A good crop of movies this year! I didn’t see as many as I wanted, due to previous commitments (or in one case getting the show times mixed up), but I had a great time at this festival. Here are some of my thoughts on the movies I saw, in chronological order.
Oh my God, was that painful. Awkward dialog, clunky directing, plodding pacing, and acting that could only be more wooden if Ents played the parts. I could see where the writers were going with the story—a weird kinda-romance between one guy and his dead best friend’s long-distance boyfriend had a lot of dramatic potential—but the execution was totally off. A friend of mine very accurately described it as “the most boring date ever.” And yes, this setup does justify the awkward “how-was-your-flight” and “so-tell-me-about-yourself-what-do-you-do-for-a-living” small talk, but the audience shouldn’t be bored to tears!
Things livened up a little when the two finally bonded over their memories of Mark, as well as Mark’s hilariously cheesy song, but I could never manage to suspend my disbelief and accept that these were real people doing real, natural things. And the story didn’t get any resolution. Sure, I could accept that Jeff and Andrea just shared one kiss and would never see each other again, but what about Jeff’s sleeping problems, mentioned several times near the beginning? Were they due to unresolved grief over Mark? Did that one crying jag (followed by that brief makeout) fix everything?
Sweet, fluffy, totally hilarious. An 11-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a cheerleader in his conservative Catholic school must deal with his hardass nun teacher, and his overworked single mother who’s afraid that her doll-playing, Maria-von-Trapp-dressing son might be… you know… that way. But nobody’s really bad in this movie, just misguided, and even the serious moments are eventually resolved through the power of love and pom-poms. Gimme a W! Gimme an I! Gimme an N! Gimme an N! Gimme an E! Gimme an R!
The Coast is Queer
I always look forward to this annual showcase of local queer filmmakers. There was some very good stuff this year—Coffee being my favourite, along with Asylum (hey, I drove by that mental hospital every day for a couple of years!), the catchily tragic Caught, the hilariously naughty Galactic Docking—but nothing as memorable as last year’s offerings, I’m sorry to say. And mixed in with that were some bizarre numbers that just left me scratching my head (Cindy Doll and Swans, I’m looking at you). So, a bit of a disappointment, but hey. They can’t all be winners.
I have to give props to the folks at the anti-homophobia youth filmmaking bootcamp. See, I don’t mind shelling out for a pass I won’t fully use, if it goes to fund things like this. And those anti-homophobia shorts showing before every film, made by fifth-graders! Fifth. Graders. The mind is blown.
Otto; or, Up With Dead People
Is it a spoof of pretentious indie films? Is it an homage to gory zombie flicks? Is it gay porn? The answer, of course, is “all of the above.” Otto, a young man who may or may not be a zombie, must deal with an egotistical movie director and her silent-film girlfriend, bashers, an ex-boyfriend from when he was alive, and the sad knowledge that he does not fit in the world of the living. But is he in fact alive, though insane? Was it all just part of Medea’s pompous gay zombie blockbuster? No. Or was it? Maybe.
These four shorts are full of delicious eye candy, from the adorable Zak in Dinks, to hot FBI agents and hotter alien ass probers in Q-Case, to Corey and his parade of musical friends in Boycrazy. Okay, King County didn’t have so much eye candy, what with the dancing bears and the Top Gun stage musical with all-butch-lesbian cast, but I was too busy laughing my ass off to care.
I love a good mind-fuck on a Saturday night! This movie has gorgeous cinematography, bizarre dream sequences, a little boy with magical powers and a seriously messed-up family living in an increasingly messed-up world. There was no real plot, just a tapestry of interweaving stories that the characters and their issues brought to disturbing life: the overworked mother is dating a controlling asshole, the older sister bonds with her gay friend who just lost his virginity and dreams of flying planes, the boy yearns to reconnect with his long-lost father (who’s not dead, maybe, just… gone), and much more.
Global warming, geeky fundamentalists, teleportation, and everything ends (or begins?) with Timothy making the sun rise in the West. A perfectly weird end to a weird movie.