283. Outing Riley

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Movie: Outing Riley

Release Date: October 10, 2004

Director: Pete Jones

Starring: Pete Jones, Nathan Fillion, Stoney Westmoreland, Dev Kennedy, Michael McDonald.

Tag Lines: “If dad only knew.”

“One of these brothers is not like the other.”

Relevance: I am gay. I know, shocked, right? I’ll give you a moment to digest that information…

*waiting*

Okay, you are probably over it by now. Like all things, “being gay” has its stereotypes. Now I believe stereotypes become said stereotypes due to there being some truth to them. But not everyone checks every single box on that questionnaire. Yes. I am gay. I am a paying member of the Human Rights Campaign. I celebrate Pride every June donning various colors of the rainbow. I love Madonna, Broadway and The Wizard of Oz. Stereotypical. On the flip side, I hate shopping, gardening, “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” and “Queer Eye.” There is nothing wrong with what I love. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with the things I don’t love. Art is subjective and everyone has a valid opinion. I practice the mantra of “do what you love if it makes you happy and it doesn’t hurt anyone else.” If people judge you for what you love or what you don’t love. Fuck ’em. (Trust me, I get ridiculed daily for not liking Ru Paul’s Drag Race.)

Another thing I don’t love…many LGBT movies. Hollywood was never really kind in the 1980’s through the 2000’s with quality representation of gay characters and stories. We were usually the effeminate funny sidekick or the butch lesbian carpenter. Even after Ellen came out or shows like “Will & Grace” premiered in the mid to late 90’s, it was still tough to see “our” stories on the big screen. During that period there were a slew of independent stories being produced by members of the LGBT community. Hollywood wouldn’t produce them, so we got them made elsewhere. I totally understand and applaud that. The only issue for me is most of them weren’t very good.

Maybe I am just a tough movie critic, but I can’t stand sitting through bad stories, dialogue, directing and acting. Bad is bad, whether it involves a man and woman falling in love or a woman and woman falling in love. And that is what a majority of these LGBT films were…bad. In 2004 I worked for a company that sold DVD’s. One of the perks of the job was getting free movies from vendors. At least 40% of my movie collection is due to this fact. Being openly gay, I would often find the “gay related” movies on my desk. That is how I came across ‘Outing Riley.’

I was reluctant to watch it at first. I hadn’t had much luck with these types of films so far. But I am also that movie fan who will watch absolutely everything eventually. So I watched it. And I was so pleasantly surprised about how much I actually enjoyed it. It was a fresh, funny relatable story with witty dialogue. It was also well acted and directed. I was shocked. It made me happy to know there was a quality LGBT film out in the universe. It gave me hope that there were more. or at least more on the way.

Hollywood has made some steps forward as far as representation is concerned. I now enjoy watching a film or TV show that includes real gay man and woman with no fuss or dramatic revelation. They are just there. Part of the story. Part of the action. Just like life. We still don’t get many big box office movies made like ‘Brokeback Mountain’ or ‘Love, Simon,’ but we definitely have come a long way.

Today’s Thoughts: I was able to watch this movie today with my husband. Like me, he checks off some of those “stereotypical” boxes and leaves some of them blank. He does love him some “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” He also will watch every single “gay” movie or TV show whether it is bad or not. As he says, he likes to support our community. I applaud that Half of what he watches I leave 5 minutes into it. But again, art is subjective. And I don’t judge…out loud.

We both had seen ‘Outing Riley’ before so I was curious to see how long my husband would last. He is a very distracted person and will leave in the middle of a show or movie to start a new task or job when he gets bored. Surprisingly, he made it through the entire 99 minutes of the film. That says something about it.

It is a very enjoyable film and although a little outdated, still relatable. The actors, especially Pete Jones, who also wrote and directed it, Nathan Fillion and Michael McDonald were all charming in their roles. They made me laugh many times throughout.

As with any coming out story ‘Outing Riley’ has its dramatic moments but they are kept real and honest without becoming too melodramatic. Its quite refreshing and a great movie to watch on a cold grey day.

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Play, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.

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