May 23, 2013

Josh Hutcherson: Straight but Not Narrow

In April 2012, 19-year old Josh Hutcherson became the youngest person ever to win the GLAAD Vanguard Award for the "Straight but Not Narrow" anti-homophobia campaign that he started (with buddy Avan Joggia of Victorious).

Paradoxically, his on-screen performances have veered toward the heterosexist.

I first noticed him in Bridge to Terabintha (2007), about two preteens who escape from the horrors of real life into an imaginary world, but find that it can't help them.  Real life is too awful.

I hated it: the trailers led me to expect a Chronicles of Narnia-style adventure about a "real" fantasy world, not two mentally ill kids who were hallucinating.  And one of them dies. Oh, and Josh's character gets a girlfriend.

And Firehouse Dog (2007), about a movie-star dog who goes to work in a struggling firehouse, and revives it with the help of a boy, Shane (Josh).  Who gets a girlfriend.

So far this actor's work was depressing, but being a Jules Verne fan, I gave him another chance in the latest adaption of Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008).   In search of his missing brother, geologist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) explores the Center of the Earth, along with his nephew Sean (Josh) and their teenage guide Anita.  Both Trevor and Sean are into Anita (she picks Trevor).

Ok, what about Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009), based on the gay-subtext novel series by Darren Shan?  There's some buddy-bonding: Darren (Chris Massoglia) offers to become a vampire to save the life of his buddy Steve (Josh).

And The Kids are All Right (2010): Josh plays Laser, teenage son of a lesbian couple.

But The Hunger Games (2012): Peeta (Josh) and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) are chosen to participate in a teenage survival-death game where the last one alive wins.  They fall in love, and find a way to both survive.  Fade out kiss.

The Forger (2012), with Jansen Panettiere, looks promising. But Paradise Lost (2014) will star Josh as a young surfer who meets "the girl of his dreams" in Colombia.

Besides, I'm still mad about The Bridge to Terabintha.