Movie Review | Guys and Balls

HEA movie review

Gays and Balls

Okay, this movie was a riot. I laughed so hard throughout the whole thing. Finally a comedy, and honestly, I need more LGBT+ comedies in my life. There are so many tragic stories in this genre that it’s so refreshing to watch something that’s light and oftentimes silly while still managing to portray a positive message. That’s absolutely what this movie does.

When Ecki’s soccer team finds out he’s gay, they boot him off their squad. In order to get back at them, he starts an all gay team with the help of a washed up soccer star.

guys & balls

            Click for Amazon

This is a soccer movie, or football if you aren’t ‘Murican, in case the short summary didn’t tip you off, but I enjoyed it even though I’m not really into soccer. There’s nothing too technical here, so that didn’t put me off. But it is in German, which means subtitles. It’s worth it though, because the overall story is very sweet.

I loved Ecki so much; I wanted to befriend him almost immediately. At its core, this movie is about him coming to terms with his sexuality as he works to enact revenge on his former team. His father struggles with his sexuality as well, going so far as to try and change his orientation with a trip to a skanky strip club, but thankfully Ecki’s supportive sister steps in and helps him assemble an all gay soccer team to beat the homophobes.

The team struggles at first, because nothing is ever easy, but I honestly loved all the characters and really enjoyed watching them become a team. The movie doesn’t go into very much depth with every character’s background—the cast is much too big for that—but they all felt multidimensional to me regardless, even Ecki’s father.

Ecki’s love interest, Sven, is absolutely perfect for him. I really loved them together. If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you know I tend to harp on chemistry either making or breaking a movie for me, but I had no trouble believing these two were in love from the get-go.

And if you understood my slight obsession with sex in elevators, you’d know why I had to stop the movie and flail for a bit when they had their first kiss. Yes, the chemistry is good!

Major warning for homophobia though, especially by Ecki’s old soccer team, and I will say that the movie does rely quite heavily on stereotypes. I read some negative reviews about that, but I think this is going to come down to personal taste. For me, the multidimensionality of the characters saved it. They didn’t feel like caricatures to me, and perhaps that’s why I didn’t see this as something negative, but I can understand how some might.

For example, I was quite surprised—and happy—to see a gay polyamorous relationship shown in positive light, even if the three men involved were into leather and worked at a sex club.

With all that said, this is not a movie for everyone. I especially love stupid comedies, so that’s probably why I’m going to rate this incredibly high and recommend it hard, but if you aren’t into what some may call cheap humor and camp, you might not have the same love for it.

 5 stars, 10/10 highly recommend

Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.



Movie Review | Big Eden

HEA movie review

Big Eden

Well… I didn’t hate it. And sometimes that’s all you need from a movie.

Okay, maybe that’s not fair. It did move me to tears twice, and I did have a few good laughs in between, but for some reason, I didn’t really connect with this one. Maybe it was the ending….

After hearing that his Grandpa Sam has had a stroke, successful artist Henry leaves his big city life to return to his idyllic birthplace. As he tends to his grandfather, he must also come to terms with his semi-closeted sexuality. Amidst this flurry of painful experiences, he fails to notice the advances of Pike, a sensitive outdoorsman who also cares for Grandpa Sam.

big eden

             Click for Amazon

The movie starts out a little slow, but I really got into it when Henry’s best friend came back into the picture. Dean, played by the handsome Tim DeKay—okay, maybe I’m biased—was Henry’s bff in high school whom he’s carried a torch for going on twenty years. A good chunk of the movie centers around them rekindling their friendship. The only problem is, I felt more chemistry between them than I did between Henry and Pike.

And that’s really unfortunate.

This is never a good sign when it comes to the romance genre.

There are some underlying reasons for this. First of all, Pike is extremely shy. I mean extremely. He has trouble even looking Henry in the eye for half the movie, which means they had very little dialog, aside from one dinner in six months, and you can’t build a foundation with someone when you don’t even know them because you run away every time they try and talk to you. Trust me, I know!

I honestly wanted to root for Pike so much because it’s very rare to see a Native American playing a love interest even in straight movies. And as a Native American myself, I wanted to—and to some degree, I did—relate to Pike. His shyness I understand on a spiritual level, but the problem is Henry is such an extrovert that I don’t see their relationship going very far. They just felt ill-suited to me.

On top of that you have Dean, who is supposedly straight, but kisses Henry, only to change his mind then change it back. Confusing, I know. I say supposedly because I had a really hard time buying that Dean was straight after their interactions. I mean a straight guy who isn’t in love with his best friend doesn’t have a breakdown when he sees said bff talking to another guy through a window. I don’t know how to describe it, but something was very off about how Dean and Henry’s relationship fizzled out.

I didn’t buy it, and I didn’t buy Henry and Pike, which is probably why I didn’t buy the ending. Ugh, I wanted to love this movie. It has stellar reviews, and overall it’s not unpleasant. It just didn’t go the way I think it should’ve, and Henry and Pike needed more than one brief conversation before they somehow fell madly in love.

But maybe that’s just me.

Other than that, the supporting characters were great. Dean’s two sons were adorable, the town had married lesbians, and quite a few gay men, and Widow Thayer was hysterical. She tried to set Henry up with women, but when she found out he was gay, she tried the whole thing over with a room full of men. Bless her heart.

This also gets a big plus because it’s the first movie I’ve watched that doesn’t contain any homophobia. I was worried about that with the whole small town vibe, but this town and it’s people were so loving and supportive. I wish every queer person could grow up surrounded by people like that. Honestly, it’s worth a watch for that alone.

I do recommend giving this a go, despite my weird dissatisfaction with it. And I might even watch it again. Maybe.

 4 stars, 7/10 would recommend

Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.

Movie Review | The Way He Looks

HEA movie review

The Way He Looks

Next up on my Happy Ending List is The Way He Looks. This movie is just adorable. It’s a coming of age story set in Brazil, which means more subtitles unless you know Portuguese, but it’s very much worth a watch or two. Or more. I watched it on Netflix and didn’t really know what to expect going in, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Leonardo is a blind teenager searching for independence. His everyday life, the relationship with his best friend, Giovana, and the way he sees the world change completely with the arrival of Gabriel.

The way he looks

            Click for Amazon

That pretty much sums up the plot. The central characters are in high school, so there’s a bit of teenage angst, but nothing too off putting if you’re a little older. It’s a slow build with lots of mutual pining, which I happen to love, so if that’s your thing too, you should enjoy this.

The story felt very genuine to me, and the way they portrayed Leo’s blindness is very well done. He doesn’t want to be treated differently, and I think that’s a sentiment a lot of us, especially in the LGBTQ+ community can relate to. I enjoyed watching him adapt to new situations, like shaving for the first time, and I loved watching Gabriel struggle in their early interactions as he learns how to navigate Leo’s world.

Leo and his relationship with bff Giovana felt as natural as his relationship with Gabriel. All three came off as very real to me, and I very much identified with Leo’s struggle for independence. I remember being a teenager and how it felt to want to run a thousand miles away from everything and everyone I knew. I might’ve related to that part too well, but anyway….

I’m going to warn for underage drinking, bullying, and slight homophobia, just to be safe. Again, nothing too over the top. Although one of the bullies was a real dick. I hated that kid, which means even the bullies felt genuine.

Overall, The Way He Looks is a sweet story about teenage love, and I very much recommend it. I contemplated giving this a 9, but there’s really nothing I didn’t like about it, so ten it is!

 5 stars, 10/10 highly recommend

Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.


Movie Review | Shelter (2007)

HEA movie review


I wanted to love this movie, but instead, I’ve found myself only liking it.

When I began scouring the internet for movies to put on my Happy List, I ran across this one many times. It has amazing reviews on Amazon, and I haven’t heard a bad thing about it. When I discovered it was a surf movie, it rocketed up to the top of my must watch list. All anyone needs to do is take a quick look around my website in order to understand why that is.

I am a little obsessed with all things beaches and oceans, and obviously hot surfers falls under both of those categories. I’ve seen the movie Blue Crush at least a hundred times. The scenery alone in that movie is exquisite. Of course it is; it was shot in Hawaii. Which is one of the reasons the first viewing of this movie left me less than satisfied. This is mostly my fault. My expectations going in were way too high for an indie film. But it’s good that I recognize this.

Shelter pic

                 Click for Amazon

I’ve since rewatched this one several times, and it’s grown on me each time. There are many things to love about it. I absolutely adored Zach. He’s the main character, and the movie follows him as he deals with coming to terms with his feelings for his best friend’s older brother. A bit of a cliche, but sometimes those are good.

Zach’s family life is rather sad, and a big chunk of the movie is him juggling work and helping his sister raise her 5 year old son, Cody. I found myself relating to Zach rather closely because of all this. He has essentially put his life and dreams of going to art school on hold to help his sister, who would rather spend time with her child-hating boyfriend than her son, which means Zach’s had to step up in a big way. Add in his sister’s homophobia and things get a little rocky.

I suppose the title refers to Zach finding shelter from his home life in Shaun’s arms. But this is where things get a little frustrating for me. I wanted to like Shaun. I really did. He’s an extremely positive, nice, caring, understanding, patient, and uplifting guy. The problem is all of this made him feel too perfect to me, like he was just a prop for Zach’s self-discovery and betterment, and I didn’t like that at all.

I also thought the chemistry was very lacking between them, and that includes the kissing and love scenes. Most of their interactions read like friends not lovers, and I struggled with the believability of their relationship because of this. I suppose some of it can be “explained” away with Zach’s inexperience and his unwillingness to step out of the closet, but there was just something missing here for me.

I have a lot of weird, conflicting feelings about their relationship that I don’t want to get into. Yes, there is a happy (for now) ending after a bit of angst, but even that left me kind of unsatisfied. It’s just… well, bottomline, I have trouble buying them as a couple.

Overall, I wanted this movie to be deeper than it was, to dive further into Zach’s head, and maybe even offer a glimpse into Shaun’s thoughts and feelings, but that didn’t happen. I think I might be spoiled after watching Free Fall, which I’m still madly in love with, so maybe my expectations were way too high all around for this one.

With that being said, this is still worth a watch and even a rewatch. Zach and Cody’s relationship will melt the coldest of hearts. The soundtrack is beautiful. Even though it’s not Hawaii, there are some nice shots of the ocean and surfing. And despite the lack of sizzle, the happy montage half way through makes me smile just thinking about it.

I’m almost furious that I don’t care that much for Shaun because I really enjoyed the rest of it… after my third viewing, after my high expectations had worn off, after I’d learned to appreciate it for what it is.

 4 stars, 7/10 would recommend

Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.

Movie Review | Free Fall/Freier Fall

movie review

Recently I’ve had the urge to venture out of my comfort zone a little and explore the queer movie genre. I’m not a huge movie buff, to be honest. I also have a touch of ADHD, so sitting still and concentrating on a full length movie is sometimes hard for me to do. For that reason, I don’t go to the movies often nor do I watch many at home, but I’ve heard good things about several films centered around LGBTQ+ characters lately, and I’ve decided to give some a go.

But first, let’s get real.

It’s no secret that the vast majority of queer films end in tragedy. A lot of times one of the main characters dies somewhere before the credits role. Other times the two love interests don’t end up together for various reasons. The last queer centric movie I watched was Brokeback Mountain, a film I could only watch once. Though I’ve been itching to try it again, maybe with less tears this time. (Good luck with that, Lucie…)

I can do angst, as long as the ending leaves me satisfied, but I think one reason I’ve stayed away from queer films for so long is because of their tendency toward the tragic. Those aren’t the kind of stories I particularly like to read or write. I’m a softy; I like fluff. I like to laugh and smile because the world is already dark enough without me having to grieve a string of fictional characters.

Luckily, I’ve gotten several recommendations for movies that have happy or happy for now endings, and that will mainly be my focus for what I hope to make a series. Most of them center on gay relationships, since that’s what I primarily write, but I’m not opposed to watching films that fall elsewhere within the LGBTQ+ umbrella.

With that being said, the first film I watched did not come from my Happy list.

Free Fall – Freier Fall

Free Fall is a German film starring Hanno Koffler and Max Riemelt, who some of you might know from the series Sense 8. I was minding my own business the other day as I scrolled through tumblr and saw a gifset about this movie, and for some reason, it just called to me. By the end of the day, I’d watched it twice.

I’m not really sure how to describe this movie, so I’ll just give a brief rundown of the plot before jumping into a meta about why I loved it.

Marc’s life goes into a state of free fall when he develops feelings for his male police partner, Kay. Torn between the life he knows so well and the exhilaration of this new adventure, Marc finds his world rapidly spinning out of control.

The movie is from Marc’s point of view, but it doesn’t give much indication of his sexuality before he meets Kay. He does tell Kay he was a one-off during an argument, but I’m not quite sure I’d consider it a gay-for-you film. Even if Marc was straight right up until Kay entered his life, or very straight leaning, I see sexuality as a spectrum and something that can change over time, so I like to think this is what happens to Marc during the film.

He doesn’t really have a label though. He denies being gay to both his girlfriend and Kay, but I do like the idea of him exploring his sexuality and maybe realizing he’s somewhat bisexual. At the same time, I think there is much more to attraction than just gender, and maybe in this case, it’s more about the person Marc fell in love with than Kay’s gender.

I loved this aspect of the movie, the fact that Marc’s sexuality is left up to interpretation. I don’t feel like he needs a label at this point. We are only offered a small glimpse into his life, a short sliver of time, so I think it’s very reasonable that he doesn’t necessarily have everything figured out by the end of it. It made things feel very real for me in that regard.

Like I mentioned earlier, the film is German, so I had to watch it with subtitles, but it didn’t bother me because Marc and Kay have so much chemistry that they hardly had to talk at all. A good chunk of their relationship takes place in silence and through subtext, sooo much subtext. The second viewing gave me a much deeper understanding than the first because I spent less time reading the subtitles and more time watching them communicate nonverbally.

Nonverbal communication is something I absolutely love in my romances. The ability to carry on entire conversations, to be so in tune with your partner that words don’t need to be spoken to convey emotions, is what I live for in on-screen relationships. And this movie is ripe with that. It is a testament to the actors that they are able to illicit so much emotion through simple touches and looks.

The love scenes are made even more powerful and moving because of this, but I doubt anyone will be disappointed in them aesthetically. Every kiss is amazing, hot yet somehow tender, and absolutely how I aim to write my own kissing and love scenes. And even the one love scene we get with Marc and his girlfriend Bettina is heartfelt and emotional.

Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this movie. I’ve watched it again since the first two viewings and will probably watch it quite a few more before the announced sequel arrives. It’s already one of the best movies I’ve seen in years, and I have a feeling it might be a tough standard for other movies to live up to.

I will give a brief warning for homophobia (one character in particular is a huge bigot), drug use, and obviously infidelity.

TL;DR Free Fall is an emotionally packed rollercoaster that hit me right in the feels, some of which I’m still not over. It even made me cry at one point, something I rarely do at movies, Brokeback Mountain not withstanding. All in all, it’s a beautiful yet somewhat tragic love story that is left unresolved, which is all I’m going to say about the ending other than I was strangely satisfied with it despite the fact it’s not on my Happy list. Bring on the sequel!

5 stars, 10/10 highly recommend

Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.