Tennessee Queer (2012)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): 0.5

USA, 2012. Screenplay by Mark Jones. Cinematography by Ryan Earl Parker. Produced by Mark Jones. Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by Ryan Earl Parker.  Podcast:  Bad Gay Movies.

Jason Potts grew up in a tiny southern town and now lives in New York City with his partner, visiting home as little as possible. He comes home because his family has arranged an intervention for his alcoholic brother, but when he arrives it turns out that the intervention is for him, orchestrated by his mother who wants him to come back and live in fictional Smythe, Tennessee. He tells his relatives that he could never live in a place so homophobic and they insist that Smythe has caught up with the times, so he makes them a deal: he’ll petition the town council to put on a Gay Pride parade, and if they agree, he’ll move back home. Hoping this will end the situation immediately, he is flummoxed when the council approves the parade, not realizing that his religiously minded fellow high school alumnus Dewayne Cotton has other plans in mind. Cotton is aiming to run for mayor and is working with a local church pastor who wants the parade to happen so that he can single out the town’s gay people and cure them of their sexual affliction. Now that Jason has to follow through on his side of the bargain, he finds that it’s also an opportunity to be an inspiration to the queer youth of his town, but because this film was made on a microbudget, that appears to be only one person. Cheaply made and badly performed, this film has a concept that could work as black comedy if it stayed on track, focusing on the conflict between the main character and his family instead of getting sidetracked in a tired and unoriginal religious conflict that is dragged down by two-dimensional characters and turns of plot that rarely make sense.

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