|Index||8 reviews in total|
Three delicious gay-themed short stories in one. POOL DAYS about a young boy who discovers what steam rooms [my what gorgeous hunks] and shower rooms and locker rooms are all about. He makes an attempt to try it out but never really jumps in the pool. Too bad. In FRIEND OF DOROTHY [that's all about being a lover of Judy Garland] we follow another young boy who is desperately trying to get hit on while attending NYU. He finally does get his gorgeous roomy in a very sensual scene only to see him graduate. Can't believe that this cutie patootie can't get laid in the Village. He sits around in Washington Square Park and gets passed over. Not real. But, again, all the actors are gorgeous. Finally there's DISCO YEARS. Young boy meets another beautiful blonde beauty playing tennis, and finally they meet for a midnight nude dip in the pool and turn it into a one night stand of passion. But, after some accepting of his sexuality and confessing to his Mom, who seems a bit too strained and lost in her own world of disco, he ends up coming to terms with his life and dances his disco buns off. All three films are American produced and sometimes the acting is obvious, but the guys are gorgeous to look at and some of the leads do a decent job of it. I always wonder how they do those wet kissing scenes. If these actors are straight, how do they put so much into the sexual scenes as well? My hats off to their believability.
These three directors are off to Good Beginnings. The three stories are remarkably well-done for independent productions and capture those traumatic feelings of "coming out" when you aren't really sure it's a good idea. I laughed at those veiled glances around the dressing room in "Pool Days"; I smiled at the notion that fans of Bette Midler, Judy Garland, and Barbra Streisand are assumed to be gay in "A Friend of Dorothy"(ie. browsing through the CD music racks); and I cringed over the "jock" in "The Disco Years" whose memory of sweet sex was now "blurred" by liquor. It all seemed so real. I look forward to more offerings from this trio of directors.
The trio are a pleasant, nostalgic journey to that first hint of
desire--when it was still about simple exploration of the unknown--before
"grew up" and added those complexities of HIV status, emotional baggage
gotta-run-my-pager-just-went-off into the emotional mix.
The angst portrayed is pure adolescent angst, but it rings true in all three stories. Their sweetness and positivity make you feel good that you are gay. And those kinds of films are few and far between.
Good news! Both Boys Life and Boys Life 2 are now readily available on DVD as of September 1999.
I did not expect much from this since I saw Boys Life 2 first (which is very inferior to this one). I was pleasantly surprised however. This is an excellent series of short films (3 all together) that all deal with the coming out experiences of high school/college age young men. All three are well written and produced and the acting is excellent. Raoul O'Connell is completely gorgeous and charming in "A Friend of Dorothy", the second short, but all three actors are memorable.
This trio of 30-minute short films on gay-related themes are all quite respectably executed. Each coming-of-age story is played out with pleasant charm and naturalness. This film deserves to be widely distributed and easily obtainable. However, it isn't. I had to order my video copy; none of the local video stores or even the libraries had it in stock.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's quite an accomplishment that three stories filmed by three very
different filmmakers could be simultaneously so insightful about gay &
bi-sexual relationships, and their struggles!
"Pool Days" is about the awkwardness of adolescence, and the mutual attraction between an older man and a younger one. A story about experience and vulnerability!
"A Friend Of Dorothy" portrays a common dilemma many gay and bi-sexual people experience at some point in their life: the intense attraction towards someone whom is heterosexual. Sensitively examined, this story truly left me feeling moved!
"The Disco Years" shows another version of a no-win situation: getting involved with someone who is not only confused about their sexual orientation, but is also terrified of being exposed as anything other than straight! A very empowering story for those of us who have experienced betrayal at the hands of a sexually confused and frightened person!
While these three stories will appeal to anyone who has an iota of empathy towards others, they will psychologically empower those who consider themselves gay, bi-sexual or searching. Each story is uplifting in its own unique way!
Actually, films are rather different. Although they're all light in some way. And sharing the main technical problem directing. I see, the directors are not mature enough, but the acting, and the picture, and even the script (at least, the third film) all that seems to be of better quality than directing. Too much drama, action gaps ans so on. But the stories are good. Characters are believable and are the ones I could like. All characters are modest, and not having much social activity. Gay teens problems are stated convincingly and being solved in an optimistic way. I like the third film the most. There are too much awkward situations in the second, and may be there could be better acting in the first one.
It's nice that these three young directors have produced films with good
productions values and decent acting. There's some good work
Unfortunately they suffer from what afflicts much of modern gay cinema; recycled plots, too familiar devices (i have seen the "pool" setting way too many times in gay male films) and hackneyed scripts. Most egregious of all is "Dorothy" whose preposterous premise is that a cute young guy will have trouble getting laid in NYC due to a shortage of identifiable availabe gay guys in his vicinity.
In terms of cinema these shorts play like tacky little gay afterschool specials. Not a lot of imagination in their writing or execution; basically they follow a point-and-shoot, shot/reaction shot/master shot convention which becomes painfully dull after five or so minutes. There's hope for queer cinema in the works of Todd Haynes, Sadie Benning and the late, great Marlon Riggs...but not here. These films are incredibly middlebrow, singularly whitebread and their values basically pander to a gay bourgeois sensibility. Which is probably why they play so well at gay film festivals.
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