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.
Disclaimer: I haven’t had sex in three weeks.
Hello Queer Cinema Acolytes and Seasoned Friends. I’m writing you from a windowless basement in Peterborough, New Hampshire, decorated only by a wire sculpture of a cat and a plastic tub of disinfectant wipes. Yes. I am at the famed MacDowell Colony, writing the next great American play, hobnobbing with fancy folk and consuming at least three thousand calories a day. Exercise here consists of walking to meals and bumming rides to town, where I purchase cigarettes, microbrews and organic coffee syrup. But after savoring a fine port and a collection of politically-aspiring Portuguese video essays this evening at a raucous open studio, I was reminded of those who got me here and the dues I must pay. And no, I didn’t call my mother because I’m a good forty minutes away from actual phone reception. Downing the last of my Sandman mixed with a delectable rosé, I made the trek back to Colony Hall, six-pack in tow (not the abdominal muscles, little scamps) to take in an On-Demand and was quickly reassured, it has not been too long. These are the sacrifices I make. We are a community.
Tonight, I had the perverse pleasure of consuming Michael Baumgarten’s The Guest House, an LA-based lipstick lezzie concoction featuring loads of soft-core and some bad Aimee Mann rip-off vocals, courtesy of Ruth Reynolds playing the film’s luscious, just-eighteen protagonist Rachel. Kool-Aid dye job aside, Rachel is all the right stuff and she even makes a hideous tramp stamp forgivable when she strips out of her Hot Topic get-up and into the arms of Amy, her father’s recently-hired intern, played with pouty vulnerability by the comely Madeline Merritt. Amy’s just hit Los Angeles to pursue vague work with Rachel’s recently widowed pop, the sleazy Tom McCafferty, and she’s conveniently being housed in the title’s guest house where Rachel’s mom used to render abstracts and be “arty.” The duo paint the town red while Dad’s away on business, boning jail bait (by the looks of a long-distance phone call he makes to Rachel from the hallway of a Holiday Inn). They visit a carnival, ride bikes and while away the afternoon dancing to a generic alt-country soundtrack so you’re sure to feel really firmly located in the land of the predictable. Long story short, all that bike-riding gives Amy a serious knot in her traps and about two minutes into a generous massage at the hands of our faux-goth heroine, she’s on her back and tribbing‘s never looked so good.
Then some other things happen.
There’s no other way to put it. This is not a review. It’s a goddam public service announcement.
Dear readers, last night it was brought to my attention that what Brother Chris and I do here on homoflix is not merely light-hearted fun, but sometimes an actual mission to protect you, your family, friends and allies from the horrendous shit that can worm its way into the gay and lesbian section of Netflix. Last night, I watched the 2008 stink bomb/1920s period piece Summer Lover (not to be confused with the 1982 Peter Gallagher/Daryl Hannah vehicle Summer Lovers or the totally decent if totally depressing lesbian flick My Summer of Love.)
Ah, sweet mistress Procrastination. It’s a Friday night and I’m home alone, feeling blissfully inept at applying to something called the Princess Grace Fellowship. So what better way to while away an hour and forty-five than cue up a little IN action. What’s on my plate tonight? I’ll tell you – The Sex Monster, starring my old fantasy flame, Mariel Hemingway. Last seen (by me) in Personal Best, time has only done magical wonders for the tawny blond, elevating the baby-voiced icon into some MILF-transcendent category due utter homage. Yes, rum does make me hyperbolic, but we’re out of Old Overholt, so there you go.
Laura (Hemingway) is a devoted wife/part-time sculptress and in this film that means we see her prepare a lot of salads and occasionally invite people into a studio. Her husband Marty is a stressed-out developer, obsessed with getting Laura to take her salad-tossing out of the kitchen and into the bedroom – with Marty and a plus-one. That is, a lady plus-one. After a serious amount of coaxing, a surplus of liquor and a late-night swim the couple finds itself in bed with Didi, a sweet piece of tail and Laura’s coworker at the hair salon where she works. Initially tentative, Laura’s eventually munchin’ like a pro, putting Marty way to shame and sending Didi into a serious conundrum. Initially Marty is stoked, but his enthusiasm quickly wanes when he discovers his wife is a. a champ and b. not gonna be shy about going back for seconds. And thirds. And fourths. Laura turns out to be a serious box nymph. Unfortunately for us connoisseurs, all the action goes down (never has the phrase been so appropriate) right under our noses in a series of shots where Marty comes up gasping for air only to see his wife plugging away like an Olympic diver. I wish more women knew their potential.
My cup of iced red wine almost drained (thank you, Trader Joe’s), I turn myself to the matter at hand. Dreya Weber. And it appears she’s turning into a homoflix category all of her own (see The Gymnast). But she is more than that. She is a goddess of some singular genre devoted to “pansexual” women (I swear I read that self-proclaimed shit on Wiki, but it’s possible that’s the four beers I had before the red talking) who wish to make art with their male partners about fucking women. Should I be upset? Or overcome by her pale, gauzy tops? I think you know the answer.
In honor of 9/11, I decided to watch A Marine Story today. Just shy of four minutes in, the incomparable Weber had already thrown some meth head punk to the ground and a minute later was ordering tequila from a small-town shop clerk. And this is all after she got her gay ass discharged from the military. Nice work – and you can get it if you try.
So I’d heard a lot about this film, but nothing I’d heard was enough to convince me to re-subscribe to my Netflix DVD plan. But huzzah! Last week, this big-budget, star-studded homoflick popped up on Netflix Instant, to the delight of Ewan McGregor stalkers everywhere.
I Love You Phillip Morris is the true story of a real-life gay con-artist named Steven Russell (Jim Carrey), and his love-affair with a sissy Southern carjacker Phillip Morris (McGregor), who he meets in prison. According to the marketing and trailers, this film looked like an irritating characterization of gayness with enough moral ambiguity to allow any Bible-thumping potential audience members to feel safe in their inability to relate to a heathen homo. Was this Brokeback Mountain all over again? With uglier dudes?