John Apple Jack – All about the right guy

John Apple Jack is a recently filmed gay, romantic, comedy film that was played at the Reelout Queer Film + Video Festival in Kingston, Ontario. The film is written and produced by Vancouver’s Rick Tae, directed and co-produced by Monika Mitchell and produced by Selena Paskalidis. It tells the story of a modern-day boy-meets-boy romantic comedy about finally finding love. The interesting fact about this boy is that he has slept with nearly every hot guy in town.  I had the opportunity to watch this feature film during this festival in Kingston and I definitely recommend checking it out. 

This film has more to it than just a guy falling in love with another guy and the audience seeing their lives together. It is different. When a very attractive playboy realizes that his dream guy, also his childhood best friend, is the true love of his life, he turns his life upside down in a mad rush to confess his love. 

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This tale unfolds around the escapades of John, played by Chris McNally, a handsome gay man and heir to a restaurant empire. John is considered the rich playboy in the film, with access to lots of money and lots of men. The film indicates that as kids, John and another boy named Jack (played by Kent S. Leung) were best friends. Twenty years passed and the boys grew apart, causing them to barely recognize each other when older. I guess in those twenty years, some feelings arouse in John for Jack because his sister Vivienne was about to marry Jack and oh boy, was John jealous. The marriage had to be stopped.

Thus far, we have talked about who John is, but who is Jack? What does he do? Well Jack is the line cook at John’s restaurant and his marriage indicates that he wants to build a future and a family. However, Jack once did imagine that he and John would be happily in love and will have a restaurant together one day. Then one day, while in the kitchen, the two men have a heated argument, resulting in Jack throwing an apple at John’s head – hence, John Apple Jack. From here, things take a turn. John tries to back Jack out of the marriage to prevent his sister from heartbreak later on. How does he do this? He comes “out of the closet” in front of his parents, who already knew that their son was gay. However, his parents take advantage of this situation and cut their son off financially, so that he can stand on his own two feet and make something of himself. Homeless and loveless, John finds himself at Jack’s doorsteps, where it did not take long for the two men to realize they are meant to be together. So what happens from here on? Well that’s something that can only be uncovered by watching the film. All I can say further is that the characters need to find a way to blend sex, love, money, and family. 

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Overall, there are some great performances in this particular film and many entertaining moments. As with most romantic comedies, the film has a really cute and satisfying ending that will leave you longing for Mr. Right yourself. Aside from the entertaining moments, this film displayed some or no problems to homosexuality. That is good, but is it realistic? In society today, so many issues have arouse due to one’s sexuality and John Apple Jack tends to swerve away from this concept.  Even today, “moral, religious, and legal attitudes are such attempts that in turn are utilized to control sexual behavior” (Reider 1957). However, this film does not show this explicitly. The only individuals who seemed a bit hesitant would be John’s parents, both of whom were not phased majorly.

Personally, this was the first time I had attended any Queer Film + Video Festival and to be honest, I actually enjoyed myself. As stated in GNDS125 at Queen’s University, queerness is not necessarily something that is largely marketed. For this particular film, there was a really good turn out. It felt like a privilege to be able to witness this film and to be given the chance to go to the festival. There has been much talk about homosexuality and homophobia in the news – rather it is in Russia or in a different corner of the world. Particularly, as it turns out, the Opening Ceremony had a glitch when one of the Olympic rings did not open. The following are some parodies that arouse in social media, which personally I was not very pleased with. It shows discrimination towards homosexuals and bullies the concept of homosexuality through a glitch that seemed to happen at the opening ceremonies.

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It was nice to see a good turn out at the festival because people seemed to enjoy why they were there – whether it was to hang out with friends or to support different sexualities. Would I go again if I were given such an opportunity? Absolutely. 

Mitchell, Monika. (Director). (2013). John Apple Jack [Film].

Reider, Norman. 1957. Problems of Homosexuality.California Medicine 86: 381-384.

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5 thoughts on “John Apple Jack – All about the right guy

  1. What a refreshing way to look at gay love. Tradition heterosexual RomComs, despite their popularity, are criticized endlessly for portraying unrealistic expectations of love and relationships to young girls in particular. Yet we defend them as sources of entertainment and hope that we will all eventually find our own happy ending. When filmmakers create their characters and scripts, they must decide which elements and parts of backstory they want to include to send a message to their audience. Almost every time I have seen a story of gay love, the backstory has included a struggle to gain family acceptance or bullying or fear or coming to terms with identity. From your description of John Apple Jack, it seems these main characters are already comfortable in their skin, allowing them to really focus on the love as the main struggle. This movie does just what RomComs are meant to do, that is simplify real life’s worries and boil it down to the “true love conquers all” mentality. An entertaining film where gay people can set aside realistic expectations just as straight people do all the time to just enjoy a simple love story to relate to, to me seems like a small step in the right direction towards treating hetero and homo relationships equally.

  2. I also went to John Apple Jack and I agree that it de-trivialized the hardships that homosexuals endure. They ignored many things such as race, religion, ableism, ethnicity, etc. Although I do agree that it was refreshing to watch a romantic comedy different from the typical heterosexual couple, I found it somewhat problematic. Instead of demonstrating differences and celebrating them, John and Jack’s relationship fits into the hegemonic relationship, regardless of their sexuality. Stating that homosexual individuals or relationships are the same as heterosexual individuals or relationships is problematic because ultimately they are not. We need to be advocating for differences and not similarities.

  3. This was actually one of the films I really wanted to see, unfortunately, it conflicted with my schedule. From the sounds of it, John Apple Jack seems like a nice little romantic “chick flick” with a happily ever after–although I can’t help but wonder what happened to John’s sister, Vivienne, and their relationship…

    Either way, it’s nice to know that we’re progressively moving forward enough [as a society] to have a film revolving a queer couple, who’s main struggle was not battling with gaining acceptance from society and dealing with haters. But, as mentioned above, this is not entirely realistic [just yet]. For the most part, queer couples (and inter-racial couples, for that matter) do face more backlash from society than your typical heterosexual, cis-gender same-race couple.

    Continuing on the topic of race, it was also refreshing to see that the film focused on an interracial couple (both who are obviously good-looking individuals). That said, the lead still remains to be an attractive white, upper-middle class male with authority and privilege..

  4. I would quite enjoy seeing this movie and seeing something other than the classic western rom-com. John Apple Jack seems to have its viewers quite satisfied with the storyline with the only critiques coming from their ignorance of racial differences. how the film makers chose to put the white upper class male as the dominant character and the dominant figure in the relationship. in the interracial relationship i believe it may have had more of an effect on its viewers if the Asian male was placed in the dominant role to show audiences that not only is it a story of a homosexual relationship, it accentuates that other races can be treated as equals as well. because isn’t that the whole point of all LGBTQ fundraisers to fight for equality?

  5. It’s really nice to hear that we all had a good time at the festival. I had also never attended any LGBT events, at home or in Kingston and to be honest I was nervous and did not know what to expect. I was happily surprised to have a good time. You’re right when you said that queerness is not largely marketed, but I think that maybe if it was marketed more people would develop a different opinion towards it. It was also nice to hear what other upcoming events the community has planned and I was in fact hoping to go to a few! 🙂

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