Monday, January 26, 2009

Gratuitous Movie Review

OK, so Prayers for Bobby is a "Lifetime Event." That's made for TV movie for those of you not paying attention to the "Women in Peril Network." The movie is getting a lot of hype because Sigourney Weaver is in it. She plays an over-bearing, bible-thumping mother who basically drives her gay son to commit suicide.

The one thing Prayers has going for it, is that it is based on a true story, but being a Hollywood view of Middle America, the screen-play hits the religious angle over the head a few-too-many times. I didn't read the book, so maybe this is how it actually played out, but it feels forced, when it probably didn't need to be.

I didn't think it was all that good. The final speech delivered by Weaver is OK, but the rest of the movie is pretty poor. Or maybe it is just too predictable.

The funny thing is, that Lifetime resurrected Doing Time on Maple Drive, which is one of my favorite gay, coming-out stories. They ran it as a break from repeating Prayers constantly. Being fiction, Doing Time can engage on more than one level. It also has a great supporting performance by Jim Carrey, who plays the drunken, older brother of the main character. (A VERY young Jim Carrey.) It has the added bonus that no one dies, and still the characters at the end are evolving. It also manages a bit of humor in dealing with tough subjects. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

I am almost surprised that they didn't trot out Andre's Mother as well. Another story of a mother who can't accept her son being gay until after he is dead. Though this is an AIDS story, and you don't see those much any more. (Longtime Companion is the best of these - see it if you can.)

Stories about gays, and gay youth in particular, committing suicide and/or dealing with family rejection are not unique, though Hollywood doesn't deal with them often. I think they could have done a better job with Prayers for Bobby.

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