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G.B.F. Director Darren Stein and Star Michael J. Willet On Whiz-Bang Dialogue, Growing Up Gay, and Why Their Film Was Unfairly Handed an R Rating

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<em>G.B.F.</em> Director Darren Stein and Star Michael J. Willet On Whiz-Bang Dialogue, Growing Up Gay, and Why Their Film Was Unfairly Handed an R Rating
<em>G.B.F.</em> Director Darren Stein and Star Michael J. Willet On Whiz-Bang Dialogue, Growing Up Gay, and Why Their Film Was Unfairly Handed an R Rating

According to G.B.F., a hip teen comedy that fires zingers like a taser, throws more shade than a sugar maple, and opens in select cities and on VOD platforms today, the hottest new popular-girl accessory is the titular arm candy: the Gay Best Friend. Starring Michael J. Willett in the lead role of Tanner (above), a closeted high-schooler who, once-outed, becomes a must-have for every status-seeking female classmate, the movie leads with the idea of teen gayness as a positive, while also exploring Tanner’s exploitation in a manner true to ye olde clique-filled youth comedies. Brimming with zeitgeisty one-liners, G.B.F. feels fresh, yet it also feels like it should have been made years ago—like, say, when director Darren Stein made Jawbreaker in 1999. It’d be wrong to say we haven’t come a long way since then, but, with G.B.F. being handed an undue R rating, allegedly for its gayness, it’s clear we’ve hardly come far enough.

Summer of ‘88: The Blob

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Summer of ‘88: <em>The Blob</em>
Summer of ‘88: <em>The Blob</em>

“Don’t worry. There’s no sex or anything bad,” a kid tells his mother in the 1988 remake of The Blob before heading out to a midnight showing of the horror film-within-a-horror film Garden Tool Massacre. Mom settles down and the kid and his friend go happily on their way. Eat your heart out, Kirby Dick. Just don’t let the MPAA catch you dry humping it.

The sex-death gag is meta only on a very general level, but it bears mentioning that people sure were afraid of the color pink in the late 1980s. Whether or not you think the lion’s share of credit for that deserves to go to ACT-UP, it’s seems unlikely that it’s coincidence that both Chuck Russell’s tongue-in-cheek remake of the classic 1958 monster movie (and, in this case, “classic” clearly meant “not scary anymore”) as well as the calculated but occasionally charming Ghostbusters II prominently feature giant, spoogy masses of hot-pink goo as their primary sources of menace. In the for-the-masses kiddie sequel, the slime represents the collective negative energy of an entire city’s worth of malcontents, but the good news is that it can be rehabilitated through positive reinforcement and used as a force for good. In The Blob, it’s fast, it’s angry, and it will not negotiate with traditional family values. This is one of the few horror movies that dares to kill a young child. And not just kill the kid, but show him grasping for help as his tiny body dissolves in a morass of pink.