Feb 27, 2016

The Stonewall Movie: Convoluted Plot, Not Enough Beefcake

I've read books on Stonewall, the riot that sparked the Gay Rights Revolution.  I've seen documentaries.

Now I've seen the 2015 movie.

Wow, who knew it was so convoluted.

1. Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine), a clean-cut all-American kid from rural Indiana, gets a scholarship to Columbia, but before his parents can fill out the scholarship papers, they discover that he is gay and kick him out.  His boyfriend, disgraced, refuses to talk to him.

So he goes to New York anyway, where everybody -- repeat, everybody falls in love with him.

He lives on the street, and works as a hustler (although the look of pure disgust he gets whenever a client tries to go down on him would probably limit his success).

He hangs out with a group of androgynous gay and transgender street kids led by Ray, aka Ramona (Johnny Beauchamp).

2. They are regulars at the Stonewall Tavern, run by Ed Murphy (Ron Pearlman), who has connections to the Mob and may have murdered a street kid who was Ray's lover.

3. Meanwhile Danny gets involved with Trevor (Jonathan Rhys-Meyer),  who picks up twinks by playing Procul Harem's "Whiter Shade of Pale" on the jkebox.  Trevor belongs to the establishment-gay rights Mattachine Society, with its ineffectual message of accommodation and "waiting."

Danny hates it; he wants a revolution!  But he actually drops out because he sees Trevor using "White Shade of Pale" to pick up someone else.   Back to the Stonewall street-kid crowd.

4. There are regular police raids, giving the cops an opportunity to harass, belittle, assault, and arrest the gays.  Until the gay-friendly Deputy Pine (Matt Cravan) takes over and orders his men to be nice to the gays.  He continues the raids, but only because he's trying to solve the murder, and thinks Ed is responsbile.

5. On the night of the riots, the mob kidnaps Danny and forces him into tricking with J. Edgar Hoover in drag.

6. Meanwhile Deputy Pine realizes that Ed is in the bar, and sends out a squad car to pick him up, letting the gay patrons go.  But the cops outside let Ed escape, and that makes the gay patrons so mad that they start yelling "Gay power!,' and Danny throws a brick.  The police and some of the patrons rush back inside.

So it wasn't police harassment, it was letting a mob boss escape, that caused the Gay Rights Revolution?

7. Afterwards Danny goes back to Indiana to see his sister, who turns out to be a gay rights advocate, his mother, and his ex-boyfriend.  Mom and Sister even come to the Gay Rights March held the next year.

This is the most convoluted, crazy version of Stonewall that I've ever seen.  It's not even about Stonewall, it's the boring coming-out story of a Golden Boy who has a perfect body, scrubbed Mormon good looks, and a scholarship to Columbia.

There isn't even a lot of beefcake to keep your mind occupied while you're trying to digest the plot convolutions -- these are all pictures from other projects.  Danny and Trevor show some chest.