Title: A Home at the End of the World
Release Date: 2004
Running time: 120 min
Distributor and Production Company: Warner Independent Pictures
Director; Michael Mayer, based on a novel by Michael Cunningham
Cast: Erik Smith, Harris Allen, Sissy Spacek,, Robert Wright Penn
Relevance to doaskdotell site: HIV, homosexuality and teens
A Home at the
End of the World (2004, Warner Brothers
Independent Pictures, R, 120 min, dir. Michael Mayer, written by and based on
a novel by Michael Cunningham) presents the dramatic possibilities of the
reunion of boyhood or high school best friends. Now one way this can go is if
one friend is married with kids and the other friend is gay and then draws
him out, but here the situation is more subtle. Bobby Morrow and Jonathan
Glover will watch their lives time out at they grow closer again, as family
dies away in various tragedies and waits for them. This is a kind of gay
“Terms of Endearment.” They wind up living together in a rural house in
Bobby’s history goes
back to 1967, where his admired brother acts cool about free love in his
presence (inviting him into bed after sex with a girl friend) but will die in
a tragic accident at a party when he runs into a sliding class door, pulls a
chard out of his juggler vein and dies. Bobby and Jonathan pick up in 1974 as
Erik Smith plays the teenage Bobby and Harris Allen plays Jonathan. The
physical transformations into manhood by the actors are subtle and
interesting—as is a scene where they explore tenderness in the bedroom. Bobby
learns cooking from Jonathan’s mother (Sissy Spacek),
and he really likes to cook—it becomes his livelihood. By 1982 when Colin Farrell and Dallas
Roberts take over, the transformation is complete, but Jonathan seems to be
aging faster. It is Jonathan’s turn for family loss, as they travel to
This is a story of tenderness, of people making their own choices, and their turning out tragic. The ending is ambiguous enough, though, that they could have survived. But for the moralists who want to claim that their choices lead to their young demise, there is no real defense.
You I Love (Ya lyublu tebya) (2004, Picture This! Dir
Olga Stolpovskaya, Dmitry Troitsky,
Russia, R) provides a bit of gay love intrigue and family retribution in
Best of Schools (Grand Ecole) (2003, Pyramide/Eden Films, dir. Robert Salls, play and screenplay Jean-Marie Besset, France, hard R) presents a polygon of young adults, many of them students in a college business academy, in a complicate bisexual love network that is supposed to parallel the business concepts (“Hostile takeovers” “leveraged buyouts” “swaps”) being taught in the b-school. Agnes (Alice Taglioni) plays one boyfriend, the buff-blonde Paul (Gregori Baquet) against his water-polo perhaps straight boyfriend Louis (Jocelyn Quivrin), in a mismash that also brings in an Arab construction worker and painter Mecir (Salim Kechiouche). The confrontations are loaded with erotic potential (and outright nudity) but the French stylization and over-manipulation tends to weaken the story’s beats and the stakes for the characters, so the move leaves one wanting to have seen “more”—subtlety, that is.
Poster Boy (2004, Shallow Pictures, dir. Zak Tucker, with Matt
Newton, Michael Lerner, Jack Noseworthy, 95 min,
HDCAM, rec. PG-13), presents family and political drama, as a kind of
sociology lesson. Jack Klay aka Jesse Helms runs
for re-election as a religious right Republican U.S. Senator and enlists his
appealing son Henry (Matt Newton) to be his poster boy in a show of family
solidarity. Well, Henry is gay, and very much of the
assertive kind—Matt Newton plays the role out rather like Matt Damon. He is
first trailed to
Bear Cub (Cachorro) (2004, TLA,
Straight-Jacket (2004, Regent Pictures/Here!/
Tarnation (Wellspring, dir. Jonathan Cauoette, exc prod Gus Van Sant, 88 min, NR but should be R) is an interesting
collage assembled from home movies (in various formats, from digital video to
super 8 to older 8 mm) by a growing boy and young man (31 at the time of
filming) of his history with his psychotic mother Renee. Her descent into madness may have been
induced by shock treatments and horrible mismanagement by both family and the
Cowboys & Angels (2003, TLA, dir. David Gleeson, 89 min, R) gets us rooting for a young (straight) civil servant Shane (Michael Legge) in Limerick, Ireland. To save money, he moves in as a roommate with a young gay man Vincent (Allen Leech), a fashion designer (stereotyped). They warm up to each other quickly anyway, as Vincent tries the “queer eye for the straight guy” makeover. Shane focuses on his desire to quit civil service and go to art school, and, well, he needs money. He gets involved in drug running (as a “cowboy”) after a chance encounter with a neighbor (who later turns out to be gay and will try to “do him”). Vincent, in the meantime, is busting forth to get his fashion show done. Vincent (the gay one) turns out to be much more stable (the “angel”), as Shane starts getting into trouble. One early scene shows Vincent picking up an older man at a mixed bar (well defended by bouncers) who tries to strip off his shirt and says “I’ll buy you a new one.” That turns out to be critical as Shane drags Vincent into trouble too, and, well, the screenplay here needs a big character-driven payoff and it gets one. There are two other films in IMDB called “Cowboys and Angels.”
Testosterone ((“Testosterona”, 2003, Strand Releasing / Blue Streak, dir.
David Moreton, USA/Argentina, English/Spanish, 105
min, R) is a pretty weird comedy/drama about masculine gays—about the fusion
of macho masculinity of the “pink pistols” variety and aesthetic male
homosexuality. The opening credits, in fact, present woodcut-like artwork
showing gay men in various embraces, one hairy and one smooth—hence the
movie’s title. Dean Seagrave (played with great
charisma by hairy-chested David Sutcliffe) is a well-to-do successful gay
novelist and artist living in the ephemeral spring-like world of LA and
Brother to Brother (2004, Wolfe/C-Hundred, dir. Rodney Evans, 16 mm, NR but recommend R, about 90 min) provides the moviegoer with “intersection data” between African-American issues and gay issues. Yes, there is tension between gay blacks and the larger black community (which can be outrighly hostile to homosexuals), and there is a relationship of sorts here between a black and a white gay man, but what is interesting is the way the film provides an outsider’s view of the entire Civil Rights movement and the honesty thereof with which the media portrays it. I’m getting ahead of myself, and the movie’s website (link above) gives a detailed synopsis of the layered (after the manner of Adaptation) plot, but I want to make a few points.
Early on, Perry (Anthony Mackie), a young black man, is attending college, especially a heated political science class, and meets Jim (Alex Burns), a tall, gangly white student. Soon they have an intimate encounter in Perry’s room. There are details here—like no food or drink in a dorm room??—odd) and I personally think the scene could have been even more intimate without crossing the line---although Jim will apparently not get as close to Perry as Perry would like. (Although that almost happens—Jim, in bed in a tender scene, says as he strokes Perry, “You are so beautiful… your skin is so smooth.”) Now Jim seems like a role model gay character, rather like Jared Price in the movie reviewed above on this page, and I would have been interested in a movie that develops him more. However, the film quickly moves to its core issues. Perry, we learn, was kicked out of his home onto the streets when his dad found him in bed with another man. Another of Perry’s friends, Marcus (Larry Gilliard, Jr.) is reading poetry for him when aging writer Bruce Nugent (Roger Robinson, who rather resembles James Earl Jones in Everwood) appears. Soon Bruce is telling his long story of the Harlem Renaissance, which is shown in a crisp, abstract, 50s style black-and-white flashbacks (amounting to almost half the screen time of the movie) that reminds me of Amos ‘n’ Andy. Young Bruce is played by Duane Boutte, and looks much leaner. There is a particularly interesting episode where Bruce is trying to get published, and finds that his editor would compromise his integrity by trying to make “minor changes” to appeal to bean counters and mass markets—all of which reminds me of the “enemy” of all aspiring screenwriters—Hollywood. There is a tongue-in-cheek urinal scene where a vice cop, posing as a sailor (as if all sailors in that era were gay—here comes “don’t ask, don’t tell”) tries to entrap Bruce.
This film is on a small, platform release schedule, so the viewer will need to pay attention to when it comes to his or her hometown.
Summer Storm (Sommersturm) (2004,
Warner Independent Pictures/Regent/Claussen, dir.
Marco Kreuzpainter, in German, Widescreen Arriflex, 98 min, R) is a comic rondo of high school kids
coming of age – and coming out – in summer camp somewhere in Bavaria. You
know that this film is going to go toward the edge when the opening shot is
that of some teenage boys’ hairy legs, without faces. Then Tobi (Robert Stadlober) and his buddy Georg (Trsitano
Casanova) are running through the forest, when Tobi collides with a branch (ouh!!) and plays dead, or at least mute, for a minute.
The romp ensues. Tobi, Achim (Kostja
Ullmann), Anke (Alicja Bachleda-Curus) and
Sandra (Miraim Morgenstern) have arrived for
training for a rowing competition, and it seems that this will be against the
“queer” team from
Producing Adults (Lapsia ja aikuisia – Kuinka niita tehdaan?) (2004, Wolfe, dir.Aleksi
Salmenpera, Cinemascope, in Finnish, 102 min, R) is
the sensational film from
Eating Out (2004,
Ariztical, dir. Allan Brocka,
90 min., rec. NC-17, HDCAM ). Do not confuse this
with Eating Raoul! This little “comedy club” gem is filled on location
Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds (2006, Ariztical, dir. Phillip J. Bartel,
81 min, NR (NC-17?) has different characters for a dessert farce, hardly up
to “Eating Raoul”. This time Kyle (Verarros)
enlists some fag hags to go after an ambiguous boy
(2004, Sony Pictures Classics, dir. Alice Wu, 91 min, R) combines several
indie genres and topics, and produces a comedy that skims across the surface
of much deeper issues of family loyalty and responsibility. You could say
that the picture blends TheWB’s The Gilmore Girls with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, with The Joy Luck Club and oriental
comedy in general, back to women’s interests, feminism, and lesbianism, not
that any of these need to come together. They just do in this film, shot in
My Summer of Love (2005, Focus/Apocalyso/
(2004, Sony Pictures Classics/Merchant Ivory, dir. Chris Terrio,
screenplay by Amy Fox, produced Ismail Merchant, 93 min, R) strikes me as a
retelling of “Making Love” even if that comment strikes many people as
missing the dramatic point. The “omniscient observer” viewpoint of the
screenplay keeps us from seeing this as a “gay movie,” but rather as a
dramatic daisy chain. The film comes from Merchant Ivory, best known for
historical costume period pieces. Instead, here we have a one day “24 hours”
multi-character drama (the Heights is not necessarily Brooklyn Heights, but
just a figurative term for relationships in New York City), moving from one
to the next in cartwheel fashion (reminding one of “Crash,” “Magnolia,”
“Thirteen Conversations About One Thing,” John Sayles and Robert Altman
movies, even if smaller here). Yes, the characters will collide like Pauli
particles and get reshuffled. The real story, though, turns out to be
transparent. Isabel (Elizabeth Banks), a photographer, is engaged to an
attractive entertainment lawyer Jonathan (James Marsden), and gradually will
learn of his bisexuality. In fact, Jonathan has weekly trysts with a young
actor Alec (Jesse Bradford), and at one time had a gay affair with a British
artist, whose agent Peter (John Light) seems to be unmasking the episode.
I’ll note that the head shots for Marsden and Bradford look a lot alike on
imdb.com, and they seem a bit too much alike in this film. Jesse Bradford has
indeed recovered from the depilation needed for Swimfan.
It seems that Alec lives in the same building as Jonathan, unbeknownst to
Isabel until Alec auditions with her mother (Glenn Close), a Shakespeare
director putting on Macbeth and playing Lady Macbeth. Alec accidentally (or
perhaps not so accidentally) leaves his leather jacket after the audition,
and that helps bring the characters together. Along the way there are
voyeuristic opportunities, such as when Isabel is rebuffed for trying to take
a picture of a low income mother and daughter on the subway, and even the
Coming (1995, Water Bearer, dir. Jack Walsh, 53 min) is a
delicious little 16 mm grainy black and white film documenting the takeover
of the US government by the “Army of God,” in a manner that is supposed to
parallel the rise of Nazi Germany. The terrorists take over a nuclear power
plant (housed in the Bureau of Standards, which of course does not have a
nuclear plant on its premises) and blackmail the government into surrender.
It seems that it was an inside job with the military and the president. In the meantime, a gay Puerto Rican fellow
named Carlos (John Connally) falls in love with a Jewish
geek (Jeff Constan) and they try to organize a
resistance. They both meet separate, grisly ends, not until Carlos is
teat-tortured and raped by straight men. The title is ironic, in that I named
the third chapter of my first DADT book “My Second Coming.” The
Lovers (“Los Novios Bulgaros”)
2003, TLA, dir. Eloy de la Iglesia,
101 min, NC-17) is one of those European films that presents the gay world as
a complete parallel universe, here centered around modern Madrid. A middle
aged businessman Daniel (Fernando Guillen Cuervo) brings home a handsome young man Kyril, from
Queen: The Marc Hall Story (2004, Wolfe/
Three Dancing Slaves (“Le Clan”)
(2004, TLA, dir. Gael
(2005, Pasidg, dir. Tommy Stovall, 104 min, R) is a
riveting revenge drama of the hidden commission and aftermath of an gay-bashing murder. The film is shot on location in
Dallas, much of it in the
Guys and Balls (2004, Buena Vista Int/Regent/Hager Moos, dir. Sherry Horman, R, 106 min) (“Manner wie wir”) Ecki (Maximilian Bruckner), playing goalie, loses a soccer game for his team by letting a shot through, and this is caught kissing a teammate. Banished, he organizes a gay soccer team that will win the final match. This is a kind of gay “Remember the Titans.” There is plenty of physical comedy, even with women (one of whom taunts Ecki with total off camera nudity after she “prepared”), and even affectionate action in elevators. This seems to be a crowd pleaser.
Hard Pill (2005, Stoebner, dir. John Baumgartner, 94 min, R) is a slow-motion situation comedy with a premise that one could deem offensive: a gay man, Tim (Jonathan Slavin) signs up with a pharmaceutical company to take a pill that will make him heterosexual. The experiment makes the news, with others making comments, some of which would get one in trouble in the workplace. The film introduces many characters with a Kinsey scale meter on the screen, with the homosexual to heterosexual continuum shown. Tim has been having quick tricks with a bisexual rock musician friend, and Tim’s role is what one might guess (the scene is not that well directed – the terms in the Army were “give” and “take”). The medication itself is a kind of Viagra, that makes him interested in performing and bearing the responsibility for the initiative, and also makes him reactive to typical female signals (even pheromones). That (the biology) is presented with a certain candor. The film has various subplots with other characters’ liaisons that seem at most loosely connected to Tim’s struggle.
The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (2005, Production/Zone, dir. George Bamber, 92 min, R) gives us a handsome, masculine and likeable 26-year-old protagonist Ethan (Daniel Letterle), who has an on-off love affair with an older guy. He meets a baby-faced teenage realtor Punch (Dean Shelton) who will complicate his love life with lots of 50s-style physical comedy. The one serious line is when Ethan asks Punch how old he is (he is rightfully suspicious of underage) and Punch answers 19. (Maybe that was to reassure the lawyers.) Their “friendship” grows, as other characters migrate toward a gay wedding that will be punctuated by an asthma attack. (Broken weddings are pretty common in movies and television series today.) There are some scenes where pretty specific acts are suggested, but they are funny rather than erotic. So the film bops along with very little tension.
Sinner (2002, Wolfe/Jour de Fete/Thief, dir. John Henry Davis, 93
min, R) sounds like a downer for a title for a film about religion and
homosexuality. The story is engaging. A young Episcopalian seminary student
Peter (Brendan Hines) quits school, apparently after being put on probation
for tangential involvement in a violent incident with a troubled skinhead
(and maybe repressed gay) man Scott (Joshua Harto).
He goes to college at a small school in
Silent: Ortho-Dykes (2005, wjff/Keshet-Rainbow, dir. Llil
Alexander, 52 min,
Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School
dir. Irena Fayngold, 60 min,
America (2005, Seventh Art, dir. Henry Corra,
95 min, PG-13) is a documentary presenting the gay marriage issue,
particularly tracing the stories of several same sex couples as they face the
variety of anti-gay initiatives in many states (and the silly attempt at a
federal constitutional amendment defining marriage in the summer of 2004)
after the ruling in Massachusetts in early 2004 requiring the state to
recognize gay marriage. Of course, the conservative arguments skim along the
top. The fact is, many conventional straight people need the social supports
of marriage (including the whole biological complementarity and courtship) as
part of their psychosexual experience, a necessity to keep a marriage
together while the raise children. Various domestic situations, such as a gay
male couple adopting, are shown.
Dorian Blues (2004, TLA, dir., wr Tennyson Bardwell, 85 min, PG-13). Well, the Dorian mode is what you get with a scale that starts on D and plays the white keys. Dorian is also the name of the protagonist, and he is a much gentler soul that Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray. As a high school senior (played by Kansas Michael McMillian), he has an epiphany, and tells his football jock brother Nicky (Lea Coco) that he is gay. (Dorian seems somewhat verbal and artistic, and at one point he says that he has a gift for “melancholy,” a concept that religious right Evangelist Tim La Haye used to quote in his anti-gay tirades twenty years ago.) At first, the brother warns him not to tell anyone and high school students taunt him; it seems that by “telling” about a personal characteristic he can destroy other people, as if he had some kind of heat vision. It’s always been interesting to me that people regard personal disclosures about oneself as harmful to others (especially family, but also peers). The brother gradually accepts it but the father (Charles Fletcher) doesn’t and kicks Dorian out. Apparently, though, he pays for Dorian’s tuition at NYU, where he becomes a top student and runs through some boy friends before having a real reconciliation with his brother. His father will die of a heart attack brought on by his inflexibility, and in the end Dorian will be reconciled with his mother (Mo Quigley). Dorian manages to look sexy with his clothes on, whereas his brother always seems to socially clumsy.
Stupide (2004, Picturehouse, dir. Lionel
Baier, Frm 93 min, NC-17)
casts Pierre Chatagny as a young adult (Loic) going through coming of age, with his camera and
various explicit encounters with men, while he “dates” Marie (Natacha
Koutchoumov). The film is choppy and in small
aspect ratio, digital video although great sound with the Rachmaninoff First
Piano Concerto and First Symphony in the background toward the end. There are
kinky scenes, as when he starts to shave the chest of one of Marie’s partners
while he sleeps. At the end, he watches a globalization protest in
I Can’t Marry You (2004, F.Y.I. Productions, dir. Catherine Gray, 57 min) is a documentary making the case for same-sex marriage. Evan Wolfson at one point simply states that the government has no right to discriminate on someone based on their choice of adult partner, that is part of the fundamental right to privacy or at least private choice. But even more so in the Internet age, marriage itself is a very public affair. Early on, a speaker asserts that gay marriage is important for giving gays social equality, or at least social acceptability. The keyword here is social.
The film presents a lot of people, including one male gay couple that has been together for 55 years, another for 42. One gay policeman accounts that one day his mother had read his personal diary (printed, not on the Internet) and asked for a Rheingold talk. The mother admitted that she had not enjoyed sex with her husband for thirty two years, yet threw him out the next day (after the son said that that was her problem, not his). Over seven years, she grew and changed her views. There is a pair of charismatic teenagers, one of whom had outed his lesbian parents.
The film goes into the plethora of benefits that accompany marriage, of course, but it does not go far enough to explain why gay marriage matters even to those not in relationships. That is because persons who did not get married are often expected to subjugate their own interests to meet the needs of those who do. The heterosexual family is viewed as a final step of validation of adulthood and one’s claim of the full respect for others. The head of a family is expected to protect other family members, including those who cannot marry but who are expected to remain in a supportive position. Modern individualism has questioned this, and viewed relationships as private choices for the benefits of the individuals, but older views of the family were that it provides a social order that takes care of people and therefore should not be challenged. Why are parents so often crushed by learning that a son is gay? Because the unquestioned deferential loyalty to blood by children was thought to be a birthright that made fulfilling the duties of parenthood worth it, and because it gets most of the caretaking of people done. The competition from gay sexual interest, and therefore even committed gay marriage, devalues the notion of blood family as an indirect component of self-esteem for many people. There is a basic conflict here about what basic rights ought to be, given the tremendous responsibility for others that keeping a free society going requires. Such topics as filial responsibility laws come to mind, as these could well be covered in another film. The second-class citizenship idea, however, leaves as wondering about all the ways some of us expect others to remain subordinate to us and still have their own world of dignity. We used to expect that of the “Negro” slaves.
Knot (2004, Roadside Attractions / Docurama,
dir. Jim de Seve, 87 min, sug
PG-13) is an even more comprehensive, from a historical point of view, account
of the issue of same-sex civil unions and same-sex marriage. It starts with
black and white footage of the Gay Activists Alliance at
Sinners (“Saints and Sinners”, Persona / HVE / Avatar, dir.
Abigail Honor, Yan Vizinberg, 71 min) Edward De Bonis and Vincent Maniscalco
trace their separate comings out to their families as young men, their living
together in New York City, and their decide to get married. A Catholic priest
performs the holy union ceremony in an Episcopal facility. There is a lot of
discussion of how Catholic theology regards homosexuality as an “objective
disorder” and sex without procreative potential as sinful or as cheating
nature or God, and of the risks taken by Catholic personnel in having
anything to do with this. The film accounts for the founding of Dignity, and
of its meeting in non-Catholic facilities. The
Arthur (2002, Q Culture, dir. Sam Mraovich,
85 min). A low-budged melodrama that moves all too quickly in showing how
extreme homophobia can turn to violence. Arthur (Sam Mraovich)
convinces his lover Ben (Jamie Brett Gabel) to fly to
V for Vendetta (2006,
Warner Bros,/Anarchos/DC Comics, dir. James McTeigue, dir. Andy and Larry Wachowski,
130 min, R) has a masked vigilante character named V taking pot-shots at a
totalitarian Britain in 2020, with John Hurt as the dictator. The world has
fallen apart because of political corruption and mismanagement of major
threats, including epidemics. It seems that the government may have planted a
viral epidemic that has killed 80000 people in a few days. Infrastructure has
fallen apart in both
The film has been viewed as controversial as somehow justifying terrorism. I don't think it does, as the circumstances have become so extreme. It sounds more like "revolution" as we took it to mean in the 60s.
The Truth about Jane (2000, Lifetime/Hearst/Starlight, dir. Lee Rose, 87 min ) gives us Stockard Channing in one of her most intense roles (like The Business of Strangers), this time as a previously liberal mother Janice who wads up when faced with the suspicion and then “admission” by her daughter (Ellen Muth) is that the teen is a lesbian. Jane has discovered herself in a friendship with Taylor (Alicia Lagano). Even the understanding father says he wants grandchildren, but Janice seems particularly hurt by her daughter’s apparent lack of biological or blood loyalty. She insists that he has a right to have what she wants for her daughter. The parents threaten to send Jane to boarding school. An English teacher Ms. Walcott (Kelly Rowan) confides her own lesbianism to Jane, and Janice threatens to press some kind of charges for “improper influence.” But when Jane threatens suicide, Ms. Walcott is able to bridge the gap in a climactic confrontation. Finally, Jane is able to get Janice to join PFLAG.
The script does delve into the causes of “homophobia” among parents, and that includes the idea that they feel rejected by their children’s lack of biological loyalty, and they subscribe to a moral value code that the conventional heterosexual world of marriage and children is the best way to give everyone some sense of value.
Circuit (2001, TLA/Jour de Fete, dir.
Dirk Shafer, 140 min, HD digital video, sug NC-17)
At a gay book club at Barnes and Noble in Minneapolis, I can remember a
heated discussion about circuit parties. Well, this film starts with the “Red
Party” and switches over to the “Blue Party,” and seems like a continual
circuit party. The story, though, matters. A small time gay cop John Webster
(Jonathan Wade-Drahos), after he refuses to bust
another gay in front of his partner, is asked by the chief to move to the big
city where he can really live his “lifestyle.” He meets a hustler Hector
(Andre Khabazzi) who, despite the fact that he only
does sex for money, initiates him in circuit party culture. The story sprawls
over a lot of territory, as an HIV+ man who is shaken down by a viatical “investor” when he will live too long. Tad
(Daniel Kucan) is a nice character who is always
videotaping everything, turning this into an “I am curious” film. Slowly John
sinks into the world of drugs (ecstasy and probably crystal meth) and can’t
vomit it out fast enough. There are even scrotal Viagra injections, almost on
camera. The circuit party disco floors are surprisingly tame, however, given
the dirty dancing. There is no ritual; the men are already stripped and
prepped with shaved chests. (In a fitting room, there is one razor swipe.)
There is nothing left to do. Maybe that’s how it is in
Another Gay Movie (2006, TLA, dir. Todd Stephens, 92 min, sug NC-17). Well, students at “San Torum” High School in the O.C. California can be openly gay, and teachers seem to be able to cross the line. Actually, in higher income areas in more progressive communities, it is not unusual to find GS alliances and openly gay students who progress happily. Here, the four pals are varied enough in how they look, but Jarod (Jonathan Chase) is the hairy-chested stud who can hit tape measure home runs, Andy (Michael Carbonaro, who looks and acts his part like another "Jason Biggs," even to the point of preparatory ritual "grooming" of himself) has a bisexual dad who helps him celebrate his graduation and 18th birthday with sex toys, and Jonah Blechman and Mitch Morris round out the musketeers. That is as serious as you can get, though, as this comedy tries to exceed “American Pie” with gay gags, body excretions, sex toys, harnesses and the like. It’s not necessary to make a detailed list for a movie review. It may be funny as sitcom, but it is not erotic. One can question taste, as in one scene two older bears wear Nambla t-shirts, even as one of the characters recreates Ben Affleck’s dance moves from “Forces of Nature.” The characters have to “score” before the summer before college is over. (There’s no Seth lamenting about not getting in to Brown.) Only in the last ten minutes do the characters find anything like real love, and only then does the film get in any way erotic.
Gays Gone Wild: Another Gay Sequel (2008, TLA, dir. Todd Stephens, 95 min, NC-17) Gays on spring break have a contest as to who scores the most. This film is much more explicit, with lots of gay “American Pie” comedy. There’s crabs crawling on guys (resembling “Bugcrush”) leading to a crotch shaving scene, then a puke fest, and then a scene where somebody uses epoxy glue instead of condom lube. There are horror movie “dream” scenes with frat attacks and decapitations. This is pretty wild. Jake Mosser plays the most likeable character.
[The Big Gay Musical] (2009, dir. Casper Andreas and Fred M. Caruso). Blogger.
But I’m a Cheerleader (1999, Lions
Gate, dir. Jamie Babbit, 85 min, NC-17) is a
“comedy of sexual disorientation.” Megan (Natasha Lyvonne)
doesn’t keep up the proper appearances at high school and her parents suspect
her of lesbian, so she gets sent to a boarding camp for ex-gay
rehabilitation. But she may develop a real love affair with Graham (Clea Du Vall). This film was
mentioned in “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” as an example of how gay films get
more restrictive ratings from the
Jam (2006, Article, dir. Mark Woollen, 87 min, sug PG-13) is
a video documentary about the American Roller Derby League, from 1998-2004,
run by Tim Patten (diagnosed as HIV+ in 1984) and his partner David. Various
business conflicts are shown, as a lot of contemporary
(2005, “First Look” “Work in Progress”, Balancing/OneinTen/Jerome,
dir. Kirk Shannon Butts, 72 min, NR, sug. PG-13) is
a bit of an indie road movie in the tradition of “Jerome’s Razor.” Here, two African
American friends of college freshman age take a trip to
Puccini for Beginners (2006, Strand/
Coming Out (1989,TLA/DEFA,
dir. Heiner Carow, 113
min, R) is first gay film to come from
Colour Me Kubrick: A True…ish
Story (2007, Magnolia / Europa Corp., dir. Brian W. Cook, 86 min, UK, no
rating but would suggest R). So we see John Malkovich
(now 54) being John Malkovich being Alan Conway
being Stanley Kubrick. John is about the only actor who can pull something
like this off, a very male comedy that is almost a monologue. Here he is,
loaded with inverted testosterones: male enough to be bald and hairy of body,
even if his aging gams look stubby.
The story is supposed to be more or less true: a middle aged gay man
Alan Conway did an “identity theft” on Stanley Kubrick, pretending to be the
director in order to pick up young men in gay bars, while Kubrick filmed
“Eyes Wide Shut.” It caused Kubrick
enough trouble to take legal action. In time,
Boy Culture (2006, TLA Releasing /
Pierce, dir. Q. Allan Brocka, 87 min, NR but would
be R). This little film, set in
Building (“Omaret Yacoubian”,
Strand Releasing /
Shelter (2007, Here! / Regent, dir.
Jonah Markowitz, 97 min, R,
Gone, but not Forgotten (2003, United
Gay Network, dir. Michael D. Akers, 94 min). Again, this is a gay situation
“melodrama” with some writing tricks known from French film but also
reminiscent of Douglas Sirk’s work in the 50s. In
the San Bernadino Mountains near LA, a park ranger
Drew (Aaron Orr) rescues a yuppie Mark (Matt Montgomery) who has temporary
amnesia after a climbing fall. He takes Mark in and they start a love affair.
As Mark’s memory starts to return, his heterosexual past will catch up with
him, and suspicion will catch up with Drew. The plot threads recall a bit of
both “Misery” and “Making Love” in different ways (maybe even “Gone, Baby
Gone”), but the resolution is much brighter than it might have been. The
Outing Riley (2004, Wolfe, dir. Pete Jones, 88 min) Bobby Riley, the youngest son in a large Irish Catholic family in Chicago, struggles with multiple opportunities to out himself to his brothers after his father dies. There is an interesting confessional where the priest says he is a chaste heterosexual who has followed his calling, and this gets into the choice v. nature argument. There is more female nudity than male in this light-hearted film, and it touches on a few other topics, such as improper web surfing in the workplace.
Nina’s Heavenly Delights (2006, Here!, dir.
200 America (2003, Wolfe, dir.
Richard LeMay, 83 min) A hairy-chested gay man
Conrad (Matt Walton), reeling from a breakup, meets a male prostitute from
Australia Ian (Sean Matic) and then hires him for
sleeping with him into an ad agency that he owns. Ian goes for another man in the agency, but
we learn that Ian is illegal (why from
Slutty Summer (2004, TLA, dir. Casper
Andreas) The writer and director of this film plays a writer who takes a
summer job as a waiter and goes through a number of boy friends, which being
very clumsy at his job. The main friend seems to be Tyler (Jamie Hathchett, who keeps his Brit accent). Rather light
hearted stuff. There are some directoral
inconsistencies. In one erotic scene, he is about to be undressed by
2 Minutes Late (2007, TLA, dir. Robert Gaston, 78 min) is a film noir thriller where a gay insurance adjuster impersonates his missing twin brother who is a risqué photographer, with the help of a lesbian detective. But some homage to 40s style storytelling. You hardly notice that it is a “gay movie.” Blogger.
You Belong to Me (2007, Wolfe, dir. Sam Zalutsky, 82 min). A gay architect (Daniel Sauli) moves into a brownstone to chase a boyfriend but find the landlady won’t let go of him. It turns into a kind of Psycho. Blogger.
In the Blood (2008, TLA Releasing / Superstitious, dir, wr. Lou Peterson). A college senior (Tyler Hanes), struggles with coming out and at the same time protecting his sister from a campus stalker, the complications of with lead to a supernatural family secret. Hanes is impressive. Link here.
Rock Haven (2008, TLA Releasing, 78
min, dir, David Lewis, NC-17) A late teen moves to the
Little Ashes (2009, Regent / Here!, 112 min, R, Spain/UK) Three artists in pre-Franco
An Englishman in New York (2009, LeopardDrama, dir. Richard Laxton, 72 min, UK) The later years of raconteur Quetin Crisp, aka Denis Charles Pratt, who tended to blurt out what was on his mind in his speeches. Blogger.
Mr. Right (2007, Mugshots, dir. David and Jacqui Morris, UK, 115 min, R) Several young gay Brits collide, especially Alex (a charismatic Luke de Woolfson) in his bid to break into showbiz. Blogger.
The Swimsuit Issue (“Allt Flyter”, 2010, Tribeca, dir. Mans Herngren, Sweden, PG-13). Straight men from Sweden enter what is normally a women’s swimming event in Germany and pass through gay pride. Blogger.
The Kids Are All Right (2010, Focus/Gilbert, dir. Lisa Chodolenko, R), but the grownups (lesbians who each had a kid by artificial insemination from Mark Ruffalo’s character) aren’t. Watch actor Josh Hutcherson, “the gentle jock” for is future. But the lesbian parents did raise great kids. Blogger.
Patrik Age 1.5 (or “Patrik 1,5”, 2010, Regent/Here!, dir. Ella Lemhagen, Sweden, 103 min, R) Two married gay men adopt a homophobic teenager, inadvertently trying to get a baby. Blogger.
Undertow (“Contracorriente”) (2011, Wolfe//Dynamo, dir. Javier Feuntes Leon); a ghost of a male lover appears to a Peruvian fisherman when his wife has a babt. Blogger.
Related reviews: Making Love (and other older GLBT films); Latter Days (God’s Army, Saved); POV films; The Journey of Jared Price with And Then Came Summer, The Trip Luther Five Lines Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House Dogma et al. Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss Gods and Monsters; Kinsey Gerry; Elephant Good Will Hunting Bad Education and Mysterious Skin(important!!); Death in Venice; The Music Lovers Far from Heaven Advise and Consent Chuck&Buck (Swimfan on that file), The Closet Water Drops on Burning Rocks Beefcake The Next Best Thing Boys Don’t Cry Dear Jesse Homo Heights; Naked Fame, also Crash, Magnolia ; also WTC View Loggerheads Kids in America The Dying Gaul Brokeback Mountain Book: Peter Gomes, The Good Book The Picture of Dorian Gray Beautiful Thing I am Curious (Yellow) Boogie Nights Time to Leave This Film Is Not Yet Rated Jerome’s Razor (indie road movie example) Borat Hellbent Running with Scissors Food of Love Being John Malovich Eyes Wide Shut Judgment at Nuremberg Ice Men
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