2 Best Movies to Watch by Bryant Carroll

Staff & contributors

In Swan Song, acclaimed actor Udo Kier stars as the real-life Pat Pitsenbarger, a local queer legend in the small town of Sandusky. He used to live a private but joyful life, beautifying socialities by day and performing in drag at night. But now the aging icon is resigned to live out his days in a bleak retirement home, where he takes part in feeble acts of rebellion to keep himself amused. This is bound to change when Pat returns to town on an oddly specific request. There, he makes peace with old friends and grabs at the chance to revive his inner beauty queen once more. 

It’s a simple story with a simple premise, but Swan Song is elevated by Krier’s powerful presence and director Todd Stephens’ obvious love for his hometown. Every diss Krier drops as the sassy Pat is to be savored, and every tribute Stephens makes to town life is to be admired. Filled, too, with colorful and euphoric moments that celebrate gay pride, Swan Song makes for quite the lovable film. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Annie Kitral, Brandon Lim, Bryant Carroll, Dave Sorboro, Eric Eisenbrey, Ira Hawkins, Jennifer Coolidge, Jonah Blechman, Justin Lonesome, Linda Evans, Michael Urie, Richard Strauss, Shanessa Sweeney, Stephanie McVay, Tim Murray, Tom Bloom, Udo Kier

Director: Todd Stephens

Rating: R

This a small-town, true-crime thriller that has John Hamm (Mad Men) as the detective, Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso) as the trusty sidekick, and Tina Fey (30 Rock) as the love interest. They’re a charismatic cast helming a bizarro story whose real-life details are already teeming with juicy details, and yet, the resulting film, directed by John Slattery, is as lackluster and forgettable as can be. There is no sense of mystery, the jokes fall flat, and every scene looks like it’s shot from a studio lot. There is plenty of better fare out there for anyone looking for comedy capers, and I bet the true crime documentary of the real-life Maggie Moore case is infinitely more engaging than its filmic counterpart. 

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Mystery

Actor: Allison Dunbar, Bryant Carroll, Christopher Denham, Christopher Kriesa, Debrianna Mansini, Denielle Fisher Johnson, Derek Basco, Happy Anderson, Jodi Lynn Thomas, Jon Hamm, Louisa Krause, Mary Holland, Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Oona Roche, Peter Diseth, Richard Lippert, Roni Geva, Sewell Whitney, Tate Ellington, Tina Fey

Director: John Slattery

Rating: R