Bad Buddy

The following review ran at the beginning of the year on SERENDIPITY after the first 11 episodes of the popular Thai series had aired. At that time, we were eagerly awaiting the finale because BBS gave us a real cliffhanger. You probably know how it ended, but if you were one of the few who don’t know, GMM TV has started running the series again. The mini-series also continues to be available on YouTube and other streaming platforms.

Thai series review, by Rich Paschall

One of the things I have done in the past year while we continue to hide out from the pandemic is to find new entertainment options online.  When you consider what is available from around the world, the options for movies and television series seem endless. I watched a number of foreign movies, full-length and short subjects. Now I have also added some foreign television series.

Recently I mentioned the Chinese series “Dive” and its Thai co-star Chanon Santinatornkul (nickname: Nonkul) when recommending Nonkul’s English language pop tune and music video, “Won’t Tell You.”  I also watched him in a previous Chinese series “Blowing in the Wind.”  He obviously had to dub in a lot of his dialogue in the 28 episodes of “Blowing in the Wind” as working in Chinese was new to him at the time. Since then the popular Thai Actor, singer, and model has been busy with a movie, television series, and photoshoots.

From there I discovered recommendations for other Thai series. I decided to go with Bad Buddy as I liked the series trailer and thought I would enjoy the story. It is a familiar theme.

Two rival families teach their boys to dislike one another. They are made to compete in everything. When one of the mothers discovers the two boys working together in a band at school, she has her son transferred away from there. The friendship comes to an end.

The story picks up years later when both of the boys end up at the same university. One becomes president of the Architecture students while the other becomes president of the Engineering students. The groups are rivals and often end up in fights. A problem sets in when the sister of one of the leaders makes him promise not to beat up the other. This goes back to a childhood incident. Of course, they are both supposed to fight the other. Their friends and their parents would expect as much.

Ohm (Left) and Nanon

Bad Buddy stars popular Thai actor Pawat Chittsawangdee (Ohm) as the boy trying not to fight his rival. Ohm originally did not want the part as he had already been in some series where he played a gay love interest. He changed his mind when he heard they were going to cast his close friend, fellow actor, and pop singer Korapat Kirdpan (Nanon). The two handsome actors are just 21 years old and longtime friends.  The chemistry between the hate and later love relationship is perfect. It has become one of the most-watched and most-streamed series in Thailand. A Filipino dubbed version drops a day later and an English captioned version can be found on the YouTube channel GMMTV and other platforms. You may need a VPN to catch it on some other websites where content is restricted to some countries.

You will find the YouTube channel your best option, although they like to insert a lot of commercials. Like most YouTube videos, you can skip most of the commercials after 5 seconds. You will also find the Thai-sponsored products as you go back into each of the 4 segments in the hour-long comedy-drama. It seems all college students need Canon printers, drink a particular brand of flavored tea, love peppermint inhalers (seriously) and use Nivea products. The product placement in the series is a bit overdone, but we can live with it since the boys are so likable.

As each episode airs, the show starts trending on Thai social media. A popular tag is #OhmNanon. The boys have become so popular together they can be seen everywhere: In commercials, series promotions, interviews, and fan meet-ups. You name it, they have done it. In addition, due to the rise of the coronavirus, the boys from the Bad Buddy series (not just Ohm and Nanon) were kept in a Safe House for weeks to keep from getting the virus. This was set up like Big Brother with plenty of cameras to stream the house for hours a day. As a result, we have plenty of internet hours of #OhmNanon.

The stars speak basic English, and while not so good at it, they did sit through a long streaming event in English for the Filipino channel that runs their show. Ohm and Nanon are both college students and hope to continue in the craft.

[SPOLIER ALERT: Stop reading now if you want to go watch this short series.}

For eleven episodes this has been mostly a romantic comedy. It did have its serious moments, even taking on how children are taught to hate one another based on the lies of the parents. It seemed like it was heading to an acceptable conclusion for the two based on the direction of episodes 10 and 11. Then the series dropped an ominous trailer for what is coming in the final episode.

Pat (Ohm) left, and Pran (Nanon)

If you are going to take us on a rom-com journey, we certainly would not expect a “star-crossed lovers” ending to this Romeo and Romeo affair (Pat and Pran, actually). That’s what the 30-second coming attraction gave us. Are we to see a break-up?  Will there be death for one or both of our stars? Will their parents finally succeed in crushing their sons’ love?  The voice-over promises the most shocking episode of 2022. OK, it’s only January. They have suggested the boys will be torn apart.

Yes, I know. TV series love to tease us with “scenes from our next episode” that often deceive us a bit, but this trailer was a little longer and seemed like it was meant to dash the hopes of all the #PatPran fans.  I will really be annoyed if that is the ultimate ending to this pleasant little series.

Instead of trailers, I will leave you with this song Nanon sings in the series. It is littered with clips from the show. Turn on captions for English. If you are not sure this guy is really popular, check out the number of views of this video:

Update: Ohm and Nanon confirmed in an interview Thursday that they filmed three different endings. They claim not to know what was chosen and they too will have to watch to see how it ends.

See Also: “What Are You Listening To?” SERENDIPITY, December 5, 2021.

OVER AND OUT – FICTION

A family short story by Rich Paschall


It was not like Billy’s dad to just walk into his room. At 17 years old he really expected his parents to knock first. He quickly closed out of his chat and turned around to see what his father wanted.

“What’s up, dad?” Billy began.

“Son, I think there is something you should tell me.” Billy’s father paused and waited for a response. Billy was clueless. He could not think of a thing he should say, so there was this long awkward silence as the two of them shot puzzled looks at one another.

Over the last two months, Billy’s father had noticed the nature of his son’s friendship with a handsome young classmate named Josh. They went everywhere together. They studied together and they spent hours on the phone together. Going to the movies on a Saturday night was just like the dates Billy’s dad had with his wife when they were teenagers. Billy would spend a lot of time getting ready. He picked out his best date-night-type clothes and he absolutely lit up when Josh appeared at the door. Dad felt he could not be mistaken.

empty chairs

“No, Dad, I can’t think of anything,” Billy finally said in his best “I’m innocent” voice.

“Are you gay?” his father shot back. All of a sudden something heavy fell on Billy’s chest. It must have been the weight of reality hitting him. He was unprepared.

“Yes dad,” Billy responded as boldly as he could after the truth was already out there anyway.

“And this Josh fellow, is he your boyfriend?” Billy did not want to out Josh to his father but he figured that he somehow knew so he gave up that truth too.

“Yes, dad.” Once again they stared at one another until Billy could finally throw that weight off himself and speak up.

“So, it’s OK then?” Billy asked. His dad did not want to say “yes” because it was not alright with him, but he did not want to say “no” because he recalled how difficult teenage love could be and just figured that gay teenage love was even harder. After a few moments deep in thought, Billy’s dad had a course of action in mind.

“Son, I want you to tell your mother this week. Am I clear about that?”

“No dad, please,” the boy replied in horror. “Can’t you tell her?” If his dad was not all “open-arms” about this he could not imagine his mother’s reaction. She was far more right of center than dad.

“Billy, if you think you are old enough to be making out with another boy, you are certainly old enough to man up and tell your mother exactly who you are.” At that, Billy’s dad left the room and quietly closed the door on the way out.

For the rest of the week, Billy was a nervous wreck. Every time he saw his mother he could feel a knot in his stomach. His father started shooting him angry glances for failing to tell his story. Billy did tell two people though, Josh and his sister, Mary. The latter was a tactical error, to be sure.

One night when they all happened to be at the dinner table at once, a rare occurrence for two busy parents and two teenagers, Mary could not hold her brother’s secret any longer. “So, little Billy, did you tell mom yet that you’ve been kissing boys?”

Billy’s mom immediately looked like she had seen the ghost of her dear departed mother glaring at her. “Robert, did you know about this?” Billy’s mom shouted across the room at her husband. He did not respond but she could tell after twenty-three years of marriage what the response would be. “How dare you!” she screamed at either Billy or her husband, neither was quite sure, and then she stormed out of the room.

Over the next few weeks, Billy’s parents argued often about why the boy was gay. Each thought the other had a hand in it, but only mom was mortified and angry beyond reason.

“If you had been a stronger father,” she took to telling him almost daily, “This would not have happened.”

To which he frequently responded, “I tried to discipline the boy but every time I did he would run to you and get off the hook. I would say you are the reason he’s a mama’s boy.” From there it only got worse.

After one particularly stormy session, Billy’s mom finally declared she was through. “I want a divorce. We can not continue these fights in front of the children.” Robert agreed and went to their room. A stunned Billy, eavesdropping in the next room, began to cry.

Robert called his brother and asked to stay a few days. He packed a bag and prepared to leave when Billy ran into his room. “No dad, please don’t leave. I am sorry, it’s all my fault. I’ll change, I promise. I won’t be gay anymore. Please.” Billy buckled at the knees and went down to the floor. His dad helped him up and sat him on the edge of the bed.

“Look son, my marriage was over years ago. It took something like this to point that out. You can not change this anymore than I can change who you are.” At that, he reached over to hug the boy. He planted a kiss on his forehead, got up, grabbed his bag, and walked out the door.

IT’S MY PARTY

This list of top LGBT singers first appeared on SERENDIPITY last year.

My Top Ten LGBT singers, by Rich Paschall

If you were to Google (verb, meaning “to search for”) LGBTQ musicians, singers, or artists, you are likely to find some rather long lists. You might be surprised by the numbers, which include many well-known performers. I “Googled” just that to be sure not to miss any obvious choices. Not only did I end up with a long list, but I also tumbled down the rabbit hole of YouTube music videos. Now I have returned, Mad Hatter in tow, to present my Top Ten. If you are unaware of any of these, my new friend will explain them clearly and almost concisely.

We will start you out with an honorable mention. When I was in grade school, Lesley Gore had a string of hit songs. “It’s My Party” was on the radio and on the Juke Box all the time. In 1964 it was nominated for a Grammy award. Listen to the oldies gem here from the Ed Sullivan show. At the time of her death in 2015 at just 68 (lung cancer), she had been with her partner Lois Sasson for 33 years.

Whether you are a member (show your membership card at the door), or an ally (pay a small cover charge), it is time to show some pride in these top performers.

10. Johnny Mathis. “Chances Are” you are familiar with this artist. He was a favorite at our house and my mother played his albums all the time.  What’s a little housework without Mr. Mathis singing in the background? It’s Not For Me To Say but he is still singing and just may go on until The Twelfth of Never. That should make you a little Misty.
09. Kathryn Dawn Lang, aka k.d. lang,  is a Canadian singer-songwriter. You may have a Constant Craving for the songs of this Grammy Award-winning artist. In 2004 she toured with Tony Bennett and their Album won a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
08. Barry Manilow. The popular singer-songwriter had a long string of hit records and is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. He had 51 songs in the Top 40. In the 1970s and 80s, you could not turn on the radio without hearing him. Not only did he tell you “I Write The Songs,” but he sang them too.


We saw him twice in concert, once at the historic Chicago Theater where I captured the above.

07. Sam Tsui. The popular singer-songwriter became a YouTube sensation a few years ago and has 3.18 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. His album “Make It Up” includes some high-energy videos, including this remarkable non-stop multi-scene no edits effort on the title track.


06. Melissa Ethridge. The American sing-songwriter is known not only for her music but also for her civil rights activism. The frequent Grammy nominee won Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female in 1993. She picked up an Oscar in 2007. It would be tempting to give you one of her hit recordings, but instead, we will go for her dramatic 2005 comeback. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2004, she underwent surgery and chemotherapy. Along with Joss Stone, she owned the stage in this performance at the 2005 Grammy Awards tribute to Janis Joplin.

05. Montero Lamar Hill, aka Lil Nas X is a singer-songwriter and rapper. He won a basketful of awards in 2019 and 2020 and his first country-pop-rap song “Old Town Road” was a massive hit. It stayed in the Number 1 spot for 19 weeks. The Country Music Awards left him out of the bigger categories despite his recognition for collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus. Perhaps it was because, you know…he’s gay and..young…and black…AND a rapper too!  Just in case you think the song was not country enough, he presented this:

04. Darin Zanyar, or just Darin to his fans. The Swedish singer-songwriter is a Superstar in Europe. He first became famous at 16 as the runner-up on Swedish Idol. He records in Swedish and English.

03. Enrique Martin Morales, aka Ricky Martin. The handsome Puerto Rican superstar has been “Livin La Vid Loca” since his days in the boy singing group Menudo. He has also worked as an actor in Mexico and the US where he picked up an Emmy nomination.

02. Steve Grand. The local Chicago area sensation burst onto the scene as the All-American Boy. His self-produced debut album was bolstered by the success of the title tune.

Steve Grand at “Seven” nightclub.

He doesn’t “Stay” here long as he is in high demand around the world:

01. Elton John.  His superstar success earns him the number 1 spot. From the Crocodile Rock all the way to Your Song, we have never said: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”  I don’t know about you, but he has put a lot of songs on the soundtrack of my life.

Click on the artist’s name for one of his/her hits, or find our 15-song Pride Playlist here.

A GLANCE BACKWARD

This article appeared last year on SERENDIPITY. We wanted to know how would we address a certain point in our past? Do we have regrets? Would we have good advice for our young selves now?

Your younger self, by Rich Paschall

A few years ago another blogger suggested a book to read (The Letter Q) that is a collection of letters certain writers would send to their younger selves, if only they could. Some letters are just a couple of pages. Some are a bit longer. Some of these writers may be well-known to you. Others may be interesting just as a study of what an older person still recalls of his younger life. Some of these letters really touched me. I can feel the emotion they must have felt as they looked back. I suspect that is because I am looking back over my shoulder at the same time.

If you were to write a letter to your younger self, at the age you are now, to what age would you send it? Would it be you at 12? 14? 18? Older or younger?  When would you need your advice the most? I guess it should be no surprise that many of these letters were sent to teenage years. Perhaps that is when growing pains are the sharpest. Maybe it is when young love hurts the most. It could have been when you were terrorized by bullies, parents, or supposed friends the most. It might be at the time when you wanted advice the most, but you trusted no one to give it to you. Would you even have taken it if it came from a more experienced you?

It seems pointless to me to send a letter back to a good time in life. What would you say? “I am glad you had such a great time at the picnic?” No, that has just melted into a fond memory. At your current age, you would probably want to send yourself advice to help see you through a problem. You might want to send words of encouragement for times when you may have wanted to give up, or worse. An early letter in the book is sent to a child alone and crying in a park. She hopes to be murdered there because she thinks it can not possibly be worse than the hurt she is feeling.  Of course, you would go back and comfort that child, if only you could.

Few people fall in love with their high school sweetheart, get married right out of high school, and live happily ever after. Even Cinderella had a tough life before her prince came along, and so it is with fairy tales. Most of us may have thought that we were falling in love in high school, but we are really just falling and needed to get back up. It does not look that way in the isolation of your teenage room, however. What words would have helped you then? You received little comfort from the one you longed for and had little or no desire to tell your parents, teachers, or anyone more than 25 years old. Do you now have the words for your younger self? How would you help yourself through teenage angst?

Younger self

If the thought of living without your “true love” was scary, I suppose that our lives after the high school held a bit of panic for many as well. “What will I do? Will I make enough money? Can I support a family? Can I support myself?” What answers can you send back to those questions? Somewhere between 10 and 20 lie the years that produce emotional changes, doubts, and questions. Can you write the letter today that could have helped you then?

In looking through those letters, I think it is fair to say that people are writing back to what they see as a defining moment in their young lives. While some may see that as 12, others are writing to 18. Perhaps they only wish to send letters to a time that today’s knowledge could help. Maybe we can not even find the words for certain moments in our young existence. Some can only say that he or she will have to work through the problems with the knowledge from your older self that it gets better.

Awkward, yet emotionally charged, are those that struggled through their sexuality, the questioning, “Am I loveable?  Am I attractive?  Am I gay?” We may spend many youthful hours looking in the mirror and asking questions. We may spend many more avoiding the mirror because we do not like what we see. Some years ago I spent a lot of time reassuring a handsome teenager (not me, btw) that he was indeed handsome. I am not sure he believed me then, but he is much more self-assured now. What could you tell yourself about those self-doubts?  What would I tell myself?

This book was not just for those who “made it through the rain,” and came out the other side a stronger person. It is also for those who are struggling now. “The Letter Q” gives half of its royalties to The Trevor Project to help reach youth in crisis. There are those that desperately need advice. Let’s hope they make it to send word back to their younger selves that “It gets better.”

BAD BUDDY

Thai series review

One of the things I have done in the past year while we hide out from the pandemic is to find new entertainment options online.  When you consider what is available from around the world, the options for movies and television series seem endless.  I watched a number of foreign movies, full-length and short subjects.  Now I have also added some foreign television series.

Dive, Thai actor Nonkul (L) and Jason Koo

Over on the SERENDIPITY website, I had mentioned the Chinese series “Dive” and its Thai co-star Chanon Santinatornkul (nickname: Nonkul) when recommending Nonkul’s English language pop tune and music video, “Won’t Tell You.”  I also watched him in a previous Chinese series “Blowing in the Wind.”  He obviously had to dub in a lot of his dialogue in the 28 episodes of “Blowing in the Wind” as working in Chinese was new to him at the time.  Since then the popular Thai Actor, singer, and model has been busy with a movie, television series, and photoshoots.

From there I discovered recommendations for other Thai series.  I decided to go with Bad Buddy as I liked the series trailer and thought I would enjoy the story. It is a familiar theme.

Two rival families teach their boys to dislike one another and they compete in everything. When one of the mothers discovers the two boys working together in a band at school, she has her son transferred away from there. The friendship comes to an end.

The story picks up years later when both of the boys end up at the same university. One becomes president of the Architecture students while the other becomes president of the Engineering students. The groups are rivals and often end up in fights. A problem sets in when the sister of one of the leaders makes him promise not to beat up the other.  This goes back to a childhood incident. Of course, they are both supposed to fight the other. Their friends and their parents would expect as much.

Ohm (L) and Nanon

Bad Buddy stars popular Thai actor Pawat Chittsawangdee (Ohm) as the boy trying not to fight his rival.  Ohm originally did not want the part as he had already been in some series where he played a gay love interest. He changed his mind when he heard they were going to cast his close friend, fellow actor, and pop singer Korapat Kirdpan (Nanon).  The two handsome actors are just 21 years old and longtime friends.  The chemistry for the hate and later love relationship is perfect. It has become one of the most-watched and most-streamed series in Thailand. A Filipino dubbed version drops a day later and an English captioned version can be found on the YouTube channel GMMTV and other platforms. You may need a VPN to catch it on some other websites where content is restricted to some countries.

You will find the YouTube channel your best option, although they like to insert a lot of commercials. Like most YouTube videos, you can skip most of the commercials after 5 seconds. You will also find the Thai sponsored products as you go back into each of the 4 segments in the hour-long comedy-drama. It seems all college students need Canon printers, drink a particular brand of flavored tea, love peppermint inhalers (seriously) and use Nivea products. The product placement in the series is a bit overdone, but we can live with it since the boys are so likable.

As each episode airs, the show starts trending on Thai social media. A popular tag is #OhmNanon. The boys have become so popular together they can be seen everywhere: Commercials, series promotions, interviews, fan meet-ups. You name it, they have done it. In addition, due to the rise of the coronavirus, the boys from the Bad Buddy series (not just Ohm and Nanon) were kept in a Safe House for weeks to keep from getting the virus. This was set up like Big Brother with plenty of cameras to stream the house for hours a day. As a result, we have plenty of internet hours of #OhmNanon.

The stars speak basic English, and while not so good at it, they did sit through a long streaming event in English for the Filipino channel that runs their show. Ohm and Nanon are both college students and hope to continue in the craft.

[SPOLIER ALERT: Stop reading now if you want to go watch this short series.}

The show had a brief break but has been airing weekly with the final episode dropping on Friday.  For eleven episodes this has been mostly a romantic comedy. It did have its serious moments, even taking on how children are taught to hate one another based on the lies of the parents. It seemed like it was heading to an acceptable conclusion for the two based on the direction of episodes 10 and 11. Then the series dropped an ominous trailer for what is coming in the final episode.

If you are going to take us on a romcom journey, we certainly would not expect a “star-crossed lovers” ending to this Romeo and Romeo affair (Pat and Pran, actually). That’s what the 30-second coming attraction gave us. Are we to see a break-up?  Will there be death for one or both of our stars? Will their parents finally succeed in crushing their sons’ love?  The voice-over promises the most shocking episode of 2022. OK, it’s only January. They have suggested the boys will be torn apart and there will be a death scene.

Yes, I know. TV series love to tease us with “scenes from our next episode” that often deceive us a bit, but this trailer was a little longer and seemed like it was meant to dash the hopes of all the #PatPran fans.  I will really be annoyed if that is the ultimate ending to this pleasant little series.  They have since dropped an eight-and-a-half-minute trailer labeled as having spoilers. There is no chance I will watch that in advance.

Instead of trailers, I will leave you with this song Nanon sings in the series. It is littered with clips from the show. Turn on captions for English.  If you are not sure this guy is really popular, check out the number of views:

Update: Ohm and Nanon confirmed in an interview Thursday that they filmed three different endings and one is very sad.  They claim not to know what was chosen and they too will have to watch to see how it ends.

 

THE BEST MAINSTREAM LGBT MOVIES

The Top Ten Movies For Pride Month, Rich Paschall

Our first outing, “In The Mainstream,” featured some of the best movies ever made, brought to you by the numbers 11 through 20. You will find the sequel today is equally exciting. Every one of these features to hit the screen is a gem and worthy of our Pride playlist.

We know you have been eagerly awaiting my countdown of the best LGBT movies ever made. It is important to point out that we should just say, some of the best movies ever made. They rank with the most entertaining and important features in cinema.

In fact, my number one pick was the best movie of 2005, but the Academy was not ready to bestow that honor on a film of this genre. If you see nothing else from the list below, be sure to see that powerful movie.

Now if you have refilled your bowl of popcorn, picked out a super gulpy size of your favorite drink, put a box of your favorite movie candy (Dots?) in your pocket you are ready to sit down to our 11 feature program. Number 8 is a multi-language, double-feature.

10. Kill Your Darlings. (2013) This time Daniel Radcliffe is Allen Ginsburg during the college days of some members of the Beat Generation. The title does not pertain to a murder that takes place involving one of the writers, but to those pieces of writing that you can’t quite improve. Dane DeHaan received critical acclaim as Lucien Carr.

09. Maurice. (1987) James Wilby stars as the title character in the Marchant-Ivory film based on the E.M. Forster novel. Set in early 20th century England, Maurice falls for Clive, played by a young Hugh Grant. The film picked up some film festival awards and an Oscar.

08. The Birdcage. (1996) This is a remake of the classic French-Italian film “La Cage Aux Folles.” (1978) In the American version, the setting is changed to Miami, and the movie stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Do yourself a favor and see both versions.

07. Dallas Buyer’s Club. (2013). Matthew McConaughey picked up an Oscar for the true story of Ron Woodruff, an AIDS patient in the 1980s who smuggled in experimental drugs from Mexico to treat himself and members of the “Buyer’s Club.” Jared Leto picked an Oscar as well in a supporting role. Both actors lost a lot of weight to play their characters. The film picked up four other Oscar nominations and one more Oscar.

06. God’s Own Country. (2017) Never has a tough miserable life been so beautiful. A Yorkshire sheep farmer hires a migrant Romanian farmhand for the season. Gritty is the best description for this one. If the scenes between the two farmhands don’t put you on edge, the rough farm work will.  The movie picked up a long list of festival awards.

05. Philadelphia (1993). Bring a box of kleenex along with your box of popcorn for this groundbreaking film inspired by a true story. Tom Hanks is gay lawyer Andrew Beckett who is dismissed from his firm for being suspected of having AIDS. Denzel Washington is the homophobic lawyer who finally agrees to take his case and sue the law firm that fired Beckett. The A-list cast includes Jason Robards and Mary Steenburgen. Antonio Banderas is Hanks’ partner. Hanks won an Oscar, so did Bruce Springsteen for Best Original Song. Neil Young was also nominated for Best Original Song for the movie.

04. Love, Simon. (2018) Nick Robinson gives an excellent performance as a closeted high school senior searching for someone like himself while trying to keep a blackmailer at bay. The romantic comedy also stars Jennifer Garner and John Duhamel as the parents.

03. Call Me By Your Name. (2017). The scene is set in northern Italy in 1983. Elio’s father, a university professor, has a 24-year-old graduate assistant come for the summer to help him out. Timothée Chalamet plays 17-year-old Elio who at first disliked the grad student but slowly changes his feeling.  Chalamet was nominated as best actor for his outstanding job as the conflicted teen.

02. Milk (2008). Sean Penn is perfect in the role of Harvey Milk, the gay activist who was eventually elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. James Franco is a longtime boyfriend, Scott Smith. Emile Hirsch plays an energetic Cleve Jones. The film is historically important using archival film footage when necessary. Penn won the Oscar for Best Actor and Dustin Lance Black picked up one for Best Original Screenplay.  Highly recommended.

01. Brokeback Mountain. (2005) Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, as Jack Twist and Enis Del Mar, spend a summer as sheepherders on the mountain, and a lifetime longing for a relationship they could not have. The film is set between 1963 and 1983 in the American West when they must balance love and fear. Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams are their wives. The brilliantly crafted film picked up Oscars for Director Ang Lee, and Best Adapted Screenplay as well as Best Original Score. Gyllenhaal, Ledger, and Williams were all nominated. It was the best picture of the year but apparently, the Academy was not ready to vote for such a film. Highly recommended.

For numbers 11 through 20 on our list, head back to “In The Mainstream.” For a look at the trailer of any of the above movies, just click on the title. If you want to play all twenty-one and some bonus clips, click here.

This post originally appeared on SERENDIPITY here.

SERENDIPITY: SEEKING INTELLIGENT LIFE ON EARTH

The Top Ten Movies For Pride Month, Rich Paschall

Our first outing, “In The Mainstream,” featured some of the best movies ever made, brought to you by the numbers 11 through 20. You will find the sequel today is equally exciting. Every one of these features to hit the screen is a gem and worthy of our Pride playlist.

Pride Parade, Chicago

We know you have been eagerly awaiting my countdown of the best LGBT movies ever made. It is important to point out that we should just say, some of the best movies ever made. They rank with the most entertaining and important features in cinema.

In fact, my number one pick was the best movie of 2005, but the Academy was not ready to bestow that honor on a film of this genre. If you see nothing else from the list below, be sure to see…

View original post 786 more words

IN THE MAINSTREAM – RICH PASCHALL

LGBTQ in cinema, by Rich Paschall

We don’t need a declaration from an orange politician to know that June is the national Pride month. There may not be Pride parades this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that followed, but we have a Pride list of movies for your viewing enjoyment. Stay home, save lives, watch movies.

For this list, we have chosen films that have made it into the mainstream of cinema. Most enjoyed wide distribution and many found commercial success. There are many award winners including some that received Oscars at the annual Academy Awards. You should be able to find all of these screen gems on DVD or online.

In some of these movies, gay issues are the main topic. In others, it is just a part of the storyline and not necessarily the main theme or focus of the film. I have seen all of the films on the following list, or I would not have included them. There may be many other commendable films that could easily be included. Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review site, has a list of 200 best LGBTQ movies of all time, although many are foreign films that would not be considered mainstream here.

However, I will start with an honorable mention from the foreign film category and offer you the critically acclaimed Brazilian film, Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho, entitled “The Way He Looks” for American audiences. The feature is based on the hugely successful 2010 short film that instantly went viral on YouTube. It now has over 8 million views and you can find it here, although I recommend finding the feature-length film.  The language is Portuguese. Both the short film and the feature have English subtitles.

Now grab your popcorn and be prepared to be entertained by some of the best movies ever made. A few are of historical interest, so you may learn a little history along the way. When I compiled the list there were 20, so I decided to rank them all.

20. Weekend. (2011) The British feature concerns two men who meet and spend the weekend together. After that…well, there will be no spoilers today.
19. The Children’s Hour. (1961). Based on the 1934 Lillian Hellman play, the film downplayed the whispered lie about a gay love affair between the two female teachers. Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine star. The film was nominated for five Oscars.
18. I Am Michael. (2015) The biographical drama concerns a gay activist turned Christian preacher. James Franco stars as the conflicted main character.
17. Dog Day Afternoon. (1975). Based on the true story of a bank robbery gone wrong, Al Pacino stars as real-life Sonny Wortzik trying to steal money for his transgender mate’s surgery. It was nominated for five Oscars, winning one.
16. I Love You Phillip Morris. (2009) Based on the true-life story of the con artist Steven Jay Russell and the man with whom he falls in love in prison. Jim Carrey gives a strong performance in comedy-drama.

15. The Crying Game. (1992) The tense drama is set during the conflict in Northern Ireland. A member of the IRA promises to protect Dil, the mate of a rival fighter. The film picked up six Oscar nominations, winning one for Best Screenplay. The story included an element most audience members did not see coming.
14. Mysterious Skin. (2004)  Joseph Gordon-Levitt in an early film role as a male prostitute. Set in the 1980s, the storyline follows two friends’ lives and their separate paths following a childhood incident. It’s not for the squeamish.
13. My Own Private Idaho(1991) The cult classic stars River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves as street hustlers and friends.  It picked up a variety of Film Critics and Film Festival awards.
12. Another Country. (1984) The British historical drama stars Ruppert Everett and is set in public schools in the 1930s. The story concerns the openly gay student, Guy Bennett, who is based on the real-life spy Guy Burgess.

11. Howl. (2010) James Franco stars as Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg. The experimental film style concentrates on Ginsberg’s poem of the same name and the 1957 obscenity trial that followed. The reenactment of the Six Gallery Reading in 1955, spread throughout the film, is often illustrated through animation. Franco also relives a Ginsberg interview where his comments about the poem and the trial are being recorded. Franco carries the movie as Ginsberg with his top-notch performance.

Like many good movies, we are ending with a cliffhanger. The top ten movies will be up tomorrow, but you can start on this list today. The above includes comedy, drama, and comedy-drama. There is romance and there is history. There is mysterious skin and there are mysterious people.

For a look at the trailer of any of the above movies, just click on the title. If you want to play them all and get a sneak peek at tomorrow’s list, click here.

SERENDIPITY: SEEKING INTELLIGENT LIFE ON EARTH

LGBTQ in cinema, by Rich Paschall

We don’t need a declaration from an orange politician to know that June is the national Pride month. There may not be Pride parades this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that followed, but we have a Pride list of movies for your viewing enjoyment. Stay home, save lives, watch movies.

Pride parade

For this list, we have chosen films that have made it into the mainstream of cinema. Most enjoyed wide distribution and many found commercial success. There are many award winners including some that received Oscars at the annual Academy Awards. You should be able to find all of these screen gems on DVD or online.

In some of these movies, gay issues are the main topic. In others, it is just a part of the storyline and not necessarily the main theme or focus of the film. I…

View original post 697 more words

REGRETS, I’VE HAD A FEW – Rich Paschall

The autumn of the year, especially in the autumn of our lives, may bring regrets. And what are these regrets worth now? Be sure to click on “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY for the rest of my thoughts.

SERENDIPITY: SEEKING INTELLIGENT LIFE ON EARTH

But Then Again, Why Mention?

by Rich Paschall

We all have regrets, that’s for sure.  You can not lead a life without them.  You may regret that first stumble and fall, if you remember it at all.  You may regret dropping that toy.  You may regret letting go of that balloon.  You may regret throwing food on the floor.  You may also regret spilling the milk, but why cry over that?

As you grow, I guess there are plenty of things to regret.  How about the day you did not do your homework?  How about the time you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, literally or figuratively?  How about the time you were grounded for not doing _________ (fill in the blank).

School years can be filled with regrets.  Many of them will actually have to do with getting caught, rather than what you did.  Of course…

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STONEWALL UPRISING – Rich Paschall

There will be no Pride Parades this year, but for 50 years gays had taken to the streets, first in rebellion, then in celebration. Last year on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall we looked at the story of the Uprising. Be sure to click “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY for the rest of the story.

SERENDIPITY: SEEKING INTELLIGENT LIFE ON EARTH

Fifty Years On, by Rich Paschall

It was much different then. 1969. There was a “counter culture” that opposed many of society’s norms. There were “love-ins” and music festivals.  Hippies made the scene wearing different clothes. Many wore flowers in their hair. Tie-dyed shirts and bell bottoms jeans were the fashion.

It was the summer of Woodstock. It was also the year the Beatles played their last live concert from a rooftop in London.

Woodstock

In the United States, Richard Nixon became president. NASA sent a man to the moon. PBS was established and Sesame Street made its debut. The US Air Force stopped investigating UFOs, having found none since Project Blue Book started in 1952.

It was a time of social unrest. Civil Rights protests. Protests for women’s equality. Students and others protested many political issues. The largest and most frequent were about the “police action” otherwise known as…

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THE SUMMER OF ’69 – Rich Paschall

The big events of 1969, 50 years on. Read and share. Be sure to click on “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY for the rest of the article, more pics and music.

SERENDIPITY: SEEKING INTELLIGENT LIFE ON EARTH

The Golden Anniversary, by Rich Paschall

There is no doubt in my cluttered mind that 1969 was the most memorable year of my life. None. Of all of the events that have happened through the years, I can not say that any other years stands out like this one.

When you are a Senior in high school and people tell you to enjoy it because these late high school, early college (if you go to college) years are the best years of your life, it is hard for you to believe.

Surely better times will come along, you think. You cling to that belief for many years. Then you realize something.

The years around your high school graduation may, in fact, have been the best years of your life. They are the touchstone. They are the yardstick by which all future events are measured. They contain the moments you treasure…

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