Film

Queer Anthology Remarkable Shades of Gay Asks, Why Should Heteros Hoard All the Insipidness?

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There are nine queer shorts in the anthology Remarkable Shades of Gay, all of them directed (and almost all either written or co-written) by William Branden Blinn.

To a clip, they are simultaneously dated and in sync with this tapioca moment in mainstream queer politics and aesthetics. Almost every tale is some variation on the coming-out theme: Two hetero male strangers meet in a bar, get drunk, and copulate in a hotel room, with anguished conversation afterward; a dying old married (to a woman) man rents a gay hustler for his first (incredibly mild) sexual encounter, which takes place in his hospital bed; a couple of straight white guys fleeing a laughably cast street gang end up screwing each other while hiding from their would-be assailants, with anguished conversation in the aftermath; and so on.

Most of the lead gay characters are young, beautiful, fit, and white; every setting is one of wealth or upper-middle-class comfort; there are no real negative consequences to any queer action, and almost every clip has a happy ending — even the one in which a ménage à trois is basically the sexual assault of a woman, from which the short flashes forward to her as a beaming mama and the guys as happy gay dads.

Politically simplistic (if not naive) and aesthetically sterile, these Shades are competently shot and acted, but only “Toeing the Line,” in which a “straight” black jock and his “straight” white friend from high school reconnect and consummate schoolboy curiosities, carries any sexual heat.

Here’s to equality: Why should heteros hoard all the shades of insipidness?

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