When’s the last time a foreign exchange student with a chronic bloody nose and ridiculous baby doll dress fell into your lap? I thought so. But that’s why we have movies, and with XTube mysteriously non-functional in my dismally furnished out-of-town apartment last night, I said: what the hell – how about romance instead of sex this eve? (Who ever said self-reflexive chivalry was dead?) Decision made, I cued up Jack and Diane, a relatively new addition to Netflix, which mercifully has no direct relation to John Cougar Mellencamp and gets extra points for numerous scenes of adolescent face-down bed masturbation. So much for courtly love, but a good reminder that high school wasn’t all bad.
Before I embark on my usual low-brow, fast and cheap analysis, I think I need to address the last review I produced, a little puff piece on that snore-fest Puccini for Beginners. An ex recently called me up to ask what was wrong after reading my blurb, to inquire after the tepid writing and bland pronouncements. I was somewhat taken aback, knowing in my heart she wasn’t off-track. I’ve recently been experiencing a deep sadness around the queer cinema available to me these days and that has been exacerbated by the reality of being far from accessible queer culture for the last month. (okCupid! Hartford = slim pickin’s.) Everytime I refresh my Netflix browser, all I pray to see are some moderately cute people telling me some moderately decent stories. All I get are message like, “Queer actors don’t exist!” … “This will be better if straight people can watch along!” … “Sure, nails like that won’t be a deterrent to awesome sex!” Granted, there are still the classics … Desert Hearts, Parting Glances, does High Art sort of count … but all these films are at least fifteen years old.
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!
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.)
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?
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.
Ah J-Ho. You couldn’t have said it better.
We’ve loved helping you navigate the Instant section on Netflix, but it’s recently come to our attention that Netflix Instant movies, EXPIRE! That means, we review a movie (like Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes) and by the time you’ve gotten drunk enough on Malibu and made sure your roomates are nowhere to be found, it’s GONE. Also, there’s so goddamn few homoflix out there, we really can’t afford to limit our scope to one proprietary movie service (and Netflix never responded to our sponsorship request… thanks, bitches). Also also, we just wanna be able to write more cool awesome stuff for you. So…
HOMOFLIX IS OFFICIALLY NOT LIMITED TO NETFLIX INSTANT MOVIES!!!
There. Please to enjoy now.
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xo J + C
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)?