True Crime Entertainment: What’s New This Week

The following content is generally available worldwide, except where otherwise noted. All TV shows listed are for networks and streaming services based in the United States. All movies listed are those released in U.S. cinemas. This schedule is for content and events premiering this week and does not include content that has already been made available.

Monday, February 24 – Sunday, March 1

TV/Streaming Services

All times listed are Eastern Time/Pacific Time, unless otherwise noted.

Netflix’s six-part docuseries “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez” premieres on Wednesday, February 26 at 3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT.

Monday, February 24

“Live PD: Police Patrol”
(Episode 246)
Monday, February 24, 8 p.m., A&E

“Live PD: Police Patrol”
(Episode 246)
Monday, February 24, 8:30 p.m., A&E

“Twisted Love”
“Twisted Love” (Episode 103)
Monday, February 24, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“Fatal Attraction”
“Blazing Deception” (Monica Sykes)
Monday, February 24, 9 p.m., TV One

“American Greed”
“Fake Heiress Cons High Society” (Episode 184)
Monday, February 24, 10 p.m., CNBC

Episode 4
Monday, February 24, 10 p.m., HBO

“Stranger Among Us”
“Flames of Fury” (Episode 104)
Monday, February 24, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery

Tuesday, February 25

“Murder Comes Home”
“On Her Own” (Episode 105)
Tuesday, February 25, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

Wednesday, February 26

“The Trials of Gabriel Hernandez” (Six-part docuseries)
Wednesday, February 26, 3 a.m./12 am., Netflix

“Live PD: PD Cam”
Wednesday, February 26, 8 p.m., A&E

“Live PD: PD Cam”
Wednesday, February 26, 8 :30 p.m., A&E

“The Murder Tapes”
“Fire in the Desert” (Episode 204)
Wednesday, February 26, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“True Life Crime”
“Mom Gone Missing: Runaway or Murder Victim?”(Episode 108) **Season Finale**
Wednesday, February 26, 9 p.m., MTV

“In Pursuit With John Walsh”
“In Cold Blood”(Episode 207)
Wednesday, February 26, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery

Thursday, February 27

“The First 48”
“Triggered” (Episode 1911)
Thursday, February 27, 8 p.m., A&E

“Snapped: Killer Couples”
“Kristel Maestas and Ronald Bell” (Episode 1303)
Thursday, February 27, 8 p.m., Oxygen

“Live PD: Wanted”
(Episode 201) **Season Premiere**
Thursday, February 27, 9 p.m., A&E

“Man With a Van”
“Handsome Devil” (Episode 103) 
Thursday, February 27, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“In Ice Cold Blood”
“Guilty as Charged” (Episode 303) 
Thursday, February 27, 9 p.m., Oxygen

“60 Days In”
“They Know” (Episode 609)
Thursday, February 27, 10 p.m., A&E

Friday, February 28

“Dateline NBC: Secrets Uncovered”
“The Carrolton Plot” (Episode 820)
Friday, February 28, 8 p.m., Oxygen

“Fatal Vows”
“Hell on Wheels” (Episode 704)
Friday, February 28, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“Live PD: Roll Call”
Friday, February 28, 8 p.m., A&E

“Live PD: Rewind”
Friday, February 28, 8:06 p.m., A&E

“Live PD”
Friday, February 28, 9 p.m., A&E

Friday, February 28, 9 p.m., ABC

Friday, February 28, 9 p.m., NBC

Saturday, February 29

“Criminal Confessions”
“A Helpful Witness” (Episode 313)
Saturday, February 29, 6 p.m., Oxygen

“Up and Vanished”
“Deadly Spirits” (Episode 103)
Saturday, February 29, 7 p.m., Oxygen

“Live PD: Roll Call”
Saturday, February 29, 8 p.m., A&E

“Live PD: Rewind”
Saturday, February 29, 8:06 p.m., A&E

“Live PD”
Saturday, February 29, 9 p.m., A&E

“48 Hours”
Saturday, February 29, 10 p.m., CBS

Sunday, March 1

“Evil Lives Here”
“He Almost Got Away With It” (Episode 709)
Sunday, March 1, 9 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“Wrong Man”
(Episode 203)
Sunday, March 1, 9:05 p.m., Starz

“The Lake Erie Murders”
“Black Sabbath” (Episode 204)
Sunday, March 1, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery

“Forensic Files II”
(Episode 103)
Sunday, March 1, 10 p.m., HLN

“Forensic Files II”
(Episode 104)
Sunday, March 1, 10:30 p.m., HLN

Movies in Theaters


Directed by Andrew Heckler

MPAA Rating: R

When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens in a small South Carolina town, the idealistic Reverend Kennedy (played by Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker) resolves to do everything in his power to prevent long-simmering racial tensions from boiling over. But the members of Kennedy’s congregation are shocked to discover that his plan includes sheltering Mike Burden (played by Garrett Hedlund), a Klansman whose relationships with both a single-mother (played by Andrea Riseborough) and a high-school friend (played by Usher Raymond) force him to re-examine his long-held beliefs. After Kennedy helps Mike leave behind his violent past, the Baptist preacher finds himself on a collision course with manipulative KKK leader Tom Griffin (played by Tom Wilkinson). In the face of grave threats to himself and his family, the resolute Kennedy bravely pursues a path toward peace, setting aside his own misgivings in the hopes of healing his wounded community. From Oscar-nominated filmmaker Robbie Brenner (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and writer/director Andrew Heckler comes this dramatic true story of compassion and grace in the American South.


No new podcast series debuts this week.


Events listed here are not considered endorsements by this website. All ticket buyers with questions or concerns about the event should contact the event promoter or ticket seller directly.

All start times listed are local time.

Live Laugh Levitate: An Unofficial Last Podcast on the Left Book Club

A discussion of author Dave Cullen’s non-fiction book “Columbine.”

WHEN: Saturday, February 29, 4 – 6 p.m.

WHERE: Onderdonk & Sons, 566 Onderdonk Ave ue, Ridgewood, NY 11385

ADMISSION: Free; RSVP recommended.


2020 NAACP Image Awards: Lizzo, Beyoncé, ‘Just Mercy,’ ‘Black-ish’ among the top winners

February 22, 2020

by Carla Hay

Lizzo, Beyoncé, the dramatic film “Just Mercy” and the comedy series “Black-ish” were among the top winners at the 51st NAACP Image Awards, which were presented at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, on February 22, 2020. BET had the U.S. telecast of the show, which was hosted by “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson.

Lizzo was named Entertainer of the Year, and her “Juice” video won Outstanding Music Video. Beyoncé, who did not attend the ceremony, won seven prizes: Outstanding Female Artist; Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (for her collaboration with Blue Ivy, Saint Jhn, and Wizkid’s “Brown Skin Girl”); Outstanding Song, Traditional (for “Spirit”); Outstanding Song, Contemporary (“Before I Get Go”); Outstanding Album (for “Beyoncé – Homecoming: The Live Album”); Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation (for “Beyoncé & Various artists – The Lion King: The Gift”); and Outstanding Variety (Series or Special), for  “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé.”

ABC’s “Black-ish” won five awards: Outstanding Comedy Series; Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series (for Anderson);  Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (for Tracee Ellis Ross);  Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (for Deon Cole); and “Black-is” co-star Marsai Martin won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, as well as Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited Series). In the movie categories, Martin also won the awards for  Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture and Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture, for her role in the comedy film “Little.”

Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Just Mercy,” which is based on the true story of wrongfully convicted prisoner Walter McMillian, won four prizes: Outstanding Motion Pictures; Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture; Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture (for Michael B. Jordan); and  Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (for Jamie Foxx).

According the a press release from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP): “The NAACP Image Awards honors the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature, and film and also recognizes individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors. The Image Awards previously aired on TV One.”

The public votes for the awards in the competitive categories. Non-competitive award recipients are announced in advance. This year, the recipients were U.S. Congressman John Lewis (Chairman’s Award), entertainment/fashion mogul Rihanna (President’s Award) and General Charles E. McGhee (Key of Life Award).

The following is the complete list of nominees and winners for the 2020 NAACP Image Awards:



  • Angela Bassett
  • Billy Porter
  • Lizzo*
  • Regina King
  • Tyler Perry


Outstanding Comedy Series

  • “Ballers” (HBO)
  • “black-ish” (ABC)*
  • “Dear White People” (Netflix)
  • “grown-ish” (Freeform)
  • “the Neighborhood” (CBS)

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson – “black-ish” (ABC)*
  • Cedric The Entertainer – “the Neighborhood” (CBS)
  • Don Cheadle – “Black Monday” (Showtime)
  • Dwayne Johnson – “Ballers” (HBO)
  • Tracy Morgan – “The Last O.G.” (TBS)

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Logan Browning – “Dear White People” (Netflix)
  • Jill Scott – “First Wives Club” (BET+)
  • Tiffany Haddish – “The Last O.G.” (TBS)
  • Tracee Ellis Ross – “black-ish ” (ABC)*
  • Yara Shahidi – “grown-ish” (Freeform)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Andre Braugher – “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC)
  • Deon Cole – “black-ish” (ABC)*
  • Laurence Fishburne – “black-ish” (ABC)
  • Terry Crews – “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC)
  • Tituss Burgess – “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Halle Bailey – “grown-ish” (Freeform)
  • Loretta Devine – “Family Reunion” (Netflix)
  • Marsai Martin – “black-ish” (ABC)*
  • Regina Hall – “Black Monday” (Showtime)
  • Tichina Arnold – “the Neighborhood” (CBS)

Outstanding Drama Series

  • “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX)
  • “Greenleaf” (OWN)*
  • “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
  • “The Chi” (Showtime)
  • “Watchmen” (HBO)

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series

  • Billy Porter – “Pose” (FX Networks)
  • Forest Whitaker – “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX)
  • Kofi Siriboe – “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
  • Omari Hardwick – “Power” (Starz)*
  • Sterling K. Brown – “This Is Us” (NBC)

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series

  • Angela Bassett – “9-1-1” (FOX)*
  • Regina King – “Watchmen” (HBO)
  • Rutina Wesley – “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
  • Simone Missick – “All Rise” (CBS)
  • Viola Davis – “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Delroy Lindo – “The Good Fight” (CBS All Access)
  • Giancarlo Esposito – “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX)
  • Harold Perrineau – “Claws” (TNT)*
  • Nigél Thatch – “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX)
  • Wendell Pierce – “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” (Prime Video)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • CCH Pounder – “NCIS: New Orleans” (CBS)
  • Lynn Whitfield – “Greenleaf” (OWN)*
  • Lyric Ross – “This Is Us” (NBC)
  • Susan Kelechi Watson – “This Is Us” (NBC)
  • Tina Lifford – “Queen Sugar” (OWN)

Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special

  • American Son (Netflix)
  • Being Mary Jane (BET Networks)
  • Native Son (HBO)
  • True Detective (HBO)
  • When They See Us (Netflix)*

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special

  • Caleel Harris – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
  • Ethan Henry Herisse – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
  • Idris Elba – “Luther” (BBC America)
  • Jharrel Jerome – “When They See Us” (Netflix)*
  • Mahershala Ali – “True Detective” (HBO)

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special

  • Aunjanue Ellis – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
  • Gabrielle Union – “Being Mary Jane” (BET Networks)
  • Kerry Washington – “American Son” (Netflix)
  • Niecy Nash – “When They See Us” (Netflix)*
  • Octavia Spencer – “Truth Be Told” (Apple TV+)

Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special)

  • PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (PBS)
  • Surviving R. Kelly (Lifetime)
  • The Breakfast Club (REVOLT)
  • The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (National Geographic)
  • Unsung (TV One)*

Outstanding Talk Series

  • “Red Table Talk” (Facebook Watch)*
  • “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
  • “The Real” (Syndicated)
  • “The Shop: Uninterrupted” (HBO)
  • “The Tamron Hall Show” (Syndicated)

Outstanding Reality Program/Reality Competition Series/Game Show

  • “Iyanla: Fix My Life” (OWN)
  • “Lip Sync Battle” (Paramount Network)
  • “Rhythm + Flow” (Netflix)*
  • “Sunday Best” (BET Networks)
  • “The Voice” (NBC)

Outstanding Variety (Series or Special)

  • “2019 Black Girls Rock!” (BET Networks)
  • “Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones” (Netflix)
  • “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé” (Netflix)*
  • “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
  • “Wanda Sykes: Not Normal” (Netflix)

Outstanding Children’s Program

  • “Doc McStuffins” (Disney Junior)
  • “Family Reunion” (Netflix)
  • “Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History” (Netflix)
  • “Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest” (Disney XD)
  • “Motown Magic” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited-Series)

  • Caleel Harris – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
  • Lonnie Chavis – “This Is Us” (NBC)
  • Lyric Ross – “This Is Us” (NBC)
  • Marsai Martin – “black-ish” (ABC)*
  • Miles Brown – “black-ish” (ABC)

Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble

  • Angela Rye – “Young Gifted and Broke: A BET Town Hall” (BET Networks)
  • Jada Pinkett Smith – “Red Table Talk” (Facebook Watch)*
  • Lester Holt – “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” (NBC)
  • Trevor Noah – “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
  • Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, Meghan McCain, Abby Huntsman, Ana Navarro – “The View” (ABC)

Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show or Variety (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble

  • Iyanla Vanzant – “Iyanla: Fix My Life” (OWN)
  • LL Cool J – “Lip Sync Battle” (Paramount Network)
  • Regina Hall – “2019 BET Awards” (BET Networks)
  • Steve Harvey – “Celebrity Family Feud” (ABC)*
  • Wayne Brady – “Let’s Make A Deal” (CBS)

Outstanding Guest Performance in a Comedy or Drama Series

  • Blair Underwood – “Dear White People” ( Netflix)
  • David Alan Grier – “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
  • Kelly Rowland – “American Soul” (BET Networks)*
  • MAJOR. – “Star” (FOX)
  • Sanaa Lathan – “The Affair” (Showtime)


Outstanding Album

  • “Cuz I Love You” – Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records)
  • “Homecoming: The Live Album” – Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)*
  • “I Used To Know H.E.R.” – H.E.R. (MBK Entertainment / RCA Records)
  • “Sketchbook” – Fantasia (Rock Soul Inc./BMG)
  • “Worthy” – India.Arie (India.Arie Inc./BMG)

Outstanding New Artist

  • Ari Lennox (Dreamville/Interscope Records)
  • Lil Nas X (Columbia Records)*
  • Lucky Daye (Keep Cool/RCA Records)
  • Mahalia (Burkmar/Warner Music UK)
  • Mykal Kilgore (Affective Music)

Outstanding Male Artist

  • Bruno Mars (Atlantic Records)
  • Khalid (RCA Records)
  • Lil Nas X (Columbia Records)
  • MAJOR. (BOE Music Group/EMPIRE)
  • PJ Morton (Morton Records)

Outstanding Female Artist

  • Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)*
  • Fantasia (Rock Soul Inc./BMG)
  • H.E.R. (MBK Entertainment / RCA Records)
  • India.Arie (India.Arie Inc./BMG)
  • Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Song – Traditional

  • “Enough” – Fantasia (Rock Soul Inc./BMG)
  • “Jerome” – Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records)
  • “Spirit” – Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)*
  • “Stand Up” – Cynthia Erivo written by Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo (Back Lot Music)
  • “Steady Love” – India.Arie (India.Arie Inc./BMG)

Outstanding Song – Contemporary

  • “Before I Let Go” – Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)*
  • “Hard Place” – H.E.R. (MBK Entertainment / RCA Records)
  • “Juice” – Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records)
  • “Talk” – Khalid (RCA Records)
  • “Motivation” – Normani (Keep Cool/RCA Records)

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration

  • “Brown Skin Girl” – Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, Beyoncé & WizKiD (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)*
  • “No Guidance” – Chris Brown feat. Drake (Chris Brown Entertainment/RCA Records)
  • “Say So” – PJ Morton feat. JoJo (Morton Records/EMPIRE)
  • “Shea Butter Baby” – Ari Lennox feat. J. Cole (Dreamville/Interscope Records)
  • “Show Me Love” – Alicia Keys feat. Miguel (RCA Records)

Outstanding Jazz Album

  • “Carib” – David Sanchez (Ropeadope)
  • “Center of The Heart” – Najee (Shanachie)
  • “Love & Liberation” – Jazzmeia Horn (Concord Jazz)*
  • “SoulMate” – Nathan Mitchell (Enm Music Group)
  • “The Dream Is You: Vanessa Rubin Sings Tadd Dameron” – Vanessa Rubin (Vanessa Rubin)

Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song (Traditional or Contemporary)

  • “I Made It Out” – John P. Kee feat. Zacardi Cortez (Kee Music Group/Entertainment One)
  • “Laughter” – Bebe Winans feat. Korean Soul (Regimen Records)
  • “Love Theory” – Kirk Franklin (Fo Yo Soul Records/RCA Records)*
  • “Not Yet” – Donnie McClurkin (Camdon Music/RCA Inspiration)
  • “Victory” – The Clark Sisters (Karew Records/Motown Gospel/Capitol CMG)

Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album

  • “Hard Place” – H.E.R. (MBK Entertainment / RCA Records)
  • “Juice” – Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records*
  • “No Guidance” – Chris Brown feat. Drake (Chris Brown Entertainment/RCA Records)
  • “Steady Love” – India.Arie (India.Arie Inc./BMG)
  • “Talk” – Khalid (RCA Records)

Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album

  • “Harriet (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – Terence Blanchard (Back Lot Music)
  • “Queen & Slim The Soundtrack” – Various Artists (Motown Records)
  • “The Lion King: The Gift” – Beyoncé w/Various Artists (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)*
  • “The Lion King Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” – Various Artists (Walt Disney Records)
  • “Us (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – Michael Abels (Back Lot Music)


Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction

  • “New Daughters of Africa” – Margaret Busby (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • “Out of Darkness, Shining Light” – Petina Gappah (Simon and Schuster)
  • “Red at the Bone” – Jacqueline Woodson (Riverhead Books PRH)
  • “The Revisioners” – Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Counter Point Press)*
  • “The Water Dancer” – Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World)

Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction

  • “Breathe: A Letter to My Sons” – Dr. Imani Perry (Beacon Press)
  • “STONY THE ROAD: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow” – Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Penguin Press)
  • “The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations” – Toni Morrison (Alfred A. Knopf)*
  • “The Yellow House” – Sarah M. Broom (Grove Atlantic)
  • “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays” – Damon Young (HarperCollins Publishers)

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author 

  • “American Spy” – Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)
  • “I Am Dance: Words and Images of the Black Dancer” – Hal Banfield (Author), Javier Vasquez (Illustrator), (Literary Revolutionary)*
  • “More Than Pretty: Doing The Soul Work To Uncover Your True Beauty ” – Erica Campbell (Howard Books)
  • “Such A Fun Age” – Kiley Reid (Putnam Publishing / Penguin Publishing Group)
  • “The Farm” – Joanne Ramos (Random House)

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography

  • “Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System” – Cyntoia Brown-Long (Atria Books)
  • “Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward” – Valerie Jarrett (Viking Press)
  • “More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)” – Elaine Welteroth (Viking Press)*
  • “My Name Is Prince” – Randee St. Nicholas (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • “The Beautiful Ones” – Prince (Author), Dan Piepenbring (Edited by), (Random House)

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional

  • “Inspire Your Home: Easy, Affordable Ideas to Make Every Room Glamorous” – Farah Merhi (Tiller Press)
  • “Letters to the Finishers (who struggle to finish)” – Candace E. Wilkins (New Season Books)
  • “More Than Pretty: Doing the Soul Work that Uncovers Your True Beauty” – Erica Campbell (Howard Books)
  • “Vegetables Unleashed” – José Andres (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • “Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence, And Opportunity For Black Women In America” – Karen Arrington (Author), Joanna Price (Illustrator), Sheryl Taylor (Forward) (Mango Publishing)*

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry

  • “A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland” – DaMaris B. Hill (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • “Felon: Poems” – Reginald Dwayne Betts (W.W. Norton Company)*
  • “Honeyfish” – Lauren K. Alleyne (New Issues Poetry and Prose)
  • “Mistress” – Chet’la Sebree (New Issue Poetry and Prose)
  • “The Tradition” – Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)

Outstanding Literary Work – Children

  • “A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation” – Barry Wittenstein (Author), Jerry Pinkney (Illustrator), (Neal Porter Books / Holiday House Publishing Inc.)
  • “Hair Love” – Matthew A. Cherry (Author), Vashti Harrison (Illustrator), (Kokila)
  • “Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment” – Parker Curry (Author), Jessica Curry (Author), Brittany Jackson (Illustrator), (Aladdin Books)
  • “Ruby Finds a Worry” – Tom Percival (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • “Sulwe” – Lupita Nyong’o (Author), Vashti Harrison (Illustrator), (Simon & Schuster, BFYR)*

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens

  • “Around Harvard Square” – C.J. Farley (Akashic Books)*
  • “Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight to Walk” – Meredith Davis (Author), Rebeka Uwitonze (Author), (Scholastic Inc.)
  • “Hot Comb” – Ebony Flowers (Author), Ebony Flowers (Illustrator), (Drawn and Quarterly)
  • “I’m Not Dying with You Tonight” – Gilly Segal (Author), Kimberly Jones (Author), (Sourcebooks Fire)
  • “The Forgotten Girl” – India Hill Brown (Scholastic Inc.)

Outstanding Motion Picture

  • “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)
  • “Harriet” (Focus Features)
  • “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)*
  • “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Chadwick Boseman – “21 Bridges” (STX Films)
  • Daniel Kaluuya – “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  • Eddie Murphy – “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)
  • Michael B. Jordan – “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)*
  • Winston Duke – “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Alfre Woodard – “Clemency” (Neon)
  • Cynthia Erivo – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
  • Jodie Turner-Smith – “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  • Lupita Nyong’o – “Us” (Universal Pictures)*
  • Naomie Harris – “Black and Blue” (Screen Gems/Sony Pictures)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Jamie Foxx – “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)*
  • Leslie Odom, Jr. – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
  • Sterling K. Brown – “Waves” (A24)
  • Tituss Burgess – “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
  • Wesley Snipes – “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph – “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)
  • Janelle Monáe – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
  • Jennifer Lopez – “Hustlers” (STX Films)
  • Marsai Martin – “Little” (Universal Pictures)*
  • Octavia Spencer – “Luce” (Neon)

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture

  • Cynthia Erivo – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
  • Jodie Turner-Smith – “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  • Marsai Martin – “Little” (Universal Pictures)*
  • Rob Morgan – “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Shahadi Wright Joseph – “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture

  • “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)
  • “Harriet” (Focus Features)
  • “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)*
  • “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture

  • “Clemency” (Neon)
  • “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)*
  • “Luce” (Neon)
  • “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  • “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” (Netflix)

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television or Film)

  • Alfre Woodard – “The Lion King” (Walt Disney Studios)
  • Donald Glover – “The Lion King” (Walt Disney Studios)
  • James Earl Jones – “The Lion King” (Walt Disney Studios)*
  • Lupita Nyong’o – “Serengeti” (Discovery Channel)
  • Sterling K. Brown – “Frozen II” (Walt Disney Studios)

Outstanding Documentary (Film)

  • “Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool” (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
  • “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)
  • “The Apollo” (HBO)
  • “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” (Magnolia Pictures)*
  • “True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality” (HBO)

Outstanding Documentary (Television – Series or Special)

  • “Free Meek” (Prime Video)
  • “Hitsville: The Making of Motown” (Showtime)*
  • “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé” (Netflix)
  • “Martin: The Legacy of A King” (BET Networks)
  • “ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke” (Netflix)

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series

  • Cord Jefferson – “The Good Place” – Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy (NBC)*
  • Gloria Calderon Kellett, Mike Royce – “One Day at a Time” – Ghosts (Netflix)
  • Jason Kim – “Barry” – Past=Present x Future Over Yesterday (HBO)
  • Karen Gist, Peter Saji – “Mixed-ish” – Let Your Hair Down (ABC)
  • Trevor Noah – “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” – Steve King’s Comments Meet Trevor Noah: Racism Detective (Comedy Central)

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series

  • Ava DuVernay, Michael Starrbury – “When They See Us” – Part Four (Netflix)
  • Damon Lindelof, Cord Jefferson – “Watchmen” – The Extraordinary Being (HBO)
  • Nichelle Tramble Spellman – “Truth Be Told” – Monster (Apple TV+)*
  • Nkechi Okoro Carroll – “All American” – Hussle & Motivate (The CW)
  • Pat Charles – “Black Lightning” – The Book of Secrets: Chapter One: Prodigal Son (The CW)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Television)

  • Cas Sigers-Beedles – “Twas the Chaos Before Christmas” (BET Networks)
  • Melissa Bustamante – “A Christmas Winter Song” (Lifetime)
  • Patrik-Ian Polk, Devon Shepard, and Alyson Fouse – “Being Mary Jane” (BET Networks)
  • Suzan-Lori Parks – “Native Son” (HBO)*
  • Yvette Nicole Brown – “Always a Bridesmaid” (BET Networks)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Film)

  • Chinonye Chukwu – “Clemency” (Neon)
  • Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham – “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Doug Atchison – “Brian Banks” (Bleecker Street and ShivHans Pictures)
  • Jordan Peele – “Us” (Universal Pictures)*
  • Kasi Lemmons, Gregory Allen Howard – “Harriet” (Focus Features)

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series

  • Anya Adams – “GLOW” – Outward Bound (Netflix)*
  • Justin Tipping – “Black Monday” -7042 (Showtime)
  • Ken Whittingham – “Atypical” – Road Rage Paige (Netflix)
  • Randall Winston – “Grace and Frankie” – The Pharmacy (Netflix)
  • Shaka King – “Shrill” – Pool (Hulu)

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series

  • Ava DuVernay – “When They See Us” – Part Four (Netflix)
  • Carl H. Seaton, Jr. – “Snowfall” – Hedgehogs (FX Networks)
  • Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson – “Power” – Forgot About Dre (Starz)*
  • Debbie Allen – “Grey’s Anatomy” – Silent All These Years (ABC)
  • Jet Wilkinson – “The Chi” – The Scorpion and the Frog (Showtime)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television)

  • Codie Elaine Oliver – “Black Love” (OWN)
  • Janice Cooke – “I Am Sombody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story (Lifetime)
  • Kenny Leon – “American Son” (Netflix)
  • Rashid Johnson – “Native Son” (HBO)*
  • Russ Parr – “The Bobby Debarge Story” (TV One)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Film)

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor – “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” (Netflix)*
  • Jordan Peele – “Us” (Universal Pictures)
  • Kasi Lemmons – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
  • Mati Diop – “Atlantics” (Les Films du Bal Presente en Co-Production avec Cinekap et Frakas Productions en Co-Production avec Arte France Cinema et Canal+ International for Netflix)
  • Reginald Hudlin – “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)

Movie and TV Reviews

Reviews for New Movies Released February 21 – February 27, 2020

Brahms: The Boy II (Photo courtesy of STX)
The Call of the Wild (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)
Emma (Photo courtesy of Focus Features)
Goldie (Photo courtesy of Film Movement)
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (Photo by Elliott Landy)
Premature (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)
Seberg (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios)
Standing Up, Falling Down (Photo by Noah M. Rosenthal)
Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations (Photo courtesy of Dark Star Pictures)

Complete List of Reviews

2/1 — drama

17 Blocks — documentary

37 Seconds — drama

Aamis — drama

Advocate — documentary

After Class (formerly titled Safe Spaces) — comedy/drama

After Parkland — documentary

All I Can Say — documentary

Amazing Grace — documentary

American Woman — drama

And Then We Danced — drama

The Apollo — documentary

Ask for Jane — drama

The Assistant — drama

At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal — documentary

Bad Boys for Life — action

Banksy and the Rise of Outlaw Art — documentary

Beanpole — drama

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) — action

Blessed Child — documentary

Blow the Man Down — drama

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island — horror

The Boys (premiere episode) — drama

Brahms: The Boy II — horror

Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists — documentary

Buffaloed — comedy

Burning Cane — drama

The Call of the Wild (2020) — live-action/animation

Cane River — drama

Changing the Game — documentary

Circus of Books — documentary

Clementine — drama

Color Out of Space — sci-fi/horror

Come as You Are (2020)  — comedy

Come to Daddy — horror

The Cordillera of Dreams — documentary

Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words — documentary

Crown Vic — drama

CRSHD — comedy

A Day in the Life of America — documentary

Days of Rage: The Rolling Stones’ Road to Altamont — documentary

Decade of Fire — documentary

Devil’s Pie – D’Angelo — documentary

The Dog Doc — documentary

Dolitte — live-action/animation

Downhill — comedy

Dreamland — drama

Emma (2020) — comedy/drama

A Fall From Grace — drama

For They Know Not What They Do — documentary

Framing John DeLorean — documentary

Ganden: A Joyful Land — documentary

The Gasoline Thieves — drama

Gay Chorus Deep South — documentary

The Gentlemen — action

Get Gone — horror

Goldie — drama

Good Posture — comedy

Gretel & Hansel — horror

The Grudge (2020) — horror

He Dreams of Giants — documentary

Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation — documentary

Horse Girl — sci-fi/drama

The Host (2020) — horror

House of Hummingbird — drama

I Am Human — documentary

I Am Somebody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story — drama

I Want My MTV — documentary

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me — documentary

Incitement — drama

Initials SG — drama

Inna De Yard: The Soul of Jamaica — documentary

It Takes a Lunatic — documentary

Jay Myself — documentary

John Henry — action

Kill the Monsters — drama

The Kill Team (2019) — drama

The Kindness of Strangers — drama

The Last Full Measure — drama

Leftover Women — documentary

Les Misérables (2019) — drama

Like a Boss — comedy

Limerence — comedy

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice — documentary

The Lodge — horror

The Longest Wave — documentary

Los Últimos Frikis — documentary

Lost Bayou — drama

Lost Transmissions — drama

Low Tide — drama

Lucky Grandma — action

Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over — documentary

Mai Khoi & the Dissidents — documentary

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound— documentary

Martha: A Picture Story — documentary

Martin Margiela: In His Own Words — documentary

Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back — documentary

Miss Americana — documentary

Mystify: Michael Hutchence — documentary

Noah Land — drama

Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin — documentary

Olympic Dreams — comedy/drama

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band — documentary

Only — drama

Ordinary Love — drama

Otherhood — comedy

Other Music — documentary

Our Time Machine — documentary

Out of Blue — drama

A Patient Man — drama

The Photograph — drama

Picture Character — documentary

The Place of No Words — drama

Plucked — documentary

Plus One — comedy

Premature — drama

The Quiet One — documentary

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project — documentary

A Regular Woman — drama

Rewind — documentary

The Rhythm Section — action

Scheme Birds — documentary

Seahorse — documentary

Seberg — drama

See Know Evil — documentary

See You Yesterday — sci-fi/drama

The Short History of the Long Road — drama

The Show’s the Thing: The Legendary Promoters of Rock — documentary

A Simple Wedding — comedy

Slay the Dragon — documentary

The Sonata — horror

Sonic the Hedgehog — live-action/animation

Standing Up, Falling Down — comedy/drama

Stevenson Lost & Found — documentary

Stray Dolls — drama

Sublime — documentary

Swallow — drama

A Taste of Sky — documentary

The Thing About Harry  — comedy

This Is Personal — documentary

The Times of Bill Cunningham — documentary

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made  — comedy

To Kid or Not to Kid — documentary

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts — documentary

Troop Zero — comedy

The Turning (2020) — horror

Tyson — documentary

Unbelievable (premiere episode) — drama

Underwater — sci-fi/horror

Vas-y Coupe! — documentary

Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations — documentary

Watson — documentary

Weathering With You — animation

What Will Become of Us — documentary

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali — documentary

Wig — documentary

A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem — documentary

Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation — documentary

XY Chelsea — documentary

You Don’t Nomi — documentary

You Go to My Head — drama

Zombi Child — horror

A+E Networks launches A&E Crime Central

February 20, 2020

The following is a press release from A+E Networks:

A+E Networks® today unveiled details of a new subscription video on demand (SVOD) offering that taps a growing consumer appetite for true crime content. A&E Crime Central is now available via Amazon Prime Video Channels, the Apple TV app, Cox Contour TV and Contour Stream Player and Premium Subscriptions on The Roku Channel allowing subscribers to stream hundreds of episodes of A+E’s deep library of classic crime series and specials from across its portfolio, commercial-free. Monthly subscriptions for A&E Crime Central are $4.99.

“A&E is known for its front-row-seat crime and justice series, and we’re pleased to offer a subscription product featuring our crime and investigative library content under one roof,” said Mark Garner, EVP, Digital Content Licensing & Business Development, A+E Networks. “A&E Crime Central continues our strategy of monetizing our troves of premium content while hyper-serving our truest fan bases.”

Spanning crime-genre content from A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime and LMN, over 900 videos of series and specials are available at platform launch, including fan-favorite titles: Dog the Bounty Hunter, The First 48: Missing Persons, After the First 48, Beyond Scared Straight, Nightwatch, and Cold Case Files Classic. The first four seasons of 60 Days In will also be available to complement the current season airing on A&E. Specials like OJ: Guilty in Vegas; Menendez Brothers: The Sins of the Children; Casey Anthony’s Parents Speak; and Life of a Gang Girl: The Untold Story will also be included. Customers can enjoy a free 7-day trial through Apple TV channels on the Apple TV app, Amazon Prime Video Channels, and Premium Subscriptions on The Roku Channel.

A&E Crime adds to the growing family of SVOD products from A+E Networks, including HISTORY Vault and Lifetime MOVIE CLUB.

About Apple TV channels on the Apple TV app
Apple TV channels on the Apple TV app allow subscribers to watch online or enjoy offline downloads of content on the Apple TV app. Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share subscriptions to Apple TV channels using just their Apple ID and password. The Apple TV app brings together all the ways to watch shows and films into one app and is available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, and Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices. The Apple TV app also features personalized and curated recommendations, and movies and TV shows to buy or rent.

A+E Networks® is a global content company comprised of some of the most popular and culturally-relevant brands in media including A&E®, Lifetime®, HISTORY®, LMN®, FYI®, VICELAND®, Blaze® and Crime+Investigation®. A+E Networks’ portfolio extends across platforms and genres, with a scripted production division, A+E Studios™; unscripted production through Six West™; independent film unit A&E IndieFilms®; watch apps, games, FAST channels, AVOD, and SVOD initiatives including A&E Crime Central, Lifetime Movie Club and HISTORY Vault; and podcasts such as History This Week, through A+E Digital®; Experiential/branded live events and Ecommerce through A+E Consumer Enterprises®; and branded channels, content distribution and scripted/unscripted co-productions around the world through A+E International®. A+E Networks’ channels and branded programming reach more than 335 million households in over 200 territories in 41 languages. A+E Networks is a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst. Follow us on Twitter at and Facebook at

Roku is a registered trademark of Roku,Inc. in the US and other countries. Trade names, trademarks and service marks of other companies appearing in this press release are the property of their respective holders.


Review: ‘The Thing About Harry,’ starring Jake Borelli and Niko Terho

February 14, 2020

by Carla Hay

Niko Terho and Jake Borelli in “The Thing About Harry” (Photo by Parrish Lewis/Freeform)

“The Thing About Harry”

Directed by Peter Paige

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in Chicago with a predominantly white cast, the romantic comedy “The Thing About Harry” is about two young middle-class men (one who’s openly gay, and the other who’s openly pansexual) who were enemies in high school but start to fall in love with each other, even as they date other people.

Culture Clash: Because one of the men is a commitment-phobic playboy who dates men and women, it causes conflicts over whether or not he’s a suitable partner for the other guy, who wants a long-term, monogamous relationship.

Culture Audience: This movie will appeal mostly to fans of romantic comedies who are open-minded enough to seeing diverse sexualities portrayed on screen.

Jake Borelli and Niko Terho in “The Thing About Harry” (Photo by Parrish Lewis/Freeform)

The romantic comedy “The Thing About Harry,” Freeform’s first Valentine’s Day-themed original movie, puts a queer spin on a story that is very much inspired by the 1989 classic Meg Ryan/Billy Crystal movie “When Harry Met Sally.” In “The Thing About Harry,” two male friends who are obviously sexually attracted to each other try to keep their relationship platonic because one of the pals thinks that falling in love with a good friend is a recipe for disaster. This made-for-TV movie isn’t going to win any Emmys, but it’s a hilarious and sometimes emotionally touching ride that should please fans of romantic comedies.

“The Thing About Harry,” which takes place in Chicago over an approximate five-year period, begins with smart but neurotic Sam Biselli (played by Jake Borelli) an openly gay college student cuddling in bed with his straight female best friend Anatsasia “Stasia” Hooper (played by Britt Barron), a purple-haired sassy free spirit who’s a major commitment-phobe when it comes to dating. While cuddling with Stasia, Sam gets a call from two friends he knew in high school—a straight couple named Chris and Kelly, who ask Sam to attend their engagement party in their mutual hometown of Liberty, Missouri.

Sam says yes, and he plans to road trip to the party in his car. Chris and Kelly then ask Sam to do them a big favor: Give a ride to their friend and former high-school classmate Harry Turpin (played by Niko Tero), who doesn’t have a car. Sam and Harry attend the same college, but they’re not exactly friends. Sam has been openly gay since high school, and popular athlete Harry used to bully him mercilessly because of Sam’s sexuality and because Sam was the type of nerdy kid in school who was a know-it-all teacher’s pet. Sam had the unflattering nickname “Suck-up Sammy” in high school, and Harry was one of the classmates who taunted him with that name.

As far as Sam is concerned, Harry is one of the last people he wants to be stuck with on a road trip, but Sam is such a nice guy that he can’t say no to Chris and Kelly, and he reluctantly agrees to give Sam a ride to the party. Stasia, who has been Sam’s best friend since they met on their first day of college, doesn’t mince words when she tells Sam what she thinks about his decision to spend time with Harry: “You, my friend, are a medical marvel. It’s a wonder you can stand with a spine like that.”

Sam is the type of person who’s a romantic at heart. He believes in monogamy and that a partner should be mindful of things such as a three-month anniversary. It’s one of the reasons why he’s no longer with his ex-boyfriend Malcolm, who cheated on him and definitely was not the type of person who would remember anniversaries. Sam and Malcolm started off as close friends, but as a result of the breakup, Sam has sworn off ever dating someone who’s starts off as a close friend.

When Sam arrives at the arranged meeting place on campus to pick up Harry for the road trip, Harry is almost a half-hour late. Their meeting is somewhat awkward because Sam is very mistrustful of Harry and extremely annoyed at Harry’s tardiness. Harry offers a flippant apology and rambles on that he’s been preoccupied with some of the people he’s been dating, and he’s broken up with his most recent girlfriend. Sam doesn’t seem too surprised, since Harry was a playboy in high school too.

Sam asks Harry if he remembers how much of a hard time he gave Sam in high school. Harry, like a lot of school bullies who’ve grown up, doesn’t remember being as harsh on Sam as Sam remembers it. But Sam reminds him how much Harry’s behavior was mean-spirited and hurtful. Harry is a little taken aback, but then Harry mentions that he has an ex-boyfriend, which leads to Harry telling Sam that he’s pansexual—someone who’s attracted to people of all sexualities and genders.

This time, it’s Sam’s turn to be surprised, since he thought that from the way Harry acted in high school, Harry must be heterosexual. Sam is so shocked that he nearly runs into a truck on the other side of the road. They have a minor car accident when the car swerves into an embankment and has to be towed away for repairs.

While they’re waiting for Sam’s car to fixed, Sam and Harry share a motel room, where Harry confesses to Sam that the reason why he bullied Sam was because he was envious that Sam was open about his sexuality. Harry hadn’t come out with his true sexuality back then, and he said that if he acted nice toward Sam in high school, people would think he was queer “by association.”

After Harry’s confession, the two men open up to each other a little more by talking about their favorite things and their life goals. Sam is surprised to learn that despite Harry’s playboy ways and “macho jock” image, he has a sweet and sensitive side: Harry tells Sam that his favorite movie is “Up” and that his biggest life goal is to become a father. By contrast, Sam says he’s not sure if he wants to bring kids into this world. Later, Harry gives a sincere apology to Sam for being a bully to him in high school.

With Sam’s car back in commission, they continue on the road trip, but Harry ends up ditching him in the middle of the trip to meet up with his most recent ex-girlfriend because they’ve decided to get back together. The engagement party isn’t shown in the movie, but another party is shown that’s a turning point in Sam and Harry’s relationship.

Back in Chicago, not long after the engagement party, Sam and Stasia go to a singles-only Valentine’s Day party. And, of course, Harry happens to be there too. At the party, Harry is wearing an outfit that looks like he just came from a 1992 Kris Kross video: overalls with one of the arm straps unbuttoned. Despite this fashion faux pas, Harry is still the best-looking guy at the party and there’s still a spark of mutual attraction between Sam and Harry.

But talk about bad timing: Harry tells Sam that he’s decided to try being celibate for a while. Sam doesn’t think Harry’s celibacy vow will last, but it makes him feel more comfortable with becoming friends with Harry. Stasia meets Harry for the first time at this party, and although she’s initially suspicious of him, she eventually accepts him when she sees that Sam has forgiven Harry and that they’ve decided to be friends.

The rest of the movie is a “will they or won’t they” guessing game on whether or not Sam and Harry will ever reveal their true feelings for each other while they date other people. “Queer Eye” co-star Karamo Brown has a memorable cameo as a pretentious art dealer named Paul, who dates Sam. In a genuinely funny scene where Sam and Paul join a group of friends at a local bar’s trivia night, Paul shows his true petty nature and Harry surprises everyone with how much trivia he knows. The message is clear: Harry’s not such a dumb jock after all.

Sam and Harry each have platonic male roommates who offer their advice and observations. Sam’s roommate is a middle-aged gay man named Casey (played by former “Queer as Folk” co-star Peter Paige, who directed this movie), who’s like a caring older brother to Sam. Harry’s roommate is a straight guy close to his age named Zack (played by Japhet Balaban), who frequently joins Harry, Sam and Stasia for their friend get-togethers.

Before and after he graduates from college, Sam shows an interest in progressive liberal politics, and he starts his career as a community organizer for a mayoral candidate. Meanwhile, Harry (who’s a marketing major) flounders around after college in low-paying entry-level jobs, such as a sales associate at a clothing store or selling phones at a kiosk.

One of the reasons why Sam is attracted to Harry is that he’s not just another pretty face. Harry is a lot smarter than people assume that he is (although he’s still not as smart as Sam), and he’s a fun and loyal friend. Harry also gets involved with issues that Sam cares deeply about, such as LGBTQ rights. When Sam and Harry go to a party after a Pride parade, something happens at the party that changes the course of their relationship.

“The Thing About Harry,” which was written by director Paige and Joshua Senter, has some unpredictable twists as well as some formulaic aspects to the story. The movie’s biggest appeal is in how realistically the characters are written and portrayed. The whip-smart dialogue of Sam, Stasia and Casey will remind viewers of people they know who can give sassy and sensible romance advice all day to friends, but their own love lives are kind of a mess. And because Harry is a very handsome and commitment-phobic playboy, he has that realistic mix of being charming and frustrating, which are common traits for people who know they have their pick of partners who are competing to fall in love with them.

If Sam and Harry are secretly in love with each other, what’s holding them back? Sam doesn’t want to get his heart broken by Harry, who doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to monogamy and long-term relationships. Harry doesn’t want to fall short of Sam’s high expectations when it comes to romance, and he probably feels that Sam deserves to have a partner who’s on a similar intellectual level.

Despite their differences, Sam and Harry are easy to root for in his love story. The whole point of this movie is to show that when it comes to love, there’s no explaining a lot of attractions. Instead of seeing if a potential love partner fits a list of requirements, many times it’s just best to just go with what feels right if it doesn’t hurt anyone and it makes you happy.

Freeform will premiere “The Thing About Harry” at 8 p.m. ET/PT on February 15, 2020.

2020 Academy Awards: ‘Parasite’ is the top winner and makes Oscar history

February 9, 2020

by Carla Hay

“Parasite” cast and filmmakers at the 92nd Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 9, 2020. (Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC)

As the first non-English-language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture, the South Korean drama “Parasite” made Oscar history at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, which took place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 9, 2020. ABC had the U.S. telecast of the show. “Parasite,” which takes a scathing look at the class and social divisions between those who are wealthy and those who are not, also won the Oscars for Best Director (for Bong Joo Ho), Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film.

“Parasite” is the first movie since 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire” to win Best Picture without any nominations in the actor/actress categories. It’s also the first time that Asian filmmakers have won in the categories for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. In addition, “Parasite” is the first movie to win the Oscars for Best International Feature (formerly titled Best Foreign-Language Film) and Best Picture in the same year. “Parasite” is also the first South Korean film to be nominated for Best International Feature and for Best Picture. Leading up to its Academy Awards victories, “Parasite” won the most awards of any movie released in 2019, including the Palme d’Or (the top prize) at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where the movie had its world premiere.

Oscar winners in the acting categories were Joaquin Phoenix of “Joker” for Best Actor; Renée Zellweger of “Judy” for Best Actress; Brad Pitt of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” for Best Supporting Actor; and Laura Dern of “Marriage Story” for Best Supporting Actress. Phoenix, Zellweger, Pitt and Dern been winning prizes in these categories at other major awards shows this season. Phoenix is the second actor to win an Oscar for playing DC Comics villain The Joker. Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his Joker performance in 2008’s “The Dark Knight.”

With 11 Oscar nominations, “Joker” was the leading contender going into the ceremony, and the movie ended up winning two: In addition to Best Actor, “Joker” also won for Best Original Score. The World War I drama “1917” won three Oscars—all in the technical categories: Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects. The 1960s auto-racing drama “Ford v Ferrari” was also a multiple Oscar winner, taking two: Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing. The mobster drama “The Irishman,” which had 10 Oscar nominations, ended up winning no Academy Awards, in the biggest shut-out of the ceremony.

For the second year in a row, there was no host for the Oscar ceremony. The show opened with a performance by Janelle Monáe doing a version of the “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” theme, before being joined by Billy Porter on stage for Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” and then going solo again for the rest of the performance.

There were no controversial publicity stunts or major errors. A few of the Oscar winners—particularly Pitt and Phoenix—expressed their opinions about political and social issues during their acceptance speeches. Pitt made it clear how he felt about the result of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, which ended February 5 with the majority of the U.S. Senate acquitting Trump. Pitt said: “They told me I only had 45 seconds this year, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave [proposed trial witness] John Bolton this week. I’m thinking maybe Quentin [Tarantino] does a movie about it. In the end, the adults do the right thing.”

Phoenix (a longtime animal-rights activist and environmentalist) spoke out about the need for people to go vegan and to have more respect for the earth’s natural resources: “We go into the natural world, and we plunder it for its resources … But human beings, at our best, are so inventive and creative and ingenious, and I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.”

One of the ceremony’s biggest surprises was Eminem performing his Oscar-winning song “Lose Yourself” from the 2002 movie “8 Mile,” with his on-stage performance serving as a transition from a tribute montage about how songs can transform movies. When Eminem won the Oscar in 2003, he did not attend the ceremony, so this performance (which had many censor “bleeps”) took place 17 years after it could have first happened.

Elton John, Cynthia Erivo, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz and Randy Newman each performed their Oscar-nominated tunes for Best Original Song. The Oscar went to John and his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the Elton John musical biopic “Rocketman.” Meanwhile, Billie Eilish performed the Beatles classic “Yesterday” for the “In Memoriam” tribute segment dedicated to people in the movie industry who passed away since the previous Oscar ceremony.

In addition, the show featured a special appearance by Questlove. Eímear Noone did a guest-conductor segment for all the hyear’s Oscar-nominated film scores. She was the first woman to conduct during an Oscars telecast.

Presenters included, Mahershala Ali, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Zazie Beetz, Timothée Chalamet, Olivia Colman, James Corden, Penélope Cruz, Beanie Feldstein, Will Ferrell, Jane Fonda, Gal Gadot, Zack Gottsagen, Salma Hayek, Mindy Kaling, Diane Keaton, Regina King, Shia LaBeouf, Brie Larson, Spike Lee, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, George MacKay, Rami Malek, Steve Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ray Romano, Anthony Ramos, Keanu Reeves, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran, Sigourney Weaver, Kristen Wiig and Rebel Wilson.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards:


Best Picture

Choi Woo-sik, Song Kang-ho, Jang Hye-jin and Park So-dam in “Parasite” (Photo courtesy of Neon Entertainment)

“Ford v Ferrari”
Producers: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold

“The Irishman”
Producers: Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff

“Jojo Rabbit”
Producers: Carthew Neal and Taika Waititi

Producers: Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff

“Little Women”
Producer: Amy Pascal

“Marriage Story”
Producers: Noah Baumbach and David Heyman

Producers: Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Producers: David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh and Quentin Tarantino

Producers: Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho

Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker” (Photo by Niko Tavernise)

Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”*
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”

Best Actress

Renée Zellweger in “Judy” (Photo by David Hindley/LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions)

Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
Renee Zellweger, “Judy”*

Best Supporting Actor

Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Photo by Andrew Cooper)

Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”*

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern in “Marriage Story” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”*
Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
Florence Pugh, “Little Women”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”

Best Director

Bong Joo Ho on the set of “Parasite” (Photo courtesy of Neon Entertainment)

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”*

Best Animated Feature

“Toy Story 4” (Image courtesy of Disney/Pixar)

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” directed by Dean DeBlois; produced by Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold

“I Lost My Body,” directed by Jérémy Clapin; produced by Marc du Pontavice

“Klaus,” directed and produced by Sergio Pablos; produced by Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román

“Missing Link,” directed by Chris Butler; produced by Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight

“Toy Story 4,” directed by Josh Cooley; produced by Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera*

Best Animated Short

“Hair Love” (Photo courtesy of Matthew A. Cherry Entertainment)

“Dcera,” directed and produced by Daria Kashcheeva
“Hair Love,” directed and produced by Matthew A. Cherry; produced by Karen Rupert Toliver*
“Kitbull,” directed by Rosana Sullivan; produced by Kathryn Hendrickson
“Memorable,” directed by Bruno Collet; produced by Jean-François Le Corre
“Sister,” directed and produced by Siqi Song

Best Adapted Screenplay

Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi and Scarlett Johansson in “Jojo Rabbit” (Photo by Kimberley French)

“The Irishman,” Steven Zaillian
“Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi*
“Joker,” Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
“Little Women,” Greta Gerwig
“The Two Popes,” Anthony McCarten

Best Original Screenplay

Lee Sun Gyun and Cho Yeo-jeong in “Parasite” (Photo courtesy of Neon Entertainment)

“Knives Out,” Rian Johnson
“Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach
“1917,” Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino
“Parasite,” Bong Joon-ho and Jin Won Han*

Best Cinematography

George MacKay (center) in “1917” (Photo by François Duhamel / Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures)

“The Irishman,” Rodrigo Prieto
“Joker,” Lawrence Sher
“The Lighthouse,” Jarin Blaschke
“1917,” Roger Deakins*
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robert Richardson

Best Documentary Feature

Wong He, Kenny Taylor and Jarred Gibson in “American Factory” (Photo by Aubrey Keith/Netflix)

“American Factory,” directed and produced by Julia Rieichert and Steven Bognar; produced by Jeff Reichert*

“The Cave,” directed by Feras Fayyad; produced by Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær

“The Edge of Democracy,” directed and produced by Petra Costa; produced by Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan

“For Sama,” directed and produced by Waad Al-Kateab; directed by Edward Watts

“Honeyland,” directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov; produced by Atanas Georgiev

Best Documentary Short Subject

“Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl)” (Photo by Lisa Rinzler)

“In the Absence,” directed and produced by Yi Seung-Jun; produced by Gary Byung-Seok Kam

“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl),” directed by Carol Dysinger; produced by Elena Andreicheva*

“Life Overtakes Me,” directed and produced by Kristine Samuelson; directed by John Haptas

“St. Louis Superman,” directed and produced by Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

“Walk Run Cha-Cha,” directed by Laura Nix; produced by Colette Sandstedt

Best Live Action Short Film

“The Neighbors’ Window” (Photo by Wolfgang Held)

“Brotherhood,” directed and produced by Meryam Joobeur; produced by Maria Gracia Turgeon

“Nefta Football Club,” directed and produced by Yves Piat; produced by Damien Megherbi

“The Neighbors’ Window,” directed and produced by Marshall Curry*

“Saria,” directed by Bryan Buckley; produced by Matt Lefebvre

“A Sister,” directed and produced by Delphine Girard

Best International Feature Film

Choi Woo-sik and Park So-dam in “Parasite” (Photo courtesy of Neon Entertainment)

“Corpus Christi,” directed by Jan Komasa (Poland)
“Honeyland,” directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov (North Macedonia)
“Les Misérables,” directed by Ladj Ly (France)
“Pain and Glory,” directed by Pedro Almodóvar (Spain)
“Parasite,” directed by Bong Joon Ho (South Korea)*

Best Film Editing

Matt Damon and Christian Bale in “Ford v Ferrari” (Photo by Merrick Morton)

“Ford v Ferrari,” Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland*
“The Irishman,” Thelma Schoonmaker
“Jojo Rabbit,” Tom Eagles
“Joker,” Jeff Groth
“Parasite,” Jinmo Yang

Best Sound Editing

Christian Bale in “Ford v Ferrari” (Photo by Merrick Morton)

“Ford v Ferrari,” Don Sylvester*
“Joker,” Alan Robert Murray
“1917,” Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Wylie Stateman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Best Sound Mixing

Cast and crew members on the set of “1917” (Photo by François Duhamel/Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures)

“Ad Astra,” Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano
“Ford v Ferrari,” Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow
“Joker,” Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland
“1917,” Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson*
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler and Mark Ulano

Best Production Design

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Photo by Andrew Cooper)

“The Irishman”
Production Design: Bob Shaw; Set Decoration: Regina Graves

“Jojo Rabbit”
Production Design: Ra Vincent; Set Decoration: Nora Sopková

Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”*
Production Design: Barbara Ling; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Production Design: Lee Ha Jun; Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo

Best Original Score

Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker” (Photo by Niko Tavernise)

“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir*
“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat
“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman
“1917,” Thomas Newman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

Best Original Song

Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman from Paramount Pictures.

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4,” song written by Randy Newman

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman,” song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin*

“I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough,” song written by Diane Warren

“Into the Unknown” from “Frozen 2,” song written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez

“Stand Up” from “Harriet,” song written by Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Brian Campbell

Best Makeup and Hair Styling

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie in “Bombshell” (Photo by Hilary Bronwyn Gayle)

“Bombshell,” Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker*
“Joker,” Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou
“Judy,” Jeremy Woodhead
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten and David White
“1917,” Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole

Best Costume Design

Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson in “Little Women” (Photo by Wilson Webb)

”The Irishman,” Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson
“Jojo Rabbit,” Mayes C. Rubeo
“Joker,” Mark Bridges
“Little Women,” Jacqueline Durran*
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Arianne Phillips

Best Visual Effects

George MacKay in “1917” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures)

“Avengers: Endgame,” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken and Dan Sudick

“The Irishman,” Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser and Stephane Grabli

“1917,” Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy*

“The Lion King,” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newma

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy

Review: ‘Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made,’ starring Winslow Fegley, Ophelia Lovibond, Kyle Bornheimer, Wallace Shawn and Craig Robinson

February 7, 2020

by Carla Hay

Winslow Fegley in "Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made"
Winslow Fegley in “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” (Photo by Dale Robinette/Disney+)

“Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made”

Directed by Tom McCarthy

Culture Representation: In this comedy based on the children’s book of a similar title, the racially diverse characters are primarily middle-class in Portland, Oregon.

Culture Clash: The story’s protagonist is a grim pre-teen boy who aspires to be a private detective, but he dislikes school, authority figures and almost everyone around him.

Culture Audience: This movie will appeal mostly to children and other people who want to see a series of antics on screen instead of a compelling and coherent story.

Winslow Fegley, Chloe Coleman, Kei and Ai-Chan Carrier in "Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made"
Winslow Fegley, Chloe Coleman, Kei and Ai-Chan Carrier in “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” (Photo by Dale Robinette/Disney+)

If you’re tired of children’s entertainment that has a sweet-natured and upbeat protagonist, then “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made,” which is about a pessimistic child who’s a wannabe detective, might be up your alley. However, this comedy film’s flawed and scattered story will test the patience of anyone looking for a realistic and cohesive plot.

The “Timmy Failure” book series (written by Stephan Pastis) began in 2013 with “Timmy Failure: Look What Mistakes Were Made,” so this Disney+ movie adaptation might become a movie series too. If so, the “Timmy Failure” movie series is off to a very questionable start, but there’s a lot of room to improve. “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” was directed by Oscar-winning “Spotlight” screenwriter Tom McCarthy, who co-wrote the “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” screenplay with Pastis. “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” is perfect for a streaming service such as Disney+, since it’s doubtful that people would be willing to pay full ticket prices to see a movie about such an unlikable kid.

Timmy Failure is a fifth grader (about 10 or 11 years old) who lives in Portland, Oregon, and is—to put it nicely—very eccentric. He’s an antisocial loner who never smiles, and he has an extreme (and warped) sense of superiority about his intelligence. (He’s not as smart as he thinks he is.) He’s the kind of deliberately negative character who’s much more amusing to watch than to be around in real life. Timmy does a lot of deadpan narration in this film, and he says in the beginning of the story: “I am only concerned with one thing: greatness.”

But in reality, Timmy’s life isn’t so great. He’s barely getting by in school, because he’d prefer to start his own detective agency instead of studying and doing his homework. He has such a disdain for school that he doodles and sketches on test forms instead of filling out the tests with real answers. He also doesn’t think much of other people—his favorite word to describe most people is “problematic”—and his single-minded focus on becoming a private investigator includes a condescending attitude toward police.

Timmy also has a strange prejudice against Russians, whom he automatically suspects of being the perpetrators of any real or perceived crimes that he starts to investigate. His hatred of Russians (he calls them “evil”) seems out of place in a children’s story. Because Tommy’s animosity toward Russians is never explained and certainly never justified, this type of bigotry ultimately isn’t necessary. Imagine if he spouted that kind of hatred toward females or people of a different race. It wouldn’t make it past the editing process of this story.

Timmy’s parents split up years ago, so his bohemian single mother Patty Failure (played by Ophelia Lovibond) isn’t as attentive as she could be, because she’s overwhelmed with working to pay their bills. Timmy’s only “friend” is a 1,500-pound polar bear named Total, who showed up at Timmy’s house one day after the bear was forced out of its home due to global warming. It’s implied in the movie that Total is a figment of Timmy’s imagination, because the bear is seen walking around town, riding in automobiles and going to places where no wild animal of that size would be allowed, and yet people act like it’s perfectly normal.

In his cluttered and messy home, Timmy has set up his one-person “detective agency.” Another sign of his eccentricity is his unwillingness to use 21st-century or computerized resources in his work. His business cards are hand-written. He doesn’t seem to use the Internet. And to record interviews, he uses an old audiocassette recorder that’s held together by tape.

Another one of Timmy’s quirks his that he likes to wear a red scarf as often as possible. He also has this response whenever someone gets angry at something he did: “Normal is for normal people.” And whenever something disastrous happens because of one of his inevitable bad decisions, he says, “Mistakes were made.”

According to Timmy, the polar bear Total is supposed to be a partner in the detective agency, but the polar bear doesn’t do much in this movie except wander around town by itself and show up at infrequent, random moments when Timmy is around. Timmy transports himself by a Segway that his mother won in a church raffle. So, when the Segway (which he calls the Failure Mobile) gets stolen, he makes it his mission to find it and hold the thief responsible.

But before that happens, there are several side “investigations” that Timmy starts and then leaves hanging. He offers to find a fellow student’s lost backpack, but then never follows through on that promise. He’s tasked with the responsibility of taking care of his science class’ pet hamster in his home when it’s his turn to do so. But when he goes to pick up the hamster at the home of a fellow student, the hamster is dead, so Timmy says he’s going to launch a “homicide investigation” to find out who “murdered” the animal. (It never occurs to him that the hamster could have died of natural causes.) These subplots are really distractions and only serve the purpose of showing how annoying Timmy can be.

Timmy attends Cavarette Elementary School, where the classmate who can tolerate him the most is Charles “Rollo” Tookus (played by Kei), whom Timmy treats more as a sidekick than a real friend. Rollo and Timmy have an up-and-down relationship, since Timmy only seems to want to be around Rollo when he needs Rollo to help him with “detective work.” They’ve been estranged in the past: Timmy says in a voiceover narration that he had to “fire” Rollo as his business associate, but Rollo says he actually quit. As much as Timmy distrusts authority and breaks rules, Rollo (who has ambitions to go to Stanford University) likes to follow rules and respect authority.

Two other classmates who are in Timmy’s orbit are smart and likable Molly Moskins (played by Chloe Coleman) and rich girl Corrina Corrina (played by Ai-Chan Carrier). For reasons that aren’t explained in the movie, Timmy really dislikes Corrina to the point where he calls her the “most problematic” person he knows. He says that she and her family are Russian, even though there’s no proof that they are. And he refuses to call her by her name. He only refers to her as “The Nameless One.”

Is she some pre-teen female version of “Harry Potter” villain Voldemort? No. She’s actually very nice to Timmy and other people, but it’s implied that Timmy dislikes and fears her so much because he might have a secret crush on her and he thinks she’s out of his league. Timmy’s negativity about Corrina is so irrational that he thinks the Segway might be hidden in the bank that her father owns. So, Timmy and Rollo go “undercover” to the bank to investigate (their idea of “undercover” is  wearing hockey masks), and some slapstick silliness ensues.

During the course of the movie, Timmy’s mother Patty begins dating a “regular Joe” type of guy named Crispin (played by Kyle Bornheimer), who works as a parking enforcement officer. He’s so self-deprecating about his job that he even calls himself a “meter maid.” It’s a joke that’s made repeatedly in the movie until it starts to wear very thin. Not surprisingly, Timmy doesn’t respect or trust Crispin, even though Crispin tries to establish a rapport with him.

Timmy’s assigned school counselor Mr. Jenkins (played by Craig Robinson) also tries to form a friendly and caring bond with Timmy, but Timmy brushes off attempts by any adults (except his mother) to get close to him. She’s really the only adult he’s willing to obey—and that moment comes when a series of mishaps caused by Timmy result in her finally getting fed up with him and grounding him.

Meanwhile, there’s someone whom Timmy considers a true enemy: Mr. Crocus (played by Wallace Shawn), Timmy’s no-nonsense authoritarian science teacher, who’s been an educator for 43 years and who openly dislikes Timmy.  (The feeling is very mutual.) In a meeting with Timmy’s mother, Mr. Crocus tells her that he’s close to flunking Timmy if Timmy doesn’t drastically improve. Mr. Crocus mentions that Timmy and his mother have been given plenty of warnings, and this will be their last chance. If Timmy fails to pass Mr. Crocus’ class, then Timmy won’t graduate to middle school.

One of the best aspects of “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” is when the movie shows glimpses of fantasy sequences that are in his imagination. When middle school is first mentioned in the story, the scene flashes to Timmy’s imagination of kids being marched into a truck titled “Our Crusher of Souls.” When Timmy’s mother Patty mentions how great it would be to live in New York City, the scene cuts to a theater stage showing Timmy’s detective agency as the inspiration of an elaborate Broadway musical, complete with Total descending on the stage in a prop shaped like a half-moon. Another fantasy shows Total causing havoc in Crispin’s office at the police station, while Crispin lets out a horrified scream. But those refreshingly amusing fantasy sequences can’t quite make up for the trite and unfocused aspects of the story.

“Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” will be enjoyed best by people (mostly children) who just want to see a weird kid get into all kinds of trouble on screen. Fans of mystery/detective stories will be disappointed because crime-solving is not the real attraction. The real purpose of the Timmy Failure character is to show how someone who thinks very highly of himself is in reality very inept and clueless—and that will make viewers feel better about themselves. Timmy Failure is basically an American kid version of Inspector Clouseau of “The Pink Panther” series, but with a lot less clever writing.

Disney+ premiered “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” on February 7, 2020.

2020 American Rescue Dog Show: Rebecca Romijn, Rodney Peete host the show

February 5, 2020

Rebecca Romijn, Gabby Douglas and Rodney Peete at the 2020 American Rescue Dog Show at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, on January 19, 2020. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel’s “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” presented by the Pedigree brand returns for its third year with a two-night event Sunday, February 16, and Monday, February 17 (8 p.m. ET/PT). The only canine competition of its kind, the special focuses the spotlight on various breeds adopted from shelters and rescue organizations across the country vying for top dog in the world’s most adorable categories. The “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” is hosted by Rebecca Romijn and Rodney Peete, who are joined by co-hosts Ross Mathews and Larissa Wohl as they cover all the four-legged action ringside and backstage. This year’s celebrity judges are pet rescue advocates Gabby Douglas, Kevin Frazier, Jennie Garth, Sandra Lee Rand Melissa Peterman.

The “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” will once again highlight the heartfelt traits and benefits of mixed breeds and rescued purebreds, including Beagles, Great Danes, Pugs, West Highland White Terriers and many more. Coming from extensive experience in the dog world, returning ring judges David Alexander, Lisa Arturo, Jennifer Gray and Terry Simons use their pooch prowess to crown a winner in each of the 10 categories: Belly Rubs, Couch Potato, Ears, Senior, Snoring, Special Needs, Talking, Underbite, Wiggling and Wrinkles. The winner from each group will face off in the finals where the panel of celebrity judges will be tasked with deciding which precious pup will go home with the title of Best in Rescue.

In addition to the competition in the ring, this year’s show features special video packages educating viewers about the availability of puppies in shelters, the issue of bonded pairs in need of loving homes and the rewards of adopting one of these doggie duos, as well as firsthand stories from adopters who share how rescuing a dog has enriched their lives. The special will shine a light on the important work of The Beagle Freedom Project, with a powerful segment on the organization’s dedication to rescuing and rehabilitating animals used in testing and research. The Grey Muzzle Organization is also highlighted with the television debut of their Public Service Announcement in which four comedy legends – Carol Burnett, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin and Carl Reiner – share their thoughts on growing older and why it’s so rewarding for people to adopt senior dogs in need of homes. Additionally, the show will pay tribute to rescues with a segment devoted to all those on the front lines who work hard every single day to save and improve the lives of dogs everywhere.

Last year’s Best in Rescue, Howard the Dog, returns with his parents Walter and Alex for a visit with Ross Mathews backstage. They are joined by Cynthia Rigney, Board President of the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society, who shares with viewers how the grant money the shelter received from the show has helped them help the many homeless pets in their community.

The Mission of the “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” is to celebrate rescue dogs in a unique competition spotlighting the adorable, quirky and even hilarious traits that make dogs perfect in the eyes of those who love them. The goal of the show is to shine a light on these incredible pets and inspire viewers to adopt their next dog from a local shelter or rescue organization. Whether already in homes or waiting to be adopted, these dogs are all heart and full of personality.

As the presenting sponsor, the Pedigree brand is closely aligned to the show’s mission. The Pedigree brand has worked tirelessly to help support the transformation of shelter dogs into pets with loving, forever homes by donating good food for the cause, and millions of dollars through Pedigree Foundation to shelters and rescues across the country. To that end, Pedigree Foundation will provide a total of $100,000 in grants to the winners’ shelters or rescues.

Serving as the show’s official mascot is the network’s own rescued and adopted pet, Happy the Dog. In addition to starring in movies and specials, Happy the Dog is a certified therapy dog and emotional support animal.

“2020 American Rescue Dog Show” is produced by Michael Levitt Productions. Executive Producers Michael Levitt and Jennifer Schulz are both animal advocates and rescuers whose lives are dedicated to increasing awareness of pet adoption. Levitt, an accomplished TV producer, and Schulz, a communications professional for pet brands and organizations, joined forces to create a show that is both entertaining and heart-warming. Their goal is to celebrate rescue dogs with the hope of inspiring Hallmark Channel viewers to adopt their next pet.

Throughout the show, will be showcased as a great resource for viewers to find a furry friend of their own.

About the Pedigree Brand

The Pedigree Brand is the number one brand of dog food and treats in the world, feeding more dogs than any other brand. The Pedigree Brand offers a wide variety of products and formats for dogs at every life stage. The Pedigree Brand is built on an unwavering love for all dogs and a commitment to dog adoption. For more information, please visit

About Pedigree Foundation

We believe every dog deserves a loving, forever home Pedigree Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to help end pet homelessness. Nearly 3.5 million dogs end up in shelters and rescues every year, and nearly half never find a home. The foundation was established in 2008 by Mars Petcare, maker of Pedigree) food for dogs, to help increase dog adoption rates. We’ve awarded more than 5,500 grants and $8 million to U.S. shelters and rescues that help dogs in need. At Pedigree Foundation, we’re working toward a day when all dogs are safe, secure, cared for, fed well and loved. See how you can help:

About Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After

Working in collaboration with the country’s leading animal rescue and welfare organizations, activists, distribution and advertising partners and celebrity influencers, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After aims to dismantle common misconceptions about shelter animals, provide resources, inspire the public to adopt, and ultimately create a future where every pet has a loving home. The initiative shines a spotlight on the countless lovable pets in our nation’s shelters through annual on-air programming specials like Kitten Bowl, Hero Dog Awards and The American Rescue Dog Show, as well as strategic partnerships, consumer marketing campaigns, public service announcements and grassroots efforts.

Review: ’37 Seconds,’ starring Mei Kayama

January 31, 2020

by Carla Hay

Mei Kayama and Misuzu Kanno in "37 Seconds"
Mei Kayama and Misuzu Kanno in “37 Seconds” (Photo courtesy of Knockonwood)

“37 Seconds”

Directed by Hikari

Japanese with subtitles

Culture Representation: Set primarily in modern-day Japan and with some scenes in Thailand, the dramatic film “37 Seconds” has an Asian cast of characters, and the protagonist is a young female illustrator who has cerebral palsy.

Culture Clash: The movie depicts the struggles and prejudices that a person with physical challenges must constantly face, as well as personal conflicts between a mother and a daughter.

Culture Audience: “37 Seconds” will appeal primarily to viewers who are interested in Japanese movies or movies that give the rare opportunity of making someone with cerebral palsy the star of the story.

Mei Kayama and Shunsuke Daitô in “37 Seconds” (Photo courtesy of Knockonwood)

One of the first things that people need to know about the Japanese drama “37 Seconds” is that it’s not a “disease of the week” depressing movie where people are supposed to feel sorry for someone with a physical disorder. Nor is it the type of movie where the person with the physical challenge enters a competition to face seemingly insurmountable odds. The story of “37 Seconds” (written and directed by Hikari) is about a much more subtle self-awakening that happens to an aspiring manga artist in modern-day Tokyo.

When we see the wheelchair-bound Yuma Takada (played by Mei Kayama) in the first few scenes of the movie, she’s shown to be someone who likes to be as independent as possible, as she takes public transportation around town. Yuma lives with her overprotective single mother, Kyoko (Misuzu Kanno), who still insists on bathing Yuma, even though her daughter has full use of her hands.

Yuma, who is 23 but looks like she could be in her late teens, has a part-time job working as an assistant for her pretty cousin Sayaka (played by Minori Hagiwara), a semi-famous manga artist, who has her own YouTube channel and loves to wear Harajuku fashion. Yuma is as shy and insecure as Sayaka is bold and confident.

At one of Sayaka’s book signings, Yuma unexpectedly attends as a show of her support, but Yuma gets a rude awakening when she finds out that Sayaka has been telling people that she doesn’t have an assistant. (And that’s not the only thing that Sayaka lies about when it comes to her work.) Feeling hurt and unappreciated, Yuma decides to pursue plans she started earlier to do some freelance artwork. Yuma makes cold calls to several manga publishing companies to find out if they’re looking for new artists.

She’s automatically rejected by places that don’t take unsolicited material. But one place is willing to give her a chance, and she’s able to get an interview immediately. The only catch? It’s at a magazine called Weekly Boom, which publishes erotic manga. Yuma, who’s a naïve virgin, is just happy to get an opportunity to be hired as an artist, so she goes to the interview, not really knowing what to expect.

The female Weekly Boom editor (played by Yuri Ono) who interviews Yuma takes a look at Yuma’s artwork and explains to her that if she gets hired at the company, she would have to draw sexually explicit art. The interviewer isn’t concerned with Yuma’s cerebral palsy; she’s more concerend about how much Yuma actually knows about sex. When she asks Yuma if she’s ever been sexually intimate with anyone, Yuma tells her the truth and says she’s a virgin. The interviewer tells Yuma to come back when she’s sexually experienced.

Yuma goes home and researches porn on the Internet so she can get an idea of what she can draw. Still curious, she decides to try and find a man online so she can lose her virginity to him. That leads to a series of somewhat comical blind dates whom she meets in a café. One date is a shy social misfit like Yuma, and he basically admits that he’s a recluse who’s too scared to have sex with anyone. Another date is a flamboyant eccentric who seems like he probably isn’t sexually attracted to women. The last date she meets with is a nice guy who says he would have no problem hanging out with her but he doesn’t want to take her virginity.

The next thing you know, Yuma is in a seedy area of Tokyo where the streets are lined with sex shops and massage parlors. She asks a pimp (played by Kiyohiko Shibukawa) on the street how she can hire a male prostitute. He makes a phone call and manages to find a gigolo who’s available to do the deed, so Yuma arranges to meet the guy later in a hotel that she’s rented. (The movie doesn’t really explain where Yuma has gotten the money, but it’s presumed that she gets some kind of disability income from the government.)

All of this looks fairly convincing, since Yuma has the type of unassuming personality where it seems plausible that she could go up to a pimp on the street with this request and he’d be willing to help her. Because Yuma isn’t the type of young woman whom predators would consider “sexy,” because she’s in a wheelchair, it’s entirely believable that she could go to this sleazy area and not be targeted for sex crimes. As far as a pimp is concerned, a woman in a wheelchair is of no use to him, and he actually might feel sorry for her.

Yuma’s encounter with the gigolo is one of the most amusing parts of the movie. Let’s just say that some akward things happen, so he gives her a discount on his regular fee. The encounter with the gigolo is important to mention because after Yuma leaves the hotel room and gets ready to leave, she notices that the elevator doesn’t work, so she calls for help.

It’s during this situation that she meets two people who will change the course of her life in this story. One is a middle-aged female prostitute named Mai (played by Makiko Watanabe) and her “caretaker”/driver Toshi (played by Shunsuke Daitô), who’s in his 20s. When Yuma first meets them in the hotel hallway, Mai is also with a wheelchair-bound customer, a senior citizen named Mr. Kuma (played by Yoshihiko Kumashino), who is clearly infatuated with Mai.

Seeing that Yuma is alone and kind of stranded at the hotel, Mai and Toshi offer to give her a ride home so that she doesn’t have to take public transportation. The four of them pile into a van, and Yuma reveals why she was at the hotel. Because Yuma doesn’t pass judgment on what Mai does for a living, she and Mai form a fast friendship.

On another day, she calls Mai, who takes Yuma out for some fun around town. First, they go to a sex shop where Mai buys Yuma a dildo that Yuma has picked out because she thinks it looks cute. Then, Mai takes Yuma shopping for new clothes and then to a beauty parlor where Yuma gets her hair and makeup done. After that, they end up at a gay bar watching some of the patrons doing karaoke, and Yuma gets drunk on sake.

Meanwhile, Yuma’s mother Kyoko suspects that something is going on with her daughter, so she snoops through Yuma’s belongings while Yuma is out of the house. She’s shocked to find the erotic drawings that Yuma has made as practice. So by the time Yuma gets home, she’s very drunk, and her mother is furious and confronts her over what she has found in Yuma’s room.

They have a big argument where Kyoko says that Yuma can’t survive without here. Yuma retorts by saying that she can, but that her mother is too afraid to be alone. And then Yuma blurts out something that deeply hurts her mother and makes her back out of the room: Yuma says her absent father left because he couldn’t stand to be with Kyoko.

One of the best things about “37 Seconds” is that the story could have gone in a very predictable way for the rest of the movie, but the story takes a turn that most people will not expect at all. It’s enough to say that secrets are revealed, including the full reason why the movie is titled “37 Seconds.”

Kayama, who has cerebral palsy in real life, makes her film debut with “37 Seconds,” and she admirably carries the movie with a performance that shows Yuma’s emotional transformation. But as Yuma’s mother Kyoko, actress Kanno has the most heartbreaking moment in the film. This movie is recommended for anyone who wants to discover a story about unique people who experience an unpredictable and poignant turn of events.

Netflix premiered “37 Seconds” in the U.S. and Canada on January 31, 2020.

Review: ‘Miss Americana,’ starring Taylor Swift

January 31, 2020

by Carla Hay

Taylor Swift in "Miss Americana"
Taylor Swift in “Miss Americana” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

“Miss Americana”

Directed by Lana Wilson

Culture Representation: This very filtered documentary about singer Taylor Swift takes an inside look at her life as a multimillionaire celebrity whose inner circle and career team are almost exclusively white, with a few African Americans who have brief appearances as employees or video collaborators.

Culture Clash: The movie gives Swift’s perspective on conflicts she’s had with her critics over her image, her feud with Kanye West, her love life, her 2017 sexual assault trial and her outspoken liberal views on politics.

Culture Audience: “Miss Americana” will obviously appeal mostly to fans of Swift, but the movie should also interest people who like behind-the-scene stories of entertainment celebrity culture.

Taylor Swift in “Miss Americana” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

“Miss Americana,” a completely sympathetic documentary about Grammy-winning superstar Taylor Swift, could have been subtitled “The Emancipation of Taylor Swift.” The main narrative of the film is that she’s all grown up now, and she’s no longer afraid to speak her mind and go public about her liberal political views. While she undoubtedly gets candid in the film about many issues she’s faced in her life, and it’s ultimately a feel-good portrayal of Swift, the documentary (directed by Lana Wilson) has a lot glaring omissions. The biggest one is that it completely ignores the massive public feud that Swift has with music moguls Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun—a feud in which she’s publicly accused them of using their “toxic male privilege” (Swift’s words) to try to take away power from her and other artists.

What viewers of “Miss Americana” will get are several visual montages (on stage and off stage) of Swift’s career over the years, starting when she was an unknown 12-year-old singer/songwriter from Pennsylvania trying to break into country music, to being a Nashville-based, polished 15-year-old aspiring country star, to becoming one of the best-selling female music artists of all time. There’s the expected footage of her on stage, backstage, on the sets of her music videos, and in the recording studio, including showing some of the songwriting process for her 2019 album “Lover,” with cameos from songwriter/producer Jack Antonoff and Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie.

Swift has transitioned from being a country singer to a pop star. It’s a transformation that could have happened because her musical tastes have evolved, but she also admits in the documentary that any changes she makes to her image are mostly because female artists feel more pressure than male artists to constantly reinvent themselves to remain relevant.

The beginning of the film shows Swift (who’s famously a cat fanatic) playing the piano while her one of her Scottish Fold cats walks all over the piano. Swift then shares some of her childhood diaries, and comments: “My moral code, then and now, is to be good. The main thing I tried to be is a good girl. I was so fulfilled by approval, that was it. I became the person everyone wanted me to be.”

It’s a story that people have heard many times from people who were child stars: They’ve been so programmed to get approval from the public that they can lose their true identities and self-esteem in the celebrity machine. There are too many tragic stories of former child stars who’ve been unable to cope with growing up and becoming less popular as they get older. It’s an underlying fear that Swift admits that she has, because she’s constantly seeking approval from fans and she feels pressure to maintain a certain level of popularity. She’s also well-aware that there’s an age double-standard for female entertainers, who are more likely than male entertainers to be cast aside by the industry once they’re over the age of 35.

The documentary clearly shows that Swift (who turned 30 in December 2019) is very good at marketing herself, and it’s a skill that she learned early in her career. There’s a clip of her on stage in 2003, shortly after her country breakthrough single “Tim McGraw” was released, where she mentions the local country radio station and charmingly asks the audience to contact the station to play the song. The movie also makes a point of showing how Swift avoided going public for years about her political views after she became old enough to vote. Her standard response back then was that she was just a singer and people wanted to hear her sing and not tell them how they should feel about politics.

Swift’s songs are very autobiographical; she’s famous for writing songs about her love affairs and breakups. And because she’s dated a lot of famous men (mostly musicians and actors), her love life has already been thoroughly dissected by fans and the media. The documentary includes a montage of media coverage about her love life and how people’s perceptions of her have been affected by the media coverage.

British actor Joe Alwyn, whom she’s been dating since 2016, is briefly shown in the documentary, as he hugs Swift backstage after one of her concerts. Alywn is not shown speaking on camera, but there are some clips of candid off-stage cell-phone footage of Swift where it’s obvious that Alwyn is the one filming it, such as a clip where Swift is singing and then mouths the words “I love you” to the person filming. All that Swift will say about her romance with Alwyn is that she’s in love, and they both decided that they wanted to keep their relationship private. She doesn’t even say his name in the documentary.

What she does reveal in the documentary that hasn’t been made public before is that she’s had an eating disorder for years and is in recovery, but it’s still a struggle for her. She first mentions her eating disorder in the film when she says she no longer looks at photos of herself every day because it can “trigger” the feelings of insecurity that she has about her body. She then goes on to describe that for years, she thought it was normal to starve herself and feel the physical effects of extreme hunger. She now says that she has healthy eating habits and is comfortable if she’s “a size 6 instead of size 00,” but she says the relentless public scrutiny about her physical appearance can still deeply affect her.

Over the years, Swift has openly talked about how the person she is closest to is her mother, Andrea Swift, who is shown several times in the documentary as a constant companion to her daughter. That strong family support is clearly one of the main reasons why Swift has not become a casualty of fame. Andrea Swift’s cancer diagnosis (which Swift has talked about in other interviews, as well as in this documentary) is something that Swift says has had a profound effect on everyone in the family, and it’s why Swift places family and friends as the highest priorities in her life.

Much has already been said and written about the feud between Swift and Kanye West. In the documentary, Swift says that the notorious incident that started it all did long-lasting damage to her self-esteem. That incident was when West got up on stage and interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech after she won the prize for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, and he shouted that Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” video (which was nominated in the same category) “was one of the best videos of all time.”

Although West was universally slammed for that stunt, and he later made several public apologies, Swift says that at the time she was on stage during the incident, she thought the audience booing was meant for her, not West. She says in the documentary that it was the first time she felt so much negativity from an audience while she was on stage, and it was a “formative experience” that took her down a “psychological path, not all of it beneficial.”

Swift is a celebrity who became famous right when social media became part of the culture, so she’s experienced the highs and lows of social media on a learning curve. On the one hand, Swift is one of the most popular celebrities on social media, with followers that total in the hundreds of millions. On the other hand, when she does something that’s considered controversial, that huge level of attention can turn quickly against her.

The documentary mentions the enormous backlash that she received when West’s wife Kim Kardashian released a secretly recorded video of Swift talking to West over the phone and giving West the go-ahead to mention her in his 2016 song “Famous,” which had not been released yet at the time the conversation happened. The song lyric that mentioned Swift turned out be very derogatory and called her a misogynistic name. After the song was released, Swift claimed that she didn’t know her name would be used in that way, while West and his camp said she did know in advance. That’s when Kardashian released the video.

The documentary makes a point of showing how Swift was virtually bullied by West’s fans, including viral footage of an audience at one of his concerts chanting a derogatory statement about Swift. But the documentary does not mention how some of Swift’s fans on the Internet can be just as vicious in showing hate for people who dare to criticize Swift. Several celebrities who have clashed with Swift have talked about how her most fanatical fans can be bullies. Her public feuds with other celebrities (such as Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber and ex-boyfriends Calvin Harris, John Mayer and Joe Jonas) are not mentioned in the documentary, probably because Swift is no longer feuding with them.

Whichever side you believe in the controversy over “Famous,” Swift reveals in the documentary that all the hate she received from “cancel culture” was the main reason why she took a year-long hiatus and came back to the spotlight with her 2017 album “Reputation.” There’s some footage of Swift writing songs that ended up on the album, as well as a scene that shows her disappointment when she gets a call from a handler informing her that the album didn’t get any Grammy nominations in the major categories. (Don’t feel too sorry for Swift. She’s already got several Grammys, including two Grammys for Album of the Year.)

The movie also covers the lawsuit that made Swift go public about being sexually groped by a radio DJ, who later sued her because he was fired over that incident. Swift countersued for $1, to prove that he did grope her without her consent, and she wasn’t going to let him get away with blaming her for the crime he committed. Her $1 counterclaim was her way of telling the world that this issue wasn’t about the money for her. Swift famously won the lawsuit and became an advocate of the #MeToo movement.

In the documentary, Swift makes it clear that her #MeToo experience was the biggest catalyst to her political awakening and her decision to no longer remain silent over the progressive political issues that she wants to publicly support. One of the best parts of the documentary is showing what happened behind the scenes when she made the major decision to give her first political endorsement.

Swift says she was constantly told for her entire career “not to be like the Dixie Chicks,” the female country trio that lost a lot of fans in the early 2000s, after the group spoke out against Republican politics and the war in Iraq. But Swift’s #MeToo experience and the subsequent lawsuits opened her eyes to social justice issues, and she decided for herself: “The next time there’s any opportunity to change anything, you’d better know what you stand for and what you want to say.”

Her decision to go public with her political views didn’t sit well with several members of her team, who told her that she would be making a big mistake. In the movie, the objectors are shown to be all middle-aged men (including her father), who tried to scare her by saying that they were concerned that she would get more death threats and would lose half of her audience if she came out as a political liberal. But Swift firmly did not back down, even though there was some expected fear of the unknown.

The movie shows her apprehension and excitement that she and publicist Tree Paine had together in the moments before she posted her endorsement of Phil Bredesen (a Democrat) over Marsha Blackburn (a Republican) in the 2018 race for Tennessee U.S. Senator. Not only did Swift endorse Bredesen, but she also publicly slammed Blackburn for voting against laws that support rights for the LGBTQ community and female victims of violence. Ultimately, Blackburn won the election, but Swift says she’s hopeful that in future elections, the younger generation will vote to sway politics in a more progressive and inclusive direction.

As Swift says in the movie: “I feel really good about not feeling muzzled anymore. And it was my own doing. I needed to learn a lot before I spoke to 200 million people. But I’ve educated myself now, and it’s time to take the masking tape off of my mouth forever.”

While Swift is obviously a positive inspiration in many ways, as this documentary makes very clear, there are still aspects of “Miss Americana” that aren’t entirely candid. One of the biggest criticisms of Swift is that she has a tendency to portray herself as a victim when things don’t go her way. No one is expecting her to be perfect, but there’s a limit to Swift being honest about her life for this documentary.

Although she admitted to having issues about eating and her body image, not once does she admit to doing anything mean-spirited or cutthroat in her life. There’s no mention of any friends or lovers she might have tossed aside, no remorse or regret about not treating a loved one better, no acknowledgement of less-than-wonderful things she’s done to rivals or former business associates. In reality, no one gets to her level of success by being nice to everyone. In the documentary, the only mistake she admits to making is not being politically outspoken in 2016 for the U.S. presidential election.

For a “behind the scenes” documentary about an artist who’s risen to the top the music industry, it’s very unrealistic for Swift to not acknowledge any experiences that she might have had with illegal drugs, alcohol, diet pills, prescription medication or even nicotine. If you were to believe everything that’s presented this movie, those things just don’t exist in Swift’s world. The worst “vice” that Swift shows on camera is uttering a few curse words. The documentary might look “revealing” to many people who don’t know what really goes on behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, but for those who do know what really goes on, it’s very obvious that “Miss Americana” is very white-washed indeed.

The narrative here is that bad things keep happening to Swift (stalkers, intrusive paparazzi, tabloid media, haters on the Internet), and she always finds a way to triumph and overcome it all. That is, except for the battle that she lost against Borchetta and Braun, which is not mentioned at all in this documentary. It’s obvious that Swift and/or the documentary’s filmmakers didn’t want to put anything in the movie that would weaken Swift’s “female empowerment” image that she wants to have.

In July 2019, Swift went on the Internet to post a lengthy rant accusing Borchetta (the founder of Big Machine Records, her former record company) of unscrupulously taking her pre-2019 song catalogue and selling it to music manager Braun, whom Swift considers an enemy because Braun was West’s manager during the worst of Swift’s feud with West. Swift claims that she and her management/publishing team (which includes her father, Scott Swift) weren’t given a fair opportunity to buy these master recordings of her songs. Borchetta vehemently denies the accusation, and says that Swift had a chance to buy the songs but she didn’t agree to the deal that was presented. The “he said/she said” fight blew up to such an extent that many celebrities jumped into the fray by either taking Swift’s side or the Borchetta/Braun side.

For all of Swift’s preaching about female empowerment in this documentary, it’s odd that she and this movie’s director have cut out this chapter of her life that Swift has tried to present as part of her fight against male sexism. She used the feud as a platform to speak out about not only male sexism but also artists’ rights and what kinds of contracts artists sign that could have long-lasting effects on their careers.

Swift has presented herself as an outspoken advocate for artists’ rights before (her push to get Spotify to pay reasonable artist royalties is one example—something that’s also not mentioned in the movie), so it’s a major setback in her life and her career that one of her enemies now owns the vast majority of her songs. The fact that this life-changing experience wasn’t even acknowledged in the documentary indicates how much of a public-relations showcase “Miss Americana” is instead of a complete behind-the-scenes look at her life.

The documentary seems to want people to forget that Swift’s feud with Borchetta/Braun ever happened, even though she was the one who took the feud public in the first place and ended up getting a lot of backlash from people who think she misrepresented herself as a victim in this situation. Rather than being fully honest and sharing what she learned from this undoubtedly painful experience, Swift probably told the filmmakers directly or indirectly not to put it in the movie. Let’s be real: Even though she’s not listed as a producer of “Miss Americana,” she obviously had a lot of creative control over this documentary, based on what they chose to show and what they chose not to show.

Also absent from the documentary is any mention of Swift’s attempts to become a movie actress, which have resulted in her appearing in flops such as 2014’s “The Giver” and 2019’s “Cats.” Anything that makes Swift look like a failure or someone who made a really bad career decision is essentially shut out of the documentary. Instead, “Miss Americana” ends with Swift winning Video of the Year at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards for “You Need to Calm Down,” her platform to show her as an ally to the LGBTQ community. The award show took place on August 26, 2019—several weeks after she started feuding with Borchetta and Braun, so there was plenty of time to include the feud in the movie.

Another thing the documentary makes clear is that even though Swift talks a lot about female empowerment, her team is led by men, while women are mostly relegated to traditionally female roles, such as publicist, backup dancer, makeup artist and hair stylist. There are several scenes in the movie where Swift is the only woman in the recording studio. Why not hire more female musicians, producers and engineers? Swift has the power to do that, so there’s really no excuse.

Beyoncé has an all-female touring band of musicians (and so did Prince), so there are artists who are actually doing something about breaking barriers for women in the music industry. It remains to be seen if Swift will take a lot of her talk about female empowerment in the music industry and actually be an agent for change. If she ever wins Album of the Year at the Grammys again, we’ll see if she’s surrounded by a diverse group of people on stage who would share the award with her, instead of the same men who constantly get preferential treatment in the music industry.

For now, “Miss Americana” shows that Swift wants to spread a progressive political agenda and she wants to be praised as a symbol for female empowerment. But if she really wants to empower more women in the industry, she can start with the people she hires to make music with her and who she puts in charge of her business interests, instead of blaming other people for being the problem.

Netflix premiered “Miss Americana” and released the movie in select U.S. cinemas on January 31, 2020.