Really enjoyed the movie Heels with my good friend fashion designer Sai Suman and had a nice time at the premiere and after party. The only thing missing was one of the stars of the film, my “Live with Ford and Vida” colleague Ford Austin, who was missing as he had come down with a bad cold that he couldn’t shake.
The film’s LA premiere was at the Laemmle Noho 7 as part of the popular Noho Cine Fest. Heels is the story of two adopted brothers, Ronnie (Britt George) and Jodi Lackey (Ryan Bottiglieri), who also wrote, directed and produced the film, who go to extreme measures while wrestling to save their dad’s BBQ restaurant. The measures are so extreme that they engage in fetish wrestling matches in drag orchestrated by their sleazy, but wisecracking coach Benny Wasserman (Austin).
All the actors in the film give standout performances, which must have been tough especially as George, Bottiglieri and Austin were all producers. Rounding out the cast was veteran character actor Richard Riehle as one of their dads (a nice nod to them having wonderful gay dads), Stacey Scowley as Michelle Ryan, Jodi’s love interest, Brittany Belt as Tammy, Ronnie’s married (!) love interest, Chip Joslin as one of the sassy wrestlers, and Lee Dawson as Trevor, Michelle’s d-bag ex-boyfriend. Such well written and well developed characters. I really liked the backdrop of our fair city in this film, even it’s grittier side and how the filmmakers artfully wove in the storyline of the plight of LA’s forgotten homeless. I loved the relationship with Riehle and his adopted children and their dynamic after losing one dad. Also touching was seeing how much the brothers cared about each other and both actors did a great job conveying it, especially when George stands up for lovelorn Bottiglieri. Even though Bottiglieri looked like a tough guy Lothario type with his brawny physique and chiseled features, his sweet boy next door personality won the whole audience over. Scowley gives a winning performance as well as the love interest. And Dawson’s prepster d-bag was well played…he could have been any dbag prepster golf/tennis/lacrosse/crew player I grew up with back east. All that was missing was a navy blue blazer, white button down shirt and khaki pants (with the pleats and leather braided belt)! And Austin, who normally plays leading man roles, really shined as the skeevy Benny. Even though his character was so dodgy and tacky in his track pants and trademark Hawaiian shirts, it was hard to dislike him as he was such a witty cad.
Coming from a fashion background and since this is a fashion blog, I loved the cross dressing scenes especially the tutus with the fairy wings and makeup and the turquoise bejeweled gown looked especially nice with George’s complexion and fiery red tresses. He was resplendent in his gown and I could never wear turquoise like he did. No joke! And great legs in heels fellas!
Here’s the film’s trailer: