Oct 28, 2023

"Tropic Thunder": War/Hollywood parody with gay characters, gay subtexts, no homophobia, and Jack Black's bulge


In Tropic Thunder (2008), some actors, their director, and a member of the crew are filming a movie about the daring rescue of a captured American soldier during the Vietnam War. They accidentally move off-set and out of Vietnam, into Laos --the territory of a heroin-trafficking drug cartel.  Except they still think they are filming a movie!  

Link to NSFW version.

They are:

1. Tugg Speedman (Ben Spiller, left), an action-adventure star who tried to move into drama with Simple Jack, about a mentally-disabled farm boy. It bombed, but it happens to be the drug cartel's favorite movie.

2. Rick Peck (Matthew McConaughey, his agent and gay-subtext best friend.  When Tugg is captured by the drug cartel, he rushes to the rescue.

3. Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), famous for a series of movies about a family who farts.  If you like chub, he's got an extended scene tied up in his underwear (which displays quite a bulge).

4. Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), an Austalian superstar who always stays in character, playing a black soldier.

5. Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), the "kid," in his first major movie role.

6. Cody Underwood (Danny McBride), the munitions expert and helicopter pilot, whose career has involved maiming several actors.

7. Four Leaf Tayback (Nick Nolte), who wrote the book that the movie is based on, the only survivor of the real rescue mission.  Or is he?

8. Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), a rapper whose brand is about how many hos he gets; he even sells a drink called Booty Water.  When the guys are discussing whether they have a "special someone" waiting back home, he admits that he's interested in someone, but 'it's complicated.":  Lance (gay actor Lance Bass!)

After their initial surprise, everyone is supportive, but he backs away, claiming that he misspoke. Coming out would definitely affect his brand.  But he is shown sitting with Lance at the Oscars.

Beefcake: Just Jack Black.

Gay Characters: Alpa Chino, of course.  We also see trailers of the character's other movies. In Satan's Alley, Kirk Lazarus and Tobey Maguire play gay monks.

Gay Subtexts: Tugg-Rick and maybe Tugg-Lazarus.

Heterosexism: None.  There aren't any women in the movie, except for Kevin's date at the Oscars.

Offensiveness:  I heard that this movie was extremely offensive, so I went in expecting constant homophobic slurs and gay "accusations."  Nope.  One "cocksucker."  That's all.  The portrayal of Simple Jack is rather cringey, but I'll take it for the pleasure of getting through an entire movie without being laughed at or called disgusting. 

My Grade: A-

There are three butts and two underwear bulges in the NSFW version of this review on Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriends

Oct 27, 2023

Alphonse and Gaston: Your Grandfather's Gay Couple

If I was living my last life during the 1890s, as Raphael the Gay Psychic Angel said, I would have been around for the first years of newspaper comic strips: The Yellow Kid, The Katzenjammer Kids, Happy Hooligan, Mutt and Boomer, Moon Mullins, Barney Google, Krazy Kat, Little Nemo.

Unfortunately, nothing from that life leaked over into this one: I find comics from that era incomprehensible.  Even when I can understand the slang, the jokes don't make much sense.  They seem to be mostly about people hitting each other.

But I can certainly understand that Alphonse and Gaston are a gay couple.

The invention of prolific cartoonist Frederick Burr Opper, the two Frenchmen, one tall and one short, first appeared in The New York Journal in 1901, and continued intermittently until 1937.

 Jokes involved them being urbane, sophisticated, and foppish, traits antithetical to the big-shouldered Yankee masculinity of the era.

And over-polite, each graciously refusing to leave before the other as the building burns down or the bull charges at them.

Soon they were having adventures in exotic locales like Africa and the Middle East, refusing to escape from more and more serious life-threatening situations, while their friend Leon looked on in exasperation.

"After you, my dear Alphonse!"  "No, after you, my dear Gaston!" became a popular catchphrase, used endlessly by journalists, political cartoonists, and sports commentators.

They became a staple of Vaudeville and the subject of a stage play, plus several one-minute long comedy shorts (1901-1903).  Only one seems to have survived, but plot synopses suggest that the couple lives and sleeps together.

In 1947, Bob Clampett adopted the characters to the over-polite gophers Mac and Tosh, who are even more obviously portrayed as a gay couple, particularly in their recent incarnation on the Cartoon Network.

See also: The Looney Tunes Show

Oct 26, 2023

"Hightown": Is it homophobic to show some gay leathermen beating up a straight man?


I was conducting research for that other website when I came across a short video of two leather masters (Hank Strong, left, and Mark Haynes, below) pulverizing a guy, punching him in the face, the chest, and the crotch until he's a bloody pulp. Great, keying into the stereotype of gay men as violent predators.

Further research revealed that it was a scene from "White Whale," Episode 1.6 of Hightown (2020). The show has a depressing premise: "Set in the world of beautiful but bleak Cape Cod, one woman's journey to sobriety is overshadowed by a murder investigation dragging her into its fold."  The episode description sounds like you need a scorecard: "Jackie and Junior struggle to cope in the wake of a traumatic event. Ray's investigation picks up speed. Ray is there for Renee when she really needs him."  But at least I discovered that the pulverized guy is Junior, played by Shane Harper.

The cast list sounds rather homophobic. There's a Muscle Queen, played by Michael DeMello (left).  What does he do, lisp and limp-wrist his way across the screen?

Plus a Creepy Guy and a WeHo Queen, played by Isaac Josephthal.

But wait -- a review on Out states that the show is queer-inclusive: the main character is a lesbian, played by a bisexual actress. But you can be a lesbian ally and promote stereotypes about gay men -- it happened all the time when I lived in West Hollywood.

Watching the scene in the context of the episode, it becomes a little less problematic.  Junior, a drug dealer, is devastated by the death of his girlfriend.  While making a drug delivery, he notices that his clients are three buffed leathermen, and gets an idea: he overcharges them.  

Leather Daddy #1 (Mark Haynes) becomes irate and asks "Do you think I can't fuck you up?"  Junior replies: "Yeah, on steroids and meth.  Doesn't make you a man."  The Leather Daddies proceed to pulverize him.

No matter how homophobic you are, it's stupid to insult three bodybuilder leathermen.  But Junior is smiling: he wanted to get pulverized, or maybe killed.  Suicide by leatherman.

Frontal, bulge, and rear photos of the actors are on Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriend.

10 Things You Should Know about Dylan Koroll

1. At the age of 17, he won the grand prize for modeling at the World Championship of the Performing Arts, an annual competition for aspiring singers, actors, models, and so on.  It draws performers from 60 countries and gives out millions of dollars in scholarships as prizes.

2. He's currently rated #9 of the top 10 models, and #4 of the top male models, represented by the Sutherland Agency in Toronto.  I especially like their link "Click here for package."  It wasn't the package I was expecting, though.

3. In his day job, he runs a construction company in Calgary.  He has also studied motorcycle repair.

4. His biggest acting credit is a 5-episode run as Hardy Champ, the sister's boyfriend on Wynonna Earp, until she dumps him for a girl.  His tumblr states that he hates the character of Champ: "he wanted to do something with his life, but he failed, and now he's just given up."

5. He also had a guest spot as "Cool Guy" on Young Drunk Punk, a semi-autobiographical series about Bruce McCulloch (Kids in the Hall) growing up in Calgary in the 1980s.

6. In Gavin Crawford's Wild Wild West, a mockumentary in which Gavin Crawford plays six eccentric Calgary residents, one of his characters is a gay cattle rancher who wants to open a dude ranch with his husband.  Dylan plays someone named Damien.

7. He's gotten considerably inked of late, considerably reducing his attractiveness.  But his body, his rules.

8. Dylan's only other film credit is the short Heartland.  I found a copy on director Brian Paccione's website, but I don't know what it's about.  People dressed in circus sideshow costumes chase each other through woods.

9. Heartland is also the title of a short film about a gay man who returns from the City to the Heartland to help out his ailing dad and cruise the farmboys.

10. His facebook page has a photo of him posing with a woman and child with his last name, so he might not be gay. But another photo shows him in tandem with these two hunkoids, so you never know.

Oct 25, 2023

Grease is the Word: A Gaggle of "Grease" Dannys and Kenickies


was my coming-out movie; I started crying during the opening animation: 

The adults are lying -- only real is real.

We stop the fight right now, we got to be what we feel.

Actually, I still tear up when I write those lines. 

So I thought it would be fun to check out some of the hunkiest Greasers, on Broadway, in the movies, and in local theater.

Peter Andre

Ace Young..  

Hunter Foster

More after the break

Grease 2: The Gay Connection

Grease (1978) played into the 1950s nostalgia craze, united two of the biggest stars of the era, and featured songs that wowed audiences on Broadway.

The sequel, Grease 2 (1981), did none of those things.

Everyone expected another mega hit which would make the careers of stars Maxwell Caulfield (left), Michelle Pfeiffer, and Adrian Zmed.

The plot was a reverse of the original, in which the innocent Australian transplant Sandy (Olivia Newton John) adopts a cool facade to attract the attention of Danny (John Travolta) and wrest him from his greaser buddies.

This time innocent British transplant Michael (Caulfield) adopts a cool facade (as the mysterious Cool Rider) to attract the attention of Stephanie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and, not coincidentally, her boyfriend Johnny (Adrian Zmed).  He manages to snare them both, sort of: Stephanie becomes his girlfriend, and Johnny offers him a membership in the T-Bird gang (left).

By the way, the bulge on the far right belongs to Leif Green (comic relief character Danny Jaworski), who went on to organize the first AIDS Walk in Los Angeles in 1985, and many other AIDS Walks and Dance-a-Thons over the next 25 years.

The gay subtext is helped along by Caulfield and Zmed, who were widely rumored to be gay at the time, like John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John before them.  Both posed in the gay-vague After Dark magazine.

The movie didn't exactly bomb at the box office, but it was by no means a hit.

Maybe because the nostalgia craze was over.  Audiences wanted heroic fantasy like Clash of the Titansor epic adventures like Raiders of the Lost Ark. or werewolves.

Maybe because the actors were unknowns.

Maybe because the songs were terrible.  Instead of "You're the One that I Want," "Rock-a-Hula Luau."

Still, the cast went on to respectable careers.

Maxwell Caulfield went on to some homophobic movies and soap operas, including starring roles on Dynasty, The Colbys, and Emmerdale.

Adrian Zmed (left) starred in T.J. Hooker and any number of Circus of the Stars tv specials.

Both were not at all shy about posing for semi-nude and Speedo pics.

Oct 24, 2023

Spider-Man: Dark Age. Fan-movie with limited heterosexism, and a gay-subtext boyfriend

 I have been eagerly anticipating the fan-movie Spider-Man: Intro the Dark, directed by Timmons Flowers and Jak Kristowski: no girl is mentioned in the trailer or in any of the comments by either of the showrunners. This is a big deal: the Spider-Man mythos is usually loaded down with heteronormative erasure ("Like all stories, this story is about a boy and a girl.") 

Scene 1: After a news report about an explosion in Rosenberg Labs, we cut to a high school shot.  Peter Parker (Joshua Morgan) enters his class and talks to his bud about asking "Ruby" out.  Ok, so he's established as heterosexual at minute 0.30.  Two other guys discuss meeting at Peter's house after school.

Scene 2: Home.  Peter is greeted by his mom  Cut to breakfast, where they all discuss the explosion. Dad says he's going to be gone three days to help with cleanup, and he'll be back tomorrow night.  That's two days.  Continuity?

Scene 3:
 Peter playing chess with his bud, who he calls Veon, but is Eddie in the closing credits (Ja in the closing credits, Jaizier Mallett on the IMDB).  He says "checkmate," although the pieces on the board are random; no checkmate.  Eddie leaves. 

A Harvard recruiter calls, wanting to talk to Peter because of his excellent skills on the guitar.  Really?  Does Harvard have a big guitar program?  Could we see Peter playing the guitar?

The full review is on Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriends

A Gay Spider-Man in a Video-Game?

This picture seems to depict Spiderman on the subway looking at his cell phone, while his seatmate leans his head on his shoulder.  A romantic gesture.  Are we seeing a gay Spiderman and his boyfriend?

It's from a September 2018 article in Polygon magazine about the Spider-Man PS4 Video Game.  As Spidey goes about his adventuring, he gets phone calls from family and friends, but his voice sounds different depending on whether he's swinging or standing.  Voice artist Yuri Lowenthal recorded different versions of the same phrases to create the effect.

I don't know anything about video games, but I googled "Spider-Man PS4 Game": it advertises Spider-Man in an "all-new adventure"!  Here Peter Parker is an experienced crime-fighter, not a sallow youth, and the iconic characters have been "re-imagined."  

1. Mary-Jane and Peter have a romantic history, but are not dating.  

2. Peter has a sidekick. fellow spder-person Miles Morales. He only appears briefly, in a back story.  But apparently neither has a heterosexual love interest, so they could be read as a gay couple.

You may recall Miles Morales from the gay-subtext film Into the Spider-Verse.  He stars in his own PS5 game, with no Peter Parker.  Apparently that game is gay-inclusive

But Spidey's seatmate is Yuri Lowenthal, not Mike Morales.  

Yuri Lowenthal is a Jewish boy from Tennessee who majored in East Asian languages at the College of William and Mary.  He has voiced many characters in anime and American animation, such as Ben 10.   He's also written a book on voice acting.

As far as I can tell from his "wife and kids" bio, he's heterosexual.  

No beefcake photos on his Instagram, but here's a cute guy waiting to see him at a convention.

The word "gay" appears twice in Yuri's Twitter account: first he explains that a three-way involving two guys and a girl "isn't gay" (of course not: it would be bisexual for the guys).

Scond, he responds to an unknown comment by screenwriter Zack Stenz: "What's a gay."  

So probably not an ally.

The intended meaning of the picture remains a mystery, but I'll take gay subtexts wherever I can find them, especially with iconic characters like Spider-Man.

Oct 22, 2023

Jake Kelley: Modeling, Arm-Wrestling, and Nekkid Cowboys

See the NSFW version of this post here.

In 2023, Jake Kelley was an up-and-coming actor, with major roles in The Righteous Gemstones, Dogwood and the Secrets that Bind Us.  The writers' and actors' strikes have kept him off screen for several months, but he's making good use of his down time with theater and modeling.  

When he was in Los Angeles to model for  UScape Apparel (collegiate sweaters, t-shirts, and such), he took time off for a vacation.

Playing volleyball in Hermosa Beach.

Riding horses in San Luis Obispo

Holding hands with a guy in a cowboy bar.  Yes, I know that they're arm-wrestling, but you should see some of the comments on Jake's instagram page,  Mega-homoerotic.  One of the least graphic is: "Save a horse, ride a cowboy."

There are some nekkid cowboys who may or may not be Jake Kelley on  Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriends

Ross Lynch and His Brothers: Gay Positive or Homophobic?

You may think of Ross Lynch as just a voiceover artist and the star of the Disney Channel's Teen Beach Movie, or the gay-subtext Austin & Allie, along with Calum Worthy (middle).

But the talented actor and singer, born in Colorado in 1995,  is just one of a whole family of performers.  He is in the group R5, along with brothers, sister, and friend.

I've had approximately 100 of their close friends and girlfriends informing me that they're heterosexual.  What I can't figure out is whether they're gay-positive, heterosexist, or homophobic.

Riker, born in 1991, appears on the gay-positive Glee as Jeff, a student at rival Dalton Academy and  member of the Warblers singing group.  His character is often assumed gay and is shipped with Nick (Curt Mega).

But both Riker and Rydel, the female member of R5, retweeted a tweet that complained that Glee was  "gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay."  Sounds like they're a bit homophobic.  But then...he stars in Glee. Maybe it's commenting on the homophobia?

Rocky, born in 1994, is deeply invested in the band, but he has also appeared on screen a few times, notably in The Wedding Band, about four slackers who sing at weddings, including gay weddings.

Ellington Ratliffe, the drummer of the band, has appeared in Victorious, Red Scare, Raising Hope, and All You Need. 

 He tweeted to Riker that he was the "King of Swag," whereupon Riker told him that "Swag" means gay ("At least now you come out.")  Ratliffe responded: "Swag is still cool."  Homophobic or not?

So, how heterosexist are their songs?  "Can't Get Enough of You" and "I Want You Bad" are loaded-down with "girl! girl! girl!", but "Without You" and "Look at Us Now" omit pronouns.  And in "Never," the singer feels cold, so he gets his sweetheart's jacket wrapped around his shoulders.  That sounds like a male sweetheart.

To be complete, I should include Ryland (born 1997).  He's not in R5, but he stars in the Nickelodeon sitcom The Fresh Beat Band (2009-) as Mini Twist, leader of a group that hero-worships the older Twist (Jon Beavers, who played a homophobic jock in A Gaggle of Saints ).

Homophobic, heterosexist, or gay-positive?

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