TV: Please Like Me season 2 (2014)

creators: Josh Thomas & Matthew Saville
language: English and a bit of Thai
length: 10 episodes of about 25 minutes each
finished watching on: 1 May 2017
previous seasons: season 1

I can’t remember why I took such a long break from this series – there were a few months when I didn’t watch it at all, before picking it up again sometime this year. But I still get a strong impulse to watch it whenever I cook food, perhaps a habit, but perhaps also influenced by the importance of food in the series (they provide motifs for a lot of episodes and the episodes are named after food).

Basically, the series has found its feet here, but I feel it’s still far too full of cringe humour for my liking at the end of the day. Josh, the main character, is insufferable, to be honest, constantly nagging other characters for attention and validation.

I like how it deals very frankly and directly with mental illness. But it often goes from these moments straight back into something very cringeworthy for comedy’s sake, and perhaps back again, even ending one episode with the surprise suicide of a side character – I said in the review of the last season that I was annoyed that my favourite character had been killed off by the show, and this is the same. I think the tone wasn’t consistent in this area. Balance is important.

But it’s got some high points – Josh and his mum in the wilderness of Tasmania was a really nice episode, and I liked the introduction of Arnold, who as far as I know will end up with Josh in the next season.

Despite its negative points, I still identify with a lot of the characters and recognize the situations. I’ll still be continuing with the next season. Soon, perhaps!

Film #285: Gerontophilia (2013)

director: Bruce LaBruce
language: English and a bit of French
length: 82 minutes
watched on: 20 April 2017

I’ve known about Bruce LaBruce for a long time as a provocateur. He likes to make out-there films. I haven’t actually seen any of the others all the way through – I have seen a bit of The Raspberry Reich, I think it was, which was released in a porno and non-porno version in the UK – all I remember is a guy sucking off a gun. I can’t remember why I didn’t finish it. Probably just didn’t have the time.

Anyway, I clocked this movie a while ago, but it wasn’t a high priority to buy or download. I borrowed it along with The Devils, Grey Gardens, and some others, from my friends.

It’s definitely not as provocative as The Raspberry Reich or LaBruce’s other pornos. It’s about a boy who has a fetish for old people, and starts a relationship with an old man he meets when volunteering in a nursing home. Adventures and drama ensue – people are initially unaccepting, and the main character has to fight these prejudices.

I wonder if the choice of old people is because regular same-sex relationships have become more accepted in the mainstream these days. LaBruce seems to be trying hard to be counter-cultural at every opportunity.

An interesting movie, but the ending was ultimately predictable, and the acting from the main character wasn’t the best. There are a few interesting points – I found it very Canadian, set in Montreal with a mixture of French and English at some points. Basically it was fine, but not something special or outstanding.

Film #15: Just Friends? (2009)

aka: Chingusai? / 친구사이?
directed by: Kim Jho Kwang-Soo
length: 29 minutes
language: Korean
watched on: 24/Jun

An interesting short gay film… unlike many other films out there, it doesn’t waste any time on much build-up or anything like that and gets fairly straight to the point, since it’s only half an hour long, but it gets its fair share of angst in there alright.

Basically, the main character visits his boyfriend in the army; they go home but run into his mother, who insists that the “friend” stay for tea; there’s a storm or something, so he can’t go home and must stay the night in the same bed as the mother and son; they start to have sex the next morning while the mother is out but then she walks in on them; then angst angst goddamn bloody angst and stereotypical vapid nonsense. Maybe I’m just privileged having never really had trouble with being gay, but I understand that this film was quite controversial in Korea, and it certainly highlights some challenges that gay guys face there… and yet I don’t really get it. It doesn’t speak to me in the same way that it probably would to a young gay guy in Korea watching it. And thus I kind of can see it’s important, but for me it was just a bit rubbish.

Acting was as wooden as a stick, too. Cute guys, though, shame it wasn’t a porno and they didn’t actually go through with the sexy bit.

Anyway, at half an hour it’s not like I wasted my life on it. Interesting look at Korean attitudes towards gays, anyway – ie they don’t seem to be much fond of them.