The Importance of Variety in LGBT Media

I sit watching the movie “Akron” again for the second time in the last 24 hours. Last night was the first time I watched it and it felt right to put it back on. It wasn’t a fantastic movie, I’ll admit, but I appreciated it for its deviance from traditional LGBT media.

The main characters, Benny and Christopher, are both openly gay. The story spends no time explaining questions about their sexuality and no conflict arises due to their sexualities. They don’t experience discrimination or difficulties while they kiss in public or hold hands.

Often times, LGBT movies focus solely on the character sexuality and only depict the difficulties they experience due to their sexuality. While looking for background information on “Akron”, I found a post by Tumblr user “navigaero”, who classified three kinds of LGBT movies:

“Tier 1 – the conflict comes directly from the fact that the protagonist is gay and is struggling with coming out to their friends and family (example: Love, Simon)

Tier 2 – while some conflict arises due to the fact that the protagonist is gay, most of it comes from some other problem in the story; usually, the protagonist has already come out before the story starts (example: The Song of Achilles)

Tier 3 – absolutely none of the conflict comes from the fact that the protagonist is gay; while the protagonist’s sexual orientation isn’t ignored, none of it contributes to any of the conflict in the story (example: Akron)”

These classifications, while simplistic, can help us evaluate queer media.

A review I read on “Akron” condemned the movie for oversimplifying the day-to-day life of queer people. By avoiding conflicts due to character sexuality, it avoided confronting many of the very real issues that queer people face today.

But I don’t think all LGBT movies need to tackle social rights issues or conflicts due to identity. While many of us are still exploring our identity and experience difficulties in our daily lives, it’s okay for media to focus on other topics. In “Akron”, honesty and family support were more relevant topics. And that’s okay.

We need a variety of LGBT media and “Akron” is part of that.

Another review I read, classified the movie as fluff – being light and pleasant, but of no deeper value. While the first half of the movie was very “happy-go-lucky”, the movie explored questions about forgiveness and honesty. In focusing on these, it neglected other topics like hispanic representation.

I don’t want to come across as ignoring deeper society issues – we have a lot of media on social problems – but sometimes I just want to watch a “happy-go-lucky” queer movie. When I’m feeling blue, I flip on movies like “Jongens (Boys)” or “Shelter” because I don’t always want to confront big social issues. I want to watch two dudes being romantic and not have to worry about their sexuality.

There’ll probably be a post to follow. Hope y’all had a great weekend!

 

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“The Sound of Colors” by Jimmy Liao

Last year I fell in love with a music album “Starry Starry Night” by world’s end girlfriend. Specifically the track “Storytelling“. In the fall, I played it when I woke up each morning and before I went to bed every night. Eventually I learned that the CD was written for a movie which shared the album’s name. It wasn’t until August that I watched the movie and fell in love.

The illustrator Jimmy Liao wrote the book “Starry Starry Night” which was adapted into a film. This is becoming complex but I fell in love with Liao’s work. I wanted to see all of it! The book arrived in the mail and I immediately read it completely.

“The Sound of Colors” is about a girl who is becoming blind. She starts by saying that her slight is slipping. The illustrations are of a young girl walking with cane into a subway. As the book progresses trains take her far into her imagination. She tells the reader about how she imagines what the world looks like. The scenes are filled with vibrant colors and beautiful words.

I found that I related to her perspectives and what she was going through. She writes about becoming lost, and having to move forward into the dark. These trains could lead her anywhere – they are the paths we pick in life. While the book is simplistic, Liao has a beautiful way of illustrating and I look forward to reading more of his books in the future. If you haven’t looked it up already, you can check out the book here!

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3/31 Blogtober

“her”

It’s painful to live in a world without enthusiasm. I just watched the movie “her” for the first time and it really stuck out to me. What a blessing it is to find people who are in love with the world. Who want to learn more and expand their horizons.

Those who yearn to grown and find new places. They want to explore the other side of town and read books that no one else has read. You can call them what you will. Whether that be “star-people”, “overhumans”, or people that have “actualized”.

They’re in love with their environment and can’t breathe in enough of it. How blessed it is to be around a person like this. They will take you places you never would have found and have a different perspective on the world. They feel emotions and you know they’re true. They aren’t perfect but they’re damn close to it. If you haven’t seen the movie “her” yet, check it out.

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Moods and Circumstance

You have to be in the right mood to take in certain parts of the world. If you’re having a rough day, you’ll understand only the rough side of life. When you’re having a good time, you may only know the highs in life. It’s important to note that there is no “perfect state”, the equilibrium is always moving.

To reach certain understandings in life, you have to be in the right mood at the right time. If you were feeling adventurous, and were to walk past a poster on skydiving, you’re more apt to doing it. In that situation, if you weren’t feeling adventurous, you may just keep walking.

While I know this is a rudimentary explanation of something we all know, I think we don’t pay enough attention to it. Our mood is what creates our life situation, because we see the world through our emotions. We act through our perception. If our emotions are limited, or restricted, we essentially blind ourselves to particular aspects of life. When we find a mood that makes us feel fully alive, we participate in life.

Finding that feeling is key in life because it’s an emotion we can all return to. If you realize that your life is dull, maybe you need to change your attitude. This shift will make you make your life less boring. Again, there’s no perfect states but there’s one that makes you more authentic. It makes you alive and participate in life and strive to meet your goals. That is what you should pay attention to; how you feel about the world. Does it line up with how you want to experience life?

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In a side note, yesterday a rule of mine was broken: I watched a movie before I read the book. Despite already owning the book, I desperately needed to watch Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”. There is some deep rooted desire to travel, and for the time being I can’t leave here. Kerouac quenches that desire, if only a little bit and for a little time. I highly recommend the the movie, I’m starting on the book next week! Here’s the trailer if you want to know what the movie is about!

X-Men: Days of Future Past

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I’m not sure if I’ve ever keyboard smashed on my blog but this movie was fantastic. It’s not as good as Captain America: The Winter Solider but it’s definitely better than The Amazing Spiderman 2. If you haven’t seen any of these movies you should go see them all right now. If you’re not into the series then you should probably skip this post because it’s just going to be me fangirling over Marvel. No other real point.

Here are some of the reasons you should see X-men: DoFP:

-Hugh Jackman’s butt is displayed for more than 2 seconds. If you think he’s fit above his waist, you should see his bottom-side. The theater was holding their breath during this part. Even the guys around me were commenting on how nice his butt is. Basically if you have no other reason, go to see Hugh Jackman’s butt.

-Jennifer Lawrence / Mystique / Raven has so much story! There’s so much emotion and build around her and it’s nice to finally get some more plot involving her. Her movements and fighting style are always fun to watch and this movie was no exception.

-There are a lot of new mutants with new abilities. One of my favorite scenes involves the speedster Quicksilver running around messing with people. Another mutant has the ability to throw and create portals. Even the enemies in this movie are exciting and new.

-It ties all the other X-men movies together. If you haven’t seen the other movies, maybe this one wouldn’t be as good. But recognizing scenes and characters from the other movies (like Lucas Till as “Havok”) makes the movie a lot more interesting. They continue conversations that were left unfinished in the other movies and really fill everything in. If anything this movie is just the connection between all the other ones.

-The cast list is amazing – Ellen Page and Jenifer Lawrence were both awesome and fun to watch on the screen. Hugh Jackman as well as the other X-men cast were also great. Storm even rocks a new haircut in the future.

 

Guys, you really have to see this one. I don’t really push people to go to the movies but this one I really urge you to go. It was fantastic and I think everyone would enjoy it! Check it out!

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was actually a pretty good movie. Its story wasn’t new or incredibly innovative but it was pleasant to watch. It reminds us that we have to live our lives fully and go out to take life by the reigns. Do you take action in your life or just let everything flow? Do you feel satisfied with the life that you’re leading? Walter wasn’t living his life, and as the movie progressed, he dove out into adventure. What’s holding you back from doing what you love? If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it for its cinematic and aesthetic value. The lighting was perfect for the entire movie and, while the story like seemed a little corny at times, it’s definitely worth the watch!

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