November 2017



Most of us only know Thurgood Marshall as the Supreme Court judge and the attorney who successfully argued the Brown vs. The Board of Education case. What we don’t know are the battles he fought and the lives he saved before he rose to national fame. These events helped mold the man who would become one of the most important civil rights warriors of the 20th century.

The film is based on the early trial career of Marshall. It follows the young lawyer (Chadwick Boseman) to Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur charged with sexual assault and attempted murder of his white, high-society employer (played by Kate Hudson). Silenced by a segregationist court, Marshall partners with a young Jewish lawyer, Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad). Together they mount the defense in an environment rife with racism and anti-semitism. The high profile case and the partnership with Friedman served as a template for Marshall's creation of the NAACP legal defense fund.

Chance the Rapper was so taken by the film that he bought out several Chicago theaters so everyone in the community could see it. Currently, the film has an 85% Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Also, the soundtrack features a great song by Andra Day and Common. 

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It): Atypical  

“Atypical” is a coming of age story that follows Sam (Keir Gilchrist), an 18-year-old on the autistic spectrum as he searches for love and independence. While Sam is on his funny yet emotional journey of self-discovery, the rest of the family must grapple with how this change affects them. Sam’s mother (played by Jennifer Jason Lee) has been protecting her son all of his life. She is angered by the idea that Sam is ready for this new season and fears that his inability to understand other’s emotions will lead to pain. His father (played by Michael Rapaport) struggles to find meaningful ways to connect with his son. In one of the most touching scenes of the show, father and son sit side by side at an aquarium talking about dating and watching one of Sam's obsessions, penguins. Sam’s feisty, protective sister (played by Brigette Lundy-Paine) is always ready to throw hands with whoever wants to pick on her brother (which is often). The bond that brother and sister share is sweet and real. Additionally, the show dives into how having special needs children can put tremendous stress on a marriage, causing distance between the couple that may not be repaired.

The show has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. And although some critics believe the show missed some critical elements of autism, the series is a major step forward in showing the human side of the people and families living with special needs. Unlike ABC’s “The Good Doctor” or Ben Affleck’s “The Accountant,” there are no superpowers at play here. These are normal people trying to live in a world that is difficult to understand. Their families share moments of joy and laughter coupled with fear, sorrow, and confusion. If this is what the show is after, it succeeds greatly.


Movies and TV Shows that people will be talking about this month. 

Stranger Things, Season Two / October 27 / Netflix

“Stranger Things” season one was a cultural juggernaut. Netflix doesn't release viewership numbers, but most analysts believe it was the network's highest viewed show ever, and it's easy to understand why. The show combines 80s nostalgia with multidimensional science, the deep bonds of childhood friendship, and ET. (I challenge anyone who grew up in the 80s to watch the scenes of the boys riding their bikes around town and not remember the magic of when you first watched ET.) One bonus of the show is that families sat down and enjoyed the show together, a rare sighting in today's multiscreen culture. 

Season two promises to bring more thrills of the Upside Down and reveal where Eleven went to at the end of season one. The show and its stars will be everywhere as the release date approaches. If you don’t want to hear spoilers plan to watch it quickly. One question we may never find out, what happened to Barb?

Justice League / November 17 / DC Films

Except for “Wonder Woman,” DC has had a rough few years with critics. “Man of Steel” was disappointing and “Batman Vs. Superman” was widely panned and ridiculed. (If you haven't seen this fan-edited interview with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, do yourself a favor and watch it. It’s a good laugh.) 

The success of “Wonder Woman” has renewed hopes that "Justice League" will live up to the beloved superheroes it portrays. One thing is for sure, good or bad, the film will be everywhere you look mid-November.