Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us his take on The Afterparty on Apple TV+, and Pam and Tommy – the new movie about Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson – out on Hulu.
THE AFTERPARTY (AppleTV+)
The murder mystery genre is making comeback as we’ve seen remakes of Agatha Christie novels on the big screen and Only Murders in the Building played well with audiences. If you like those, you’ll have a great time with The Afterparty. Going to a high school reunion brings out all sorts of mixed reactions. The 2006 class is coming together for the 15th anniversary but what they don’t realize is that the afterparty will turn deadly. Dave Franco plays Xavier who has become a mega pop star, actor, influencer. He invites everyone over to his swanky estate for an afterparty. The first episode opens with his body at the bottom of the cliff below his estate. Tiffany Haddish is hot on the case as the lead detective on the case. Xavier’s classmates are questioned one by one as each episode looks back at the events of the night from a different character’s perspective.
Like an any great murder mystery, this comes with an all-star cast of funny actors each getting their own episode to shine. As a whole, the humor is a bit raunchier and aimed toward a younger demographic than Only Murders In the Building.
Each episode is told through a specific character’s perspective taking on a different movie genre. Ike Barinholtz’s is the action/spy genre like Fast and the Furious, Ilana Glazer is the female-led revenge thriller, Sam Richardson’s is a rom-com, etc…
Despite the different creative storytelling choices in each episode, there’s a really cohesive feel to the show. It plays with the audience and what we think to be true when we see certain events happen slightly differently in each episode keeping up the charade throughout the series.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
PAM & TOMMY (Hulu)
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee were the “It” couple that rocked Hollywood in the mid-1990s. He was the rock star drummer of Motley Crue, while she was a budding sex symbol appearing in Playboy and Baywatch. Their relationship turned scandalous for many when a sex tape of theirs was released on the internet. It wasn’t released by them, but by a vengeful former carpenter who worked for and was fired by Tommy Lee. This seems like common place now, but this was back in 1997 when the internet was barely off the ground using a dial up connection. The tape was meant to be private, but after it stolen and seen by millions, it would forever alter the lives and careers of Anderson and Lee.
From director Craig Gillespie, the same director as I, Tonya which has a similar vibe to it. Both shine a lot on a scandalous event and allows the audience to see a more complex side to the central figures than the stereotypes we saw Tonya Harding or Pamela Anderson as surrounding these events.
Director Craig Gillespie knows the energy and power of his lead characters had has given this limited series that same flashy, high energy quality. There’s no shortage of nudity as he’s not afraid to show off their wild and sexual nature. It’s sex, alcohol, rock and roll, and has a fantastic soundtrack.
I think you’ll come away with a better appreciation for Pamela Anderson thanks to the strength and fight Lily James gives her. We get insight into her standing up for herself on the Baywatch set as she’s constantly proving herself beyond the sex symbol status.
I was less familiar with Tommy Lee who doesn’t come across as innocent or admirable here. He’s the party boy rocker who treats his workers terribly and won’t stop chasing and begging Pamela Anderson to date him.
Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey) and Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) disappear into their roles as Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. With an incredible hair and make-up design, James looks and sounds just like Anderson and nails her airy flirtation and physical mannerisms. You would think you were watching Anderson playing herself. Sebastian Stan brings a fiery passion to Lee. He’s full of energy as Tommy Lee as he’s constantly moving around, being loud, and making a scene. There’s no quiet or down moment with Lee.
The performances should garner big award-season buzz during the next Emmy season.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS