1984: A Blockbuster Year

“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Ronald Reagan brought that oops moment to the world as he tested a microphone before a radio address; later that November Regan won a landslide re-election. That was the peak of the Reagan era. That was 1984.

1984 was, indeed, an unforgettable year!Mary Lou Retton won gymnastic gold and American hearts at the L.A. Olympics. The reining Miss America, Vanessa Williams, was stripped of her title because of a nude photo spread in Penthouse magazine. Madonna became everyone’s “boy toy” with her “Like a Virgin” performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Marvin Gaye was killed by his father; Bernie Goetz gunned down four muggers in the NYC subway; millions starved in Ethiopia; and Bob Geldoff responded with “Do They Know it’s Christmas Time.” Thousands died in the Union Carbide Corporation disaster in Bhopal, India; and Clara Peller asked, “Where’s the Beef?” Cindy Lauper proclaimed that “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”; Prince let us know what it sounds like “When Doves Cry”; and Tina Turner made a big comeback and asked, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Clearly, 1984 was a year of big news, big events, and, thanks to the number one TV show, Dynasty, really of big shoulder pads! But as the ashes of have long since settled, it’s ’84’s hit movies that remain with us and have stood the test of time.

Besides being the year that introduced the first PG-13 movie, (Red Dawn), 1984 was the birth year for a number of hit features that spawned numerous sequels: The Terminator, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Beverly Hills Cop, and Police Academy. Comedies were probably the most notable feature of ’84. While the year didn’t produce any great American Film Institute darlings as weighty as Citizen Kane, it did, however, release an impressive number of comedies that are still fresh and still freakin’ funny today. Already mentioned are Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, and Police Academy; but also there are All of Me, This is Spinal Tap, Splash, Revenge of the Nerds, and Romancing the Stone.

1984 didn’t just release blockbusters that kept bottom line obsessed studio heads filled with coke and lap dancing blonds, it also saw the release of some lesser known films that have endured to become classics, films such as Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America; Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas; Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise. And the cult classics such as John Sayles The Brother from Another Planet, and the NYC cult horror flick C.H.U.D.

1984 saw Regan era teen angst approach its peak, while the John Hughes’ teen classic, Sixteen Candles, solidified Molly Ringwald as the ’80s’ ginger teen queen and—along with Weird Science that same year—shot Anthony Michael Hall to geek teen stardom, as its new nerd on the rise. The Karate Kid taught us to “Wax on, Wax off,” and A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced slasher fans to a terrifying new evil villain, Freddy Krueger, who entered our nightmares and has remained with us nine sequels later. Not only did teen anxiety influence cinema, but also the collective unease of the Cold War, as 1984 released a cinematic Soviet Union invasion of the U.S.A. in cinematographer and director John Milius’s Red Dawn. The first film to receive a PG-13 rating, Red Dawn was perhaps a bit unbelievable but cathartic, and filled with up-and-coming young stars (Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, and Charlie Sheen); it was a definite reaction to the Cold War anxieties of the 1980s.

 
Sixteen Candles, Molly Ringwald

1984 was a year of movies filled with classic pop music in such films such as Prince’s Purple Rain, which produced an enduring soundtrack that still holds up today. The concert film Stop Making Sense featured the Talking Heads and was directed by a relative newcomer, Jonathan Demme. Beat Street and Breakin’ capitalized on the popularity of break dancing, and Footloose danced into theaters with its MTV look and a soundtrack that garnered six Billboard magazine top 40 hits. Footloose was promoted again and again; each subsequent music video featured clips from the film, and ultimately kept those bottom-line-obsessed studio heads “Dancing in the Sheets,” and laid the foundation for Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

In celebration of that most unforgettable year, I have listed my twenty essential movies of 1984, films that have endured, some that are well crafted, some that capture the spirit of the ’80s—thirty-year-old movies that make us think, sing, dance, scream and, above all else, laugh out loud!
—John David West

David’s 20 Essential Movies of 1984

Ghostbusters

Paris, Texas

Amadeus

The Killing Fields

Once Upon a Time in America

Stop Making Sense


The Terminator

 

This Is Spinal Tap

Beverly Hills Cop


The Karate Kid


Sixteen Candles



Footloose


A Nightmare on Elm Street


Stranger Than Paradise


Purple Rain
Starman


Gremlins


Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom


The Muppets Take Manhattan


Police Academy

 

 

Click here from more movies from 1984 at IMDB, it’s amazing!

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Top 5 New York City Movies from the ’70s

In response to this summer’s “New York in the 70s” film festival at Film Forum, MovefiedNYC decided to repost our first list, the “Top Five NYC Movies from the ’70s.”  The choice for our first list was obvious; it had to come from our own backyard, a place and time—now perhaps mythological—of unrelenting creativity, expression, and guts.  A town broke, dangerous, black-and-white and obscured by sweat and steam: New York City in 1970’s, the place that made our love for film like a beginning buzz (from one too many cocktails) that turned into a continuous intoxication.  -JDW & MD

John David’s Top Five 1970s NYC

Broadway, high fashion, yellow cabs, prostitutes, and neurotic intellectuals who romanticize their lives in black ‘n’ white. These are some of the images that helped form my Top Five New York City movies from the 1970s.

 1. Taxi Driver (1976)

Like the bankrupt city on edge, ready to crack under the pressure of urban decay, sleaze and political distrustTaxi Driver’s Travis Bickle, paranoid and alienated from society, looks at himself in the mirror and asks, “Are you talking to me?” Is he having fun or is Scorsese speaking what’s on the viewer’s mind? Thirty-six years later we’re still imitating DeNiro’s line. This movie has all the grit of the ’70s gritty city. Taxi Driver plays like an indexical sign that proves to us today that the mythological gritty 1970s New York City did exist.

 2. Manhattan (1979)

Every now and then I find myself in one of those “Wow-I-Love-This-City” moments. Woody Allen shares those same feelings in his 1979 film Manhattan.  The city is a character that we along with Allen romanticize. Annie Hall seemed like the obvious choice, but then Manhattan stepped up, as if to say, “Really? Let’s get serious, I have New York City shot in black-and-white, widescreen Panavision aspect ratio (2.35:1) with a nine-minute montage of New York City set to George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue!” Yes, OK, Manhattan, you win: all that and that iconic 4 A.M. shot in front of the Queensborough Bridge secure Manhattan on my list.

 3. All That Jazz (1979)

Fosse submerges his autobiographical self into the character of Joe Gideon, a hyper-sexed, director/choreographer who pops Dexedrine, screws sexy dancers, neglects his loved ones, chain smokes (even in the shower) and works himself to a perfectly choreographed death. It’s the ’70s: the Me decade, cynical and all about Fosse. The opening audition scene set to George Benson’s “On Broadway” captures the desire, joy and disappointment every dancer feels who wants to be on Broadway. 

4. Klute (1971)

New York City as it enters a decade on the brink of a meltdown. Jane Fonda plays a call girl who is complex, vulnerable, and lacks that ever-expected heart of gold. Besides Fonda’s brilliant performance, what makes this film memorable is a shot from inside a stark, corporate office on the upper floor of a high-rise. Through floor-to-ceiling windows, we see the two towers of the World Trade Center under construction. A financially powerful man sits at his desk, diminished against the multiple cranes high in the air, constructing the tallest buildings in the world. The image takes on new meaning when one realizes that the mass of construction outside the window will someday fall to a heap of destruction that will affect us all. 

5. Eyesof Laura Mars (1978)

1970s disco-fashion juxtaposed against ’70s New York City grit. Ultra glamorous Fay Dunaway is Laura Mars, a fashion photographer who wields a Nikon camera to photograph sexy models in stylized violent murder settings: Columbus Circle ablaze with overturned cars on fire as glossy girls wearing lingerie and fur coats pull each other’s hair. The violence is thrust right back at Laura when a serial killer turns her photos into real murders.  The character of Laura doubles as the camera when she witnesses the murders through the killer’s eyes, while they are happening, through her own eyes.  The film’s director, Irvin Kershner, turns the movie’s view of violence on the audience: are we looking at the eyes or are the eyes looking at us?

Myrna’s Top Five 1970’s NYC

NYC as it was in the ’70s. Sex, drugs, street gangs, disco divas, politicians, the homeless, celebrities, musicians, hookers, and some major attitude. So many great films to choose from; it is almost impossible to leave any of them off this list. I went with my gut, what I liked: candy over substance most times. I took a deep breath, wrote down five titles and never looked back.

 1. The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1974)

“Respect My Ass!”  screams Mel, and I do. Neil Simon’s slice of New York city life—once again like in The Out of Towners, not a very nice place—in Prisoner of Second Avenue is rich in its mundane everyday quality, shrouded in genuine humor delivered brilliantly by the cast. The pounding New York City heat wave is so palpable it is a character in the film. The Prisoner of Second Avenue shows us witty New Yorkers on the verge of, and breaking down in, their urban habitat, pacing back and forth, drowning in the ever—relentless noise—wrapped in a high rise box.

2. The French Connection (1971)

“Doyle fights dirty and he plays rough, but that’s ok because Doyle is a good cop” —growls the trailer.  Let’s be honest: New York looks better in grit than any other city, and The French Connection’s grimy realism and downbeat ending are refreshing. Popeye Doyle—not your classic hero—violent, racist and mean-spirited. His dedication to his job, just short of dangerous obsession—a New Yorker! The film’s high point, a high-speed car chase with Doyle tailing an elevated train, was one of the most exciting screen moments of its day. The French Connection gives me the visceral charge that keeps me addicted to New York.

 3. Shaft (1971) 

I can not ignore the blaxploitation genre when talking about the New York of the 1970s. Shaft full of mood, attitude and fashion. Brought the world—the Harlem-dude look of feather-hat, platform boots and silver-top cane—what delicious eye candy! The theme song also unforgettable . Shaft took us all over the city; he lived in the Village, worked in Times Square and cruised up and down 125th Street.  Can you dig it?  

4. Saturday Night Fever (1977)

John Travolta strutting down the streets of Brooklyn to his dead end job changed the world as we knew it. No one ever walked down the street the same way again. He escapes to the local disco, where he is/was King and dreams for a better life in Manhattan. Don’t we all? Fever is dripping with a  gritty sense of the ’70s economic malaise that plagued New York. Dance numbers, the Bee Gees soundtrack and Travolta’s white-suited presence all set in the city of dreams. “They had me at hello” 

5. All That Jazz (1979)
“It’s showtime!” Director and choreographer Bob Fosse takes a Felliniesque look at the life of a driven entertainer (some say his own life)—Joe Gideon. The ultimate work-and-pleasure aholic. All That Jazz shows the merciless price you pay to be an entertainer, taking us from realistic dance numbers to extravagant flights of cinematic fancy with Gideon as our guide; he meditates on his life, his women and his death. A ll That Jazz is a  fiercely personal personal film. Roy Scheider’s brilliant performance as Joe Gideon leaves me wanting for more every time.

 

1984: A Blockbuster Year

“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Ronald Reagan brought that oops moment to the world as he tested a microphone before a radio address; later that November Regan won a landslide re-election. That was the peak of the Reagan era. That was 1984.

1984 was, indeed, an unforgettable year!Mary Lou Retton won gymnastic gold and American hearts at the L.A. Olympics. The reining Miss America, Vanessa Williams, was stripped of her title because of a nude photo spread in Penthouse magazine. Madonna became everyone’s “boy toy” with her “Like a Virgin” performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Marvin Gaye was killed by his father; Bernie Goetz gunned down four muggers in the NYC subway; millions starved in Ethiopia; and Bob Geldoff responded with “Do They Know it’s Christmas Time.” Thousands died in the Union Carbide Corporation disaster in Bhopal, India; and Clara Peller asked, “Where’s the Beef?” Cindy Lauper proclaimed that “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”; Prince let us know what it sounds like “When Doves Cry”; and Tina Turner made a big comeback and asked, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Clearly, 1984 was a year of big news, big events, and, thanks to the number one TV show, Dynasty, really of big shoulder pads! But as the ashes of have long since settled, it’s ’84’s hit movies that remain with us and have stood the test of time.

Besides being the year that introduced the first PG-13 movie, (Red Dawn), 1984 was the birth year for a number of hit features that spawned numerous sequels: The Terminator, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Beverly Hills Cop, and Police Academy. Comedies were probably the most notable feature of ’84. While the year didn’t produce any great American Film Institute darlings as weighty as Citizen Kane, it did, however, release an impressive number of comedies that are still fresh and still freakin’ funny today. Already mentioned are Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, and Police Academy; but also there are All of Me, This is Spinal Tap, Splash, Revenge of the Nerds, and Romancing the Stone.

1984 didn’t just release blockbusters that kept bottom line obsessed studio heads filled with coke and lap dancing blonds, it also saw the release of some lesser known films that have endured to become classics, films such as Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America; Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas; Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise. And the cult classics such as John Sayles The Brother from Another Planet, and the NYC cult horror flick C.H.U.D.

1984 saw Regan era teen angst approach its peak, while the John Hughes’ teen classic, Sixteen Candles, solidified Molly Ringwald as the ’80s’ ginger teen queen and—along with Weird Science that same year—shot Anthony Michael Hall to geek teen stardom, as its new nerd on the rise. The Karate Kid taught us to “Wax on, Wax off,” and A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced slasher fans to a terrifying new evil villain, Freddy Krueger, who entered our nightmares and has remained with us nine sequels later. Not only did teen anxiety influence cinema, but also the collective unease of the Cold War, as 1984 released a cinematic Soviet Union invasion of the U.S.A. in cinematographer and director John Milius’s Red Dawn. The first film to receive a PG-13 rating, Red Dawn was perhaps a bit unbelievable but cathartic, and filled with up-and-coming young stars (Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, and Charlie Sheen); it was a definite reaction to the Cold War anxieties of the 1980s.

 
Sixteen Candles, Molly Ringwald

1984 was a year of movies filled with classic pop music in such films such as Prince’s Purple Rain, which produced an enduring soundtrack that still holds up today. The concert film Stop Making Sense featured the Talking Heads and was directed by a relative newcomer, Jonathan Demme. Beat Street and Breakin’ capitalized on the popularity of break dancing, and Footloose danced into theaters with its MTV look and a soundtrack that garnered six Billboard magazine top 40 hits. Footloose was promoted again and again; each subsequent music video featured clips from the film, and ultimately kept those bottom-line-obsessed studio heads “Dancing in the Sheets,” and laid the foundation for Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

In celebration of that most unforgettable year, I have listed my twenty essential movies of 1984, films that have endured, some that are well crafted, some that capture the spirit of the ’80s—thirty-year-old movies that make us think, sing, dance, scream and, above all else, laugh out loud!
—John David West

David’s 20 Essential Movies of 1984

Ghostbusters

Paris, Texas

Amadeus

The Killing Fields

Once Upon a Time in America

Stop Making Sense


The Terminator

 

This Is Spinal Tap

Beverly Hills Cop


The Karate Kid


Sixteen Candles



Footloose


A Nightmare on Elm Street


Stranger Than Paradise


Purple Rain
Starman


Gremlins


Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom


The Muppets Take Manhattan


Police Academy

 

 

Click here from more movies from 1984 at IMDB, it’s amazing!

Ten Best [Film and TV] Actresses of All Time

The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, found at GALECA.or and @DorianAwards, announced its members’ collective picks for the organization’s latest “Ten Best” list: GALECA’s Ten Best Actresses of All Time.

The 160-plus members of GALECA, a nonprofit group comprised of professional film and TV critics and entertainment journalists in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., were each asked to name their 10 choices for the finest female actors throughout the history of film and television, without ranking the stars. The actresses with the most mentions are noted below alphabetically (text by GALECA member Dana Piccoli). Note: Actresses who did not make the top 10 here but came closest among the 100 or so listed by members include Joan Crawford, Judi Dench, Sally Field, Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Lange, Helen Mirren, Elizabeth Taylor and Kate Winslet.

The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association’s Ten Best Actresses of All Time (again, in alphabetical order) are:

Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca (1942)

The Swedish star is best known to your average Joe as misty-eyed Ilsa in Casablanca, but Bergman devotees know that she starred in many more, including a trio of Hitchcock films and George Cukor’s stellar thriller Gaslight. Bergman is also responsible for another gift to cinema: her daughter, actress Isabella Rossellini.

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchette, Elizabeth (1997)

Whether she’s playing a tortured 16th-century monarch or having clandestine glove lunches in 1952, Cate Blanchett radiates. She’s the kind of actress that demands your attention, and you gratefully give it. She’s picked up a host of Oscar and/or Golden Globe nominations (and a few wins) for her stunning performances in such modern classics as Elizabeth, Blue Jasmine and Carol (the latter two also earned her GALECA Dorian Awards).

Bette Davis

Bette Davis, The Little Foxes 1941

The grande dame of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Bette Davis commanded attention with her striking visage and powerful performances in films like All About Eve, The Little Foxes and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Davis’ off-camera battles with costar Joan Crawford in the latter fuel the upcoming TV series Feud). But from the get-go, she was blazing trails as one of filmdom’s most distinct, eye-expressive actresses.

Viola Davis

viola-davis
Viola Davis, Doubt (2008)

Bette’s not the only Ms. Davis to stand out on the screen (big or small). This Juilliard-trained powerhouse has shown there’s no role she can’t conquer, winning two Tonys, two Oscar nominations (for Doubt and The Help) and, finally, like Stanwyck, an Emmy. That parade of awards will only keep growing as she lends her trademark thoughtfulness to more juicy roles like her current one as Annalise Keating in TV’s How to Get Away With Murder.

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda, Klute (1971)

Fonda (a GALECA Timeless Star career-achievement honoree) may have come from Hollywood royalty, but she’s been paving her own way with intelligence and subversive wit since the sixties. Be it in the daring crime thriller Klute, feminist office comedy 9 to 5 to or gray-haired sitcom Grace and Frankie, Fonda is a nervy, magnetic presence. And few actresses have such a knack for shedding light on important issues with her brave performances. Witness her Oscar-winning turn in Coming Home.

Katharine Hepburn

katharine-hepburn
Katherine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter (1968)

Few actresses, or actors, have the sort of self-possessed presence that came so naturally to Kate Hepburn. Even after her early success in was deemed a flash in the pan by the 1940s, she showed that talent and a hell of a lot of moxie can’t be quashed. Hepburn picked up three of her four Oscars later in life (see On Golden Pond), working until the age of 87. Her dedication to her art and her iconoclastic personal style translate to indelible.

Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert, The Piano Teacher (2001)

The French-born Cannes’ darling Huppert has been making waves in the film industry for over 40 years now, with no signs of slowing down. Her haunting performance in 2001’s The Piano Teacher may be her best known work in the U.S., but the BAFTA- and Cesar-winning chameleon has over 50 films under her belt, a testament to her status as one of the world’s most spectacularly natural acting talents. See her cast a spell in the current drama Elle.

Julianne Moore

julianne-moore
Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights (1997)

Moore has the makings of a modern legend. She landed on the radar with her high of a performance in 1997’s Boogie Nights and she’s been building a noticeably meaty list of credits ever since. Her subtle and natural style has made her a household name and a favorite during Academy Awards season (and she won a GALECA Dorian Award for Still Alice). While Moore is usually cast in dramas like the heart-wrenching The End of the Affair, her comedic timing in The Big Lebowski is proof she has the chops to do it all.

Barbara Stanwyck

barbara-stanwyck-3
Barbara Stanwyck, Babyface (1933)

The stunningly “real” Stanwyck rose from a childhood filled with poverty and strife to become one of early Hollywood’s most dynamic actresses. The former Ziegfeld Follies dancer elicited tears in Stella Dallas, mesmerized in the noir classic Double Indemnity and delighted in the screwball comedy The Lady Eve. “Missy” later turned heads in television, winning three Emmys, including one for her gutsy performance in The Thorn Birds.

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice (1982)

Enigmatic, brilliant, timeless. Meryl Streep’s career is as varied as can be, with Oscar-winning performances in The Iron Lady(which also earned her GALECA’s Dorian Award), Sophie’s Choice and Kramer vs. Kramer to fun frolics in films like Mamma Mia and The Devil Wears Prada. Streep completely loses herself in her roles, making her not only fascinating, but (shhh) GALECA’s number-one Best Actress of All Time.

ABOUT GALECA

The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA) sponsors the Dorian Awards, annually honoring movies and TV programs of all types, not just “gay.” GALECA’s membership consists of more than 160 professional critics, journalists and editors who cover the worlds of film and/or TV on for legitimate media outlets — from mainstream to LGBTQ-centric — in the United States, Canada and the U.K. More information may be found at galeca.org.

Good Girls Revolt on Amazon Prime

good-girlsAmazon’s new original series Good Girls Revolt – developed by former journalist Dana Calvoe (Narcos) – follows the careers of a group of young female researchers at a fictitious magazine, News of the Week, during the counterculture days of 1969. Inspired by the book The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich, which examined the complaint, filed with the EEOC by a dozen female researchers who claimed their civil rights were being violated by a male-only policy of reporters at the magazine.

maxresdefaultWhile Good Girls Revolt addresses not only the character’s feminist awakening, but also the other issues of the time; race relations, drug and alcohol abuse. However, the show is certainly not a didactic history lesion, but rather is sexy with equal parts male and female gaze; it’s compelling entertainment—irresistible beyond one’s control, and it’s surprisingly well constructe. A mixture of the Mad Men stylish nostalgia but not too self aware (seeing employees smoke in the office is amusing but soon tiresome). Ultimately, it’s the show’s characters that kept me coming back for the first ten episodes, who are richly drawn and delightfully distinct. Notably Genevieve Angelson as the impulsive and ambitious Patti who wants more than research—she longs to be a reporter. Also Anna Camp as Jane, a girl in search of a husband who realizes that she’s actually a career girl with a lot to offer; and Erin Drake as the awkward, über-sweet and unhappily-married Cindy who wants to be a novelist. It is Drake who has the most interesting journey; this is a performance that should gain some attention. This fun and nostalgic period piece is sadly quite relevant 40 years later as we witness the first woman running for president refereed to as a “nasty woman” by her presidential opponent.  We still have a long way to go, yet Good Girls Revolt reminds us how far we’ve come. 

Good Girls Revolt appears on Amazon Prime streaming, Friday, October 28, 2016.

Far From the Madding Crowd (1967)

Madding crowd 1The 1960’s It Girl, Julie Christie has a star turn in this very fine adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s proto-feminist 19th century novel. She’s a headstrong young woman who comes into a substantial inheritance, her wealthy uncle’s working farm. In good time she manages to beguile three different suitors all at once, making her the Goldilocks of the English countryside. One is too cold, the older and stuffy land baron next door (Peter Finch); one is too hot, the smoldering army sergeant (Terence Stamp) who, ahem, makes good use of his broadsword; and the last, the earthy farmhand (Alan Bates) may be just right. It’s all set in the achingly beautiful English countryside of Dorset and Wiltshire and the film feels as if it’s looking ahead to the style of the best ’70s cinema, it has a modern sensibility despite being a period costumer. Richard Rodney Bennett’s score is a big plus too.

—Ron Castillo

You can read more of Ron’s choice picks, penchants, and caprices at The Celluloid Zealot

Stamp Madding Crowd 1

Worried about the Summer TV Slump? 5 Shows to Fill the Void

As an avid TV show watcher, it’s always exciting to read about new TV shows and even more so to watch them unfold into success stories. With that same excitement in mind, I wanted to bring MoviefiedNYC readers a little taste of what to look forward to this summer. New TV shows open the door to whole new worlds with exciting new characters that come to life and tantalize us—if they’re unique and well-drawn, we’re in. I hope that these TV shows can offer this experience to our readers.

Mr. Robot (Season Two)

mr-robot-season-1-finale

If you didn’t watch the first season of Mr. Robot on USA, you better prep for a binge. Not only was the first episode of Mr. Robot uploaded online weeks before its premiere date, but it was renewed for a second season the day of its premiere…hours before the episode even aired on TV for the first time. Mr. Robot follows Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek), a cyber-security engineer by day, hacker vigilante by night, as he navigates the inner turmoil involved in getting recruited by an undercover group of hackers for the daunting task of destroying the very firm that he is paid to protect. As the series progresses, this undertaking becomes more and more complex and unfolds into a story that you can’t get enough of. Mr. Robot offers a dark tone, complex characters and a narrator so unreliable that you never know if what you he is telling you is real or not. Rami Malik offers insightful narration that probes deep into Elliot’s mind, giving you tidbits of Elliot’s overactive mind. Mr. Robot is jam packed with a stellar cast and I am very excited to see what Mr. Robot offers to viewers during its second season. If you’re ready to give a big “fuck you” to media, corporations and societal expectations, I suggest you give Mr. Robot a chance. Mr. Robot is set to come back for its second season July 13 at 10:00 PM on USA.

Outcast (Season One)

outcast-1-164070

Big Walking Dead fan? Well, you’ll want to sit down for this one because Robert Kirkman is at it again with Cinemax horror drama Outcast. After having watched a few trailers, I know that Outcast will deliver an ominous tone that will sure to have viewers at the edge of their seats. Similarly to Mr. Robot, Outcast has decided to upload its premiere episode to YouTube weeks before its premiere date, which you can find here. More impressive is the fact that Outcast got picked up for a second season nearly three months before its premiere episode. If that doesn’t convince you to click that link above, I don’t know what will. Outcast is based Kirkman’s comic series by the same name which follows Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), a man that has been plagued by demonic possession his whole life and strives to find answers as to why. With help from Reverand Anderson (Philip Glenister), Kyle embarks on a journey that will discovers that the very supernatural occurrences that have caused him so much pain his whole life may be part of a bigger picture than Kyle could have ever expected. Outcast premiered on Cinemax on June 3 at 10:00 PM.

Humans (Season Two)

gallery-humans-season-1-episode-7

Humans offers a futuristic look at a parallel present day where “Synths” serve as servants for families across the world. What are “Synths” exactly? “Synths” are lifelike highly advanced robots that are the must-have item for households everywhere. In an attempt to lighten his wife’s work load, Joe Hawkins (Tom Goodman-Hill) purchases a “Synth” for their home. However, all is not as it seems and Laura (Katherine Parkinson), Joe’s wife, senses that something is not quite right with their “Synth.” After this realization, much unfolds into what becomes a strong syfy series. No premiere date has been announced for the second season of Humans but you can tune in on AMC sometime this summer.

Preacher (Season One)

will-these-two-be-best-buds

Another comic coming to the small screen is Preacher airing on AMC. Its first season debuted on May 22 and centers around Jesse Custer, a preacher (Dominic Cooper) whose body is overcome by a supernatural force beyond his control. Through possession, Jesse is able to harness supernatural powers and decides to embark on a journey to find God with the help of his ex-girlfriend (Ruth Negga) and a vampire (Joseph Gilgun). The cast is stellar and executive producers Seth Rogen and Sam Catlin are huge fans of the comic and are sure to make the translation of a comic to TV show adaptation successfully and tastefully.

Atlanta (Season One)

download

Although not much is known about Atlanta, I have to hope that Donald Glover’s involvement going to make for a positive outcome. Atlanta could be a gateway for the portrayal of people of color in a manner that is not seen quite often on television. The prospect is exciting and I am looking forward to watching the plot unfold. Atlanta follows two cousins (Donald Glover and Brian Tyree Henry) as they try to break into the city’s rap scene. A lot about Atlanta is a mystery and even the teaser trailer is cryptic but a show with a POC heavy cast is definitely one to support and tune in for.

—Oscar Flores