This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
Finally, a nice movie musical!
The only Met Gala look worth noticing.
Broadway is back, baby!
Turd Ferguson, the greatest.
Everybody Is Talking About Jamie Is So Sweet
It was beginning to look like the movie-musical resuscitation was too optimistic and going to be short-lived, like when a dying patient gets a burst of life in them right before they kick it for good.
Following the commercial, if not always critical, success of films like Les Misérables, La La Land, and The Greatest Showman, Hollywood got enthusiastic, greenlighting a slew of new movie musicals. At one point, I tallied nearly a dozen set to be released in 2021. What a dream! Or, perhaps, what a nightmare…
Things started out so promising. In the Heights was a glorious, emotional, cinematically minded joy, one meant to help attract audiences back to the magic of the big screen. But amidst casting controversy and revived COVID concerns, it flopped at the box office and was quickly dismissed.
The new Cinderella went viral for being embarrassing. Dear Evan Hansen has early critics so traumatized some are arguing that jail time be handed to the people involved. The upcoming West Side Story has casting drama of its own to contend with ahead of its premiere this winter. Even Adam Driver singing into Marion Cotillard’s vagina during cunnilingus in Annette was nowhere near the fun it was meant to be.
So let me tell you, it was a thrill recently to watch Amazon’s adaptation, available this week, of the West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and be utterly delighted and moved by it.
While a smash in the UK, the show hadn’t really made a splash yet in the U.S. I didn’t know much about it going in, in terms of the plot or the songs, and I’m sure I’m not alone. So much of the response to movie musicals tends to be how closely it does or doesn’t hew to a person’s emotional recollection of their experience seeing it on stage, so the American unfamiliarity might work to Jamie’s advantage.
It’s about a teenager named Jamie (Max Harcourt) who lives in Sheffield, England, and wants to become a star. While his classmates are deluded by pipedreams of becoming influencers or reality stars, Jamie thinks he is special and unique enough to break out in a more unconventional way: He wants to become a drag queen.
Jamie is bullied by classmates for being gay, and his father wants nothing to do with him. But his mother (Sarah Lancashire) is beautifully accepting and encouraging, even buying him his first pair of glittery red high heels to wear. With a fierce grasp on who he is and who he thinks he deserves to be, he vows, with the help of a drag mother played by Richard E. Grant, to make his debut as a drag performer—and then attend the school prom in drag, too.
Of course, the beats in something like this are so familiar you don’t need to explain the whole “small-minded town makes it hard for him, but the human spirit triumphs” thing. What struck me was how nice it was to watch a sweet movie musical with fun performances and a nice message at its heart. After so much ugly discourse surrounding the genre, it was refreshing. Transformative even.
The Shining Star of the Met Gala
According to the 47,000 photos that littered my social media feed, the Met Gala happened this week. The theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” and judging by the fact that not one of the celebrities in attendance wore one of the Old Navy American flag t-shirts from the late ’90s, a lick of Ed Hardy, or any Juicy Couture, I would argue that they all failed the assignment.
Everyone, that is, except Iman.
The supermodel arrived at the Met dressed as, in this year 2021, the most American thing of all: my last remaining ounce of serotonin, fabulously festooned with halos of golden feathers and paraded for everyone’s enjoyment, like a brilliant supernova to be enjoyed before it, too, explodes.
Every single photo of her is gorgeous. The only image that rivals one featuring her from the evening is the capture of Rihanna and current Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kathy Hilton gleefully hugging each other at an afterparty, as proud and unignorable as a pair of swollen testicles careening the globe to the nadir of pandemic discourse. You might even say they’re looking quite hunky dory. (Who?!)
Anyway, thank you for entertaining my brief sojourn into fashion journalism.
No, You’re Crying
Wicked was among the four hit Broadway shows that returned to live performances this week, an unofficial reopening for the industry after the grueling pandemic shutdown. Gauging by social media, I appeared to be the only gay man in New York City who was not in attendance, which might have been for the best as I’m not sure I would have been able to emotionally weather it.
To begin with, original star Kristin Chenoweth surprised the audience before the curtain, causing them to leap to their feet as she quipped, “There’s no place like home.” Then, after her address, the crowd was back on their feet again just at the sight of cast members on stage after the overture. If you’ve seen the show, you know that the character of Galinda then floats down from the rafter in a “bubble” and says, “It’s good to see me, isn’t it?”
Even just watching it in Twitter videos, my heart burst. After all this darkness, it is a GOOD MOMENT. Remember those?
You’re in middle school. Somehow, you’re watching a repeat of Saturday Night Live on a Saturday afternoon. Norm MacDonald is doing Burt Reynolds in the Jeopardy! sketch, and just revealed he changed his name to Turd Ferguson. Later, he walks on stage in a big hat. You’ve never laughed harder in your life. A GOAT.
What to watch this week:
Sex Education: Netflix’s most underrated gem of a series. (Fri. on Netflix)
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: What if there was something nice and we all actually watched it? (Fri. on Amazon)
The Emmy Awards: Or as it might be renamed: “An Evening With Every Single Person Involved in Ted Lasso.” (Sun. on CBS)
The Morning Show: We love mess! (Fri. on Apple TV+)
What to skip this week:
The Morning Show: But you might not! (Fri. on Apple TV+)
Cry Macho: With all due respect to Clint Eastwood, my crying is the least macho thing about me—and that says a lot. (Fri. on HBO Max)