TV Review 1.8 Pam & Tommy “Seattle” (dir by Gwyneth Horder-Payton)

Pam & Tommy comes to an end, not with a hard bang but instead with a flaccid whimper.

The final episode of Pam & Tommy opened with Seth Rogen’s Rand Gauthier wandering around with a pained expression on his face.  Apparently, this was the one thing that Rand was good at.  Rand has been beating up people who owe Butchie money but it’s starting to trouble him.  Rand believes in karma and thinks that being a glorified mob enforcer will turn karma against him.  Or maybe being a glorified mob enforcer is karma’s way of punishing Rand for stealing a sex tape and trying to sell it online in the first place.  It’s hard to say.  All I know is that there was way too much Rand and way too much karma talk for me.  The show may be based on what Rand claims actually happened to him but the idea of Rand, with his mom jeans and his mullet, becoming a feared debt collector is simply a bit too much.  Perhaps because he was just as sick of listening to Rand whine as the rest of us, Butchie offered to let Rand off the hook if Rand would simply pay him $10,000.  Rand, of course, doesn’t have $10,000, despite being responsible for coming up with the most profitable and lucrative use of the internet ever.  Loser!

Meanwhile, Tommy attempts to make a musical comeback by imitating the 90s Seattle sound while an actual resident of Seattle, Seth Warshovsky (Fred Hechinger), offers to buy the rights to Pam and Tommy’s sex tape.  On the one hand, selling the rights to Warshovsky will allow Warshovsky to sue anyone who is distributing and making money off of bootlegged copies.  On the other hand, it will also lead people to assume that Pam and Tommy were behind the video’s initial release.  Pam wants to do it.  Tommy refuses.  Their marriage starts to crumble.  The episode insinuates that the tape caused Pam to miss out on opportunities to appear in both L.A. Confidential and Austin Powers which …. yeah.  I’m honestly going to say that, as far as Pam not becoming a movie star and losing roles to Kim Basinger and Elizabeth Hurley, there may have been factors in play other than the sex tape and hypocritical American puritanism.  One can sympathize with what Pam went through while also still being honest about the fact that she was never a particularly good actress.  If anything, her talent and persona were perfect for television.

After 8 hours, the finale of Pam & Tommy didn’t add up too much.  We start to see that Pam is getting sick of Tommy’s immaturity and that Tommy can’t control his temper, even around Pam.  But it’s not until the end title cards that we’re informed that Pam and Tommy divorced after Tommy was arrested and did jail time for spousal abuse.  (We’re also told that both Pam and Tommy consider each other but the love of their lives, which is kind of a bold statement to make when neither Pam nor Tommy had anything to do with the production of Pam & Tommy.)  Seth Warshovsky pays Rand a total of $10,000 for the original copy of the sex tape and then goes on to make several million dollars off of it.  Rand considers using the money to settle his debt with Butchie but instead he gives the money to his ex-wife because that’s what karma would want him to do.  (One has to wonder if anyone involved with Pam & Tommy ever watched a little show called My Name Is Earl.)  Those helpful title cards inform us that Rand moved to North California and now works as a marijuana grower and that he still struggles to get people to believe that he’s the man who actually stole the tape.  It doesn’t mention whether he did anything about his hair.

The main problem with Pam & Tommy is that the story itself just wasn’t interesting enough to demand 8 hours of screen time.  The second biggest problem, and this is a problem with a lot of streaming miniseries, is that the show itself never really settled on a consistent tone.  Was it a drama or was it a live action cartoon?  The show couldn’t seem to make up its mind.  Themes were raised and then abandoned, as if the show itself was desperately trying to justify its existence.  Lily James gave a good performance as Pam.  Sebastin Stan has a few good moments as Tommy Lee.  Seth Rogen, Taylor Schilling, Andrew “Dice” Clay, and Nick Offerman all gave their characters one-note interpretations that didn’t add up too much.  Considering the talent involved, it’s all a bit of a shame.

Oh well.  It’s over now.

Spring Break on the Lens: You Get Me (dir by Brent Bonacorso)

Ah, the beach.

The beach is a beautiful and fun place and the perfect location to celebrate a spring or summer break.  But beware of getting carried away with your youthful revelries because it can lead to complications that will follow you into the fall.  And those complications can be deadly….


Okay, sorry for all the drama.  I’m just trying to make myself feel some sort of enthusiasm for reviewing the 2017 Netflix film, You Get Me.  You Get Me is technically not a spring break movie but it does take place on the beach and it does feature a moderate amount of drinking, drug-taking, and partying so, it’s close enough.  It also features a cast of 20-something actors cast as high school students.  Some are more believable than others.

Basically, dumb and dull teenager Tyler (Taylor John Smith) is having the best summer of his life because he has a girlfriend named Ali (Halston Sage), who he is totally in love with.  (Ali could probably do better but whatever.  Everyone makes mistakes in high school.)  Tyler is also frustrated because Ali wants to wait before having sex with him and she also doesn’t understand why Tyler has been so hesitant to introduce her to his dysfunctional family.  When Tyler goes to a party and runs into a guy from Ali’s past, he learns that Ali used to be much wilder.  Angry that Ali hasn’t been honest with him, big dumb Tyler gets drunk and runs off with Holly (Bella Throne), a girl who he has only known for an hour.  They go dancing.  Holly offers Tyler a pill.  Tyler isn’t sure he’s ready for that.  “You swallow, I swallow,” Holly tells him.  Tyler and Holly spend a passionate weekend together but, afterwards, Tyler and Ali get back together, with Ali promising that she’ll tell Tyler everything about her past.  “No more secrets,” Tyler agrees, despite the fact that he’s now keeping a secret of his own.

Fortunately, Holly was only visiting for the summer and it’s not like Tyler will ever see her again so …. OH MY GOODNESS, LOOK WHO JUST SHOWED UP AT TYLER’S HIGH SCHOOL!  Holly now goes to the same school as Tyler and her new best friend is Ali!  Tyler asks Holly not to tell Ali anything about their weekend together.  Holly, however, has stopped taking her meds (seriously, that’s a plot point) and has decided that if she can’t have Tyler, no one will.  Soon, Holly is claiming to be pregnant and serving peanut-laced smoothies to people with food allergies.  Have you ever noticed how people in movies like this always have a best friend who suffers from a food allergy?

I’m probably making You Get Me sound more fun than it actually is.  It’s actually an extremely bland movie and a surprisingly tame one.  At her best, Bella Thorne is less an actress and more an agent of chaos.  She gets a few opportunities to be enjoyably evil in You Get Me but the script, for whatever reason, often seems to be more concerned with boring old Tyler.  Perhaps if Taylor John Smith and Halston Sage had at least a little bit of romantic chemistry, we would care about what happens to Tyler and Ali but they don’t.  Since they don’t really seem to be that into each other, it’s a little bit hard to get upset when Holly comes between them.

The beach, I will say, looked lovely.  And I really liked Holly’s house.  And, as I mentioned earlier, there were a few moments when Bella Thorne’s demented performance brought some life to the anemic proceedings.  But, for the most part, You Get Me is forgettable.  It did not get me.

Music Video of the Day: Wind Beneath My Wings, covered by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole (2022, dir by ????)

It must have been cold there in my shadow
To never have sunlight on your face
You were content to let me shine
You always walked a step behind

I was the one with all the glory
You were the one with all the strain
A beautiful face without a name
A beautiful smile to ease my pain

Did you ever know that you’re my hero
And everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle
You are the wind beneath my wings
You are the wind beneath my wings

I ke iʻa po ke iʻa au me oʻe
Ke ia po ua hoʻi ma I au
He loa ka helena ma ke a la hele
E huli wahi ma ke iʻa au

Mau popo au ua i ke hoʻi
Ka home iloko kuʻu puʻu wai
Uʻa hoʻi mai iʻau ke i ke nei au
Ma oli au au ana hou
Ke mau popo He Hawai’i au
Ke mau popo He Hawai’i au
You are the wind beneath my wings
Ooo ooo oo oo oo
You are the wind beneath my wings
Ke mau popo He Hawaiʻi au