Arts & Culture

Southern Streaming: Truman Capote’s Juicy Feud, Willie Nelson and June Carter Cash Documentaries, and a Cocaine Cowgirl

January’s standout series and movies with Southern ties

Three photos, one showing June Carter Cash, one showing Sofia Vergara as Griselda Blanco, and one showing Willie Nelson

Photo: Don Hunstein Sony Music Entertainment, Courtesy of Netflix, Maya Moverman Paramount+

June Carter Cash, Sofía Vergara as Griselda Blanco, and Willie Nelson.

New year, new you? Going to stop watching so much television and instead learn to knit or something? Sure, sure, me too. But you know what you can do while you knit, right?

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Bless This Mess

FEUD: Capote vs. the Swans, Hulu

photo: FX
Tom Hollander as Truman Capote.

Yes, this FX limited series doesn’t start streaming on Hulu until January 31, but why bury the lede? My messy side is on the edge of its seat awaiting Ryan Murphy’s second installation of his FEUD anthology (the first one centered on Joan Crawford’s rivalry with Bette Davis, played respectively (and fabulously) by G&G contributor Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon). But now, my dear ones, Murphy turns to an even more fabulous (and even messier) episode, this one focused on Southerner storyteller Truman Capote and his relationship with the New York society mavens who turned on him after he published an excerpt of a novelized tell-all. You can read more about the book the series is based on, Laurence Leamer’s Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era, in G&G contributing editor Jonathan Miles’s October/November 2021 review.

The Poetess with the Mostess

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project, Max

Hailed as innovative and inspiring when it debuted at last year’s Sundance Film Festival—where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Best U.S. Documentary—Going to Mars traces the life and times of one of the South’s greatest voices: the eighty-year-old, Knoxville-raised poet and children’s author Nikki Giovanni. Fellow Southerner (and one of the executive producers) Taraji P. Henson narrates the film, which debuts on Max on January 8.

Big Willie Style

Willie Nelson & Family, Paramount+

photo: Maya Moverman Paramount+
Willie Nelson.

Braid your pigtails and tie those bandanas tight: A docuseries on the seven-decade career of Willie Nelson just landed on Paramount+. Narrated by the Red-Headed Stranger himself, the four episodes include, among other things, just what the title promises: Willie’s children, sister Bobbie, and his brothers and sisters in makin’ music such as Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Bobby Bare, and more.

… and One More Time for the Cheap Seats!

Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday Celebration, Paramount+

photo: Jay Blakesberg Blackbird Presents ©2023 Blackbird Presents
Willie Nelson and George Strait.

In case you missed it when it ran live on CBS among the holiday hubbub, Willie Nelson’s big, star-studded birthday concert is now streaming on Paramount+. Recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl back in April of last year, the concert features performances by a genre-spanning gamut that includes Willie, of course, along with Kris Kristofferson, Beck, Keith Richards, Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, the Chicks, George Strait, and other G&G favorites such as Allison Russell, Billy Strings, Chris Stapleton, Lukas Nelson, Miranda Lambert, Rosanne Cash, and Warren Haynes.

Not to Be Outdone …

June, Paramount+

photo: Don Hunstein Sony Music Entertainment
June Carter Cash.

A feature-length documentary about the indelible country-music legend June Carter Cash will also premiere on Paramount+, on January 16, a film produced with the blessing (and executive producing) of children John Carter Cash and Carlene Carter. Watch for interviews from Dolly, Reese Witherspoon (who won an Oscar for playing June in 2005’s Walk the Line), and, you guessed it…Willie. 

Cocaine Cowgirl

Griselda, Netflix

photo: Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
Sofía Vergara as Griselda Blanco.

Few ruled the cash-flush Miami cocaine scene of the late seventies and early eighties like Colombian drug lord (lady?) Griselda Blanco. Fellow Colombian Sofía Vergara is now bringing the blood-soaked story to the small screen with this series, in which she stars as “the Godmother” herself. (Fun(?) fact: Blanco, who was eventually imprisoned, deported back to her homeland, and assassinated, actually named her youngest son…Michael Corleone.)