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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
A LONG LONG Christmas Eve in the life of a Male Prostitute
It's Christmas Eve and Arquette a Male Prostitute has a plan in mind for Christmas day; his plan involves luxury and fantasy. This means he has to catch a few extra punters and be a little more daring than usual to achieve his goal - which is quite simple - unless you have the life of Arquette.
Most of the film is set on one boulevard befamed for 'pick ups'. It may help a little if you are gay or know of the gay culture. But having said that whatever your persuasion you can't help but like Arquette as he trys to get enough dollars together for his plan.
Throughout the film we meet his clients, his friends, his enemies, and we are a voyeur to the problems he faces in his line of work. He's a likeable chap, and as someone has already mentioned it's almost played out as a Shakespearian Tragedy - especially as we frequently return to the 'set' and more or less get to know our way around.
At one point he gets it together, but tragedy strikes, in a weird kind of way, at some points of the film you really feel like sending him the extra dollars he needs, as his dream is so innocent and quite pure.
In parts, the film is quite deep as it explores a couple of the characters he interacts with, and although he's naturally streetwise, there's a vulnerablility that keeps you on his side, and you really do feel like fighting for him, but the character John (Arquette)is strangely proud, and his pride is built from street level up, with a coating of fantasy and imagination.
There's also a guy looking for him to settle a debt, which turns a bit sour - with the help of a well-meaning friend.
The day is sooooo long in the film, yet John's shortage of the stuff keeps up the tension and sympathy, especially as he allows himself to take bigger risks, and the viewer knows it, as the camera indicates visual clues as to his possible next chapter in the day.
Although fairly old (in terms of rent boy/prostitute, he carries it off very well, as he goes through the usual motions of the belly rub and boyish stance.
There's lots of comedy in the film, but you don't really want to add to his troubles, making the direction manipulative and 'classic' in terms of human tragedy.
Meet John and his friends and foes alike, and you'll find that empathy is drawn from you as you watch this unique, almost surreal film unfold.
If you find yourself alone over Christmas, it may be worth a look at somebody who's got it a bit worse than you, with just a few more complications.
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