It’s time again to focus on how we entertain with the impending cold arriving soon. This weekly column, ‘Winter’tainment focuses on TV, Film and Live entertainment for the winter in the ‘937 area!’ Let’s jump right in!
TV: WHITE LOTUS, Season 2. Hard to believe that the crafty minds behind ‘White Lotus’ would go there with the season finale…but they did!
That said, if you haven’t seen the ending, or you haven’t ‘dived’ (see what I did there?) into season 2, I promise to spare you spoilers. Jennifer Coolidge, again, makes the season worth the watch. It’s nearly impossible to pay attention to anything else when she’s on the screen….with, perhaps, the exception of the gorgeous scenery of Sicily and Palermo. The season focuses on sex, and sex..and sex…and there is lots of it. Husbands and wives with little boundaries; fathers and sons with little knowledge of the other’s activities; a pack of gays with all kinds of appetites; and even a virgin…at least as the season rolls out??? The show has a great cast. Adam DiMarco (Albie) was so convincing as the frustrated yet sweet-hearted third generation Italian; Will Sharpe (Ethan) was mesmerizing as the jealous husband; and a big wow to Aubrey Dollar (Harper) as the bitch you somehow understood far too well! There are body parts that got star billing as well…you’ll see. The plot has some interesting twists and turns…there is plenty of opulence and grandeur….beautiful people to look at…BUT, something is not there that was in season one. There was something about Hawaii in season one….it felt Utopian and Vacation’y’…in season 2, from the get-go, there is a more foreboding element. Less humor, more angst! It’s worth the watch, and although not all the season 1 fans will agree, it definitely had a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that only this series has mastered. HBO.
LIVE: Jesus Christ Superstar. 50th Anniversary. I am a fan of Cincinnati at the holidays. they have great decorations, exciting traditions and of course, the wide variety of neighborhoods sport all kinds of unique fun. We ventured down to the Queen City earlier this week, and dropped into the Aronoff to catch the 50th ANNIVERSARY OF JCS.
Now, let me preface, I still believe JCS has some of the best music, albeit rock, in a Broadway show. Favorites like ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him,’ ‘Herod’s Song,’ and ‘Gethesmane,’ still carry that power and performance you long for in JCS. The cast (JACK HOPEWELL delivered as Jesus; KODIAK THOMPSON was spot-on as Annas; ISAAC RYCKEGHEM‘s bass vocals rumbled the theater as Caiaphas & FAITH JONES soothed the saga with her role as Mary) was engaged and completely committed to a version that seems rough, gruesome and raucous. There are moments where you long for the old JCS when Jesus seemed mystical but remained human….today’s Jesus seems detached, angry and overly earthly. (Think Patchouli.) And that is the issue with show…how do we keep Jesus relevant when he’s been maligned by so many for so long. He’s a regular on South Park for goodness sake! It’s a tough sell for any director! This version has received every kind of review possible….amazing, messy, quirky, brilliant, savvy, depressing, perfect…..you name it, it’s been said about this performance! I agree…with all of that! Aronoff Center, Cincinnati
MOVIE: Spoiler Alert. ‘I think you’re very cool, and I’m worried. you’re going to break my heart…’
Haven’t we all been there? Remember that felling? That’s the beauty of ‘Spoiler Alert.’ We all have been vulnerable, so we get it! Soooo much has been written about how movies today manipulate us as viewers into feeling things artificially. Well, there is nothing artificial about Spoiler Alert. The drama, that focuses on the ‘goods and bads’ of a gay couple making their way through life’s challenges, doesn’t over-do anything. It keeps the dialogue simple. (It’s relatable in that sense. ) It presents real characters who look like real people. (Jim Parsons is hardly a dashing leading man.) It tells the truth about relationships. (We all make stupid mistakes.) And it gently leans into the idea that we are, even in this society, still our own best hope! It’s not a Hallmark movie, that ensures we get out with a big smile and the family’s ranch is saved. It’s not a melodrama, that sees the hero ride off into the sunset. Spoiler Alert is really a tender, humane look at how we live, and how we go on when others are no longer living. Although not exactly a Christmas movie, it definitely has the feel and some references to the holiday season. Everyone who loves a good end-of-the-year cry will embrace this film….and heck, you get to see Sally Field! Neon Movies.
Jesus Christ Superstar plays at The Aronoff Theater in Cincinnati from 12/16-12/18. Tickets at www.eventticketscenter.com.
Spoiler Alert plays at the Neon Movies (130 East Fifth Street, Dayton) through 12/22. For ticket info go to neonmovies.com.