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Entertainment Weekly reports that Showtime has a new series about a minister and his family called “Revelation.”
Margaret Lyons wrote:

I’d be pumped for anything from David Janollari and Craig Wright — their mutual previous credit is Six Feet Under, so I trust them to create a thoughtful, unique family drama. But I’m particularly excited to see some religiosity play out on TV because I think it’s underexplored — most religious people aren’t 7th Heaven’s Camden family, you know? I remember seeing the pilot for Friday Night Lights and being so struck by scene where the Panthers say a prayer with the pee wee kids. I can’t remember seeing other characters pray on TV before, and it obviously stuck with me.

(watch 3:15)
While shows like “Seventh Heaven” and “Big Love” focus on families whose religious faith is central to their lives, I’m with Lyons — very interested to see a thoughtful portrayal of a family with sincere religious conviction who struggle with the application of those views to their life decisions.

Many thanks to Entertainment Weekly for recommending this very funny update of “West Side Story” for the age of the internet.


Another unexpected pleasure I came across on cable recently is a light romantic comedy with some shrewd and audacious commentary on race and gender, whose full title is “I’m Through with White Girls (The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks).” Anthony Montgomery (Ensign Mayweather on “Enterprise”) plays an African-American man who creates graphic novels and uses a cigarette holder. After a series of bad experiences dating white girls (they break up with him and berate him for being inconsiderate), he decides that he should date an African-American girl, calling his quest “Operation Brown Sugar.” The first group of contestants don’t seem right. And then he meets Catherng (Lia Johnson), a writer with magnificent dreds who turns out to be “Halfrican-Canadian.”

What makes the usual romantic comedy complications so fresh and engaging here is the way all of the characters subvert stereotypes. Though Catherine’s book is very successful due to her voice as an author, her literal voice, which she describes as sounding like a Valley Girl, especially when she is nervous, makes her afraid of promoting the book at readings. Jay creates graphic novels (he keeps correcting people who refer to them as comic books), a field with few African-Americans. Meanwhile, his white roommate has to pretend to be (and then become) an expert in hip-hop in order to impress the girl he likes.

Johnson (who co-produced) and Montgomery are enormously appealing performers with real romantic spark. The conventional structure and understated tone help the racial and gender issues a part of the story rather than a political statement. But both the romance and the themes make this a neglected gem, well worth watching.

Parents should know that this movie has some mature material including sexual references and non-explicit situations.

VH1 has a 10th birthday tribute to SpongeBob Suqarepants that premieres tonight.

I like this tribute to SpongeBob’s innocence and sincerity. The Washington Post has an article about SpongeBob and the tribute.

So just how does a wide-eyed sponge who refuses to be snarky or cynical or topical win over the cable-wired world? How does it happen that, in Thompson’s words, the global “territory that had once been dominated by Mickey Mouse was now being rehabitated by SpongeBob SquarePants”?

Hillenburg — whose Nickelodeon office sign has read: “Have Fun or You’re Fired” — believes the success is anchored by SpongeBob’s sincerity and purity. Some businesses tout their Commitment to Excellence; Hillenburg and his creative team insist upon a Commitment to Innocence. “He’s an innocent who’s an oddball,” the creator says.

Partly, “I think ‘SpongeBob’ is born out of my love of Laurel and Hardy shorts,” says [Stephen] Hillenburg, [marine biologist turned CalArts animation student and creator of the show,] citing the kidlike relationship between SpongeBob and sidekick Patrick the starfish as the show’s comedic core. “You’ve got that kind of idiot-buddy situation — that was a huge influence. SpongeBob was inspired by that kind of character: the Innocent — a la Stan Laurel.

This weekend, SpongeBob’s home network, Nickelodeon, will be running a 50-hour SpongeBob marathon, including the feature film and a top 10 list selected by the fans.

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