The Farewell was my favorite movie release of the summer, but my favorite “summer movie” would have to go to Late Night for its lighthearted take on important social issues. Speaking of important social issues, film festival darling Yellow Rose tackles the plight of Dreamers through a country musical format. But for pure escapism, you could do worse than Taika Waititi’s vampire comedy, What We Do in the Shadows, which has just come out on Hulu. Meanwhile, Netflix’s Russian Doll was finally renewed this summer, although a release date is still TBD.
Also on Netflix, you can find long-running Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or guilty pleasure movie Always Be My Maybe, both featuring Asian Americans in prominent roles. Ava DuVernay’s mini-series When They See Us humanizes the Exonerated Five, who were victims of police brutality. And on the silver screen, Spider-Man: Far From Home and Rocketman both found well-deserved box office success.
In Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino does good by Sharon Tate but mars the legacy of Bruce Lee, to the point where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned an op-ed expressing his disappointment.
Also disappointing was CBS’s Instinct, which held promise by starring Alan Cumming as the gay lead of a mainstream procedural. Alas, poor writing and general unwatchability led to its cancellation, announced last week.
Still, not all C-graded shows are made equal. Hulu’s revival of Veronica Mars and AMC’s first season of The Terror delighted me in vastly different ways, even as both retain predominantly white casts. In contrast, Men in Black: International casts Tessa Thompson in a leading role, but its gendered jokes, written by men and executed by a male director, fall flat.
HBO’s Chernobyl found widespread acclaim, but as yet another historical piece featuring nearly all white men, it only reinforces inequality in Hollywood.