Ahead of its season four premiere, I just re-watched the third season of Halt & Catch Fire, and I’d forgotten how incredibly good Davis is in this. This was a Lee Pace vehicle, but Davis has become the show’s star, and the entertainment industry is finally starting to take notice. She’s in the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, and an indie flick with Carrie Coon called Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town and she’s starring opposite Charlize Theron in Jason Reitman’s Tully next year, which re-teams Reitman with screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno). I am hopeful she’ll be a big star by this time in 2018.
Tom Everett Scott
Still best known for his starring role in That Thing You Do!, Tom Everett Scott has been quietly bouncing around for 30 years, including a brilliant stint on the still supremely under-appreciated Southland. These days, he’s playing the straight-man to Andrea Savage on this year’s second best new comedy, I’m Sorry (behind only Brockmire). Savage is furiously funny, but Tom Everett Scott’s subdued, deadpan delivery is scene-stealing.
Girls Trip opened two weeks ago, and is already making the case for the funniest film of 2017. It wasn’t because of the script. It was 95 percent because of the cast, and 72 percent of that 95 percent was Tiffany Haddish, who is goddamn incredible in this. Notwithstanding her bad Bill Cosby joke, she should be headlining comedies. Whatever movies Amy Schumer has in the works should all be recast with Haddish in her role immediately.
I rarely listen to the “Pod Saves America” podcast anymore because unfortunately with the way that this Administration operates, those podcasts are usually dated an hour after they publish. However, Jon Lovett’s “Lovett or Leave It” podcast records on Friday night, recaps the week, and adds a lot of other amusing elements and games to a rotating panel of political and comedy celebs, so it doesn’t matter as much if the news is dated. Plus, it’s the perfect Saturday afternoon podcast. Also, I am increasingly taken with his hilariously bitchy and brutal takes on politics, as well as the show’s ads. He is the best goddamn ad promoter in podcasts, in part because he’s an asshole about them.
Two of my favorite performances of the last few months are of Audrey — the drunk, bitchy widow in American Gods who tries to fuck Shadow Moon on her dead husband’s grave — and Debbie Eagan in Netflix’s G.L.O.W., the jaded soap-opera star turned stay-at-home mom turned antagonistic female wrestling hero. It took me a while, however, to realize that they were both played by the same actress. Alison Brie has gotten most of the attention for the success of G.L.O.W., but it’s Gilpin who allows Brie to be the delicious hero/villain that she is. She’s next up in Isn’t it Romantic, with Liam Hemsworth and Priyanka Chopra, about a young woman who mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.
Thanks to Ryan, I am bingeing through Wynonna Earp, and I am loving it. It’s perfect summer television: escapist but not dumb, and terrifically fun thanks to one of the most likable casts in television. I am particularly taken with Tim Rozon’s Doc Holliday, if only because he may be the only guy in Hollywood who can pull off that mustache. In fact, it’s probably best he not shave it. Ever.
Kazan, who is the granddaughter of frickin’ Elia Kazan, kind of got lost in the shuffle after the brilliant Ruby Sparks — which she starred in and wrote, and which was a sort-of send up of manic pixie dreamgirls but that nevertheless seemed to label her as a manic-pixie dreamgirl type. She managed to regain her footing after The Big Sick. Kumail is getting a lot of attention for the movie (deservedly so), but Kazan did a remarkable job of playing Emily Gordon in a way that seemed to completely capture Gordon’s personality without supplanting her, if that makes any sense. In other words, I could see Emily Gordon in her performance, but I never thought that she was Emily Gordon. It was a really smart, really knowing performance that did complete justice to the character.
PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman
I am currently suffering from podcast burnout, which comes around occasionally when I get sick of most of the podcasts I listen to. The exception? PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman’s Reply All, which I will listen to as soon as every episode is released. There’s something about their conversational style, and their approach to their topics that I find engaging even when I don’t necessarily find the topics that interesting. To wit: Alex Goldman has turned a call from someone trying to scam him into an investigation into the scamming company and a trip to India to meet the guy who tried to scam him. I think a friendship may actually blossom from it. Plus, their “Yes, Yes, No” segments, in which they playfully patronize their clueless boss, tend to be both entertaining and fantastically illuminating.
I wasn’t originally a huge fan of Issa Dee’s on-again off-again boyfriend on Insecure, because he was a layabout fuck-up who mooched off his girlfriend. But he has grown into a fully dimensional character since, and it’s his story that I find as compelling as anyone else’s on the series. Seeing him with someone else has humanized him, and makes us understand why Issa wanted to be with him in the first place. He is, indeed, a “John Legend motherfucker.”