Jun 22, 2019

The Top 10 Hunks of Shazam

Captain Marvel (1941-53) was DC Comics' attempt to circumvent the obvious homoeroticism in the 1940s superhero-teen sidekick relationship by making the two the same person.  14-year old Billy Batson transforms into adult superhero Captain Marvel when he says the magical word Shazam.

Which, by the way, is an acronym for the magical beings who bestowed the power upon him: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury.

It's all very silly, and it provides a new problem: how to give Captain Marvel a girlfriend, when he's really a teenage boy with muscles?  He can't very well be dating Lois Lane.

The 2019 movie has Billy (Asher Angel) turning into an unnamed superhero (played by Zachary Levi).  But it also gives Billy a sidekick of his own, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer).

And, in the absence of a girlfriend, they have a gay-subtext romance.

Plus one of his foster-home buddies, Pedro (Jovan Armand) appears to identify as gay when they hide out in a strip club and he says "not my thing."

The result is a pleasantly non-heterosexist superhero movie, which also has a surprising number of hunkoids in the cast.

1. Adam Brody, Freddy's adult superhero alter-ego (left).

2. Zachary Levi.

3. All of the other residents of Billy's foster home morph into superheroes.  Eugene (Ian Chen) into Ross Butler

4. Pedro (Jovand Armand) into D. J. Cotrona

5. Instead of a whole fraternity of immortals from the Bible and Greek and Roman mythology, Shazam is a single person, played by Djimon Hounsou.

6. Cooper Andrews as the beefy foster father to the superheroic crew.

7 Mark Strong plays the Big Bad, Dr. Silvana, who unleashes the Seven Deadly Sins (Sloth, Lust, Envy, and so on) onto the world.  What's with all the villains with Ph.D.s?  Part of the culture of anti-intellectualism?

8. The teen idol set is already familiar with Asher Angel.

9. Evan Marsh as the main bully who is terrorizing Freddy.

10. Landon Doak as the bullying brother who terrorizes a teenage Dr. Silvana.

Jun 21, 2019

Welcome Back, Mr. Iglesias

Gabriel Iglesias (no relation to Enrique Iglesias) is a plus-sized comedian ("I'm not fat, I'm fluffy") who has apparently been popular for 26 years.  He's got 40 acting credits on IMDB dating all the way back to 1993.  A very eclectic assortment: Magic Mike, Cristela, Family Guy, Annoying Orange, and Narcos

Plus 14 producing credits, including: Aloha Fluffy, The Fluffy Movie, Hey It's Fluffy, Fluffy's Food Adventures, and The Fluffy Shop.

Of course, his social media presence is much more important these days: 14 million followers, 370 million views of his youtube videos.

Not homophobic.  In his stand-up routine, he's thrilled that a gay man made a pass at him: "I turned on a man!  I called my girlfriend and said 'You'd better be careful. I've got options."

After all that, it seems rather a let-down to star in a Netflix sitcom, especially a copy of Welcome Back Kotter : a caring teacher tries to reach a class of underachievers (the blurb says overachievers, but it is mistaken).

Mr. Iglesias even teaches the same subject, American history.

The main difference seems to be:
1. A  mostly black and Hispanic cast.
2. An emphasis on the teachers rather than the students

The two main male teachers are Tony (Jacob Vargas, left) and Carlos (Oscar Nuñez, who played a gay guy on The Office)

3. The students seem much younger than the 20-something hunks who pretended to be 16 on Welcome Back, Kotter. The three main male students are Walter (Tucker Albrizzi), Mikey (Fabrizio Zacharee Guido, left), and Lorenzo (Coy Stewart, below)

Gay characters:  Not that I can tell.

Gay references:  The new inclusivity guidelines have proper terms to use for "gender and orientation."  Weirdly closeting the term "sexual orientation."

Beefcake: No


1. Mr. Iglesias' lectures are oddly superficial.  The first was a riff on powdered wigs.  The second, on Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer.

2. The teachers spend a lot of time flirting with each other.

3. The boys spend a lot of time being hetero-horny.  In Episode #2, Mikey can't do his oral report properly because the female teacher evaluating him is too hot. Mr. Iglesias advises "Concentrate on what's up going on up here (points to his head), and forget about what's going on down there (points to his crotch)."

What's the Point:

Well, at least there are a lot of anti-Trump jokes.

Jun 19, 2019

The Gay Tease of "Always Be My Maybe"

Netflix recommended this movie for me with a 98% match: Sasha and Marcus had a brief romance in high school.  15 years later, Sasha has become a celebrity chef, while Marcus is still living in his parents' basement.  They feel the spark of attraction again, but can they adapt to each other's worlds?

I sat stunned.  Blurbs about movies with gay people don't include the terms "romance" or "spark of attraction."  They say "forbidden love" and "attraction that threatens to destroy their lives."

And the title would never be Always Maybe.  It would be something like Alex Strangelove.    But the illustration -- it's hard to see from across the room -- seems to show two men.  And Sasha and Marcus are both boys' names.

Remember Sasha Mitchell, sitcom star turned martial artist (top photo)?

And Marcus Schenkenberg, the Swedish model who was popping up all over the tv screen in the 1990s?

Could a gay romance be presented so nonchalantly, as "a romance"?  Could gay people be just....people?  How come we overcame, and nobody told me?

Just to be sure, I checked the byline: Ali Wong, Randall Park, James Saito.  Two of those people are Sasha and Marcus, and all three are men.

So I turned it on.

More after the break.

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