Mar 6, 2021

"Pixie": Irish Priest Gangsters and a Gay Couple, But No Pixies


For movie night this week, we saw Pixie (2021).  The title makes you think of a children's fantasy about pixies, but it's actually an Irish gangster comedy.  

Pixie (Olivia Cook), the free-spirited, conniving stepdaughter of gangster Dermot O'Brien (Colm Meaney),  sends two of Da's goons to steal a million euros of Ecstasy from a rival gang of drug-running priests.

The goons happen to be her ex-boyfriend Colin (Rory Fleck Byrne), who isn't over her yet, and her secret boyfriend Fergus (Fra Fee, right).

Her plan is to sell the Ecstasy, betray Fergus, and move to San Francisco, where she will study photography. (You can't do that in Dublin?).  

You see where things might go wrong?

Things go wrong: 

Ten minutes into the movie, Fergus and Colin are both dead (with Colin's corpse in th trunk), both the priest gang and her stepdad's enforcer Seamus (Ned Dennehy) are on her tail, and Pixie is saddled with two clueless doofuses, Frank (Ben Hardy, left) and Harland (Daryl McCormack).

Did I mention that Pixie's stepbrother  Mickey(Turlough Convery) hates her and is looking for an opportunity to take her down?

And that she has another ex-boyfriend, Gareth (Sebastian de Souza), who happens to be the nephew of the head gangster priest?

I'm not sure about Frank and Harland.  They meet Pixie when they go to her house, mistakenly believing that she will have sex with any man in exhange for letting her photograph them (she actually photographs Frank in drag).  They discuss women's body parts.  Frank tries to convince an altar boy that God wants all men to have sex with ladies.  

They discuss same-sex activity only in terms of prison rape and priestly pedophilia.  

But they kiss during the beginning of a three-way (cut short by the arrival of enforcer Seamus).  

Later, when they escape being killed, Pixie points out that this was almost their last kiss: "Isn't it romantic?"  They look embarrassed.

But at the end of the movie, Pixie leaves for San Francisco by herself, and Frank and Harland ask "Where shall we go now?" and walk off into the sunset together.  Have they become romantic partners? Or were they always romantic partners and in denial?

Beefcake: The boys strip down to go skinny-dipping, but in a long shot, too far away to see much.

Other Sights: Beautiful Irish countryside, establishing shots of Sligo.

Heterosexism: Pixie tilts her head and smiles, and every men gapes in slack-jawed lust and does whatever she wants.  Her teenage stepsister hooks up with the altar boy.

Gay Characters: Frank and Harland?

My Grade: A-.

Mar 5, 2021

"The Tunnel": Can I Give a Grade of Minus 800?


The Tunnel: On the border between France and Britain in the trans-channel tunnel, a woman's body is discovered.  Why is it always a woman's body?  Do they think that women are especially weak and fragile, permanent victims -- she must have been murdered?  Whereas men are aggressive, assertive, powerful -- 'he must be a gangster or a drug dealer."  

I'll bet that a by-the-books woman and a loose-cannon man are assigned to the case, bicker-flirt, and finally fall in love.  The oldest heterosexist cliche in the book.  But there's something about a "surreal discovery," so this will be science fiction; it stars Stephen Dillane, who is quite ugly but has played gay characters on American Horror Story; and it reminds me of Time Tunnel, one of my childhood favorites, so I'm in.

Scene 1:  Calais entrance of the Eurotunnel.  A grunting maintenance worker comes across the body of Member of Parliament Marie Villeneuve literally straddling the border, sliced neatly in half, with her top half in France and bottom half in Britain. And hollowed out, so there is no blood or internal organs.

Cops arrive.  The snarky British cop, Karl (Stephen Dillane),  tries to flirt with the French cop, Elise, to get control of the investigation, but she won't budge: the head is in France, so it will be a French investigation. 

Scene 2: The Dover entrance, night. A rich lady named Charlotte rushes to a pay phone and calls someone named Alain: the pilot has been notified,  the departure permits for the Bahamas are ready, and Nicholas will sell the gold.  

Meanwhile, Elise is watching the last public speech by Marie Villeneuve, an anti-immigrant, pro-isolation alt-right pundit -- less than 24 hours before she was killed, disemboweled, and placed on the England-France border.  Obviously a political statement, but by whom?  You can't get in the maintenance tunnel without an id.

Scene 3: Establishing that Karl the British cop is heterosexual: he drives home, smiles at his sleeping preteen daughters, yells at his teenage son (Jack Lowden top photo), and gets lovey-dovey with his wife.  So why was he flirting with Elise before?  Does he flirt with every woman?

Scene 4:  Elise visits the coroner.  Marie was suffocated, and cut in half after her death.  The legs belong to someone else -- a Welsh woman, frozen for about six months while the killer was waiting...for Marie?  

Scene 5: A new character, Stephen (Joseph Mawle), eating dinner in a take-out place.  Veronica joins him.  They have denied her asylum claim, but she can't go back to Colombia, or she'll be murdered.  Stephen runs a charity that helps immigrants, and offers her a short-term stay in a hostel. 

Meanwhile, Elise is still working at 5:00 am.  She calls Karl the British cop to demand that he compile a list of missing British women with Welsh flag tattoos -- now.  

Scene 6:
Karl and his assistant (Tobe Bakari) looking through missing person reports. They find a prospect for the bottom half -- Gemma Kirwan from Cardiff, Wales, missing seven months.  

Meanwhile, Elise's team discovers that the last person to see Marie alive was her research assistant. He flew to Marseilles right after their meeting, but he's coming back today.

Scene 7: 
A female cop interrogates the researcher, Philippe (Cedric Vieilla).  He says that he flew to Marseilles to visit his girlfriend.

Wait -- it's not the researcher.  It's just another cop bragging about how his girlfriend in Marseilles is good at sex. 

What idiot designed this scene?  "The researcher flew to Marseilles."  Shift to a new character saying "My girlfriend is from Marseilles."  Either the writers are really stupid, or they are deliberately trying to confuse the viewer. 

That's such a bizarre bit of misdirection that I'm tempted to give this show a miss right now.  But I want to see how often the audience is deliberately deceived.

Next, Elise changes clothes right in the office.  We get to see her black bra and panties.  There's no reason for that, except that the director wants something to masturbate to.  

Scene 8: Stephen, the guy who runs a charity that helps immigrants, goes home.  A woman is taking a shower and singing in Spanish.  Did he let Veronica stay with him?  That's hardly appropriate.  

She comes out of the shower, completely and utterly naked from top to bottom.  What, didn't the director finish masturbating yet?

Ok, I've had it.  I can't stand anymore.  Sexism, heterosexism, male gaze, cliched plot, idiocy, and pornography.

My grade: On a scale of 1 to 100,  minus 800

Mar 4, 2021

"The Tuche Family": Nine Interconnect Stories, Swimming Pool Fatigue, and Two Boyfriends Almost Kiss

I was in a hurry to get something playing on Amazon Prime before my cereal got soggy, so I click on the first movie with a blurb that I hadn't seen before:  The Tuche Family.  No idea what it is about, except "tush" is slang for "buttocks," so maybe it's The Coneheads, but with butts instead of cones. I fast-forwarded, looking for gay content, and found this:

A teenage boy drives his car to the beach.  A boy named Raphael leaves his friends to check it out  "You can touch it," he says, introducing himself as Tuche Daddy.  They gaze at each other for a long time.

Is this a gay romance?  I'd better watch from the beginning:

Scene 1:
It's a French film, so tuche doesn't mean anything. A young boy named Donald narrates (also called Quack-Quack, or Coin-Coin in French).  He introduces us to his father, the ugly Jeff Tuche, a small town ne-er do well who decorates the town Christmas tree with dirty socks, offers the priest 20 euros to baptize his car, and is constantly coming up with schemes to evade the bill collectors.  

His other eccentric family members include: Mom Kathy, who thinks she is the long-lost sister of Princess Stephanie of Monaco; self-indulgent teenage sister Stephanie; teenage brother Wilfred (Pierre Lottin), and Grandma Suze, who drinks "suze" all day and carries around her stuffed deceased dog.

Whoops, Wilfred is reading a magazine with a photo of a big-breasted woman atop a car hood.  Straight!  Could the gay scene be with someone else?

Scene 2: They win 100 million euros in the lottery!  They set out on the road -- wow, that's the sound the gas pump makes when you fill the tank all the way!  -- and reach Monaco, their new home.  Nice establishing shots.  Everyone stares as a crappy car full of rednecks stops at the ritzy Hotel Royale.  The concierge tries to stop them from registering.  The bank manager almost kicks Dad out,  But, as Jed Clampett discovered, money talks.  

Scene 3: They move into their 36,000 euros per night suite (really ritzy; most hotel rooms in Monaco go for less than 250 euros).  Sister Stephanie finds that it doesn't stock her bargain-brand hair gel, so she has housekeeping bring some up.  Mom washes clothes and hangs them on the balcony to dry.  

Meanwhile, an outraged hotel guests comes to the front desk. Grandma's stuffed dog fell off the balcony into his coffee.

Scene 4:
Breakfast.  They discuss how they are going to fit in to their "new homeland" (like the Clampetts in Beverly Hills).

The family goes shopping, and then takes a helicopter tour of Monaco (nice shots, but I'm getting tired of them.  This is like a travelogue).  Then it's off to Princess Stephanie's private club, where flashing 1,000 euro bills around doesn't work: they can only join with a sponsor.  

A hot guy (Ralph Amoussou) does a triple-take at Stephanie.  Maybe he'll be their in.

Meanwhile, Dad is house-hunting.  The realtor shows him several palatial villas, but he doesn't like any until finally he says one is "ok.": the view out the window is the same as his wife's poster back home.  He also installs a suze fountain, a photo booth, and a french fry hut.

Scene 6: The next door neighbors get an invitation to the Tuche's housewarming party.  Dad disapproves of noveau riche hicks, so Mom Mouna, teenage Salma, and preteen Jean-Walid go alone. Uh-oh, I smell a love interest for the car-and-boob obsessed Wilfred.  They are the only ones who show up, but they actually enjoy the photo booth and the french fry hut  

The teenage girls bond over discussions of Paris Hilton and film, and Dad plays soccer with Jean-Walid.  Both kids seem rather repressed, with "study all the time and don't have any fun" parents; maybe the Tuches will be their salvation.  

Scene 7: The head of a private school agrees to admit Donald in exchange for french fries (which you can't get in Monaco) .

While Dad and Jean-Walid play soccer, Mom starts working on Mouna's salvation -- getting her to relax over "bubbly" (non-alcoholic faux-champaign), and Donald reads up on investments.  Maybe he'll be working on their stodgy businessman dad?

Meanwhile, Wilfred drives his new car to the beach. A teenage boy named Raphael leaves his friends to check it out  "You can touch it," Wilfred says.  He introduces himself as Tuche Daddy.  They gaze at each other for a long time.

This is the scene I saw at first.  I thought Wilfred was into cars and boobs because of the magazine.  Could he be into cars and dudes?

Back to Mom and Mouna.  "I'm sure he has a girlfriend," Mouna says. But he means her husband, no Wilfred.  They used to "have it all," but then he made a lot of money, and their relationship is over: "Money is poison."  

Scene 8: 
Mouna agrees to sponsor Mom at the country club.  Old hags clutch their pearls as they walk past the pool (does anyone in Monaco do anything but sit by the pool?)  Suddenly a woman in the water yells for help, and a man named Daniel rushes to the resue.  

Mouna and Mom introduce themselves and gawk at his muscles (a love interest for Mouna?).

Meanwhile, Dad become a volunteer coach for the pee-wee soccer team

Scene 9: Mom teaches Mouna how to go grocery shopping,  Meanwhile, Dad test drives a race car.  Could we get back to Wilfred being gay?  

Scene 10: Donald narrates: "In 2 months we'd spent 20 million euros."  Ruh-roh. I know where this is heading.  Being rich is awful -- being poor is great.  What the owners of the means of production tell the workers..

Wilfred and his boy friends frolicking in the pool, Mouna flirting with Daniel, the two teenage girls ogling the hot black guy --  Georges Diouf, "Monaca's young hopeful" -- and Quack-Quack decides that he's going to be "true to himself" and reveal that he's smart.  

Headmaster calls the parents in and reveals that he's getting A+ grades.  They don't believe it -- he must have cheated.  

Later he explains to the Headmaster why he pretended to be dumb for 12 years: he was afraid that he wouldn't fit into a family of underachievers.

Scene 11: Soccer game.  Dad's team is losing 7-0 at halftime, but he gives them a pep talk. 

Dad goes home to find Mom alone.  The kids have scattered -- they're not a team anymore. (Teenagers having their own lives?  Horrible!) Donald still insists that he didn't cheat.  Everyone has grown apart.

Scene 12: Dad and Daniel at a casino, gambling and discussing the family problems.  

Meanwhile, Mouna's two kids are eating dinner and discussing how the Tushes are "a real family."   Salma puts on makeup to go dancing with Stephanie.  Wait -- are they dating?

While she is gone, Mouna announces that she's leaving her husband, and packs up Walid to go stay with the Tushes.  Walid sleeps with Donald who bribes him to get his dad's email address.  

At the club, Salma bribes the DJ to let Stephanie perform  (is Stephanie an aspiring singer?  I don't recall her getting an "I Want" scene).  Hot guy gawks at her. Later he approaches with a bottle of wine.

Meanwhile, Wilfred and his boyfriend are on the beach, looking at the stars. They discuss taking a shuttle to Jupiter and whether having rich parents make you happier. (No kiss?)

Mom and Mouna making cotton candy and discussing getting Mouna laid.   Jeff putters around his empty house, being miserable.

Scene 13: Breakfast.  Everyone is miserable.  Donald makes an intelligent comment, and everyone puts him down.  Wilfred: "You talk like a little faggot!"  Homophobic!  I thought he was gay.  Now I'm really confused.

Scene 14:  I thought we were ready for the climax and denoument, but no, more plot is happening: Donald meets with Mr. El Assad (Mouna's father) about his idea for Chinese tungsten interests.  

The big charity bazaar.  Mom and Dad sing.  The boyfriends have their arms around each other. 

Outside, Hot Guy and Stephanie kiss. "If Dad finds out we're together, he'll kill you." Why would Dad care if his teenage daughter dates?  Because he's black?

Scene 15: Dad has the opportunity of making a business deal, but he needs 100 million euros, and he only has 80.  What to do?  Mortgage his old house back home.  

Meanwhile, Donald and Mr. El Assad fail to get enough investors to raise the 150 million euros needed to buy the Chinese tungsten mine.  They still need 80 million.  Donald knows where to get it.

Scene 16: Hot Guy tells Dad that he wants to marry Stephanie. Dad is  opposed because Stephanie is 18, too young to marry, but Hot Guy convinces him.

Turns out that Daniel has been playing the Tuches all the time.  Thugs steal the 80 million he collected from Dad, but not to worry, he and his Mum move on to a new scam in Grenoble.   But they didn't get the money; Donald stole it to invest in the Chinese tungsten deal, which is a huge success.

Scene 17:
Donald doesn't tell the family that they haven't lost anything, so they think that they are poor again.  

 There's a final soccer game.  Wilfried is caressing Boyfriend's face. Then they all pack up and say goodbye.  Princess Stefanie has a cameo.  They move home,.

Scene 18: Donald finally tells them that they are actually rich.  But they won't make the same mistakes.  They stay home, and invite all of their Monaco friends for a barbecue.  Finally! Thank God!

Beefcake: Endless by-the-pool scenes with hunkoids, usually at a distance.

Other Sights: At first I liked the vistas of Monaco, but then I started getting swimming pool and beach fatigue.  

Gay Characters: Is Wilfred being gay a non-issue, so it doesn't need to be developed?  Did it get lost among the various other characters' stories?  Or did the writers closet him into "ok, touch his face, an then we won't see you again for 20 minutes."

Plot Fatigue:  The interconnectd stories of Dad falling prey to a scam, Mom helping Mouna with her marital problems, Stephanie working on her singing career and getting a boyfriend, Donald pretending to be stupid and partnering with Mr. El-Assad, the other kid being redeemed through soccer, and Wilfred and his boyfriend gazing at each other.  And Grandma learning to speak again.  And Salma photographing everything. It was quite an ordeal.

My Grade: C-.

By the way, Wilfred gets more time to be gay in the sequel.  He and his American boyfriend plan to get married.

Looking for Muscles on the Carol Burnett Show

Variety shows are out of style now, but in the 1960s, they were all the rage.  At least among the adults.  In 1969, they could watch 9 hours of variety per week: Leslie Uggams, Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, Glen Campbell,  Jim Nabors, Tom Jones, Jimmy Durante, Jackie Gleason, and Andy Williams (programs all named after their star).

All of the kids I knew hated variety. Passionately.  Except for our own Smothers Brothers and Laugh-In, of course.  Slow songs from dinosaur times, lady dancers in skimpy costumes, jokes involving heterosexual desire, comedy sketches featuring characters popular on radio a thousand years ago, and bathetic closing numbers involving sad clowns or cleaning ladies.

I usually managed to get out of watching variety shows by claiming homework, or when my brother and I got our own tv set, watching something else -- anything else.  But for some reason I saw a lot of Carol Burnett, hatred or not.

There were only three reasons to watch:

1. Co-host Lyle Waggoner, a former male model who appeared nude in Playgirl.  He played the leading-men and hunks in comedy sketches.  Unfortunately, because they were comedy, he never appeared nude or even shirtless on the show.

2. Frequent guest star Ken Berry (previously of Mayberry RFD), who sang, danced, and appeared in comedy sketches.  He had some muscles, and often wore extra-tight pants that would give Frank Gorshin some competition in the bulge department. Unfortunately, his numbers usually involved heterosexual romance.  One, called "Love Stolen from the Cookie Jar," was about how much he enjoyed  grabbing the butts of strange girls.

3. Occasionally other hunky guest stars, like Steve Lawrence and John Davidson.

4. The "Mama's Family" sketches, about a dysfunctional Southern family, featuring Carol as the brash Eunice (left), Harvey Korman (not pictured) as her husband, and the much younger Vickie Lawrence as crotchety Mama (right).  Gay actor Roddy McDowell (center) appeared occasionally as Eunice's highly educated, sophisticated brother, who lived to regret his visits. Alan Alda and Tommy Smothers appeared as other brothers before it was established that Mama had only one son, Vinton (Ken Berry).

 Anything that skewered the myth of the deliriously happy nuclear family was fun.  And it spun off into the sitcom Mama's Family, which was a must-watch program of the 1980s due to the hunky Alan Kayser.

See also: Once Upon a Mattress.

Mar 2, 2021

"Ginny and Georgia": "The Gilmore Girls" with More Sex and Murder

When you log on to Netflix, a promo immediately starts blaring at you: a high school girl takes down the teacher for assigning 16 books this semester, but only two by women and one by a person of color. Is he teaching literature or white male privilege? I could use some woke characters, so I started watching Ginny and Ginny or something like that.  

Scene 1: Ginny is in a classroom, narrating: "My Mom had me when she was my age, 15, so I got the "sex talk" at age 7."  Hunkoid turns around to flirt with her.  She continues: "Sex.  Men want it, and they think you should give it to him."  Ok, all men are interested in sex with women.  No gay people exist.  Strike 1.

Hunkoid goes off to flirt with some girls with their hair blowing in the wind in slow motion (how do they get the wind to blow inside the classroom?)  Ginny seethes with jealousy.  

A teacher calls her out of class to say that her stepfather has been killed in an accident.  Whoops, I thought this was a comedy.  Strike 2.

Scene 2:  The open-casket funeral.  Ginny overhears two women talking trash about her mother and accidentally on purpose bumps into them.  To be fair, Mom is dressed in a Black Widow outfit and being overly dramatic about her grief.  She's obviously delighted that the geezer is dead: she inherits all of his money, and his own son gets nothing.

Scene 3: Ginny, her Mom Georgia, and 9-year old Austin are heading north in their convertible.  Georgia shoves her feet into Ginny's face and sings that song that Ashton Kutcher sings in that Cheetos commercial -- wait, it's a real song about catching someone having sex.  I thought it was weird for him to catch Mila Kunis eating Cheetos in the shower.

They have enough money now for Mom to take a break from marrying men.  Maybe she'll even try dating for fun, have sex with someone she actually likes for a change.  

Scene 4: They stop for gas at a small-town gas station (Interstate Highways don't exist, of course). A  fat redneck Southern sheriff stereotype sees Ginny pumping gas, stops his car, and walks toward her in slow motion (she's black-ish).  But then he sees that Georgia is white, and leaves them alone.

Scene 5:
They arrive at ritzy small-town Massachusetts, with yoga studios and Thai fusion restaurants.  Better than Texas.  But this means the hunk from Scene 1 is gone forever.  Georgia sees a campaign poster for the Mayor, Paul something (Scott Porter), and thinks that she migiht want to have sex with him.  They arrive at their fancy federal-style house.

Flashback to a blond woman in a crappy trailer park, being assaulted by a man.  Hey, I thought this was a comedy.  She grabs a knife and slashes him to escape.  He calls: "I'm going to kill you. Mary!"

I'm confused. The women are both blond.  Is this another character, or did Georgia change her name?

Scene 6:
 It seems like I've been watching forever, and there's been only one hunk and no gay references except an assertion that all men are heterosexual.  I'm about to call it quits.

A third blond woman gets out of her car and berates her son for smoking weed (son is played by Felix Mallard, back).  She sees Ginny and Georgia unloading their stuff across the street, and comes over with a plate of  "welcome to the neighborhood" cookies.  This one is named Ellen.  Three blond women in the first five minutes.  Doesn't the director find other hair colors attractive? 

Meanwhile, Ginny is talking on the phone to her dad -- apparently still in the picture, in spite of the five elderly stepdads.  She looks out the bedroom window to see the weed-smoking boy climbing ut of his window.  Wait -- Weed Smoker definitely lived across the street.  Is this another boy?

Scene 7: Georgia is dancing in front of a miror, practicing her flirtation and aiming her gun at random objects. 

I'm going to stop there.  Fast forward:  Georgia starts dating the Mayor, and starts a blackmail relationship with Joe (Raymond Ablack).  She is a survivor of abuse, which apparently explains her "marry them and poison them" life strategy.  We're supposed to find her endearing, not reprehensible.  

Ginny starts dating Marcus (Weed Smoker) and Hunter (Mason Temple, who, when you try to search for him online, you get a lot of photos of buildings).  She also gets a lesbian best friend, but gay men don't exist.

And we never see the hunk from Scene 1 again.

Mar 1, 2021

Zandor, Tor, and Chuck: Saturday Morning Muscle

When I was a kid in the late 1960s, it was hard to find beefcake on tv.  Wild Wild West and Tarzan were reliable, there were shirtless teens on Maya, and otherwise you had to hope that an episode of That Girl would have Ann Marie befriending a boxer, or Kirk would get his shirt ripped off on Star Trek.  

But Saturday morning cartoons more than made up for it, with huge numbers of teenage boys and adult men with muscular bodies on display (mostly spandex and open shirts, however; nothing like the semi-nudity of today).  In the fall of 1967, for example:

At 8:30, The Herculoids (1967-69), about a nuclear family of blond space barbarians who defend their planet from alien invaders.  The kid, Dorno, was about my age, but with an amazing build, like Tommy Norden from Flipper.  The dad, Zandor, was even hunkier.

At 9:00, Shazzan (1967-69), about two teenagers trapped in an Arabian nights world with the titular magic genie (not to be confused with Shazam, the Michael Gray series).  Shazzan wore a black vest and no shirt, and the teenage boy, Chuck, wore a white shirt unbuttoned to his navel.  Note: the girl was his sister, not his girlfriend.

At 9:30, you had your choice of Space Ghost and Dino Boy (1966-68), about a boy trapped in a prehistoric world with a cave man guardian, or Samson and Goliath (1967-68), about a boy and dog who morph into superheroic Samson and his lion, Goliath.  I preferred Samson, who wore another shirt unbuttoned to his navel, plus no pants.

At 10:00, The Mighty Mightor (1967-69).  about a prehistoric teenager named Tor -- super hunky already, and a member of a tribe of bodybuilders  -- who morphs into the superheroic Mightor. Unfortunately, the girl in this picture was his sort-of girlfriend.

  At 11:00, reruns of Jonny Quest.

Then a quick lunch, a bit of playing outside, and it was time for an afternoon of The Magic Sword or an old Tarzan movie.

See also: Bamm-Bamm Rubble: Gay Promise on The Flintstones.

Tim Matheson

During the 1960s, Tim Matheson voiced some of my favorite cartoon adventurers -- Jonny Quest, Sinbad Jr., Jace on Space Ghost, Young Samson -- all with strong homoerotic friendships.

I didn't actually see him on screen until Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968), about a blended family with 18 kids.   He plays 18-year old Mike, a clean-cut footballer who expresses no interest in girls -- but takes his shirt off, revealing a magnificent physique.

You didn't see shirtless teenagers much in the 1960s.  I was stunned.  And hooked.

I saw him on tv a lot during the 1970s: not a lot of shirtless shots, but lots of intense, passionate same-sex relationships.  For instance, in The Quest, which lasted for only 15 episodes in the fall of 1976, Tim and Kurt Russell play brothers who didn't grow up together, and therefore treat each other more like lovers as they travel the Old West in search of their kidnapped sister.

In The Runaway Barge (1976), Tim and Bo Hopkins, workers on a barge on the Mississippi, struggle to keep it from crashing with a load of chlorine, and end up walking into the sunset together.

 Then something changed.  In Animal House  (1978), Otter (Tim) displayed a beautifully tanned chest in a toga.

Unfortunately, he formed no strong bonds with any of the other boys of Delta House.  Instead, he spent the movie sleeping with every woman in sight, including the Dean's wife.

I continued to go to Tim's movies for a few years.  He was displayed in his underwear or nude a lot, but sometimes beefcake is not enough.

He often played horny teen slackers with little time for same-sex romance.  In Up the Creek (1984), about an intercollegiate rafting race, his Bob has three buddies (Stephen Furst, Dan Monahan, Sandy Helberg), but doesn't buddy-bond with any of them.

Or else New Sensitive Men (like Ryan O'Neal), slim and handsome, but so busy bedding women that they didn't have a lot of time for same-sex romance.

 In A Little Sex (1982), for instance, Michael (Tim Matheson) has a long-term girlfriend plus the dreamy-eyed glances of every woman in town -- but his only male friend is his brother (Edward Herrman).

Or else Ordinary Guys and their wives and kids caught up in paranormal horror.  In Impulse (1984), an earthquake in a small town gives everyone poor impulse control.  Before long, they're fighting, stealing, and having indiscriminate heterosexual sex.

What changed?  The shift from television to movies?  From teen to adult? Or did the culture change, 1980s conservatism, Ronald Reagan, mechanical bulls, "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche," making close same-sex friendships suspect?

I gave up in the mid-1980s.  Since then, Tim has been in over 60 movies  I've seen three.

Feb 28, 2021

More "Two Sentence Horror Stories" LGBT Representation: Religious Gay Guy Fights Demons

 I couldn't believe it -- I selected another episode of  Two Second Horror Stories at random , "Fix," and here's what I found:

Scene 1: After a dream involving an old man on a swing, Jackson (Kevin Alves) wakes up in bed.  An arm around, it couldn't's a guy!  His boyfriend Reza (Albert Nicholas).

They talk about Jackson's sister, whom he hasn't seen for two years:  He touches the cross around his neck. "I know God wants me to forgive her, but it's hard."  Apparently she was a drug addict who kept swindling her family and friends.  The last straw was stealing their Dad's wristwatch (from his corpse) and using it to buy drugs.

"Maybe it's time," Reza suggests.  "She just lives ten minutes away."

Religious, gay, and -- Reza is a Persian name -- a Middle Eastern boyfriend.  That's representation.  And kudos for not making all gay people anti-religious. 

Scene 2: He shows up at the apartment.  Sophie says she's been clean and sober for months, no thanks to him.  "I'm sorry," he says.  "I've been praying to learn how to forgive."

"Forgive me?" she snarls.  "You big hypocrite!"  So, what did Jackson do wrong?  I hope she doesn't mean being gay.

Scene 3:  Jack finds their Dad's old Bible, and another book with pictures of demons.  Sophie comes in.  "I want to help you," he says.  She laughs. "You help me?  I'm not the one who needs help!"  Is she talking about being gay?

"Anyway, I found someone who understands me.  He made all the pain go away."

Scene 4: 
 Jackson taking a shower, feeling gulty about being called a hypocrite. 

Why take a shower in Sophie's house? If he lives ten minutes away, he can go home and come back later.  

Why have a shower scene at all?  Because all horror movies have one: "Oh no, there's a serial killer stalking us!  I think I'll take a shower."

He overhears Sophie talking to someone, then screaming behind a locked door.  He bursts in, but no one is there.  He collapses.

Scene 5: Jackson awakens in the kitchen.  Sophie, cooking, explains that she has found peace and happiness with Flauros the Demon.  And he can make all of your pain go away, too.  I hope she doesn't mean the pain of being gay.  

She turns around, revealing that she's making a maggott sandwich.   She gets white eyes and starts bouncing around the room and talking in demon talk.   Jackson screams and runs.

Not up the stairs, you idiot!  Get out of the house!

Normal voice: "Jackson, I'm sorry.  I don't know what's happening to me.  Help me, please."

Don't go out there -- it's a trap!  Haven't you ever seen a horror movie?

He goes out there.  Demonic Sophie attacks.  He collapses again.

Scene 6: Jackson awakens in a dark room surrounded by candles.  Demonic Sophie says "I hoped you would come around, but this is just as good.  Soon all your pain will be gone."  

After some demonic backing-and-forthing, he takes the cross from his neck and presses it to her chest.  She collapses.

Scene 7:
Jackson awakens yet again next to Sophie on the couch. It was all a dream!  He says it will be ok now, he'll take care of her.  

Big reveal: Jack is also a recovering addict.  Sophie began using through him.  That's the source of his pain!

Sophie opens her mouth to puke black butterflies, and her eyes go blank.

Later, Reza comes in and finds Jack and Sophie both dead with heroin needles in their arms.

Scene 8: Psych! Reza got Jack to the hospital in time to save him.  The doctors say that the shock of seeing Sophie like that caused him to start using again.  

Like what?

 Spoiler alert:

When Jack got to the apartment, Sophie had been dead for two weeks.

"I'll take care of you," Reza says.  They hug.  The end.

Two sentencse: "My sister needs to talk.  She's been so angry since she died."

Question: Did the writers expect audiences to assume that Jackson's pain was over being gay?  Is that why they made him gay in the first place, as a red herring so we wouldn't expect drug addiction until the Big Reveal?  Or is it because they didn't want a girlfriend to burst in and save Jack at the end?

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