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December 2015

That One Movie…

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Photo by Jenn Murphy

We all have it. That one movie we have to watch whenever it’s on. It’s become so ingrained in our mind that we can come in at any point and know exactly what we’ve missed and what’s to come. In our ever-changing world that movie is a constant, a comfort, a sign that at least for an hour or so everything will be alright.

 

In terms of those go-to movies, I have two. One is “Bridesmaids,” the hilarious comedy starring “SNL” greats Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. It never ceases to make me laugh and always leaves me humming “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips for at least a week. The other one is “School of Rock,” starring Jack Black. It’s truly one of my favorite movies of all time. (And in my opinion Richard Linklater‘s best. Sorry, “Boyhood.”) I think I can directly quote at least 80 percent of it along with the movie. If I see that either of these movies are on when I’m flipping through the channels, I immediately know what I’m watching. If they’re both on at the same time…well then, we have a problem.

 

For my mother, it seems like there’s a never-ending list of movies she will always watch. Essentially any pre-McConaissance Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy is in play. She’ll also watch just about anything starring Tom Hanks. Even “Larry Crowne,” and that’s saying a lot. (Fun fact: “Larry Crowne” is the only movie I have ever seen a midnight screening of. It’s a long, strange story.) She’ll also drop everything if she sees that “The Blind Side” is on. Seeing as that movie seems to always be on somewhere, it’s a miracle that she ever gets anything done.

 

What about you guys? Are there any movies that you will always watch, no matter how many times you’ve seen them? Let me know in the comments. And, as we head into this new year…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

5 Great Comedies You Can Stream When the Holidays Get to Be Too Much

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Photo by Jenn Murphy

The holiday season brings many lovely things, like cheer, decorations and that Christmas Shoes song, but it can also be a time of strife and woe. Between panicking about getting the perfect gifts for friends and family and the never-ending barrage of holiday parties and gatherings, the “happy holidays” can often wind up more stressful than enjoyable. If you’re getting to the point where you might kick the next person you see wearing a Santa hat, then this list is for you. These five excellent comedy series (all of which you can stream online) will help get you through the next few weeks of craziness and into the new year! You can thank me later.

 

1) “You’re the Worst

“You’re the Worst” is the perfect antidote to all of that Christmas cheer. The series follows Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere), two slightly despicable people who meet at a mutual friend’s wedding and find love with one another, despite doing everything in their power to avoid it. It’s extremely funny and well done, and isn’t afraid to cover tough topics like PTSD and clinical depression. It’s already two seasons in (with a third reportedly on the way) and is finally starting to get the love it rightfully deserves, with three 2016 Critic’s Choice Award nominations, including Best Comedy Series. To put it in the most plain of terms “You’re the Worst” is truly the best. Be the cool person at your holiday office party who saw if first and stream the first two seasons on Hulu.

 

2) “Master of None

If Tom Haverford was your favorite part of “Parks and Recreation,” “Master of None” might be the show for you. Created by and starring Aziz Ansari (of “Parks and Rec” fame), the show focuses on Dev (Ansari) an actor trying to make sense of life in New York City. The show thoughtfully covers a wide range of topics, like race in film and excitement of the beginning of a new relationship, and almost plays like a “Louie” for a slightly younger generation. The second episode, “Parents,” is particularly brilliant and it will definitely make you much more interested in going home and visiting your own parents. Check out “Master of None” on Netflix and then call your mother. I’m sure she’d be happy to hear from you.

 

3) “Playing House

“Playing House” is a wonderful, woefully under-appreciated gem from the USA network that deserves a lot more love and attention than it currently receives. The show tells the story of Maggie and Emma (played by Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, respectively), two life-long friends who move in together to team up in raising Maggie’s baby daughter. The real-life friendship of Parham and St. Clair (who also co-created the show together) is very evident in the friendship of Maggie and Emma, and it’s delightful to see. The show’s second season aired over the summer and sadly USA has yet to renew it for a third season. Check out the first two seasons on Amazon Prime now, and then join me in the fight to keep it on air. Trust me, all you’ll need is one episode to be hooked.

 

4) “The Last Man on Earth

The concept of this series is wonderfully insane: two years after a virus kills of most of the human population (in the post-apocalypse movie trend) we meet Phil Miller (played by series creator and former falconer Will Forte), the presumed “last man on earth,” who is just trying to get by. Spoiler alert: he is not in fact that only human left alive, and his interactions with the remaining survivors he meets along the way fuel this strange and wonderful series. It just had its winter finale on December 13 and it ended on a heck of a cliff-hanger, so now would be the perfect time to catch up on Hulu before it returns next year.

 

5) “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

If you somehow missed the huge buzz around “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” back in Spring 2015, now is your chance to get on board the “Kimmy” train. Created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (aka the brilliant minds behind “30 Rock“), the show follows the titular Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), a woman who was recently rescued from a doomsday cult (you know, typical) starting over in New York City. The show has the same zany sense of humor that could be found on “30 Rock” and introduced the world to Tituss Burgess, someone who we are all much better for knowing. Dig into this delightful series on Netflix before the second season premieres some time in 2016.

 

Well, there you have it! I hope that one of these shows will pull you out of a potential holiday funk. Especially loved one or several of these shows? Have your own series recommendation? Let me know in the comments. And in this holiday season, may you and yours…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

Julianne Moore Can Act Anywhere. Seriously.

 

When I’m not daydreaming about the purgatory where all of the dead “Grey’s Anatomy” characters go (trust me, it’s good), I’m thinking about how I would respond if I was ever accosted by Billy Eichner for a “Billy on the Street” segment. For those of you who don’t know, “Billy on the Street” is an amazing pop culture game show where Eichner, a comedian and actor, goes out into the streets of New York and quizzes people on all things entertainment.

 

Since its premiere in 2011, “Billy on the Street” has grown in popularity to the point where many of Hollywood’s finest, including Tina Fey, Will Ferrell and, more recently, Academy Award-winner Julianne Moore have made appearances on the show and participated in many crazy and hilarious challenges. Moore’s challenge was particularly amazing, which is why I’m sharing it here now! You’re welcome.

 

In the (not exactly suitable for work, just F.Y.I.) video, Moore runs around with Eichner and performs scenes from some of her many great film roles for anyone willing to give her a tip. It’s amazing to see her just go for it in the middle of the street, but it’s also great to see the reactions of the people who are lucky enough to be walking by. Look for a woman in blue behind Moore around the 2:00 mark. Her face is absolutely priceless, and would likely mirror mine if I had happened upon this incredible situation.

 

For more from Eichner, follow him on Twitter and check out the “Billy on the Street” Youtube page, as well as his Hulu series “Difficult People.” “Billy on the Street” is currently airing on Thursdays on TruTV at 10:30/9:30c. Get into it, if you haven’t already. If this video didn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

 

Have a favorite “Billy on the Street” segment? How about a favorite Julianne Moore movie? Let me know in the comments. And in case you forgot…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

 

 

 

 

 

5 Questions with The ‘Gilmore Guys’

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Photo by Jenn Murphy

As you know if you’re an avid reader of this blog (and I hope you are), a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with the guys from the “AfterSmash” podcast. In our conversation, which you can check out here, we talked about the recent popularity of podcasts that focus on rewatching and discussing older TV shows, “AfterSmash” of course being one of them. Another great podcast that fits into that landscape is “Gilmore Guys.”

 

Hosted by Kevin T. Porter, a longtime “Gilmore Girls” fan, and Demi Adjuyigbe, a “Gilmore Girls” newbie, the show has gone through each episode of the long-running series (they’re currently in the midst of season five) that followed the lives of mother-daughter duo Lorelei and Rory Gilmore and discussed every aspect of the show, from its famed pop culture references to the ever-changing ffffffashion. The podcast has developed a somewhat significant following since its birth and the “Guys” can now fill a theatre with fans, eager to check out a live recording of a “Gilmore Guys” episode. They’ve also had the pleasure of chatting with several stars and contributors to the show, including Sam Phillips, the show’s composer, Liza Weil, who played Rory’s good friend (and occasional enemy) Paris Geller and even Scott Patterson, who played diner-owner (and love interest of Lorelei) Luke Danes.

 

With the recent announcement that Netflix is reviving “Gilmore Girls” for four 90-minute episodes, talk of the show has grown again. I recently chatted with Kevin and Demi over Skype and talked about their plans for the new episodes, as well as “Gilmore Girls” overall and their experiences hosting a popular podcast.


 

You’ve talked about it on the podcast, but for anyone who hasn’t listened yet, could you talk a little about how Gilmore Guys came to be?

Kevin: So I wanted to start a podcast, and I was a big fan of “Gilmore Girls” growing up. When Netflix announced that they would be picking it up for streaming last year, I kind of put it out on Twitter, half joking, half not, that I wanted to start a podcast called “Gilmore Guys,” who wants to co-host with me, and Demi responded. He was also kind of kidding, but also kind of not and we met up and talked about it a few days after that and recorded our first ever episode a couple days after that. So it all came together pretty quickly.

 

Looking back on it now, did you ever imagine at that time that the podcast would grow to be what it is today?

Demi: Not at all. I think when we both started we both thought it would be the kind of thing that we do as a hobby for a bit and then we’d have to pick it up in speed and do two episodes at a time or something to sort of just kind of get through it, but at a certain point we realized that it was growing.

 

Were you guys ever uncertain in the early days of “Gilmore Guys” of how critical you could be of the show, or how much of your own personal opinion you could share, since it’s so beloved and has such a big following?

D: I think we hit a point, I want to say around the end of season one or maybe the beginning of season two, where we realized people were getting mad and forming their entire opinion of what the future of the podcast would be based on our opinion on certain characters. I remember on 205 in particular I saw a lot of people get mad that we didn’t like Jess which is confounding to me because I think that the idea that someone would ever really like a character from the second they show up is insane. I think we realized early on that that would be the kind of thing that we would have to deal with, like if we were to deliver an opinion we would have to say that it is open to change, or if we deliver an opinion we would have to sort of temper it by saying something where we let people know that it’s like, we’ll here’s us playing devils advocate! We have to sort of play both sides instead of going hard and fast with our opinion, I think.

K: It’s interesting though, because that’s the content of the show. Obviously it’s discussion, it’s comedy, but also a lot of it is our opinion. I think that the way you communicate that and the way we communicate our opinions changed as the audience changed because I think there was a lack of, I’ll just speak for myself personally, for me there was a lack of ‘well, someone in Idaho might take offense to this next thing I’m going to say’ or ‘someone in Australia is going to write me an angry email about what’s coming next.’ So I think once the audience got to a certain point it definitely changed a little bit of the way that I delivered my opinions, maybe for good and for bad. But I think Demi’s right that we add a lot of caveats and asterisks to everything. And I think it’s hard for people to not get deeply invested in someone agreeing with them when that person has a loud voice for it. So we represent just two people talking about a show, when really there’s of course millions and millions of people around the world who have millions and millions of different opinions about the show. But because we’re the ones who have an audience and people are listening to us, sometimes there is an investment in what we have to say that isn’t totally fair. We’re not the authoritative voice on anything, we’re just a voice on something.

 

If you could only ask “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino one question about the show, what would that question be?

K: I mean, the joke answer would be ‘Where the hell is Mr. Kim?’ but I think people have already asked her that so that joke’s kind of played out. I would truly ask her how she was trying to contextualize Lorelei. Something we talk about on the show all the time is, Lorelei is kind of being selfish, Lorelei is kind of being entitled, Rory is kind of being a jerk here, and so I would ask her in what light are we supposed to see Lorelei as the hero of the show. Like, is it more of a ‘oh she is really deeply selfish and entitled and not caring for other people’ sort of way or was that just a byproduct of whatever they were doing. How conscious was she of the picture that kind of gets painted over time, that sometimes the two main characters of this show, just like any other people would be, are jerks. Sometimes they’re just two big ol’ jerks. And to what extent she was conscious or aware or attempting to do something like that. That might be my question.

D: I would ask her what parts of the show she thinks she made mistakes on.

K: That’s funny too, because I think that asked her something similar to that at the ATX Festival, the reunion back in June.

D: And she said nothing. But if I’m in the room and I’m pressing her and it’s a real situation where I want an answer of like every small thing she ever made a mistake on or if she’s like, ‘ah I could have fixed that,’ that’s something I’d truly be interested in. I think her saying nothing is the ‘ahaha, let’s skip this question’ answer, but I want to know.

K: Right. Whether it was missteps with future storylines, or leaving the show or how certain romances played out or actor availability. Yeah, that would be a great question.

 

And finally, you addressed it a little bit after the initial news broke, but have you guys given any more thought to how the podcast will handle the new episodes once they’re released?

K: It’s hard now because we’re going through the original series and before the Netflix stuff was announced there was pretty clear endgame in mind for what we were going to do and now that’s going to change a little bit because now we’re essentially going to be going hiatus until we go back and then cover those four episodes. I mean, I guess as far as the podcast’s involvement with all that, I hope that we are a promotional stop for all those people when they have to go out and sell the show and do a bunch of interviews. I hope that, Graham and Bledel and Palladino would stop by for that. In addition to us covering the four episodes, which I assume would be, I don’t know how long, because they’re going to be about 90 minutes long each and right now our podcast is about two hours long per 42-minute episode, so I don’t know. Maybe we’ll do two part-ers, I don’t know. But we’re not going to spend four months covering four episodes or anything like that.


 

For more from Kevin and Demi, be sure to follow “Gilmore Guys” on Twitter and Facebook and check the podcast out on iTunes. It’s a lot to catch up on, but it’s definitely worth it. It won’t take long for you to become OBSESSED.

 

Are you a big ol’ “Gilmore Girls” fan? What would your one question be for Amy Sherman-Palladino? Have any particular hopes for the Netflix revival? Hold a town meeting in the comments. And, as always…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

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