The Go-Go’s were among the first punk rockers in Los Angeles, but when the time came to choose Black Flag-style hardcore (they used to play shows with those guys) or bouncy pop punk, the tightly-knit band of women opted for the latter and became superstars. Over 40 years later comes a suitably legend-status documentary about them called, simply, The Go-Go’s. Directed by Alison Ellwood (American Jihad) and covering the origins, burst of ’80s fame, controversies, breakups and reunions, the doc promises full access to the stories of Jane Wiedlin, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Charlotte Caffey and Kathy Valentine, the women behind the most successful all-female rock band of all time. We’re not sure if their queer icon status will get a lot of play, but any Gen X fan will tell you the band was always a favorite of so many queer boys and girls in their heyday (and that queerness has always been part of the band, too, since Jane is bisexual and Gina is… well, Gina is the quiet sort). In other words, we want to watch this thing yesterday, but will have to wait until its premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Alan Ball, the man who created Six Feet Under and shepherded True Blood to television, has written and directed a new queer-themed road-trip film. It’s called Uncle Frank, it’s set in 1973, and it follows an 18-year-old woman (Sophia Lillis, It) and her gay uncle (Paul Bettany) as they drive from Manhattan to South Caroline for the funeral of the family patriarch. Along for the ride is Uncle Frank’s partner (Peter Macdissi, Six Feet Under), a relationship that we’re going to guess provides some of the early-’70s-queer-in-the-South tension when that funeral goes down. The logline says it’s a film about family and forgiveness, which sounds very heartwarming. Of course, we’re also hoping for some righteous post-Stonewall rage thrown in for emotional accuracy, but knowing Alan Ball’s track record with queer characters we’re not at all worried about it going too soft and mushy. The film premieres at Sundance 2020 before hitting some sort of arthouse theatrical window later in the year; it co-stars Steve Zahn, Judy Greer and Margo Martindale, and we’re looking forward to the ride.
Romeo San Vicente loved the Go-Go’s when they were punk rockers and loved them even more when they became pop punk.