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Small Town Gay Bar
DVD disk
08.23.2007 By: Quigles
Small Town Gay Bar order
Director:
Malcolm Ingram

Actors:
Jim Bishop
Bill Curtis
Rick Gladish

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A documentary featuring two gay bars in the Deep South, hidden from bigoted members of society and used as a means of escape for the gay community.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
SMALL TOWN GAY BAR is a well-meaning and intimate documentary that I can't help but feel I want to praise more for what it attempts to do than for what it actually succeeds at doing. It's no secret that homophobia and ignorance are still all around us, particularly in places like the South and Midwest. It's also no secret that many (if not all) gay people prefer to live their lives however they see fit, without having to worry about hatemongers constantly harassing them. These are the two messages the documentary sees fit to hammer into the minds of its viewers, over and over and over again. It's a tactic that might've proved more effective had the messages not already been so widely known, especially not by the type of people who would be interested in a documentary like this.

The two most powerful points in the film stem from segments spotlighting examples of extreme hatred, one of which comes in the form of an interview with the notorious and utterly despicable Pastor Fred Phelps. He's a religious fanatic of the worst kind—the kind that gathers an audience. The other most powerful moment reflects on a horrible incident with a young man who was beaten, stabbed, and partially decapitated, simply for being gay. It's easier to understand the seriousness of the issue when you see the consequences of people taking their malicious nature too far. When the documentary stops to focus on the gay townspeople having to deal with the bigots, which is over 2/3's of the production, it gradually loses its punch. It's more heartfelt, sure, but unless you've never met a gay person before, you're not likely to find much enlightenment.
THE EXTRAS
If any of you love Kevin Smith (who acted as executive producer for SMALL TOWN GAY BAR) as much as I do, then these special features should leave you satisfied.

Audio Commentary (with director Malcolm Ingram and principal technical officer Scott Tremblay): An entertaining, lively chat with the man behind the documentary. He offers up his thoughts readily, spending a significant amount of time discussing the issues encountered making the film. Check it out.

Introduction (5:32): This intro features amusing comments from director Malcolm Ingram and executive producer Kevin Smith, with Smith unsurprisingly taking control of the conversation. Also unsurprisingly, he's completely hilarious.

Chatting With Kev (5:53): Continuing from the introduction, there's not much here besides Kevin Smith being funny as hell. Personally, that's plenty enough for me.

Chatting with Editor Scott Mosier (16:47): Kevin Smith's right-hand man, Scott Mosier, sits down with Malcolm Ingram to discuss working on the picture. As much as I like the guy, he's not the most interesting person to listen to.

A Conversation with the Folks of Tupelo (9:06): More comments from homosexuals in the south, talking about the trials and tribulation that come with living such a lifestyle. In other words, more of what you already saw in the film.

Deleted Scene (0:58): This excised segment, entitled “Willie Washington at Rumors,” is borderline incoherent. Skip it.

The New Owners of Rumors (1:32): Another deleted scene, with the title being self explanatory for anybody who has seen the documentary. (And for those that haven't, Rumors is the name of one of the gay bars.)

Selling of Rumors (1:32): The final deleted scene, also self explanatory.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Much like JESUS CAMP, this documentary reaffirms how simple-minded some people can be. It may not tell you anything new, but it focuses on bringing the issue to the forefront, and that's what counts.
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