November on HBO is just stuffed and overflowing with goodness just like the traditional Thanksgiving turkey! The month offers savory treats of the dramatic and comedic varieties with the likes of Nucky Thompson, Kenny Powers and Bill Maher. Old roasted chestnuts return too like Chris Lilley and Mike Tyson. Even some new morsels are on the table, namely Sarah Silverman and Laurie Metcalf. So let’s get our mouth watering for the tasty entertainment feast coming in November on HBO!
Theatrical Movies: There are five Saturdays in the month. Four of them have theatrical movies premiering in their primetime slot. They are PROMISED LAND, TAKEN 2, IDENTITY THIEF and BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. A big name headlines each one as Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Melissa McCarthy and The Caster Chronicles books are featured. Yet another heavyweight name takes up the other Saturday night position. But, as always, we start with the movies.
PROMISED LAND starts it off on 11.02. This movie is about corporate salespersons named Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) settling into a small rural town to hustle their business. They are out to obtain drilling rights to the properties in the area no matter the costs. What looks like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated when the citizenry hold fast to the love of their promised land. The movie is directed by Gus Van Sant. It is written by John Krasinki who also has the role of an environmental advocate opposed to the fracking process at question here. The following week, 11.09 is an action sequel called TAKEN 2. It is the continuation of the Liam Neeson/Maggie Grace movie of 2008, Taken. In the first one Neeson’s character saves his daughter from Albanian human traffickers. In TAKEN 2 revenge has a twist as an Albanian takes Liam hostage to avenge his father’s death in the first movie. Do you understand all that?
A dose of comedy comes our way on 11.23 with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in IDENTITY THIEF. The simple premise of this comedy is that Bateman’s character is out to reclaim his identity when he hunts down the crook who stole it. That crook would be played by Melissa McCarthy who has been racking up expenses on Sandy Paterson’s account. Mr. P. takes power into his own hands to right the wrongs and, I guess, some comedy ensues. If you are one who is on the Miss McCarthy bandwagon then this movie is for you. And if you are a reader of Young Adult fiction than the cinematic adaptation of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES on 11.30 is your movie of choice. It is a romantic-fantasy based on the first book in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Gracia and Margaret Stohl. Basically a young man falls in love with a witch. Angst and spell-casting ensures and so does this trailer.
Now I know I just zipped through those movies rather quickly. I’ll save the details of each one of them for the reviews that will be coming to HBOWatch weekly instead. Each theatrical flick will premiere Saturday nights at 8:00pm. Look for reviews from our writers Marc P. and Eleonora I. a few days prior to each debut date. As for what I am watching I can say I am lagging behind. Actually, trying to keep up is rather futile; in order to get posts like this published I got to sacrifice something.
Originals: I also sped through the movie section because there is some interesting fare in the Original Programming category I was eager to tell you about. We have no shows premiering in November! First, however, is a look at the returning favorites for the month beginning with BOARDWALK EMPIRE. It continues Sunday nights 11.03 with the Season Four finale debuting 11.24. On 11.03 is Episode #45 – Marriage and Hunting which also plays 11.05, 11.06, 11.08 & 11.09 on the main channel. In this episode Nucky (Steve Buscemi) refuses to back Chalky (Michael Kenneth Williams) in his conflict with Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright). Julia (Wrenn Schmidt) considers her options after Gillian (Gretchen Mol) makes her custody case in court. In Cicero, Van Alden (Michael Shannon) stands up to Capone (Stephen Graham) and comes clean to O’Banion (Arron Shiver). Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) looks to trade an insurance benefit for a cash infusion. Episode # 46 – White Horse Pike airs 11.10. Here being tipped off by Sally Wheet (Patricia Arquette), Nucky enlists Eli (Shea Whigham) and Agent Knox (Brian Geraghty) to check out the extra cargo in Florida shipments. Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) ponders a deal with Rothstein to improve her family’s living conditions. Capone grows suspicious of Torrio (Greg Antonacci); Nucky faces a dilemma; Eli makes peace with Willie (Ben Rosenfield). Other show dates are 11.12, 11.13, 11.15 & 11.16. Next up is Episode # 47 – Havre de Grace. It plays 11.17, 11.19, 11.20, 11.22, & 11.23 on HBO. Its description states that Nucky takes inventory after being warned of a skunk in his cellar. On the lam following a close call, Chalky and Daughter (Margot Bingham) take refuge outside Wilmington with Oscar Boneau (Louis Gossett, Jr.), his mentor from years ago. Gillian considers selling her mansion and starting a new life with Roy Phillips (Ron Livingston). The season concludes with Episode #48 – Farewell Daddy Blues on 1.24. It is said that Eli braces for the worst as Agent Knox launches his plan to bring Nucky down. Capone and Torrio reach an agreement in Cicero. Also Chalky looks to settle scores and Richard (Jack Huston) steps forward to save Tommy (Brady Noon), at Gillian’s expense. Repeats air 11.26, 11.27, 11.29 & 11.30. Here is hoping you enjoy the rest of Season 4!
At the 10:00 hour Sundays is still more of EASTBOUND AND DOWN. Unfortunately HBO is being tight-lipped on how this series is going to end so I have no descriptions for the final episodes. All I can give you is airdates. Chapter 27 airs 11.03, 11.04, 11.05, 11.06 & 11.08. Chapter 28 lists 11.10, 11.11, 11.12, 11.13 & 11.15. The final episode of the series, Chapter 29 airs 11.17, 11.18, 11.19, 11.20 & 11.22. I am sure that the Kenny Power story will not go out with a whimper and that HBOWatch will not let it go by without notice before making it an HBO Classic.
It is too soon to say whether HELLO LADIES, in the 10:30pm timeslot, becomes an HBO Classic or gets a sophomore season. We will all know soon as this season winds down. What are the poor chumps muddling up now? In Episode # 6 – Long Beach (11.03) we learn that Stuart bonds with some construction guys, who invite him for a night out in Long Beach with promises of his meeting easy women and Jessica gives Wade advice on how to win back Marion after 30 days of no communication. Good Luck guys! It also airs 11.05, 11.06, 11.07 & 11.08. Episode # 7 – The Wedding is certainly not about the wedding of one of the regulars, even accidently. After attending a wedding with Jessica and Glenn, Stuart tries to reconfigure the seating plan after learning he won’t be at a table with attractive single women. Meanwhile, Jessica waits to hear about her call-back audition for the lead role in a network show. It is on 11.10, 11.12, 11.13, 11.14 & 11.15. The final episode is Episode #8 – The Drive. Catch on 11.17, 1.19, 11.20, 11.21 & 11.22. It is described this way – Stuart brags to anyone and everyone about his pending night out with Kimberly. Later, he drives Wade, Jessica and Kives to various parties, including Amelia’s birthday, where Jessica relishes that the tables have turned on Amelia. Good for her, but what about the guys? Good luck!
Now on to those new series! Their debut date is 11.24. at 10:00pm – 11:00pm hour. First is GETTING ON. You may be interested to know that the series is from Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, the creators of the acclaimed HBO series BIG LOVE. It is based on the hit British series and is set in the women’s extended-care facility of a Long Beach hospital and follows the daily lives of put-upon nurses and doctors as they struggle with the darkly comic realities of caring for the elderly in an overwhelmed healthcare system. Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash and Mel Rodriguez star. Guests include Molly Shannon, Daniel Stern, Harry Dean Stanton, June Squibb and Irma P. Hall.
Here straight from HBO PR is a more detailed description – Set in a women’s extended-care unit of a Long Beach, CA hospital, Getting On follows the daily lives of a ragtag staff assigned to care for elderly patients who are, well, getting on. Nurse DiDi (Niecy Nash) is the no-nonsense newbie who spends her first day on the job being reprimanded for cleaning up unidentified feces left in the lounge. Unit veteran Nurse Dawn (Alex Borstein) is tasked with training DiDi, but winds up obsessing over a budding relationship with male Supervising Nurse Patsy (Mel Rodriguez) – a new hire who tries to implement a Disney-inspired, customer-centric work culture, while fending off questions about his sexual orientation. Disgruntled Dr. Jenna James (Laurie Metcalf), appointed director of the ward thanks to a meltdown at the hospital proper, continues her above-it-all temper tantrums despite being given a fresh start. Dr. James and Patsy butt heads along the way, particularly when Patsy’s surveys reveal that the whole lot of them are underperforming in this rundown, red-tape-filled hospital off-shoot.
I can even offer a description of Episode # 01 – Born on the Fourth of July. It’s July 4th at the Billy Barnes Extended Care unit of Mt. Palms Hospital in Long Beach, Cal. On her first day of work, Nurse DiDi Ortley (Niecy Nash) discovers feces on a lounge chair, and is torn between the conflicting orders of unit veteran nurse Dawn Forchette (Alex Borstein), who wants to file an “incident report” before removing it; temporary medical director Dr. Jenna James (Laurie Metcalf), who is in need of a stool sample for her medical study; and supervising nurse Beverly Raymes (Telma Hopkins), who has issues with floor cleanliness and wants the seat sterilized. In a heated argument with Beverly, Dr. James has a public meltdown and ends up permanently assigned to this dead-end job. Meanwhile, the staff tries to determine the identity of an Asian woman found wandering on a highway, and debate what to do with a deceased patient’s birthday cake.
Did I need to mention it is a dark comedy? It is obviously trying to find humor in illness and death…and scatological jokes. I hope you give it a look when November 24 comesw around.
The sad thing is if you want to give this show a look you’d better catch it quick as it only airs for six episodes. Its follow-up show is the return of Chris Lilley and it only runs for six episodes as well. It is called JA’MIE: PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL and HBOWatch has some fans for this show onboard already. This half-hour series follows the eponymous school captain Ja’mie during the last few months of her final year of school, far removed from the grounds of Summer Heights High and back on the lush manicured lawns of Hillford Girls Grammar School. Returning to her private school roots, the series highlights the trials and responsibilities that come with being the “most well-known” girl on campus, including her academic and charity work, social life and relationships with family.
This series, from the mind of Australian Chris Lilley is no stranger to HBO nor is his character of Ja’mie. She appeared in SUMMER HEIGHTS HIGH. Lilley followed up with ANGRY BOYS, but now returns to the “queen bee” that is Ja’mie. Here is a quick quote – “I find teenage girls endlessly funny. So being able to write for and play the meanest bitch in school has been so fun. I can’t wait to show everyone what Ja’mie’s been up to.” How about you? Can you wait until November 24th for this show?
Maybe this will help. Here is a brief breakdown of Episode # 01 – It’s her last three months at Hillford Girls Grammar, and school captain Ja’mie King knows just how she wants to spend them: looking “quiche” (one step beyond “hot”) with her satellite gaggle of prefect girlfriends; keeping less-fortunate classmates in line through detention and ridicule; snagging the best-looking new guy at Kelton Boys Grammar; convincing her doting dad to let her host a party at their house; and, above all, winning the prestigious Hillford Medal for the “Best Girl in Year 12.” But the universe has other plans in store for the conniving “queen bee” of Hillford. Air dates are 11.24, 11.26, 11.28, 11.29, & 11.30.
Let us not forget Bill Maher, shall we? Outspoken comedian/social commentator Bill Maher continues the 11th season of REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER, with a new edition on Friday, 11.01 at 10:00pm followed by other new editions debuting subsequent Fridays at the same time, including the 11.22 season finale. Devoted primarily to news and comedy, the show’s format includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with special guests, and interviews with guests appearing live or via satellite. Since the guests seem to fall in place at the last minute we don’t know who is appearing, but here are show dates: Edition # 299 is on 11.01, 11.03, 11.05 & 11.06. Milestone Edition # 300 is on 11.08, 11.10, 11.12 & 1.13. Edition # 301 is 11.15, 1.17, 11.19 & 11.20. It wraps up with Edition # 302 on 11.22, 11.24, 11.26 & 11.29.
In this category the other programming of note is the presentation of HBO Films: MIKE TYSON: UNDISPUTED TRUTH debuting on 11.16 at 8:00pm. This one could have been touted as an HBO Special as it is an unconventional work for the HBO FILMS banner, but maybe, it is because it is a Spike Lee directed venture that it gets the HBO Films name. The legendary filmmaker joins former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in bringing Tyson’s hit one-man stage show to HBO. Raw, honest, powerful and full of humor, the stage production of Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth features “Iron Mike” recounting his life’s highs and lows in his signature candid style. He opens up about his troubled youth, landmark boxing career, key people in his life, controversies, time in prison, his self examination, family and new beginnings. Additional dates include 11.17, 11.19, 11.24, 11.27 & 11.30. Here is HBOWatch’s first look at the trailer!
Just one more piece under this heading and it is billed as an HBO Special. It is SARAH SILVERMAN: WE ARE MIRACLES. Look, I know HBO now has the HBO Comedy channel, but back in the day comedy specials were on all the time. Now they are so far and I between. I wish they’d offer more like the one appearing in November. Sarah Silverman headlines her first HBO comedy special which debuts on 11.23. It is set on a cozy stage surrounded by only 39 fans. Alternately coy and conversational, she plumbs the depths of her (often perverse) creativity in riffs about a disparate range of subjects. The show taped in Los Angeles and is presented in association with Funny Or Die. She has plenty of comedic work ouit there if you are not familiar with her. She was a part of HBO’s sketch comedy MR. SHOW, on SNL and had her own show on Comedy Central and, of course, her stint with Jimmy Kimmel. In November it runs on 11.23, 11.25 & 11.29. Here is HBOWatch’s first look at the teaser!
Documentary: Moving on, the HBO FALL DOCUMENTARY SERIES continues. As this writer has done I will continue reviewing each and every film in the line-up as timely as possible. Four documentaries debut Mondays in November. The first one up is TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE. This film is an unflinching descent into the shadowy world of black-market organ trafficking: the brokers, the rogue surgeons, the ones who are willing to sacrifice an organ for a quick payday. It airs again on 11.07, 11.10, 11.13 & 11.24. Next up, Veterans Day on 11.11, is CRISIS HOTLINE: VETERANS PRESS 1 (pictured). This timely film reveals the epidemic of suicide among American war veterans via this intimate look at the vital work of several responders who provide life-saving intervention. It can also be seen on HBO on 1.14, 11.17, 11.19 & 11.23.The following Monday, 11.18 is a lighter subject matter with WHOOPI GOLDBERG PRESENTS MOMS MABLEY. Director Whoopi Goldberg explores the legacy of groundbreaking African-American stand-up comedienne Jackie “Moms” Mabley through recently unearthed photography and rediscovered performance footage. The fun can also be had on 11.21, 11.24, 11.26 & 11.30. It is right back into the hot seat with TOXIC HOT SEAT to round out the month. On 11.25 this documentary has us thinking about the use of toxic substances that permeate our homes, bodies and environment and the activist, among others, who try to expose the truth. It can also be seen in November on 11.28. & 11.29
As always the case HBOWatch will have a review of each documentary shortly after they air Monday nights at 9:00pm.
Sports: To anchor the sports programming in the eleventh month you know you can count on Bryant Gumbel and company. There is an installment of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL debuting on 10.22 with repeat airings on 10.25, 10.27 & 10.29 and THE FIGHT GAME WITH JIM LAMPLEY is also on the schedule debuting 10.25 at 8:30pm. HBO Sports’ also offers the groundbreaking 24/7 reality franchise. It has captured 17 Sports Emmy Awards and now kicks off its 18th boxing installment with 24/7 PACQUIAO/RIOS. It debuts Saturday, 11.09at 12:30am. The three-episode, all-access series follows world-class fighters Manny Pacquaio and Brandon Rios as they prepare for their compelling pay-per-view welterweight fight on Nov. 23 in Macau, China.
Ding, Ding – ring that bell because it is time for boxing! HBO is pouring on the pugilistic powerhouses in November. There are a total of six bouts in the lineup. B.A.D .or BOXING AFTER DARK comes out swinging on 11.02 with a double bill. It is GENNADY GOLOVKIN VS. CURTIS STEVENS (pictured) followed by MIKE PEREZ VS.MAGOMED ABDUSALAMOV at 10:00pm from Madison Square Garden. Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) makes his ninth title defense against Brooklyn native Curtis Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs) in a middleweight bout scheduled for 12 rounds. Right on the sweaty tails of that matchup are two undefeated southpaws when Russian-born Magomed Abdusalamov (18-0, 18 KOs) and Cuba’s Mike Perez (19-0, 12 KOs) square off in a scheduled ten-round event.
Next on the docket is an actual triple-header slugfest on the night on 11.09. It is HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: ROCKY MARTINEZ VS. MIKEY GARCIA, NONITO DONAIRE VS. VIC DARCHINYAN II and VANES MARTIROSYAN VS. DEMETRIUS ANDRADE It airs at 9:30pm from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Tex. In the main event, Puerto Rico’s Roman “Rocky” Martinez (27-1-2, 16 KOs) puts his junior lightweight title on the line against fast-rising star Mikey Garcia (32-0,27 KOs) of Oxnard, Cal., in a scheduled 12-round contest. The co-main event is a rematch between Filipino native Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs) of San Leandro, Cal., and Armenian native Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KOs) of Glendale, Cal., in a junior featherweight fight scheduled for ten rounds. The evening opens with a pair of undefeated records and a vacant world title belt on the line as Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1,21 KOs) also of Glendale, Cal., squares off against Demetrius Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) of Providence, Rhode Island in a junior middleweight fight scheduled for 12 rounds. The HBO Sports team will be ringside for the event, calling each contest blow by blow.
Finally, before the month is out, one more matchup is televised on HBO. The event is WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: ANDRE WARD VS. EDWIN RODRIGUEZ which will be seen on Saturday, 11.16 at 9:30pm. The main event features the return of one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound boxers when Oakland’s Andre Ward (pictured) (26-0, 14 KOs) steps back into the ring to defend his title against undefeated challenger Edwin Rodriguez (24- 0, 16 KOs) of the Dominican Republic in a scheduled 12-round super middleweight fight. All these fights should keep boxing fans happy!
Other Movies & Shows: After a day of raking leaves or shopping for items on the Thanksgiving menu you might want to reward yourself with something on HBO. Allow me to throw out to you a few suggestions. There is the HBO Documentary film about The Rolling Stones called CROSSFIRE HURRICAINE, the return of both HBO Films: THE GIRL and PHIL SPECTOR, Bill Murray as FDR in HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, Pitt & Jolie in MR. AND MRS. SMITH and the Bill Paxton WWII thriller U-571.
HBO’s Other Platforms: Here are a few other choices from across the channels. HBO Latino: If you are fortunate enough to be bilingual than you have a n extra channel for HBO content in this channel. If always offers something new. Some new movies I found include LOS CONDENADOS (The Condemned) which is listed as a psychological thriller in which a young lady returns to the family mansion and its secrets. There is also MUSICAL CHAIRS that offers two dancers from different disciplines and social classes meting and bonding as only dancers can. Lastly, there is ACORAZADO which is a crazy satire about a man from Mexico who takes a water route to flee to the U. S. and winds up in Cuba instead. Oops! HBO Family: This channel offers a lot of half-hour animated series for younger kids to enjoy. On the movie front you can always let them watch the 1974 Irwin Allen disaster flick EARTHQUAKE, or Tom Hanks in either DRAGNET or APOLLO 13 or both. HBO Signature: This channel often airs yet a different set of programs for subscribers. Michael Moore’s documentary feature BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE is one such offering as is the movies ZERO EFFECT in which a PI, played by Bill Pullman, takes on a convoluted case. NOW AND THEN is another noted movie about older girlfriends reflecting back on their ‘70’s childhood. HBO Comedy: The channel for laughs is airing HUNG and the comedy of Martin Lawrence, Jim Norton and Steve Harvey. HBOGO: If you love your Chris Lilley then HBOGo is a great place to watch SUMMER HEIGHTS HIGH and ANGRY BOYS. Also premiering on the site are the short films BUSTED ON BRIGHAM LANE, CHERRY WAVES, SLEEP and ZEROS. Cinemax: The movies this channel features are GANGSTER SQUAD on 11.01, LES MISERABLES on 1.06 and LIFE OF PI on 11.09. The biggest news about this channel, if you haven’t heard, is that the soft-core “Skinemax” stuff is ending on HBO’s sister channel. So if you get Cinemax then check out programming like ALL BABES NETWORK, FEMME FATALES, THE GIRLS GUIDE TO DEPRAVITY and the likes before they are gone.
Now, I remember way back telling you November was stuffed and I just scratched the surface. By the time the month is over you will be sated as if you gorged on a full Thanksgiving Day meal. It is time to wrap up.
Next Month’s Tease: The final episodes for this guy….
Final Clip: What to choose here is not an easy one; the GETTING ON trailer is already up so I guess I will leave you with the following.