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Film / Latter Days

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What do you get when red and blue mix?

Latter Days is a 2003 romantic dramedy film written and directed by C Jay Cox, starring Wes Ramsey and Steve Sandvoss.

Aaron Davis (Steve Sandvoss) is a Mormon missionary who has just moved to Los Angeles with three other missionaries (one of them played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in a small apartment. They aren't allowed any television, radio or anything that might lead them to temptation for the two years that they are working as missionaries. The problem is their openly gay next door neighbor, Christian Markelli (Wes Ramsey) and his roommate, Julie Taylor (Rebekah Johnson).

Christian gets into a bet that he can seduce one of the missionaries. Little does he know that Aaron is a closeted homosexual. They fall in love but deal with a lot of problems along the way.

This film features examples of:

  • All Gays are Promiscuous: Christian got around quite a bit before meeting Aaron. Part of his dilemma was the notion of settling down.
  • Back Story: It wasn't included in the final cut, but supposedly Paul had to give up a Love Interest he met during a mission, and that would explain his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Benevolent Boss: Lila, to the point of Team Mom.
  • The Bet: When the Mormon missionaries move in next door to Christian, he makes a bet with his friends that he can seduce one of them. However, this bet ends up having very little effect on the plot of the movie.
    • It may have been a contributing factor in Aaron's suicide attempt.
  • Bungled Suicide: Aaron when he's outed and forced back to Idaho. We spend a good chunk of the movie thinking he actually did it.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Aaron does this when the Elders of his parish, including his father, chew him out for his "abominable alternative lifestyle" and bring up the shame he brought on their ancestors:
    Aaron: Wait a minute - our ancestors? Dad, your grandfather had half a dozen wives. Same goes for every single person in this room. I'd say we were the original definition of "alternative lifestyle".
    Mr. Davis: Are you calling us Hypocrites!?
    Aaron: No. We've gone way beyond hypocrisy, Dad. Now we're just being mean.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Christian and Aaron had one kiss, nothing more, and apparently that was enough for Aaron to be sent home in shame and shunned by his family and entire parish. Christian even lampshades that the kiss was far from sexual.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Aaron tried to comfort grieving Lila after the death of her life partner. As a thank, she gave him her business card with her restaurant's address on it. Him going to Lila's restaurant was what finally allowed Aaron and Christian to reunite in the end.
  • Closet Key: Christian is this for Aaron.
  • Cure Your Gays: Aaron is shown to be at an "Ex-Gay" treatment facility after his suicide attempt.
  • Darkest Hour: We get this with Christian thinking that Aaron is dead through suicide.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the original screenplay, Aaron's sister was going to have a bigger role - she was the only member of his family who kept accepting and supporting him after his coming-out, and it was her who found him after his suicide attempt. In the final cut, she only appears in a short flashback scene and has no impact on the plot whatsoever.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In a basketball scene, Julie and Christian decided to take off their tank top to differentiate the team. Paul quickly ran himself into a basketball hoop as soon as he saw Julie. Arguably, Christian has the same effect on Aaron during the game.
  • Fag Hag: Primarily Julie and Lila. Julie seemingly befriends Christian and Andrew without any ulterior motives. Lila assumes this trope through her motherly nature. She could see Christian was heartbroken after finding out Aaron died and gave advice to cheer him up.
  • Gayngst: Being a member of Mormon Church, this comes naturally for Aaron. He was quickly deported and excommunicated after he was caught kissing Christian and his mother rejected him after outing himself.
  • Gayngst-Induced Suicide: After what happened above and knowing from his mother that Christian getting close to him was nothing more than a 50-dollar bet (his feelings became genuine after the bet, but Aaron didn't know that), Aaron tried to slit his wrist in bathroom. He survived, but the viewers and Christian were made to believe he died.
  • Ill-Fated Flowerbed:
    Andrew: I dated this Mormon guy once, his family put him through shock therapy. We'd have sex, he was a wild man. Then he'd want to throw himself out the window.
    Traci: So? You live on the first floor.
    Andrew: Yes, but it's hell on my azaleas.
  • I'm Going to Hell for This: Aaron brings this up during his night with Christian.
    Christian: You know, I thought you'd be a bit more reticent.
    Aaron: Well, I'm already going to hell for kissing you, so I may as well take the scenic route.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Paul is pretty much a douche most of the film and the worst when it comes to anti-gay agenda, but actually does like Aaron and is angry with Christian for getting Aaron into trouble. And after Aaron's flight leaves, he helps Christian out by telling him that there's a five-hour layover in Salt Lake City.
  • Knocking on Heathens' Door: Aaron and his co-missionaries do this on a daily basis, and get regularly doors slammed in their faces.
  • Magical Queer: A man dying of AIDS whom Christian spends some time with claims (or thinks, it's not really clear) he sometimes can "read" other people.
  • Parental Abandonment: When he was 13, Christian was abandoned in a heavy snowstorm in the middle of hunting deer by his father after he failed shooting any. This happened after his father found out Christian had been trying to wear his mother's shoes far too often, thinking he was gay.
  • Queer Romance: This is a romantic comedy movie between two guys, after all.
  • Snow Means Love: Christian confesses his love for Aaron in the snow in Salt Lake City. He also found comfort in being gay during a heavy snowstorm when he was younger by getting skin-to-skin with a man who saved him.
  • Team Mom: Lila is this for the waiters working in her restaurant, including Christian and Julie and, in the end, also Aaron, always ready to listen to their problems and give advice.
  • There Are No Coincidences: The movie seems to believe in this. Aaron believes this is how everything in life works. When he and Christian was reunited after a series of coincidences, Aaron quickly assumed the trope was in play.