Mar 14, 2020

"Outing Riley" AKA "IF Dad Only Knew": Yuck

Amazon Prime has added a lot of gay-themed movies and tv shows. I don't know where they all came from. Most are atrocious.  Like If Dad Only Knew: A macho gay guy comes out to his macho brothers, only they don't believe he's really gay.

It starts with the gay guy, Bobby (Peter Jones) walking on a beach, his arms around two girls with their breasts out, wondering why no one believes that "a guy like me" could be gay. Well...maybe the boobs throw them off?

After he proves he's gay by getting a blow job from a guy, we cut to his father's wake, where he tells boob jokes to his nephews (um...are you sure you're not bi?) and introduces us to his huge stereotyped Irish Catholic family:

1.Father Jack (Dev Kennedy), his oldest brother.

2. Connor (Stoney Westmoreland), who would be "Fredo" in the Corleones.  I don't know what that means.

3, Maggie, the only girl, who's married to Nathan Fillion, the only big star.

4. Whoops, sorry, they just hug and kiss.  Nathan Fillion plays Luke, the fourth sibling.   "If gay marriage were legal in Chicago -- about as likely as the Cubs winning the Pennant -- Luke would be my best man."

It's impossible to find a shirtless shot of Nathan Fillion that's not a gif or fully nude, so for the top photo, I'm substituting one that Google Images wants me to believe is "Nathan Fillion shirtless." I don't know who it really is.

Here's another picture that Google Images wants me to believe is Nathan Fillion at the beach.  It's lying more than usual today, for some reason.

Other than boob jokes and sports references Bobby hides his gayness with a fake romance with his bff Carly, a lesbian-- they're each other's beards.

Cut to the diner, where Carly asks Bob and his very ugly boyfriend Andy, "how are you two big fag homos doing"?  They accept the insult without question.

She then tells Bob "you're like the sister I never had."

Got it,gay men are really women.

Cut to Bobby with his brothers, making jokes about erections and masturbation. Nathan gets drunk and argues with the tv set -- naked -- hugging his brother in law.  Geeze, the brothers are more gay than Bobby.

Bobby climbs on the roof with Nathan to peek at a naked girl through the skylight (full frontal)

For a movie ostensibly aimed at gay men, there's a lot of boobs.

By the way, if you search for "Pete Jones naked" on Google Images, about a milion images of naked ladies appear.  I doubt that any of them are him, so here's a fully clothed shot. The one on the left.  I don't know who the one on the right is -- not his boyfriend, though.   He's got a wife and kids, and a wedding band.

Fast forward.  Bobby is applying for a job.  The boss says that his two partners are "funny," and he needs a straight guy on the team to even things out.  He needs somebody to drink beer with.  Bobby likes beer, right?

Right, I've been to lots of gay bars, and no one ever orders a beer.  It's always peach raspberry mai tai pouffee with a little umbrella.

Minute 40: Bobby comes out by showing the brothers pictures of him and his boyfriend being romantic. They laugh, think he is joking; the priest stalks out, yelling that, whether he's joking or not,  "it's sick, tasteless, and totally inappropriate."  The others leave,too.

Later they explain:  They're not homophobic, except when it's their brother, just like they're not racist, but they wouldn't want a (come  on, did they really use the n-word?)  dating their sister.  That's the definition of racist, guys. 

And how can they explain it to the kids?  How about "Uncle Bobby is gay."

They visit the boyfriend to try to convince him to stop making Bobby gay, and are disgusted to hear "I'm in love with your brother."  But he still likes sports? WTF. 

They conclude "Bobby's the straightest gay guy in Chicago.  Like being the smartest retard."  Ok, offensive term noted.  So gay is always inferior to straight, but some gay guys like sports, and therefore get close to the bottom rung of straightness.  Got it.

Fast forward to reconciling with the brothers and a party where someone offers a toast "to true love."

Turns out this movie, originally titled Outing Riley, came out in 2004.  That's about the Will and Grace era of "I'm not homophobic, but gay men are really women."


Pete Jones tells The Advocate that he never intended Outing Riley to be a gay movie -- he didn't know any gay people, he had no exposure to gay culture.. He just just wanted a "dropping a bombshell" scenario.  It could have been turning Protestant, or marrying a black girl, but being gay seemed like it would have more comic potential.

That explains a lot.  I repeat -- yuck.

Mar 13, 2020

More of Ike Eisenmann

Speaking of Ike Eisenmann, most Boomer boys are so fixated on his beefcake scenes in Return from Witch Mountain (1978), or maybe his superlative performance as a racist in tight jeans who has a change of heart on The Jeffersons  that they don't remember a decade of buddy-bonding and tight jeans.

1. The Amazing Cosmic Awareness of Duffy Moon (1976), an ABC Afterschool Special about the friendship between shy, retiring Duffy (Ike) and outgoing school hunk Peter (Lance Kerwin).

2. The Fantastic Journey (1977), which had nothing to do with either of the two similarly titled movies (one about shrinking scientists, and the other about a dog and cat finding their way home).  This one was a precursor of Lost, about people from various times and places trapped on an island in the Bermuda Triangle.  Ike played the teenage Scott Jordan, who hung out with the mysterious Varian (Jared Martin).  There was also a prissy gay-coded villain, played by Roddy McDowell.

3. The "High Explosive" episode of Chips (1978), with Ike as a country boy who fires a pellet gun into traffic.  He's just aching for some hand-on-shoulder big brothering from Ponch (Erik Estrada), and favors us with several shots of an amazing aptitude beneath the belt.

4. The "Phantom of the Roller Coaster" episode of Wonder Woman (1979).  Roller coaster enthusiast Randy (Ike), who again wears extremely tight jeans, buddy-bonds with David (Jared Martin again), without realizing that David's disfigured twin brother is the sinister "phantom."

5. Preston, Scotty's nephew, in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (1982), whom Kirk calls "a tiger," and who dies trying to save his fellow crew members.

Mar 12, 2020

"Beat": Bisexual Bohemian James Bond in Berlin

It's hard to investigate the German tv series Beat, on Amazon Prime, because google keeps changing "Beat tv series" to "Best tv series."  So, out of spite, not knowing anything about the show except for a blurb about corruption in the club subculture, I start streaming.

Scene 1: Beat (Jannis Niewohner), a skinny, tattooed, vacant-eyed young man in a dirty t-shirt, enters Club Sonar at 7;30 am.  It's a horrible dark basement space, crowded with grungy-looking clubbers.  He kisses two girls and a boy. greets a lot of people, then dances with/makes out with a male-female couple.  Are we supposed to disapprove of the shocking bisexual decadence?

Scene 2:  Headquarters of European Secret Intelligence in Brussels.  Head agent Richard is discussing Beat: a promoter in the Berlin techno scene,  lots of narcotic violations, one assault charge,  a boyfriend and a girlfriend. And an idealist. Perfect!

Scene 3: Beat and another guy drive their van through the horrible run-down slums of Brandenburg, discussing "the perfect boy."  I've had many similar discussions in gay bars at 1:00 am

They unload their stuff into a warehouse, and are told "Don't screw it up" or they'll be killed.  Beat wonders whether the endless silence of death will be his salvation.  Dark!

Scene 4: A naked Beat, back home in bed with his significant others.  A glimpse of cock, which would be interesting if he weren't so darn ugly.  He goes into the other room and talks to young blond Janik (Ludwig Simon), who's getting ready for work.  They discuss why Janik isn't on the guest list for the party tonight (he "doesn't have his shit together").

Yeah, I'm lost, too.

Scene 5: Janik goes to the club, which is closed, the staff mopping the floor and washing glasses.  He talks to Paul the Club Owner (Hanno Koffler), who is rich, with a wife and kids, and doesn't party anymore -- now it's all about the money.  Sad that financial success and heterosexual marriage go together, like the "job, house, wife, kids" litany of my childhood.

Scene 6: It's night, and Beat and a guy with glasses and weird curls on his head  (Ryffco?) arrive at the club. He hasn't been there in awhile. He explains: "Everything is spinning faster and faster.  Sometimes I think the old days were better."  You and me both, dude.

Turns out he is the guest dj.

Jasper (Kostja Ullman), a weird crazed guy (well, more crazed than everyone else) walks up to Beat and says "God is evil.  He must be evil because we were created in His image."  Good pickup line.  I'll have to try it at the Rage.

Beat and Janik investigate the weird liquid dripping on the dancers.  Blood!  There are two naked, decomposing corpses hanging from the ceiling!  Finally something happens. This is like the gay bars in the 1990s.  Two hours of boredom, and then someone takes off his clothes.

Scene 7: Beat is interrogated by the police.  He's the main suspect: he was the last one to leave the club, at 7:00 pm, before the staff all returned at 10:00 pm to set up for the party. Then they inexplicably let him go.   

Beat overhears the cops talking in the bathroom (they all go at the same time? bizarre!).  Apparently the order to release him came from a higher-up.presumably because he is a secret agent (remember Scene 2?).

Scene 8: Beat walks out onto the deserted street, and a redheaded girl pulls up in a car and flirts with him.  Really?  No way I'd be interested in a hookup after all that happened that night.

It's Emilia, the agent assigned to his case in Scene 2.   But she doesn't tell him that;it's all vague, tenuous conversation: "Is techno the only thing you believe in?"

Scene 9: Beat doesn't go home, he goes to Paul the Owner's house, where the wife and kids are still up.  It must be 3:00 am by now!

They discuss possible motives for leaving bodies at Paul's club. A warning?

Beat turns out to be very close to the kids.  He helps them fall asleep and ends up sleeping with them.  All innocence and domesticity, meant to humanize Beat, so he's not all about partying.

Later Beat comforts Janik. Are they like boyfriends?  What about the boy and girl from before? Just a hookup?

Scene 10:  ESI Headquarters in Brussels (um...Berlin is 475 miles from Brussels, quite a drive).  Emilia explains to the Boss why she acted: she couldn't let Beat get arrested. But now the cops know that the ESI is interested in him. They decide to use the murders to convince Beat to "get on board" with the mission.

What mission?  Why can't they just recruit Beat?  Are the murders irrelevant?  Help!

Scene 11: At the now-closed club, Beat sees "God is evil" Jasper and follows him into an even more run-down neighborhood, down a scary staircase into a scary labyrinthine basement.

That's horror movie stupid, Beat. "The killer is inside the house!  I think I'll take a shower."

Crazy Jasper says "I've often wondered what it would be like to talk to you about everything, but now I'm nervous."  Turns out that he was in love with Beat when they were kids, but Beat always ignored him, so his love turned to hate. And he hates techno music -- the best music is from the 1960s, when he wasn't born yet, or "dead yet." 

So, did he kill the people in the club?  Nope. Then why is he even in the story?

Meanwhile, remember Scene 3, where Beat and a friend deliver some stuff to a warehouse, and are told "Don't screw it up?"  The boss from that scene walks through a room full of body parts in caustic acid to a guy eating soup, and tells him to "Get that little psycho in here."

Scene 12: Beat in a diner, asking Chris's agent if he would like to perform at the Club.  Then Emilia shows up, finally admits to being with the ESI, and recruits him to help find the murderer. 

Scene 13: At the club.  The murderer had to enter twice when no one was around, once to install a winch and again to put up the bodies, so he must have had a key.  Only employees have keys.  There are six; the silent partner, Philip, has one.

There was a silent partner that Beat didn't know about?  He is furious, and rushes off,while Paul the Owner tries to explain: "You know shit about business. You're 28 years old.  Life goes on."  Why should Beat care?  He doesn't own the club; he works for it.

Emilia shows up yet again with yet another offer: become a cocaine informer.  If he does a good job,they might move him up to human trafficking.  "You're 28," she points out."Time to get your life on track."  Why is everyone obsessed with his age?  Beat refuses; he can't be bought.

Scene 14:  Back at the club, Beat is using drugs and flirting with people.  He has sex with a girl in the bathroom, and quotes Goethe: "No one is more a slave than he who thinks he is free without being so."

Scene 15:  Crazy guy -- Jasper -- is in trouble.  They know what he did with the bodies.  Apparently murdering them is ok, but playing with the bodies is forbidden.

Beat comes home and finds Jasper's souvenirs of his childhood crush on the floor, leading to Janik -- but Janik is alive, just drugged out.  So Jasper has a key to the apartment.  He must have a key to the club, too.  He's the murderer!  (Well, obviously).  

Scene 16:  Emilia shows up yet again again  Beat takes her to Jasper's basement.  The local police are already there.  Crazed Psycho has been incinerated.

Whoops -- no, he hasn't  He's dancing in a room full of body parts as an accomplice cuts out a human heart and packages it for sale.

Beefcake: Beat's butt and cock, some miscellaneous chests.

Other Scenery:  Mostly decrepit, run-down, scary urban blight Berlin.

Gay Characters:  Beat is bisexual.  Janik and Jasper are probably gay.

Pretentious Quotes:  Lots.

Plot:  Convoluted.  I gather that it's not sequential, and Beat will eventually go undercover as an employee of the organ-harvesting business. 

Will I Keep Watching?  At least until the next episodes of Rick and Morty drop.

Mar 10, 2020

"Always a Witch": Who is the Gay Best Friend?

"A 17th century witch travels to the future to save the man she loves."  Ugh, sounds heterosexist.  But I hear that she gets a gay best friend, and besides, I'm in the middle of a Netflix drought, so it's either this or Cheers.

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name...

Ok, ok, I'll watch Always a Witch.

Scene 1:
1646: Cartagena, in the Spanish colony that would become Colombia.  Carmen (Angely Gaviria) is being burned as a witch.  She recites an incantation.  Sparks of light float up into the sky, and she is plopped into

2019: The Caribbean Sea with tall modern buildings in the background.  She climbs onto the beach, where a lot of black, brown, and white people are dancing together (wow, no more racism!).  She approaches two guys who are kissing (maybe her new gay bestie?) and collapses.

Scene 2:
2019: Carmen is fixed up in the hospital.  Her doctor is a black woman (wow, no more racism!).

1646: Carmen working as a healer in her home village. (nice beefcake shot of a guy's back), and then being sold into on the auction block.  Cristobal (Lenard Valderaa, top photo), a foppish long-haired white guy, convinces his dad to buy her.  To be a sex toy, no doubt.

Scene 3: 
1646:  No, wait, they are dating!  A slave-master relationship can hardly be consensual, but it's played here with hearts and flowers, everything dandy until the parents find out and think that Carmen used witchcraft to attract Cristobal.

2019: Back in the hospital, Carmen watches tv (completely nonchalant about the modern marvel) and discovers that a serial killer is burning his victims to death,  Since she was burnt, the doctors think that she is another victim, and call the police.  She knows what police are, even though there were no professional police forces until the 19th century, and runs away.

Scene 4:
1646: Cristobal is upset over Carmen's arrest: "If this religion can't understand our love, I renounce it!" (maybe gay symbolism?).  So Dad shoots him.

Scene 5:
1646: In prison, Carmen meets Aldemar the Immortal, who teaches her how to levitate (but not to break out of prison).  She agrees to go the future to run an errand for him. In exchange,he will send her back in time to prevent Cristobal' death.  Um...but she would still be burnt at the stake, right?

2019: Carmen wanders around, amazed by roller skates (but not cars or tv?), and asking passersby for woman named Nimibe (not realizing that modern Cartagena has a population of 900,000, so the chances of anyone knowing her are nil.)

1646: Carmen's errand is to bring a stone to Nimibe.

Scene 6:
2019:  Police officers Tino (Biassini Segura) and Jimenez are chasing Carmen.  She runs, and ends up in the very house she was a slave in 373 years ago, now a youth hostel. She has a meet-cute with Johnny Ki (Dylan Fuentes), the fey blond slacker who works there, grandson of the owner (maybe he's her gay bestie). When he leaves, she writes Crisobal a letter.

Scene 7:
2019: In the morning, Carmen meets the college piano student Esteban (Sebasian Eslava), who looks at her like I would look at an incarnation of the God Apollo holding two tickets to the Oscars and a six-pack of Diet Coke.  (But, to be fair, he looks at Grandma Adelaide exactly the same way).

Scene 8:
Tino the Cop is waiting outside of the hostel, but  Carmen still has her powers, and causes a distraction (why are the cops so interested?).  She has somehow figured out that Ninibe is at the university, so she goes, passing a Rich Bitch on a bike (soon to be her rival?).  A cute gay guy in an Afro is following her (her gay bestie?).

Scene 9:
Ninibe turns out to be a biology professor (to get to her office, you have to go through a magical forest for about five miles).  Finally arriving in the office/green house, Carmen interrupts a boy on top of a girl who is saying "No! Stop!" They explain that there is no sexual assault going on; they came to steal some cannabis and got carried away.

Scene 10:
Professor Ninibe arrives. Apparently it's more complicated than just handing over a rock.  Carmen has to get more power, so she has to be trained without tipping off Lucien the Enemy, who can sense witches a thousand continuums away.  Most witches are masquerading as scientists and academics to be safe. Gulp!

Ninibe introduces Carmen to the third witch they need: Alicia.  Surprise! She's the Rich Bitch on the Bicycle, who wants no part of their scheme.  "We can't let him win!"  Ninibe implores.

Scene 11:
While Carmen walks through the magic garden on her way out, Ninibe makes a frantic phone call: "She's here! She's real!  She exists, and she has brought the Stone!  Finally we can beat Lucien!"  So the modern-day witches have a secret agenda, and Carmen is the Chosen One!

At that moment a dark form appears and grabs Ninime, and the Stone rolls out of her handbag into oblivion.

Scene 12:
Esteban the Piano Student shows up during the ruckus.  Tino the Cop sees him, and they both yell at each other "You again?  What are you doing here?"  Fade out.

Beefcake: None. No one has taken anything off yet.

Other Interesting Sights:  Some generic "colorful character" shots of Cartegena streets, nothing specific.

Gay Characters:  Lots: Jonny Ki, the gay guy with the Afro, the two guys kissing on the beach.  I don't know which will stick around.

Questions:  Lots. Like why are the police so interested in Carmen?  How does Tino know Esteban?  Who is the gay guy with the Afro? Who is the gay bestie?  Why does Carmen want to leave the modern era, with its freedom, equality, and tv, and return to 1648, where she's a slave and about to be burned at the stake?

And who are all the characters who appear in 10-12 episodes according to the IMDB, but haven't appeared: Leon (Carlos Quintero), Kobo (Oscar Casas, left), Detective Corcel (Jake Green)?

Will I keep watching?  Probably.  It's a Netflix drought, after all.

Update:  After watching three episodes, I can report that:
1. Characters that I thought were major turned out to be minor, and vice versa.
2. Esteban is a college piano student /biology professor.
3. Leon (the gay guy with the Afro)  says he likes boys, but is only shown kissing girls.  Johnny Ki kisses girls, too.
4. There are no more flashbacks.  Carmen is a modern girl who uses witchcraft to help her friends.

Mar 9, 2020

I Love Lucy

When I moved to West Hollywood in 1985, I found I Love Lucy a gay favorite. Though it had been off the air for nearly 30 years, drag queens recreated Lucy routines.  You could buy Lucy gifts at Dorothy's Surrender in West Hollywood, like Lucy and Ricky dolls, or a photo of Desi Arnaz in the pool.  Ricky's Cuban-accented "Lucy, I'm home" was a common catchphrase.

What was the gay connection?

The premise of the venerable sitcom (1951-57) was aggressively heterosexist, with no hint of satire or critique.  Nightclub performer Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz, left) and his wife Lucy (Lucille Ball) were lovebirds, neighbors Fred and Ethel (William Frawley, Vivian Vance) grumpy but affectionate.

No beefcake.  Granted, Desi Arnaz was handsome, and occasionally a cute friend showed up, but they were always fully clothed, usually in one of those 1950s business suits that hid everything.  Even the Ricky doll was somewhat lacking in musculature.

No gay characters, not even by implication.

No gay connections in the actors' other roles, though Desi Arnaz was bisexual, and his son Desi Arnaz Jr. starred in some gay-subtext movies.

And no hint of homoromance.  Though Lucy and Ethel were buddies, they displayed no passion, hanging out mostly to complain about their husbands and scheme to get more power in the relationship.

Maybe that was the gay connection.  As a 1950s housewife, Lucy was powerless, treated as a child (she got an allowance, and Ricky threatened to spank her if she misbehaved).  Her domain was the home, serving coffee to Ricky as he read his morning newspaper.   To get what she wanted, she had to resort to subterfuge.

The wild schemes that we enjoy watching all resulted from "Ricky won't let me do X" or "Ricky won't let me have X."  Groups with no power, like gay people and 1950s housewives, always have to work behind the scenes, appropriate what is meant for someone else.  And, in spite of her mishaps, Lucy was often triumphant.

See Cesar Hooks up with the Entire Male Cast of "I Love Lucy"
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