November Indie Movies Bring Stories of Love, Weed and the Holidays

by Kevin M. Thomas, @ReelKev


“Lazy Eye”

Some movies with holiday themes are being released on DVD/VOD in the month of November, making for perfect viewings during a cold winter night.

The first of such is “Lazy Eye,” which has been a big hit at film festivals and comes to Los Angeles and New York theatres Nov. 11. It will also be on DVD/VOD on Nov. 15.  Don’t worry Bay Area fans who missed it at Frameline,  as it also screens Nov. 6 at the Santa Rosa OutWatch Film Festival.

LazyEye_BGOneSheet_NoRatingThe theme of this movie really doesn’t involve any of the upcoming holidays – well, perhaps Valentine’s Day, as it starts off as a sweet and romantic story of two young men who early on commit to each other.

Unfortunately, something must have happened to that undying love of a lifetime as the story is told only in flashbacks. In today’s world, Dean is a single creative director who seems to be in a rut. Alex, the love of his past, texts him out of the blue, which causes Dean to drop everything and rush off to Joshua Tree to think and reflect…does that mean Alex isn’t far to follow?

Can they re-ignite the flame? Does love conquer all? These trite questions are avoided in this wonderful story that refused to take the obvious road and elevates the movie to a higher ground that seems more a true character study than a narrative film.

The two sexy leads – Lucas Near-Verbrugghe and Aaron Costa Ganis – make their characters believable and true. Gay love stories are often overshadowed by modelesque studs who seem extracted from a gay app ad rather than appearing like real people. Our actors are both quite handsome, but in a real way that is further defined in their characterization which transcends beyond looks.

Writer/director Tim Kirkman brings a story we’ve all experienced of “what if.”  We’ve all likely lost tremendous opportunities by not willing to ask these important questions and, like Dean, remain complacent until he remembers feelings he’s long smothered.

Definite worth searching out in your area or to follow by going to

"Shared Rooms"

“Shared Rooms”

Christmas comes a tad early with “Shared Rooms,” on DVD/VOD Nov. 15. It’s always nice to have a gay-themed holiday movie and this will be added to my Christmas viewing list with writer/director Rob Williams other holiday classic “Make the Yuletide Gay.”

“Rooms” isn’t Shakespeare and won’t be up for an Oscar. Quite frankly, the acting is uneven. But who cares – it’s fun! Every movie can’t be “The Shawshank Redemption.” This is one of those great films to watch at a slumber party so that occasional chatter and extra trips to the kitchen won’t hurt you from keeping up with the film’s plot…even though there are intersections in which characters link and you might miss the connection by grabbing that extra pizza slice.

This is very vignettey with several couples in various stages of relationships during the Christmas season. One couple, played by Alexander Neil Miller and Justin Xavier, actually make this worth viewing – slumber party or not. Sure they are naked in most of their scenes – but it’s a beautiful tale of men who hook-up from an app but find there’s more to what they have than a one-night stand. These scenes are very sexy and tender and make me wanting more.

Williams seems to have made my yuletide gay on more than one occasion. So now we need him to work on a gay Thanksgiving and Halloween movie and I will be on gay movie holiday-themed heaven.

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My Halloween fix has been fulfilled this year by “Halloweed,” now streaming and on DVD Nov. 8.

“Halloweed” is as ludicrous as it sounds – think of Cheeck & Chong meet Freddy Krueger.

Two stoner dudes, one of them with non-stop gay sexual references (is he trying to cover up his sexuality?), decide to make a new start and take a trip down a marijuana laden road to their own version of Oz, the city of Mooseheart, know for its weed. But what they may not be halloweedposteraware of, Mooseheart is also known for the Candy Corn Killer and he has never been caught.

This riotous road trip has a built-in cult factor. Normally, I think movies shouldn’t be filmed as a cult film, they just end up becoming one due to overacting and outrageous situations that they weren’t aware of when they were filming. But director LazRael Lison and writers Michael Bussan and Dale Zawada are perfectly aware the movie is outrageous.  The audience is in on the joke and relishes in the reefer as our dynamic duo comes to town oblivious to the carnage they pass en route,  and the murders that lie ahead.

If the situations and acting don’t take this over the top, then the parade of co-stars (Tom Sizemore, Jason Mewes, Ray Wise and Danny Trejo) who all have connections to cult films help push it to a whole new level.

If the movie’s ridiculousness on its own doesn’t leaves you on a high, the film’s animated credits and original songs by True Violet (who wouldn’t love a song called “Monster Hash?”) make it more than worth the viewing.

If the Oscars had a category for best title design and opening credits, “Halloweed” would take the gold this awards season.

“Halloweed” is available for download from most popular sources including iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, Amazon and more. The DVD will also be available through a wide release.

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