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It's the day before Christmas, the day before John's 21st birthday. He's a prostitute on Santa Monica Blvd in L.A., and he wants to spend that night and the next day at the posh Park Plaza Hotel. He's ripped off a local drug dealer to pay the bill, but as he's sleeping that morning, someone steals his shoes right off his feet, with the money in them. Meanwhile, Donner, a lad new to the streets, wants John to leave the city with him for Camelot, a theme park in Branson, MO, where they'll work as lifeguards. John spends the day trying to hustle the money for the hotel, avoid Jimmy the Warlock, keep his girl friend placated, and figure out how to deal with Donner's friendship. Written by
JOHNS offers little in the way of comfort for the viewer. Unlike other films that skirt around the subject of child and male prostitution(WHERE THE DAY TAKES YOU)or couch the subject in arty symbolism and metaphor(MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO)JOHNS gives an unflinching portrait of these boys and the clients who exploit them. David Arquette is John, a seasoned street hustler who reluctantly takes under his wing Donner(Lukas Haas)a runaway and novice prostitute. Despite his flaky demeanor, Arquette turns in a studied performance, and Haas does what he seems to do best, stand around looking sad and introspective. It's a world where violence can and does erupt at any moment and the hustlers count a successful day as one in which they've managed to live through. Moving without any sentimentality. Try it.
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