Ready? OK! made the rounds — and picked up awards — at the LGBT film fests last year, now it makes an encore appearance at the 20th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. The film's young protagonist and I have something in common: We both wanted to be jr. high cheerleaders.
Growing up in the small town of Carbondale, Kansas in the '70s, there weren't a lot of outlets for an "artistic" child such as myself. Never really interested in athletics, I became determined to show my school spirit by becoming a jr. high cheerleader. At that point, no male student in the school, or the entire district had shown any interest in cheer, and it took what seemed like an act of Congress to even get them to let me try out. Well, I did audition and that's sadly where this tale come to an end (that whole process is so political!), but watching Ready? OK!, my childhood ambition — and the persecution by others who didn't understand me — came flooding back. And that's okay because Ready? OK! is one gem of an entertaining film.
A single mom (Carrie Preston) has a sweet, happy and enthusiastic 10-year-old-son (Lurie Poston). Joshua wants to be a cheerleader, and is encouraged to go for his dreams by his gay neighbor (Michael Emerson) who tells him: "Little boys can be whatever they want. Don't you forget that." Mom gently tries to discourage this ambition, and the Catholic school nuns find rules to forbid it, to which Joshua retorts, "I'm not trying to break the rules, I'm trying to change them."
Joshua, is absolutely undaunted and not at all self-conscious about following his dreams. The adults who don't understand, or the other kids at school who ridicule him, can't seem to dampen his resolve, which ultimately is the lesson: Joshua doesn't need to change his behavior to fit others expectations; it's the expectations that need to change.
Ready? Ok! was shot on a limited budget at director James Vasquez's San Diego house in only 18 days. With a terrific cast and an exuberant young performer, this is a touching and terrific comedy that you will two.. four… six… eight… totally appreciate!
Official Website: ReadyOkMovie.com
Screening at Palm Springs International Film Festival
Monday, January 12, 7:30 PM
Wednesday, January 14, 1:30 PM