The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
'The Iron Ladies" would have been a fearless statement for gay pride if it had been released in, oh, say, 1960. Its attitudes are so dated it plays like a float in a Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade, featuring drag stereotypes of the past. That the movie is fun is undeniable. That it is bad is inarguable.
The film is about a Thai volleyball team made up of gays, transvestites, a transsexual and one allegedly straight member (ho, ho). Locked out of volleyball courts, scorned by the league, the victims of cheating and pigheaded officials, they fight their way to the national finals. Think of "The Mighty Ducks," with a slight adjustment in spelling.
That gays can excel at volleyball is beyond question. That they can play their best game only when wearing a lot of makeup is questionable. That they must win by shocking their homophobic opponents with flouncing, flaunting, flamboyant behavior and limp-wristed serves is offensive--especially in Thailand, where transsexuality and transvestism are minor tourist industries.
The story arc of the movie is familiar to anyone who has ever seen a formula sports film about an underdog team. Every act seems recycled from the archives. We see the early setbacks. The recruitment of a team of misfits, losers and reluctant heroes. The key player who needs a lot of convincing. The coach with personal issues of her own (she may be a lesbian, but the movie refuses to commit). The sports authorities who want to ban the team. The early victories. The setbacks. Capturing the popular imagination. The big game. The crisis. The realization that the team can win only by returning to its True Nature (i.e., gobs of foundation, lots of lipstick).