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Get to Know the Nominees: Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk

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If Beale Street Could Talk

Joel Meares

Rotten Tomatoes’ “Get To Know Your Nominees” series will provide an in-depth look at one nominee from each of the major awards categories – the four acting categories, and directing – diving into their highest-rated work from both fans and critics, essential titles from their filmography, and featuring thoughts on their nominated film drawn from an extended interview. 

The Nominee: Regina King

For some people, she’ll always be Brenda from 227. Regina King got her first acting credit in the series that starred Marla Gibbs, who had played maid Florence in The Jeffersons, and which ran from 1985-1990. Her performance as Gibbs’ character’s daughter, Brenda Jenkins, is beloved, especially in the African American community. While other actors might be a touch irritated to be best remembered for their earliest work, King is unbothered. These days, that is. “It took a couple years for me to get to the point of not becoming offended by it,” King told Rotten Tomatoes when we sat down with her in November. “but now I’m like, Why would I be offended by that?”

She may not have to bother asking that question soon, with a new role – that of caring mom Sharon in Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk – quickly becoming her most career-defining, and putting her at the front of the pack of likely Supporting Actress nominees come Oscar time. Last week, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for the role. As she crisscrosses the country promoting the film, all while filming Damon Lindelof’s upcoming Watchmen series for HBO – multiple projects and constant work are par for the course for the actress – we spoke with her about the roles that have led her here, from fan favorites to the most critically adored to those that, like 227, are essential to the Regina King story.


Fan Favorites: A Scene-Stealing Tina Turner Show That Sticks in People’s Minds

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

With Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. (Photo by © Warner Bros.

Because of King’s varied filmography, some fans only experience segments of her work. African American fans might recall her from Friday, Boys in the Hood, or Poetic Justice, while others may be more able to place her from her work in The Big Bang Theory, The Leftovers, or Miss Congeniality 2. King says she lets the work decide what to do next. “I want to be a part of a great story, work with creators that are collaborators, that want me, and everyone else involved, to have some ownership and appreciate what we bring to the table,” she says. Perhaps that’s why John Singleton, Shonda Rhimes, Damon Lindelof, and countless others have repeatedly enlisted her services, in front of and behind the camera. Her last directing credit for the season 3 finale of Insecure, “Ghost-like,” was one of the highest-rated episodes of the season.

Her reputation and talent have kept her booked and busy, but to this day it’s the awkward-turned-awesome lip sync of “Proud Mary” from Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, that lives in the hearts of many a fan. It’s not something she would have predicted at the time – the film took a critical beating, with a Tomatometer of 15% – but it’s the one people always stop her to talk about. “When we were shooting that scene,” she recalls, “my son was on set. Sandra [Bullock] was in the peacock, we had all of these Tina Turner drag queens, and when he saw me – he just stopped. The look on his face… [Laughs] It was the most fantastic moment. I had no clue at the time, but that should have been a hint of how [the film] was gonna last forever.”


 Certified Fresh Roles: The Heart of Jerry Maguire, and Her First Emmy

“Show me the money!” may be the most often-quoted line from 1996’s Jerry Maguire. And it may be followed closely by the likes of “You complete me” and “You had me at ‘hello.’” But ask us, and none of those is the film’s most memorable moment. That distinction belongs to a scene involving King. Playing Cuba Gooding Jr.’s wife Marcy, and delivering the hell out of Cameron Crowe’s dialogue as her husband lies motionless on the field, King is the heart of the movie. While on the phone with struggling sports agent Jerry [Tom Cruise] after a monster hit on Monday Night Football has laid out her husband, she cries, “My whole life is this family, Jerry, and it doesn’t work without him. Just do whatever you can. Just get Rod to me.”

Jerry Maguire

With Cuba Gooding Jr., in Jerry Maguire.

King had given birth a few months before filming, and what she recalls most about Jerry Maguire is the generosity of everyone on set. “Tom was very much there. I applaud him. He’s an actor’s actor. My son Ian was about a month old, and when [Tom] was doing his side of that scene, I’m at home in a closet doing his off-camera on the phone. [For] my side, he was, I don’t even think in the city at the time, but he was there on the phone. There… for me.” She adds: “It was so beautiful that Cameron wrote a story where the black couple was a partnership, they know who they are and love each other with all of their flaws, and their family with all of their flaws.” (We’d be hard pressed to find any family that would forgive Rod’s naysaying brother TP, but at least Marcy did get a few good slaps upside his head – just for the sake of balance.)

Almost 30 years to the day since her debut on 227, King was finally honored with her first Emmy (for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie) for the Certified Fresh first season of American Crime. Beating out Angela Bassett, Mo’Nique, Kathy Bates, and Sarah Paulson on her first nomination, King was handed the trophy by Empire’s Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, who both looked as pleased as she was about the win. King confessed she thought that a candid op-ed she had written in 2010 for the Huffington Post about the lack of minority representation in television would preclude her from future awards. “I pressed send on that draft believing – knowing – that I was never gonna be recognized by the Television Academy,” she says. Five years later, she was on stage accepting her first Emmy. “When the nomination came, it kind of floored me. I was like, ‘Wow, I was wrong.’ As long as you’re honest and respectful when expressing your feelings, it’s not gonna block the blessing.”

Since then the blessings have kept flowing, with a second Emmy win for American Crime and a surprise win just this summer for Netflix’s Seven Seconds. On stage accepting the award, King was clearly shocked and took a moment to gather her thoughts (the GIF is priceless). She then proceeded with her acceptance speech, remembering to thank Jesus in an echo of a joke told earlier in the night by co-host Michael Che, who said, “Black winners always thank Jesus.”


The Regina King Essentials: The Boondocks and the Role That Could Land Her an Oscar

The Boondocks

King voiced Riley in The Boondocks. (Photo by © Cartoon Network / Courtesy: Everett Collectio

When conversation turned to her famous (or perhaps infamous) voice work in controversial animated comedy The Boondocks, King was already way ahead of us. She laughed: “I knew we’d talk about The Boondocks.” Based on Aaron McGruder’s acclaimed comic strip – he also created the show – the Adult Swim series was light years ahead of its time. King voiced the two main characters, both young boys: Riley, the raucous would-be gangsta, and Huey, the bookish and socialist cynic. A memorable episode, in which the boys awaken an alternate-reality version of Martin Luther King Jr. 32 years after a failed assassination attempt, was so divisive it promoted some to call for The Boondocks‘ cancellation. That same episode was later honored with a Peabody.

With its exploration of race and identity politics, it’s almost staggering on a re-watch just how well the show’s dialogue from over a decade ago speaks to current events. “I was always amazed how we were able to stay culturally and socially relevant,” says King. “I don’t know what that says about us as a country. But I’d love to see what both [boys] would say about having a black president.” She says that she and McGruder often talk about the possibility of a return. “The Boondocks voices are missed. That’s the reason why people ask about it all the time, because it’s about Americans, and the people who love Boondocks aren’t just black.”

And that’s a huge part of who King is as a performer: her audience. Black people especially feel a particular kinship, a closeness with her; she’s been so many familiar black women over the years that many think of her as family. She’s our sister in Poetic Justice, our tipsy auntie on a viral appearance on Watch What Happens Live, and now our mom in If Beale Street Could Talk. As Sharon, the understanding and empathetic mother of central character Tish (Kiki Lane), doing everything she can to help her pregnant daughter free her jailed fiancé, King’s performance is exceptional and authentic.

If Beale Street Could Talk

King as Sharon in If Beale Street Could Talk. (Photo by @ Annapurna Releasin

Sharon is arguably King’s meatiest role yet, and she sits at the center of the movie’s most quietly moving scene. In a wordless moment towards the end of the film, Sharon removes her wig in a defeated gesture that conveys more meaning than pages of dialogue. The camera acts as a mirror: she’s looking right into us. At a recent Q&A, King downplayed her contribution to the scene, but Jenkins quickly corrected her: “I love the way you answered that, but, my dear, please tell them what it is – it was your idea.” She explained the idea to us simply: “That was from my life experience. It was my grandmother and her wigs, how’s she’s wearing her hair at home, and how she’s wearing her hair to run down to the store – or which wig she wears at church.”

When referencing the scene, people often ask her about her awards chances. Is she ready? How is she handling it? When we ask that same question, King replies in a way that could apply to almost all of the credits in her decades-long career.  “I’m ready to continue receiving the love when people see this movie – and appreciating what being black in America looks like.”


If Beale Street Could Talk opens in limited release December 14 and is released more widely on December 25. The Golden Globe Awards will be broadcast on January 6, 2019, on NBC. 

Entertainment

Disney Plus Mulan Fails to Make an Impact

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Disney Plus’s most anticipated movie of the year was Live-Action Mulan, the infamous remake of the 1998 version of the Disney classic Mulan. With a budget of almost $200 million and alot of hard work involved, the film release’s expectations and excitement were at an all-time high. Disney’s marketing team left no stone unturned in promoting the film throughout the world as Mulan was one of the most influential female protagonists in a Disney movie. 

Mulan was known for her power and courage to take a step towards change and create a name for herself instead of becoming a burden for her family. She brought them honor but not through finding a compatible suitor, but through her bravery in fighting amongst the opposite gender when it was considered a taboo. 

But did the real Mulan walk in the footsteps of the animated one? Did it create an impact as strong as the classic version, which people love and adore even after 23 years? Sadly, no. The live-Action Mulan was nothing like the 1998 Mulan because it was not supposed to be that way. 

The old Chinese folklore inspired the Live-Action Mulan. The Balad of Mulan, which was different, more serious, and portrayed a much more feminist approach by eliminating any romantic or cartoonish elements or characters from the remake. 

The elimination of the character of Mushu came as a surprise for all the die-hard Mulan fans who were anticipating the voice-over of Eddie Murphy in a better-animated dragon who is by Mulan’s side, aiding in tough times. We did see a dragon, but it was a silent companion only coming in need. The remake also got rid of all the eventful songs which were hummed as we watched the animated version all the time.

Another setback was the mediocre release of Mulan during the Pandemic, which basically ruined the official March release. Mulan eventually made the screen on September 4 on Disney+ Premier Access, a pay-to-view for $30 across the US. In contrast, countries where Covid-19 was under control, saw a theater release like China. But that hardly made 50% of the total movie budget. Disney hoped to make some dollars in China by accurately depicting the Chinese culture and actors, but that didn’t happen either. 

Viewers with access to Disney+ also did not venture enough on the Premier Access service. What further disappointed the release was Mulan’s availability on multiple torrents and platforms for free in HD quality on its release. VPN users worldwide watched the movie for free without paying a whopping amount of $30 for a single film, while the whole service along with other streaming services cost ⅓ of the price. 

Live-Action Mulan was also under scrutiny for shooting in the Xinjiang, the region of China where Uighur Muslims were detained and imprisoned in concentration camps. This sparked outrage over the entire social media, where Muslims worldwide protested against the Chinese government’s actions. Disney+ did not state an official apology on their platform, nor did they acknowledge their wrongdoings, probably to stay clear of the Chinese government’s atrocity. 

Meanwhile, even within China, Mulan failed to impact the Chinese audience as they have a much better take and approach to recreating any Chinese epic or myths. Their cinema is far more advanced in portraying their culture with local actors and a local production house. As we all know, China has a strict censorship policy on international content, and they have an alternate of their own. It applies here as well. 

Lastly, the ill-natured tweet of the lead actress Liu Yifei, openly supporting the Hong Kong Police’s atrocities when China was implementing new security policies on Hong Kong, claiming it as a part of the Chinese government. The Hong Kong police came under fire for mistreating peaceful protestors and using harsh means to disperse the crowd. This tweet leads to #boycottmulan across the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand. 

Liu Yifei made no outright apology. 

Despite so much anticipation, live-action Mulan came under alot of controversy and failed to make a solid impression on the audience, despite holding a strong message for its feminist audience. Wrong timing and a few wrong decisions cost Disney millions of dollars and somewhat tarnished the reputation of their remake sagas. 

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5 Underrated Shows on Netflix USA You Must Watch Right Now!

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American Netflix is home to hundreds of TV shows across multiple genres. Still, it could be hard at times to find something binge-worthy on it. Now we all have that one friend that’s perfectly content with re-watching their favorite TV series, but the rest of us normies find it a tad boring. We’re on a never-ending hunt for the next big show hoping to inject some excitement into our otherwise mundane existence. However, with so much to choose from, it’s only natural that a few gems go unnoticed when scrolling through the recommendations. 

Don’t sweat it! After spending endless hours of research, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 underrated shows on Netflix USA that are definitely worth your time.

Can’t access US Netflix in your home country? There is an easy way around. Just download a Netflix VPN, connect to a US server, and start streaming. 

  1. 1994

Genre: Documentary

Season(s): 1 season; 5 episodes

Year of release: 2019

1994 is a modest 5-episode docu-series offering the perfect guilt-free, binge-watching experience. The show revolves around a promising presidential candidate in Mexico who stands to threaten the status quo. Seen as a threat by the powerful elite, he gets shot during one of his televised political rallies. If the events of the first episode seem unusual, then what follows is downright bizarre. 

Viewers are in store for surreal events backed by actual interviews and real-life footage that ups the ante with each passing episode. 1994 is a fascinating, informative, and rich account of one of the most turbulent times in Mexico. It not only gives viewers a glimpse of the past but also a story that follows a narrative very close to what we’re seeing in our present political climate.

  1. Rise of Empires: Ottoman

Genre: Drama

Season(s): 1 season; 6 episodes

Year of release: 2020

Following the wildly popular show Ertugrul—at least in the eastern part of the world—Rise of Empires: Ottoman features a historic mix of immaculate production value and dramatic re-enactment of the 1453 fall of Constantinople. A Turkish production, the show is entirely in English and revolves around the life of a young Ottoman Sultan named Mehmet. It shows how the 21-year old leader risks everything to conquer a city his father and so many others failed to take before him.

This point marked a crucial juncture in history: The fall of the Roman Empire and the transition of a local regional entity to that of a global superpower. While the show does have its set of drawbacks (such as the frequent History Channel-type flashbacks), the appeal of our protagonist is sure to have viewers in for a memorable ride. 

  1. Wild Wild Country

Genre: Documentary

Season(s): 1 season; 6 episodes

Year of release: 2018

The mere mention of Wild Wild Country in front of veteran Netflix viewers is sure to garner you some respect points. Based on a true story, Wild Wild Country tells the tale of an Indian cult that’s decided to relocate to Oregon. What ensues is a series of unusual events as the locals struggle to come to terms with the new inhabits and in particular, the eccentric leader of this cult: Bhagwan. This mini-series manages to capture and re-tell a significant—albeit unusual—event in American history and media and retell it in a way that’s sure to leave some viewers scratching their heads!

  1. Lenox Hill

Genre: Documentary

Season(s): 1 season; 9 episodes

Year of release: 2020

For those looking to embark on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, look no further than Lenox Hill. While we do recommend this docu-series especially if you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy or ER, Lenox Hill is not your average watch. It’s a far cry from what you’d call a feel-good series as it reveals the brutal reality associated with people diagnosed with really bad things.

Set in New York, the show follows the story of an ER physician, an OB-GYN, and two brain surgeons that are part of a small-time hospital competing with bigger establishments. It lifts the curtain from the otherwise romanticized emergency-ward that we’ve grown accustomed to and accurately depicts the struggles of both patients and doctors.

This highly emotional series might not sit well with everyone but if you want to watch a story about individuals that sacrifice everything to save others then this one’s for you.

  1. Borderline

Genre: Comedy

Season(s): 2 seasons; 12 episodes

Year of release: 2016

The Office is the most viewed show on Netflix according to Chicago Tribune which is a pity because its contract is set to expire on January 1, 2021. Enter Borderline, a British comedy series and ‘mockumentary’ of sorts that follows a similar pattern and humor as The Office. Set in the fictional Northend Airport instead of an office, viewers are quickly introduced to a slew of funny and ridiculous personalities.

The best part of the series is that it has its own version of Pam, Dwight, Jim, and a Michael type-boss. It also doesn’t try too hard to resemble its more popular counterpart and a few episodes are enough to make you wonder why more people aren’t watching it!

Agree with our list? Know of some underrated shows that need more love? Let us know in the comments section below!

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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