"The Other Two" (HBOMAX). I didn't become familiar with "The Other Two" until a couple of weeks ago while I was perusing HBO Max and saw Molly Shannon pop up in a promo for Season 2 (Season 1 of the half-hour comedy aired on Comedy Central early in 2019 and completely flew under my radar). As a Shannon stan, I had to check it out so I fired up S1E1. That turned into a multi-ep binge that had me howling with laughter and wondering how the fuck I hadn't heard dick about this riotously funny show. 13-year-old Chase Dreams becomes an unexpected viral 'music' star and his stardom has direct and indirect impacts on his older sister Brooke and older brother Carey (i.e. The Other Two), neither whom has found their place in life quite yet. Shannon plays their mother Pat who, it turns out, also has ambitions of her own. The show masterfully skewers and satirizes pop culture, the internet, social media, and 100 other things in a way I haven't seen since perhaps, dare I say, "The Simpsons".
Heléne Yorke plays the daft, often clueless Brooke and she's absolutely hysterical in the role. The Canadian has been acting on the stage and screen for over a decade but this is a true breakout performance that shows how goddamn funny and talented she is. Drew Tarver turns in terrific work as Carey, an insecure struggling actor who is also navigating a minefield of a romantic life after not coming out of the closet until after college. Ken Marino is so good at playing shitheads (see: "Party Down") and he does so here as Chase's lunkheaded manager Streeter. Josh Segarra kills it as Brooke's sweet, dim-witted ex Lance and he has some of the best lines on the show. Richard Kind pops up sporadically as Carey's agent Skip and you will laugh every time he does. With eps coming in at around 22 minutes or so, you can easily binge all of Season 1 and the first eight eps of Season 2. You won't regret it.
"Reservation Dogs" (FX/Hulu). This comedy/drama series created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi is about four Indigenous youths who live on a reservation in Oklahoma and are planning to escape to California. To bankroll their dreams of a better life, the teens break the law in petty and not-so-petty ways. The show doesn't really have another show to compare it to (which is a good thing). That's because there's never been a show about res kids with an almost entirely Indigenous cast on American TV before. Elora, Bear, Cheese, and Willie Jack haven't had it easy growing up and want a better future for themselves. If that means they have to rip off a potato chip truck or whatever else, then so be it. While it has plenty of light moments with typical teen antics, the show doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of Native people's history on the continent. It also has some educational moments as well, like learning about the history of this classic song.
Devery Jacobs (Elora), D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai (Bear), Lane Factor (Cheese), and Paulina Alexis (Willie Jack) each do an excellent job as the Res Dogs and it's nice to see some fresh faces doing great work. Zahn McClarnon, who often plays serious or menacing roles, gets to show off his comic chops quite a bit here as Officer Big and it's fun to watch. Every time Dallas Goldtooth appears as Spirit, you're guaranteed to laugh a few times. And these two steal every scene they appear in...
A Classic To Rewatch/Discover
RISKY BUSINESS (HBOMAX). This is the movie that served as Tom Cruise's springboard to movie superstardom. In his first starring role he plays Joel Goodson, an ambitious suburban Chicago high school senior who summons a call girl named Lana, falls for her, then inadvertently becomes a pimp. With his parents away, the heretofore responsible and reliable Joel is left in charge of housesitting but instead turns his family home into a short-term brothel (like a AirBnBJ). But the business-minded teenager soon finds himself in too deep and he gets a crash course in capitalism. Everybody talks about 'the scene' as catapulting the future Thetan's career…
Nice couch-jumping foreshadowing.
And yeah, Tik Tok Tom Cruise in his tight-whities definitely moves the needle (as well as causing severe flooding in cinemas nationwide). But he also shows that he is a damn good actor and more than capable of carrying a movie. He's not yet the cocky, toothy, everyman hero archetype that has made studios billions. Cruise displays a vulnerability and insecurity one typically doesn't associate with the star's roles and Hollywood took notice. In the next six years, he became "Tom Cruise: Movie Star" thanks to his work in TOP GUN, THE COLOR OF MONEY, COCKTAIL, RAIN MAN (Best Pic winner), and BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (he earned his first Oscar nom for Best Actor).
The movie was a huge hit at the box office, raking in over $63M+ in 1983 dollars and critics raved about it. While it is about a teen, there is sex involved, and there are plenty of laughs, RISKY BUSINESS isn't a 'teen sex comedy' as Wikipedia erroneously describes it. It's a sharper movie than that. The movie is also helped greatly by the performance of Rebecca DeMornay in her first major film role. She's terrific as the sexy-as-hell knockout Lana and makes it very easy to believe that a dorky HS kid would act so out of character and take the chances he does. Lana also facilitates one of the all-time great Chicago el scenes put to film. Joe Pantoliano turns in a scarily funny performance as 'Guido, the killer pimp'. Bronson Pinchot and Curtis Armstrong provide comic relief as Joel's buddies.