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.
Hello, fans. We acquired two more of you in the last week, so I figured I owed a little update. Chris and I are currently in Hartford, CT, home of the Mark Twain House and one of the most confusing crosswalk situations I’ve ever navigated. Anyway, we’re doing a little bit of regional theater, a moderate amount of substance abuse and a lot of shopping. But I decided to take a pause from pointless consumption today in exchange for a culture infusion which would also allow me to remain in sweat gear until my six thirty PM call. Enter Puccini for Beginners, a film about a commitment-phobic lesbian writer with questionable sexual mores and a lack of purpose. That equalled no-brainer to me this afternoon, as I struggled to bathe my dog and consume an entire box of mac ‘n’ cheese all by my lonesome.
Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) is a once-successful novelist who’s just broken up with her hot and (as we’re reminded several times) tall girlfriend, Samantha. Something about nine months together, you can’t say you love me, I might not be gay and I’m going back to Jeff, etc. Our heroine is of course devastated to the point of phone stalking and binge eating, but quickly meets a new object of affection at a bourgie Manhattan social gathering. The problem: he’s a man! After a few too many cocktails and a drunken proposition that involves dangling her Lesbian, But Willing status over his Progressive Liberal Male’s head – each one of them – Allegra throws up on Phil’s shoes and he’s smitten. Around the same time, leading lady has another meet-cute with an investment banker who secretly dreams of becoming a professional glass blower, Grace (played adorably by Gretchen Mol). And the big twist – are you ready for it? – Phil and Grace are a couple! In a loveless long-term relationship! And they break up! And they both fall for Allegra! And thing get really messy!
Do you wanna cry tonight? I know I did, but my contacts are acting up, so there you go. Regardless of my ocular issues, Chely Wright: Wish Me Away is a tearjerker. It’s a documentary of country music sensation Wright and her decision to publicly come out in 2010. The film follows the months leading up to her national announcement on the Today Show and we get to follow every up and down, as she consults her spiritual advisor, family, best gay and a whole slew of of other supporters on what was inarguably the greatest decision of Wright’s career.
The film takes us from Wellsville, Kansas to Nashville, Tennessee, tracing Wright’s trajectory as the child of an unhappy midwestern family through her rise to fame as a country bombshell. (Homegirl has a sweetass midriff and we are exposed to a fair amount of it in this tight hour forty.) There are some strange omissions in between. How did she make it from bumfuck to the Grand Ole Opry? Who is the mysterious partner she alludes to, the “love of her life” she admits, and how did they share a home all those years she was making her ascent?
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!!!!
Every once and a while life seems to be doing weird things to you. You’re confused. You feel like your art is confounding you and maybe you’re having some trouble getting laid. You’ve got a lot of shit to deal with, but you just can’t. And for some reason, you’re having trouble feeling anything. During these times, you might just need a good fucking cry, to bawl your eyes out, sob alone in the comforting darkness of your empty apartment. If that’s what you need, then Longtime Companion is the film for you. And fuck it, if it isn’t what you need, you should still fucking watch this movie if you haven’t, cuz this be a MO CLASSIC.
If you’ve been living under a heterosexual rock and haven’t heard of this film, here’s the breakdown : seminal, groundbreaking, late-80s film that unabashedly, un-glamourously and honestly portrays the AIDS crisis, and its effect on the gay community, featuring phenomenal performances by young Mary-Louise Parker and Campbell Scott, and young-ish Harry and the Hendersons star, Bruce Davison. It is and was one of the best artistic representations of how AIDS actually effected real people, and is extremely moving, educational and inspiring.
Well, what’s the point? And that’s what Training Rules seeks to uncover. Yes, faggots. It is not just fun and games here in Ohio. Not normally a fan of the documentary form, I took it upon myself to give this one a look after a hard-hitting spin class got me all fired up and ready to go. This film clocks in at just over and hour and paints a fairly dismal portrait of women’s lives in sports, focusing on the story of Jen Harris, a hotshot college basketball player whose career was cut tragically short by the homophobia she encountered as a student-athlete at Penn State. We don’t get to hear a hell of a lot from Harris for legal reasons, but her parents contribute a great deal to the narrative and it’s pretty heartbreaking. Other testimonials are provided by ex-Penn players (the Gulas twins are particularly cute), the awesomely dykey softball coach Sue Rankin and a variety of other sports activists. I didn’t even know there was a National Center for Lesbian Rights!
Don’t say I never did anything for you. It took me nearly three hours to watch an hour and change of the first season of the web series We Have to Stop Now. I nearly exhausted my beer rations in the first sixty minutes, had a nervous breakdown over a Facebook message my ex sent me in the next, but by the last third had grown so accustomed to the prehistoric Internet connection offered to me courtesy of Extended Stay America, I couldn’t imagine watching an Instant Netflix selection any other way. That’s right readers. I’m writing you from the cozy suburbs of Dublin, Ohio where I will be for the next month and Daddy got some time on his hands. Bring on the lonely nights!