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    4 years, 4 months


The Horizon

It keeps getting better
In some ways it's a typical story--rural boy goes to the big city to meet in person his Internet romance only to be let down. He's taken in by a drag queen and begins to build a life. There's a circle of guys who intersect as they work their way through their relationships and joys and challenges. Though the episodes seem to go by in a flash, they are well written and as you go along you realize a lot has happened and you've learned a lot about the various characters. There is a strong HIV-prevention message and the use of condoms and PrEP figure prominently.

For me, there are things to like about all the characters. They are well rounded. The relationship between Jake and Mickie is one of my all time favorite positive portrayals of a gay romance. The challenges in their relationship arise very organically and they deal with them with a good measure of honesty and compassion. It is very satisfying to see them together and continuing to grow as a couple. It was really nice to find a series that I liked from the start and just kept getting better.


Pleasant characters to pass some time with
This is a half hour comedy drama series about a group of good looking, mostly 20-30 year old white gay male friends in Los Angeles. At various points they find themselves dissatisfied with relationships, personal lives and careers. The difficulties range from death, grief and violence to lighter topics such as getting lost in fantasies, accidentally participating in porn, mis-timed romantic attraction and back story revelations. We get to see likeable qualities in all the characters and their interactions are enjoyable. The pacing and quality of the series is consistent and it does not drag. I found it a good way to spend some tv time.

Prairie Dog

Creatures disturbed by man
This is currently on Amazon Prime as "Fang" with a release date of 2016. It's one of those movies where man is disturbing nature and displaces some dangerous animals/creatures and a small town sheriff and educated specialist deal with the issue. It's nicely done-I enjoyed the Canadian setting and accents. There is some wit in the script and lovely scenery. The movie leaves one with a sense of mystery--there are at least three varieties of creatures, one almost human. There is more to the kids and their backstory, I have a feeling. All in all, if you enjoy these kinds of movies I think you'll enjoy this one as well.


A Study in Compassion
It was the darkest of times to be gay, and compassion for those ill with and killed by AIDS was rarely to be found. We had a president who wouldn't even speak about it and speculated the plague was god's will. There was a lot of fear and misinformation about how the virus was transmitted.

I found it a rather healing thing to see a movie about compassion and not anger. A closeted son with AIDS returns after several years to visit his conservative hometown, following the death from AIDS of his partner. He lost his job because someone found out and maxed out his credit cards to buy nice and thoughtful gifts for his family. He is in effect saying goodbye and struggling with whether to tell them the truth of who he is.

He never does. It turns out his father knew, and though not able to accept it, still establishes that he will be there for his son. It turns out his mother knew in the way that mother's know, and hopes she will handle it well when it comes out into the open between them. His high school friend/girlfriend didn't know, but he finally tells her in the hopes his younger brother will eventually know the truth about him. His younger brother is too young for us to know if he may or may not be gay, but it is clear that his interests in drama and pop music are not the norm for his conservative area.

For me, the most powerful moment in the film was when the son was packing to leave and tosses the nice bible his father gave him for christmas into his suitcase. He hears his father arguing with his mother about putting on the fancy coat the son bought the father for christmas. The mother asks him to put it on for her, if he won't put it on for their son, just to make the son feel good. The father doesn't. The son, saying goodbye to his father (who once again makes the point that he will be there for his son), does his own version of "putting on the coat" and says he read the bible the father had given to him and was going to try to be a better person.

I found it healing to be able to look at the era from a perspective other than rage. Thank you to all involved for your work on the film.

Seat in Shadow

Fun Jung
I enjoyed this movie. At its core, it's a story about a young man who is depressed, trying to find his way in life and troubled by his unsatisfying relationship with his boyfriend. That said, the core is buried very deep and we are taken on a wild journey of imagination. Albert, the boy's therapist, is the guide into Jungian Active Imagination, leads him on his journey, guides him, and follows him. We visit the jungle, the city, the garden, the nightclub, the intermingling of bodies, the desert, and the apartment. Ultimately, the therapy leads Albert into confronting his own Shadow, which he does with grace. The music is very effective throughout the movie.

Správce statku

Love Letter
This is a relaxed, slow-paced movie. The director filmed it over two summers on his own farm and with his own family, with the exception of the young man. To me it seemed a love letter to farm life and the rural, small-town environment.

There is a plot: a mother lives on a farm with her sons and daughters. The farm has seen better days, but they enjoy their life there. The father they rarely see as he is off working in the big city. He wanted to make the farm a financial success but that did not work out. The father returns home to tell the family they will have to sell the farm and move to the city because they can't afford it.

A young man comes to the farm and asks to work there. He comes from "far away," and that is intentionally left to the imagination. He sleeps in a tent on a plot of ground which, legend has it, will change your life if you sleep there over night--maybe for the better, maybe for the worse. He begins by helping out, then over time starts repairing things long broken, reintroducing the family to some of the other things they love about the area (swimming and boating) and then doing some things that will become a draw for people to come to the farm so it can financially support itself.

The movie takes its time with nice music and beautiful cinematography. It's not a movie if you're in the mood for lots of things to happen or intense drama. It's a good movie to relax into and enjoy though, and it will leave you feeling good. The cast does a good job as well.

You & I

Scenic Movie
Jonas is a photographer, ignoring messages from his girlfriend. He picks up his friend Philip at the airport for a planned trip. Philip is gay and Jonas is quite comfortable with that. The two lived together for 11 months in England, but haven't seen each other since. Philip is not sure what he wants to do with his life. Jonas asks him to move from England to Germany and live with him. He tells Philip that he needs him in his life.

They pick up a hitchhiker. Boris is Polish and both think of him as a little wild. Initially Philip seems jealous of how well Boris and Jonas get along. When Philip tells Boris that he is gay, Boris seems uncomfortable. Over the next few days Boris becomes intrigued and "hooks up" with Philip. The two become affectionate, to the jealousy of Jonas. This culminates in Jonas going into the shower and kissing a puzzled Philip and then walking away. When the three are having breakfast the next day Jonas tries to speak to Boris but can't get out what he wants to say. Philip says it for him: Boris, it is time for you to leave. Boris' reaction runs a large gamut of emotions...thinking it's a joke, letting it soak in, sudden tears, staring into Philip's eyes, looking several times at Jonas and finally understanding he is the odd man out. My perception is that this was Boris' first gay sex and it had become emotional for him.

The movie ends with Jonas and Philip setting up photographs for an exhibition, with Jonas rejecting several photos of Philip and Boris together. There is clearly affection between them. Whether that affection is romantic and sexual was not clear to me.

I found this a rather serene movie, with beautiful landscapes and locations such as an old building, beautiful manor, an impressive van. I think some descriptions of the movie may lead people to expect something more erotic or titillating, but it seems more a movie about friendship. It's much more about relationships that plot, though we learn quite a bit about everyone.


Guys from Wisconsin
I saw this a few years ago and just watched it again. I enjoyed it both times. The story is a couple of guys taking their friend for a bachelor party. They go to a couple of bars and flirt with girls and have conflict with one of the girls' brothers. They then go up to a cabin, drink beer, fool around and hunt. This is all done with good humor, a very Wisconsin feel, and the guys are cute and charming and the girls are fun as well.

In the midst of this a virus from a government facility is getting out and turning people into zombies. This is gory, and people we come to like get infected and/or killed, but it retains its humor.

The music is good and feels local. My rating takes into account the low budget, b-movie nature of the film.

Jess & James

On a journey
I liked this movie a lot. A couple of things I would note first: the music throughout was great and really added to the movie; also, the movie was beautifully shot, with lovely rural scenes and interior spaces made real and interesting.

This movie made me think of older narrative styles, back to Don Quixote. It's in chapters, and each chapter is it's own little story. I liked that there wasn't a plot sense of going from a definite A to a definite B, but that the feeling is that there will be episode after episode in their lives going forward well beyond the end of the movie.

That said, Jess does have a story arc which goes through the film, from refusing to kiss and insisting on being the top when he first meets James, to gradually becoming able to express a little bit of affection, to owning his gayness and acknowledging to his brother that he is "with James." The lead actors are excellent and make their relationship consistently intriguing and interesting.

The rural setting was fantastic--living in a small town in Illinois, I enjoyed the lack of urban locale.


Apocalypse and Friendship
I really enjoyed this movie. The two lead actors are excellent in their roles. One friend is gay and one is straight, both seem to have genuine affection for each other, and they spend the day together as the end of the world approaches. There is a current of sexual tension as they talk about blowjobs and finally the gay friend asks the straight friend to take his virginity in a certain way (despite being rather promiscuous, there is something he's never felt comfortable with any of his partners to do). There are flashback of their respective sexual/romantic lives. Amid a sense that people in general are giving up on their ties to each other, these two young men demonstrate a deep friendship. The movie doesn't resolve itself in any trite or obvious way, though there is resolution to the film. The straight friend is bemused by the day and thinking about getting to be with his girlfriend as things come to an end; the gay guy is feeling great warmth towards his friend but doesn't lapse into that unrequited love thing, which is refreshing. I felt really sad at the end of the movie and then I felt really good.

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