Here We Go…Again!

There are constants in the universe.

Good news, right?

For instance, ABBA music is just good.

Oh, were you expecting something more serious?

Wrong blog.

Ok, how about, “The inter webs are a cold, hilarious place”? I was never not going to see this sequel.

Sidebar: Hey, Donny Trump…that’s how double negatives work!

So, yeah. I had my heart set on seeing this movie. The build up on social media in the days before its release just whet my appetite further. My favorite moment occurred on Twitter as someone let fly the outrageousness and extremely unlikeliness of three women keeping the same hairstyle for 40 years.

So brilliant, but I digress.

Anyway, it is a universal truth. I never hear anyone say the don’t like ABBA music, probably because I simply refuse to hear it.

But sometimes you think something is a constant, like “Pierce Brosnan can’t sing” only to later doubt yourself.

We’ve all seen it.

Endured it.

And if you love Pierce Brosnan, you’ve made excuses for what you saw. “He can sing, it’s just that his character wasn’t supposed to be able to, like Ado Annie in Oklahoma!”

Because, seriously…he’s a big star! Why would he expose himself to the ridicule a poor performance brings?

It’s not a bad bit of logic-slash-rationalization.

By the way

Not bad logic morphs into harsh reality, though, in this prequel to 2008’s Mamma Mia when we meet Pierce’s younger self.

Who.

Can.

Sing.

He can also set your loins afire, too. But that’s a poor offset for the burden of having to accept the universal truth that Pierce just can’t sing.

Seriously, Pierce. Big star, remember? Get Julie Andrews to dub you or something. A ceiling tile dropped out of the theater’s roof during your number.

I can only assume that he broke auto tune, it’s the only reason I can give for why they wouldn’t have used it.

Y’know, on this inaugural post using – testing, really – the new Facebook mandated blog page versus linking to my personal page, I had a choice of topics. I promise, my choices were both feel good options that allowed me to write about something fun or positive.

Mamma Mia! or people doing good things in the world. See? Both positive topics!

I’ll get to them both eventually, but I think people are used to or expect my grumpy old man persona to come out in my writing. With Mamma Mia! I can do both. Let’s face it, ABBA music makes people happy, so that feel good moment is built in. I’ve waited a week to write about seeing this movie, to reasonably respect spoilers, which is also a kindness…so when I knock Pierce Brosnan around for not being able to sing or rip on the story, it’s only to temper your expectations.

Can’t have you thinking that I’ve turned over a new leaf just because I have a blog page on the Facebook now.

PS: I’ve already realized the motivation behind Facebook’s new rules, they are trying to generate income off these new, mandated pages.

Anyhoo.

I tend to temper my expectations with sequels. Especially sequels that come out right away…it’s like the studio is trying to get away with something. A cash grab before we realize that we’re being served up a stinker.

Here We Go Again took a decade to arrive.

Plus, ABBA!

Naturally, I was there for the first show…but still watching with a guarded side eye.

And some popcorn, duh.

I was checking off boxes to confirm this sequel wouldn’t be worthy:

Pierce still can’t sing ✅

They used all the best songs in the last movie ✅

The story suc…wait a minute. What’s wrong with my eyes? Why are they leaking?!?

Yeah. The story is pretty good. Not great by any means. As a stand alone first run story, this would be nothing more than a flop.

But we know these characters.

We come in pre-programmed to care about their struggles and enjoy the highs of their excitement.

Also, ABBA.

I can’t avoid admitting it, the story was just better than the original. Amazing.

We know that Cher pops in to be a great grandma, we are poised to handle Sophie’s pregnancy story. Not so with the early news of Sophie and Sky’s potential estrangement.

Definitely not so of the casual drop in of Donna’s death the prior year.

So – yeah, questions that are never answered. I’m pretty sure that tidbit dropped in the first 90 seconds.

Brace.

Yoself.

We never learn how she died. I dunno…maybe we do but I missed it because I was debating whether or not to leave the theater to verify Meryl Streep was listed with the cast on the movie poster.

But, in Meryl’s absence, we are treated to a significant flashback upgrade. In the original, when Sophie’s potential fathers are referred to in the past, we get Pierce, Stellan and Colin dressed up as ridiculous 70s drag versions of their younger selves. Here, we get the beefcake treatment.

Thank gawd.

Young Pierce.Young Stellan. With peek-a-boo crotch shot.Young Colin.

I mean…yes, please and thank you!

For worrying that most of the “good” ABBA songs were already taken up in the first incarnation, I have to admit that these B-side songs, as it were, did a great job of supporting the story. Not a bad trade off against the original. Plus, they recycled a couple of songs that were used in the first flick…honestly, the revamped Dancing Queen outdid the first movie, and it was good in the original!

The returning cast is great. You can see the truth behind the stories of stars wanting to do a sequel simply because the first was so much fun. And the writing and acting folds the new cast in well.

When Tanya meets the hotel manager, Fernando (played by Andy Garcia), and greets him with a “Be still my beating vagina” as only Christine Baranski can deliver…yeah, welcome to the team, Andy.

The writing delivers plenty of those quotable moments. They are generously spread out amongst the stars and supporting cast, too. Julie Walters gets “I think carbs might be my soul mate”.

But then a supporting player, the owner of the shack that Donna squats in, gets to deliver a real ball buster of a line to young Sam. He’s just returned from breaking off his engagement, looking for Donna – who has taken off on young Bill’s boat to get over him. Our sassy barkeep delivers the news and then follows up his disappointment with, “Its called Karma and it’s pronounced ‘HA!'” in her heavy Greek accent.

These moments of levity – along with great, nostalgic music – balance out the somberness of the underlying story as Sophie stresses about the opening of her mom’s remodeled hotel.

On top of all of that

For good measure, Cher drops in to the final few scenes, just to steal ’em. When I first heard the casting rumors, I though it impossible to cast her as Meryl’s mother with only a few years between them in real life.

Well, problem solved, as I learned.

Realistically, by my calculation, Cher is playing a character around 79. Definitely closer to her real age than playing 50-something’s is to the rest of the original cast.

Not to mention that her singing is just. so. absolutely. Cher! She steps up to the plate and just lets her low, smooth voice loose on Fernando and it’s sublimely amazing.

Seriously, she did such a great job that fireworks went off as she finished.

But watching the choreography both in this number and as she kicked off the end credits, I couldn’t help but be reminded – and filled with awe – of the fact that Cher is old! Not getting old, she’s there…but redefining it. As she sings Fernando, she descends a flight of stairs. I watched as the camerawork cut back and forth between her and her Fernando, her taking a couple of steps down each take. Similarly, during the end credits, she walks up the three or four stairs to a small stage and then dances in place as she sings. She’s very stiff-hipped and fragile looking, but she’s in her mid-70s and still doing it.

Gotta admire that. I’m not the only one, either. You hear it in interviews when her cast mates are asked what was it like working with Cher. You see it in the extras around her as they watch Cher move past them.

It’s amazing.

She spends a short time on screen in the final few scenes, but her story arc covers the entirety of the film. From our first meeting of the hotel manager to the seconds leading up to her first song, you eventually learn how interwoven her story line is. From mother to daughter to granddaughter.

For whatever reason, Fernando doesn’t end up being Donna’s father and Sophie’s grandfather. It’s a weird decision for a Hollywood ending. Sure, it would have been incredibly trite…but we learn from Fernando early that he had his life’s love decades ago and has made peace with its short life. We hear young Donna downplay a fling with a foreigner while traveling abroad because it hasn’t gone well for her family, namely when her mother had traveled to Mexico as a young woman. She tells this story right before her own three back to foreign flings. Why not bring it full circle? It’s kind of the only way to explain Fernando randomly making his way from Mexico to a small island in Greece…and working at a hotel owned by his true love’s granddaughter.

If you’re gonna jump a shark, might as well make it a big shark!

While were transitioning toward my small finish…can I just mention how weird it is to watch Lily James play a young Meryl?

It’s a little jarring, since she looks exactly like a young Jessica Lange!

But don’t take my word for it…

Just me?

Nah…unless I’m the only one right about this!

Not that I’d ever want to work a little Cher magic and turn back time to cast Jessica as Donna just so the looks lined up. Still

You’d think that while I was grabbing those pics off of the Google, I would have bothered to check and see if there was a familial relation.

Lazy.

Not that you’re worried that I’ve given away the whole movie, don’t be. If you haven’t seen it, go. On top of all of this happening, there are little moments strung along the way that sometimes help resolve a plot hole and other times are just fun.

Trust me, keep an eye out for the Greek customs agent at the boat dock. He’s friggin’ hilarious. I think there’s a reason he and Cher don’t appear together in any scenes. He’s totally steal them. Or Cher would kill him on screen for critiquing her look as he does with everyone else that happens by his little customs shack.

Remember him as the movie’s final scene plays out. It might help you not completely lose it as Sophie and Sky’s baby christening takes place and Spirit Donna pops in to sing My Love, My Life with her daughter.

It’s a killer. Never in danger of becoming my favorite ABBA song, but it was the perfect way to end this sequel.

Maybe see this movie at night so it’s dark when you leave the theater and no one notices your “been crying” face.

Pro Tip.

Oh, and if you enjoy my writing, please don’t forget to…

And

some more!

Here We Go…Again!

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The title is the ages of each actress in the promo pic for the movie Book Club above.

I went to see it the other day to escape a harsh reality that had crashed down on my Facebook world. Briefly, a friend and former colleague shared a story of an idyllic vacation day he and his wife had recently shared.

Recently, like within the previous two days.

“This has been the best day of my life”, she said.

24 hours later, she had killed herself.

Needless to say, I was shaken by proxy. I literally could not imagine what this family was experiencing.

A loving relationship.

Kids.

Financial security.

Exotic vacations.

But you just never can tell. That’s what shook me up. Well, that and comparing what she leaves behind to what I have…which is super not healthy.

So, I needed an escape.

Book Club was a pretty good lever to pull for that need.

I surveyed the small theater for a quasi-isolated seat near the middle rows and noticed that there were groups on each end of the middle rows. I didn’t want to crowd anyone, nor risk having to walk over people if I needed a bathroom bug out mid-movie, so I planted myself at the near end of the second row of seats.

You know why I mention this?

Yeah, you know.

The three rows behind me as well as the row in front of me were all empty. The lady that walked in after me decided not to risk isolating herself in that vast wasteland of open seating and dropped her girthiness right behind me. I could sense her presence, but being a giver, she decided to make her presence known and announced herself by kicking the back of my chair a few times.

C’mon, lady.

I decamp to the far end of my row, which I hate doing because it’s so obvious, but having this woman kick my seat every time she repositioned herself was not my idea of a relaxing time. Five minutes after the lights went down, three friends joined her. I understood the why of her choice of seats, but was glad I’d decided to move!

It was a bit challenging at first. The characters are in their mid to late 60s and that is obviously not the reality. The other thing that I thought I noticed – and it distracted me, initially – was the random use of green screen. Maybe I was wrong about it, but some of the vistas just looked more real than the action taking place in the foreground.

Obviously, I was having some trouble getting out of my head.

But before me on the screen were four actresses that I love. It didn’t take me too long to relax into the story. The popcorn helped get me there…

My last thought before really sinking in was particularly amusing. The small crowd had laughed at something, I didn’t remember what…just became aware of the suddenness and cohesiveness of the crowd laughing.

I had not.

The sound I heard was decidedly feminine, prompting me to turn and scan the theater’s crowd.

Women.

100%.

I was the only guy.

This made me laugh.

Out loud.

When no one else was laughing.

Which made me laugh more, and soon I was laughing through tears.

The thing that got me laughing wasn’t the realization that I was the only guy in the theater, rather the juxtaposition of that observation compared to the crowd composition of the last movies I’d seen.

Deadpool 2.

Infinity War.

Very heavily skewed toward a male crowd. This was a refreshing change of energy. Plus, when I’m in a nerd movie crowd, I usually joke to myself about how I might be the only non-virgin person in the crowd. Or, at the very least, the only one currently having sex.

I didn’t experience that same snarky thought about this group of women while I laughed at my realization. Thinking back to that moment, it wasn’t intentional, it’s just that getting laid isn’t the modus operandi for women like it is for men.

Right?

Yeah…I knew what this movie was about. I’d seen the trailer. So, I think my crowd profiling amusement just ended up making the film that much more enjoyable for me.

Soon, my laughter was in sync with the rest of the crowd. My disbelief was suspended and my reality was expelled for the next 90 minutes.

Star Trek or Wars.

Thrillers.

Superhero stories.

Murder mysteries.

Those are the movies I typically go in for.

But I freely admit – when it comes up – that a good chick flick is also a movie experience that I really enjoy.

Under the Tuscan Sun.

When Harry Met Sally.

13 Going on 30 – what? It wS good!

That type of thing. None of those How to Lose a Guy In Ten Days stories fall into the good category for me. They are good popcorn movies, but what’s the real bigger picture message?

This movie was definitely not a classic chick flick. As a matter of fact, the Silver Fox had asked if I wanted to see it and I knew he’d be miffed that I went without him. I dodged that bullet by telling him to wait til it hit Netflix.

That said…I did enjoy this movie. It had a message. Not only was it a chance to see some of my favorite actresses, but a chance to see them together. Also, it gave each of them a fun storyline with a solid arc as they rediscovered their sexuality at a time in life where society tells us it should be retired.

To paraphrase what Candy hilariously observes in the trailer, “If nature wanted us to have sex at this point in our lives she wouldn’t do what she does to our bodies”…smash cut to her crawling out of the backseat of her Mercedes with Richard Dreyfus. If this movie helps redefine sexual equality for supposed sixty-somethings, I’m all in. There’s a movement I can support. I just wish it could have been written with Age Pride intact and had Fonda proudly owning her octogenarian sexuality.

To Candy’s point, our bodies as they age fall further and further from the Hollywood standard of beauty. More openly sex positive seniors could help redefine that norm and hopefully awaken our culture to something more inclusive of all and less divisive across generations.

And maybe, just maybe…that gives us all a little something more to look forward to when things today look impossibly dark.

Think anyone would get mad if they hash tagged this as #UsToo?

Get it, girls!

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The Avengers: Redux

I’m sure I’ll be asking myself why I did this to myself again in abut 3 hours. But, in reality, I’m interested not only in finding out if this movie treats my heart like a speed bag the second time around, but also in figuring out why I feel it so strongly.

It’s not just the movie.

We’ll see…give me a few hours and I’ll finish this up.

I like to answer the question, “How was the movie?” by responding, “They all died at the end.”

But holy shit!

By my count, 13 of our beloved superheroes bite it in Infinity War, 15 if you count the superhero “extras” that ash out during the credits. I don’t, since they don’t actually possess super powers or qualify as gods in the Marvel universe. Still, 13…

Holy shit.

The first time seeing this was a late night date night with the Filipina Fox on the Thursday that this movie opened. You can imagine the nerd quotient of the crowd, but she insisted. I joked that she was the only chick in the crowd, which was very nearly true.

Even though I walked out stunned at the movie’s death toll – not just the 13 lost superheroes, but half the population of the universe – I was glad that she insisted!

The exiting crowd was talking about how Marvel could walk back what they’d just witnessed. How some of the ashed supers had sequels with release dates – valid point – and how “Thanos Will Return” at the end of the credits pointed out the sequel/Avengers 4 that would be needed in order to make either of those last two points happen.

Facebook was having a mild meltdown as people started vaguebooking their reaction to the movie.

I knew the feeling. Two days later, I was still stunned as I walked into Thelonious Wines. One of the owners asked what I’d been up to as I sipped my wine and I told her I’d seen the movie. She told me that her friend was in the movie and I thought “extra” until she went on to say that her friend’s Instafeed had been all about the movie for the last few weeks.

“Who is this friend?”, I asked, reassessing my earlier assumption.

As if running one small business wasn’t enough to guarantee that one doesn’t have time to see a movie, the owners of TW were in the endgame of opening a restaurant just a few blocks away, so I was absolutely unsurprised to hear her say that she wasn’t sure what character her friend played, but that her name is Elizabeth Olsen in real life.

Mentally, I took her hand in mine and patted her shoulder with a look of deep sadness.

Outwardly, I just showed her the whites of my eyes all the way around my irises and said, “Oh, yeah…well, I’m not saying anything about anything!”…which is quite out of character for me.

The nerd stampede at the end of the movie was also chock a block full of blaming characters for what happened in the movie, and they were all pretty right with the coulda/woulda/shoulda talk, but that didn’t change anything. It was kinda fun to listen to as we escalated down to street level from the top story theater.

That said, I left the theater today with my own versions of those scenarios. It wasn’t that I was re-writing what I’d just seen out of denial, but was very amused to catch myself thinking, “What was going through Doctor Strange’s mind when he traded his Infinity Stone for Tony Stark’s life?!? I’d only be hadn…”

Who’s the nerd now, Xtopher?

Let’s just call them obvious plot holes, suspend our disbelief and move on, shall we?

I felt like I was able to really follow the 2D version of this second viewing better than the 3D format that I saw originally. While the 3D version gave me an extra jolt during some of the exceptional action scenes, I lost a lot of the minute details in the non-action scenes.

Amusingly, one of those details was Black Panther’s codpiece. Sweet Jesus, I’m not aroused by men who can be described as blessed, but watching Black Panther and his decidedly not little friend kick ass, I found myself thinking, “That right there is why Wakanda needed a protective shield. I know several people who would have stopped at nothing to tame that beast.

By comparison, Thanos – who is a titan, btw – sports a modest package that doesn’t have enough gravity to drag your eyes to it from the actual movie. No wonder he’s so pissed off.

Then again, you know how I enjoy pointing out stereotypes, good or bad. Let’s just say that the stereotypes involving black men (Black Panther) and body builders (Thanos) were both borne out in this case.

When all is said and done, I’m glad I went to see this again. Definitely a good use of my Regal reward points…way better than throwing them away on I Feel Pretty. But I had to face the reality that when my imaginary boyfriend ashed out, I still nearly walked out in protest.

But, back to the original point…why did it affect me so harshly?!?

Here’s what I came up with:

America.

Also, politics.

Why?

Well, in the beginning, we see Loki die. Seriously, like five minutes in. It was shocking and pretty unexpected, but I moved on quickly because even though this character occasionally does the right thing…still, he’s basically a self-serving shitheel so he got what was coming to him.

Then the movie goes about assembling the cast of superheroes for an hour and a half until suddenly, Gomorrah gets killed. Ok, let this sum up how I felt about that little plot development.

I spend the next hour thinking about how it’s so wrong to kill off a good character like that – not to mention a diversity double whammy of an actress since she’s both black and a she – and then wondering if it was a plot point hate crime or equal rights in action…because I live in 2018 Portland, Oregon and we overthink shit like that.

That kept me busy until the last ten minutes of the film where the amount of shit they threw at the fan shorted the fan out.

It was like the 2016 election.

Bernie goes down.

Hillary gets defeated.

Trump wins…and no one can believe it.

And then, when Spidey dies, he improvises everything that Americans felt at the end of the last election cycle. We kinda knew what was ahead of us, something didn’t feel right, we were scared, and we didn’t want to accept the surreality of what lay ahead for us.

That’s why I felt it so hard.

Parallels.

Leaving the theater, I was in denial about the massive devastation I had basically witnessed. It wasn’t the type of parallel that helped reinforce why I enjoy going to movies: the escape from reality that they offer. Listening to the Nerd Squad hypothesize what Avengers 4 would bring us was a lot like listening to the American electorate blaming candidates for the outcome of the last election and then looking forward to how the situation will resolve itself.

My bet?

Avengers 4 shows Thanos getting defeated by Oprah.

Roll credits.

The Avengers: Redux

TIL 8: Dad Crying

Did you know there’s such a thing as Dad Crying?

No?

Me, either!

And I’m not even a parent.

It’s so humiliating.

Definitely not cool.

Or grumpy.

But it’s a thing, and I think I fucking have it.

This isn’t what I planned on writing about today.  You’re just going to have to wait to hear Myrtle’s latest attempts on my life.

Soon, though.

Because right now, I gotta get this out of me.  I think it’s been a thing I was aware of for quite some time, dating back to Rib’s accomplishments in Culinary School.  It was a slow trickle then, these feelings.

But it’s getting worse.

Mostly, this phenomenon occurs in darkened theaters, thank gawd.  The last three movies I’ve seen have opened the tap.

Speaking of taps, no…I wasn’t drinking during these shows.  Well, soda.

It started with Love, Simon.  This gay teen coming of age slash love story made a reasonable case for my tearing up.  

I wrote about it, and that link above will take you there.  But one of the comments I got on that entry made me think – which I like.

The point made was that Love, Simon Glee-coated thisbperson’s coming out story and wasn’t representative of the traumatic experience coming out can be for many gays…check that, many LBGQTI peeps.

It’s a valid point.

Totally.

But I think why I liked it was exactly that.  Sure, he struggled with coming out to himself and then his friends and family…and then it wasn’t that bad.  He’d – or the writers – had built his fears up to something larger than they were and the process was resolved in tidy fashion.

I know the feeling.  Luckily.

But I know that’s not always the case.

Given the political climate in America, even the world, where equal rights for LBGTQI people aren’t the default, the stories of bravery and struggle need to be told.

At the same time, I think part of what got me emotional about this flick – besides that I’m a total sucker for a good chick flick…key word, good – was that it was Glee/washable.

Acceptance isn’t the default, not by a long shot, but the work of previous generations has gotten us to the point that at least this type of movie can be made without being relegated to the LOGO network or an art house only release.

But then Ready Player One got ahold of those same heart strings and played me.  It had to be a fluke of nostalgia, right?

Testing that theory, I went and saw it again when I couldn’t get it off my mind.

Nope.

Played those same strings.

Harder.

Fighting those same urges to go see it again, I went today to a matinee of Blockers.

John Cena was brilliantly funny in his role as a stay at home Dad with hair trigger water works…and I left the theater with a name for my affliction: Dad Crying.

I also left the theater with a salty residue on my cheeks that wasn’t  from the popcorn I shame ate.  Don’t make that dirty, Diezel.

Thank gawd I was in the theater alone!

I have prepared for and accepted two truths about the back 9 of my life:

First, I’m going alone; and,

Second, I’m going to get grumpier as I go along.

EOG paradigm: shattered.

And this after being reminded that my “only” nephew graduates from high school this June.  I hope that takes place in a dark room, too.  Just in case, I better go sunglass shopping.

TIL 8: Dad Crying

Thanks For The Self Love, Simon!

This was the worst movie.

But more on that later, and if you haven’t seen it…fair warning: Here there be spoilers.  Possibly.

In all honesty, this movie was delightful.  I quite enjoyed it.

I am quite a sucker for a coming of age story.  This one didn’t disappoint.  I had warned the Silver Fox when he expressed interest in seeing it together that I was going to be a sappy, emotional mess – I cried at Rocky – but he still wanted to see it with me.

Instead of my regular Regal theater, though, he wanted to go to the Living Room theater, which is actually closer.  Still, I considered making it a wedge issue so I could go cry into my popcorn alone, but let it lie.

Then there was timing.  He has a busy day of appointments and it’s my day off.  When I broached the subject of timing, he declared he was in as long as it started around noon.

So that happened.

There were struggles.  

An ideal family.

Teen angst and awkwardness.

All wrapped around this so personal topic of coming out.

Having been down the path where Simon strode, I felt a connection to him right away.  It was more personal by proxy than straight up vicarious.  Unlike Call Me By Your Name, where I felt more like a voyeur, this movie pulled me into it.  I felt those struggles, the awkwardness and the support.

And I felt the connection, the so tenuous bond between two gay teens as they tried to define themselves publicly by labeling what they wanted to do privately.  It all started when a boy code named Blue posted an anonymous coming out letter to the high school’s message board.

Simon takes this opportunity to reach out, also anonymously via email.

Humorously, these email exchanges spark Simon’s inner Colombo and his days are suddenly filled with both his usual straight subterfuge and now his secret mission to figure out who Blue is based on any incidental clues he could discern from their emails.  The faceless actor playing Blue morphs into whichever classmate Simon pegs as the potential Blue.

It’s optimistic agony to watch.

On the side is the accidental story of Martin, who happens upon Simon’s emails on a school computer after he forgets to log off.

“It’s cool, my brother’s gay”, Martin says before blackmailing Simon into manipulating one of his friends into going out with him.

Martin, you little piece of shit.

And Simon does it.  Poor, terrified kid.  To be threatened with outing in the crucible of high school…such heartlessness.

But, lessons are learned!

Don’t make assumptions.

Stand up for what’s right.

Be true to yourself.

Don’t sell out the people you love.

Of course, Simon has to lose it all before he learns these lessons.

Martin, an excruciatingly awkward personality…grating, as he is, courageously flames out with a grand gesture to his crush that turns into a very crushing, public failure.

Of course, to draw attention from his very public humiliation, he uncorageously posts all of Simon’s emails anonymously on the school’s message board.

Then, all the kids do what kids do and get selfish for a while, circling their wagons around Camp Me. Y’know, like American adults do…

Simon digs deep and finds his character, giving Jennifer Garner a beautiful Mom Moment.  Nothing on Michael Stulbarg’s Dad Moment in CMBYN, but lovely in its own distinct way,  Where Elio’s Dad is sensitive but stoic in Csll Me By Your Name, Simon’s Mom is more raw, you can feel her pain at the helplessness she experiences in protecting her son from this process.

After all is said and done, Simon, and the audience and the high school get the big, Blue reveal.

If this were my life, it would have been the epitome of the beautiful on the inside, fat and pimply on the outside – this is why I’m single – guy.  

But, no.  

This is Hollyweird.

Simon gets his impossibly romantic albeit excruciating An Affair to Remember/Sleepless in Seattle moment to wrap up the storyline.

Blue turns out to be the black, Jewish – and gay, as it turns out – classmate:  the triple threat guy that we all wanted him to be in the first place.

It was tres romantic.

Yes, I slow cried several times.  Thank gawd…this face doesn’t need ugly crying in public!  I’m single enough as it is.

Why was a movie I obviously enjoyed and connected to the worst movie?

A) because I said so.

B) the barely pubescent villain anonymously outs Simon after telling us he has a gay brother…what a pig-fucker.

And,

C) Simon and Blue finally meet and (hopefully) consummate their virtual affair 17 days before graduation?

No, unacceptable.

My inner romantic won’t allow for the reality that Simon and The Triple Threat will only have summer break plus 17 days before being torn apart by college.

It’s terrible.

Thanks For The Self Love, Simon!

The Three-Way of Abject Sorrow

First off, get your mind out of the damned gutter.

But as long as we’re talking about sex, this title would totally work for a story about a lackluster sexcapade with two other people.  We’ve all had that bad three-way, amirite?

I’m not?

We haven’t?

Just me?

Ok, moving on then…

I was talking with the Needle Man last night during my acupuncture and we started discussing movies.  We were – no idea why – veering all over the place and I commented that he really had a wide range of cinematic tastes.  

Naturally, I had to ask, “Bit if you were stranded on a desert island with only one type of movie…”

He kinda verbally processed his response.  Slowly he disqualified each class of movies until he landed somewhere between comedies and inspiring biopics.  It was interesting to me that he specifically tossed horror films and scary movies out because the creepiness followed his mood out of the theater and he liked to go to movies to feel good.

I knew what he meant.  Still, I’d totally take comedies between the two, because I had a bad experience with biopics a couple decades ago.  It could have been because the movie in question – Shadowlands – was the third movie in a row that was just sad.

I think the first in this miserable movie ménage a trois was The Piano.  I mean, a movie about a mute woman sold into marriage, loaded onto a ship with her daughter and belongings and then shipped off to New Zealand – Australia, maybe?  How could that not be a thrill ride of a movie?

Secretly, I’ve decided that it was made simply to provide Anna Paquin with the acting Fred to later share screen time with Sir Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman in the X-Men movies.

Anyway.

A bit later in that same movie season – I swear it was Christmastime and I saw these movies over the course of two weeks – I saw Philadelphia.

We all know how that goes.  But it was important to see, particularly for me as a 25 year old gay man still struggling to find my community and Chosen Family.  It might have helped if I didn’t move cities every couple of years.  Plus, this film was one of the first times a mainstream Hollywood actor played gay.  

At this time in my life, I was living outside Houston, TX.  The theater chains there had little wooden waiters outside the theaters holding giant bowls of mints.  I thought it was a nice touch since buttery popcorn and diet soda usually gives me bad breath.  I generally grabbed a couple on my way out.

The final movie in this series of movie misfortunes was Shadowlands.

I’d seen two serious drama, I wanted something a little more uplifting.  The story of TS Eliot finding love sounded like just the ticket.

Wrong.

Finding love in a marriage for the wrong reasons only to have that love suddenly ripped from him by cancer…yee friggin’ haw.

At least it was only Anthony Hopkins playing the lead.  Yeah, he fucking destroyed mourning and sorrow.  Watching him lose it wrecked me.  I remember thinking of how I must look in the theater:  hand hanging suspended over my uneaten popcorn, mouth hanging open, tears spilling from my eyes.

At the end of the movie, I was angry-sad.  I remember walking out of that theater, not caring that my face was slick with buttery smears and tears.  Dropping my mostly uneaten popcorn and soda aggressively in the trash, and angrily grabbing a handful of mints as I stomped past the wooden waiter.

That was how I felt after these three films:  wooden.

So, yeah…I like comedies.

The Three-Way of Abject Sorrow