Apr 20, 2019
Why I Stopped Reading "Doonesbury"
It came along to grad school in Bloomington with me, along with my Greek New Testament and the copy of The City and the Pillar that I bought in West Hollywood.
I was mesmerized by these 1970s college students, who live together on a commune outside Walden College, and form an alternate family, with heterosexual romance virtually absent.
The radical hippie Mark Slackmeyer.
Pot-loving "freak" Zonker Harris
Conservative all-American B.D.
And especially Joanie Caucus, a housewife who abandoned a heterosexual life for the wild freedom of the commune.
In Bloomington in 1982, I started reading the strip in the Herald-Times. The politics bored me, and I disliked the custom of using weird icons for political figures, like a cowboy hat for Ronald Reagan.
But hetero-romance was still virtually absent, and there were occasional glimmers of the same-sex friendships that once fueled Walden Pond.
From January 1983 to October 1984, Trudeau took a hiatus from the strip. When it returned, I was in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, the worst place in the world, and to my consternation, the characters had "grown up." That is, most of them had acquiesced to the heterosexist life trajectory of husbands and wives. Mike married J.J. , B.D. married Boopsie, Joanie married Rick Redfern.
But I have researched the gay story lines.
1. Andy Lippincott appeared in January 1976 as a fellow law student Joanie is crushing on. In February, he tells her that he's gay. She's shocked -- she asks "are they sure?", certain that he must have gotten several doctors to diagnose such a serious condition.
Then Andy vanishes. In the late 1980s, he appears again, to die of AIDS. Many newspapers refused to run the continuity, stating that the topic of gayness was "inappropriate for the comics page."
Not a lot, but still, more than most newspaper comics.
See also: Escape from Hell fer Sartain
"Cold Pursuit": A Kidnapped Son, for a Change
But I'm stuck in Chicago, too tired from sightseeing to go out, and it's either Cold Pursuit (2019) or whatever they put on network tv on Friday nights.
Besides, the plot is propelled by the murder of a son, not a daughter. Do you know how rare that is? 99% of murdered or kidnapped loved ones in movies are wives, girlfriends or daughters. Apparently film producers believe that women are weak and vulnerable, so their loss will tug at your heart strings, but if it's a boy or a man, you'll think "Why didn't he defend himself? What is he, a pansy?"
Then Kyle dies. The coroner says heroin overdose, but Kyle was not a druggie. He was a salt-of-the earth Mr. Plow in training! Obviously he was murdered when he stumbled upon a drug deal.
Coxman loses his wife, too, natch, and then turns vigilante, using guns and a snowplow to go after the murderers, members of a Denver drug cartel trying to expand its territory into the pristine white mountains (white as in snow, not as in white people, I assume.)
That's when things get weird-er.
White drug lord Viking (Tom Bateman, top photo) blames local Native American gangster White Bull (Tom Jackson) for killing off his employees, and kills White Bull's son in revenge.
So now there are two murdered sons. That's even more rare.
He gets his brother, salt of the earth Wingman (William Forsythe), to take the blame for the murders -- Wingman is dying of cancer anyway. But that doesn't work, and now White Bull vows to kill Viking's teenage son Ryan (Nicholas Holmes, left) in revenge.
Ryan, by the way, is in prep-school, being mother-henned by his bodyguard Mustang (bald bear Domenick Lombardozzi, below), who is secretly dating White Bull's enforcer Dexter (Benjamin Hollingsworth).
Coxman decides to kidnap Ryan to...um...provoke a confrontation with White Bull or something? Who cares? The ridiculousness is overpowering.
And the body count. As each person dies, we get a RIP shot with their religious background noted.
And they all have ridiculous names: Speedo, Limbo, Gip, Sly, Smoke, Shiv, Windex, Avalanche, and Eskimo.
Beefcake: One guy is killed while having sex, the bullet piercing his genitals (which we don't see)
Racism: Liam Neeson got in trouble when he compared his character's "primal anger" to an incident in which a friend was raped. He asked what color the assailant was, and she said black, so he went out looking for a black man to beat up in retaliation.
Neeson didn't write the script, but this is definitely the story of a war divided along racial lines. With only one black character: The Eskimo (Arnold Pinnock)
But at least there is a kidnapped son in a universe of kidnapped wives, girlfriends, and daughters.
Apr 19, 2019
The Sons of the Incredible Hulk
Born in 1984, Lou Ferrigno Jr., aka Sweet Lou, played football at USC and made his acting debut in two of David DeCoteau's beefcake horror movies, Hercules Unbound and Night of the Widow (2012). Since then, he's been on soaps, commercials, Teen Wolf, and How I Met Your Mother
He's also a comedian, motivational speaker, and all-around hunk.
The family that flexes together, stays together.
There are two hookup stories about the Ferrignos on Tales of West Hollywood:
Which Ferrigno did Infinite Chazz Hook Up with?
My Late-Night Sex Visit with Lou Ferrigno
Apr 17, 2019
"Now Apocalypse": Beefcake, Gay Romance, and Reptilians at the End of the World
Now Apocalypse (2019) begins with a slacker named Ulysses or Uly (former Disney teen Avon Jongia channeling Johnny Depp) wandering through a bleak urban wasteland done up in surreal colors. A man approaches him! Dark, sinister music plays. Is this an assault? Nope -- in the next scene, Ulysses is hooking up with him -- a glimpse of the trick's muscular naked body.
Any tv series that begins with a hookup and a brief glimpse of anal sex is fine in my book.
But then Ulysses goes home to his grim Brutopian apartment to find his roommate Ford (former Disney teen Beau Mirchoff, right) having sex with his girlfriend. She bounces up and down on him, facing the camera so we see everything she has. An entire conversation ensues. No fair! Uly gets five seconds, the girl three minutes.
Uly informs us that Ford is a Kinsey 0, totally straight, but that doesn't stop him from fantasizing about his hunky roommie. Uly himself is a Kinsey 4, bisexual tending toward gay. But hookups make him feel "gross and pagan" afterwards, so he's looking for love at the end of the world.
It turns out that this bleak urban landscape is the Los Angeles that lies beneath the sunshine and palm trees, and everyone is looking to get into show biz somehow.
Their other friend, Carly, an aspiring actress, also runs an online BDSM service, where she forces a clients to read lines with her. She's dating a guy with the odd name Jethro (Desmond Chiam, left).
Now I'm looking through the cast list for other names from 1960s and 1970s pop culture. I find Leif (Garrett), Magenta from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Daphne and Velma from Scooby Doo, and Cat Woman.
On the way home, Ulysses is smoking a giant doobie, when he falls off his bicycle. The next scene may be a dream or a vision: he sees a homeless man being raped by a reptilian humanoid.
Oh, no, this isn't going to be another Naked Lunch, is it? Where disgusting reptilians are infiltrating the world, but maybe it's just a despondent end-of-the-world nightmare.
There are always gay characters, in that postmodern, post-gay, pansexual, "if it's alive I'll screw it; if it's dead, I'll think about it" way. But the potential for beefcake and gay romance is not worth the Gregg Araki weirdness.
I won't be buying the full season on Starz.
"Special": A Non-Heartwarming Sitcom about a Gay Guy with Cerebral Palsy
But I dated a guy with cerebral palsy back in grad school. His legs and hands didn't work very well, but he had a massive upper body, completely cut, not an inch of body fat anywhere. He got cruised constantly.
I figured, it wouldn't hurt to watch for the beefcake. I could always fast-forward past the hugging and motivational speeches.
Ryan O'Connell, a writer and editor with credits including Will and Grace (the reboot), Daytime Divas, and Awkward, turns out to be not particularly buffed, but he is definitely cute. Still, he was ashamed of his CP, and spent years trying to hide it, attributing his "limp" to a car accident.
His CP is obvious to me -- stiff-leg walk, random hand movements -- but I guess it worked. He finally came out as disabled in a 2015 book, I'm Special and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, which inspired Special (2019).
8 episodes, about 15 minutes each, which actually is not as short as it sounds. In traditional 23-minute sitcom episodes, the A plot takes about 15 minutes, with 8 minutes devoted to B and C plots. Here it's mostly A-plot.
Episode #1: Ryan Hayes, who has led a sheltered life due to his cerebral palsy and helicopter-mother (Jessica Hecht), wants to break out into the world. He gets a job -- an unpaid internship at an online magazine (he has an income from his CP) --and a new bestie with body issues of her own, Kim (Punam Patel). He tells everyone the limp story.
Episode #5: Devoted to Mom, who is a harried caregiver to both Ryan and her own mother, and now has a new boyfriend.
Episode #6: Carey invites Ryan to a gay guy-only poker game. Ryan thinks it's a date, but it turns out that Carey has a boyfriend.
Episode #8: Ryan comes out at work (as having CP), tells Carey that he likes him (which is fine -- Carey and the boyfriend seem to have an open relationship), and stands up to his mother.
Ok, I changed my mind. That did seem rather short.
Beefcake: Lots. Hot guys are always wandering in and out of Ryan's life.
Gay characters: Lots. Most played by actual gay men.
I'll give it an A-.
Not an A because it's too darn short. I could have used more character development. The Mom B-plot was just distracting.
But at least it was not at all heartwarming.
See also: My Student Steals My Boyfriend
Apr 15, 2019
"Huge in France": Watch It for the Beefcake
He's come to reunite with his long-estranged son Luke (Jordan Ver Hoeve), who wants to become a professional model, and...
um, sorry, I lost my train of thought.
Maybe just one more photo, to get me through the rest of the review.
23-year old Jordan is from San Diego (I would have guessed Amsterdam). He's represented by Brand Model and Talent, which offers a large portfolio of his work. His instagram offers some even more revealing shots.
Ok, this is the last one.
Jason veers between annoyingly obsequious and borderline abusive, and Luke is entitled, whining, rude, and generally obnoxious.
Jason: I can't come up with the money for your pec implants.
Luke: You idiot! Can't you do anything right? My modeling career is over because of you!
Gad: I spent $25,000 to arrange for us to have dinner with your modeling idol.
Jason: Too bad. You were never there for me when I was a kid, so I'm going to blow you off.
Plus we're expected to believe that Luke has "girl problems": a crush on the school it-girl, who thinks of him as a friend because she's dating fellow model Zene (Austin Fryberger). Zene, by the way, comes off as incredibly nice, so nice that one wonders why he wants to hang out with Luke at all. But the three of them go bowling.
Meanwhile, "C'est Gad!" is only funny the first two or three times. You'd think that Gad would eventually realize that, since he knows nothing about American pop culture, it makes sense that Americans wouldn't recognize him, and stop trying to use his fame to cut in lines or pick up girls.
There are some funny penis references. Apparently comedians use the phrase "He gets my dick hard" to mean "I like him" but non-comedians misunderstand.
Jerry Seinfeld has a cameo. For someone who hasn't seen him since the series finale of Seinfeld twenty years ago, the aging is a bit of a shock.
There are some buddy-bonding moments between Gad and his puppy-dog-cute assistant, Brian (Scott Keii Takeda), but no gay characters that I know of, just a few gay references that veer toward the homophobic:
Jason: I need you to pay for this trip with your credit card.
Brian: It's for emergencies only.
Jason: Whip it out! Whip it out, or I'll whip it out for you!
Brian (Uncomfortable): Are we still talking about credit cards?
Desperate for money, Jason signs up to "deposit" at a sperm bank. The manager offers to give him an advance on his fee, if he can watch Jason in the act.
Girlfriend: How did you get the money? Did you suck someone's cock?
Jason: No, I didn't suck anyone's cock.
Girlfriend: Because I couldn't be with someone who would suck someone's cock for a pec implant.
Watch it for the beefcake.
Apr 14, 2019
The "Happy Death Day" Bulge
It's at the premiere of Happy Death Day (2017). The one on the right is the director, Christopher Landon (son of Michael), who is gay. But who is the one on the left?
The plot: a girl named Tree (Jessica Rothe) is murdered on her birthday, and must keep reliving the day over and over until she discovers the identity of her killer.
So a time-loop combined with a teen-kill.
Not the guy on the left.
Not the guy on the left.
Later, on the way to the party, she is murdered by someone wearing a school mascot costume.
Other than the Carter, Lori, and Dr. Butler, the main suspects are serial killer John Tombs (Rob Mello), who of course is a red herring.
Not the guy on the left.
Her estranged father (Jason Bayle).
And Carter's roommate, Ryan (Phi Vu), whose experiments in quantum mechanics cause the time loop.
Not the guy on the left.
There's also a closeted gay guy, Tim (Caleb Spillyards). whom Tree encourages to come out. Not the murderer.
Not the guy on the left..
It's Jason, who has produced Get Out!, The Purge, The Darkness, The Gallows, Paranormal Activity, and dozens of other movies, mostly horror.
He's gay, too. I can't comment on the rocket in his pocket, it doesn't seem to be there in this photo.
But at least I found a movie with a gay character, and two gay Hollywood players.
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