Films Of Fail

I’ve come to the realization that nothing is more effective in nearly converting me into a homophobe than gay media itself.

More than Fred Phelps and the religious right, by the time I’m finished watching a gay flick, I’m usually almost convinced that the conservative right is well…right….about the evils of ALL gayz including my masochistic self for subjecting myself through two hours of torture. By the time the film is over, I’m usually about to check myself into an ex-gay reparative therapy.

And I say this as a proud gay man.

Now if stereotypes hold true and you take into account the number of LGBTQs who supposedly work in Hollywood, then you would think that one could find some cinematic gems with LGBT films. Alas that’s rarely (if ever) the case. I hold out hope that I’ll find that mythical unicorn of a well-executed gay film. But for every Brokeback Mountain, Torchwood: Children of Earth, Save Me or Rites of Passage (movies of awesome), we’re subjected to the pure unadulterated bullshit like two of the films I’m going to discuss today:

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1. Holding Trevor

As writer, producer and star (the titular character), you initially want to applaud Brent Gorski for having a severe work ethic and dedication to this project. But five minutes into the movie, you realize this piece of tripe was nothing more than a masturbatory vanity flick.

Stuck in a dead-end relationship with a heroin addict boyfriend, Trevor (Brent Gorski) finds fresh hope in the form of hunky doctor Ephram (Eli Kranski). But when conflicts arise between Trevor and his best friends, Andie (Melissa Searing) and Jake (Jay Brannan), his newfound happiness crumbles. To pull himself together again, Trevor must decide what — and who — is most important to him.

You know, in hindsight, I don’t know why I thought that piece of shit was worth watching. Oh yeah, I was hoping for porn factor (ie the hot man on man sex scenes)  which it totally skimped out on. Where do I even begin? The characters couldn’t have been more cliched or obnoxious. You’ve got Trevor, an obnoxious, conceited, self-absorbed, catty diva. He’s an ass to almost everyone he meets and carries himself with a sense of entitlement. And of course he puts himself in destructive situations (the heroin-addicted ex for starters) and then doesn’t understand why his life is so fucked up. Then there’s his entourage: Andy, the hag who while is an otherwise decent and tolerable character (though a drunk), literally gets fucked over in the most unrealistic way possible (you’ll understand if you watch the flick). Then of course there’s Jake whose somehow manages to be more flamboyant, over-the-top, obnoxious and narcissistic than Trevor (and trust me when I say that’s saying a lot). Ironically the walking stereotype thinks he’s so post-gay and so post “all things faggotry.”

The story is narrated by Trevor who gripes and moans and spews a bunch of philosophical nonsensical dogma which is supposed to make him seem all introspective but results in him looking like an idiot. What’s even more insulting is that the audience is expected to sympathize with Trevor or any of these characters. They’re despicable human beings, period. At least the ex is a drug addict, what’s the others’ excuse? It’s written with a type of arrogance, I’ve seen all too often. I’m gay and therefore I’m magically speshul. Playing to every negative stereotype about gays does more harm to our efforts than homophobes could ever hope for. Yet we’re supposed to overlook the fact that Trevor’s a complete ass. It got to the point that each time drama and tragedy struck, I was rooting that he suffers even more. To say he had it coming would be an understatement of the century.

Like too many racist white gays, Gorski doesn’t miss an opportunity to showcase his blatant bigotry with that obnoxious, stereotypical, unrealistic, (and poorly executed) portrayal of the walking sapphire trope (aka the sassy angry black woman). For a moment I was wondering if I was watching a colorized (no pun intended ironically) version of Birth of A Nation.

It fascinates me how these racist white gays don’t miss an opportunity to denigrate African Americans but in the same breath will imitate what they perceive to be “authentic black behavior” and appropriate our music and culture. And I wish somebody would play like they don’t know what I’m talking about. Case in point: Shirley Q. Liquor.

Which brings to me to my next point. White folks (and no offence to those of you who got any gawd damn sense): being racist does not make you edgy, it just makes you a poser and a douche at that. That goes double for you HBO, Showtime and FX. *casts the evil eye of death.*

In case I haven’t been clear at this point, the production was horrid, the acting….God what acting and the plot…..don’t even get me started. Aside from Heroin Ex or Hex the only decent acting and anything resembling a redeeming quality for this fustercluck is Ephram. Handsome, successful, moral, kind, intelligent and an all-around ideal catch. Which is why I wanted to violently shake him when he hitched his dating wagon to that fucking loser Trevor.

I screamed at the television, “HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FUCKING MIND?!!!!”

Oh wait, that’s right I’m supposed to root for those two to get together. Fuck you! That’s a Netflix rental and an hour and a half I’ll never get back.

Moving on….

2. In The Blood

Imagine each time you have sex, you see visions of your sister. Now imagine each time you have sex, you see visions of your sister being murdered. Now imagine each time you have sex, you see visions of your sister being murdered and you having intense nose bleeds. And yeah that’s pretty much the crux of this movie.

Finally ready to explore his attraction to men, college jock Cassidy (Tyler Hanes) goes out with sexy Victor (Carlos Alberto Valencia). But in the middle of their foreplay, he has a disturbing vision of his sister’s death, which may be linked to the recent murders on campus. A serial killer is on the loose, and the only way for Cassidy to have more psychic visions to help catch the murderer is to embrace his homosexuality completely.

To be honest, I really wanted to like this film. For an indie flick (and a gay one at that) this film was doing a lot of things right. The production value is solid which is impressive to be on such a shoe-string budget, the acting is watchable and Hanes carries the film very well. Unfortunately the ball got royally dropped with the climax and the conclusion of the film. It was a let’s be different just to be different and let’s throw a severe swerve at the audience type of film. Which would’ve been excellent had the story had anything resembling a resolution and the story arcs were adequately tied up or, you know, acknowledged. But alas a world of no. This movie suffered plot fail and an otherwise decent indie flick managed to snatch fail out of the jaws of win. And that makes this film all the more tragic, a half-decent writer could’ve made this such a kickass movie.

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After all of this, all I can say is, gay media, U R DOING IT RONG!!!!!!!!

What’s so infuriating about all of this is that gay culture is a rich one. With all of this material to pull from to tell some excellent stories, we’re subjected to this hackneyed garbage.

And then we wonder why homophobia is at a fever pitch.

Expect some follow-up posts on how to do it right in the very near future. I would urge all storytellers to take very meticulous notes. Because if I’m subjected to ish like these two films again, then I can’t be held responsible for what happens next.

6 thoughts on “Films Of Fail

  1. Have you ever watched an Almodóvar film? I took a film class on him (having only seen one of his movies previously) last year, and I think he is one of the few who gets it right (from a Spanish pov, at least). His own story has the potential to be a stereotype (gay male rejected by his father for being a f–, drawn to females, campy, etc.), but his gay characters are fleshed out and, interestingly, act as if homophobia doesn’t exist.

    • I don’t think I have. Or at least if I have I’m not familiar with the name. I’ll be sure to check them out.

      Thank you for the rec. ;-)

      • You may have heard of “Volver” which came out in 2006 and starred Penelope Cruz. His latest is “Broken Embraces”, which came out in 2009.

        Both Penelope and Antonio Banderas got their start with Almodóvar, and contrary to his super-macho US roles, Antonio Banderas usually played gay men in Almodóvar films.

        I recommend “Volver”, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”, and “All About My Mother”. The English versions should be pretty easy to find on Netflix–I know “Broken Embraces” is on there for sure.

  2. European films in general tend to be a lot better about portraying gay men. Unfortunately, lesbians don’t get the same nuanced representations – but I’ll take softcore French lesbian porn over most of what gets cranked out on this side of the Atlantic any day.

  3. I have to admit to some curiosity about how a film involving solving murders with gay sex induced psychic powers could have been good in the first place. It sounds like a weird yaoi plot.

    • The really twisted part. They managed to make it work. Basically the protagonist had latent psychic ability but he could only release it when he lost himself in sex. And seeing that he was repressed and in the closet about his sexuality………it somehow managed to work.

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