The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Announcement

Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Make the Yuletide Gay (2009)

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The title to this film caught my eye immediately, and I figured, what better movie to have during Christmas week. I didn't have great expectations, but the inclusion of Gates McFadden was a selling point. So, let's Make the Yuletide Gay. Let's.

Make the Yuletide Gay is a Romantic Comedy about a college student, Olaf, who is very out and proud at the university he attends. At home it's a different story, and his Midwestern parents still don't know he's gay. For the holidays, his boyfriend, Nate, was planning on flying home to see his own parents, but when they ditch him for a cruise, he decides to surprise Olaf at home, having no idea that Olaf is still in the closet. What follows is a series of double entendres, funny moments of misunderstandings, and the message that, while you can choose your lovers or your friends, you can't choose your sexuality or your family, and if you have one that's understanding and accepting, you should be thankful.

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Wow, I really liked this. I usually hate Romantic Comedies, but this was great. The jokes were all funny, and though they were often sexual in nature, none of them were tasteless. This isn't your Brokeback movie about gay people, it's much more light-hearted, while never forgetting what a tough decision it is for any gay person to come out to his or her family, no matter how understanding and liberal that family may seem. Where Santa's Slay beat all that holiday sappiness into a bloody pulp, Make the Yuletide Gay kind of made me like it again.

Of all the major cinematic genres out there, I think there might be none I despise more than the Romantic Comedy. Perhaps the sub-genre of the Holiday Romantic Comedy. It's just the themes and the stories are so contrived and so absurd that it's beyond nauseating. Not only that, but they send bad messages to men in society, because often the male lead resorts to stalking tactics to get the girl, and he's often rewarded for it with what he wants, instead of a restraining order and a court date, like he should get. I think where this one worked was how the tension in Nate and Olaf's relationship felt real, not contrived. There was no girl with a guy she didn't belong with, we had two men trying to cope with one's decision to not come out to his family. And the resolution involved no stalking, no one being left at the altar, and was actually nice, well written, and well acted. Maybe it wasn't the Romantic Comedy I hated, but how they were made by mainstream Hollywood.

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Gates McFadden is a favorite at the DTVC, in part because of her work on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but more due to my buddy Ian and I, when we watched National Treasure, our running joke throughout the film was to say "McFadden" every time someone said Cage's character's name, "Gates". It never got old, as it shouldn't. She's barely in this as Nate's mom, which is okay by me. She was always hotter on Star Trek in that formfitting uniform.

The dad in this was a former hippie that had fried most of his brains on pot, and often had no idea what he was doing. The best of his scenes was one where he was trying to do a crossword puzzle, and asks "what is the deal with all these nine-letter words?" His wife explains that he's doing a Sudoku, which he forgets a few minutes later when he says "I need a nine-letter word that ends in a '4'." It was probably my favorite nonsexual joke in the whole film.

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When making sexual jokes, there's a thin line between obnoxious and gross, and really funny, and this film did a great job of staying as far in the latter as possible. I know if I tried to recite some of them, I'd fail and end up in the former. What's interesting about how well the jokes are done, is that one could watch the film with children, and they probably wouldn't get them, but any adult would catch them immediately. It's a level creativity-- almost class-- that you wouldn't expect when listening to constant jokes about sex.

I would recommend this film very much. As of right now it's available on Netflix's Watch Instantly, which is a great way to see it with very little monetary risk. It really is a much better way to make a Romantic Comedy than the usual paradigm, and I hope Hollywood will catch on, though I doubt it, considering how popular the current Romantic Comedy format is. Also better than almost any holiday family film I've ever seen.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1305714/

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