Hi gang! So on Friday night I was lucky enough to catch a screening of the movie Something Like Summer, based on the fabulous book by Jay Bell. We are HUGE fans of this book and the whole Something Like series here, and we have reviewed all the books, many in multiple formats. I was thrilled when I heard that Bell’s book was being turned into a movie, and I have been eagerly following along the process as the show was cast and filmed. Bell also stopped by after the premier of the movie to tell us all about it.
So needless to say, I have been super eager to catch the movie and last week it made its way to a local screening (the movie is mostly in festivals and screenings right now versus wide spread release, but you can get details on where it is being shown at somethinglikesummer.com). While I am not officially reviewing the movie, I thought it would be fun to share my experience here and tell you more about the movie and the impact it clearly had on the audience.
The movie was being shown as part of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community’s Reel Affirmations program. I headed down with J.A. Rock and we decided to upgrade to the VIP seats, which gave us prime viewing, as well as a little meet and mingle at the end of the screening. I was super excited when we arrived to find that Ben Baur was there. Ben plays Jace in the movie and he was hanging out and chatting with the audience. I got a chance to talk to him a bit, gushed a little, and told him how much I love the book. He is super adorable and was incredibly charming!
I have to say, watching the movie opening got me a chocked up for some many reasons. First off, this book is one that had a huge emotional impact when I first read it. I actually listened to it in audio, and I can still remember where I was during key scenes. You know how some books just leave you with a little pang that never goes away, that makes you excited and brings back all those emotions every time you think back on it? Well that is how Something Like Summer is for me. Add in that I have had the pleasure of meeting Bell in person several times, and the fact that I am thrilled to see a self published book in our genre make it all the way to the movies and I was just gushing all over the place.
Overall I found the movie really well done. This is a super long book, so by necessity a lot had to be condensed, but all the key moments were there and the story follows the plot very closely. There are some musical moments as well, which keeps really nicely with the tone of the book and both Ben and Allison sing in the film.
When it was over, there was a Q&A with Ben as well as one of the producers. What I thought was interesting was that everyone was on Team Jace in the love triangle! I think this is in part because with the shorter length of the movie, there isn’t as much time as in the book to see the real Tim and what is motivating him, nor how close and intense his relationship with Ben is when they are in high school. Though I also wondered if the fact that Ben Baur was in the audience being his charming self and he played Jace may have had a role in it as well!
The other thing that struck me was how profoundly the movie clearly affected the audience. I would estimate that about half of the folks there had read the book and the rest came in new. I’d also say the audience was generally gay men in their 50s or above. It was very clear that this movie really spoke to them profoundly. One man shared how the movie made him think back to his younger self when he was in high school and how he had so many of these same feelings and experiences as the characters, and how he can see how far he has come. It was really moving to listen to these folks speak about how the book and film so clearly touched and inspired them.
So I really loved the movie and it was a great experience getting to see it with such an enthusiastic audience. I am crossing my fingers it moves into wider release, but in the meantime keep an eye out for it in your local area. And if you haven’t read the book, I strongly encourage you to check it out!