers in the early days of television.  Hadda Brooks was a pianist and recording star.  In the late 1940s to early 1950s, she was one of those rare African American women who had the opportunity to look as glamorous as the white actresses in the movies did.  A Southern California native, she grew up in Los Angeles.  She studied classical piano and fell in love with the theater.  After attending the University of Chicago, she retuned home to L.A. and added boogie-woogie to her talents on the keys.  She came to be known as "Queen of the Boogie."  But she also loved playing and singing ballads.
She sings "I Hadn't Anyone Till You" in the drama, IN A LONELY PLACE, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame.

You also see her sing "Temptation" in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL in nightclub scene with Kirk Douglas and Gilbert Roland.  Roland plays the movie heartthrob who's dancing partner is a blonde babe with a deadpan expression. Her face comes to life when her juicy steak dinner arrives.  Gloria Grahame is also in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL along with Douglas, Roland and Lana Turner.

Hadda Brooks was a popular L.A. and New York City act.
 And her records were popular.
The celebrated pianist and vocalist Hazel Scott is credited with being the first African American woman to host her own TV show.  Scott had a 15-minute music show that aired on the DuMont Television Network.  THE HAZEL SCOTT SHOW premiered in 1950 in New York City.  That network went off the air in 1956.

Hadda Brooks hosted THE HADDA BROOKS SHOW in her hometown in 1957.  It was a combination music entertainment and talk show that aired on KCOP/Channel 13.  KCOP is still in operation, now broadcasting as My 13.  On THE HADDA BROOKS SHOW, "That's My Desire" was her theme song.  The half-hour show was live on KCOP.  Hadda did 26 episodes.  Hazel Scott's show lasted three months.  All 26 episodes of THE HADDA BROOKS SHOW were repeated in San Francisco on KGO which is now the ABC/Disney channel.  Here's Hadda Brooks singing and playing her TV theme song.
I wonder if KCOP TV in Los Angeles or KGO TV in San Francisco happens to have any episodes of THE HADDA BROOKS SHOW in its archives.

On Sunday, January 7th, TCM host Eddie Muller has a special interview with that fantastic actress, Annette Bening.  Bening plays the late Gloria Grahame in a new film called FILM STARS DON'T DIE IN LIVERPOOL.

TCM will air two classics in a row, both starring Gloria Grahame.  First up is IN A LONELY PLACE followed by THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, the Vincente Minnelli film that earned Grahame the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

In both classics, see singer and groundbreaking TV host, Hadda Brooks.  She was also featured in the 1947 comedy, OUT OF THE BLUE and the 1995 Jack Nicholson drama, THE CROSSING GUARD.
The Gloria Grahame -- and Hadda Brooks -- double feature starts Sunday at 8p Eastern on TCM.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Sex and Sci-Fi Open My Podcast for 2018.

Lord, have mercy.  We made it through 2017.  I lost my mother and one of my best friends in New York City within a few months of each other last year, a former reality TV game show host with no previous political experience became President of our United States and....well, you understand.  We experienced heartache and pain.  Doing a podcast has helped me emotionally and -- if I may be so bold as to write -- artistically.  I'm so grateful to my friend and producer Keith Price for coming up with the idea for it and forcing me to commit.  We have our first episode of this new year posted, if you'd like to hear it.  We talk about plenty.  In the movie department, I saw something that was like a great big wet dream of a fantasy romance.  THE SHAPE OF WATER is a modern day fable that underscores current issues such as race and immigration.  I tell Keith that some folks on social media described it as THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON meets SPLASH.  In some ways, that's true.  But this new Guillermo del Toro sci-fi movie about the three marginalized people who establish communication with a foreign sea creature in secret U.S. custody is more than that.  It's a Resistance drama for today's audiences.
I also talk about CALL ME BY YOUR NAME.  Wow.  Another love story.  This one between two young Jewish American males in the Italian countryside for the summer.  This is about the sweet and tart feelings of a first love in one's youth and it's presented with a stylish eroticism.
Keith and I kick off the show by discussing some of the New Year's Eve countdown entertainment that networks gave us.  CNN considered Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen to be a festive gay comedy team that we'd love.  Ryan Seacrest on ABC hosted Mariah Carey appearing with the twins.  Her real life twins.  Her two children.  Not the twins right below her neck that constantly pop out for attention.
Then I gave a quick year-end review on TCM's presence of African American guest hosts or co-hosts for 2017.

By the way, it's Friday.  January 5th.  Tonight at 8:00 Eastern, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is showing Cornel Wilde in the 1966 adventure drama, THE NAKED PREY.  Set in the 1800s, a middle-aged colonial white guy leads a safari deep into the African jungle.  Drama ensues when the white folks in the safari group disrespect the natives' territory and customs.  The pissed off natives kill off the safari party.  The middle-aged white guy leader survives by outrunning the young black African warrior men through the jungle.
Personally, I found THE SHAPE OF WATER to be more believable.  But that's just me.  To hear the podcast, just go here:
www.MOCHAA.podomatic.com.

Keith Price and I thank you for giving us a listen.

MUDBOUND Beauty

I went to Netflix and started watching it shortly after midnight.  When it ended, about 2 hours and 15 minutes later, I sat there silent and...