I went on a bit of a Netflix bender yesterday, it being Good Friday and all. While getting my Netflix fix I watched these three movies. What follows are my reviews with ratings of each. A few notes, I highly recommend you click on the in text links as you will not be disappointed by where they take you.
Director: Darren Stein
Running Time: 94 minutes
GBF, which is an acronym for Gay Best Friend, is an indie teen comedy from Darren Stein who also directed the dark comedy Jawbreaker. GBF has some minor similarities to The Geography Club in that you have a gay protagonist that isn't out, a GSA that plays a central role in the story, a closeted 'straight' character, and no other out gay people in the mostly white, middle class, suburban high school the protagonist attends.
GBF should have been comedy gold. It has everything. It has Natasha Lyonnes, Megan Mullally, Rebecca Gayheart, Jonathan Silverman, overly nice Mormons, three queen teen divas in training, someone named after Farah Fawcett. Alas it is lacking. The comedy is hit and miss and the story doesn't break new ground. If you want to watch a slightly better gay teen comedy, then watch The Geography Club (also on Netflix) which at least has a bit more to offer in making you feel for the lead character.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Interior.Leather Bar. (2013)
Directors: Mathew Travis, James Franco
Running Time: 60 minutes
If I wanted to watch a self-congratulatory masturbation fantasy with a side of gay sex made by someone whose last name is Franco then I'd just watch this video which is way more fun. I suggest you do the same.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Running Time: 100 minutes
"You're a busy Betty and I don't like busy Betties."
Set (mostly) in the 1980s, this little supernatural thriller only received a limited theatrical release before going to video on demand. Which is a shame because it is a really solid piece of filmmaking. I loved the attention to details for the 80s setting which threw in many period pop-cultural references used in other movies set in the 80s like a Rubix Cube, Walkmans, Swatches, a Siouxie and the Banshees teeshirt, and Regan giving a speech on TV. But then they threw in something that, at least in my mind, is also tied to growing up in the 80s, a Peter and the Wolf record (that I both owned and we used in music class). I loved that touch.
MINOR SPOILERS BEGIN
The movie opens up and immediately we begin to notice something is not right. Lisa Johnson (Abigail Breslin) and her family are reliving the same day over and over again ala Groundhog Day. It is perpetually the day before Lisa's 16th birthday. Lisa is the only one in her family that realizes that the family keeps repeating the same day over and over. Oh and that they are all dead and ghosts (note: this is part of the official movie description and not supposed to be a surprise). Every night at 1:14 am, everything reboots and the day starts all over. That is until Lisa starts to notice things that have never happened before like a loud clanging in the basement, a small red door hidden in the basement, the attic door being unlocked and open, and the Peter and the Wolf music playing from her bedroom vent. Slowly things start to shift and change in the ways that change the repetitions of her family's day until they receive a visit from an ominous man.
MINOR SPOILERS END
What follows is a mash-up of a mystery, a thriller, and a supernatural fairy tale. It is also a meditation on adolescents and how teens rebel against the normalcy of their family by trying to escape the mundane routine of it all in an effort to be awake be aware. How they struggle to become their own person, separate from being defined by their family. How beloved personal objects provide us with connections to the past and memories.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars