Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Day of Movies - My Reviews

Today was a day of relaxing.. no podcasting, no planning my dream vacation. All I wanted to do was sit on my butt and watch movies on Netflix.

Today's theme was "Gay Themed" movies. I will admit that about 90% gay themed movies are low budget but that doesn't mean they don't have a great story.. okay well alot of them don't but occasionally you'll find a gem amongst the rocks. Today I found a few.

First up was a movie called Longhorns, here's a quick synopsis; This is the story of a Texan "all-American" boy at college who seemingly conforms to the stereotype in every way back in the early 80's. When he meets an openly gay student, he has to confront himself for the first time in his life. Or does he?

This was obviously a low-budget, indie production, but I was pleasantly surprised: the production values weren't incredible, but they were definitely better than one might expect, the script was good, touching at times and funny, and the acting was pretty good, especially the two leads. I found the main characters conflict with his sexuality to be very realistic, especially for 1982 when this film takes place.

This isn't a great movie but it was entertaining. It was funny watching this as the main character looks so much like my best friend Chris. Would I watch it again, probably not but I am glad I got to experience it once. I'd give Longhorns a solid C+

Next was The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green, this movie is based on a comic strip. Synopsis: A young gay man tries to balance his career as a personal assistant while searching for love.

Unlike Longhorns this one actually had a bigger budget and production values were much higher but unfortunately the main character wasn't that great. This film breaks the most basic fundamental rule of storytelling; the audience needs to feel empathy, affection and support for the central protagonist, and I could care less about him. I actually was more interested in his former boyfriend and friends. This is why I continued to watch the movie. 

As I said.. the production value was good, the acting was good and the majority of the characters were good.. but the main character was such a douche I really didn't care what happen to him. I give
The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green a grade of C. Will I watch this again... defiantly not.. am I glad I watched this in the first place.. eh.

My third movie of the day is called Is It Just Me? Frustrated by his ongoing failure to meet Mr. Right, Blaine stumbles upon what might be his perfect match in an online chat room - Xander, a sweet, hunky Texan who's recently moved to LA. Smitten, Blaine finds he's been chatting to Xander under his go-go dancer roommate's profile, setting in motion a convoluted comedy of errors with romance as the ultimate objective.

We have a winner.. I really enjoyed this movie. Most of the characters in the movie are stereotypical, but not in a bothersome way. You have the self-deprecating nerd (Blaine), the perfect dream guy (Xander), the jock who's more focused on sex (Cameron), the older eccentric guy who's lived his life alone, the understanding female friend. I have to give a lot of credit to the actors and the script for not making these characters devolve into annoying rehashes of what we've already seen dozens of time. All of the characters are likable and relateable in some way. The movie does not judge any of them, and there's no bad guy.

I really could identify with the main character of Blaine who is a hopelessly romantic but self-deprecating and lonely gay guy. I found his story to be true to life. Of course I wouldn't have let it get as far as it did but I understand that it's a movie and the story had to play out like it did.

Xander is the cutest thing in the world and his older roommate Ernie provides most of the humor in the film. I also thought it was strange that Xander, after talking to Blaine on the phone for hours and hours, could not tell the voices of Blaine and Cameron apart when he met them in real life, but again it had to be done to tell the story they wanted to tell. 

The production value was fantastic, the acting was great and the storytelling was sweet.

Over all it was a very heartwarming, charming and fun romantic comedy. The moment it was over I added the DVD to my Amazon wishlist. I can officially say that this movie is now in my top 5 of all time favorite "gay themed" movies. I give "Is It Just Me?" a solid A

The final movie of the night was Morgan. Here's a synopsis:  Morgan is the story of a gay and paralyzed young athlete that attempts to live his life in a situation far from desirable. After an accident leaves him paralyzed from the waist down, Morgan Oliver, is first seen wallowing in a state of depression, drowning his sorrows in beer as he watches bicycle racing (the sport that at once defined his sense of purpose and drove him to his catalytic accident) on television. He meets Dean Kagan who helps him through the way and a romantic relationship develops between the two. Once Morgan knows about the New York Haven Cycle Race, he decides to take part in the race with the help of Kagan and sponsorship from Tread Bike Shop.

The first half of this movie is very good, refreshingly low-key and original, with a believable, slowly-developing romance between Morgan and Dean. The second half of the movie turns into somewhat of a melodrama. I knew there would have to be some sort of conflict as everything was looking to good for Morgan. Watching him finally break down from all that had happen to him was hard. He pushes away his mother, best friend and Dean. I guess he had to hit rock bottom before he could slowly build himself back up and come to grips with his situation. 

All the acting was great but Jack Kesy's gentle but powerful performance as Dean was fantastic... 

I really enjoyed this movie, I don't think I would buy it on DVD but I'd definitely watch it again. I give Morgan a solid B

Not bad.. out of the four movies I watch, one was barely watchable, another was entertaining, one was pretty great and one I totally loved. Three out of four is not bad.

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