Staff Picks: Trace Lysette on ‘Transparent,’ ‘Will and Grace’ Reunion, ‘Fixed Bayonettes’


Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Scroll through for our picks below.

The Will & Grace reunion

When a TV show enters your life and becomes a part of your routine, its cancellation can feel like someone just snatched away your best friends. TV gives, and TV takes away. But over the weekend, for a precious nine minutes and 37 seconds, TV gave us back the beloved cast of Will & Grace, who reunited for a special scene about the 2016 election. Ten years after the show went off the air, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally, and Sean Hayes fall right back into their groove, bantering about Trump, Hillary, El Chapo, Paul Ryan, and Katy Perry like they never left that too-good-to-be-true Manhattan apartment. The mini-episode revolves around Will and Grace’s attempt to sway Jack — that all-important white male registered in Pennsylvania — to vote for Hillary, while Karen, of course, wants him to vote for Trump. When all’s said and done, at least this hellish election cycle has given us this gift, and for that we must be grateful. And we must vote! — Lara Zarum, TV Editor

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Trace Lysette on Transparent

Trace Lysette’s character Shea has until the third season of Transparent always been the more supporting character (in part, the reason is likely generational) among Maura’s two closest trans friends (the other of whom is the grounded, no-bullshit Davina, played by Alexandra Billings). But this season, through a burgeoning romance with Josh (Jay Duplass), she’s been given a more central plot line [vague spoilers — do not read on if you don’t even want a hint at what happens], which culminates in a moment of excruciatingly good acting. (Flavorwire TV Editor Lara Zarum, recently wrote in length about the scene as well.) Anger is said to be one of the easiest emotions to play as an actor, but there is something so guttural that bursts from Shea, as though exploding through the calcified layers formed from a history of repeatedly being questioned and rejected because of what her body connotes to a largely ignorant society. The scene in which Lysette gets to do this is one of the best in the new season — and it’s saying something that so are the scenes in which the stakes aren’t as high, or when she’s not defending herself against the unrelenting confinement perception; the moments of flirtation between Shea and Josh are equally gripping and bittersweet. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor

Fixed Bayonets! on Blu-ray

This 1951 Korean War drama from the great Sam Fuller (new on Blu via KL Studio Classics) has all the watermarks of his work: stern-faced tough guys, quiet explorations of masculinity, terse dialogue, and bouts of feverishness. It’s a fairly traditional war movie in terms of storytelling, and the battles scenes are crisply executed. But the intimacy and immediacy of the style is decidedly contemporary, with the tensions and insecurities of a small “rear guard” patrol zoomed in and exploded via tight, claustrophobic photography and sharp-edged conflicts. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

The Marx Brothers at Film Forum

I wasn’t able to go to the entirety of Film Forum’s “Marx Brothers and the Golden Age of Vaudeville” retrospective, but I hit the essentials: the crowd-pleasing A Night at the Opera, the uproarious Duck Soup (rather a timely watch, concerning as it does the takeover of a country by a petty, unqualified know-nothing), the damn-near-perfect Monkey Business (which has probably become my favorite of their films – seems the best at capturing, particularly in the first hour or so, the outright anarchy that made them great), and best of all, a newly restored version of Animal Crackers with a handful of jokes deemed too bawdy for 1930 audiences. They all hold up – and the series was a reminder of what a treat it is to watch classic comedies with a raucous roomful of laughing strangers. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

Emma Cline’s The Girls

Niina Pollari’s essay on Emma Cline’s The Girls, about a Manson-esque cult and the dynamic between the women in the group, inspired me to buy the book. I’m only a few chapters in, but the writing is hypnotic. Cline really captures the space of young female desire, and the murkiness of selfhood and relationships. — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor