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The Go Doc Project (2013)

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By Mark James.

The Go Doc Project, a new collaboration between writer/director Cory Krueckeberg and lead Tanner Cohen (they worked together previously on the 2008 Were the World Mine), sets up its stakes quickly. Cohen plays Doc, a Columbia near-graduate with a vlog and a ticket to Iowa where he’ll be able to write (presumably at the Writers Workshop; why else would a writer leave New York for Iowa?). But before he goes, he takes a chance at meeting the object of his online fixation, a go-go boy (Matthew Camp) who the film can’t go out of its way to name anything more than “Go”. Knowing this level of investment, you can fill in the next 120 minutes of footage from the title alone: Doc pretends to be working on a documentary project (get it?) about go-go boys to get close to Go; his emotional attachment becomes sexual entanglement; something goes wrong and Doc heads off to Iowa as planned. The only question you might want to wait around to see answered is whether or not Go goes with.

goDOC-1This formulaic, indifferent rom-com was picked up for distribution after getting a lot of buzz on the festival circuit, which shows the real value go-go boys bring to their place of work. Camp, a go-go dancer and designer in real life, is charming, handsome, and nearly a good enough actor; but then again, that’s his job. He blends the confidence of someone who enjoys being looked at with a boyish innocence that neatly contrasts with the bland nebbishisms of Cohen, whose heavy-lidded eyes and attempts at understated naturalism play as listless, not repressed. The only times Cohen’s performance seems to match the scenarios he’s in are when he’s insomniacally masturbating to images of Go.

Clues to what Kreuckeberg thought he was doing and why it went so wrong also litter the opening sequences, along with the lines of the plot Kreuckeberg doesn’t think to color outside of. Doc is supposed to be writing his senior thesis, though all he has is his statement: “Assimilation must be the goal of the queer community if true equality is ever to be won.” This is supposed to be an incidental character detail to be passed over until it comes up again the third act; we can tell it’s supposed to slip by and stay important because Doc keeps toggling between his sparse Word document and Photoshop, where he’s touching up an appealingly hairy and mole-covered portrait of Go. The thesis is both on par with and substituted by the object of desire, whose image Doc keeps fetishistically cleaning up.

The_Go_Doc_Project_pic_02_3But something else is going on here, because that’s a statement no one who identifies with the queer community would ever say, especially not someone involved with the LGBTQ film festival scene. Besides encompassing more gender variation than gay, queer as a term implies resistance to assimilation in its definition. It’s obvious what Kreuckeberg is trying to pull here: we’re supposed to identify Doc as naïve, repressed, and confused and already know the answer to his confusion, so that when he embarks on the journey of personal exploration that constantly filming his fetish-object will necessarily provoke, we’ll know where he’s heading and feel vindicated that he arrives where we were all along.

And sure enough, when the titillation of pressing his camera to Go’s luscious flesh passes to the foregone sex our two leads were cast to have, Doc is also confronted by Go on his retrograde politics. “Every time we fuck it’s a revolutionary act,” Go says. This is an abstract proposition for Doc, a self-described virgin. Go is there to embody the liberated line, the gay political position opposed to Doc’s assimilationist stance. He’s also there to do the work of liberation for Doc, all while having his motivations and own desires reduced to accessories of his beauty. The Go Doc Project is the type of gay movie that gets described as a movie about people who just happen to be gay. If it had depicted a straight couple, portraying the love interest the way Kreuckeberg puts Go on the screen would be decried as two-dimensional or even sexist.

Because Kreuckeberg (or Doc, his transparent stand-in) doesn’t want to be liberated, he just wants to say the right thing. In the end, Doc hasn’t changed a bit—or if he has it’s literally in name only; his Tumblr’s header goes from “Small Town Boy in the City” to “Radicalized Homo in the Country.” He still heads out to Iowa, where he always wanted to be, and rhapsodizes about how he’ll “buy a shotgun, have a family and grow old sipping lemonade on the front porch. I think that’s how I’ll be a real radical homosexual.” It’s significant that those words were never uttered before but now appear as the culmination of the entire film, as if the answer to that question was what Doc had been searching for in Go the whole time.

The_Go_Doc_Project_pic_01_3But even if you buy the argument that shotguns, families and porches are somehow inimical to radical homosexuality (I don’t), something about the trajectory of the argument and the silences and substitutions it relies on seems awfully familiar. By investing Go’s body with the correct political line, but refusing the intimacy he rightfully demands in return, Doc and Kreuckeberg demonstrate that their grasp of homosexual liberation is superficial, imagistic, or fetishized. Acknowledging the male body as an object of desire but keeping it at arms distance out of a fear of being implicated in it isn’t radical homosexuality at all—it’s homophobia.

Go tries to get through to him, to tell him that past the threshold of fear, the real liberation being homosexual promises is not just sexual (though it is that, too, and Doc could certainly benefit from it) but emotional. The courage of loving other men and allowing them to love you pays dividends. It’s what gave us the strength to create a community that endured decades of oppression and a historic plague. But we don’t have a monopoly on the knowledge of love, and we don’t get it just by fucking other guys. It’s something that has to be taught and handed down, which is what Go tries to do and Doc refuses. It’s a shame that Doc passes on Go, but at least it gives you a hint about what to do with The Go Doc Project.

Mark James lives in San Francisco and has written about film for numerous publications, including The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide and The Advocate.

36 Comments for “The Go Doc Project (2013)”

  1. This is the most irresponsible kind of “review” as it does nothing but offer judgmental proclamations based on gross misinterpretations that have more to do with what the author thinks the film “should” have been, within his own forcibly framed point of view, than what it really is.

    Nearly every single judgmental sentence is full of assumptions that are either ridiculously inaccurate or have nothing to do with the characters or story I was telling. I’m so sick of “reviewers” adding their own baggage to reviews.

    You should have made your own movie to make all the “statements” you’ve made here instead of feeding off mine like a parasite.

    And how dare you refer to the results of my work as “sexist” and “homophobic” and assume you know anything about me as a person or my relationship to queer identity after spouting so many inept suppositions about my film.

    You’re clearly more interested in your promoting own ideas than experiencing the ideas of others, which is what a good reviewer does.

  2. I’m glad you said it, CJK…as I read this “review,” I kept wondering if this guy had watched the same movie I had.

  3. Sometimes journeys are fruitless, but this one was well worth the dredge. I like insightful and cerebral functions of thought; thought that delves into our true selves and surfaces self-discovery thru adventure and fears put aside. I think this is a remarkable picture which portrays the side of man reaching out for self illumination, rather than turning within. Introspection is valuable, but I like passion of peering outside self. What a genuine portrayal of need and angst within us all, such transparency mixed with opaque instincts. I truly enjoyed watching the traditional struggle for love we all share, but on such a unique platform. thank you

  4. Awesome awesome movie.

  5. Tanner and Mathew really did a good job of portraying a life style that me and my husband are familiar with because him and i have experienced the true reason Doc felt so insecure around go, I was a GoGo boy. My husband and I connected with your two main characters .

  6. I identified with the movie.When I was younger I lived in the city and was part of the Gay scene.Now that I’m older I prefer the country life.I’m alone now.My partner passed many years ago.Hope life brings you happiness.

  7. While I couldn’t personally identify with “Doc” or any of his motivations, I don’t think bashing him or the movie maker is really anything other than the reviewer lasing out.
    The offering gave me truly other perspective to think about. Thanks CJK.

  8. All I know is that I judge a film by how I feel at the end….if I feel impacted …even changed…and with this film I do! I loved this movie..I wish that they’d have gotten together on that farm in Iowa and maybe I will fantasize that they will….a wonderful film!!!

  9. This is a really good movie. Glad I watched it. But at the same time, I think gay people are divided between the straight life symbolized by Doc and the gay life symbolized by Go. Doc says it’s easy to be who you are and harder to be what people want you to be, to assimilate. Only other gays who try to live a straight life know that. But, I can see how gays show how love exists in the gay community, but Go just proves that it doesn’t. He was caught cheating and I think that is symbolic of all gays, the fact that there is never true love because guys in general are not monogomous and always get bored so easily and being gay and surrounded by male-centric ideas they can’t get enough of themselves. How many gay guys are actually faithful? True love between guys is easy because all you haev to do is do what you feel, but how is it that being straight is easy for a gay person. You are having to do something that is alien and unknown to you and yet for the right reasons, love really does exist because women compliment men and it is easier to stay faithful with a woman. I know you think that being straight is a lie, that to be gay is to stay true to oneself because when you get older you regret it. But to all those older people who regret being straight, they only regret it after they get everything they want – kids, a wife, family, house with a shotgun, live like a typical straight guy, have what every straight guys has. So, how can they say they want to go back and relive their life as a gay person if they don’t know how it feels to not have a straight life. You don’t know what you got until it’s gone. What is a gay life? growing old, no kids, being cheated on by different guys, being lonely, what gay guys do you see who are old an you look up to? Love? is that available only to the good looking guys like Go? What about when you grow old and don’t look so good? That’s exactly what he says at the end. When all the good looks fade, you only have what is underneath and what is underneath is nothing because the gay community doesn’t build on what’s underneath, they only suck out what you have on the surface until it’s gone.

  10. Also, a lot of people disagree with Doc leaving, but Doc is a guy who says something and does what he said he was going to do. There is nothing about what he said that he didn’t end up doing. Go, on the other hand, everything he said almost always turned into a lie. He was just seducing Doc into a game of cat and mouse. I don’t think Doc, who is an action oriented type of person is into a relationship where everything is just built on smoke and mirrors. Go loves illusions and costumes. Doc values honesty. In the end there is no future with opposites who don’t want to compromise. Either Doc was going to have to keep loving someone who doesn’t tell the truth or Go was going to have to change his whole personality to be someone that Doc wanted.

  11. Well, it IS all relative, isn’t it? Some may say this encounter boils down to antagonist and protagonist and exactly which character is which and which one one identifies with surely indicates the stage in life one is at – as well as their comfort with life’s straightjackets. For one to want so much more at so young an age is remarkable.

    Right? Yours is a quite protean and referential and fine piece of work, Mister Krueckeberg. Despite all of the allure, there is no doubt about which character you would want to meet up with again, twenty years down the road…. p.s. – the acting is flawless.

  12. Great !!! I’m 52 and this movie taught me so much,I really saw my self in Doc.its so true,as time withers away and beauty is no more all we really have left is what’s inside … all I really wanted was to live average life, with someone I could love and care for till the end,and sipping lemonade on the front porch sounds like the perfect ending to a satisfying life.

    P.S Still searching for that glass of lemonade.

  13. This movie was a true reflection of many life’s, struggles and dreams. Well done. Thank you.

  14. I loved this movie and everything it stands for. For one brief shining moment, I had my front porch & lemonade, until my beloved husband of only 4 months died suddenly in November, 2012. Will I ever find another glass of lemonade? I honestly don’t know. I had the best, we were monogamous for 15 years & happily so. I’m hoping to sit on that front porch again, holding hands, rocking and sipping lemonade with someone I love. I know it’s possible, I lived it, I also know it’s possible to find it again, when I’m ready & when that special guy comes along!
    Well done CJK! Kudos to you all! I honestly think this helped to mend another piece of my broken heart!
    Peace <3

  15. Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    Wow. Judging from the comments here, this film appears to be a success. It not only seems to elicit a great deal of commentary, (one mark of a successful film) but it obviously hits many people at an emotionally raw and vulnerable place.
    I read these moving comments several times.

    I gotta say though, I am really disturbed that there is an assumption, at least by some, that there is a “typical gay life” that is inherently “lonely and depressing,” and that somehow “straight life” is inherently superior. These are problematic myths, to say the least, and should not go unnoticed.

    I would be unfair if I did not stress that straight couples still do enjoy many privileges that are not yet offered to gay couples. It would be equally unfair if I did not agree that the ‘culture of looks” (beauty and youth) is very damaging to so many people in the gay community.

    I know more long term gay couples who have been together way way longer than the straight people I know. I am talking about gay couples who have been together 30 – 40 years plus. Most straight friends of mine (with a few exceptions) are divorced, unhappily married, or still seeking a partner. I do not mean to suggest monogamy is “the” ideal, nor do I wish to imply that marriage as an institution that is inherently superior to any other way of life. To my mind, it is crucially important to always question destructive myths; these myths are perpetuated by film and popular culture – often they are distortions and flat out lies.

    This from a total romantic who adores the classic romance films and “women’s pictures” of the thirties and forties! Agh – the mysteries of the heart. Being human.

  16. I know that what I’m about to say is going to sound stupid but here I go. I have spent a life time watching the gay societies excessiveness. And to hear someone so young put it the hole thing in such simple words just blew me away. Some how knowing that wanting to be a guy in a simpler world is normal and I not the only one.
    I wish the best for you.

  17. This is a fine film. It is thought provoking, happy, sad … it is mind and eye appealing all the way from beginning to end.

  18. I cried. Very nice film!

  19. Loved it, Doc was so me many years ago. Shame the beauty on the inside is all we have to offer as we age. Both guys adorable, got a pitcher of lemonade waiting for my Go. Thanks.

  20. Spot on emotional exploration of ones true identity, nice work. I am honored to have spent my Xmas day for the first time without friends or family with you, by allowing me to enjoy a real life experience. THANK YOU!

    From a VERY young age, many of your scenes and verbiage connected with my own persona as I travelled through the years of my life. Today, I continue to hold my inner most cherished values by remaining true to who I truly am. I’m challenged as I was back so many years ago, by not fitting in to any circle, thus time with myself has allowed me to seek inner truths about myself through my own exploration. The net result is, I am doing the driving on my ride through life, stopping where and when I feel… God Bless!

  21. i got lost in your review…in the midst of your dissection and what i actually saw, i started to wonder if we saw the same film, and more importantly, if one of us was blowing smoke up our own ass?

  22. Rick Michaelsen

    Just watched your movie. Loved the fact that you came back to your Midwest upbringing. Am a bit jealous that your boyfriend was SO SO SO VERY CUTE!! I had a friend of mine that was that cute, but, of course, could NOT reveal myself to him. THANKS for makin’ the last scenes in the MIdwest. I think that is the BEST place to have been born in, grown up in and gotten old in. Sure would love to be in the company of your boyfriend. 😉

  23. Just watched Getting Go and really responded quite differently than I thought I would. I started watching a while ago when it became available on NETFLIX. After watching only the first 15 mins or so, I dismissed it as just another film that exploits the “typical gay image” . But, I came back to it today and saw it through. I was so pleasantly surprised to watch the change happen. I watched as perspective switched and instead of me watching them, they were telling me about the person beneath the stereotype I had so easily adopted. It made me think about the boys we so easily objectify, about what happens when we finally make our move regardless of the motivation we need and that lifes’ moments can be deep and meaningful but don’t have to be forever to be a powerful part of our own development.
    After viewing the film, I found this review and learned that the creative team on this film was also responsible for Were the World Mine, another film I loved.
    I am a 50 year old man who came out twice, once when I was 15, then again when I was in my 40’s. Getting Go exemplified why I closeted myself after my initial debut. I didnt fit into the stereotypes and felt that I might as well struggle as a closeted man in a straight world then struggle as a gay man in a world that was vehemently anti-gay. I wish this film had been around when I was young. It would have shown me a world that was invisible and could have saved me many years of pain and self-loathing. There is a happy ending, or beginning, depending how you look at it. After many years of living as if I were someone Im not, I’ve given “Being Myself” a try. Its not easy, but its a hell of a lot easier than being someone else or attempting to assimilate into a world that just doesn’t fit.
    How about a film about us guys coming out in our 40’s and 50’s after years of marriage, kids, careers etc.. And how we have redefined who we are without changing our careers or giving up our kids. (Giving up the marriage was tough but so necessary)

  24. Great film. Kinda sad, though.

  25. Well I have to say I just watched the film and have to say that I believe its almost as accurate as you can get. I pretty much was Doc. From quite college boy, to crushing on a go go boy. Was “with” him, found him screwing another guy…My point is, true to life I think many of us have had this happen. The difference is how we come out on the other side. As true to “Doc”, I am married now for 4 years to my husband who I have been with for 13 years. We live in the country. Its nice. And I am different!!! And the same!!! Thank you, it was rather nostalgic for me. CJ

  26. Noel McCutcheon

    I watched this show and the more I watched I didn’t want to leave the television. This was a great film, excellent.

  27. I will be very clear , I’m a straight male (lol) living in Colorado with wife and kids… this film is pretty cool , I know guy who is similar in character and personality just like go, an I find myself like Doc. The best way to describe the relationship is pragmatic, and the film broke my (straight) heart… phenomenal film, and admired storyline

  28. Getting Go: The Go Doc Project is an amazing film. The voyeuristic nature of the film allows the viewer to feel innately close to the two actors. Until I read Mark James’s review, I had no idea that the two people in the film were actors of sorts. I believe that as a reviewer, Mark James is allowed – through the 1st amendment rights – to write his own interpretation of the film. Like many others, who have commented, I had a hard time relating to his review, but then again, I do not get paid to review movies. Yes, his review was judgmental and borderline elitist, but it was his right to see it that way.
    Personally, from what I watched, the movie juxtaposed two stereotypes of the gay male: the unfaithful, sexually charged Adonis and the reclusive, faithful hidden gay. The film does a wonderful job of comparing and contrasting the way the two relate to one another. The film writers gave Go very deep and revealing lines, especially in questions that pertained to his physical beauty. Go presented an intelligent and beautiful male that surprised me. He wasn’t as narcissistic as Doc or Mark James have written him to be. He was way more introspective and in tuned with the plight of homosexuality than Doc, who tried to position himself as the quintessential, appropriate “typical gay”.
    The movie is also, a sort of coming of age film for Doc, who needs to grow and learn from his obsession over Go. Go, at least to Doc, is the epoch of physical beauty and perfection in a man. Doc constantly tries to reduce the surprisingly intelligent Go, to just his physical manifestation. Go speaks intrinsically about the assumptions of homosexuality and about the openness he possess when choosing a partner. Doc cares less about Go’s “brain”, and more about Go’s body. Doc needs his connection to Go in order to feel as if he exists. I think James overlooked the fact that Go stated he was anti-social and his dancing was a way to counteract his anti-social behavior. At the end of the film, it is Go who is obsessed with Doc, and Doc who is innocently and coolly detached from Go. This is only important, when compared to the contrast of the beginning, where Go is innocent and coolly detached, and Doc is obsessed.
    If anything, both men find something in each other. The film tackles some serious homosexual issues, especially the sovereign myth of physical beauty and youth trampling intelligence and the myth of homosexual assimilation to hetero-centric standards of masculinity.

  29. Loved the film. Deep emotionally and revealing of both major characters. They both grew a great deal in this process. One day I hope I have the guts to do something like this with my story.

  30. Moving, beautiful movie. Thanks for sharing it.

  31. Love the film, you are adorable!

  32. Loved this having grown up in the club whore world could relate a lot . I was at the hottest clubs with the hottest boys every night but Monday and that’s because there wasn’t one. I’m 51 now and yes it was fun but here I sit on my porch in the country looking at my fishing pond with no one to share it with. Had a relationship like doc and go, wish I still had my go. But he of because he got HIV and thought it was the end

  33. Fr. Mark Schwarz

    Second time I’ve watched this engrossing film. Realized tonight just how much I missed the first time. The film is beautiful in concept, extraordinary in execution, and both young men gave appealingl performances. Definitely keeping this one in my library!

  34. I want to follow Doc and Go. Is it possible?

  35. guillaume from holland

    i just watched the movie, and like the most other viewers, i can also reeeeally relate to this movie and to the characters! it really touched me in a way, no movie has ever touched me this much, because it is so reallistic, recoginzable and sincere…

    and i really hope that mathew and tanner are reading this, because i have some questions…. i REALLY don’t get how doc could leave Go?!?!?! HOW OULD YOU?

    i mean they both looked really happy together, even though go had sex with another guy.. i mean, can love only exist concluding monogamy? for me, i can enjoy sex without love and with love… and when i’m in a relationship with a guy, and i have sex with someone else, that would NOT change my love towards my BF whatsoever…

    i felt sooooo sad in the end of the movie, because basicly doc just used go as a object, and when he got what he needed, he just dumped him on the floor like people do with garbage… and he is soooo much more than that! how could you?!
    and you could really see in go’s eyes that that hurt him, but also that this wasn’t the first time this hapend to him(and i guess for a lot of us guys too) would have never left go!!!
    and for what did doc leave go? for a boring lonely country life??? for shotguns and lemonade on a porch? without this beautifully(inside and outside) boy….
    this was the only dissapointing(but oh so realistic) moment of the movie…. apart from that, i really loved this movie!
    anyway i really hope i could get a reply from doc/go (gvb van basten is my FB)
    xxx and hugs,
    guillaume

  36. Tanner I loved your movie. I am an older guy in Atlanta. Would love to meet you… Here…
    There… A third place. My phone is 404-246-5624.

    Think we could become good friends.

    We think alike on many things. I have a few close friends. Intensity beats diluting.

    You have gorgeous eyes and the sweetest smile.

    If you’re open to knowing each other, please get in touch.

    Hugs, sweet dude.

    Marty G

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