|Three features from qFLIX Philadelphia
posted by Ralph Malachowski on Apr 3, 2018 10:30am | comments
The LGBTQ+ community of Philadelphia and environs had the chance March 19-25 to view films, see short subjects, and meet directors, actors, and media people in center city Philadelphia. The qFLIX Philadelphia LGBT+ Film Festival ran in several venues. Three of the films screened on Saturday, March 24th, at Plays and Players Theater will be discussed in this review. This is Part 2 of the festival review. Part 1 dealt with the variety of short subjects presented that day.
The three films under discussion are Daddy, Still Waiting in the Wings, and All Male, All Nude.
In Daddy (2015), we meet Colin McCormack (played by director Gerald McCullouch), a mature, successful, and out gay man living in Pittsburgh, PA. Colin is an attractive older man and he knows it. He smugly scores as often as he likes with younger men (much younger men) in a ridiculous bachelor pad while his friend Stewart (who happens to live next door in more modest surroundings) lives vicariously through Colin’s narcissistic escapades. As with many egotists, Colin sees nothing wrong with sailing through a life of entitlement while bemusedly tolerating his best friend Stewart (played by screenwriter Dan Via), a distinguished professor who willingly lives in Colin’s shadow because he loves him. We realize that Stewart gave up his career to be close to Colin. Enter eager, young, star-struck Tee (Jaime Cepero) who quickly becomes Colin’s assistant and ardent lover. The plot takes an unexpected twist. All we have are a few miscellaneous clues dropped along the way about Greek tragedy, sperm donations in college, and Stewart deciding to take a position in Los Angeles.
Daddy is an interesting film with great production values. The acting is earnest. The plot does try our patience. Do we really care about shallow Colin? When he collapses like a limp lily when crisis enters his gifted life, he abandons Tee and refuses to see Stewart. The story is a testament to how people like Tee and Stewart can love an egotist like Colin, and redeem him by their unconditional love.
“I saw the first one, and it was horrible! How can you say that you enjoyed it?” asked my intellectual friend Dave. He was talking about the first film by producer and actor Jeffrey Johns, Waiting in the Wings. That cannot be said about this sequel. Johns’ second effort Still Waiting in the Wings (2017) was listed as a Centerpiece Selection and documentary in the program. A documentary? Hardly, unless one considers Candide to be a documentary. Still Waiting in the Wings is a jaunty, picaresque tale of an earnest young man (played by Jeffrey Johns) who with his group of friends tries to make it big on Broadway. Amid the gloomy, sad entries seen at the festival, Still Waiting in the Wings was a breath of fresh air. Johns and his troupe of actors have created an endearing comedy. Jeffrey A. Johns had the uncanny ability to invite celebrities into his modestly-budgeted film. For example, we see appearances (some featured performances, not just cameos) by Chita Rivera, Cindy Williams, Bruce Vilanch, Patricia Richardson, Ed Asner, Sally Struthers, and Seth Rudetsky. Famed actress Lee Meriwether as Ethel delivered an outstanding performance. Some great acting, musical numbers, a few great songs, male strippers and porn stars all within a heartwarming plot makes Still Waiting in the Wings a fun must see.
All Male, All Nude (2017) was directed by Gerald McCullouch, his second entry in the festival. Labelled as a documentary with Adult Content, All Male, All Nude was a documentary detailing what we are told is the only all-male, all-nude strip club in the United States, Swinging Richard’s in Atlanta. Grainy footage of men actually dancing for customers is interspersed with interviews from a few of the dancers. All Male, All Nude was compelling at first, but as the back-and-forth format between performances and the dancers defending themselves as to their reasons for performing soon grew tedious. At 62 minutes, All Male, All Nude could have been a good 30 minute documentary. The last 10 minutes or so of the film were troubled by technical problems which made the film all but unwatchable.
There are a few things that can be said about qFLIX Philadelphia. The producers must be thanked for their efforts to bring such a daring experience to Philadelphia. The sponsors of the festival should also be thanked. Philly Gay Calendar happens to have been one of the sponsors, even though it was listed as Gay Philly Calendar. A few points of unsolicited advice are in order. To improve attendance, do post the schedule sooner. The schedule wasn’t on the festival website two weeks before the first day of the festival. More advance public relations will improve attendance, which could have used beefing up. Not all gays live on Locust Street, so advertising is important. Thanks to Philly Gay Calendar posting the schedule, many were able to attend. Even at the modestly-sized Plays and Players Theater, many seats remained empty. Quicker response to reviewer queries would also help. After several weeks’ inquiry, a reviewer’s pass was said to be available only on the second day of the festival, and then, no record of the press pass existed. Minor points, but these are a few ideas to make qFLIX Philadelphia even better in 2019.
Gerald McCullouch, star of Daddy, autographing the movie show card in the lobby of the film