Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself

March 6, 2023

Thanks to my dear friend Mark for telling me about this wonderful short-lived series, Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself. Should have been multiple seasons, but the powers that be – Netflix – nuked this one after just one. From Deadline,

Based on Sally Green’s YA novel Half Bad, the series tells the story of Nathan Byrne (Jay Lycergo), an illegitimate son of a dangerous witch, Marcus Edge (David Gyasi), struggling to overcome his odds of following the footsteps of his father as he discovers his true identity alongside his friends.

I really grew to love this show so much. Great characters. More sophisticated than a CW/Freeform series, but just as fun. It’s totally worth watching even though it’s only one season. Stand out actors include Jay Lycurgo as Nathan Byrne in the lead – he’s the bastard, Nadia Parkes as Annalise O’Brien – major female power, Emilien Vekemans as Gabriel – finally someone does an homage to Buffy’s Spike and makes him gay, and Karen Connell as Ceelia – a true amazon warrior. Not too much teenage angst, but lots and lots of gore and violence. But they’re witches so it’s ok. LOL. At least for me. 4 out of 5 for this gem.

Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself currently streams on Netflix.

All Creatures Great and Small: Season 3

February 27, 2023

The third season of the beloved modern British version of James Herriot’s novels, All Creature Great and Small grows a bit darker with the specter of World War II looming overhead. It’s still a bright and cheerful show with incredible locations. There’s still sweet animal stories, but also the threat of tuberculosis worries the farmers. James and Helen begin married life. All the characters stretch their romantic wings, at least a bit. And towards the end of the season, we begin to wonder if James and Tristen will join the army. Neither has to because they are vets. But will they anyway? Innocent, and beautiful, the occasional dullness of the plot can be dismissed because the stories all come from good intentions. And points for having a warm and cozy Christmas episode to wrap up the season. 3.5 out of 5.

All Creatures Great and Small currently streams on PBS.

Reel Charlie Speaks – Episode 9: Making Love

February 11, 2023

Reel Charlie Speaks is an LGBTQ podcast spin-off of Reel Charlie. Each month I select a classic queer film, television series, or creator. I talk about how the subject spoke to me when I first discovered it years ago, and how its stood the test of time.

In episode 9 of Reel Charlie Speaks, I explore the classic 1982 gay male film, Making Love. I discuss plot, homophobia, and fallout, and finally ask that age old Reel Charlie Speaks question, does this movie stand the test of time?

Listen to the podcast at
or find it on your favorite podcast platform.

Single All the Way (take 2)

December 28, 2022

Loved this yummy gay male holiday rom-com even more the second time around. Click here or on the image below for Reel Charlie’s updated review.

Single All the Way currently streams on Netflix.

Sort Of: Season 2

December 23, 2022

Sabi’s back for another season of growing pains – the Toronto non-binary Pakistani-Canadian nanny/bartender who craves deeper connections with all the people they love. Sort Of follows Sabi’s often awkward journey searching for meaning, love, and their place in the world around them. I had trouble with this season because of all the awkwardness, the affection towards inappropriate people, the social malaise. It was hard for me to take in spots. But as I eased into the season, I realized we all experience moments or lifetimes of these emotions and to insert them into a complex, intelligent 20-minute television series in-between the quiet is ridiculously brilliant Also, Sabi’s sister acts as a reflection of Sabi’s remnants of male privilege which shatter during a cemetery moment where they finally shed any final embodiment of cis male. Profound and humbling to watch. Bessy and Paul continue to be a total mess. The kids are so much more mature than the parents, a true slice of modern day parenting life. 7ven who was my favorite character in Season 1 annoyed the shit out of me in Season 2. I kept wanting her to grow up whatever that means. The show certainly made me laugh in places, but what it truly did was challenge my notions of what it means to move, live, and create in this modern world when you don’t fit in. Another beautiful season of Sort Of. So happy this show exists in 2022. 5 out of 5.

Bros (take 2 and on Blu-ray)

December 9, 2022

Bought the blu-ray for Bros. Loved it even more the second time around. Click here or on the image below to read my updated review and updated rating!

The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls

December 1, 2022

This year in 2022, the Mitchell brothers are back for more house decorating mayhem as Hallmark releases the sequel to their 2020 film, The Christmas House. Mike’s back living in his hometown in upstate NY after his successful TV show starts filming in NYC. He’s also dating his high school crush. Brandon and his husband have adopted a second child and are living in the Pacific NW. Mike gets offered a spot on a TV competition show called, Deck Those Halls. The producers decide some brotherly competition will help the ratings. Hilarity ensues. In the end, everyone comes together for a wonderful Christmas and the family grows closer than ever. A great follow-up, possibly even sweeter than the original. 3.5 out of 5.

The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls currently streams on Hallmark Movies Now and is available on DVD from your local public library.

The Christmas House

November 30, 2022

The 2000 Hallmark holiday film The Christmas House focused on two brothers, one straight and one gay. Although the straight brother’s storyline had more prominence, the gay brother and his husband were featured sweetly, successfully, and naturally romantic. The focus of the film was on the family bringing back their holiday house decorating tradition and the straight brother running into his high school crush who’s now divorced with a son of her own. This is a sweet, happy, formulaic (in a good way) Hallmark film where the gay couple is already settled down, and hoping to start a family soon. Robert Buckley plays straight brother Mike, with Jonathan Bennett as gay brother Brandon, the Mitchell brothers. Ana Ayora and Brad Harder play the brothers’ love interest and husband respectively with Sharon Lawrence and Treat Williams as the parents. A whole lot of holiday in this frothy and sweet story of a family enjoying decorating insanity. 3.5 out of 5.

Hulu and Netflix beat Hallmark to the punch with a lead lesbian romantic character (The Happiest Season) in 2020 and a gay one (Single All the Way) in 2021, but this year on December 1, Hallmark will finally release its first film with a gay male character in the lead. The film stars openly gay actor Jonathan Bennett who like Luke Macfarlane (Bros) has had a very successful career playing hetero lead characters in rom-com’s while being out. Kudos to Bennett and his acting journey.

The Christmas House currently streams on Amazon Prime, Hallmark Movies Now, and The Hallmark Channel.


November 1, 2022

I finally caught Bros this weekend. I did not go to see it in the theater, but I did support Bros by renting it through Amazon. The price was similar to what I would have spent for 2 tickets. Felt good to support this new gay glass ceiling smasher. Bros is the first LGBTQ rom-com to be produced by a major Hollywood studio. In case you’re reading this years from now, it’s 2022 and yes society should be ashamed. But let’s not dwell on the crooked path to equal rights every minority continues to experience. Instead let’s talk about Bros. I loved it. I know! I was a little scared. I’m not the biggest Billy Eichner fan. I’m angry a lot myself and shout more than a bit – mostly at home – apologies to my best friend whom I live with. So I was worried I may not enjoy the film. Billy’s character Bobby was neurotic and talked a lot and screamed a lot. It also worked for the film. Bros is a perfect rom-com. Bobby meets Aaron played by the dreamy (understatement) Luke Macfarlane. They are polar opposites and both are relationship-phobic. Bobby’s the executive director of the new LGBTQ History Museum opening up in NYC. Aaron’s a lawyer who’s comfortable, if not passionate about his craft. Bobby’s got body issues. Aaron’s a fuck god. The film doesn’t shy away from topics gay men discuss. The sex scenes are natural, funny, and hot. Seriously Bros is a winner. It’s a perfect formulaic rom-com which will hopefully pave the way for bigger studios to make more matter of factly big budget, queer films. It’s silly, it’s campy, it’s sexy, it’s awkward, it’s serious in moments, it’s got a happy ending. It hits all the right notes. Bravo to Billy who co-wrote, executive produced and stars in the film. 4 out of 5 because like most big Hollywood films, it needed a bit of editing.

Bros currently streams on Peacock and is available on disk from your local public library.

12/2022: Bought the Blu-ray of Bros and loved it even more the second time around. It’s silly, stupid, smart as hell, romantic, and sophisticated simultaneously. Billy Eichner should be very proud. A perfect date movie, and a perfect microcosm of the complicated dance it is to be a man who loves men in 21st Century USA. Raising my rating to 5 out of 5.


October 13, 2022

First time watching Xanadu. I know – shocking. Right? Losing Olivia Newton-John this year bummed me out. She lived to be just shy of her 74th birthday. The second concert I ever went to was ONJ. I loved her country crossover albums of the early 70’s. I truly loved her pop albums of the mid-70’s. As we all know, she blew up from Grease. Xanadu was supposed to be her musical bookend. Boy did it fall flat. 29% liked it on Rotten Tomatoes. The most jarring problem with Xanadu is that the songs were played like a club. Even if Olivia sang the song, often they wouldn’t have her lip sync because her film partner wasn’t singing the male role. Awkward. So her character’s roller skating with Michael Beck (her love interest) while she and Cliff Richard sing away on the speakers. WTF? This is not a musical. And speaking of WTF, what the fuck was Gene Kelly thinking? Did he want one last hurrah? Did he think he could bring the 40’s musical into the 80’s? Michael Beck, was generic and certainly not memorable. The entire film is one big mess. On the plus side, the costuming was great – very New Wave/Punk in certain scenes. I think hiring Electric Light Orchestra was a huge mistake. Whatever style of music they fall into, it’s not pop ballads, and it’s not New Wave roller skating music. Poor Olivia. She sure didn’t strike gold a second time after Grease. 2 out of 5. Next.

Xanadu currently streams on various platforms for a rental fee or on disk from your local public library.
Read The Guardian’s review of Xanadu at 40: a mesmerisingly messy musical failure.
Read all about Olivia Newton-John.

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