Whatever your entertainment needs, we got your back (and hopefully your mind) with Queerty’s weekly “Culture Club” column with some of the highlights of new releases, streaming shows, classics worth revisiting, and what to drink while you watch
The Sweetness: With Love
This oh-so-sweet romantic comedy series from One Day at a Time creator Gloria Calderón Kellett examines the love lives of a diverse array of couples on various holidays throughout the year. We also report with glee that that includes several queer characters in the mix, including the gay Jorge (Mark Indelicato), his boyfriend Henry (Vincent Rodriguez III), and Sol (Isis King), a trans-nonbinary doctor. Much of the show follows Henry and Jorge as they suffer from commitment and insecurity issues, while Sol romances a handsome co-worker.
Seeing a beautiful and diverse cast like this one always makes us smile; that With Love examines complicated and compelling questions about how age, gender, marriage and sex affect relationships elevates it above the usual TV hook-up dramas (looking at you, Grey’s Anatomy). Moreover, King gets a chance to show off her natural charisma with her biggest role to date. That gives us enough reason to recommend With Love as a charming and sexy watch.
Streams on Amazon Prime Video December 17.
The Charmer: Making Sweet Tea
We fell in love with this true-indie documentary about the lives of Southern African-American gay men way back in 2019. Now it has finally arrived to the masses via streaming services. To recap: movie chronicles the lives of different generations of African-American gay men. The seven subjects–Charles, Duncan, Shean, Freddie, Harold, Countess Vivian and Patrick–open up about how queer identity and growing up in religious households made them question everything from their faith to their sanity.
Making Sweet Tea paints a tender portrait of queer men meditating on their identities, and how advancements in LGBTQ visibility and race relations have made life evolve. At its core, the film also presents a profile in friendship, of traditions passed, love shared and history honored. It is a must for seekers looking for the queer history that has fallen between the cracks, and who need a bit of elder inspiration for surviving daily life in a hostile world.
Streams on Amazon, iTunes & VUDU.
The Finale: The House Season Finale
A reader tipped us off to this delightful Fox Soul talk show, a sort of African-American, queer riff on The View. The House teams entrepreneur Antonio Le Mons, reality TV vet Cheryl Rich, stylist Chris Curse, and actor Aaron Levy Johnson each week for a roundtable discussion of issues facing the African-American LGBTQ community…and a bit of dinner conversation. Each episode also features a specialty meal prepared for the show, which allows the hosts to sip and feast amid the chat. Discussion ranges from the profound to the downright silly (as the best talk shows do), offering unique and oft-overlooked perspectives on everyday gay life.
Streams on Fox Soul. Also available online at the Fox Soul website and on YouTube. Finale streams December 17.
The Quickie: Right to Try
Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer produces this harrowing short film about Jeffrey Drew, a middle-aged man undergoing an experimental treatment to cure his HIV. Right to Try briefly recaps the history of the AIDS epidemic, and how a breakthrough drug cocktail finally helped end it in the late 1990s. The film also touches on the complacency that resulted from that treatment; AIDS and HIV still plague the world over, killing those without proper access to treatment, or leaving the infected with long-term health complications. Director Zeberiah Newman intercuts scenes of Drew’s laboring under stem cell transplants with archival footage of Congressional testimony about HIV drugs, and lawmakers exposing how drug companies use HIV patients to reap enormous profits.
For a short film, Right to Try packs one heck of a punch. Zeberiah’s camera follows Drew through his most vulnerable moments—both physical and emotional. One powerful passage follows Drew as he vomits and shivers after undergoing his treatment. Drew takes a moment to recall all his friends and acquaintances that died of AIDS, and the very real fear that the world may one day forget them. It’s a sobering, solemn look at the aftermath of an epidemic, and a crisis that continues the world over.
Streams on Peacock.
The Throwdown: Red Table Talk: The Estefans w/ Perez Hilton and Gabbie Hanna
Professional gossip Perez Hilton sits down in the hot seat for this Facebook talk show this week, which finds him sparring opposite YouTuber Gabby Hannah to debate celebrity privacy, cancel culture, and social media mobs. Needless to say, Hilton has a lot to answer for in that department. In this exclusive clip, hosts Gloria, Lily & Emily Estefan blast Hilton for his outing of LGBTQ celebs, and sexist stereotyping of female sexuality. Sparks fly…though in much less-flammable fashion than when Hannah takes Hilton to task for his “hypocrisy.”
Streams on Facebook Watch December 16.
The Jiggle: Finding Magic Mike
Anyone suffering a cold snap—particularly one in the bedroom—won’t want to miss Finding Magic Mike, the new HBO series trying to find the hottest new male, exotic dancers for a Las Vegas revue. As the title implies, Finding Magic Mike takes the premise of the film series and translates it into a real-life competition series. In an unexpected twist, only non-professional dancers can apply to join the Magic Mike Live lineup on the Vegas strip. Contestants range in age and background from a janitor to a practicing attorney, and run the gamut from gay to bisexual to straight. Expect no shortage of nudity, sweat and drama as the 10 contenders undergo fitness training, choreography from Alison Faulk (who also choreographed the movies), and work through their own personal demons as well. It’s Showgirls: as a reality series with more testosterone. That works for us.
Streams on HBO Max December 16.
The Jam: Pom Pom Squad “Popular”
Punk band Pom Pom Squad—led by queer singer Mia Berrin—revives this alt-rock 90s track for the modern age. While “Popular” (originally performed by Nada Surf) might have played as an apathetic and self-loathing angst anthem back in the day, this new version takes on an unusual resonance in the era of wannabe influencers. Perhaps youthful anxieties and insecurities haven’t really changed; the volume has just been turned up.
Speaking of, pump the volume on this track. Moshing is still strictly optional.
Streams on YouTube.
The Sip: Sweet Tea Cocktail
How could we not? In honor of Making Sweet Tea finally spilling to a general audience, we offer up this appropriately themed cocktail. Sweet, easy to make, and refreshing, it makes for appropriate pairing with the documentary, or any of this week’s selections.
- 3 parts sweet tea (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 part dark rum
Mix over ice, stir and serve.
FFS. Why do you continue to give any air at all to Perez Hilton?
Kindly place this has-been back in the trash where he belongs.
All he’s looking for is more primetime to draw attention to himself.
He’s old news and the least bit interesting. He should be ashamed of his ‘gotcha’ outing stories.
I agree, giving Hilton as little attention as humanly possible would be the best revenge for all he’s done. Yet we just keep doing the opposite which only makes it worse. This is one bully that truly does need to be ignored.
In terms of “Finding Magic Mike,” if you’ve not, do not. Gawdawful.
By the fifth episode, I, finally, had to fast forward to the end, and then just stopped watching.
HBO & the producers had the perfect opportunity at the end of 2021 to refocus the Magic Mike franchise & brand to make it more inclusive going into 2022 & beyond.
Sadly, they chose to use their gay / bi contestants as promotional fodder while focusing every episode on straight, cisgender, hetero-normative, male+female challenges. Meanwhile, the top ten guys fill the spectrum in terms of sexual identity — and are the most loving, supportive, hugging, crying group of non-toxic guys you will have seen in a television series in quite some time (except for Ross).
The tonedeafness of the producers & editors is shockingly apparent.