Stage Mother (2020)

Release Date: August 21, 2020

A Texas Choir Mistress (Jacki Weaver) inherits a San Francisco drag club from her late son, Rickey, (Eldon Thiele) with whom she hadn’t been in touch since he came out.

 

 

I’m going to be 100% honest with this review and tell you that I equal parts loved and hated Stage Mother. A mother loses her only child with whom she was very close in his early years to a drug addiction. The audience sees him indulge in his drug of choice, go out on stage and pretty much drop dead. His mother, Maybelline, who is the epitome of fabulous is notified of her son’s death and is determined to attend the funeral, disregarding the objections of her husband (Hugh Thompson). Once in San Francisco she seeks to build bridges with the family she feels she has left which are her son’s partner and the people he valued in his life. 

Stage Mother is a wonderfully acted movie with weak storytelling. There are number of storylines and if just one or two had been followed and developed it would have been a much stronger piece but the actual focus seemed to be an almost masturbatory “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone/ fabulous straight mother figure saving the motherless.” I wondered what scenes had been deleted that would help the weaker story threads come together. Rickey is addicted to drugs; people tell Maybelline there’s a lot of drugs in the drag community; Maybelline intervenes when she sees one of Rickey’s drag sisters taking drugs basically verbally smacking her hand and staying up with her and all is good? It’s took simple. I’m not saying that this would have been a better movie with a focus on that storyline but with a better focus on any storyline. 

Now, let me just say, I wept when Maybelline honored Rickey toward the end of the movie. It was beautiful and, if nothing else, a connection was made with the characters. I would have loved to know more of Cherry Poppins’ (Mya Taylor) story. We meet Cherry and the other queens with a superficial overview and when Cherry goes to speak with her estranged wife, Maybelline tags along but the depth of Cherry’s struggle is unknown to the viewer other than that brief moment. Its the filling in the blanks moment that we often see in fiction that because the audience maybe knows a transgender person, they’ll assign that struggle to Cherry.

Stage Mother also too easily course corrects for the mother of this late gay man. Jacki Weaver is a wonderful actress and the emotion with which she plays the role convinces the audience that the “loss” of her son has weighed on her for many years and she mostly crumbled to the pressure of her husband. We’re supposed to believe the husband is a villain but Hugh Thompson plays that role unconvincingly. We don’t really get a history of why, for so many years, Maybelline didn’t reach out because if we know nothing else about her from this movie it’s that she’s a woman that does what she wants to do. 

I had mixed feelings about Stage Mother but overall it’s a very watchable movie and one that people should see. Jackie Beat is great as Dusty Muffin even if she is in the piece too little. Allistair MacDonald as Joan of Arkansas and Oscar Moreno as Tequila Mockingbird are wonderful in their roles. I would love to see movies following each of them and expanding on who they are and where they came from.

Watch it and let me know. Am I offbase in this review? Did you cry as I did during the honorary musical piece?

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Paris is Burning by Jennie Livingston

DVD Publication Date: February 22, 2012

 

On December 31, 2018, Hector Xtravaganza, Grandfather of the House of Xtravaganza (one of the early Latino drag families), died at the age of 60. Hector was featured in Paris is Burning and served as a consultant on the Ryan Murphy show about the New York gay ballroom scene of the 1980s. Pose.

Paris is Burning was filmed in the mid to late 1980s and chronicles the ball culture of New York City’s Black, Latino, Gay and Transgender community.

Paris is Burning follows the largely African-American Ball scene in New York City. Livingston became interested in the scene when she met a group of young gay men doing what they called “voguing” in Washington Square Park. Thinking the ball scene would make an interesting university project, the men suggested she contact the creator of the vogue moves, Will Ninja, who introduced her to the ball scene where contestants would have walk-off competitions in a variety of categories. Contestants would be scored on a number of categories including realness of drag whether it be boy drag (banjee — or passing as straight), girl drag or androgyny. In exploring the ball scene, Livingston connected with many individuals and highlighted their stories.

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American Horror Story: Asylum

Aired: October 17, 2012 – January 23, 2013

 

American Horror Story: Asylum is set mostly in 1964, Kit Walker (Evan Peters) is accused of killing his wife (Britne Oldford) and locked up in Briarcliff Manor, an asylum that houses the criminally insane. Court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Oliver Threadson (Zachary Quinto) is assigned to assess Walker’s ability to stand trial. Reporter Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) requests access to the asylum as she sees exposing the mistreatment of the patients as the making of her career. Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) denies her access so Lana sneaks in and is injured. Jude initially uses the injury and then Lana’s homosexuality to keep her locked away. Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) is using the patients to make the ultimate human beings. Dark forces are at work. In modern-day in the ruins of Briarcliff will history repeat itself?

Asylum is the second show in the American Horror Story series.

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Back to the Future (1985)

Release Date: July 3, 1985 | DVD Release Date: March 8, 2016

 

Back in the FutureMuch has been written about this classic 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson so rather than review the film, I plan to examine why it has remained popular 32 years after its initial release. Enjoy my take on Back to the Future (1985). Continue reading Back to the Future (1985)

Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

Movie Released: December 9, 2007 | DVD Release Date:October 7, 2008

 

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Trudie (Melissa Joan Hart) is having a rough holiday season. She’s struggling financially and her boyfriend dumps her just before she heads home for the holidays. Feeling the pressure to please her parents (Timothy Bottoms and Markie Post), she kidnaps David (Mario Lopez) and convinces him to play along with her plan and pose as her boyfriend Nick. Can Trudie hold it together long enough to satisfy her parents?

 

 

 

 

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Movie Released: December 1, 1989 | DVD Released: September 30, 2008

 

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Clark Griswold has a dream of surprising his family with a backyard pool. The only impediment to making the dream a reality is that his bonus has yet to arrive. While they wait, Clark and crew enjoy the most wonderful time of the year with cherished family and surprise visitors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Elf (2003)

Movie Released: November 7, 2003 | DVD Releasd: October 24, 2006

 

DVD_ElfA child slipped into Santa’s sack one Christmas Eve and was taken to the North Pole where he was adopted by an older elf (Bob Newhart). When he finds out that he is human, the elf decides to go on a quest to New York City to find his biological father, a hard-hearted Children’s publisher. Will everything work out as Buddy expects?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doctor Who 2014 Christmas Special: The Last Christmas

DVD Release Date: February 17, 2015

 

DVD_Doctor_Who_Last_Christmas The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenny Coleman) must help scientists plagued by crab-like creatures at a North Pole Scientific Station with the help of Santa (Nick Frost) and his elves.

Readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of Doctor Who as well as the comedic characters normally played by Nick Frost. In [easyazon_link identifier=”B00QHND1BO” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]Doctor Who: Last Christmas[/easyazon_link] the actor takes a darker interpretation of an iconic character.

 

 

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) – A Love Letter

Movie Released: December 18, 1966 | DVD Released: October 20, 2015

 

DVD_How_The_Grinch_Stole_ChristmasThe 1966 version of [easyazon_link identifier=”B002JUFPUE” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Deluxe Edition)[/easyazon_link], voice-acted by Boris Karloff,  is a holiday necessity in our household. We own the DVD but always make a point of watching when it airs on television. The green character with a heart three sizes too small and his dog Max, represent the true start to the Dewhirst holiday season.

 

Continue reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) – A Love Letter