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Screener Squad: The First Lady

The First Lady Series Review


As the old saying goes: behind every successful man is a great woman telling him to move the hell over…I may be paraphrasing slightly. Showtime’s newest limited series weaves together the stories of three iconic women: Eleanor Roosevelt (Gillian Anderson), Betty Ford (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Michelle Obama (Viola Davis), all of whom would hold the distinguished title of the First Lady over the course of their lives. Throughout The First Lady’s 10 episode run, Roosevelt, Ford and Obama struggle to navigate the obligations of their position while staying true to their personal and political convictions. The show explores their storied careers in the political arena as well as their young adult lives, the evolution of their marriages, and the many events that would forever shape their passionate worldviews. Boasting a massive supporting cast including Kiefer Sutherland, O-T Fagbenle, Aaron Eckhart, Lily Rabe, Dakota Fanning, Ellen Burstyn and Jackie Earle Haley, The First Lady seeks to tell the stories of these historical women with as thorough a brush as possible. But despite the massive talent involved (onscreen and off), does this series ultimately succeed as an effective biopic? Well, that’s what delegates Frank, Sarah Jane, Melina and Brad came together to discuss. Check out the full audio review to see whether The First Lady gets a “yay” or “nay.”


CREATED BY: Aaron Cooley

STARRING: Viola Davis, Jayme Lawson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kristine Froseth, Gillian Anderson, Eliza Scanlen, O-T Fagbenie, Julian De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Arlo Mertz, Lily Rabe, Regina Taylor, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Plummer, Aaron Eckhart, Jake Picking, Clea DuVall, Jackie Earle Haley, Kate Mulgrew, Derek Cecil, Michael Potts, Rhys Wakefield, Ellen Burstyn, Judy Greer, Lexi Underwood, Cayden Boyd, Gavin White, Marc Hills, Jack Schmeichel, Ben Cook, Paul Holcomb, Leslie Kritzer, Thomas E. Sullivan, Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Maurice P. Kerry, Saniyya Sidney, Evan Parke, Gloria Reuben, Rosalind Chao, Donna Lynne Champlin, Cailee Spaeny, Olivia Cannon, Maria Dizzia, Jeremy Bobb, Kathleen Garrett




Bradly Martin (Screener Squad, Eye on the Prize, Breakfast Pub)

Bradly Martin was born in the united states and grew up on a healthy diet of sports, films, and books. A rather shy lad who kept to himself, Bradly soon discovered the best way to know a person was to know what people liked. Throughout the years Bradly became a fan of many things and a fanatic of none. From Doctor Dre, to Doctor Strange and the who’s who of Whos. From Playstation to the Dreamcast and Marvel to DC. From LeBron James to James Bond and Lord of the Rings to Lord Palmerston (or Pitt the Elder if you agree with Wade Boggs) and is a huge fan of dad jokes and randomly obscure Simpsons references. Armed with a vast knowledge of comics, films, and pop culture. Bradly traveled the world making friends and sharing takes. As a young man Bradly married the love of his life young and grew older every year with each new child brought into the brood. If trends continue, Scientists predict that .2% of Canada (where Bradly and family reside) will be populated by Bradly’s children by the year 2029. You can hear him leading and listening to his favorite critics on the Screener Squad and Eye on the prize and maybe even provide some comments of his own.



Frank Calvillo (Highly Suspect Reviews, Screener Squad)

Born and raised in South Texas, Frank currently lives in Austin and has been in love with movies ever since his father showed him some Three Stooges shorts when he was five years old. Today he loves all kinds of film, regardless of era, country, budget or genre. He believes every film has an audience and is at least one person’s favorite movie. After writing for Sight & Sound and Slackerwood, he now writes for Cinapse where his increasingly random taste in all flavors of cinema (from Rashomon to Mars Attacks!) continues to thrive. His ultimate goal is to write a script for his boyhood crush, Michelle Pfeiffer.



Sarah Jane (Highly Suspect Reviews, Screener Squad)

Sarah Jane was born and raised in Southern California but currently calls Austin, TX her home. She’s seen over 5,700 movies so far with zero plans on stopping. She has a penchant for all things exploitation, and she loves Godzilla with all her heart. Her favorite films are Deep Red, Le Samourai, and Miller’s Crossing. When she isn’t watching movies, she’s busy herding her four cats, her husband, and her 11-year-old kiddo. She’s been a contributor to TalkFilmSociety, Daily Grindhouse, FThisMovie!, Looper, and the Austin Chronicle. You can find her on Twitter and Letterboxd at @fookthis.



Melina Eames (Screener Squad)

Melina first discovered that she carried the nerd gene at the tender age of four following her exposure to a little film called A New Hope. In the twenty-some years that followed, Melina continued to grow into her geek identity through the discovery of Batman, Mst3k, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and The Mandalorian. But perhaps her most significant discovery came at the age of fourteen when a night of YouTube mining led her to the review site of Melina became a devoted follower whose fandom did not end with the site’s demise. By then, it had worked its dark magic and left her with a love and appreciation for film criticism that she has yet to shrug.



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