The Foxy Merkins (Film) Review

Jillian’s pick this week and the next thrilling instalment in our Big Fat Gay Blog Collaboration 2015.

If I’m honest I don’t reallyposter1 want to go back to hetero programming if I can help it. I don’t want to see James Marsden kissing girls ever again, if it can be Margaret instead (read on) or, indeed any of the main protagonists of the last few weeks.

Incidentally, Jill chose this film after reviewing Madeleine Olnek’s 2011 Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (read her thoughts on it here).

I didn’t really know what to expect, though from the above review, I knew that all bets were off , and that the best thing to do would be just to sit down and enjoy the ride.

*Spoilers*

The Foxy Merkins (2013)

Director: Madeleine Olnek
Stars: Lisa Haas, Jackie Monahan, Alex Karpovsky, Susan Ziegler

IMDB Synopsis: Two lesbian hookers wind their way through a world of bargain-hunting housewives and double-dealing conservative women in this buddy comedy, an homage to and riff on iconic male hustler films.

My Review: 

Margaret isn’t doing great. Down on her luck, homeless and not exactly setting the world on fire, she’s just about making ends meet by selling sex to women. We open with a couple of frankly hilarious sexual anecdotes starring our protagonist which quickly made me realise I was in for an absolute treat.

Rebels
Rebels

One evening, after swapping sex for a Talbots gift card, Margaret bumps into Jo on the door of an all night cafe and they become instant friends, wandering the city together and sometimes sleeping on the bathroom floor of the Port Authority.

Jo decides that Margaret needs some sort of guidance in the hooking stakes, not a pimp type situation, more of an advocate to fight her corner. She imparts her lofty experience on Margaret and they find themselves in several sexual scenarios that frankly will have you chuckling like your life depends on it (if you like bad sex stories, which I BLOODY DO).

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“Do you have one that looks like the heart eyes emoji?”

Along the way, the two BFFs decide to go and find Margaret’s mum but don’t get that far. They do wind up in a graveyard checking that none of the headstones belong to her though. Here they meet Ray Ploshansky from Girls or “The Mumbling Erotic Accessory Salesman” who tries to sell them merkins. It is here that the single most perfect line of the film is uttered and I’m torn about whether I should share it.

(Course I fucking will).

When Ray asks the girls what size merkin they’re looking for, Margaret mumbles that she has a plussize vagina. Loooolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.

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“I thought you said this was Jurassic World?”

I don’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of this movie by giving all the little gems away, but let’s just say, under Jo’s tutelage, Margaret enjoys an unconventional cinema date, shares a bizarre evening with two homophobic lesbians (Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable) and meets a very kinky Republican.

The latter is the source of some of the movie’s best scenes, though they grow increasingly uncomfortable as they play out. Kinky Republican Lady, you see, is into having her date busted by the cops, preferably naked (yeah, who isn’t, right?).

“I sometimes also like to pretend to be a squirrel, is that cool?”

It takes a nasty incident involving the shooting of Ms. Republican’s maid for Margaret to work out that these scenarios are a set up and that Jo may have been in on it from the get go. Which Margaret ain’t happy about, given that she thought it was all real. This causes a few ripples between the ladies which don’t last long, though there may be a bigger fish to fry coming up on the horizon.

I might park this review here because there isn’t much more to say without giving the ending away. The girls travel further on their road trip and things change. But, could there be a happy ending for both women?

Oh sorry, did I forget to announce the Questions section? 

Will Margaret get the girl? And if so, which girl? Will she ever move out of the Port Authority? What’s the big deal with Talbots, is it the American version of Debenhams?

Should I give it all up and become a lesbian hooker? Especially if it means cinema in the day time. All these questions and more will be answered.

“At least I’m wearing my best socks, I guess.”

My Thoughts:

My first thought as the credits rolled was: The fuck did I just watch?! That feeling hasn’t faded but I know I enjoyed every minute.

Marry me, Margaret
Marry me, Margaret

Lisa Haas is a real diamond and I’d like to see her exercise her acting chops in other movies. Her gentle, mumbling turn in this lends her a special vulnerability and that makes you root for her. I’m all about the Underdog and Margaret is the adorable poster-girl.

Jo, in contrast, has a hardness that would no doubt serve her well on the streets. They make a good pair. Jackie Monahan reminds me of Connie Britton in some lights and that can only be a good thing.

There’s not much more to say other than this is a gloriously bizarre, touching-in-places, hilaire-in-others buddy movie. With a happy ending? (Watch it and see).

I’d like to see more from Olnek, much more from Haas, and I’m not even kidding, maybe I need me one of those merkins too, because why not shake things up a bit, eh?

My Rating: 4/5 – definitely recommend!

What did Gillian think? Well wonder no more right here.

Boy Meets Girl (Film) Review

Another week, another Netflix gem and this time it’s a movie that’s been gathering dust on My List  for some time.

bmg key artI think I subconsciously saved this film for a reason and that reason is our LGBT stretch of movies, which have swung from foreign to American (and may well swing back, who knows).

This film tackles the subject of transgender, being trans in a small town, coming-of-age and good old-fashioned love; and… well, you can wait to the end to find out what I thought.

As always *Spoilers*

Boy Meets Girl (2014)

Director: Eric Schaeffer
Stars: Michael Galante, Michelle Hendley, Jean Devereux Koester

IMDB Synopsis: Boy Meets Girl is a funny, tender, sex positive romantic comedy that explores what it means to be a real man or woman, and how important it is to live a courageous life not letting fear stand in the way of going after your dreams.

My Review:

I started off this film thinking “WTF”, perhaps because to the untrained eye it feels a little unrefined. The acting took a little bit of time to ‘settle’ and that’s probably because I’m a critical bitch.

The opening scene is a little precocious but then there was a flashback scene soon after involving a flasher and that made me laugh out loud for a solid minute. After that I was 100% in; and madly in love with the character of Ricky.

We begin in the world’s quietest coffee shop where our heroine Ricky is chatting to her BFF Robby. They’re talking about the opposite sex and Ricky is bemoaning her lack of luck with men. She then ponders whether she should try women for a change and – would you know it – right on cue in walks beautiful Francesca.

There’s an instant spark between Ricky and Francesca, with some healthy bants flowing between them. However, Fran seems a little less street smart, and maybe a little baffled at the easy way in which Ricky riffs off her. Fran’s engaged to a soldier serving time in Afghanistan and comes from a rich family, so maybe lives in a small town bubble, though she doesn’t know Ricky or Robby from their childhood days, so she might be fairly new in town (I don’t know).

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“The fuck did you just say?”

Robby encourages Ricky to come clean about who she is to Francesca. Ricky texts her while they’re sitting beside one another at the lake and Francesca is curious more than anything if a little gobsmacked at how feminine Ricky is.

I think this character is quite a good tool to be honest. Through her you get answers to the questions you might have about Ricky. Sure, it doesn’t go into much detail but we learn where Ricky is in terms of her transition, her thoughts about her body as well as how she feels about her future. I think that’s great.

Anyway, as you’d expect, the girls become close. It turns out that Francesca’s fiancé knew Ricky back in school and is less than polite about her when they talk on Skype – the usual small town bullshit – yawn! This only pushes Fran closer to Ricky and one evening they sleep together. This is Ricky’s first time with a woman, but not Francesca’s, even though she’s pretending to everyone that she’s still a virgin. Conservative family, innit.

Prior to this ‘act’, Ricky pumps Robby for information on how women’s bodies work in the lead up to sex and he gets quite uncomfortable. But the scene is quite refreshingly direct and funny.

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Cheer up loves

Ricky is a would-be fashion designer (and blogger) and throughout the film is awaiting news from a school in New York, where she plans to move as soon as. Fran is excited about Ricky’s skills and Ricky makes her a dress for a big garden party her parents are throwing at their enormous property.

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“So glad I didn’t wear green.”

When Ricky drops off the beautiful white dress she’s made for Ricky, Fran invites her and Robby to the event. They reluctantly accept. Ricky is a big hit with Francesca’s family but – what’s this? – Mr Duval (daddy) has pulled a few strings and gets Fran’s fiancé, David posted locally so they don’t have to be apart anymore.

(I’m sorry, what? Really? Of course this is supposed to illustrate just how much sway Fran’s father has as a politician but I’m p. sure he wouldn’t be able to faff around with military postings willy nilly)?

Anywho, David is back and Fran’s pleased to see him. Ricky and Robby peg it out of there but not before David slings some mud and refuses to refer to her as a ‘she’. Fran stands her ground and so, luckily, does daddy, who shouts that he’ll dropkick David in the fucking nuts if he dares to tell his daughter who to hang with (to paraphrase). Go, daddy!

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“The fuck did she just say?”

Later on Mrs Duvall (mummy) comes to see Ricky at work (still quiet) and basically tells her that any fool can see that Ricky just ain’t that into Fran and if that’s the case then why not cut her loose so she can plan her wedding? At this point I’m a bit like – what she isn’t into Fran?! – then I remembered the synopsis which suggests a love triangle, so I got it again.

Mrs D’s parting shot is “Stop calling yourself transsexual because it ain’t ladylike – how about telling people you were born with a birth defect instead?” to which Ricky has a sassy retort that sends her packing. I’m not entirely sure how that sounds better, but never mind, eh?

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“Thanks, I made it myself.”

Oh, one big thing I’ve failed to mention is that Ricky is haunted by the fact (she believes) her mother never really accepted her for who she is and as a result, left the family. Ricky’s father is bloody lovely and tells her all the time that this isn’t true but she can’t shake it. Her younger brother is an absolute don as well, and they’re obviously incredibly supportive and loving, and that’s enough to turn even the coldest heart to mush.

David confronts Ricky about Francesca and it turns out that they have far more history than we’d expected. David is all shades of messed up in his attitude but now at least we understand (but in no way condone) his dickish behaviour.

I’ll leave this here because it does have a nice conclusion and it’s a good film. You’ll maybe change your opinion on some of the characters by the end, maybe think about your own experiences within past relationships. It’s a romantic comedy and of course, I’ve mentioned a love triangle, can you see where this is going?

Before I give you my rating, how about a few questions?

Questions, questions, questions! Who, if not Francesca, is Ricky into? Does this person reciprocate? Will Ricky ever let the memory of her mother not accepting her go?

Will Ricky get into fashion school? Will David ever drop the fucking douche bag act? And perhaps most importantly, how come I don’t look as good as Ricky in braids?

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“Did someone say ‘love triangle’?”

My Thoughts:

This is a good movie. It’s sassy with a strong lead who isn’t afraid to curse and quip. Basically the best kind of main character. As mentioned above, it is a positive film without too much bad stuff.

I mean, Ricky lives with guilt, as she believes she pushed her mother away, so she has had her fair share of heartache. There is a touching scene in which an eight-year-old YouTube video featuring a young Ricky is posted publicly for all the world to see (a bit of a cheesy sequence, tbh- but I liked it). Though maybe I’m wrong, maybe burly bikers do watch teenagers’ vlogs on the side of the road with glee?

However, it seems Ricky was quite lucky throughout school. Not only to have had a supportive network but that she had the courage to face her tormentors head on. I know not all trans kids and adults are as lucky and for every positive story like this one, there is one with an unhappier ending.

But I liked it. Michelle Hendley is great, really luminous on-screen and really likeable. The ending is super sweet and super romantic, that’s all I’ll say!

My Rating: 4/5 – I liked it a lot. I’d definitely like to see Ricky again. Perhaps a sequel following her into her career in the fashion industry?

Hmmm, so what did my Blog Wife, Jillian think? Find out here.

Splurges

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When you take your arse on a lunchtime stroll and come back with presents for yourself.

From top to bottom, for more information:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks
The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse
The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

That crunchy leaf fills my soul with joy. Autumn’s on her way… <3

#onewomanbookclub

A Hump Day Treat

Dare you to listen to this without smiling.

In case you’re curious, the lyrics:

What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words

Words in papers, words in books
Words on TV, words for crooks
Words of comfort, words of peace
Words to make the fighting cease
Words to tell you what to do
Words are working hard for you
Eat your words but don’t go hungry
Words have always nearly hung me

What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words

Words of nuance, words of skill
And words of romance are a thrill
Words are stupid, words are fun
Words can put you on the run

mots pressés, mots sensés,
mots qui disent la vérité, mots maudits, mots mentis,
mots qui manquent le fruit d’esprit

What are words worth?
What are words worth? – words

It’s a rap race, with a fast pace
Concrete words, abstract words
Crazy words and lying words
Hazy words and dying words
Words of faith and tell me straight
Rare words and swear words
Good words and bad words

What are words worth?
What are words worth? – words

Words can make you pay and pay
Four-letter words I cannot say
Panty, toilet, dirty devil
Words are trouble, words are subtle
Words of anger, words of hate
Words over here, words out there
In the air and everywhere
Words of wisdom, words of strife
Words that write the book I like
Words won’t find no right solution
To the planet earth’s pollution
Say the right word, make a million
Words are like a certain person
Who can’t say what they mean
Don’t mean what they say
With a rap rap here and a rap rap there
Here a rap, there a rap
Everywhere a rap rap

Rap it up for the common good
Let us enlist the neighbourhood
It’s okay, I’ve overstood
This is a wordy rappinghood, okay, bye.

What are words worth?
What are words worth? – words

What are words worth?
What are words worth? – words

He’ll stop… Don’t stop… Stop.

AMAZING.

Whingin’ and Whinin’ and Grumblin’

I’m not really down with complaining publically. I mean, please don’t get me wrong, I love love love a whinge up with the best of them. I can’t be all unicorns and moonbeams 24/7, obvi.

However. I read a lot of negative shit on social media and it can all get a little too muchtumblr_nsfd9yaB4X1qacu64o1_1280 sometimes. I’m not talking about actual issues or concerns, genuine shit times or the like, I’m talking about the constant “I’m tired/I’m ill/OMFG life is so shit” statuses and posts. I think we probably all have that one friend.

Again, I do understand that every person is fighting a battle I know nothing about, I know. Be kind. BUT STILL.

Ditto work negativity. So you hate your job and despair of the people around you? Get out. Get another job – don’t moan to me every time you see me. There is nothing I can do for you. Sure, I can coo sympathetically but I don’t necessarily feel the same way. Maybe I should hate my job, but I don’t and I hugely appreciate the team around me – they make my day, every day. Shame you can’t at least look on the bright side.

This post was supposed to be about how I’ve not been feeling myself lately. I’ve been feeling old and decrepit with an achy arm; and how I intend to combat that (walking), but I’ve bummed myself thinking about all the negativity.

SNAP OUT OF IT, KID.

I’m going to write a post about my Hollywood boyfriend to publish later in the week, that should gee me up. Also, a review of 3 films I’ve seen at the pictures lately, because I’ve been an inhuman amount over the last four weeks.

I try to practise positive thinking as much as I can because I believe that what you put out comes back to you, vibe wise. Karma I suppose with a smattering of The Secret; not to say you should be faux nice just to get good things back, that’s not how it works. Just, what’s the point hating everything, everyone and yourself?

So I’m going to brew a fresh cup of tea and get to work on those posts. Wait, I’m actually at work so that will have to be later (!). In the meantime, I have a few of my favourite podcasts and playlists to hand. Shall I link you up?

As you wish!

No Pun Intended Podcast (have shared this before but I love it)
Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review (as above)
Bangs and a Bun No Bullshit Guide to Life (ditto this)

And last but most definitely not least, Hannah’s awesome WOMEN! playlist. Not one but 2 Little Mix tracks, yo. Count me in.

Happy Tuesday all!

The Way He Looks (Film) Review

Foreign cinema again but this time with a LGBT vibe, which I think might be the direction our next films will be taking.

Netflix has quite a few interesting offerings in this genre so who knows, the world is our oyster! This film is Brazilian with subtitles in Portuguese – Jillian’s pick.

*Beware spoilers*

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The Way He Looks (2014)

Director: Daniel Ribeiro
Stars: Ghilerme Lobo, Fabio Audi, Tess Amorim

IMDB Synopsis: Leonardo is a blind teenager searching for independence. His everyday life, the relationship with his best friend, Giovana, and the way he sees the world change completely with the arrival of Gabriel.

My Review: 

Leo is blind. He’s also a hot-blooded teenager who fantasises about his first kiss, which he wants to be perfect (e.g. not with the school slut). Except he doesn’t believe anyone will ever want to pash on with him (oh honey, just you wait!). His best friend Giovana is a tad protective (maybe a little into him too) which earns her the nickname ‘human walking stick’ from the school bullies which, I feel, needs some work.

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*insert witty caption here* ‘cos I’ve got writer’s block

Every day she walks out of her way to see him to his gate, because that’s what good BFFs do. Leo takes this in good spirit but is less patient with his parents who are more than a little anxious every time he goes out, comes home to an empty apartment or breathes.

Leo also gets the piss ripped out of him by the obligatory school fuck heads, who mock his loud braille typewriter and imply that he’s gay. Pretty standard bully stuff really, but the kid’s blind, man. There has to be a special section in hell cordoned off for douche bags like Fabio (Pedro Carvalho) who, incidentally is the most irritating character in cinematic history; and not even a very good bully at that.

But back to Leo. One day, on the day he’s having to deal with stupid Fabio, in rocks Gabriel who takes the seat behind him. Before long, Giovana, Leo and Gabriel are thick as thieves, happily hanging out as a threesome but not in that way, obvs – this is a coming-of-age flick not a porno.

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“And again… Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye (say goodbye)…”

While the new friends bond, Leo floats the idea of going abroad with a foreign exchange programme. Even before Gab arrives, Leo has convinced himself that he wants out, to live somewhere alone and gain a bit of independence away from his overbearing family. The Exchange Programme woman is helpful but tells Leo he has to get his parent’s consent plus as a blind person, needs to find a family who’s down with that too. Not that he’s mentioned it to anyone besides Giovana, mind – right now it’s just a thought.

“What do you use to make your hair so curly (I mean not that I can see it)…?”

When the boys are paired together on a school project on Sparta (just watch 300 (2006), yo!), they start to become closer and Giovana feels excluded. More than that, she feels like she’s been completely abandoned. One day when they fail to wait for her after class, she goes mental and refuses to speak to either of them.

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Trapped in a glass case of emotion

This only pushes our Romeos closer together. Leo starts to get feelings for Gabriel but doesn’t really know what to do with them. Well, I mean he knows what they mean, but doesn’t push the fact with Gabriel until one night at a party, Gabriel unexpectedly gives Leo his first kiss. N’aw.

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I’ve kissed way worse, don’t worry, Leo

This is after Fabio and his crew have tried to play a cruel trick on Leo whilst playing spin the bottle, which is thankfully twarted by Giovana. This leads to another row, but Giovana doesn’t tell Leo what they’d been planning to save his feelings. (See, good BFF!).

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“Course I’m not going to draw a giant cock and balls on your back later…”

After the party, Gabriel tells Leo he was super drunk and remembers nothing, apart from having a row with Giovana (who also kissed him but he declined). Later, on a school trip, it becomes clear to us (but not Leo), that Gabriel is having sexy feelings too, though he doesn’t say anything, just looks angsty.

For the rest of the trip, gossip is rife about Gabriel and the school ho-bag, Katrina (Isabela Guasco), who’s a bundle of fun frankly (and unfairly labelled, I think. There’ll be no slut-shaming in this review). It seems apparent, from all ‘the signs’ that they’ll be getting it on later that evening.

Giovana and Leo make up thankfully, and Leo takes the opportunity whilst they’re alone and drinking to confess that he thinks he’s in love with Gabriel. Giovana does not react well and stomps off, though a few days later comes back and apologises, saying that she thinks they’d make a cute couple and that she just needed to get her head around the idea of him being a great big gay (to paraphrase).

Later, Gabriel and Leo are alone and they talk about the kiss and then… lalalala I’m not telling you! 

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You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

To the questions section… Will our heroes admit their true feelings to one another? Will Giovana ever get over her jealousy? Will she meet her own special prince? Will Fabio just fuck off already, please?

Will Leo’s parents ever let him go abroad on his own? And will he still want to?

How fit is Leo’s dad? And finally, ain’t love just grand? (Especially young, innocent, boy love?)

My Thoughts: 

Meh. While this is a sweet film, I found it all a little bit after school special. I mean, I like the91yaVuqQJuL._SL1500_ characters and all, I like the angst but there just wasn’t enough oomph for my taste. God, has Wetlands ruined me for nice, gentle and romantic films now? I sure hope not.

There is an innocence about The Way He Looks that’s refreshing but it needed an extra push to take it from okay to great. I’m not sure what my suggestion would be. Just a bit more attitude I think; some sass.

That said, Ghilherme Lobo is really good as Leo. I’m pretty sure from the half-arsed research I did for one minute that he isn’t blind irl, which makes him a bloody acting genius in my eyes, as he was very convincing.

The theme of independence that runs throughout it is also quite a touching one. How frustrating it must be to want freedom so badly but have all control held just out of your reach. This is something I remember from being a teenager, but the added challenge of being blind must amplify the resentment.

Leo’s parents mean well and they’re nice, loving people who care. Leo’s grandma is also a big part of his life (even though I’ve failed to mention her until now) and she’s pretty cool too. When Gabriel picks Leo up to go and work on their assignment, she just knows, you know?

There are some really nice moments, some light comedy and all in all, it’s perfectly fine. Not something that will stick with me, even given the final scenes, which are very, very adorable.

My Rating: 3/5 – *shrug*

What does my partner in crime, Jillian make of this little number? Find out here soon!