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.
- Ratched has arrived.
- Movies are good again.
- Meet your new Joe Biden.
- Madonna is making Madonna.
- Emmys! Puzzles! Fun!
The fall film festival season is usually a treat. Each year around this time, I put on my one (1) blazer that fits and head off to a week of fabulousness, previewing the films that hope to be Oscar contenders—often in audiences alongside the stars themselves.
Suffice it to say, there was a noticeable downgrade in glamor when the Toronto International Film Festival relocated this last week to the same apartment couch I’ve been sitting on for the last seven months, from which I watched premieres of these movies as I’m sure they were intended to be seen: in a tiny window on my laptop while wearing gym shorts.
But as the upsetting butt divot in my couch sitting spot plummeted ever-deeper, there was reassurance provided by the festival. Films are still coming! And they’re really good! What a treat! We deserve it!
First off: My God, Nomadland is gorgeous. Frances McDormand could and should win her third Best Actress Oscar for playing Fern, a woman who, after her husband dies and the factory town to which they lent their entire lives essentially disappears in an economic downturn, is forced to hit the open road.
Vanessa Kirby, who played Princess Margaret in the first two seasons of The Crown, will likely join McDormand in the Oscar race for her performance in Pieces of a Woman, as a young woman whose baby dies in childbirth grappling with how to find justice, purpose, and any type of solace in the aftermath. And Kate Winslet gives her strongest performance in a decade, in my opinion, in Ammonite, though the movie doesn’t necessarily rise to her level.
Regina King, it turns out, is not just a stunning actress but also a masterful director, as she proved in her feature directorial debut One Night in Miami. And while I already had screened it at Sundance in January, it would be negligent to talk about the best films that played at TIFF without mentioning The Father, in which Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman team up to carve your heart out of your chest with a pocketknife.
But if the magic of these festivals is an unexpected, quiet discovery, then for me that’s Summer of 85, a movie I’ll be swooning over for a long time. Call Me by Your Name comparisons are inevitable. It’s a coming-of-age romance set in France in the ’80s, and it’s as sumptuous, as sexy, and as full of longing. It’s about how all-encompassing young, hormonal romance is, how confusing coming to terms with your sexuality is, and...death.
There’s nothing normal about these times. But here I am hyperbolically fawning over a gay romance that played at a film festival. Nature is healing.
I’m so old I remember when Saturday Night Live cast members actually acted on Saturday Night Live.
It was announced this week that, when SNL returns on October 3rd—live, from Studio 8H, with a trimmed-down audience—it’s coming back with Jim Carrey on board to portray Joe Biden. That’s fun, I guess? He’ll join Maya Rudolph, who will return as Kamala Harris. There’s been no saying otherwise that Alec Baldwin will be back as Donald Trump. Which is to say the three most consequential targets of SNL sketches will be portrayed by people who are not currently SNL cast members.
These stunt castings always get press and attention. Baldwin even won an Emmy for his Trump, despite the fact that it is one of the worst Trump interpretations on TV. It’s the trend that Tina Fey set off when she was hired to play Sarah Palin, but has gone off the rails. Sometimes it’s fun to see a major celebrity cameo on the show as a big politician. (Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer.) Often, it’s tedious. (Robert De Niro as Robert Mueller.) Sometimes it’s unclear just what to make of it. (Brad Pitt as Anthony Fauci?)
It just seems increasingly silly that the default casting for these major political figures is to not use one of the show’s talented cast members; it’s what they’ve been hired for. Or maybe I’m just jealous that, as part of my job, I am often asked to do my job. It’s honestly rude.
This is how Madonna announced that she was going to be writing and directing a movie about her own life:
“Written and directed by the artist herself” or how I feel when I post a particularly great selfie/caption combination. Hey-o! I don’t know why the phrase makes me laugh so much. It’s like a grand acknowledgement of how creatively narcissistic this project is. It’s also so Madonna.
In any case, lunatic fans have surmised that Ozark star Julia Garner may be cast as the lead, as both Madonna and her manager Guy Oseary have recently followed her on social media—a level of sleuthing both deranged and impressive, especially if it ends up being true. (She’d be great.) I look forward to watching it 17-39 times in theaters, if it’s ever safe to go to a theater again.
Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, for which camera setups and live feeds have been dispatched to hundreds of nominees’ homes for an unprecedented virtual ceremony, is going to be a real puzzle to pull off. And because everyone loves a theme, The Daily Beast has crafted a special Emmys 2020 version of our crossword puzzle. Emmys! A puzzle! Get it?
You can access it here on Sunday. Truly a combination of my greatest passions: TV, famous ladies giving speeches, puzzles, and shameless corporate cross promotion.
PEN15: This show is a miracle. (Sept. 18 on Hulu)
Ratched: It’s Sharon Stone with a monkey on her shoulder, people! (Sept. 18 on Netflix)
Emmy Awards: Because the world should be watching when Catherine O’Hara wins an Emmy. (Sept. 20 on ABC)
Antebellum: Turns out that not everything Janelle Monáe does is flawless. (Sept. 18 on VOD)
The Masked Singer: This show is my nemesis. (Sept. 23 on Fox)