Stocking up on some home DVD/Blu-ray viewing — with lots of gay appeal
It’s Labor Day weekend, the time when Hollywood tends to slough off its lesser releases in order to burn off the remaining detritus from the blockbusters of summer and cleanse the palate, so it were, for the “prestige” pictures that tend to distinguish the fall.
So you can go to the movies this weekend — there is some good stuff to see — or you can load up on some home viewing options, like these DVD and Blu-ray releases that really aim — and often hit — the gay sensibility.
Sedona. Although it’s not set in North Texas, Sedona has an interesting connection to Dallas: Gay filmmaker Tommy Stovall shot his last feature, Hate Crime, here. He has moved farther West for this dramedy, a rambling though engaging tale of two apparently unconnected stories happening in the same town at the same time. In one, high-powered woman exec Tammy (Frances Fisher) tries to deal with being stuck in a small town when she really needs to be back home taking care of business; on another, gay dads Scott and Eddie (Seth Peterson, Matthew J. Williamson) are taking their hits on a nature walk. Only Scott doesn’t wanna be communing with the environment any more than Tammy does. You can probably guess the trajectory the story will take: Both Tammy and Scott learn something about letting go (and repairing their damaged relationships) while coping in a semi-mystical town.
But if the format feels familiar, Sedona is a charming direct-to-video/VOD movie that’s often too well written to be cursed by its lack of daring. Indeed, there are still some surprises (though you can probably figure out the big one before the reveal), and it’s pleasingly acted by a fine cast, and for an indie film, the exterior cinematography is strikingly beautiful. And Stovall so off-handedly addresses the gay content, you almost can’t call it “a gay movie.” It is, rather, a movie about people, whatever their orientation.
EXTRAS: Nothing much, but who really needs ‘em?
— Arnold Wayne Jones
Kathy Griffin: Pants Off and Kathy Griffin: Tired Hooker. Where oh where would comedian Kathy Griffin be without Real Housewives, Kardashians and her mom? Those are the go-tos for the sassy redhead, who loves to talk about “my gays” while dishing about all things pop culture, and usually with a hint of tragedy and fearlessness. Let other comics riff on politics and hypothetical men-vs.-women relationship issues. Griffin’s smart (there is a policial bent to a lot of her comedy, especially as it relates to gay issues like same-sex marriage), but she knows how to pander to that demographic of her audience that laps up the supercilious aspects of modern society. And that’s not a bad thing.
The new DVDs of two of her TV specials, linked together in a special “double feature,” actually complement each other nicely. In the first, Pants Off, she previews the Kardashian marriage; in the second, Tired Hooker, she performs its post-mortem (and it didn’t even take her a year!). Meanwhile she hisses her hilarious venom at countless targets, the most often herself, as she proves to be a terrible houseguest to Anderson Cooper and a dishy plus-one for Cher. They segue together so effortlessly, it would be nice if you could set the whole disc on “play” and not sit through two intros and two closing credits. For Griffin fans, this is high cotton.
EXTRAS: Some outtakes — a few as good as the main material — but you have to watch them one at a time.
The Sarah Silverman Program: The Complete Series. The crass absurdity of Sarah Silverman’s prematurely offed Comedy Central series — one day she’s licking her dog’s butt to understand what he finds so appealing about it; the next, she’s an AIDS activist because she just might have HIV — is what made its genius three seasons a racy rollick. Joined by her “gay-bors” and sister (played by Silverman’s real-life sibling), slacker Silverman finds herself in crazy, exaggerated and politically incorrect predicaments that teach her the wrong life lessons. Remember when she tried to be a lesbian? Or got suckered into an anti-abortion group? Thirty-two episodes of this type of ridiculousness aren’t enough, but they’ll have to do.
EXTRAS: Lots! Commentaries from the crew (including Silverman), behind-the-scenes footage, audition videos, animated shorts and a fun Q&A from Comic-Con.
— Chris Azzopardi
Sister Act and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Confession here: Sister Act has long given me the giggles because one of my best — and gayest — memories is linked to it (my 12-year-old self draped in a white sheet with a black pillow case wrapped over my head, re-enacting “I Will Follow Him” with my girl cousins, hitting those high notes while biology was still on my side). But that’s by no means the only reason, no. Marc Shaiman’s nuns-on-the-run revelation, now 20 years old (holy cow!), was so much fun — period — that it made me wonder why the Catholic church couldn’t always have a Whoopi, some dancing and a bunch of musical numbers. Basically, God’s house needed to be as gay as this movie, which gets a fab Blu-ray transfer.
Also included is the sequel, with a very young Jennifer Love Hewitt and an awful plot — a sin, for sure.
EXTRAS: Almost none, but who cares as long as Lady Soul’s music video for “If My Sister’s In Trouble” is included? And it is. God bless them.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2012.