So, I’ve watched quite a few queer-related movies in the past few weeks. Here’s a recap of the ones I’ve watched (and ones I’m going to watch) and how I’ve rated them.
Blue Is The Warmest Colour: 5/10 Brownie points for Lea Seydoux being Lea Seydoux, but it’s a no-go for the male gaze-oriented sex scenes. And Adele’s snot-crying at the end. And for Emma calling Adele a slut… I love and hate that scene both at the same time. But mainly hate. Also, it’s long and in all French, so you better put on the subtitles and have a good 3 hours to just chill.
High Tension: 7/10 Cecile de France is amazing in this film (read: her haircut is hot), and I’m sad her character had such a bad ending. The gore is slightly over-the-top, but terrific in its execution (so many bad puns. I apologize). Although most of it is in French and dubbed in some places, I would still watch it again in a heartbeat. The suspense and the tension were high (again, I’m sorry, I can’t help it) but the ending does not bode well for LGBT folks. As is such with many films in the horror genre, the concept of sexuality is a misused and abused one.. but it makes for great fanfiction (mine, since it’s one of the only TWO fanfics posted on the internet from this fandom).
But I’m A Cheerleader: 6/10 Too campy for my taste, but I shipped Megan and Graham from the moment Graham said “I like girls” while staring at Megan. It’s a very good film to watch if you need to distract yourself from the reality of living at the Pray The Gay Away summer camp your parents just sent you to “for your own good.” Also, Natasha Lyonne plays Nicky Nichols in OITNB, so… yeah. Brownie points all around.
Imagine Me & You: 11/10 Yes, I gave it an eleven. (These go to eleven.) I absolutely LOVED this movie. Luce, The Florist, is amazing. Rachel, The Married Woman, is adorable. Heck, The Token Male Character, is… awkward and sweet and a necessary evil for the plot. But the romance! Literally, kids, I’m never watching The Notebook during a sleepover as long as I’ve got this movie. It’s fucking adorable and British and the witty dialogue is on point.
The Runaways: 7.5/10 I didn’t know I shipped KStew and Dakota Fanning until I watched this movie. And the portrayal of Joan Jett was amazing- the old middle-school me that was obsessed with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (and My Chemical Romance… we all have our punk phases) was amazed at how Joan Kristen was. Even down to their hair-flip thing. I mean, Kristen should sing more. And wear tighter t-shirts more often, you know what I’m saying?
Better Than Chocolate: 8/10 This movie would be a seven, if I hadn’t loved the trans* character of Judy so much which added a brownie point. It was a cute comedy, and I liked the friendship between Judy and the mom, Lila. Also, Christina Cox as Kim (girlfriend goals second only to Luce The Florist)… and the sexy painting scene around 20 minutes in… yep. Except for the random scary break-in near the end, this movie was sweet and definitely better than chocolate.
The Kids Are All Right; Lost and Delirious; Bloomington; Loving Annabelle; My Summer of Love; When Night Is Falling; Mulholland Drive; Heavenly Creatures; Bound; Room In Rome; Cracks; Itty Bitty Titty Committee; Martyrs; The Moth Diaries; The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister; Tipping The Velvet; Desert Hearts; Go Fish and Fried Green Tomatoes.
Anyone have any other suggestions? I’ll try and watch Affinity and Fingersmith (or better yet, read them) if I can find any copies of them lying around the library. Sadly, no luck so far.
Consider this my pseudo-”summer reading” assignment, although I can’t buy lesbian-themed books (aside from The Price of Salt that I bought and have hiding in the bottom of my dresser to read at night with the door closed- it’s so good!) or else my mother will find them and ask too many questions. I feel like I smuggled in drugs or something, when I went to buy the book at Barnes and Noble. It was the fastest I’d ever been through a checkout. :)
Review - Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights by Jerome Pohlen
Oh Gay & Lesbian History for Kids. I wanted to love you. I came so close….. but then you crashed and burned.
Despite the title Gay & Lesbian History for Kids actually starts strong. It identifies Alexander the Great and Emperor Hadrian as bisexual on page 4 so perhaps I got my hopes up….. but once it gets past Stonewall, its like bisexual and transgender people just stop existing. If bisexual people are in this book, they are in boxes off to the side, showing that we do exist but aren’t really all that important to the narrative. There is nothing on the history of tension between lesbians and mainstream feminism about the similar antagonism towards bisexual women in the movement. No Brenda Howard and Sylvia Rivera is not identified as bi.
And the first mention of Sylvia Rivera in this book deadnames her. I was shocked. I’ve been a big reader of queer history for over a decade and I’ve never come across Rivera’s birthname before because IT’S HIGHLY DISRESPECTFUL AND NOT RELEVANT TO HER WORK. Rivera is mentioned a few times but there is no real depth or explanation of her work. Transgender rights and transgender people are all but forgotten after 1970, with no mention of their issues of violent hate crimes or employment discrimination. And despite some valiant attempts at diversity in the beginning of the book, it is as though queer people of color in this history just stopped existing or mattering after the 1960′s.
The one possible saving grace of this book is the activities. Holy hell they are awesome! This would be the perfect book to use with a girl scout troop or day camp or sunday school. I’m all about teaching kids queer history by teaching them to make their own protest signs/songs/buttons/symbols, performing scenes from queer theatre, reading banned books, and forming their own movements around issues that are important to them. I just wish those awesome activities could be in a book with less problematic trans content and bi erasure.
Look if you are a school or librarian or parent and the choice is this book or nothing (or god forbid this book and the unmitigated pile of ahistorical dreck that is Ann Bausum’s Stonewall), then pick this book. It’s got some good moments in the beginning and the activities are top notch. But overall it is very much a white Gay and Lesbian book, so bisexual and transgender people continue to search for adequate historical representation in our children’s nonfiction. Sigh.
trigger warnings for: violence (though discussed a 10 year old appropriate level) and dead-naming