Netflix review: GLOW (season 1)

Starring: Alison Brie (THE LITTLE HOURS [2017], HOW TO BE SINGLE [2016], GET HARD [2015], and the upcoming “The Room” biopic, THE DISASTER ARTIST [2017]), Betty Gilpin (a bit role in GHOST TOWN [2008], and TV show NURSE JACKIE) and Marc Maron (MIKE AND DAVE [2016]).

Central writers: Kristoffer Diaz (television debut; congrats), Emma Rathbone (television debut; congrats), and Rachel Shukert (3 episodes of SUPERGIRL [2015-2016]). Composer: Craig Wedren (HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER [2017], WANDERLUST [2012], and SCHOOL OF ROCK [2003]). Cinematographer: Christian Sprenger (BRIGSBY BEAR [2017], and TV shows ATLANTA [2016] and THE LAST MAN ON EARTH [2015- ongoing]).

(SUMMARY)

Struggling actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) might just have found her calling when she falls into a revolutionary new sport, GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. It’s not what she was hoping for, but she soon learns to see the promise that it affords. But things get complicated when the man she’s been having sex with happens to be the husband of her best friend Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), a retired soap opera actress to focus on becoming a mother. And once Debbie learned of the betrayal, she shows up at Ruth’s gym where the auditions and training take place, and causes a scene. Turns out, GLOW’s overly direct and harsh director, Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron), enjoyed the dramatic spectacle and manages to convince Debbie to join GLOW and regain her former glory. It also doesn’t hurt to be in a wrestling setting and near the woman that broke up her marriage.

(REVIEW)

I went in to this show with an expectation that it’d be a little too similar to ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Just a bunch of women that get together and have lesbian sex. Of course, that’s not quite what that show was, but a lot of that show’s identity is the lesbian sex. Honestly, I didn’t care for that in this show. Thankfully, that’s precisely what this show doesn’t do. The first episode is really the only one that features Brie’s tits and having a sex scene. I give the episode some credit that it does serve the story and becomes the driving force that creates the tension between characters Ruth and Debbie, which is eventually what the in-universe show “GLOW” gravitates around. Beyond that, yeah, this is finally the role that I absolutely love Brie in. I can’t say I’ve been a fan of hers, mostly because I haven’t seen all the stuff she’s known for, and everything I have seen her in, she’s the hot bimbo who’s trying to be funny, but isn’t. Her role as Ruth is actually really layered. On top of brilliantly portraying a struggling actress who is clearly talented but not given a break, she also goes through a great arch of being completely dense and unsure of what is she’s a part of when she joins GLOW, and starts adapting gloriously and even humorously. She can be annoying, but well-meaning, pushes the envelope for herself. These are the roles I’d prefer to see Brie in.

But not only her, everyone is great. Gilpin is awesome as this woman who’s trying to get back on top of her acting career, which she put aside to focus on being a mother, Maron is a lot of fun as the asshole director who just wants to make something that’s both familiar to his work, porn, and yet totally revolutionary, women’s wrestling, which wasn’t a thing until the 80’s. Some other characters also stand out. You have the hilariously apathetic, yet weirdly content Sheila the She-Wolf (Gayle Rankin), who is silent like a church mouse, but a seething “fuck you” attitude that is strangely engaging. There’s also Cherry Bang (Sydelle Noel), a happily married woman who is also an aspiring actress, but takes her role in GLOW very seriously. Because Cherry is so familiar with Sam, she knows his tricks, how to navigate his attitude and methods to achieving his goals. And because she wants to be taken seriously as well, she’s just as thick-skulled and strong willed like him. There’s also Carmen Wade (Britney Young), who is the daughter of a famous wrestler and sister to a pair of up and coming wrestlers, and despite her knowledge and love of wrestling, she gets serious stage-fright. And there’s Justine Biagi (Britt Baron), who is a fan of Sam’s previous work and hangs around him a lot. The characters are pretty memorable and all work well off of each other.

The story is an interesting one as well. To be completely honest, I genuinely thought that female wresting wasn’t a legit thing, but a fetish porn thing. I guess, in retrospect, that was sort of the initial pitch and what garnered interest for the public. Sex, or in this case, sex appeal, sells. Right? But I guess this really was something that accumulated some serious popularity in its day. But I’m also wondering if female wrestling is a thing presently. I only wonder because I never see it on any sports channels. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough? Or maybe it’s a coastal thing, only popular in certain areas of the States? Or maybe it really is such an underground thing that you have to know where to look for it? In any case, it’s interesting to see this at it’s starting point and I am curious to see where it goes in future seasons.

I don’t think it’s an amazing show, but it is fun. It’s got some well-executed drama and comedy done right. Some great performances from everyone as well. But for a cast that’s so big, there are plenty that are there just to make the numbers bigger and don’t get much development, so here’s hoping that changes in season two, if it gets green-lit. There’s enough surprises to keep someone engaged, and an interesting enough story to carry my interest. I like it. Give it a watch if you’re in the mood to binge.

My honest rating for Netflix’s GLOW (season 1): 4/5

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THE LITTLE HOURS review

Well, hello to you too, random-ass movie.

So as I’m writing my initial impressions of this movie, I just saw the trailer a few seconds ago. It’s definitely one of those movies that’s a period piece, but with a modern sense of humor and way of talking. Kind of a wonder why this doesn’t take place in the modern day, but fine, whatever, middle ages with “fuck” as your main word, who am I to argue with what Hollywood wants to let get made. At a glance, the movie isn’t really that interesting, but some jokes do stand out in my head that make me laugh. In retrospect though, this is a raunchy comedy, and they don’t always agree with my sense of humor. But don’t knock it ’till you’ve seen it, right?

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Dave Franco (NERVE [2016], UNFINISHED BUSINESS [2015], 21 JUMP STREET [2012], and upcoming animated film THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE [2017] and THE DISASTER ARTIST [2017]), Alison Brie (GET HARD [2015], SCREAM [2011], Netflix TV show GLOW, and the upcoming THE DISASTER ARTIST [2017]), Kate Micucci (THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE [2017], DON’T THINK TWICE [2016], and TV show GARFUNKEL AND OATES), Aubrey Plaza (MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES [2016], TV shows LEGION and PARKS AND REC, and the upcoming film INGRID GOES WEST [2017]), who also produced this movie, and John C. Reilly (KONG: SKULL ISLAND [2017], THE LOBSTER [2016], STEP BROTHERS [2008], and upcoming films the animated RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 [2018] and HOLMES AND WATSON [2018]). In support, we have Fred Armisen (BAND AID [2017], THE SMURFS 2 [2013], TV show PORTLANDIA, and the upcoming LEGO NINJAGO), Molly Shannon (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 [2015], SERENDIPITY [2001], and HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS [2000]), and Nick Offerman (THE HERO [2017], MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI [2016], and TV show PARKS AND REC)

Now for behind the scenes. Writing and directing is Jeff Baena, known for I HEART HUCKABEES (2004). Composing the score is Dan Romer, known for BEASTS OF NO NATION (2015) and BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (2012). Finally the cinematographer is Quyen Tran, known for a ton of short films.

Overall, I might enjoy this, I might not… I’m seeing this at a pretty damn expensive theater, so I’d really like to like it.

This is my honest opinion of: THE LITTLE HOURS

(SUMMARY)

Set in the Middle Ages. Massetto (Dave Franco) is a slave to Lord Bruno (Nick Offerman). He is also having an affair with his wife, to which the affair is discovered and Messetto is forced to flee the castle for his life. Soon after, he meets the kindly, but drunken Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly). He offers the young man a place of solace in his convent as a deaf and mute helper… which poses its own set of unique problems as Massetto learns that the convent is full of mentally and emotionally unstable, and sexually repressed nuns who take a liking to him.

(REVIEW)

DISCLAIMER: Apparently, this is a parody of “The Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio. But… as anyone who knows me really well, I haven’t the faintest idea of what that is, so… yeah, I can’t judge this movie as a parody. But I can judge it as a raunchy period comedy.

Yeah, it’s about what I expected. Raunchy for no reason other than for the sake of it. But as far as raunchy comedies go, this wasn’t awful.

I guess if you really think about it, the concept itself lends itself to some solid possibilities that the movie does admittedly utilize. Deaf and mute, young and attractive man in a convent full of sexually repressed women, it starts out and goes exactly where you might expect it to go. They start spilling their secrets and desires and eventually attempt to take advantage of Massetto’s “disabilities” and he being unable to say anything lest the truth come out and he gets sent back to his master for execution. There is a plot here with legit obstacles. I suppose the biggest problem is that this movie doesn’t really try to go all that far with its own ideas. It’s basically just sex jokes. Granted, there’s a witch joke that comes out of nowhere that’s mildly amusing, but that’s pretty much it. No one thought to themselves to really flesh out the conflict and opted for the bare minimum in both humor and plot.

The characters suffer in much the same way. The performances are… fine, for what it’s worth. Plaza’s signature deadpan “fuck you” line deliveries and Brie and Micucci’s highly expressive faces make you want to laugh at them, but they’re not given any good lines. Again, this script is composed of swearing, and swearing isn’t automatically funny. Yet, they’re characters are pretty well-defined. Alessandra doesn’t want to be a nun. She wants a normal life and to one day find romance. But she’s forced into this position because… her father donates a lot of money to the convent…? Hey, I said the characters were well-defined, not their backstories. And much of the plots central conflict comes from her inability to keep legs closed, desperation and opportunity set in when Massetto enters the picture. Fernanda is completely apathetic to the nun ways, often drinking and caring little about expressing herself sexually and Genevra is sexually confused, idolizing Fernanda and her certainty, developing feelings for her that become almost obsessive. All of this, it’s ripe with hilarious possibilities. To be fair, Genevra is probably the funniest character that you care most about, but even that gets pushed to the wayside depending how tolerable you are of her borderline cartoonish personality later on.

There are three characters that stand out. Franco as Massetto, Reilly as Father Tommasso, and Armisen as the Bishop. Franco’s dilemma certainly made for the most hilarious reactions, considering how disinterested he is in the psychotic women at first, but then sort of gives in to the novelty of fucking a nun. Good-natured, but hardly a saint in retrospect. Usually, I don’t like Reilly, mostly because I associated him as another unfunny Will Ferrell since the two used to work together a lot, but ever since he made a real name for himself out of Ferrell’s shadow, he’s been damn funny, or at the very least, enjoyable to watch. Him as the drunken Father Tommasso is no exception. And Armisen, though briefly appearing in the film, led to a pretty long string of hilarious scenes when the transgressions of the three women came to his knowledge. “Eating blood? Do you think I’ve ever written down ‘eating blood’ before? Where am I?” Yeah, the line is in the trailer, but that’s still not old.

Beyond that, the film isn’t all that much to write home about. I have a feeling this will pass over quite a few radars and it’s not hard to see why. Perhaps this movie will appeal to those who are more familiar with the source material it’s satirizing, but for me, it’s just a raunchy comedy. The acting is great, there’s some hilarious ideas, and impressively distinct characters that will definitely make this a more memorable comedy this year. But it uses foul language as its main source of comedy, which, unless you like that sort of thing, then you’ll find this movie’s comedy pretty scarce. It’s not bad, but it’s lack of clever comedy drags it down hard. I’m not upset that I saw it, in fact, some scenes I would love to revisit, but I don’t see myself sitting through this movie again. I can only recommend this to those who know the Boccaccio stories, or if you love raunchy comedies. Beyond that, I say, don’t spend your money on this at the theater. I recommend this as a light rental. Netflix, Redbox, any of those.

My honest rating for THE LITTLE HOURS: 3/5

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