In the latest edition of Quick Hits, I review a feature adaptation of a Korean boy-love web series, a virtually unknown coming-of-age indie that embraces the gray areas of life, and a made-for-TV queer comedy that is somehow a product of a time before it was made.
Year: 2021 | Rating:
My fiancée is a big fan of Asian boy-love series. I am…not. They’re often far too queer-baiting for my tastes, and if the boys do end up together, it’s always at the very end of the series after a number of terribly tragic and melodramatic things have happened. So when we saw Wish You while searching for something suitably homosexual to watch together, I figured it would be the perfect compromise: a movie for me and a boy-love story for him.
And you know what? This isn’t half bad! It isn’t great, but I didn’t hate it, so I definitely count that as a win. It’s probably not the best sign that the things that I enjoyed most in the film were the urban cinematography of Seoul (a city that I would love to visit someday) and the music, but hell, it’s not the worst gay story I’ve seen even in so-called progressive American media. The boys were decent actors, and the action wasn’t scored like a literal cartoon like so many boy-love series, so it’s a-okay in my book.
I know that this review sounds like I disliked this movie more than my rating would indicate, but really, I thought it was fine and entertaining enough to hold my attention, and that’s okay with a movie like this.
Genre: Romance, Drama
Runtime: 1 hr. 42 min.
Rating: Not Rated
Director: Sung Do-joon
Starring: Kang In-soo, Lee Sang, Park Soo-bin, Baek Seo-bin
Giant Little Ones
Year: 2018 | Rating:
I was pleasantly surprised in a lot of ways by Giant Little Ones. It’s a tremendously honest depiction of teenage sexuality the likes of which you don’t see that often in coming-of-age films. There’s natural performances all around, but Josh Wiggins and Kyle MacLachlan are standouts. And the script prevents the trope of “teenagers are so erratic” to explain convenient-for-the-plot behavior by just making the teens completely insane from the very beginning, which I respect the hell out of. Seriously, these kids be wildin’.
What I think I appreciated most about this film, though, is how everything is so gray and messy and complicated. Just like in real life, nothing is black-and-white and binary, which is a quality that is surprisingly rare in films in general, but especially in a genre that is as inherently messy as coming-of-age.
All in all, I really enjoyed this one, and I’m surprised that I had never heard of it before stumbling upon it on Prime Video. I hope that more coming-of-age films follow the example set by Giant Little Ones in the future and just embrace the chaos that is growing up.
Runtime: 1 hr. 33 min.
Director: Keith Behrman
Starring: Josh Wiggins, Darren Mann, Taylor Hickson, Maria Bello, Kyle MacLachlan
Year: 2013 | Rating:
Beyond being a poorly-written film featuring actors far too old for the roles that they’re playing that looks and sounds absolutely terrible, Geography Club is just a piece of offensive shlock. I was shocked to discover that apparently this movie aired on ABC Family less than ten years ago, considering there are multiple uses of the “r-slur” in a time well after it was no longer socially-acceptable to use that word. My fiancée and I bailed after an hour due to a truly horrendous plot point that was the last straw for us.
It’s so weird watching gay films from not that long ago be this unredeemably awful, and it really puts into perspective how far the genre has come in such a short time (this was three years before Moonlight , for Christ’s sake), even if we still have quite a ways to go in some respects.
Genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy
Runtime: 1 hr. 24 min.
Director: Gary Entin
Starring: Cameron Deane Stewart, Justin Deeley, Ally Maki, Andrew Lewis Caldwell, Meaghan Jette Martin