Gay-Friendly Blu-rays

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Mark Walker, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    Just watched Making the Boys all about the making of The Boys in the Band.

    Before I say anything about the doc, let me mention the reaction I had to seeing The Boys in the Band for the first time a few years ago. I felt like I had seen a work of art that wouldn't ever be matched, something that everyone should see and reflected not only the time it was made, but also today's society. It was raw, it was angry at times, but it showed this group of men as who they are, without the trappings society forced on them. In short, it was a revelation to me.

    So I went into the doc with high expectations. That was most likely my mistake.

    Now, this isn't a bad doc; it covers a lot of ground and encompasses the play, the movie, the social issues and the legacy of the work. It undeniably suffers from the toll taken on the cast and key behind-the-scenes personnel. In fact, at the end, each of the "boys" is show and then a caption tells what happened to them. I had an overwhelming urge to text my partner and tell him I loved him when the fifth mention of AIDS popped onto the screen.

    The personnel who are still around are more than happy to talk about the film and the world at the time (save one). Maybe I shouldn't focus on what the movie doesn't have and focus on what it does: it provides a history lesson while also telling us about the play and movie. It explains the challenges, the controversies, the highs, the lows...all of it...just like a good doc should.

    From my Letterboxd review:

    "Kinda scattershot in its approach, opting to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. The problem isn't so much in the movie, but in the unfocused theme of the doc: it wants to cover everything about the play, film, social issues and behind the scenes information in a scant 90-ish minutes. It's impossible.


    This landmark movie deserves more. Maybe it could never happen, considering the devastation AIDS and other illnesses took on the cast and key behind the scenes personnel. Five of the nine actors are deceased while one has chosen to distance himself from this production."


    Recommended, but watch The Boys in the Band first. I couldn't find a BD, which isn't a surprise.
     
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  2. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Who doesn't participate?
     
  3. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Reuben Greene, the film's only African-American cast member. The documentary says he refuses to speak with anyone connected with the film.

    I do not buy the arguments of Edward Albee, or any of the film/play's critics that it is "self-loathing." Hardly! It is a play about characters whose self-loathing makes them unable to have healthy relationships with each other. The last lines of dialogue acknowledge this and give the two main characters the self-awareness to realize it ("When will we stop hating each other? As soon as we stop hating ourselves."), making it a play about self-acceptance. And it's better than Cruising by a country mile.

    The Boys in the Band needs a Blu-ray. I'm not a fan of the redone color on the DVD (Friedkin needs to learn color theory; why does half the movie have natural skintones but the other half makes them look turquoise? He did that to The French Connection), but considering it was out of print for 20 years, it's still a huge step-up in terms of sharpness, cleanliness, aspect ratio and sound quality. Maybe Criterion wants to take a shot at it (and while they're at it, they should try to get My Fair Lady away from CBS).
     
  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    For every Michael in the play, there is a Hank, a Harold, and a Larry: upfront, open, and unashamed of who they are. Anyone who sees this play or film and thinks it's only about self-loathing isn't really paying attention to everything it has to offer.
     
  5. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    Matthew answered before I had the chance. :)

    It's kind of odd, to me, that Greene doesn't want anything to do with the play or movie. He created the role of Bernard on stage and then did the movie. It's not like he has a body of work after that he focused on: there's one TV show and two movies (including Boys).
     
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  6. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Albee must have been paying more attention to the parallels with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, mainly the fact that they are both plays by gay men about two people in a relationship who are at each other's throats at a party. He makes his dislike of the play very clear in the documentary.Other than how much things have changed for the better and, of course, the absence of AIDS, I also do not think the play has dated that much. The only things in the text that place it in the 1960s are the music and pop culture references. The white-hot anger, the differences in sexual values (Hank wants an open relationship, and Larry does not), even the racist jokes at Bernard's expense; there are still people like that in our community.
     
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  7. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Has anyone seen this movie from last year called Naked As We Came?

    I just happened to stumble across it and the trailer looks intriguing.
     
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  8. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    If I had time, I'd actually watch it tonight. Maybe tomorrow night...sounds like it'll get me through this Biblical rainstorm we're having.
     
  9. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    I have not seen Naked As We Came yet, either.
    Either of you see it in the last few days?

    I added it to my wish list on Amazon, so I am watching the price to see it it goes low enough to blind buy.

    In the last several weeks I have been stocking up on gay indie-films, even on lowly DVD, for fear that the they will go OOP or will never be released on Blu. And when a film I do like is released on Blu, I buy it, as I did with Latter Days and now Another Gay Movie.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman's passing reminded me of his remarkable work in Capote.
    [​IMG]
    As a much as I loved it, Infamous, the other Truman Copote bio-pic released that same year, was also very good and payed more attention to Truman's reciprocated romantic affection for Daniel Craig's character. (Maybe I just preferred a Truman fawning over Daniel Craig, since I can relate to that.) ;) It has been a while since I watched either.
    [​IMG]
    The DVD was less than $5.00 at Amazon, so I snagged it while making other purchases at Amazon.

    I have seen a lot of LGBT films of late. I will write some reviews in the weeks ahead.
    In the meantime, two quick notes:
    With this being Black History Month, if you have not seen this documentary Brother Outsider, I saw it a couple of years ago and remember liking it quite a lot.
    [​IMG]
    Bayard Rustin was an amazing man. Amazon currently has the DVD for $14.00 and some change, so I took the moment to purchase it. (It has been on my wish list for a while there, hovering at about $22.00)
    More about this film and Bayard can be found at http://rustin.org/

    Lastly, I think the best LGBT-centric film I have seen thus far in 2014 is Pit Stop.
    [​IMG]
    Recovering from an ill-fated affair with a married man, Gabe finds solace in the relationship he maintains with his ex-wife and daughter. On the other side of town, Ernesto evades life at home with his current live-in ex-boyfriend by spending much of his spare time in the hospital with an ailing past love.

    Impervious to the monotony of their blue-collar world, they maintain an unwavering yearning for romance. Far from the gay centers of the world, director Yen Tan explores the complex and oft-forgotten lives of gay men in small-town America. The understated, contemplative nature of Ernesto and Gabe’s story is told from the perspective of an observer, allowing us—even if just for a moment—to understand what it means to be an outsider. The emotional isolation the two men have grown accustomed to is captured in a subtle, optimistic, poetic fashion while avoiding melodrama. In a refreshingly quiet film, Tan’s protagonists never try to run away from their relatively hollow surroundings, but opt to fill life’s deepest voids with their tenacious confidence. – TOBY BROOKS [Sundance Film Guide]

    As much as I enjoy films like Another Gay Movie and Eating Out for their unapologetic ribald fun, this film is pretty much the antithesis of those.

    This is a film about two men living in rural Texas just going about their lives. They are gay, but they are not filled with angst about it (though one is closeted at work). One is living with his ex-partner while grieving over the loss of another lover currently in a coma. The other spends a great deal of time with his ex-wife and daughter, though he is none-too-happy when she goes out on dates with other men, or tries to set him up with men.

    Here is a link to the film's trailer:

    The film moves about a fast as a slug on pavement in July, but the pacing is perfect for the tone of the film.

    I loved this quiet little film. It felt real to me. I have either been these men or I have known these men.
    I only wish it was on Blu-ray.

    For more information, visit the film's website: http://www.pitstopthemovie.com

    Cheers!


     
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  10. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I, too, found a lot to like about Infamous. For me, Toby Jones embodies Capote more because of his diminutive size, and there is more emphasis on Capote's personal relationships rather than Capote's focus on Truman as a celebrity writer.
     
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  11. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    I didn't last night...I had an all around rotten day and forgot about it by the time I got home. And I wasn't in the mood to watch a movie. It's on the list, but it might be the weekend by the time I get to it. I'm not entirely sure what time I'm getting home from work tonight and tomorrow.

    Okay, Mark, really...just stop. :P Stop putting movies here I end up adding to my Netflix queue. I just added another 3...and I'm almost up to 400 now!

    I've got A Chorus Line coming either tomorrow or Friday. :)
     
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  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I recently watched Violet Tendencies on Netflix, and I found it immensely enjoyable. Mindy Cohn (Natalie from The Facts of Life) plays Violet, a middle-aged woman in New York City whose male friends are all gay, but she wants a boyfriend. Frustrated enough to give up her circle of friends—who often make rude, vaguely sexist comments about her private parts—she takes the advice of a female co-worker, Salome (Kim Allen), on how to attract a heterosexual man. She tries dating apps, but she gets stood up repeatedly until she meets a named Derek (J.R. Rolley), a guy who likes her, but is a bit uncomfortable with her friends, especially her HIV-positive one, Zeus (Marcus Patrick). Derek wants to move back to Idaho (which is where Violet is from, coincidentally), but she has reservations.

    There are two parallel subplots: one involving Violet's roommate Luke (Jesse Archer) who wants love but can only find guys who want sex and no more than that, the other involving Riley (Sam Whitten), one of her male co-workers (they work in the fashion industry, natch) whose boyfriend* Markus (Casper Andreas, the film's director) wants to adopt a baby, but he has reservations. I found the latter more interesting than the former.

    Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, and Lisa Whelchel might not approve :D, but it's charming and funny with an affirming view of gay relationships, and Cohn's effervescent personality comes through. And it's nice to see a gay movie that's just plain fun for a change. However, I do wish the script had done more with Derek's character to show why he is the way he is. I doubt it will be on Blu-ray any time soon (grossing a four-digit sum of money at the box office), so I picked up the DVD. I also bit the bullet on the complete Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, since it's on sale at Amazon.

    Casper Andreas is also responsible for The Big Gay Musical, which I have not seen.

    *They can't agree on the terminology. The film was released a year before same-sex marriage was legal in New York and there is nothing in the script to indicate they have had any kind of wedding or commitment ceremony.
     
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  13. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    I suddenly feel very very old! :(
     
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  14. KMR

    KMR Stunt Coordinator

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    So this thread long ago stopped being about Blu-rays, huh?
     
  15. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Matt,

    Thanks for this post. I realized as I read your analysis that that is why I prefer it, too.

    Thanks, Matt!!!!
     
  16. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    Oh come on!! :P My department's average age is in the mid-20s. I'm going to be 35 in about a month. And all I hear is how old they feel.
     
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  17. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Frozen is coming out on Blu ray in a few weeks, and while none of us here know for sure who that is in the sauna, according to one person who is upset about it, the film is promoting "the normalization of homosexuality."

    Read here and smile.
     
  18. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Both with and without Walt, and possibly by accident, underneath all those boy/girl love stories, Disney's been promoting a gay agenda for decades. Like here and here. And here. And here. And here (he was also called a "punk poet" back when punk wasn't a subgenre of rock). And here. And Johnny getting beat up over his shirt collar in Song of the South. And Hayley Mills' little brother getting teased for his androgynous hairstyle in Summer Magic. And Merriweather's hatred of pink in Sleeping Beauty (an animated movie based on a Tchaikovsky ballet, no less, and one of the few films where the prince is more interesting than the princess). And the editor cutting away from Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello every time they kiss in the Merlin Jones movies. And even in a minor film like Gus, where Ed Asner gets kissed on the lips by a man and brushes it off as no big deal (unlike Paramount's Planes, Trains and Automobiles, where Steve Martin and John Candy panic after the "those aren't pillows" sequence). And don't forget, they produced The Golden Girls (Blanche's brother was gay) and Ellen, or that the work of an openly gay lyricist helped save theatrical animation. And the fact that they own ABC, which airs the 20th Century Fox-produced Modern Family. And now with the penultimate episode of Good Luck Charlie, Disneyland is finally our land, to paraphrase Walt, and we've moved up from "veiled subtext" to living openly and honestly as ourselves in their films and TV shows. Even the statue of Disneyland is of two sentient males (albeit of a different species) holding hands. And after the Divine/Ursula thing, they paid John Waters back by letting him do a voice in a Disney Channel cartoon.

    And I couldn't be happier. Unless the home video division got its act together. :)
     
  19. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    MatthewA,
    I don't like that post, I LOVE it. :)

    Related, MatthewA just wrote a great (if disheartening) review of 54 on Blu-ray,
    [​IMG]
    which can be found here.
     
  20. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    What does everyone think of Auntie Mame? Many years ago, an older gay friend showed me the VHS and I wasn't overly impressed, although my opinion improved when I saw the widescreen laserdisc. Maybe I was too young. Maybe I did not appreciate her manipulative ways. Maybe I liked the musical better (the one I saw on stage with the elegant Juliet Prowse, not the movie with Lucy).Anyway, I would revisit the play on blu if it were released.
     

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