Culture Club

What to watch: Russia’s queer underground, a closet case killer and a gay war romance

‘Sex Education’

Stepping out on a movie date this weekend? Netflix and chillin? Whatever your entertainment needs, we got your back (and hopefully your mind) with Queerty’s weekly “Culture Club” column with some of the highlights of new releases, streaming shows, classics worth revisiting, and what to drink while you watch.

The Destination: A Worm in the Heart

Director Paul Rice and his boyfriend Liam braved the wilds of Russia to make this documentary about the nation’s homophobia. As the pair traverse the nation via the Trans-Siberian Railroad, they encounter the underground network of LGBTQ patriots determined to make Russia safe for queer people. Rice also discovers the reasons behind the country’s recent attacks on the community…which should sound eerily familiar to anyone who lived through the Bush years in the United States. Filmmaking rarely gets this harrowing.

World premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Festival January 17.

The Giggle: Sex Education Season 2

The celebrated Netflix comedy returns this week, once again following the misadventures of the British teen Otis (Asa Butterfield) as he tries to survive the perils of high school…and all his friends’ questions about sex. Gillian Anderson continues to steal her scenes as Otis’ sex therapist mom, and this season also sees Otis have a romance of his own. Unfortunately, it also sees an outbreak of chlamydia at school…which sends parents reeling and students rushing for surgical masks. As a series that both glorifies the joy of sex–and lampoons ignorance surrounding it–Sex Education has no shortage of laughs.

Streams on Netflix January 17.

The Shocker: Killer Inside

How does a murderer go on to play for the NFL on a $40 million contract and manage to be a raging closet case? Killer Inside examines the tabloid rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots star player convicted of murdering his friend Odin Lloyd. The new series offers insight into the lives of both Lloyd and Hernandez, told through the eyes of friends, family, and a treasure trove of interviews, home movies, court video and recorded phone calls. The documentary series argues that several forces shaped Hernandez into a monster that perpetrated this nightmare, including abusive parents, drug dependency, brain injury, the cult of football and yes, his suppressed homosexuality. Former Patriots player & gay activist Ryan O’Callaghan is on hand to offer his own insight to living in the NFL’s closet, as does Hernandez’s former high school teammate…and secret boyfriend. It’s a bombshell about a time bomb, chock full of shocker after shocker.

Streams on Netflix January 15.

The Unexpected: Everything’s Going to Be OK

Aussie comic Josh Thomas returns to the small screen with this new Freeform sitcom about Nicholas, a gay man forced to take guardianship of his teenage sisters after the death of their father. Much as with his previous outing, Please Like Me, Thomas injects the series with his rambling humor and observations about gay life. The masterstroke, however, comes in the form of Nicholas’ sisters, the frumpy Genevieve (Maeve Press) and the autistic Matilda (Kayla Cromer), who bring a certain gravity to the story. Ditto Nicholas’ boyfriend Alex (Adam Faison), who becomes an ironic coparent to the girls. Darker and less sentimental than most traditional sitcoms, Everything’s Going to Be OK cements Thomas as a creative force, and fortunately, entertains every moment of its first season.

Streams on Freeform & Hulu January 17.

The Quickie: Sunset

Directors Katie Ennis & Gary Jaffe helm this short film about a gay couple on the eve of World War II. Just after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the duty-driven spars with his boyfriend Arnie over the question of fighting for a nation that classifies their love as a psychological illness. What happens when intersectionality brings conflict? Which level of identity takes priority? Sunset raises moral questions in a romanticized context, and imagines a conversation many queer couples, no doubt, had the morning after December 7, 1941. To paraphrase Cheryl Dunye, sometimes we have to create our history to find what was lost.

Streams on YouTube.

The Sip: The Pearl Harbor

In honor of Sunset‘s romance, why not imbibe a delicious combination of vodka and pineapple destined to recall the sunshine of Hawaii. It’ll make the bittersweet romance of the short a bit easier to swallow…and help blot out the memories of the godawful romance of Pearl Harbor.

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce Midori
  • 4 ounces pineapple juice

Mix vodka & Midori in a glass over ice. Stir. Fill the rest of the way with pineapple juice. Garnish with pineapple or a cherry.