By Jeff Walsh
"Teenage Angst" is an interesting movie, but not really a gay one. This seems to be a trend lately. Hopefully one that ends soon.
I mean, sure, cute teenaged boys in uniform at an all-boys school form an exclusive club. One boy is made to stand naked in front of the rest to be able to attend. They skinny dip together. They are often nearly naked with their bodies draped over one another. And, you know, that's delightful and all. There's a sexual tension that is definitely present in the encounters with the boys, and no women around. It could go in an interesting direction.
But none of them are gay, closeted, have a gay uncle. There's no gay story at all. Nothing. So, the question is... is gay subtext enough? Considering I have a stack of DVDs on my desk, I'd have to say no.
Dustin Lance Black, the young openly gay writer of Milk, won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, with Sean Penn taking the trophy home for his amazing transformation into Harvey Milk.
Black's beautiful speech directly addresses gay youth. Here's what he said:
"Oh my God. This was, um. This was not an easy film to make. First off, I have to thank Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg and all the real-life people who shared their stories with me. And, um, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco, and our entire cast, my producers, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, everyone at Groundswell and Focus, for taking on the challenge of telling this life-saving story. When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married.
I want to thank my mom who has always loved me for who I am, even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you, thank you, and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk."
By Jeff Walsh
"Serbis" is not a gay movie. We should get that out of the way up front. This movie from the Philippines mainly concerns a family struggling to make ends meet in a run-down movie theater.
The Pineda family have court cases, pregnancies, and other family issues going on. All of the struggles they are going through doesn't leave them much time to deal with the fact that their "adult only" movie theater isn't attended for the movies they show, but is actually a meeting place for male prostitutes (serbis) and their gay clients.
I thought the movie was well done, but a bunch of interlaced stories stretched across 85 minutes doesn't leave much time to get too invested in any one story. I'd almost have preferred one family story and more investment, but as with any movie from another country, it's always interesting just seeing how people live their daily lives elsewhere.
Had good gsa today. c was there, she was cute. what could i do for valentine's day for gsa? wearing black is too deppressing, and we're a happy gsa. And btw, can you retrieve journal entries when you go to another page by accident and they're no there anymore? I'm going to come out to friend when she comes over to sleepover. Is that too weird? i know she'd be supportive, and wouldn't think i'd be hitting on her, and otherwise i have no alone time with her.
By Jeff Walsh
"Schoolboy Crush" is a campy, over-the-top melodrama that doesn't aim for realism but, once you get past that, it's always a fun ride.
The first scene in the movie is a sex scene between a young man and a younger male prostitute. We learn very quickly that the man who hired the boy is a high school teacher at a very exclusive all-boys academy in Japan. And there's a new student arriving in the middle of the semester. You guessed it, the teen prostitute.
The two spar throughout the movie, with the boy wanting the teacher to hire him again, or does he actually have feelings for him? The boy's nerdy roommate wants to be part of his life, but is romantically interested, too? Even other boys at school seem to want him sexually… I guess what you hear about everyone being gay at these private schools is true. Even the bully seems equally attracted to and repulsed by the new boy.
By Jeff Walsh
"Ciao" begins simply, as we see an e-mail exchange between two men concerning Mark, who recently died.
Jeff is Mark's best friend. After Mark's death, he has been taking care of wrapping up the loose threads of Mark's life. It is during that period that he sees incoming e-mail from Andrea, an Italian guy excited to be visiting America soon, especially since he is coming to see Mark for three days in Dallas, Texas.
Jeff has to tell Andrea (who Mark never told him about) that Mark died in a car accident and, after several back and forth exchanges, Jeff says Andrea is welcome to still visit Dallas, if he wants. So of course, he does.
The movie, which opens in San Francisco and Berkeley today, doesn't delve into any wild flights of fancy. The two don't fall madly in love, or anything else predictable. Most of their time together is awkward, since they are both strangers and solely united by death and sustained by small talk.
I was just reading Merrics journal and she mentioned the movie Troy. That got me thinking about the first time I saw it. I went to the theaters with my dad to see Troy this was 2004 and about a year before I started to seriously question my sexuality. The funny thing is that Helen of Troy in the movie totally caught my eye. I was...I don't know how to say it. I just liked her you know?
Soooo I took my little sis out to go see a movie tonight! Since I was paying I got to pick, so I chose "The Duchess", a period piece about the Duchess of Devonshire. What else can I say but GREAT!!!! Kiera Knightly does an amazing job as the Duchess!! And there are so many torrid twists!!!! Ooooo you gotta love the good ol' fashioned days of mistresses in politics... ; D Some things never change!
By Jeff Walsh
In the press materials for the new movie "Breakfast with Scot," which opens in the San Francisco Bay Area and other major cities in limited release on October 10, they keep referring to the men in the film as being a "straight" gay couple.
Now, there are terms that seem more realistic to describe two men in a committed relationship who don't like the word gay, are closeted at work, refuse all public displays of affection, seem to have a lack of intimacy in the privacy of their own home, and are uncomfortable by other gay people or anyone thinking they're gay, but "straight" isn't it.
Of course, this construct needs to exist so that this couple's life can be disrupted when they have to become the guardians of Scot, a very flamboyant, seemingly gay 11-year-old who turns their "straight" lives upside down. He likes cooking meals, singing songs, wearing makeup and boas, and kissing his male friends. So, both sides of the equation are pretty overdone. Of course, I was rooting for the kid, since he was at least being himself, whereas the couple were basically two uptight closet cases.
But from the moment the movie begins, you know what's coming.
By Jeff Walsh
"Camp Out" is a documentary that follows a handful of gay Christian teens attend the first summer camp exclusively designed for them. Many of the teens feel pulled between the gay community and the God community, with each demonizing the other on a regular basis.
All of the kids are in their mid- to late-teens, and out to their parents. One of the girl's mother was very enthusiastic about the notion of a summer camp where her daughter could explore both spirituality and sexuality.
"You can have both those two together? That's awesome!" she says.
Like any reality show or documentary, narratives begin to form between the kids. There are crushes, friendship, bonds, and situations in which people aren't uncomfortable. This ranges from gay guys who aren't very comfortable doing sports activities to one of the boys feeling uncomfortable by a game of Truth or Dare.
By Jeff Walsh
Bangkok Love Story is a fun, highly stylized gay movie from Thailand that certainly swings for the fences. Everything about it plays for maximum effect. It's sort of a Brokeback Mountain set in the underbelly of Bangkok.
Cloud is an assassin hired to kill Stone, a police informant, but he doesn't pull the trigger. In a gunfight, the two escape handcuffed together and Stone nurses Cloud back together and falls in love with him. (The gay angle isn't really evident before that happens, but if there wasn't a gay angle I wouldn't be writing this, so you know it's coming anyway). Their relationship takes a turn when Stone gives Cloud a bath on a rooftop in downtown Bangkok, which turns into quite a charged, erotic scene on the rooftop.
But nothing about Bangkok Love Story is subtle. Cloud's mother has AIDS, and his younger brother Fog is HIV+, both from his stepfather. Cloud is married, but cannot deny his love for Cloud, who freaks out after their sexual encounter and cuts off contact.
By Jeff Walsh
"The Houseboy" opens with three guys curled up in bed. Two are a couple, and third, younger guy is the extra they keep around to have fun with. Nick is going to watch the house while the couple goes to visit their families over Christmas. As they are leaving, one of them mentions that after the holidays, it might be time to get a newer, younger model in the new year.
Nick is bored alone and starts hooking up with strangers, both online and people he meets while walking around. All of the experiences are empty, devoid of the intimacy and caring he desires, but are exactly what he agreed to before the encounters.
He starts telling his tricks that he's going to kill himself on Christmas and let the couple find him dead when they return home. Rather than empathy, his tricks just want to continue getting dressed and out of there. Who could blame them?
By Jeff Walsh
Chad Allen has a lot on his plate.
His latest entries to the Donald Strachey gay detective movies, "On The Other Hand, Death" and "Ice Blues," the third and fourth installments, are being released soon.
"Save Me," the movie he produced with Robert Gant and Judith Light, comes to theaters in September.
And, at present, he's finishing up a successful run of a play with Valerie Harper as Talullah Bankhead. But he's no stranger to theater, recently doing Douglas Carter Beane's "Little Dog Laughed," which required him to get naked onstage.
But what's most surprising is that for how long he's been out and doing good work as an actor, activist, and role model, this is his first interview in Oasis. This oversight is officially corrected.
I first remember Chad from his role on "Our House" in 1986 (yeah, yeah, you weren't born yet, I get it) when he was only 12 (and in the business for seven years at that point). He later went on to a regular role on "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman."
In 1996, when he was 21, photos of him kissing a guy in a hot tub appeared in The Globe tabloid. They were sold to the rag by Allen's then-boyfriend (I'd never heard that tidbit before, but Wikipedia doesn't lie).
He waited until 2001 to officially come out, and has since been very open about his past partying and drug addiction, his spiritual journey, and his new role as: an openly gay activist, an actor doing great work, and and "old fogie" who’s more interested in hanging out at home with his boyfriend and dogs.
I bring up his past both to give context to some of what we talk about in the interview, but mainly because in "Save Me," his character starts as a drug-addicted party boy who cleans up to find love and a better life, which (aside from the ex-gay ministry setting), seems to touch on Allen's own journey, as well.
Chad and I spoke on the phone last week. Here's what we said:
By Jeff Walsh
"Save Me" is an independent movie opening in theaters in September, and it is the first production from Mythgarden, the production house started by openly gay actors Chad Allen and Robert Gant.
In the opening scene we see Mark (Allen) doing drugs, drinking, and having hot vacant sex with a hot vacant guy -- bottoming and bottoming out. The next morning at check out time, the motel owner finds Mark on the motel room floor, having overdosed.
He wakes up in a hospital room, screaming at his brother and yelling at his mother, who is in the hospital hallway, but unable to even come in the room and look at her son. They pay for him to spend two months at Genesis House, a Christian-run "ex-gay" ministry that can also handle his sobriety issues (they use the same 12 steps to cure people of their sexuality anyway).
At the center, Mark encounters Scott (Gant), another "ex-gay" at the live-in center run by Gayle (Judith Light). I won't spoil the details, but anyone whose ever seen a movie before can figure out where this is going, not that it makes the journey any less interesting to watch.
By Jeff Walsh
"On The Other Hand, Death" is the latest Donald Strachey mystery starring Chad Allen (playing now on the Here! Network). But if that's not enough to hold you, a fourth installment called "Ice Blues" is coming out in September. As a fan of the first two Strachey movies, these two have the same fun charm as the earlier outings.
In "On The Other Hand, Death," Strachey investigates the story of an older lesbian couple. One half of the couple (Margot Kidder) is a high school guidance counselor that is a target of harassment since coming out to the school, and the couple is also being harassed for being the only people not willing to sell their home as part of a huge deal to bring a large store chain to their sleepy suburb.
There are other interconnected subplots involving both sides of the lesbian couple's story, but the Strachey stories make it pretty easy to swallow and a fun time. The director really loves putting a lot of classic noir nods throughout the movie, which always make it enjoyable.
Chad Allen is the key to making these work, though, which is evident in that this is the third of four Strachey movies that has been filmed (out of six that are planned) with him in the lead role.
By Jeff Walsh
Whoa. I just finished watching what is considered the first “true gay film in Korean cinema,” and if this is how they mark their entrance to world cinema, they are more than welcome to make as many gay movies as they want.
The movie, “No Regret,” apparently shocked Korean audiences when it was first released, and the movie comes out in New York and Los Angeles at the end of July, and in San Francisco at the end of August (check website to see when more cities are added).
Similar to the gay Japanese movie “Boys Love” that I recently reviewed, this is a movie that doesn’t have that cultural take on an old story feel to it. It is a modern, worthwhile movie that depicts the characters’ lives in Seoul, but the emphasis is on story above all else.
Sumin leaves the orphanage where he grew up and goes to Seoul, where to help pay for his studies and cost of living he has to do factory work as well as a second job as a driver. One night, he has to drive Jaemin home. Jaemin is slightly older and rich, and also interested in more than a ride home.
By Jeff Walsh
"Holding Trevor" is a film that takes a look at the patterns we find ourselves in in life, and whether or not we can break free of them. In the movie, Trevor is trying to put a big chunk of his past behind him, namely his best friend turned boyfriend turned junkie. The movie starts as he is taking his ex to the hospital after an overdose.
Trevor spends a lot of time with his roommate Andie and their promiscuous musician friend Jake until he meets a hunky doctor named Ephram who offers him a new path.
The movie follows more of an emotional arc than a story arc, in that we are mainly watching characters live their lives and seeing how everyone’s life has more complexities than we want others to know about. In an age where people are constantly hanging out, always connected and sharing their lives, when Trevor is stressed, he drives through the car wash and screams as the car is being soaped down. And when Andie gets big news, she also keeps it a secret.
By Jeff Walsh
If you loved the raunchy, politically incorrect fun of “Another Gay Movie,” you’re in luck, they made a sequel. “Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild” picks up where the last movie left off, this time sending its horny quartet off to spring break.
I have to say, as a fan of the first movie, it was initially disconcerting that a majority of the main roles were recast. I hadn’t seen the original for a while, so instead of connecting the dots, I just thought I had really forgotten the first one. There were jokes that, in retrospect, were explicitly there to clue you in, such as agents not wanting their clients to do two gay movies in a row. But for whatever reason, it took me a while to figure it out. Having read this, you won’t suffer the same fate.
At spring break, the gay clothing optional resort has a “Gays Gone Wild” contest, where everyone gets a unique rubber stamp and whenever you sleep with someone, you stamp their card and whoever gets the most stamps on their headboard-shaped card wins. The main competition for the boys is a group of Jaspers who are modeled after the trio in “Heathers.” While the first movie stayed focused on mainly parodying gay movies, the sequel takes a broader approach (which makes sense, given that they hit every major gay movie last time). So, it is a bit harder catching all the references since you don’t have as much perspective where they’ll be coming from.
I started to paint the fence in front of my house yesturday. I get paid $7 an hour. I don't think I've ever tried to work so slow in my life. So far I've earned $42. I hope my dad doesn't cetch on that I'm working incredibably slow to get more money out of him...