Jan 3, 2021

"John Apple Jack": Nobody Cares That You're Gay, You're a Jerk


It's January 3rd, and Amazon Prime's "Movies We Think You'll Like" begins with Christmas Cancellation, Christmas Time, Christmas in the Clouds, Christmas in the Bayou, Santa Fake, All is Bright, and Christmas Survival.  Ok, so maybe we're Eatern Orthodox, celebrating until January 6th?  

But it also recommends Pitching Tents, Fishing Naked, The Inbetweeners (a woman flashes her breasts at grinning boys), Valley Girl, Riot Girls, and John Apple Jack ("When playboy John discovers that his sister's fiance is his childhood crush..."

So this guy was gay as a boy, but turned straight when he grew up?  Sounds dreadfully homophobic.  I'm in.

Scene 1: Establishing shots of Vancouver.  Closeups of the interior of a fancy restaurant.  John (Chris McNally) is cooking. Narrating, John says that he is a "rich, gay slut whore" who at age 25, has had sex with about 1,000 men   

Wow, major slut-shaming. "Playboy" is more positive, but I've never heard it applied to a gay man before.  And 1,000 sounds like a lot, but if  he's been out since age 18, that's only 2.7 men per week, one or two dates and an occasional sex party.   

John flashes back to when he had crushes on boys as a kid, and wanted "fairy tale perfection, true love," which doesn't exist.  Or you could try a regular relationship.  Flashback to being a kid (costumes from the 1960s?) -- kicking his boyfriend out of the treehouse so his mom won't notice them holding hands.  To being a teenager (hairstyle and car from the 1950s?) , dumping one boyfriend to date another.

Ok, John is 25.  He was a kid around 2005, not in psychedelic hippie days.

Scene 2: Jack is getting a blow job under his desk from a feminine, English-mangling Asian stereotype  ("You like?").  His stuffy father (Drummond MacDougall) interrupts, telling him to "leave the titties outside the building." Uh-oh, he's not out. 

Scene 3: 
John inspects the flagship of the 15 restaurants his Dad owns,  Childhood boyfriend Jack (Kent S. Leung) is the sous chef!  What a coincidence! John pretends not to know Jack, Jack beans him with an apple, John fires him.

Scene 4: Jack the Ex-Boyfriend rejects a Street Hustler (Manny Jacinto), who will become important later.  

He shows up at the office just as Playboy John is preparing to screw giggling, English-mangling Boytoy.   John rehires him, but he wants more: to modernize the menu with French-Asian fusion  dishes and locally sourced ingredients. Jack says he will consider it. They kiss -- just as shirtless Boytoy arrives with coffee, and deliberately spills it on his crotch.

John: "Sorry.  I'm not attracted to you -- I was just fooling around.  Let's get drinks tomorrow."

Way to send out mixed signals, dude!

Scene 5:
Jack in an elevator with coffee on his crotch, looking like he peed his pants.  The Security Guard, who will become important later, asks if he's ok.

Meanwhile, back in the office, Boytoy (Alvin Tran) put on cat ears and is meowing around the floor.  He throws Ex-Boyfriend Jack's menu ideas out the window to poop on the competition.  They land right in front of Jack, who thinks Playboy John has rejected them and gets mad.

Meanwhile, Playboy John is annoyed by the clinging Boytoy and fires him.  I see his point -- how can you get any work done, when your assistant is constantly saying "We have sex now?"  Boytoy tries to blackmail him into keeping his job, but John has had a string of boytoy assistants, and knows how to cover.

Sceene 6: Playboy John arrives at a restaurant for lunch with his father and sister Vivienne, who hasn't talked to them in ten years for some reason (maybe because they are jerks?).  She's brought her fiance for them to meet.  Surprise!  It's Ex-Boyfriend Jack!

Well, I guess if they grew up in the same 1950s neighborhood, it's conceivable that they would....maybe...know each other.

Marrying your sister would mean "off limits" to most people, but Playboy John keeps trying to grab Jack's hand under the table, and Jack keeps pushing him away.  Meanwhile, we discover that Playboy John has issues with Vivienne and is not invited to the wedding, and their parents are stunningly racist.

Playboy John decides to come out: "I am gay.  I have alwasy been gay, and I will always be gay.  I live in Yaletown, the gayest place on Earth."

Dad:"Please, it's not the 1900s anymore.  We know.  Everybody knows."  He addresses the restaurant patrons: "Hey, everybody, I'm the owner of Jardine's.  Raise your hand if you know that my son, John Jardine, is gay?"

Everyone raises their hand.  Laugh out loud moment.

John is, surprisingly, not pleased by Dad's acceptance.  He yells, criticizes, says the standard  teenage line: "You're trying to make me like you, but I'm not like you"  That's exactly the opposite of what Dad just said.  

Dad fires him.  John storms out.  What just happened?

Boytoy arrives and "outs" John to get revenge for being fired..  Laugh out loud moment.

Scene 7:
 Behind the restaurant, Playboy John yells at the waiter (Jag Bal) for giving food to the Street Hustler (left).  But he's homeless and was "eating garbage."  Besides, the waiter will pay for it: "Please don't fire me.  Wait -- you don't work for your Dad anymore.  You can't fire me."

Then John asks the waiter for a date. This is not even remotely what a real person would do. Waiter rejects him, naturally.  

Ex-Boyfriend Jack comes out and explains that he and Viviane are getting married because they're best friends; "this is about commitment and family, not sex."  So you will have a Platonic marriage?

So it's the 21st century, and no one cares if you're gay or not, but you have to be in a heterosexual marriage for your career, working for a gay man and his father, who doesn't care that his own son is gay, so why would...... I'm confused.

Scene 8:  Playboy John arrives at work.  He can't remember the security guard's name, even though he's seen him twice a day for years, so he calls him "Bruce." 

Turns out that John no longer works there, so he can't get in the building. So what does John do?  He flirts with "Bruce."  Who would do that?

I've had it with this movie.  I'm fast-forwarding.

Spoiler alert: John disrupts the wedding, a la The Graduate.  This makes everyone extremely happy, even sister Viviane, which makes no sense whatever.  Dad is so pleased that he finances their new restaurant, John Apple Jack.


  1. This movie sounds like hell. Thank you for your service of summarizing it; I'll happily avoid it now!

  2. I saw the trailer and it looks like the usual low budget gay indie movie- the Asian queeny guy looks really annoying

  3. I proofread this review at least three times, and didn't notice the two misspellings in the first paragraph.


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