All the Brat-Pack films? Well, here’s a start

In other lands, film fans might argue about auteurs or noir or such.
But in the U.S., we have a bigger issue – defining which ones are the “Brat Pack” movies. That came up now, as Hulu:
— Released the “Brats” documentary. Andrew McCarthy visited colleagues who – almost 40 years ago – were tarnished by that “Brat Pack” tag.
— Then sent an announcement that: “All nine Brat Pack films are now streaming on Hulu.”
There are only nine? For a while, it seemed like there were 900.
Apparently, Hulu meant all nine that it has. It’s a decent enough collection, led by “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Taps” (shown here with Tim Hutton) and “Ferris Bueller,” but it’s just a start. And three of the nine don’t include any of the original Brat-Packers Read more…

“Queenie” finds fun in life’s chaos

It was the right book at (maybe) the wrong time. That was when Candice Carty-Williams discovered “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”
“I read the book when I was too young, probably,” she told the Television Critics Association. “I stole it from my aunt’s bookshelf and I read it in the summer.”
Later, that would influence “Queenie,” her award-winning debut novel. Heralded as “the Black ‘Bridget Jpones’s Diary,’” it won awards and is now a brief comedy series (shown here), with eight half-hours arriving in one gulp Friday (June 7) on Hulu. Read more…

After 40 years (throat permitting), Bon Jovi rocks on

Like a good father should, John Bongiovi Sr. took his son to a some music teachers.
One was at the school, one was private, both said the same: The kid was not a singer.
Except now he is one. As Jon Bon Jovi (shown here), he’s one of the top-selling rock frontmen. His band has soared beyond 100 million records; five of his Grammy nominations (including his one win) are for vocals.
“I pride myself on having been a true vocalist,” he said. “I’ve sung with Pavrotti. I know how to sing; I’ve studied the craft for 40 years.”
That adds to the poignancy of a four-part documentary that debuts Friday (April 26) on Hulu and Disney+. Alongside a history of his band, it focuses on Bon Jovi struggling with vocal issues – trying other steps and then resorting to surgery. Read more…

Season preview: streamers create a have/have-not world

As the Hollywood strikes continue, TV viewers are split into haves and have-nots.
Many will feel the impact this fall. They’ll wonder how many reality shows the human soul can absorb.
For others, it will be milder. Loaded with streaming networks, they’ll keep finding new shows.
It can’t last, of course. Even the streamers – which work far in advance – will sputter if the writers’ and actors’ strikes continue. But for now, life seems semi-normal.
One vivid example is Wednesday, Sept. 13. That’s when Apple TV+ launches the third season of “The Morning Show,” rippling with sharp dialog and vivid characters played Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon (shown here) and Jon Hamm. Read more…

Her restaurant life? It’s “crazy and wonderful”

If you watch any restaurant show – especially “The Bear,” the acclaimed drama-comedy that returns to Hulu on June 22 – there are two logical reactions:
1) I would never want to work in a restaurant. People fret, fail, shout, rage, agonize; they also have bad hours and are prone to addiction and alcoholism.
2) I’d really like to work in a restaurant. It looks like fun.
Courtney “Coco” Storer (shown here), the inspiration and “culinary producer” for “The Bear,” occasionally leans toward the first one. “I always ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this? Are you insane?’” she said.
But mostly, she’s with the second. “I love it,” she told the Television Critics Association. “I don’t think I’ll ever leave the hospitality world. As crazy as it is, I think it’s equal parts crazy as it is wonderful.” Read more…

In or out of prison, he was a warm dad

Tracy McMillan is an expert on life’s extremes.
She’s known the highs and the lows. The middle part – the comfy, cozy part – has been elusive.
Well, she did grow up in Minneapolis, in mid-America. And she spent several years with a warm foster family, led by a Lutheran minister.
But then she was back with her charismatic dad, whom she’s described as “a Billy Dee Williams type who committed crimes for a living.” That led to “UnPrisoned,” debuting Friday (March 10) on Hulu. Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo (shown here) play people a lot like McMillan and her dad. The difference is that in this fictional version, he lives with her after prison. Read more…

Coming to Hulu: more, more and (yes) more

If you’re summarizing Hulu’s current line-up in three words, it might be “more,” “more” and “more.” And then maybe a little more.
At a time (late summer) when some networks nap, the streamer has a surge. There are a few big stars – two Steves (Martin and Carell) and, later, one Oprah. There are also names — Emayatzy Corinealdi, Chris Estrada, Travante Rhodes, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai – you haven’t seen on many movie marquees.
Part of the surge is due to airing two major, second-season shows in the summer:
— “Only Murders in the Building” has new episodes Tuesdays, through Aug. 23. Its first season drew 17 Emmy nominations, including best comedy and comedy actors (Steve Martin and Martin Short, shown here with Selena Gomez).
— “Reservation Dogs” has new ones Wednesdays, through Sept. 28. Its first season won Peabody and American Film Institute awards. Read more…

“Only Murder” sequel is bloody-good fun

When we last saw Mabel, she was covered with blood and confusion.
Not to worry. She’s back in the second season of “Only Murders in the Building,” which seems to be even better than the first.
“Only Murders” was a pleasant pandemic surprise – a mini-series assembling mis-matched elements. It was mostly a murder mystery and drama, but added ample humor. It was mostly about old guys – Steve Martin and Martin Short (shown here, left and center), plus guest stars – but also centered on Selena Gomez.
Now the first two episodes of the second season have debuted on Hulu. The other eight will arrive – one per Tuesday – for the rest of the summer. Read more…

Serious Schumer? Funny Schumer? It’s time for both

The two sides of Amy Schumer are filling our TV time.
There’s the standup-comedy side, big and blunt and brash. That may emerge when she co-hosts (with Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall) the Academy Awards, at 8 p.m. Sunday (March 27) on ABC.
And there’s the subtle side, in the richly layered humor of her “Life & Beth,” which has just arrived on Hulu. “I actually am an introvert,” Schumer told the Television Critics Association.
Say what? Surely, this “introvert” can’t be the person who stands onstage, telling intimate details to strangers. “I could probably use a little more self-control in real life …. I’m sure I’ve shared more than some people would have cared” to hear, she said. Read more…

Condo crime comedy for these amigos

Let’s think of this as “Three Amigos Go Manhattan.” Only with a murder mystery. And a new amigo.
“Three Amigos,” in 1986, was the first pairing of Steve Martin and Martin Short; the third star was Chevy Chase. Now comes “Only Murders in the Building,” a droll, 10-part series that starts Tuesday (Aug. 31) on Hulu; the third star (shown here) is Selena Gomez.
Yes, one of these is not like the others. Martin is 76, Short is 71 … Gomez is 29. “I had no idea who they were,” she joked, at a Television Critics Association virtual press conference. Read more…