Dec 25, 2011

[Movies] Make the Yuletide Gay (2009)

As the LGBT movie industry matures past the basic "indie" stage, it's interesting to note how the newer movies are starting to fill the other niches we've all come to know and love in traditional movies. So beyond the comedies and the moody dramas, newer pink films are taking up the other aspects of the movie industry with mysteries, horror movies and even zombie flicks.

Make the Yuletide Gay is exactly what the title implies - it's an LGBT-themed Christmas movie. Because of course every troubled queer teen needs an inspiring gay story for the holidays, right? And this movie was sort of an attempt at that, and yet a fairly good one if I do say so myself.

And yes, I admit I made sure to finally watch this movie in order to be able to post a review just in time for the holidays. I'm kind of campy that way, I know, but how could I resist? Regular readers of the Geeky Guide know that I reserve Sundays for my LGBT-related posts and reviews and to have Christmas fall on a Sunday? Too perfect for words, hehe.

Make the Yuletide Gay is a 2009 holiday-themed romantic comedy written and directed by Rob Williams (no relation to the popular singer).

NEW YORK - AUGUST 12:  Actor Adamo Ruggiero vi...
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Olaf Gunnunderson (Keith Jordan) is your classic politically active college student. Everyone knows about his sexual orientation and he's fairly active with his university's activist movement and student government. He's happily in a relationship with fellow student Nathan Stanford (Adamo Ruggiero). He comes from a rather well-to-do family from the Upper East Side. And with the holidays upon them, each are prepared to go their respective ways to spend some quality time with their respective families.

However it turns out that Olaf is still in the closet in terms of his parents while Nathan finds out that his parents have won a holiday cruise, thus aborting all Christmas plans. Thus with Olaf now home with his parents Anya (Kelly Keaton) and Sven (Derek Long) while he fends off attempts to reconnect him with his high school sweetheart Abby (Hallee Hirsh), Nathan decides to join him for the holidays in order to salvage his Christmas. Thus he finds himself needing to deal with the "secret" that Olaf is still in the closet while the Gunnundersons continue to fuss over the two of them.

The writing of the movie was pretty interesting. I say interesting instead of good or great since there was clearly a certain amount of intelligence and wit involved in a lot of the lines (e.g. "So you're friends of Dorothy" - but in reference to a local girl named Dorothy) but delivery was weird and flat. I surmise it was an attempt at more deadpan delivery so the jokes weren't too campy. But they happened so often throughout everyone's dialog (especially the parents) that that in itself became campy.

Beyond the jokes, I liked how the story wasn't overly predictable. Sure, it had a number of the tropes that we can associate with either LGBT movies or holiday movies, but it all still worked together. The relationship between Olaf and Nathan felt real enough plus the added complications of the differences in their social classes relative to their families's wealth was an interesting addition that didn't feel too forced or preachy. And that's not exactly an easy balance to strike.

I appreciate how the movie avoided a lot of the dumber tropes of queer films like relying too much on casting really beautiful / attractive people who really can't act all that well. Sure, I can appreciate a hot body as much as the next guy but I'd rather have a good story instead of a lot of shirtless posing here and there. And this movie did its best to deliver more substance that polish, although I wouldn't immediately say that this movie is the type that can become a TV special to air during the holidays.

Make the Yuletide Gay is a nice change for gay movies that is a good start for future films. You could say that it's the sort of movie that hints at a future when homosexuality isn't looked down on so much and it's no longer considered to be a so taboo. The movie gets a well-intentioned 4 attempts of deriving humor from Sven's hippie roots out of a possible 5.

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