Wide opening for “Geography Club” – one of year’s best LGBT films

A wonderful cast keeps the film lively and real.

A wonderful cast keeps the film lively and real.

A future Classic, right up there with Breakfast Club and Fight Club
is Geography Club

by Larry Murray

We’ve all walked the halls of a high school where the shoals of social moirés and cliques threaten to capsize our self esteem in an instant. Geography Club captures the terrifying days of yore with a fresh and delightful cast, the best since John Hughes made Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller. The quirky friends, the big shots, the horny babes, they are all there. But this film is closer to reality since it also includes gay and lesbian characters struggling to carpe that diem.

With one of the widest openings of any independent film about “coming out” as LGBT to date, Geography Club from Breaking Glass Pictures signals the arrival of niche films that are, quality wise, as good as any from the mainstream studios. Maybe even better since the characters and stories this film follows are all real, honest people. Based on the first novel in Brent Hartinger’s best-selling critically acclaimed Russel Middlebrook Series, Geography Club is a smart, fast, and funny account of contemporary teenagers as they discover their own sexual identities, dreams, and values. The “kids” do it differently than in my day, though they face a lot of the same obsstacles.

The books took a lot of rejections before being published, and the film was optioned and in limbo before finally being purchased and made, and there was even a superb live stage production of Geography Club at Stage 115 at the University of Utah Department of Theatre a year ago (October 2012) which got warm reviews.

The film’s characters are totally likable except when they are doing the stupid things that all high school students do at one time or another. Including an awful episode of bullying and humiliation of one unfortunate loner, and the inability to assert ones real self instead of living as a cardboard cutout of what others expect a football player to be.

Wide Opening

The North American theatrical release of Geography Club, produced by Michael Huffington, is wide and deep as it opens in fifteen cities across the United States and Canada on November 15th, anchored by screenings in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto. On the same date, the film will be available nationwide on a variety of cable and internet platforms. Geography Club has already caused quite a stir, having been featured in dozens of private screenings – often at schools with bullying concerns – earlier this month.

Selected Openings:

New York City — Cinema Village (11/15)
Toronto, Canada — Carlton Cinema (11/15)
Tempe/Phoenix, AZ — Harkin’s Valley Art (11/15)
Stroudsburg, PA — Living Room theater (11/15)
Key West, FL — Tropic Cinema (11/18)
Lancaster, PA — Zoetropolis (11/20*)
Los Angeles, CA — Laemmle Music Hall (11/22)
Santa Fe, New Mexico — The Screen (11/22*)
Miami, FL — O-Cinema (11/29)
San Diego, CA — Digital Gym (12/6)
Winston-Salem, NC — A/Perture Cinema (12/2 Special Engagement)

Starring Cameron Deane Stewart (Pitch Perfect), Justin Deeley (“Drop Dead Diva”, “90210”), and Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), Geography Club has been a hit on the festival circuit in the past year, culminating in an Audience Award for Best First Feature at Los Angeles Outfest.

Cameron Deane Stewart and Justin Deeley in Geography Club.

Cameron Deane Stewart and Justin Deeley in Geography Club.

twists and turns

Geography Club has a somewhat familiar story but with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. 16-year old Russell (Stewart) is going on dates with girls while nurturing a secret relationship with star quarterback Kevin (Deeley), who will do anything to prevent his teammates from finding out. Min (Ally Maki, “10 Things I Hate About You”) and Terese (Blonsky) tell everyone that they’re just best friends. And then there’s Ike (Alex Newell, “Glee”), who can’t figure out who he is or who he wants to be. Finding the truth too hard to hide, they decide to form a Geography Club, thinking nobody else would want to join. However, their secrets are not forever and each character must face the choice of revealing who they really are. Or not.

Russell, Kevin, Min, Terese and Ike may not learn about actual places in their undercover social club, but they daringly explore the danger-filled clique-mined landscape of Goodkind High School and courageously begin their journey in the exciting, still uncharted terrain of the human heart.

Supporting cast includes Meaghan Martin (“10 Things I Hate About You”), Allie Gonino (“The Lying Game”), Marin Hinkle (“Two and a Half Men”), Scott Bakula (American Beauty, “Star Trek: Enterprise”), Dexter Darden (The Maze Runner), and Ana Gasteyer (“Suburgatory”, “Saturday Night Live”).

Larry Murray is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association which votes on the Dorian Awards each year. This film is under consideration for the 2013 nominations.

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