With a tony opening-night showing in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby theater, the Indianapolis LGBT Flim Festival, which fundraises for Indiana Youth Group, kicked off with a rousing crowd pleaser. G.B.F., a teen dramedy—spelled out, that’s Gay Best Friend—involves a story turned on its side by a series of misunderstandings, machine-gun-styled dialogue delivery, and hot and cold acting performances all the more entertaining for their varied degrees of campiness and just plain goodness. Gays and divas and Mormons, oh my!
The 94-minute film stars the likes of Xosha Roguemore (that mouthy, hipster-bespectacled classmate in Precious, more recently seen on TV’s Mindy Project) and Michael J. Willett (native to the now-defunct Toni Collette vehicle United States of Tara). Megan Mullally, yesteryear’s scene-stealing Karen Walker on Will & Grace, again chews up and spits out the scenery in every scene where she appears. Amidst zing!-inducing lines, the requisite high-school archetypes such as the blonde bimbo, the closeted preppy boyfriend, and the puritanical religious types reveal themselves in less-than-subtle ways. Perhaps the only problem is that the versatile talents of Natasha Lyonne (Orange Is the New Black, anyone?) and Horatio Sanz (another acronym for you: SNL) are wasted in this screenplay.
In short, as the script itself notes, this movie makes for a perfect marriage of Stephen King’s Carrie (the original; not that lackluster new take) and Mariah Carey’s ill-fated Glitter flick. It begs to be loved and loves a snappy rejoinder.
Now, as G.B.F. is already in this film fest’s rear-view mirror …
Three to See at the Indy LGBT Film Fest
1. Interior. Leather Bar. James Franco co-directed this documentary about his own making of the thought-up 40 missing minutes of footage from Al Pacino’s 1980 crime-meets–gay-gigolo film, Cruising. And it’s complicated: Imagine 60 minutes of behind-the-scenes tension surrounding the crafting of a sexually explicit scene set more than 30 years ago but shot in 2012. Perhaps a fitting alternate title would be Brief Interviews with Hideous Men in Briefs.
Showing: Nov. 9, 9 p.m.
2. Southern Baptist Sissies Fittingly showing on the Christian sabbath, this heartrending stage-to-screen adaptation makes for a sobering closer to the festival. It’s not without its ab-workout laughs, though, as evidenced by the casting of Leslie Jordan (most recently seen in American Horror Story: Coven—and his fairly frequent Talbott Street Nightclub comedy shows) and more Sordid Lives veterans. Call it The Book of Mormon sans holy undergarments and so-wrong-it’s-right quipping plus a lot of earnest acting over two hours, 15 minutes.
Showing: Nov. 10, 4 p.m.
3. I Am Divine Long before there was RuPaul and his “drag race,” Divine became a legend the world over in that arena, a guy-to-gal pal of Andy Warhol and John Waters, who considered Divine his muse. A Baltimore native (nee Harris Glenn Milstead), his hardscrabble upbringing belied a personality and a talent that couldn’t be tamed—at least not until a sudden-halt death in 1988—and included the hit Hairspray that vaulted the performer to a brand-new height of fame. This docudrama removes the veil over Divine’s steely, makeup-caked countenance.
Showing: Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 9–10, showtimes vary. Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Rd., 317-923-1331. indylgbtfilmfest.com
Photos courtesy Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival