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.
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.
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.
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.