Queerly Ever After #31: ARIZONA SKY (2008)

Queerly Ever After is a bi-monthly column where I take a look at LGBT+ films that gave their characters a romantic happily-ever-after. There will be spoilers.

From Jeff London, the man who brought us the schmaltzy, borderline offensive, Regarding Billy, comes Arizona Sky, another terrible movie. Arizona Sky feels like it would be a perfect entry for Mystery Science Theater: Gay Edition. Everything is bad: the acting, direction, script, camera work. But, it’s the kind of bad that you have fun watching and providing your own commentary track as you do. Which is honestly what I did while watching the movie.

The Past

The film opens, in flashback, with a teenage boy waiting by the side of the road. Eventually, a car pulls up driven by another teenage boy, our first boy gets in, they have some cursory dialogue and drive off. This first scene isn’t even in focus and feels like the beginning of one of those Wrong Turn movies, not a romance. It doesn’t get better from here.

Through some combination of mumble-acting and poor sound mixing, it was hard to understand the dialogue so I had to put on subtitles. Our two boys are now camping and talking about how one of them is about to move away. Eight minutes in and we still haven’t learned the names of either of these two characters, who, ostensibly are the leads in a flashback. I started referring to the characters as Olaf and Gunderson. Whoever provided the subtitles was clearly as confused as I since the boys are being referred to by their shirt colors: Red Shirt Guy = Olaf and White Shirt Guy = Gunderson.

Queerly Ever After #31: ARIZONA SKY (2008)
source: Wolfe Video

Finally, thirteen minutes in we learn that the name of White Shirt Guy/Gunderson is actually teenage Kyle (Kyle Buckland). Unfortunately, we still don’t know the name of Red Shirt Guy/Olaf and both boys have now taken their shirts off to go to bed. The subtitles are now referring to formerly Red Shirt Guy as Bed Partner. A couple minutes later and Red Shirt Guy/Olaf/Bed Partner is finally revealed to be teenage Jake (Blaise Godbe Lipman).

Anyone writing a screenplay should know not to wait a quarter of an hour into a movie before telling us the names of the lead characters. Also, this camping scene was confusing, are these guys just best friends? Lovers? Wanna-be lovers? They tepidly kiss at, but that’s all. It seemed that they went camping so they could hook up before Jake moved away, but this is a really sad camping trip. They just ate some chili and then went to bed. That’s it.

The Present

Then, the movie jumps 15 years later, and we are now in the present day. We meet an adult Jake (Eric Dean), who lives in what I think is supposed to be LA, and apparently now works in film. I’m not sure what he does in the film, frankly, I don’t think the people who made this movie actually work in film. Adult Jake looks nothing like teenage Jake. His intern? Assistant? Is talking about some short film he wants to make that sounds better than the movie I’m actually watching. Jake is wondering why he agreed to work on the film that he is currently talking about. I feel you Jake, why am I watching this movie? Why indeed.

After suffering from a well-timed panic attack, Jake decides to go back to his hometown for a visit and to see if Kyle is still there. While the town he comes from is never actually stated in the movie, based on the title I have to assume it’s somewhere in Arizona, though Kyle makes a couple of Oklahoma references. So Jake, along with his straight friend Steve (Brent King) hit the road for somewhere, USA.

Once in Arizona, Jake leaves Straight Bestie in the hotel and goes to see Kyle’s aunt Elaine (Patricia Place). Place might just be the best performer in this whole movie, that’s not saying much, but she definitely steals her scenes. The lighting really could have used some tweaking though. Elaine tells Jake where he can find Kyle and he runs off to see him. It also must be said that Elaine is the only person who has figured out Kyle is gay, and later in the movie tells him to go be happy with Jake, who cares what anyone else thinks.

Queerly Ever After #31: ARIZONA SKY (2008)
source: Wolfe Video

Jake arrives at Kyle’s (Jayme McCabe) home. Like with Jake, the adult actor for Kyle looks nothing like his teen counterpart. After staring at Jake for an inexplicably long time Kyle announces “Jake. My best bud? From when we were kids?” I guess the movie just really wants us to remember they were best buds, or Kyle forgot they were best buds until now. This scene, and many others in this movie, feels like the editor forgot to cut the extra moments between when the camera started rolling and the director called action. After Jake and Kyle tepidly begin to spend time together, there is still no chemistry, Kyle finally realizes that he needs to let himself be happy, and being happy means being with Jake. The end.

In Conclusion: Arizona Sky

A perfect entry in the add your own commentary track genre of films. This movie is hilariously bad. My favorite line has to be when Kyle’s cousin Heath (Emerson Smith) discovers Kyle and Jake in bed together, runs out, and asks “are all them cowboys them broken-back cowboys now?”

Arizona Sky came out on DVD in the USA on November 8, 2008. For all other release dates, see here.

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