Jun 9, 2019
Welcome back to our final week of reviews before a short two week break. This week we’ll have the return of Ryan L. Terry with a legally difficult to find horror feature from the late 1990s, the return of Keith Lyons with a review for a Filipino Netflix Original actioner, our good friend Andrew Campbell with yet another Fantastic Fest feature review, and three reviews from yours truly, including two Netflix Originals, and a franchise closer that... well... is hopefully the end.
It’s Sunday here at One Movie Punch, which means we take a film request from our sponsors. We haven’t had many sponsors of the podcast, and despite Andrew Campbell’s request that I review 2016’s “Raw”, one of his favorite films, I will not be bullied into it. I will, however, be bullied by any new sponsors who wish to kick a few dollars our way every month. You can sign up at patreon.com/onemoviepunch to help fund the podcast. I’m sure my decision not to be bullied by Andrew will in no way come back to haunt me over the break.
As for this week, well, I have a treat for everyone. On Friday,
Netflix released Season Four of “Tales of the City”, the
groundbreaking, incredible historical drama based on the column and
books of Armistead Maupin. The first three seasons of this show
changed my life, from their scandalous premiere on public
television, to their excellent continuations on Showtime. This new
season appears to be picking up with Maupin’s serialized novel
“Significant Others”, with most of the same cast, although ten
years after the events of the first three collections. Today’s
documentary looks at this series, and Maupin’s fascinating life,
with some pretty amazing revelations. The documentary currently
sits at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, still sits unranked at Metacritic,
and is available for streaming on Netflix, appropriately
And to all our LGBTQ friends out there, Happy Pride Month!
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Here we go!
Today’s movie is ”The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin” (2017), Jennifer M. Kroot’s documentary about Armistead Maupin’s life and works. I can remember my first experience with Maupin’s serial “Tales of the City”, traveling for work and coming across the original series on Showtime. I only caught a single episode, but I was hooked, immediately falling in love with the setting and the characters, not knowing a thing about Armistead Maupin or the controversy surrounding that series.
Kroot’s documentary is an overview of Maupin’s life, covering his conservative roots, his path of self-discovery as a gay man, his initial work on the “Tales of the City” serial along with his later works, and a few controversies along the way. The film bounces between his history and his works, showing the personal connections between Maupin and his characters, his life and their lives. It is mostly chronological, although meanders from time to time depending on the topic.
It is hard to quantify Armistead Maupin’s importance to the LGBTQ community, although this documentary hits the major highlights. Maupin’s boldness in his life and about his right to live it placed him in the vanguard of a rising tide of LGBTQ activism. “Tales of the City” opened the door for people to discover more about LGBTQ people, not as salacious or maligned stereotypes, but as real characters with real problems.
Kroot hits all the highlights, using great background music and fun transitions, all with a clear love and respect for Maupin. Maupin feels so genuine, possessing an honest understanding of his life and its effects, both good and bad. Kroot also brings in a nice entourage of interviews, including Neil Gaiman, Laura Linney, Ian McKellan, Amy Tan, Margaret Cho, and a bunch of others, all expounding on the ways that Maupin touched their lives.
Hardcore fans of Armistead Maupin won’t likely find much new in the documentary, but anyone with a passing interest in Maupin’s life or his works will find the documentary both insightful and enjoyable. I came away from the documentary wanting to re-read his works and pick up those I never read. I’m also looking forward to the rumored Netflix revival, hopefully sooner rather than later.