Gay Movies

Eliza Hittman's 'Beach Rats' Quietly Washes Away at Shore

Upon perusing my Hulu this weekend, I stumbled upon a film called Beach Rats where the premise of it looked somewhat interesting. Given that I had an hour and a half to kill before I headed out for the evening, I figured why not see what this was all about and give it a shot.

The film, directed by Eliza Hittman, centers on Frankie (played by newcomer Harris Dickinson) a teenager from Brooklyn who spends most of the film struggling to figure out what his sexuality is.  It's interesting that a movie like this is being made in the modern day, given how these sorts of films went the way of the dodo bird about a decade ago.  The fascination in the whole "coming out" type of story has faded as time has gone by, which is a good thing, only in Frankie's character, he's not necessarily coming out as he is living a double life.

The film starts with Frankie perusing a Grindr type of website, except this one looks to be a video chatting service as well.  He has a lot of characteristics that "DL" guys have, showing off his body but keeping his face dimly lit or not seen at all.  His type, when chatting with men online, seems to be with older men, yet the film doesn't really explain why that is until towards the end.

He primarily hangs out with three other friends, who spend their time going to the beach and pretty much not doing anything else throughout the film besides get high.  During a trip to Coney Island ,Frankie meets a girl named Simone (Madeline Weinstein) who he enjoys a night with until they get back to his place and he's not interested in having sex with her.  This may play into him being high, not finding her sexually attractive due to his conflicting sexuality, or something else. 

At the same time, he still lives at home with his mother Donna (Kate Hodge) and sister Carla (Nicole Flyus).  His father passes away from cancer towards the beginning of the film, yet it doesn't really go into the type of relationship the two of them had.  His relationship with his mother and sister seem to be pretty emotionless, which paints him as sort of the angst-ridden teenager with a secret that he doesn't want anyone knowing.

Throughout the film, Frankie gets high and has sex with a bunch of older men, but you can't really tell if he is truly enjoying himself.  When he winds up meeting up with a guy around his age, he reveals that the reason why he goes for older men is because none of them know who he is, therefore he can't get caught.  That thought process almost gets him caught when he and Simone are on some sort of a boat party and one of the bartenders happens to be a guy he slept with.

His need for drugs eventually reaches a breaking point, where he tells his friends that he goes on these sites to meet up with men solely for the purpose of getting drugs.  None of them seem to care too much, as they are more invested in the drugs than what they are actually telling him.  For one, that looks to be crucial point of the film as it shows that Frankie's friends don't care about his wellbeing at all, they are more interested in just getting the drugs. 

He meets up with one guy who has weed, but then his friends chase after him on the beach in an attempt to steal it from him.  It's all shot very realistically, the lighting very dim, but the effect of all of this coming across.  You can see that Frankie is troubled about his decision to bring his friends with him just for the intent of stealing the drugs from an innocent dude that just wanted to spend time with him, but throughout the movie you really don't get a sense on what sort of level this is affecting him.

Was the point of this film dealing with the pains of someone living a double life?  It can't be easy for Frankie, but I wished there was some sort of emotional breakthrough where he could've confided in at least one person what was going on.  You're sort of left with a feeling of nothingness as the film ends, and it makes me wonder if I missed any subtle nuances that would've made for a more satisfying ending.  It just felt like it started with not much and ended with not much, where there was a lot of building up during.  

Have you seen Beach Rats?  What was your thought about this movie? 

Jim Parsons to Star in Film Adaptation of 'Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies'

TVLine Editor-In-Chief Michael Ausiello wrote the memoir "Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies" about his life with late husband Kit Cowan, who was diagnosed with terminal neuroendocrine cancer in 2014. The critic describes the last eleven months of Cowan's life and the rollercoaster ride of being by his side, marrying him, taking him to and from doctor visits--all while dealing with the love/hate emotions that come with such a complex time. You'll need more than a box of tissues if you're going to read it!

Now, after just being released this year, the best selling book has been optioned to be turned into a film. The book has seen great success and is in its fourth printing!

But that's not all--the story has been optioned by none other than Big Bang Theory's Jim Parson and his husband Todd Spiewak's company That's Wonderful Productions. Parsons and Spiewak will be producers of the film and Ausiello will be Executive Producer. Parsons will also star in the film--perhaps an Oscar-worthy role?

No word yet on who will adapt the book for the screen, who will direct or who will co-star in the film.

If you haven't read Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, go online, head to the bookstore or the library and check it out--then cry until the film comes out.

 

Tom of Finland Foundation Executive On "Tom of Finland" The Movie

S.R. Sharp is vice president and curator of the Tom of Finland Foundation, a nonprofit based in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. The Foundation was instrumental in the development of the feature film Tom of Finland, the Finnish-language biopic of the controversial, openly gay erotic artist, now concluding its U.S. run. The film is Finland’s entry into the 2018 Academy Awards for best foreign film.

I spoke with Sharp by phone recently and got some great tidbits of Tom of Finland history.

So I’ve interviewed both Dome Karukoski [the director] and Pekka Strang [who plays Tom of Finland]. You met with both of them as the film was being developed.

S.R. Sharp: We’d obviously reviewed casting, right? Pictures, bios, stuff like that, had discussions with the production company about who was being cast. But it wasn’t until I met [Pekka] here at Tom House that I looked at his hands. I was so smitten…he’s such a darling. I just said, “Wow you got the hands of a piano player!” Which is perfect…[the real] Tom being a piano player. [The film has the character playing piano]

So you met Touko Laaksonen (Tom of Finland’s real name) before he passed?

No. And call him Tom because all of his friends did. Even his Finnish friends called him ___ [sounds like Dom]. He kind of kept Touko for family and colleagues. But certainly in his world of freedom and certainly here at Tom House…everybody called him Tom.

I really related to the character of Doug in the film.

You know, he’s standing right next to me.

The real Doug?

Uh-huh.

Are you serious?

Uh-huh.

Oh my God I think that is just cool. 

He’s kinda like my boyfriend, too, and he founded the foundation with Tom back in 1984.

I loved how Doug’s character was portrayed, how Tom’s art was so influential for him. It’s really valid because lots of gays had that same experience, of seeing those powerful erotic drawings and saying, “I want to be like those men.”

Durk Dehner…is the real Doug. He founded the Tom of Finland company and the nonprofit Tom of Finland Foundation with Tom.

Durk actually saw Tom’s artwork in a third generation bar rag called Spike…just seeing this bad replica of his artwork, he said it spoke to him. Durk’s life work was working with Tom. And after Tom passed it is continuing his legacy here at the Foundation. We really get to unite the humanity with the artist, which is important in this film as well. Our missions are very much aligned.

How do you feel about Tom of Finland now that it’s done?

We went with a Finnish production company for obvious reasons. During [a] Q&A [at Outfest] I figured out the importance of this movie.

The country of Finland put out a postage stamp with a male butt right in your face…commemorative postage stamps for Tom of Finland in Finland. The first homoerotic stamp in the world. [Rural Finns asked] who is this guy? And why is he on our country’s stamp?

This movie answers that question. You have a great artist that came from your country. You had a great man that came from your country. You had a great brother, a great sibling, a great boss, a great employer. You had all these things in your country and that’s why he’s on your national stamp.

I think that’s exactly what this film is. It can tell people who don’t know who Tom of Finland is, why he is so important.

 Would you say that the genesis of the film started in the Foundation? Did you find the production company and Dome…or did it happen a different way?

Tom humbly admitted before he died that he had a global recognition in the queer community. But he didn’t have very much recognition in Finland.

So we sort have taken that to heart. We’d been doing Finnish exhibitions. We’ve been dealing with Finnish companies. We just came back from a Finland 100 Years celebration in Stockholm. So we have been very engaged in Finland. Because of our presence, we certainly made people very much more aware of Tom of Finland…but the film company did approach us.

Was Tom of Finland a Nazi sympathizer?

He was by no means a Nazi sympathizer. He hated all of that. It’s hard to be a big, bad Fascist when you have a 10-inch penis up your anus.

Most of the work that he did, that was even in that area, were commissions for other people. His response was, “I’m not political. I’m not political at all.” But he said, “Their uniforms are kinda sexy.” That pretty much sums up where he was.

Now that the film has been released, how would you say your organization’s work influenced the film?

I think having Dome and Pekka here in Tom House [was] in itself inspiring. [For them] to be in the real place where he lived and worked and slept is an inspiration unto itself.

When we, everyone’s familiar with his images, the art director and Dome, were here and we pulled out work from the safe…it’s not framed, it’s not placed, it’s not under glass…it’s the actual paper…and you actually see this drawing…they were able to experience not only the aura of the artist but they were able to experience how incredibly exquisite these pieces of work are.

Is there anything about the movie you wish you could change?

I wish it was more of a dick flick than a chick flick.

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Iceland's Gay Teen Film "Heartstone" Is Preparing for Global Distribution

Heartstone via Youtube @matchboxfilmsuk

Iceland is preparing to release a gay teen romance film into the world and we should all turn our heads to give it some attention.

The film, titled Heartstone, released in the country of origin earlier this year and is already quietly getting recognition through appearing at film festivals (which seems to be the only course for gay films looking to get mass recognition and praise).

The film has already earned a Queer Lion award at the Venice Film Festival and received several other awards.

The film story goes as follows:

“A remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood.”

The film will release in both the US and the UK in late September and early October.

In the US, the film will be released by Break Glass Pictures on September 26 in select theaters before hitting DVD/VOD on October 10th.

Meanwhile, Matchbox Films is releasing Heartstone in the UK on October 6th and then hitting DVD/VOD in Britain on January 8th, 2018.

You can check out the trailer down below.

Watch The Released "Call Me By Your Name" Trailer

The trailer for Call Me By Your Name is out and you have to see it!

Call Me By Your Name is the biggest gay themed film to be coming out this year and has gotten the most buzz since Moonlight. But, before we talk any more, check out the trailer below and see what you think for yourself.

As you saw from the trailer, the story of Call Me By Your Name follows a 17-year-old Jewish Italian boy named Elio. Elio’s father has a tradition of inviting a young academic into their home and putting them in Elio’s room (to the son’s annoyance) during each summer.

The story blossoms as a 24-year-old academic named Oliver arrives with a lively personality and comes into the withdrawn Elio’s life.

The story follows not only this summer but the next 20 years with Elio & Oliver through moments of sexual intensity, romantic calm, and personal growth.

The story behind this film is actually one that’s already been tried and tested. The film is a take on a popular book of the same name by André Aciman.

The novel won high praise from papers like the New York Times which called it “an exceptionally beautiful book,” and The New Yorker which said that, “Aciman’s first novel shows him to be an acute grammarian of desire.”

In addition, the novel ended up winning for the category of Gay General Fiction at the 20th Lambda Literary Awards.

When the announcement that a film version of the story was coming out people were excited and the buzz for the film only picked up from there.

For instance, Call Me By Your Name was notably the most well received and talked about gay themed movie that came out of Sundance this year. Reports were flying that the film had received standing ovations after its screening.

Another report that came out however was one of slight controversy as it was stated that a certain scene from the book was included in the movie. (Warning, the next sentence contains spoilers). In it, young Elio pleasures himself with a piece of fruit before being discovered by Oliver and then consummating the relationship.

Call Me By Your Name

Some were shocked that such a graphic scene was included in the film while others were proud of the commitment by production for authenticity and sticking to the text.

In addition, there was also controversy in the very fact that the two main actors cast in the role are not gay, and director Luca Guadagnino later talked to the Hollywood Reporter to express why this casting happened.

This film is about the blossoming of love and desire, no matter where it comes from and toward what. So I couldn’t have ever thought of casting with any sort of gender agenda. I think people are so beautiful and complex as creatures that as much as I am fascinated with gender theory — I’ve studied [American gender theorist] Judith Butler for so long — I prefer much more never to investigate or label my performers in any way. I only cast the actors and actresses I fall in love with — truly having an emotion for them, an anticipation and enthusiasm when seeing them — and I believe that my emotional confidence in them blends into chemistry. It’s always been like that, and I hope I won’t be wrong in the future.

So, with all that said and with the trailer watched, are you excited to see Call Me By Your Name when it comes out in theaters on November 24, 2017?

Let us know down in the comments below!