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Author Archives: chrisgiarmo

lilting

You guys, the Oscars this year were so gay! Neil Patrick Harris and his giant stuffed bulge were so gay. That acceptance speech Graham Moore made for winning Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game was so gay. The Imitation Game itself, nominated for Best Picture was SO GAY.. Oh wait. NPH is the most innocuous non-radical faggot to enter the public sphere since Sean Hayes, Graham Moore is STRAIGHT (wtf?), and the gayest thing about The Imitation Game is that its leading actor’s name sounds a little porny if you pronounce it drunk. Not to mention, where THE FUCK was Joan Rivers’ slide in that In Memorium segment?!

Such unabashed heteronormativity makes a cake boy like me go straight to the Netflix Instant Gay & Lesbian section looking for solace. To my chagrin, eCupid is still there, mocking me for even considering clicking play. But what ho, salvation from the soft-core standbys; a new addition to the dreck that is gay cinema, and this one really seems like a doozy. Inter-racial, closeted gay, British, tragic death mope-fest Lilting creeps up in my queue, promising something more than a Kickstarted Wolfe Video. I want to click play, but after viewing the trailer multiple times I think, “no. I don’t need to feel even shittier about myself”–watching a room full of completely out of touch celebrities celebrate each other already made me feel numb and numb-er and it was getting late. But then a quick Google search leads me to the revelation that lead actor Ben Whishaw is not only super cute but ACTUALLY GAY. Hold the phone, or at least put it on vibrate, Mama is in for this ride, even if it promises to depress the shit out of me.

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a_simple_man

As I sit here, with my obese cat by my side and a dry martini in hand at 4pm, I reflect on the bygone year(s) – deplete of Homoflix posts, but full of regional theater, drag debuts and global crises. Where have we been? What have we been watching? What’s the T? It’s time we caught up.

What happens when film imitates fashion, post-production imitates Instagram, and Julianne Moore imitates a 60s divorcee shut-in with amazing winged eye liner? Why A Single Man happens, of course. The 2009 film debut from fashion designer cum director Tom Ford stars Colin Firth in an emotionally restrained portrayal of an aging gay professor who’s recently lost his longtime companion. Based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, the filmic adaptation (penned by Ford and David Scearce) is morose, terse and depressing: all things a good Fall/Winter 2015 Lookbook should be.

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wisekids

I don’t know shit about Jesus. I was raised atheist in NJ and the only “thumpers” I encountered were animated and in Disney films. I do not, however, live under a rock, and word on the street is Southern Baptists don’t like fags. Now the afore-linked-to website is one extreme example of extreme Christianity being extremely lame, but it’s often what most of us (non-Christian queer folk) think of when we hear the word “Baptist,” Southern or otherwise.  Thankfully, writer/director/producer Stephen Cone’s 2011 film, The Wise Kids shows a different, softer side to the faith.

The film is about three, Baptist BFFs in South Carolina, on the verge of adulthood/high school graduation – one of whom happens to be dealing with is sexuality (read: gay). I almost gave this film the SCARED STRAIGHTS label (reserved for films whose gay plot lines serve to give street(meat)-cred to an otherwise heterosexual film), but then thought twice. In interviews, Cone himself even marvels at the inclusion of this film in gay film festivals, citing his use of a gay storyline as a simple representation of stories he’d encountered in his own Southern Baptist upbringing. However, I felt that the gay characters (there’s one more, but I won’t tell you who! it’s a surprise!!) are critically required for the successful balance of the film’s humble musing tendency and its larger socio-critical exposé nature. Surprisingly enough to this Yankweer, not all people who come out in the South get beat up and shunned from their churches. News to me.

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northsea

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of… butt sex

Kudos to anyone who got the Homeric reference, but you don’t need to be an ancient Greek scholar to be enlightened by the great, marginalizing mythology of the young gay. It is a simple and easily repeatable one. All you need are some female props, like a tiara and beauty pageant sash to establish early onset partial gender-identity dysphoria, an insecure straight boy to lead you astray only to betray you ultimately (in abundance these days, especially in Flanders, apparently…) and an older ally or mentor to have a semi-fucked up relationship with that will probably help you learn something about yourself. Once you’ve got all these elements just throw them at your young gay male protagonist, and voila! You’ve got yourself an Odyssey (of ass). Stacked to the brim with cliché coming-of-age tropes, North Sea Texas is a perfect execution of an unfortunately staid and obnoxious stock gay narrative.

Quick sum-sum: Pim is a little gay boy who likes to put on his deadbeat mom’s makeup. He falls for this boy next door straight-but not narrow kid named Gino. They jerk off together and Pim collects Gino’s cumsock and other autistic memorabilia. Then, lo and behold, Gino starts dating chicks. Pim is betrayed and slashes Gino’s tires. Gino’s sister Sabrina, feels slighted by Pim, who she’s triangularly fallen for, when she finds out he’s a fag. They end up bonding when Pim’s mom skips town with Zoltan, a gypsy that Pim has had a crush on his whole life. Doubly-betrayed-Pim has really been through the ringer at this point, when Gino and Sabrina’s mom gets really sick. On her death bed, mom silently requests that her son and Pim be friends (or more!?) by joining their hands, then kicking the bucket. This kind of reunites Gino and Pim and it kind of maybe ends happily.

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So being shacked up inside during this hurricane forced my roommate Mike and I to talk about art. And to drink. For some reason we got on to the topic of gay cinema (wonder why!?) and were discussing how there aren’t really any gay horror films, except über-cheesy ones that err more on the side of satire than satanic. So you’ll imagine my glee when I came upon HellBent, the interestingly capitalized title on N’insant. Unlike my second horror choice, The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror, this one seemed to actually be a gory slasher film! Just in time for Halloween. And hey, it’s better than facing the real horror of the fact that most of NYC has been without power for two days, the subways won’t be up and running for a week and climate change is real.

Like Sandy Duncan – this recent hurricane’s namesake – the protagonist of this film has a glass eye. I would write !!!!!~SPOILER ALERT~!!!!! in front of that last sentence if I thought this blog was anything BUT spoilers and/or you would ever actually watch this POS film. Now, don’t think I’m being harsh. The benefit of the doubt was given, my friends. I turned out all the lights, I put on my fancy headphones and I was ready to get scared. But I actually ended up laughing out loud at least four times at some ridiculous “special effect,” editing mistake or idiotically penned punchline like, “C’mon, we’re fuckin’ fabulous!” delivered with an inexplicable Bronx accent. For rls, I LOLd. Ask Mike, who was frankly just happy to hear something other than porn reverberating through the paper thin wall between our rooms.

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I’m not gonna lie: I love action-adventure movies, and so does my boyfriend. We saw Surrogates together in an actual movie theater. Yes. We each paid $15 to watch Bruce Willis play a robot version of himself and blow shit up for two hours. What can I say, we’re dorks. But last night, the boundaries of our relationship and its tolerance of awful act-ad films were tested when I forced him to watch Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes with me at 1am. I literally have a bruise on my ribcage from every time he pinched me out of utter pain and in my iPhone notes, I actually wrote the words “some Meisner workshops would have gone a long way.”

Many questions linger in my mind after my first (and hopefully only) viewing. Is Lou Farigno gay? How did the film’s star, Vincent J. Roth, find time to also write the film, memorize his lines, eliminate all expression from his face AND design costumes? Was this film actually dubbed? Did they really pay someone to write that awful Tears for Fears-inspired superhero theme song that’s barely audible? Will I ever get those 85 minutes back (at least karmically)?

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Hi. You probably didn’t notice, but a few months ago, homoflix slid off the face of the earth in a poof of sparkle and santorum, but now we’re back, astroglidden and ready to rock once more. What better way to ring in the new year, Chinese or otherwise, than with an understated, Brit flick about a one-night stand turned lovey dovey? Yes, ladies, you too can Grind(r) your way to love. Weekend proves it… then shits on it.

Before we dive in, I must issue an important warning. I hesitated to put the FOREIGN label on this film. It is technically “foreign” as it was made ‘cross the pond, but it’s in English, and the FOREIGN category is really for films that require some kind of translation. These people are definitely speaking my language, but they still get the title because boy do they mumble! I had my MacBook’s speakers cranked up to full blast, and I could barely make out one flirtatious British murmur. These blokes share a lot of things with us during the course of this film, but not their voices. I strongly advice getting some speakers or get some headphones ready before settling in to this one. Seriously. You’re gonna think it’s fine and then 10 minutes in, you’re gonna have to put your dick down and get those $99 Altec-Lansing speaks your mom got you for christmas in college from your storage nook. Oh yeah. Did I mention that there’s GAY SEX in this film? And jizz!? JIZZ!!!!

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