Thursday, March 31, 2022

Homo Box Office

So I finally got around to seeing three films I have been meaning to watch -- two of them for decades and one from last year. I've long been a superfan of Todd Stephens's "Edge of Seventeen" but completely missed the (Boblo) boat on the second film in his three-part love letter to his hometown of Sandusky, Ohio: Gypsy '83." Although it was no "Edge of Seventeen" -- swap Annie Lennox for Debbie Harry and Sandusky for Madison Heights, Mich., and it's my life story! -- I was completely along for the ride as early aughts goth goddess Gypsy Vale (Sara Rue) and gay BFF Clive Webb (played by the adorable Kett Turton) headed to New York City's famed "Night of a Thousand Stevies" in search of Gypsy's long-gone mother. A nice performance by X's John Doe and a run-in with Karen Black along the way add to the enjoyment. 

Only three years separated the release of "Edge of Seventeen" and "Gypsy '83." If Stephens explained why there was a 20-year gap before "Swan Song" came out I didn't hear about it -- but it was surely worth the wait. Udo Kier (of Warhol fame) is splendid as a retired hairdresser living in a nursing home who suddenly finds himself tasked with styling a former client’s hair for her funeral. The film touches on so many topics we gays of a certain age can relate to, and features memorable performances by Kier -- where was his Oscar nomination? -- Jennifer Coolidge and Michael Urie. What a hoot!   

And last but not least: Finally got to see "Buddies," an AIDS picture that pre-dates the television movie "An Early Frost" (1985) and Bill Sherwood's "Parting Glances" (1986) but only in recent years has gained wider exposure. The film follows a young gay guy in Manhattan who becomes a volunteer "buddy" to another gay guy dying of AIDS. (That I was once a buddy in the AIDS Project Los Angeles program under Chi Maniwa only added to the experience.) "Buddies" -- which was directed by Arthur J. Bressan Jr., a noted filmmaker ("Gay USA") who himself died from AIDS complications just a couple years after the film came out -- is incredibly charming given its subject matter, as we watch the na├»ve Robert learn about gay life from the more worldly David, for whom he develops unexpected feelings. 

As a bonus, I noticed "Trick" director (and Facebook friend) Jim Fall listed at the end, which Jim informed me was his first film credit! All these fictional works have me in the mood for "Trick 2" -- when's that finally coming out?


Jack said...

Thanks for the tip(s)! I have not heard of most of these, and haven't seen any of them. And, yeah, what's up with Trick2?

Stephen said...

Thanks for all of the recommendations and The Edge of 17 has always held a special place in my heart.

Tom said...

The sound track to Edge of Seventeen is a banger! Perfection.
Having friends who worked at Cedar Point back in the day, the film does do a good job of capturing that vibe.
Great film.