It took me a while to figure out what about this movie was bugging me. I loved the story, the dialog was fine, the actors were great. Finally, I realized I was watching a filmed play. Once I got the mindset that I was watching a play as opposed to a movie I enjoyed it twice as much.Have watched it three times. Love it!Not too sugary or predictable, I fell in love with his parents. I'm tired of watching movies where everyone looks like they just stepped out of a salon. This family was very "real". The trick is to get in a "I'm watching a play" mindset and you won't have that "This movie was just okay" attitude.
This film is about a closeted gay college student who visits his parents for Christmas. Things go messy when his boyfriend pays them a surprise visit.It's unusual to have a squeaky clean gay comedy with a festive theme. "Make the Yuletide Gay" is just that. It's so much fun to watch. Even if the budget was low, it didn't show. Every scene is decorated nicely in detail, creating a homely atmosphere that people feel immediately comfortable in. The script is funny, full of double meanings that makes me laugh hard. It also engagingly explores painful realities, making sure that it is not just a piece of forgettable popcorn flick. I enjoyed watching "Make the Yuletide Gay" a lot, and I would recommend it to others.
Writer / Director Rob Williams has created a pleasant and funny independent, small budget film that features a stand-out performance by Keith Jordan as Olaf 'Gunn' Gunnunderson, the main character who is a gay student leader at college, but stuck in the closet with his Midwestern family. Christmas time is the setting for a sometimes hilarious and touching coming out story.Jordan reaches a genuine honesty in every scene, and considering how fast the shooting schedule is for these low budget features, this is the mark of genuine talent. Jordan's performance is the heart and core of the film and keeps it grounded despite the screenplay by Rob Williams that is filled to the brim with sexual double entendres. However, through the miracle of Jordan's pitch perfect performance, no matter how many references there are to tops, bottoms, muffins, and penis size, the film stays on course.Support for Jordan's acting comes from Austin Wintory's low-key folksy songs and soundtrack that provides a grounded tone to each scene, and from a great supporting role by Hallee Hirsh, who plays Jordan's ex-high school sweetheart. For "Star Trek: The Next Generation" fans, Gates "Beverly Crusher" McFadden has a brief but important role that is the catalyst for mayhem as the mother of Olaf's boyfriend, Nathan Stanford (played by Adamo Ruggiero), who abandons Nathan at Christmas, forcing him to seek refuge at his boyfriend's home -- thereby creating the pressure on Olaf to come out to his parents."Make the Yueltide Gay" was a surprisingly entertaining late night film downloaded from Neflix that held my attention. If you keep your expectations at the level of a campy low budget film, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I recommend this film.
Actually I was hoping it would be something along the lines of "Home for the Holidays", you know, big family of goof balls in midst the already insane holiday crazy, only with the focus being the gay son. "Make the Yuletide gay" is anything but that. No holiday antics, no pestering relatives, in the end it's just a coming-out-story. Which isn't a bad thing at all, of course, but... OK, one step after another.The first thing we learn about the main character, "Gun" (actually Gustav - his family is Swedish, methinks), is that he's one hot dude, known in his college as the "Big Gun". Who tells us this? His philosophy professor! Who sort of hits on "Gun" after he has finished his last exam of the year. Whose also a pretty hot dude himself, because we all know how sexy philosophy profs are. OK, I was already prepared to hate that movie. So in comes Gun's boyfriend Nathan. Or should I rather say "flies in"? Like a fairy? Throughout their first romantic scene together, where they exchange gifts (well not exactly "exchange" - Nathan bought one for Gun and for himself and makes Gun give it to him, hahaha. How sweet.) my eyes were rolling as if they'd try to screw themselves out of my head.Anyway, Gun is going to stay at his parents over Christmas holiday, BUT he isn't out to them yet. Nathan was originally supposed to stay at his parents, but they won a Christmas cruise and decide to simply leave their son on his own over the holidays. So Nathan decides to stay with Gun's family. Much to the dismay of Gun, because he never told his boyfriend that his parents think he's straight. This, of course, is when things get more interesting, funny and occasionally even touching in an understated way.Now, Gun's parents are two very special people. At first I thought his father had Altzheimer because he constantly forgets things and mutters random nonsense, but it turns out he's just a weed head. A hardcore weed head. He hasn't a single scene where he's sober. Apparently Gun's mother isn't doing drugs, but then again... she's always giggling, always cracking weird jokes and I swear in one scene where Nathan's just in his underwear, she drops on her knees to take a closer look at Nathan's panties because there are monkeys on it! I can't believe she's sober! Well, OK, maybe kissing a guy who smokes weed 24/7 makes you stoned too, I don't know. Most scenes with those two turn out to be more awkward than funny, with many pauses and the camera lingers on them for far too long after they said anything substantial, adding to the already awkward atmosphere.Then there's also Abby the girl next door and mom's first choice for Gun's bride. Abby seems to be a nice, harmless, obnoxiously sweet girl at first, but as soon as she meets Nathan, she immediately finds out the two guys are gay and *snap* out of the blue turns into a freakish Paris Hilton-style fag hag, calling them bitches and all of that hilarious stuff. It's painful to watch. And finally there's Abby's mother, who is... just some obnoxious snob who has a feud with Gun's mother and has no real relevance to anything.Well, with the side characters out of the way, I'll finally get to the part that actually made the movie worthwhile. Our two heroes of course. It's undeniable, there is a good chemistry going on between these two. They're also by far the best actors in the movie. Keith Jordan as Gun does a good job conveying that irrational fear that makes it so hard for him to come out to his parents. He doesn't want to lose their love, because he's afraid that they might be not as liberal as they appear on the outside. That's a feeling a lot of homosexuals (either men or women) can relate to. His portrayal of this struggle within him is low-key and thus more convincing. But to my surprise it's Adamo Ruggiero as Nathan who is most interesting. Turns out he isn't the queen I figured him out to be. In the end he's by far the more mature of the two men, though he also has his fears and problems (i.e. his cold, unloving parents). It was fun to watch him as he watched Gun and his family in disbelief and actually touching when he gradually started to compare this family to his own. You can actually see how this feeling of loneliness unfolds in him.It's the moments the film spends exclusively on these two that made it worthwhile for me. And in a romantic comedy that's what counts the most.I didn't go much into the plot, because, frankly, there isn't one to speak of. It's more like an observation of this family's Christmas holidays with Gun's struggle as the red thread. I give the film credit for trying. Director Rob Williams captured that everyday feeling quite well and the movie never gets boring; the message is clear but not forced on you with schmaltz and although I didn't like any of the side characters, they're quite original. And it's humor is OK too - if you like humor that almost entirely consists of double entendre. I swear, they crammed every sexual innuendo into this movie the setting has to offer. Like loft-beds, Swedish sausages and... beavers? OK, I'm not so sure about this. Are beavers actually standard decoration in America on Christmas!? Well, as you can see it's quite lowbrow humor but it usually came so unexpected that I found it genuinely funny.All in all you won't lose anything from watching this movie. And especially with the holidays approaching, it's a nice way to spend an evening with your sweetheart. And I think I learned some lessons on tolerance myself as well.