Cinema Toast

Watch Cinema Toast

  • 2021
  • 1 Season
  • 5.4  (215)

Cinema Toast is a unique show created by Jeff Baena, director of The Little Hours and Horse Girl, and produced by Duplass Brothers Productions. Premiering on Showtime in 2021, this experimental anthology series is a love letter to old movies, TV and radio dramas, and cheesy commercials from the 1950s to the 1980s, with a twist. Each episode is a collage of vintage clips and animations, recontextualized by a new voiceover and a new story, often using surreal or absurdist humor, supernatural elements, and contemporary cultural references.

The show's host is Alison Brie, who plays a mysterious and eccentric librarian named Mimi who lives in a glamorously retro apartment full of books, tapes, and artifacts from the past. In each episode, Mimi introduces a different topic, such as love, death, revenge, or outer space, and curates a series of film clips, TV episodes, and commercials that relate to the theme. The clips are not shown in their entirety, but rather in fragments, reassembled in a new order and juxtaposed with original interstitial footage, such as Mimi talking to her imaginary friend, Lip (voiced by Nick Offerman), or performing surreal acts, such as eating a typewriter or levitating. The new voiceover, written by Baena and his team of writers, is delivered by a rotating cast of guest stars, often comedians or actors known for their distinctive voices.

Some of the most notable guest stars include Christina Ricci, who narrates a Halloween-themed episode about a cursed radio station; Jake Johnson, who plays a cowboy who travels through time and space in search of a lost love; Paul Scheer, who spoofs the infomercial industry in a fake ad for a psychic hotline; and Megan Mullally, who reprises her role as Karen Walker from Will & Grace to answer viewer mail in a mock talk show. Other guest stars include Kate Berlant, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Meloni, John Reynolds, Brandon Kyle Goodman, and Hari Nef.

Although each episode of Cinema Toast is self-contained, the series as a whole has a coherent aesthetic and tone. The source material for the vintage clips is often grainy, low-budget, and campy, with a B-movie or exploitation flavor, but also with a sense of nostalgia and innocence that contrasts with the edgier and more cynical humor of the new voiceover. The interstitial footage with Alison Brie, shot in black and white or muted colors, has a dreamlike quality that blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy, past and present, while the original score by Mark Degli Antoni evokes the classic soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann, or John Carpenter.

Cinema Toast is not for everyone, as it requires a certain appreciation for the absurd, the surreal, and the obscure. Some of the humor is intentionally offensive, surreal or nonsensical, and some of the references may be lost on younger viewers who are not familiar with the pop culture of the mid-20th century. However, for those who love to discover forgotten gems, to laugh at old-fashioned stereotypes, and to see how the past can be remixed and subverted in the present, Cinema Toast is a delicious treat. It is a show that celebrates the magic of cinema and the power of imagination, while also questioning the legacy and limitations of our collective memory. It is a show that invites us to look back and forward, to remember and forget, to dream and wake up.

Cinema Toast is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (10 episodes). The series first aired on April 21, 2021.

Cinema Toast
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Where to Watch Cinema Toast
Cinema Toast is available for streaming on the SHOWTIME website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Cinema Toast on demand at FuboTV.
  • Premiere Date
    April 21, 2021
  • IMDB Rating
    5.4  (215)