new indy film: TRANTASTIC

[Indy Film]

Released 2011 by Brandon and Leia Gadow
With music by Damn Laser Vampires, ∆AIMON, Paul Rey, The Jim Rowdy Show, Uncle Butcher

Reviewed by Kent Manthie

Transastic is the new film put out by those wild & crazy guys at Scumbag Movies. The film is made like a documentary that follows about five drag queens, who, it turns out, are only acting and not portraying themselves (well, I guess it should’ve been obvious by the ending-you’ll see what I’m talking about). But these guys, who are transvestites are just having fun in this film and ONLY ACTING, they are not the homophobic, pseudo-catholic hypocrites that they come off as and in a really funny, sardonic way.

For instance, in the beginning “soliloquy” of the film the guys are sitting around a kitchen table explaining to the camera just how much that they are NOT gay and then the blonde one goes off on this tangent, blaming gay men who dress in drag in order to “get men to fuck them…” for making it virtually impossible for the UN-gay transvestite to go out in public and be seen for who they really are – just regular, straight guys who happen to feel more comfortable wearing women’s clothing. Now, the thing that really made me not like the blonde one is that he/she goes off on this tangent about how much he hates “faggots” (they’re all “faggots”, “faggots”, “faggots”) in this really hateful way and talks about the fact that they don’t want to be associated with “faggots” in any way – they ruined their lifestyle for them and now they’re pissed at them – in fact he says that “…all ‘faggots’ should be killed” – Of course, if you don’t get the joke or aren’t knowing that it’s all tongue-in-cheek they might piss some people off and turn some heads -“like, wow! That is pretty harsh stuff to say. But, relax people – they’re just being sarcastic and acting as outlandish and nutty as possible. Which is to say -they do a good job with their crazy antics and barbs and stuff (now first I was talking about tall, skinny Brandon, whose character came off as the most ardent of homophobes.

Next scene is a guy named Chuck Green – and the whole scene is a scream – from him getting dressed up, in some kind of women’s outfit and after putting his clothes on – to him confronting his wife about his “lifestyle” for the first time.

He first spends the bulk of the time trying to get his make up on right, in fact, that is one thing he talks about – the fact that he isn’t quite “there yet” in terms of wearing make up correctly and that he says when he goes shopping at a department store and he sees the make up counter he is always tempted to go over there and get tips on how to use make up efficiently and more properly, but that he’s not quite ready to go in front of a total stranger and have them give him make up tips yet because it’s more of a “personal thing” – but what’s ironic- or funny-or just plain stupid is that the whole time he’s applying eyeliner and lipstick, the camera closes in on his face and he really, really needs a shave. He’s got like a two-day old beard going and it looks awfully silly, especially when he’s talking about dressing in the “June Cleaver” mode-the pure, elegant, socially functional woman but at the same time he’s got this “more-than-just-stubble” on his face and also, another thing that stands out as being awkward and kind of anathema to what his ideal is, is he has this beer belly that, even after he puts on his skirt and top and all, still sticks out at the bottom – kind of gross -this bulging hairy belly popping out -he makes no effort whatsoever to cover it up or to hide it – or for god’s sake – to even exercise and lose the weight in order to get rid of that bulge. He looks like a total joke but, see, that is the joke.

so, next, Chuck is seen out in the living room-he on one side of the couch “dressed up” and his wife on the opposite side. They’re sitting there and Chuck is doing most, if not almost all the talking – telling his wife how this is the “real me” and “I’m still the man you married”, etc. and all these platitudes to placate his wife. You can’t see her face, like I said, it’s blurred, but you can tell just from her body language and the way she’s nervously grasping onto the handrest of the couch on her side that she is not taking this very well and is not at all happy.

So, Chuck keeps on talking, digging himself deeper, it seems, saying that it’d be a great thing now for them to do stuff together – like go shopping for clothes, etc and she could help give him make up tips, etc.

Then, when she shows some anger and says to him – “well, you could’ve told me this about 4 years ago…” his response was that he didn’t want to bring this side of him out yet, at least not until it was “perfected” – “like a painting or something” (!?) -then, and this gave me a “chuckle” – she tells him “are you kidding” – “you could at least shaved or gotten a wig that fits right- you look like a man dressed as a woman” and to that he replies “thank you – for saying I look like a man dressed as a woman -that is what I want-I want to be me, but I just feel more comfortable dressed in women’s clothing…” – then there is silence – the only sound you hear in their apartment is a leaky faucet, then his wife gets up off the couch and says “I want a divorce” – so what is Chuck’s response? Does he go after her and beg forgiveness or try to explain himself more or whatever? No – he is an absolute narcissist – he looks down at his wedding ring, then takes it off and says something catty like “I never really liked this ring anyway…I like this one better…” and he puts on this gaudy ring with a rose-colored flower – total kitsch. And he is one of the ones who says he’s not gay… ok. Whatever. He doesn’t even have the balls to try to save his marriage. It is hilarious – a real “moment”.

Then there’s Jesse – a fat guy who is dressing as a woman – even though he’s got a mustache – and while he’s making himself up he goes through this spiel, rationalizing it all, etc. It’s a “personal” thing for him as he keeps reminding us. He tells the camera (the audience) how he grew up in the Catholic Church (boooo!) and was motivated to become a cross-dresser from watching the priests wearing their robes during mass and such and he also rationalized it by talking about how people in “Jesus’s” time would wear robes -which to him equated with “gowns” so now that gives him even more rationale. And he is telling us all this while he puts this awful wig over a terrible buzz cut and puts on some women’s outfit over his piggish body and, of course, he makes sure that we, the audience, know that he’s not gay, because in the bible (this would be in the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the bible which are Jewish in nature, with nothing to do with the new testament and Jesus coming and “dying and coming back to life” so as to wipe away all the sins so that all one needs to do is repent and you’re forgiven – but he quotes this old Jewish text that reads (from Deuteronomy-a quote used by many anti-gay right-wing kooks- Pat Robertson, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee and Ralph Reed among the less wacko -psych hospital material you don’t know about (people who protest abortion clinics, etc) “God says that man may not lieth down with another man…” or some crap to that effect and brainwashed idiots still take that claptrap seriously today! And this freak is muttering that? And he rationalizes his being a tranny from going to church and seeing the priests in robes? Dude-those are robes, not dresses and they don’t wear make-up either.

Then there is this really weird dude, with a five-day old beard, who calls himself “Phil Thea” – get it – filthy-a hahahaha. He starts rambling on about how he’s not gay, “not a faggot” and then up and changes the subject and starts voguing for the camera with some stupid disco song on in the background – it is really cheesy, but that’s part of the wacky humor of it all.

Then it’s back to the Brandon – who seems to be the “leader” of the clique (the guy who said that “faggots should be killed”) his character has this hang up about gay people (which usually means that that person has latent homosexual tendencies) – he keeps on repeating the fact that he’s not gay and that now he has to differentiate himself from gays, who have legitimate reasons for wanting equal treatment – these people are just narcissistic nitwits who wear women’s clothes. Well, good for them, but they have no right to bash other groups or tear down gays, etc. Live and let live, you know? I bet he’d get the shit beat out of him if he were to walk down the wrong end of Los Angeles – and his protestations that he’s not a “faggot” wouldn’t do anything to stop the beat down. So – don’t think you’re anyone special and don’t think you are somehow miles above queers (and even blacks-in one scene he equates blacks and gays with having grievances against people who would discriminate against them and then he says that “well, we’re not like that, we’re just regular people dressing in women’s clothing, there’s nothing wrong with that”

What is really funny is that mid-way through the film, this religious-kook on something called “God-TV” is spouting off about how evil transvestites are and that they’re not normal and they could even be living next door to you and you wouldn’t necessarily know it. Then he says that he’s going to show how tolerant he is by bringing on his show someone from this film called Transastic -now I don’t know if he is just an actor or if he’s really some religious weirdo who really believes the junk coming out of his mouth, although I think he is an actor because he is so over-the-top that he’s got to be playing to a silly stereotype (that is 100% real-the “christian kook“ type) -and it’s Brandon that is his guest on God-TV. He gets him in the hot seat and throws all these one-sided questions at him and, it’s kind of funny – Brandon then is getting fed-up and finally to get him off his back he just tells the God dude that he doesn’t believe in God, then the guy says “heathen” -then he thanks Brandon for being on there and tells him to say hi to Hitler & Ted Bundy in hell. The guy was really over the top- almost more so than the transvestites with his “holier than thou” pretense, a really cloying, annoying person. If he were a real person I’d throw a brick at him!

Then you see Brandon’s mom helping him with his make-up. Did I say he has some hang-up with gays, which, like I said, usually means that there is latent homosexual tendencies in that person, so deep inside Brandon is gay. He may not know it, I don’t mean he’s in the closet but deep within his unconscious he is very gay. That’s so psychology 101 it’s funny.

Then we get that fat Catholic dude, Jesse, who starts voguing too, all over a table (I’m surprised it doesn’t break under him -hahaha) – ick -he is the worst transvestite I’ve ever seen – I mean all he wants is to wear women’s clothes – he has no inclination at all to try and look like a woman – he doesn’t shave cleanly, he wears these awful looking wigs and the ugliest outfits – he even has this mustache – god, what a mess!

Then we’re back to Chuck again – I guess this is after his mortified wife left him and now he’s playing with his cats and talking to them like their his babies. Then it flashes to another scene where Chuck is in this awful fitting pink-thing, with liquor bottles all over and smoking cigarette after cigarette. “I feel like my whole life is falling apart…” he says at one point – that’s because he had to put one of his old cats down – aww…and then he mentions how “Amy’s gone – I don’t know where she is; I don’t think she wants anything to do with me…” – well, yeah- what do you expect, springing that on her? He is a total mess in this scene, all drunk and miserable, looking like he’s been up all night, still wearing that ridiculous-looking wig.

Oh yeah – and that little coterie of tranny’s that I’ve mentioned have this group going – it’s called N.A.T.A.G. – Not All Transvestites Are Gay – I mean – whatever. Get over it, guys – you’re not normal, OK? And just because you say over and over that you’re not gay does not mean that the world at large is going to suddenly say “Oh!” and invite you over for dinner or drinks. These guys, for me anyway do not represent tranny’s as a whole – they’re just a bunch of snobby bitches who hate gays.

Then at the end – and this is truly funny! Chuck – the half-shaven, drunken stupor-guy who was sad that his wife left, but paid more attention to his cats – well, like I said, one of them got sick or too old – it was like 17 and had to be “put down” (you know, killed) and then afterwards, Chuck has an actual funeral for the cat! He only invites Jesse but not Brandon – the queen fag-hater. But somehow he finds out about the “funeral” and angrily shows up and says “what the hell are you doing? How come you didn’t even invite me?” and then he gets all huffy and takes the little shoe box that the cat’s going to be buried in, picks it up and then throws it across the lawn. Then Chuck (dressed up as usual) scurries over to it and picks up the dead cat, strokes it a bit and then you hear in the background Jesse, say to Brandon “Just get the hell out of here” – so Brandon can see he’s not wanted and then picks up some candies or rocks or something from the table and throws them around and storms off. It’s total camp – a real riot. I mean – a grown friggin’ man, dressed poorly as a woman, picking up a box that was thrown with a dead cat in it and then before putting the dead cat back in the box, sits there and strokes it like a little favorite doll or something. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if this is really a documentary and there’s some camera crew actually following them around in their real lives or if they’re just actors doing the best job they can being obnoxious little bastards.

After the funeral scene there appears on the screen the words “After the funeral, Brandon kicked Chuck and Jesse out of NATAG and is currently seeking new members. Then at the closing, you see the big fat Jesse dancing around a pool in this bare midriff outfit – it’s hard not to laugh out loud and also he’s so disgusting to look at that it’s like a train wreck – you just have to look. Oh and at the end it reads that now Jesse & Chuck are happily married – so much for the whole “I’m not a faggot” thing…Then it goes on to read about the evil hate rallies that NATAG has done – but I think the whole thing is a gag. The rallies they show are old black and white hate group rallies from the 60s or something – then, probably the funniest thing that it reads is that Brandon is murdered at one of his anti-gay NATAG rallies, mistaken for being gay himself. Well, you can’t say he didn’t have it coming! But by then, if you can’t see that it’s all a gag then you’re not “getting it”, shall we say.

Anyway – I thought this was a crazy, kooky, but hilariously campy film and kudos to Scumbag Films for this gut-busting film. And who the hell is that crazy fascist creep who starts off the film and ends it with his spewing and hate, equating transvestites with being “filth” and “below community standards” – obviously just a prop found by the Scumbag artists – I hope this guy gets shot or got shot!

Anyway, good work Scumbag Movies – keep it up! Twistedly great and screamingly funny with a twist!


[Below are TRANTASTIC videos from Youtube, not produced by Reviewer Magazine. ~Editor

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