Hey everyone, welcome to Queerly Recommended. I am Tara and back as always with my co-host Kris Bryant.
Hello, welcome to Episode 20.
How are we already on 20 episodes?
We are. Plus our bonus episodes. So technically more than 20.
That’s true. We’re at 22. That’s right. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, go back dig through the archives. We had a great conversation with Georgia Beers. And we tried our first ever audio commentary track to go with a film. I was maybe kind of high with an edible and Kris maybe it had a couple of drinks. But if you want to hang out with us and Ocean’s Eight, it is perfect for maybe an upcoming movie night for you.
So we just want to give a real quick shout out to Lacey Marshall who supported us on Ko-fi and she included the note, “Hahaha. Tara The L-Word was my late night nursing show too with my oldest kid. Love the podcast”. Thank you Lacey. The thing that I actually love about this is Lacey and I went to university together long enough ago that I don’t care to actually note how long it was, and I’m pretty sure that this means that she was actually watching The L-Word not too long after I was because I think our oldest kids are about the same age. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you Lacey. I so love that you listen to the show and that you support us and I also love that that was something that we shared a decade ago and we didn’t even know about it. And for anyone who’s not familiar, Ko-fi is a site where you can financially support content creators like Kris and I and you know, we’re grateful for everyone who supports us no matter how. Whether it’s through Ko-fi whether it’s telling a friend to check out the podcast. We’re just- we’re feeling the love. So thank you very much.
And it’s listener question time. Okay, we had quite a few questions last episode that kind of leaked over to this episode, because we ran out of time. So we’re going to answer Rebecca from A Tip of the Tongue podcast, she had several questions. And the first question is, “What question are you asked the most?” Tara?
So we tend to get asked about like, Who’re your favorite authors? What are your favorite books? What are the books that we wish people would read?” I think that’s probably the most common. Did I miss any?
Yes, that’s right. Okay, so then, “What is the hardest answer?”
Okay. See above. See the last question. Favorite authors, favorite bookss, books we wish people would read. I- Well why do you find this question so hard?
Well, it changes all the time. You know, plus, you could mention a book from 10 years ago that has content that is no longer really acceptable. But it was good at the time. But it’s not your list now. Because so much has changed, you have changed, the world has changed. So that’s just a really hard question.
I know. I also find like to try to pinpoint one or two books, I almost feel like I’m betraying all the other books that I love, like I’m saying “You’re not good enough”. And it’s like, “Well, that’s not true”. There’s just so much to choose from.
Yeah. And you have to be in a certain mood, you know, for a certain book. So it’s hard. I mean, you can go back to the classics, like most people do, whether it’s regular classics or lesfic classics.
And even that changes for me.
Well what do you think are the lesfic classics? Because I have a couple that I point to or a handful that I would point to pretty regularly, but I’d be curious to know if they line up with yours.
Well, obviously Curious Wine.
I think that’s almost everybody’s like, number one. This is my first book that I ever read.`
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, what about you?
Yeah, I would say definitely Curious Wine. For some I’ve heard Patience and Sarah brought up quite a bit, which I actually haven’t read yet. But it was one that I remember- Oh, geez. I can’t remember who told me. But the author would go and just like to bars and handsell the books in some cases, but it was like a lesbian romance before lesbian romance was a genre. I would say some of the early Radclyffe.
Like, if you look at-
Oh, God, yeah, Lee Lynch. Absolutely. Karen Kallmaker. And even I mean, we talked about her. We talked about her last time, Ann Bannon, you don’t get there without Ann Bannon and then of course before that, The Well of Loneliness, which I’ve also not read, because I’ve been told it’s incredibly depressing.
Oh, yeah, that one’s depressing.
I have to pick my moment. And actually, for similar reasons – depressing probably isn’t the right word for that one but difficult – Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Fineburg? I haven’t read that either and I would like to, but I need it to be a time where it doesn’t feel like we’re living in a flaming hellmouth.
You know, she actually offered that for free several months ago.
Yeah, it’s, well, they died. Oh, geez. I don’t actually know when they died. But they always wanted that book to remain free. And so their partner continues to have it as I believe a PDF on their website.
Right. And so I did actually get it several months ago. I haven’t read it yet. But I did get it. Yeah.
So Rebecca also asked, “What do you wish someone would ask you?” What do you think?
Well, we usually talk about what we want. So I guess our question is, “What do people want to know? What do they- What do you all want to know?” Like, “What should we talk about?”
Yeah, the only thing I can think of is, I would love it, if instead of saying like, “What your favorite book?” People looking for specific trope based recommendations. I love answering questions like that, because I’ve read so much. And we tend to tag- when I load my reviews on Goodreads, I put a bunch of tags in them. And then at The Lesbian Review, there is like a truly bananas number of tags that we use at our site, so that you can really find a lesbian book about just about anything. And so for- I love helping people find a book that they’re going to care about.
Right, because then you feel responsible when they love it.
I told you. It’s great. Yes, yeah. I love that feeling.
It’s so hard, because like, I’m happy to share when I love a book, obviously, or this podcast would have been a lot more difficult to do. But I can’t always guarantee that my tastes are going to line up with somebody else’s. And so like, I’m happy to share that information. But please don’t come back and yell at me if you don’t like the book. I had somebody do that once. Not with this podcast. No, not with this podcast. But like as a as a reader. They’re like, “Oh, what romances did you love?” and so I threw out this one by Gun Brooke… Oh, geez, what’s it called? It’s the one where it’s this like singing superstar and the new- the head of the new record company or something like that. But anyway, I liked it. She writes super angsty romances, and this was one of them. And this person came back to me and they were so angry at how angsty it was. And I was like, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that you don’t like angst”. And so honestly, for me, I’m happy to give recommendations all day long. But I need to know what you like for it to actually be an effective recommendation. So- that was a bit awkward. Rebecca also said, awesome pod. Thank you for all your hard work. Thank you. Thank you so much, Rebecca. And like Kris said, Rebecca has her own podcast called A Tip of the Tongue. It’s also a lesfic podcast. Definitely. If you enjoy ours, go check that one out, too.
So Kris, what do you been reading or watching?
I have so much to talk about.
Okay, I’m ready.
Okay, so first of all, I finished my manuscript. So I turned that in only one day late.
Congratulations. Also, I feel like only one day late in-
Is not bad.
-this year of awful, is actually that’s not only not bad. That is excellent.
Yes. I’m very proud of myself. And it’s the longest book yet.
Yes. But of course, I turned in like 85,000. And it’ll get knocked down to 70. Because that’s how it works.
Are you talking about the premise yet with? Are you talking fairly openly about it yet? Do you want to tell the listeners?
Ah, I haven’t really. We can. It’s called, what is this called? Oh, it’s called Forever. Gosh, you would think I would remember that because I just spent the last three months of my life with it. It is a play on The Bachelorette. And it’s a national TV show where my character was on the original version of When Sparks Fly, which was the lesbian dating show. And then 10 years later, they asked her to do an anniversary show, a 10 Year Anniversary Show where there are only 10 contestants and it’s a short season. And so she wants to show the world that you can find love on TV and that she’s doing okay, because she got dumped bad the first season.
She was young, she was 22 years old. She was there to party, have a good time. And so then when she’s asked 10 years later, you know, she has a business she’s, you know, responsible adult in the world. And so it’s about her journey and falling in love.
I’m so excited about this one.
You know, it’s kind of funny because I have seen The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, like a bajillion times. So I know everything. I know, like, I know what, what they say. And it was fun learning the behind the scenes, you know, of how the shows actually work and how much time is spent on filming one particular scene. And so I got to play a lot. There’s this a lot of tongue in cheek type moments, because they’re so cheesy, but we all watch them. because deep down inside, we all want this romance. And we want to believe that it’s real, that you can you know, meet somebody this way. So I finally finished that up, because I was trying to figure out the ending. I was like, I don’t know how I’m gonna end this. Like just typing along. And also like, the ‘I got the ending!’ never has happened that late before. Usually, I know like a month before the ending, but it was three days.
Oh, my gosh.
Actually two days before it was due. And it took me three days to write.
Was that stressful?
It was crazy. It was very stressful. It was so stressful that my editor actually reached out said you know what, “Hey Tiger, take an extra week. It’s no big deal, no rush”. And I’m like, “I can’t because I have something else due. I have somebody else due in November and then I have somebody else due January 1. So I can’t take a break. I have to keep going”. But I did take a couple days. And I watched a shit ton of stuff.
Tell us about all of this stuff.
Well, I’m still watching The Walking Dead. And I’m an AMC plus, because I’m that person and I need to know what happens a week in advance.
So I’m ahead of the rest of the world. The Walking Dead. Watching The L Word Generation Q. But I want to talk about the two movies I saw that I think everybody needs to see.
All right. What are they?
Okay, so the first one is movie on Netflix. It’s called He’s All That. Okay, I can’t tell you how funny this movie is. But it only really makes sense if you watched back in 1999 there was a movie called She’s All That.
With Freddie Prinze Jr., Paul Walker, Usher’s in it. Kevin Pollak, Anna Paquin, and the cast is ginormous.
I forgot that Paul Walker was in it.
Yes. He was the meanie guy who was he was like, “Oh.” Yes. He was the mean one who was kind of the, not really a bully. Yeah, he was a bully. Yeah. So anyway, the lead in that is Rachael Leigh Cook. And she was the one that they tried to fix up, you know?
Yeah, they just have to take her glasses off.
Yeah, they took her glasses off and put a dress on her. “Oh my god, she’s beautiful”. So, but here’s the great thing. So in this movie, Rachael Leigh Cook is the mom.
She is the mom in this role. So like five minutes into the show I’m like throwing soft things at the TV. Cuz I can’t believe it. So she is the mom in He’s All That. And then the principal is somebody who was in the movie, too. It’s somebody named Matthew Lillard. And he ended up being a reality show cast member, but he was dating like the popular girl in high school. And then there’s a dance off, there was a dance off of the original and there’s a dance off in the second one. And there’s just like this so cheesy and wonderful. And like, everything nostalgic in me just blossomed. It was just a great movie. So if you’ve seen the first movie, if you watched it back in 1999, when I was like two. If you watched it, then you definitely have to watch this one too, because you’re gonna love it. That
I kind of love. I had no idea that that was even released, like, did it go to theaters? Or?
I- you know, who knows? The first one or the second one?
The second one. I know the first one did. I remember seeing the first one.
yeah, with all those that cast. Surely it was in the in the theaters. But this one I don’t know because of the pandemic. A lot of times they do it simultaneously now. So it’s like Amazon Prime will release things that you can also watch in the theaters and same thing with HBO Max. They’re doing that as well.
So who cares? It’s there on Amazon for free or Netflix. I think it’s Amazon. I do think it’s Amazon.
Sounds like fun.
Yeah, me and Amazon, we had a great relationship this week because they also put out the movie, Cinderella. Cinderella. And it was unbelievable. It was so good.
Fantastic cast, and incredible song mashups.
Tell me more.
Well, first of all, I was almost gonna make this my recommendation Because Billy Porter is Fab G, which is the godmother.
Yes. I love that.
It’s like a genderless version of a fairy godmother. And so Billy says “Magic doesn’t have any gender”. So it’s super like, it’s fantastic. So but it wasn’t enough. Like Billy was only in there for a short amount of time.
Camilla Cabello plays Cinderella. So of course she’s singing the shit out of all the songs and she sounds amazing. Idina Menzel plays her stepmother. Hello?
Elsaaaa. Yeah, that’s the only thing she’s known as in this house when you have two little girls.
Yeah. And Minnie Driver and Pierce Brosnan, aka Remington Steele. They play the king queen.
Yeah. And like James Corden’s in this, and it’s just a great, just a great cast. And then they mash up songs that have just like, no, they did not just do. It sounds amazing. So it’s kind of like a musical. And they mash up Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation with You Got to Be by Desree.
Two songs you think don’t have anything in common or could make- It’s great. It’s absolutely great. And they also did it with White Stripes, Seven Nation Army and Salt N Pepper, What a Man.
You have to see this movie. It’s so clever. And it’s PG and it’s just wonderful.
Oh, good. Well, well maybe when it comes-
Yeah definitely watch it with the kids because it has such a good message. So Cinderella’s like, “I don’t need a man”. You know, the prince comes after her and she’s like, “I don’t need a man to be happy”. So yeah, the ending’s absolutely great. She takes care of herself. And it’s kind of like, it kind of slashes down the whole patriarch society and what’s expected also of the son being the prince. So it’s fun. I think you should watch it.
I love that. That is very exciting and I think important, because I remember, jeez, I think it might have been last year. We’ve been pretty open with our kids, trying to help them understand that, you know, anybody can love anybody. Anyone can marry anybody. Gender is, you know, there’s no such thing as boys clothes or girls clothes, all that. And it took our six year old- so she would have been five at that point. She just watched Little Mermaid and then she’s like, “Yep, and only girls can only marry boys”. We’re like, “Pardon what? Why? This is not what we’ve been saying”. And like, just the way Disney often constructs their narratives are so almost insidiously heteronormative. Like, really putting forward that like, “No, these are the only kinds of relationships, these are the way that girls are, these are the- and so I love the idea of something like Cinderella that’s deliberately counter to all of that. Telling girls that you can be more, you can have more, you can expect more. Because that is not-
You don’t need a man to do it. Yeah. And so Frozen did the exact same thing. , I mean, if you think about it, frozen kind of shattered the ceiling on that with true love. It was the love between sisters that saved them.
So there’s definitely progression going on, happening in the last two years, three years, four years however long. When was Frozen? When did it come out? like four years ago?
Oh, no longer for sure. We’re gonna look it up though. Because there’s two of them now right. No I’m gonna break your heart. I’m looking it up. The first Frozen came out in 2013.
Oh, my God.
That was eight years ago. How is that possible? It felt like yesterday.
Yeah I know. But just think we’ve been hearing Let it Go for much longer than two years.
That’s true. I forgot about that.
I can sing all the words. I will not do that for you right now. I will spare everybody’s ears.
Okay, so I’m sorry, Tara, what have you been reading and watching this week? It’s been all about me.
Drag Race All Stars Season Six is over and-
Oh, it’s over.
I am so thrilled that Kylie Sonique Love is the queen who won. Her story has been so interesting because she went home the fourth episode of season two, I believe. And so it’s been 11 years since she was on and you know, she went home for a terrible Lady Gaga impression in the snatch game which is like this celebrity impersonation challenge. Like it was painfully bad.
And what was interesting there was that it was in the reunion episode, actually, that she came out kind of to the whole world as trans and talked about how, you know, knowing that she was a trans woman, but continuing to try to present as a man for the show was really harmful and kind of got in her head and got in her way. Yeah. So she’s like, gone on to have this incredible drag career anyway, and she’s transitioned and all that. So she comes on the show, and I have to be honest, she was one of the ones where I was like, “Oh, that’s kind of cool. Yeah, right. It’s cool. She’s here. That’s fine. We’ll see if she does anything. I don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised if she went home pretty quickly”. She did not go home pretty quickly.
She came to win.
She came to win. Oh, my goodness, she was so good. Like, she was funny. She was vulnerable. She put everything into her challenges. And even in the finale, she was so gorgeous. And like the challenge and the runway, and then they all had to lip sync at the end. And she did a thing that like should have taken her out of- like one of those moments that like it should have been the end for her, but immediately turned it into there’s no way anybody’s going to beat her because she tripped. And it looked like she was gonna fall. Right? Yeah, like tripping and falling during a lip sync is not good. Because she’s also a gymnast. she tripped and immediately turned it into a tumble and then slid on the floor in this like super sexy pose. And I’m like, “How, how did this even happen?
And honestly, like the entire top four was so strong, because there was also Eureka, there was Ginger Minj and Ra’Jah O’Hara, and Ra’Jah O’Hara was another one that like the way she went home and her main season… So when she showed up here, I was like, “Oh, she’s not gonna be here long”. And like she made it to the end and she was fierce. And honestly, any of them- to me, it was conceivable that any of them could have won. And so I was really trying- usually in competition shows. I’m like, “This person, this person, this person” right up to the end, like hoping they’re gonna win. And actually I was doing the opposite where I was trying to, like, clear my mind and not assume who it’s going to be. Because I was so afraid it was not going to be Kylie. And then it was and I like hollered, even though everybody in my house was like, “Oh, quiet.” It just felt so momentous for the whole franchise. Because yeah, I mean, the the franchise started, I think in in 2009. And this is the first time a trans Queen has won. I mean, trans queens have competed. But no one’s actually ever won the crown before. And so I am so excited for her. She absolutely earned it. She did some incredible stuff this season. And while any of them would have been absolutely deserving, I just- I don’t know, it feels good when your top pick is the one who wins on a competition show. And then the other thing that I watched recently, is a film from 2000- I think it came out in 2018 is called Wild Nights with Emily. And it’s about Emily Dickinson but before the show that you watched came out. Because I think- what was that show called again?
It’s called Dickinson.
I still haven’t seen Dickinson. I will. At some point, I probably actually likelier to watch it now that I’ve watched this and I know a little bit more about Emily Dickinson.
It’s like when somebody tells you something and you refuse to believe it, but then a stranger tells you’re like, “Oh my god.” Hello, I’ve been telling you all along.
I know. I know. Honestly, the only reason I haven’t watched it yet is just because I forgot it existed. I should have watched it right away. And then it was one of those I was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna watch that movie”. And then my brain was like, “Check you did it”. And it’s like, “Well, I I didn’t”. This is not a helpful part of my brain.
No, your brain lies.
No. So Wild Nights with Emily came out a year before this. And I remember reading about it and going, “Huhthat sounds kind of interesting,” because Molly Shannon, whose most famous for Saturday Night Live-
Yeah, exactly. That one. She plays Emily Dickinson.
Yes, in her later years and you know what, she’s really good.
She’s really good. It’s a really- I’ve never seen her quite like this before, because in some of her performance, she’s quite sedate. But this was kind of the first visual media thing that really blew the doors off of what people thought of Emily Dickinson. Like everybody thinks of her as like creepy and reclusive and, you know, she didn’t want her poems published. And she was alone and didn’t have love and blah, blah, blah, blah. And so, I did a little bit, I did a little bit of reading, emphasis on little, but I guess it was in 1998, that they actually figured out that so many of her poems, and especially like the most sexual poems were addressed to Susan, who was her sister in law. And so this movie is really about that relationship, and shows her as this like, very sensual woman who has this very passionate affair for most of her life with Susan.
And we even see like who one of her other lovers was which put a bit of a rift between them for a little while, which is also just like, true facts. That’s a thing that nobody knew that she had an affair with this other woman named Kate. I enjoyed it. And I think I do recommend it. But if people are going to watch this, you need to be prepared for a movie that’s kind of slow, and very quirky. Like it often came across as strange to me. And I think it’s because it’s a movie, it almost doesn’t know what genre it is. And I don’t know if that totally makes sense. But like, there was one part where the comedy was so absurd, I was laughing until I was weeping. I had to actually pause the film, because I couldn’t pay attention anymore, because I was laughing so hard. And truly, it’s one of probably the funniest things I’ve seen in film.
But then, so much of the rest of it was very contemplative, and slow. And so we see a lot of these like, quite slow pace of life moments. And so just the tone sort of fell off to me all over the place. Her poetry is often brought in, which I think is nice. And placing it kind of within context, so that you can see “Oh, this is, okay, this is what this is about”. The other thing that I thought was really interesting, I didn’t know that her first editor- Well, first of all, was even a woman like I didn’t know who her first editor was, but I went and I read an interview with the director of the film. And she pointed out that- so the first editor actually shows up as a character in the film. So her name is Mabel Todd. Mabel Todd had a long affair, like many years affair with Emily Dickinson’s brother, aka Susan’s husband, and she had massive beef with Susan, you know, as the other woman. And so there’s speculation that that’s why Susan got written and their relationship basically got rewritten for the whole world, as this like very kind of chilly relationship, nothing sexual, nothing, anything like that. And so it was really interesting kind of seeing the power that an editor can have, just by getting in there first.
So like everybody is screaming at you right now. Because of Dickinson. That all this comes to light in Dickinson.
Well if you want to see another take-
It’s the same thing only the people are older!
They are but I also kind of love that they’re older because you know, you’re seeing these women that- they do have some wrinkles in their face and yet have this like incredibly passionate. I mean on this, it doesn’t have like graphic sex scenes, but like they’re making out in this highly believable way. And like you really can see the the fondness and the decades between them and all that. And I really love that. That’s not just young people.
Yeah, but it’s true. I mean, like, the whole thing with marriage and the brother and Susan and stuff, that all happened when they were young. So that’s, I don’t know.
Well this goes until her death.
I think we’re like we need to season three of Dickinson but who knows with COVID Are we gonna have a season? I don’t know. Let me check season three of Dickinson is it coming?
That’s true, like the thing that COVID has done to movie productions or not movie productions, TV production specifically, has thrown the same kind of like wrench and questions in like it reminds me of- Do you remember that writer’s strike? When was that? Was it in the was it in the 90s? No, it was later than that. It was in the 2000s
The baseball strike was in the night. It was in the 90s
No, it was it was in the 2000s but that writer strike where it’s like, I remember the TV show Heroes was so good and so fun. And then that happened. And then it was like the worst thing that could have happened to that TV show because it just went to garbage after that.
O hate that. Oh and by the way, just an FYI, Dickenson is returning this fall Oh, it says “Dickinson season three everything we know so far. The Apple TV shows third and final season will debut November 5”.
Okay, so I’m sad, but I’m also happy that we get it still.
Yeah, I wonder how long it’ll go.
Maybe 10 episodes and that’s it.
Oh, sorry. I mean into Emily’s life.
Oh, we’ll find out won’t we? They’ll probably be young. Well, I don’t know they might end it where she’s you know the age the character?
Yeah, they might- like I really up until the last moment I really wasn’t totally sure. And then I thought- like it just closes on the most perfect- You’re not gonna watch this are you?
I don’t know. I mean I love Emily Dickinson. Hello.
Hmm. Fine. I won’t tell you. I was going to tell you.
Don’t tell me.
I won’t tell you. I won’t tell anybody else either.
Don’t tell me. I’m gonna watch it. I’m gonna watch. I watch everything. So I’ll watch this.
Yeah, just be prepared for like quirky.
I’m good with quirky. Dickenson is totally quirky. I’m not- It’s all right, I’ll be able to write during that time.
Right? It’s I actually think it might be perfect for you to write to.
It’ll be inspirational and at the same time entertaining.
Mm hmm. And then I’ll talk to you about that one scene after you’ve seen it because I tried describing it to Neil yesterday morning and I was laughing with tears again, just describing it to him. But again, like so totally, like, that’s why I say like the movies so tonally off that when that happened I wonder if part of what made it so hilarious to me was also like, “Are we in the same movie? What’s going on? I don’t understand”. To be fair, I had had an edible before I started.
I’ll let you know if it’s as funny to me sober.
Yes, that is what I would like to know. Alright, so Kris, what is your official recommendation this week?
Okay, so my official recommendation is a movie that just came out called Joe Bell. And it’s available to rent like on demand. I don’t know if it’s at the movie theater or not. But it is a- it has a really good cast. And I’m gonna read the blurb and then we’ll talk about triggers. So the blurb reads: the true story of a small town working class father, who embarks on a solo walk across the US to crusade against bullying after his son is tormented in high school for being gay. So the trigger warnings is of course we have bullying, we have suicide we have just people being assholes, and just small town life. Sometimes it’s good. A lot of times it’s not. Also full WARNING this is a tear jerker. I cried and cried several times throughout the movie. But I think it’s necessary to watch because I think Joe Bell’s reaction to his son coming out probably rings true for so many people. Joe is played by Marky Mark, Mark Wahlberg. He will always be Marky Mark to me. He always like ever.
I mean, to fair that’s true for a lot of us.
So Joe is blue collar hard working American living in small town, Oregon, some town in Oregon. And it starts off and he’s gonna sit down and watch some game, I’m sure if like college football, and his friends are there. And his son Jaden asks to see him for a moment. And he’s like, really, Joe right? Or he goes “Really Jaden right now? Like, the game is getting ready to start.” Zyou know, and he’s, they don’t have like DVR pause or anything like that. It’s just like, you know, just regular TV and people are just watching it. And so he goes into the kitchen with his son. And he’s like, “What, what is so important?”
And Jaden tells him that he’s being bullied at school. There are a lot of kids picking on him. And he’s like, “Well, I told you, I put you in classes on how to defend yourself”. I think it’s Taekwondo, but I’m not 100% sure, because I did this for a reason. I need you to use your skills. And Jaden’s like “No, they’re bullying me because I’m gay”. And so Joe’s kind of stunned at first. Then he says something really weird. And his wife Lola is like, “But we love you, right?” And he’s like, “Yeah, I love you”. And then he leaves. And, like, at that moment, he completely failed the son and you can see it like, his son’s like just crying. And he’s just like, Joe’s like, “I don’t even know what to do with this information”. And he just goes to do what he does best. And he’s like, just putting it aside and he’s watching the football game.
So he tells his family, Joe tells his family he’s okay with it, but he’s constantly barking at his son. Like his son joins the cheerleading squad and they’re out front cheering and he’s like, “Keep the fire back into the backyard. Don’t be doing this out front”. And so his son is like just crying because like, his life is shit. Kids are like making fun of him at school. And then his dad, he doesn’t really have the support of his dad. You know, his mom, of course, is extremely supportive. And, you know, she’s trying hard to get Joe to get on board and understand his son more, and so one night, Joe goes into his son’s room wakes him up, and he says, “I love you and I’m gonna try better”. You know, he’s just, he’s, you know, that Joe’s completely embarrassed by a son. Because he is a cheerleader, and you see him at the games, you see the parents looking around, and how other parents are making fun of his son. So it’s so hard for him to to come to terms with that. So he like leaves the football game.
And they go to school, the parents and Jaden, they go to the school, talk to the principal and said look, “Like Jaden was jumped in the school locker room, people were like, beating him up, messing with him”. And the principal’s like, “Look, this is a small town, if you press charges against these kids, it’s gonna be really hard for you as his adult, as his parents, because it will make life hard for you, too”. So basically, the principal does nothing at all to help. Okay, so earlier, I mentioned that the one of the triggers is suicide. And that’s because Jaden becomes so overwhelmed with everything in his life, that’s not helpful that he ends up committing suicide.
And that’s when Joe decides to go on this cross country trek to talk to people about bullying and the extreme negative consequences of it. And you see the character. you see Jaden with Joe, while he’s on this journey, but he’s not really there. It’s just from, you know, it’s like a figment of Joe’s mind. And he’s having these open conversations with his son. So that as a mental kind of a mental awareness, just to actually talk to somebody who’s talking to his son who really isn’t there. But it really helps him understand. And I still think, you know, I mean, it’s a, it’s a really emotional movie. It’s not all, not all movies are like happy endings. But I feel like this is a great movie for parents who either have queer children or children who are queer, and they, they want their parents to see a movie, or just kind of get the feeling for what it’s like for somebody who is queer going through this. It’s, it’s not, I mean, there are safe spaces, but like Jaden never could find a safe space. And it’s so important for queer children, to have- queer people in general to have safe spaces. And that is what this movie is kind of about. So it’s very emotional. It’s not necessarily entirely happy. But it’s very good.
And if anybody is looking for resources, if you are queer, if you are a parent of a queer kid, and don’t know what to do, if there is somebody in your life who is a parent of a queer kid that you think could just need some support and learning, definitely go and connect with your local PFLAG chapter. I forget what it stands for. But that’s exactly what it’s for. It’s like for parents of queer kids. And if you’re, you know, a queer teenager who has been bullied, or if you have, again, any queer kids in your life that you think are being bullied and kind of need that support, and to understand that it really does get better. And that suicide doesn’t have to be the only option. Please check out the resources that the folks at The Trevor Project have, because they do such important, life saving work.
Right, and it feels so overwhelming when you’re younger, when you’re a teenager or young adult, but it does get better. And you will find people who are like you, and it’s just, it’s such a good feeling. But it’s just a matter of hanging in there and just- and knowing that things will be okay.
Yeah, it’s kind of a downer movie. But it says so much that the message is very important.
That’s what I was gonna say. Like, it sounds like it’s not going to be a comfortable movie, but that it’s a really important movie. And that, you know, I think as much as people like to say, “Everything’s better, we’re so much better. There’s marriage equality, everything’s better”. Like it’s not always better and especially for, especially for youth who they may not feel safe. So I love that. I love that you’re bringing something that can help everybody learn and think.
Yeah I think so. And it’s kind of like even my parents, you know, they, they are, they’re older. They’re very supportive, though. But they’re not- like my dad isn’t 100% there. I mean, he is. But at the same time, it’s just like he was- He fights the way he was raised in what he believes in, you know, to come to terms with who I am.
You know, I love my dad, my dad loves me. And I’m sure he would probably like come to some events and things like that. My mom would be like, she’d be wearing the “Hug me shirt”, the “I’ll be your mom” shirts, you know, waving the flags and everything, because my mom is just that person. And I think my dad’s will, you know, he’s military, and just a little, just always kind of holding in his emotions. Although the older he gets, the more he cries. I find that interesting. But yeah, and I remember dealing, I mentored a queer child while they were going through middle school and high school. And that was my message. It’s like “Things will get better, you will find people like you that you can have a whole new family with.” You know, because their family wasn’t exactly supportive. So it’s just a matter of finding the right people, finding somebody to talk to about everything, and just finding your safe space. And, you know, unfortunately, in this movie, Jaden never found it. And it’s so important to find that.
So anyway, enough about that. Hopefully, Tara, you have something a little bit more uplifting to recommend this week for our listeners.
Yeah, so my recommendation is kind of on the other end of the spectrum, because it’s a super fluffy angst-free lesbian romance.
So my recommendation is for I believe it’s her most recent release, but it’s called About That Liss. It’s by Harper Bliss. I have been a fan of Harper Bliss’s from when all she was publishing was like short stories. And so I have not read all of her full length novels, but I’ve read most of them. And I have to say this is probably up there in like my top five, it’s one of my favorites. And I think it doesn’t hurt that it’s a Hollywood celebrity romance. I am a gigantic sucker for those. I love them. And in this case, I was intrigued because it’s about two basically like mega actresses falling for each other. And so Faye Fleming is one of the leads. She’s a massive star. She’s collected a few Oscars over, you know, recent years. She’s been cast in a lesbian romantic comedy with it’s supposed to be this like the romantic comedy of the summer or whatever. And she is opposite Ida Burton, who used to be Hollywood sweetheart. So I kind of imagined her as the like, Julia Roberts, or Sandra Bullock type.
And so Faye is straight, she’s always thought of herself as straight, but Ida is actually a closeted lesbian. And she’s a little tired of staying in the closet, you know, she’s over 40, I think she’s, I think they’re actually both pretty close to 50, actually. But like, Ida’s career took kind of a bit of a nosedive after turning 40, which is, you know, not uncommon for what we hear out of Hollywood. It’s also around that time, though, that her ex husband came out publicly as gay and they divorced. So they were both gay, and they were kind of like shielding each other with this marriage, they’re best friends. And coming into the film Faye is actually a little intimidated by Ida because she’s so charismatic. She has that smile, the smile that just like captured America. And this idea that like, that’s who I’m going up against, it was kind of, I guess, for me, it was a little surprising, because, you know, she’s this multi Oscar winning actor, but at the same time, it’s like, oh, yeah, I mean, actors can still get tongue tied around a favorite celebrity to I guess.
And so they have this incredible chemistry on screen. Everything is going great. Until they have to film their first kiss. And things just kind of go from there because that is when Ida realizes, “Oh shit. I have a crush on Faye”. Kris has her hand up. Nobody can see it.
I have my hand up. I have a question.
So the movie, is the movie a queer movie.
Yeah, so that’s the thing. So their leads opposite each other. So they’re these two characters that are falling in love in this lesbian rom com. And so that was the only- there were only two things that I didn’t find super believable in this book. The first is their names, because there is no way that an actress who would be doing work right now in her 40s would have been allowed to keep the name Ida or Faye. That just I found that a little bit distracting. Like, I’m just trying to imagine if Nicole Kidman showed up and was like, “Hello, my name is Ida”. They would have been like, “No it’s not”.
No you’re not.
Your name is Nicole. Yeah, right.
Yeah, names are important. They really are important and books in the livability of a book slash movie.
Yeah. The other was that I was like, “Really? Hollywood’s gonna do a big old blockbuster out of a lesbian rom com. Now? Are they?” I mean, I want them to do that. That would be incredible if they did that. But right now we’re just trying to get you know, lesbian romances on the Hallmark channel.
Or, yeah, The Happiest Season, you know, where they actually, you know, have mainstream Christmas lesbian, but a good one. Christmas lesbian movie.
Yeah, exactly. And so I know I those things kind of like stretch the bounds of believability, a little bit for me, but then I was like, “I don’t care”. So it’s kind of what it was, as long as you can get past that and say that you don’t care. It’s a lot of fun. So the reason that they even got involved with this because like I said, she always thought of herself as straight. But she’s actually friends with Charlie and Ava, who are characters from another book called Release the Stars. Charlie was a novelist in that book, but she’s actually moved on to screenwriting, she’s adapted some of her books into films. And now this is like, she’s just written the script for this one. And Ava actually talked Faye into it saying, like, “Look, we need famous people like you to come out and act in movies like this, to try to normalize it.” Which I thought was absolutely a great message I fully get behind.
Because it’s about two actors together, it actually reminds me a little bit of And Playing the Role of Yourself by K.E. Lane. Except, unlike that book, there’s not a character who keeps getting attacked and injured and all this, like all that stuff that kept happening to Kate in that book. There’s none of that there’s no stalker. There’s no any of that kind of like high drama stuff. It’s just like, a pretty great, low angst- I mean, yeah, Faye has to figure out her feelings. I suppose my other kind of gripe with this book is that I was a little disappointed as a bisexual reader that she doesn’t pause to consider, “Perhaps I might be a bisexual person”. But I still really enjoyed seeing her have to reconcile those like, “Huh, I’ve only ever been attracted to men before. But I’m pretty into Ida. Oh, wait, our sex is pretty great, too. Okay, that’s cool”. Like, it’s just I don’t know, it’s fun. And I think it would be fun to see this adapted as like a TV show or a film or something like that. Because there’s just something- like there’s enough meat to the story that I think it could be really fun to watch on the screen.
So that is my recommendation, I was reading it. I actually really recommend it, like if you’re in a stressful period, and you want something like really sweet and gentle to distract you I highly, highly recommend. Because for me, I was reading it when we were in the days leading up to our kids going back into the schools, because we did online learning last year. And you know, in our province, our COVID numbers were drastically climbing and our provincial leadership was not present. And so I had a lot of anxiety all around and I could not put this book down. Like to be able to really escape into a book in a high anxiety period is always a gift. And yeah, it was perfect for that. Like, if you want to get out of the world. Nothing about COVID. No, climate change worries, no, anything political, except, of course, the beautifully political, I don’t even know if that’s the way you put it. Fuck. There’s a line that I used to say pretty frequently about- Well, I mean, it’s that like, writing about queer love is a political act. So if you want to enjoy that political act, but without all the politics of the world…
Right, that’s better. Yeah. I love it.
Thank you. That’s what I was trying to do. I do. Honestly, I was going towards a point. It was just a while to get there. ‘
Sounds like me.
We’re just trying our best.
But yeah, honestly, it’s a super fun book, especially if you love celebrity romances like Hollywood romances, and especially ones where it’s like a celebrity paired with a celebrity. Because there’s kind of fun in both ways, right? Like, you can also find a ton of really fun celebrity romances where it’s like a celebrity with a non celebrity. And it’s like, “Oh, can you deal with? Can you deal with that?” Versus this one where it’s like, “No, it’s two celebrities. What are they going to do if one of them wants to go public? What about the other one who’s only just figuring out our sexuality?” Like, it covers some fun stuff. So that is all for this episode. Thank you so much for joining us. If you’ve enjoyed the episode, and you’re not already subscribing, please just hit that little subscribe button on whatever podcast app you’re using, so you can get notified every time we release a new episode. And if you have somebody in your life that you think would like to get regular queer media recommendations, please just tell them about the show and get them to subscribe too.
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