Aug 22, 2020


I remember reading William Mayne’s Earthfasts (1966) on a summer day in the mid-1970s, sitting a lawnchair in the back yard, the air thick and heavy with the scent of lilacs from our backyard bush, while my brother kept rushing in and out and asking “is that all you’re going to do all summer?” But I couldn’t put the book down.

David (the blond) and Keith, two teenagers in the north of England, are investigating a tapping sound in an old tumulus, when suddenly a boy emerges, costumed as an 18th century redcoat, carrying a candle and a drum. He is Nellie Jack John, a drummer boy in King George’s army, and he entered the tumulus to look for buried treasure “an hour ago,” in 1742!  (Pictures are from the British miniseries

Eventually the sad, confused Nellie Jack John realizes that he has become lost in time, but he reasons that the tumulus might send him home. David, however, is obsessed with keeping the boy in the twentieth century: he grabs him, tries to hug him, tries to talk him into staying. But Nellie Jack John shakes him off, rushes back to the tumulus, and vanishes.

David is disconsolate. He spends hours staring at the candle Nellie Jack John left behind (which burns but doesn’t go out), and says “It’s as if the world has vanished, not the boy. . .nothing in the world is quite touching me."  

Meanwhile, weird things are happening: the earthfasts (standing stones) move by themselves; giants roam the countryside; ghostly soldiers attack passersby. Keith and David theorize that instead of returning to his own time, Nellie Jack “jammed” the time flow so that the past is intermingling with the present. They return to the tumulus to effect a rescue, but this time David vanishes!

Later Keith finds a way to enter the tumulus, find his two friends, and rescue them both from the jammed time stream. Back in 20th century England, Nellie Jack John finally understands that he can never go home. He becomes hysterical with fear and loss and tries to run away several times, but each time David grabs him and holds him tightly like a lover. Eventually he calms down and allows himself to be held. His new situation can’t be helped, after all, and the future might be rather fun. He agrees to go home with David.

There's a remarkably intimate scene near the end of the book (not in the miniseries) where David puts the Nellie Jack John into a hot bath, admires his naked body, and begins scrubbing his back.

I was mesmerized by David’s passion for Nellie Jack John. It begins as suddenly and mysteriously as love at first sight, a passion too profound for words, and compels David to risk everything for a boy he only just met. Nellie Jack John at first wants nothing to do with David, for he represents the loss of his entire world; but finally he acquiesces, allowing himself to be touched, held, and loved.  It was a remarkable evocation of a gay romance.

The Jewish Inquirer: A Gay Tease, Anti-Semitic Graffiti, and a Race Car Game

Paul (Tim Downie), hapless reporter for the 4th largest Jewish newspaper in Britain, is doing a story on firefighters.  He talks Gordon the Fireman (David Seymour) into letting him ride the fire truck, turn on the siren, run a redlight.  They are blatantly flirting; the sexual chemistry is melting the camera.   It was so hot that I forgot to mention the scene number or the title of the show:

The Jewish Inquirrer.

Scene 2: Paul is in the supermarket with his friend Simon (Josh Howie), who demonstrates how to pick up women (ineptly).

Paul notes that his interviewee was gay.  They discuss which gay celebrity they would like rescuing them from a fire.  Their choice: Gareth Thomas, rugby player (top photo). "God, I'd love to be held in his arms."

No accounting for tastes.

Paul sees Ruth and wants to ask her out, but Simon advises against approaching: she's Naomi's friend (I don't know who that is).  They both approach her anyway.  Simon gets the number.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Interesting fact: In Britain you have to pay for shopping carts.  In America we have to pay for health care.

Scene 3:  Britcoms aren't good at identifying characters, but after going through it twice, I think I've got it: Paul picks up his Dad to go to the birthday party of his young son Joshie.  Dad wants to give Joshie Paul's old race car game ("bags on the blue car!"), but Paul resists, as he still plays with it.

Paul is also giving Joshie a balloon inscribed with his face.  This will be important later.

Scene 4: The party.  Naomi (the ex-wife) yells at him for chatting up her friend Ruth, who is sitting right there.  Then she changes her tune and suggests that he could impress Ruth by playing with her son-from-hell.  She can hear everything you say!

Scene 5:  There are about 100 kids in the back yard, but Paul manages to find Ruth's kid and kiss up t to him.

Suddenly the fire truck arrives.  Apparently Paul arranged for Gordon the Fireman to come to his kid's party.  But Gordon drives right past the house!  Paul calls Emergency Services (he didn't get Gordon's private number?).

Scene 6:  The party is finishing up. Ruth has to go off to her date with Simon from Scene 2.

Paul plays some sort of game with the kids involving throwing cake.

Scene 7:  Naomi and Dad are furious.  The balloon Paul bought for the party, that he never looked at before,  has a picture of a wall defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.  Apparently Paul sent the wrong photo to the balloon company.

Would you really not keep your work photos and personal photos in separate files?  Would a balloon company really print hate speech?   Wouldn't you check to make sure the balloon was ok before giving it to a kid?   I'm not sure I like this new mishap.

Scene 8: Just as Paul is leaving, Gordon the Fireman arrives, "better late than never."  He is disgusted by the sight of the anti-Semitic balloon, and upset when Paul criticizes him for putting out a fire instead of coming to the party on time (um...saving lives?  Paul is rather a wanker, isn't he?).

Way to lose a prospective boyfriend!

By the way, I was mistaken: Naomi is Paul's sister and Joshi his nephew.

Scene 9:  Simon getting ready for his date with Ruth.  Paul arrives to give him his race car toy set -- Joshie didn't want it, apparently.  They discuss how the vagina changes when a woman has had a baby.

Come on, Paul, are you gay, straight, bi, what?  I'm getting tired of you altogether.  What's with Britcoms and their disagreeable protagonists?

Scene 10:  Paul is at home, working.   Dad drops by., eager to play the race car game, but Paul gave it away.  Dad is desperate to get it back.  Suddenly this is extremely important, so they try to find the fish-and-chips place where Simon is on his date with Ruth.   (it couldn't wait until later?  It's not like he brought the game on the date)

It takes several hours to go through them all.  I've been to Britain three times, and I never saw a Brit eating fish and chips, just tourists.  I thought they were into curries and pompadums.  

Finally Paul finds the right restaurant, where apparently Simon and Ruth have been eating fish and chips for six hours.  He asks for his game back, but Simon has already given it to Ruth's kid.

Suddenly Ruth gets a phone call, and they have to leave right away.  An emergency at home!

I hope it's a fire, and Gordon the Fireman is there to make up with Paul.

Scene 11:  Yep: the race car game overheated, and caused a fire.  Paul apologizes to Gordon the Fireman for being a jerk before, but they don't continue their relationship.  Instead, Paul hugs Ruth.  Say what?

Scene 12:  Paul is reading the latest issue of his newspaper online.  The article about the anti-Semitic graffiti is illustrated by...a picture of Joshie!

 I have to admit, that was funny.  The first laugh I've had in this crazy show.

I went through the other five episodes on fast-forward, and it looks like each one has Paul botching up a relationship with a potential boyfriend.

Or is it all a series of gay teases?.

And the guys aren't even attractive.

Well, Gordon the Fireman isn't bad.

My grade: D

Spellbinder: Shirtless Boys in a Polish-Australian Fantasy

ISpellbinder (1995) which aired on the Disney Channel in 1996, one of the imported Australian series (others included Ocean Girl and Round the Twist) that would eventually be supplainted by the home-grown Even Stevens, Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Hannah Montana.  It's nondescript (and it really should be plural).
keep forgetting the name of

But the series was unique: Australian-Polish science fiction-fantasy series about alternative realities.  It starred Zybch Trofimiuk as Paul Reynolds, an Australian boy who somehow finds himself in a Medieval world.  Everyone is terrified of the powerful Spellbinders, who look and chew up the scenery like villains out of Power Rangers.

Paul meets a girl, Riana (Gosia Piatrowska) and together they find a way back to his world.  But now the Spellbinders know that the other world exists, and they want to invade it.

The plotline sounds heterosexist.  Except Paul and Riana never fall in love; indeed, when they return to Earth, he introduces her as a "cousin from Iceland."  And he has a best friend, Alex (Brian Rooney).  When Paul vanishes, Alex is distraught.  When he returns, Alex grabs him with an enormous hug, treating him precisely as a lover.

There is also a substantial amount of beefcake.

The sequel, Spellbinder 2: Land of the Dragon Lord (1996), aired on the Fox Family Channel in 1998. It  sends a girl named Kathy (Lauren Hewitt), into a Medieval East Asian world.  She doesn't fall in love with anyone; however, her older brother, Josh (Ryan Kwanten), tags along, fulfills the heterosexism quota by falling in love with a girl.

A lot of beefcake here, too.

Ryan Kwanten went on to star on the Australian soap Home and Away (1997-2002), then True Blood (2008-present) on American tv.  He has become one of the more muscular of the Hollywood hunks. 

The Jacoby Boys

There were three Jacoby boys in Hollywood during the Boomer generation, half-brothers (plus their two sisters).

1.  Scott (born in 1956) was the serious actor, specializing in weird, quirky movies, such as Bad Ronald (1974), in which a boy hides in the crawlspaces of his house after his mother dies and terrorizes the new family that moves in (including the hunky Ted Eccles), or The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976), in which a handicapped boy befriends a girl (Jodie Foster) who lives all by herself after her father's death.

He played a teenager who discovers that his father is gay in That Certain Summer (1973).  Hal Holbrook played his father, and Martin Sheen his father's lover.

In spite of the quirkiness, there was plenty of room for shirtless and underwear shots.

His characters were always heterosexual, but the "quirky romance" still had queer resonances that appealed to gay teens.

Scott  still acts occasionally, and he owns a recording studio in Hollywood.

2. Billy born in 1969, was the hunk.  After a few horror films, he played girl-crazy teenagers who don't seem to own shirts in Just One of the Guys (1985) and Party Camp (1987).  His characters were heterosexual, too, but -- odd for 1980s teen movies -- not homophobic.

He also played Blanche's grandson on The Golden Girls.

Billy was probably best known for his role as wannabe thug Mikey, who wore a leather jacket and skin-tight jeans on the tv series Parker Lewis Can't Lose (1990-1993).

Today, as Billy Jayne, he is well-known in the business as a commercial director.  

3. The baby of the family, Bobby (born in 1973), was the wise-guy.  He started out in tear-jerker movies of the week, then moved into thrillers like Tremors (1990) and Night of the Demons 2 (1994).  He was also busy in television, starring on Knots Landing (1980-85) and, as a young adult, on MTV's Undressed (2000-2001).  Not a lot of beefcake shots, except on Undressed, which apparently existed solely to film attractive young people in their underwear.

Today, as Robert Jayne, he works as a professional gambler, specializing in black jack.

Aug 21, 2020

The Top 10 Hunks of "The Umbrella Academy," Season 2

At the end of Season 1 of The Umbrella Academy, the superpowered siblings are unsuccessful at preventing the Apocalypse, so Five zaps them into the past to try again.  They appear in Dallas, in different years of the early 1960s. Each assumes that they are stranded alone, and starts a new life. Mostly with mega-hunks:

1. Allison marries civil rights activist Raymond (Yusuf Greenwood, left). Better not have kids, Allison -- you could become your own grandmother.

2. Luther becomes a bouncer for Jack Ruby (John Kapelos), the nightclub owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald (who, by the way, didn't assassinate President Kennedy -- someone else was standing on the Grassy Knoll).

3. Vanya, who has lost her memory, becomes the nanny to farmer Carl Cooper (Stephen Bogaert), who has an autistic son, and starts a romance with his wife Sissy.  Wow, even before the Daughters of Bilitis.  I'm surprised Sissy even knows what a lesbian is.

Sissy Cooper looks a lot like Mary Cooper on Young Sheldon, who lives in Texas in 1989. Of course, no connection is intended -- Mary's maiden name is Tucker -- it's just a weird coincidence.

4. Klaus and tagalong ghost brother Ben start a religious cult that looks rather too psychedelic for the early 1960s.  This is before Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters started passing out free LSD, after all.  Their biggest disciple is Keechie (Dov Tiefenbach)

5. Klaus also looks up future boyfriend Dave (Calem MacDonald), still a teenager working in a hardware store, to try to convince him not to enlist in the army, so he won't be killed in action later in the decade.  But he's killed because of Klaus, so if the timeline changes and Klaus isn't there...

Diego ends up in a mental hospital, where he gets a girlfriend.

6. Five ends up 10 days before the Kennedy Assassination and, coincidentally, a new Apocalypse.  Trying to find everyone so he can prevent it, he hooks up with conspiracy theorist Elliott (Kevin Rankin)

7. Meanwhile The Three Swedes, led by Kris Holden-Ried (left), are sent by the time-travel Commission to kill the siblings so they won't prevent theApocalypse.

Well, they already got the 2019 Apocalypse.  Why do they want a 1963 Apocalypse, too?  Wouldn't one preclude the other?

I've only seen three episodes, so I don't know who these other hunks are playing:

8. Dewshane Williams as Miles

9. Jonathan Malen as Ned.

10. Ryan Taerk as "White Man #1"

Well, a job is a job.  And it got him a starring role in the upcoming Communist's Daughter.

See also: The Umbrella Academy

Aug 20, 2020

Petticoat Junction: Lots of Curves, No Beefcake

When I was a kid in Rock Island (not pictured), I had no choice but to watch Petticoat Junction (1963-70) .  The family watched, and if I tried to go off to do something else, Dad would yell "Stop being antisocial and get out here with the family."  I could have petitioned to watch something else (each of the kids got one choice per evening), but in those day there were only three channels, and the othr two had half of a movie or The Hollywood Palace, The Engelbert Humperdink Show, or Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters.

I remember it as the worst of NBC's lineup of hayseed comedies, most set in or about mythical country town of Hooterville, but with widely different tones: The Beverly Hillbillies was a classic fish-out-of-water sitcom, Green Acres anarchic and surreal, Petticoat Junction a gentle family warmedy. In spite of its ridiculous premise:

The Hooterville Cannoball (an old train) only runs between the two small towns of Hooterville and Pixley.  Why would there be any demand for it?  It only makes one stop, but not in Petticoat Junction (no such town exists); at the hotel that Kate Bradley runs -- why would there be any guests?  -- with her three teenage daughters (played by about 15 actresses over the seven seasons) and ne-er-do-well Uncle Joe.

Most plots had to do with the Generation Gap -- the girls adopt mod costumes or listen to rock and roll music, or protest something or other, and Kate swoops in to demosntrate that the old ways were better.

In the only episode I really remember, one of the daughters fashions herself a poet, so she goes to a beatnik coffee house in Pixley (about 10 years too late).  Mom tags along.  She is shocked that the beatniks only snap their fingers rather than clapping, but Daughter explains that they only clap for most inspired works of genius.  Mom goes on stage, strums a guitar, and recites the old novelty song "Mairzy Doats" in an angry "bring on the Revolution" voice:

Mairzy doats, and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?  Wouldn't you?  WOULDN'T YOU????

Of course they all applaud, indicating that the hippies -- um, the beatniks -- are all self-delusion fools.  Just what the oldsters in 1968 wanted to hear!

Plus there weren't any cute boys, except for Steve Elliott (Mike Minor), a mild-mannered cropduster who crash-lands by the hotel.  But he's busy courting one or the other of the daughtes, finally marrying one, and in the meantime singing Lawrence Welk-style songs.

I just looked through the complete list of actors on IMDB, and didn't see any screen hunks.  Not one.  This was a show for oldsters.

I was eight.  I wanted to watch Star Trek, The Green Hornet, Here Come the Brides, The Wild West, Hogan's Heroes, and My Three Sons.

Plus -- I didn't notice when I was eight years old, but the show is as dedicated to the heterosexual male gaze as an issue of Playboy magazine.

Petticoat Junction is not a real place, nor is it ever mentioned on the show.  It just means a place where there are a lot of girls (petticoats are skirts worn by Victorian women under their regular skirts, so a glimpse of "petticoat" was supposedly titilating).

And the opening shots are all about feminine pulchritude:

As the Hooterville Cannonball chugs through a bleak wooded landscape, old time radio star Curt Massey sings:
Come ride the little train that is rolling down the tracks to the junction
Girls whisper: Petticoat Junction!
Forget about your cares, it is time to relax at the junction
Girls whisper: Petticoat Junction!

We cut to a rusty water tower with three petticoats hanging off it.
Lots of curves, you bet. Nee more when you get to the junction.  
Girls whisper: Petticoat Junction!

It's been fifty years, but I still can't find anyone to explain why he said "Nee" instead of "Even."

Three naked girls peer up over the side of the water tower, hear the train approaching, and grab their petticoats.  Which is odd, since they never wore petticoats on the show.

There's a little hotel called the Shady Rest at the junction
Girls whisper: Petticoat Junction!
It is run by Kate, come and be her guest at the junction
Girls whisper: Petticoat Junction!

Cut to an old guy snoozing in a cabana chair on the porch of an old-time Victorian hotel.  Bea Benaderet, who had a long career on the radio but I knew only from this show, comes out onto the porch and looks at the train arriving. She tries to wake up the old guy, then descends the stairs.

And that's Uncle Joe, he's a-movin' kind of slow at the junction
Train conductor voice: Petticoat Junction

Uncle Joe stands up and grins.

Cut to the three girls carefully climbing down from the water tower, wearing the 19th century petticoats that they never wore on the show.

Petticoat Junction ended abruptly in 1970, along with all of the other hayseed comedies.  Its replacement: the hip urban  Mary Tyler Moore Show.

A classic.  But still with a lack of cute boys.

The Boys of Earthfasts

Speaking of Earthfasts, Keith, David, and Nellie Jack John in the 1994 television adaptation have all gone on to exciting careers.

Paul Nicholls (David) moved on to play a troubled teen in the longrunning soap East Enders, then had starring roles in a lot of tv series, including City Central, A Thing Called Love, Harley Street, The Fear, and CSI: UK. 

Also a lot of movies, including the critically acclaimed Clapham Junction (2007), about a day in the lives of a group of gay men.

Chris Downs (Keith) didn't do much acting after Earthfasts, but apparently he has become a model.  (Doesn't really look like him, but that's what the Internet Movie Database says.)

Bryan Dick (Nellie Jack John) worked in music for awhile and then returned to acting, with many guest roles in tv programs like Clocking Off, Blackpool, and Torchwood.  He has played several gay characters.

Greg Evigan: The Trucker and his Chimp

During the late 1970s, there was a trucker fad. The truck driver (or sometimes any driver, as in Dukes of Hazzardbecame the new cowboy, a loner who followed his own rules and thumbed his nose at the establishment.  People started throwing around terms like  "smokey" for cop and phrases like "10-4, Good Buddy" for "Goodbye."

Maybe the gas crisis made people long for the freedom of gas-guzzling semis.

On tv, the quintessential trucker-hero drama was BJ and the Bear (1979-81).  B.J. McKay, played by Greg Evigan, ran a freelance truck-driving business, got harassed by the smokies (especially Southern-fried Sheriff Lobo, who eventually spun off into his own series, starring gay ally Brian Kerwin).  As is usual in road tv, the plots involved BJ fixing the problems of the people he met along the way.  After resolving the crisis, he would head out into the sunset with his "best friend Bear," a chimpanzee named after the University of Alabama football coach.

I knew Greg Evigan from A Year at the Top (1977-78), a sitcom about two musicians who sell their soul to the devil in exchange for a year of fame.  It offered lots of bonding.

Unfortunately, BJ and the Bear didn't seem to.  I never watched the show, but the tv promos invariably showed B.J. picking up a semi-clad female supermodel who was hitchhiking or had car trouble en route to the Swedish Bikini Team tryouts.  As if that superfluous cheesecake wasn't sufficient, in the second season B.J. became the owner of a trucking company, and hired several female drivers with large breasts, including one named "Stacks."

But my friends and I often joked about the producers naming their character after a sexual act.

And Greg Evigan was nice to look at.  His semi-clad pictures soon flooded the teen magazines, even though he wasn't a teenager and he didn't sing.

A decade later, Evigan returned to television in My Two Dads (1987-1990), which wasn't about gay marriage. But he did play a gay doctor on Melrose Place.

Aug 19, 2020

"Britannia" Naked Celts and Romans Form Alliances and Have Hidden Agendas

I have seen the first three episodes of Britannia (2017-):

In 56 BC, Julius Caesar set out to invade Britain, but turned around and ran away when he found the island full of ghosts, demons, and monsters.  In 43 AD, Emperor Claudius tries again, sending the driven, "I don't believe in ghosts" career soldier Aulus Platius (David Morrissey) and 20,000 troops.

He doesn't find any monsters, but he finds the Druids, chthonic beings living amid towers of skulls,  who know how to bend minds and send you on journeys to the undeworld.  They kidnap soldier Antonius (Aaron Pierre), brainwash him, and send him back to camp with a message of doom.  The Romans execute him, but that makes no difference; they send him back with a new message, inviting Aulus on a tour of the underworld to see how futile the Roman cause is.

The Outcast (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), ejected from the Druids when he became possessed by the god Pwka (the origin of Shakespeare's Puck), believes that he is the only one who can stop the Roman invasion. We are not sure if he actually has the power, or if he's just crazy, but he provides comic relief in what is often a grim story.

The Romans must contend with two warring Celtic tribes.

The Canti, led by King Pellenor (no connection to the Pellenor who chases the Questing Beast in the Arthurian Mythos}, whose children are struggling for control:
1. Kerra, who had a  Roman grandfather, and tries to negotiate with the Romans.
2. Phelan, married to
3. Amena, who is also married to
4. Gaulish prince Lindon (Stanley Weber) on the Druids' order.

The Regni, led by Queen Antedia, who hates the Cantii after an alliance went wrong.  The Druids ordered her to marry her son Gildas (Joe Armstrong) to Kerra, daughter of the Cantii king, but in their wedding bed Kerra castrated him.

There are several other subplots running around, involving Cait, a refugee from a destroyed Cantii village; Ania, a captured Regni who claims to be a goddess who needs impregnation from Phelan; and Brutus and Philo,, Roman deserters who the Outcast uses for his own ends.

It gets very soap-opera-like, difficult to distinguish between the characters and figure out who is on which side.  Does every Celtic woman have to have a name beginning with A?

Beefcake:  Constant. The Romans tend to have bodybuilder physiques.  The Celts are more scrawny and scraggly, with tattoos everywere.

Other Sights:  It's all forest all the time.

Gore:  Lots.  You get to see people being blinded, flayed alive, buried alive, burned, crucified.  Celts and Romans compete to see who can be the most bloody disgusting.

Gay Characters:  Nothing specified. The Outcast has Brutus and Philo hold hands, but that may be just a requirement for a spell.  The way the head druid grabs at his spirit-journey and mind-control subjects, touches their faces, and straddles them may suggest some homoertic intent, but I think it's just supposed to be creepy.

Heterosexism:  The Romans don't do a lot of male-female canoodling, but the Celts are grabbing on each other all the time.  They don't seem to have the concept of marital fidelity.

Is It Worth The Trip?  The  Druids are interesting, but there are so many characters with so little development that one has a hard time paying attention to the alliances, betrayals, hidden agendas, and miscellaneous schtupping.

Besides, I can't spell

Anyway: spoiler alert: the Romans win.  They control the island for the next 400 years.

Aug 18, 2020

"Monday at 11:01 AM": A Bloated "Twilight Zone" Episode with a Hot Bellhop

It's Monday at 11:01 am.  The obnoxious Michael (Charles Agron, below) channeling Jack Nicholson, and his blond bimbette "Can I have some more money" girlfriend Jenn drive into a small town in Australia.  They stop into an antique shop, where he insults the owner.

While Jenn is maxing out his Super-Extra-Special Platinum Plus card, he stops in at a bar, where he flirts a lot of local girls, including the ridiculously out of place Olivia, who is channeling Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.  

Then Michael and Jenn stop in at the local hotel, where he belittles the staff and bullies his way into the presidential suite.  The intensely beautiful bellhop (Sam Clark, left) warns them to stay inside at night" " are bears."

Funny, it was 11:01 am at the antique shop, and it's still 11:01 am at the hotel.  Plus, a  lot of the townsfolk seem familiar,but Michael is sure he's never been to Bodunk, Australia or Kansas before.

In the middle of the night, he is awakened to the sound of screams and a struggle in a room down the hall.  He rushes to the rescue, but the room is empty, and the staff all think he's crazy. And it's 11:01 am again.

And there are scary robed beings walking around outside.

I figured out the he's dead about 20 minutes ago.  No doubt killed in the skirmish he overhears, and doomed to endlessly repeat it.

But I keep watchng the story torn from about a dozen episodes of The Twilight Zone and then bloated out to two hours, because I can't stop looking at the intensely beautiful bellhop -- maybe he'll take his shirt off.-- and  I want to see this jerk  Michael get his comeuppance.

People in the town start to vanish.  "It's our off season,' the bartender explains.

There's a mysterious door in the restaurant that he's afraid to open.

He continues to be bullying and obnoxious, yelling at people, demanding answers.

The next night, when he runs into the screaming room, the Uma Thurman lookalike is there.

In the morning, Jenn has vanished.  "You checked in by yourself," the intensely beautiful bellhop tells him.

Michael demands more answers.  I've seen this plot a hundred times before. , but -- did I mention how intensely beautiful the bellhop is?

After more bloat, Michael finally finds Jenn in the Screaming Room, stabbed to death. "I killed her," Uma Lookalike tells him, "So we can be together."  Then she kills herself.

Michael is arrested by an obnoxious Southern sheriff.  who says things like "We don't cotton to city boys in these parts."  So now it's the American South, not Australia?

He grabs the sheriff's gun and shoots him, the other cop, a passerby, the intensely beautiful bellhop, and the hotel manager.  Then he stops for a drink at the bar and gets 15 minutes of explanations, in case you're too dumb to have figured it out in the first scene:
1. This is a limbo where you relive the last moments of your life.
2. Michael didn't kill Uma and Jenn,but he killed the five people in the hotel, so he's still a bad dude, but no one can die here.
3. The black robed figures plan to take Michael to hell, but then Jenn arrives to lead him into the light, where "your mother is waiting."  That sounds like the other place.

Charles Agron, the star and writer, has nothing on IMDB except a credit for writing, producing, and starring in the horror movie Dark House (2014).  So basically I've been watching an amateur rehash of a thousand Twilight Zone episodes, just to see Sam Clark in a bellhop costume.  And he didn't even take his shirt off.

It was worth it.

Aug 17, 2020

"The Tiger Hunter": What the Netflix Description Is Afraid to Tell You

The Tiger Hunter, 2017. Hidden gem. Inspiring.  98% match.  "It's 1979, and engineer Sami is excited to leave his Indian village for a job in Chicago. But he soon runs into problems achieving his American dream."

Should I give it a chance?

1. I check the star. Sami is played by Danny Pudi, who has a lot of shirtless and semi-nude photos online, mostly with another guy.  At least one same-sex kiss.So he must be gay in real life or have played a gay role at some point.

He's apparently well known for the tv series Community, which I've never seen. I shut it off during the first scene of the first episode, when a horndog enrolls in community college and does nothing but double-take at all the beautiful, sexy, gorgeous girls. Maybe a gay character showed up later?

According to the fan wiki, Danny Pudi's character, Abed Nadir, invites "Annie" to move in with him, so he's heterosexual.

2.  The second star listed is Jon Heder, who was in Napoleon Dynamite in 2004. I haven't seen that, either, but I understand it was about a high school boy who likes girls.

I don't know what he looks like, but a search for "Jon Heder" and "shirtless" yielded this photo.

3. The third star is Rizwan Manji, who appeared in the tv series Outsourced, which I never saw, and Schitt's Creek, which I saw but don't remember him.  A search for "Rizwan Manji" and "gay" yields an article on "How Creek Explains Queer Culture to its Right-Wing Fans," but Rizwan is not mentioned in it. Wrong again, Google!

But three guys and no women mentioned.  Maybe the Indian engineer won't meet the Woman of His Dreams.

This seems like a lot of research to decide on whether to watch a movie, but remember, I don't like being fooled and having a gay character or gay subtext snatched away at the last minute.

4. I'm still not sure.  I search for images from the movie, to see if Sami is kissing or hugging anyone.

No, but I find this shot of Sami sleeping with a lot of guys.  They are spooning and cuddling, but he lies awake in homophobic discomfort, disgusted at the proximity of other...yuck...guys. What if a penis touches him? He would be traumatized for life!

Maybe I misinterpreted it. Maybe it's actually indicating how awful life is in India, where everyone is so poor that they sleep 12 to a bed.

5. How about a trailer?  I find one on youtube.

Sami is a boy in India, then a famous tiger hunter. Then he arrives in America. At the airport,  he does a swivel-take at He's a frigging hetero horndog!

I should have watched the trailer first.  Next!

But at least I saw the physique of Jon Heder, or whoever the guy in the second photo is (who turns out to be Zac Efron.  Wrong again Google!).

Aug 16, 2020

Teenage Bounty Hunters: Good, Clean Fun, with Sex

Teenage Bounty Hunters. 4.6 out of 5 stars.  Sure, I could use something mindless and trashy, as long as the girls keep their clothes on.

Scene 1: In a parked car, a teenage girl convinces a highly religious "But it's a sin!" boy, Luke (Spencer House), to have sex with her by quoting scripture. She continues to quote John 3:16 and the Shepherd Psalm while mounting him.

I should have tried that when I was a Nazarene!

In the next car over, another teenage girl finishes giving a hand job to stoner dude Jennings (Nicholas Cirillo), and then  interrogates him on her technique.

This may be another Nick Cirillo, but who cares? Beefcake is beefcake, and so far, it's two for two.

Scene 2: The two girls turn out to be twins, Sterling (religious) and Blair (stoner), who discuss their sexcapades on the way home.  Suddenly they hit a car.  "Jesus, Mother of God!" Sterling cries.

The guy they hit brandishes a gun, but they quickly subdue him.  He thinks they're bounty hunters (hired to track down people who skip bail).

The real bounty hunter shows up: Bowser (Kadeem Hardison, below, a bit rounder then the last time I saw him, on A Different World 30 years ago).

Dude runs, and Bowser is too fat to give chase, so the girls grab him.    Believing that they are professional bounty hunters, Bowser agrees to share the fee with them.

Scene 3: "What I did for my summer vacation" at a Christian Academy.  Girl says: "I was so blessed that my Daddy let us use his helicopter to fly to his lake house for a discipleship week."  Gak!

Sterling is chosen to be this year's Christian Discipleship Student Fellowship Leader.  But she doesn't want to do it because she' pure as the driven slush.

Scene 4: Outside the scary Gothic-castle school, Sterling is fake-congratulated by jealous April: "But I'm glad I didn't get it, because I'll be so busy this year with the Young Republicans, Latin Club, the Straight-Straight Alliance..."

Studdenly Stoner Dude crashes into Sterling.  She drops her purse, and a condom falls out.  Sin!  Abomination!

Sceene 5: The girls go home to their mansion, where Supermodel Mom has made brownies.  Dad comes in (Mackenzie Astin, older but not rounder than the last time I saw him, in The Facts of Life).

Scene 6: I'm not sure what the point of Scene 5 was.  They call Dad "sir," but otherwise he seems perfectly nice, interested in their activities, not authoritarian or abusive.

They walk through the grounds to the garage to pick up a car, so they can meet with Bowser to collect their $2,500 (don't they get that much allowance every week?)

Scene 7: Yogurtopia, where Bowser has his day job.  He gives them the money, but it will take a lot more to fix their Dad's best huntin' truck that got wrecked in Scene 2.   So he offers them a new job: he needs to get into the Men's Parlour, a super-exclusive section of the super-exclusive (that is, white only) country club to apprehend John Stevens, who skipped bail after being arrested for solicitation and assault (he beat up a hooker).

Jealous over-achiever April's Dad? Well, he has made inappropriate comments about the girls' bods, so he's a creep.  But why would a bajillionaire be a bail jumper?  Or need bail?

Scene 8: They arrive at the Jim Crow-era club, where all the staff is black, and leave Bowser waiting in the car while they cross the mile of elegantly sculpted grounds and about 30 elegantly appointed rooms to the Men's Parlour.

They flirt valet Miles (Myles Evans) into helping.

John Stevens is in the walk-in humidor, smoking cigars, drinking bourbon, and discussing how he took the fall for his business partner.The girls have a moral crisis -- they can't bring him in, he's innocent --and return to Bowser empty-handed.

Scene 9:  Back at school, Sterling and Religious Guy are screwing in the broom closet.  Later, he feels guilty and leaves, and Sterling discusses the details with Blair.  Suddenly they get a text: "U2 are dead. Come home immediately. Love, Mom."  Oh, no, Dad discovered the damaged truck!

Scene 10: Mom and Dad yell at the girls about the truck.  Their punishment is either to get jobs to pay for the damage, or go to public school, "where the classrooms are just one long bench and a chalkboard on wheels."  Gasp!

Scene 11: Bowser eating yogurt.  Well, he is roundish.  The girls ask for more work, and again he says, John Stevens!  Solicitation and battery!  They insist that Stevens is innocent.  Bowser tries to explain that guilt/innocence are for the court to decide, not the bounty hunter.   Plus he shows them security footage from the arrest -- Stevens is guilty after all!  The caper is back on!

Scene 12: April is hanging out with her friends, including the fey, gay-coded Ezekial.  Played by Eric Graise, a double amputee dancer (Logan on Locke and Key, whose instagram logo is "God is King, God is Key.").

April refuses to arrange a meeting with her father, but maybe by sleuthing through the geo-tags of her instagram photos, they can find the location of his lake house.  Nope.  How about setting up a fake social media account with sexy photos and sending a "follow" request to Mr. Stevens.  Ta-da!

Scene 13: Lake House -- um, I mean Lake Mansion, night.  They yell at Mr. Stevens for beating up the prostitute, punch him, knock him out, tie him up, and load him into the car.

That's it?  I expected  a lot more complications.

Scene 14: The girls are working at Yogurtopia.  Their parents beam with pride. But they're also working as Bowser's assistant bounty hunters.  Camera closes in on one of the fugitive photos tacked onto the bulletin board.  Gasp -- it's Mom!

Beefcake: Lots of cute guys, but no shirts come off.  But no half-naked babes, either.

Other Scenery: Everyone lives in a mansion.  The school is a Gothic monstrosity.

Gay Characters: None specified, but I'm guessing that Ezekial is coming out.

Heterosexism:  Not really.  Some sex is going on, but it's not essential to anyone's story.

My Grade:  I friggin' love this show.  It's like a Nickelodeon teencom with snappier dialogue and sex.  Now we just need a gay character.
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