|Index||5 reviews in total|
"Boys Life 4" continues the successful series of short films about gay
The first story is called "L.T.R." (ie. Long Term Relationship) which focuses on the lives of two young men aged 20 and 21 (ie. 'twinks') who fall in love and believe that it will last forever. An amateur film-maker documents their entire relationship from week one... right through to week four. One of the boys is very much a responsible home-maker while the other is a pot-head. The dynamics of their relationship recall the days of young love and how immature and inexperienced two young men can be. Some of the funnier high-lights include interviews with their friends and their take on the relationship, along with some personal 'interaction' with the film-maker himself.
The second story is called "O Beautiful" and tells the story of a young gay man who is attacked and sexually molested by a group of homophobic men in a New Jersey cornfield, and is then rescued by one of his attackers who returns after everyone else leaves. This would probably be the most drawn-out story of the four. It is hard to say whether these two men build a friendship, or more of an understanding when they spend the entire trying 20 minutes of the story talking about being gay, dealing with it and where to go from there. I actually felt that this was the most boring out of the four stories and probably the most cliched, especially the scene where the attacker breaks out into a rendition of "O Beautiful" for no other real reason than to cause the viewer irritation and drum in the fact that 'THIS IS AN INDEPENDENT FILM! YOU MUST LOVE ME!'. For those who are interested, there is only one shot of male 'nudity' in Boys Life 4 and you will find it in "O Beautiful".
The third story is called "Bumping Heads" and is a bittersweet story of an older man in his 40's who falls in love with a young drug-abusing man in his 20's who designs hats. The two meet at a party where they, 'bump heads' while reaching for a can of beer. Their friendship builds when they go out to a nightclub and again, 'bump heads' while looking around the club at the people dancing. The story is partly told in flashbacks from a hospital room where the older man has a bloody patch on his head and the younger man is angry at him for starting a fight. We discover what happened through the telling of the incidents leading up to this to what actually happened at the nightclub. There are some funny lines from the female Doctor at the hospital, but other than that, the ending leaves your mouth feeling a little sour.
The fourth and story is called "This Car Up", referring to an elevator in an office building and the budding relationship that is about to be explored by a bored office worker and a bicycle courier. This would have to be my favorite story of the four. The two men appear to be very superstitious about love, the office worker always referring to his 8-ball for answers, while the bicycle courier counts his odds by flipping quarters. The story is told in split-screen style with a set of spinning poker slots above their heads that tell you what they're currently thinking. I thought the format was clever and extremely funny and the outcome is very comforting. Definitely one of the cutest stories in the Boys Life series.
All in all, I was very pleased with Boys Life 4. The series is certainly not tired and with the continuing addition of fresh and innovative story-tellers and directors, I predict Boys Life to continue on for quite some time.
My Rating - 7 out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was the first of the series that I have seen, having nothing else to
this afternoon and having seen most everything else in theatres that I
wanted to see. SPOILERS HEREIN
The first segment, entitled "L.T.R," chronicles the relationship of two young twenty something boys (emphatically "boys") who meet and "fall in love." They invite a videographer to tape a documentary about the weeks that follow until the relationship is shown to take a turn that neither boy expects. Hopefully, what transpires in the weeks that pass teaches the boys that there is a marked difference between love and lust. This one is by far and away the funniest segment.
"O Beautiful," the second segment, was by far and away the most touching. It begins with a boy having just been sexually violated and beaten up by other boys in a dark cornfield. We're spared seeing the attack as the scene begins immediately thereafter. The victim is approached by a young man who arrives on the scene and does what he can to comfort the victim first by wiping the blood from the boy's face, giving him his jeans, and later his letterman's jacket. The "rescuer" at one point starts to sing "America the Beautiful" at one point while they are engaged in debate over the victim's homosexuality and the brutality of the attack. The rescuer advises the victim in a none too tactful way that he was essentially a victim because his actions displeased God. Although the boy who rescues the victim at first tells him that he left the scene before the attack began, he later admits that he stood and watched while the attackers stripped the boy naked from the waist down and allegedly violates him with a stick. Obviously, it's a stretch of suspended belief that the guy is not bleeding to death from the damage that such an act would cause his internal organs. The segment ends with the rescuer, who basically admits that he was wrong not to protect the victim from the onset and gives him his pick-up truck which the injured boy then drives away in leaving his "rescuer" in the middle of the cornfield at night. An understandable, but unsatisfying ending. The acting could have been much better, I would have liked to have seen tears instead of attempts to generate them, but still the most moving of all four segments.
"Bumping Heads" tells the story of a 35 year old man, Craig, and his twenty something companion, Gary, who are in the emergency room of a hospital as a result of a fight Craig was involved in in a local gay bar. Craig made the unfortunate mistake of trying to save Gary from an lecherous stranger in the back room of the bar, and gets his noggin cracked for his efforts. The physician treating Craig assumes that the two men are lovers because of the way they treat one another, i.e., fawning, finishing one another's sentences, etc. Turns out, Gary has a long term lover who lives on the west coast (the story taking place on the east) and had never mentioned it to Craig. Craig makes one last effort out of many to entice Gary into a romantic relationship that fails miserably because he thinks he has convinced both himself and Gary that the two of them would be great together. This segment, to me at least, was the least interesting and almost pointless.
Finally, "This Car Up," which is told quite imaginably (you have to see it for yourself), about two men who seem diametrically opposed to one another in every possible way. Pete is a suit in a downtown office building, Adrian is a multiply-pierced bicycle messenger who have a chance encounter when Pete takes a smoke break outside his office building. They're each smitten by the other and, in the end, find romance in form of a lingering kiss in the building's elevator. The kind of kiss that only two straight actors (I'm willing to bet) can share; no tongues. This is the only story that ends with the proverbial "happy" attached.
...in that order, is my rating for these four short films, from
worst. The stories have been told before, by other reviewers, so I'll
say that "l.t.r." is certainly the most entertaining, with wicked writing
and another awesome performance by Weston Mueller (who was in "Crush" on
BOYS TO MEN), who has "future star" written all over him. Someone give
Phillip J. Bartell a feature! Next, for all it's bad criticisms, I
"O Beautiful". Easily the best-looking of the bunch, the cinematography
made up for the occasional incredulous moment. The two leads were sincere
in their approach, and their performances were quite good. The script is
what failed them. The split screen technique worked most of the time, but
not all. I think the director should have wielded it with a little more
finesse, as there were moments when it was too distracting (inside the
truck). Then take "This Car Up", which utilizes split-screen in a clever
and interesting way with good performances. The biggest fizzle in the
was "Bumping Heads" starring Craig Chester, an actor I really like, but
is wasted here. The movie is limp all around with unsteady acting and a
script that, well, could have been better.
My overall recommendation is that BOYS LIFE 4 is worth a look for "l.t.r." alone.
Of the four short films featured here, the best acting was in the
second film entitled "O Beautiful" by Alan Brown, with David Clayton
Rogers and Jay Gillespie actors. This film deals with gay bashing and
gay teens. A contemporary issue like gay bashing is a subject matter
that some would rather not face and will undoubtedly have a bias
against this film prior to viewing it, due to the subject matter. "O
Beautiful" a complicated high drama poignantly and accurately portrays
gay male teenage angst, which is very traumatic and difficult to deal
with especially when occurring right after the barbarous heinous act of
a gay bashing.
Bravo Alan, David, and Jay! This short should be extended into a full-length film and shown in high schools around the country.
Well...this movie started out cute with a really funny take on young gay love and how a couple of immature 20 year olds try to make a relationship work. Then this movie went right into the toilet with the 2nd installment called "O Beautiful'. This one is about a kid gay bashed and left in a cornfield. The acting was like a bad school play, the dialogue has to be heard to be believed. I actually felt embarrassed for the actors, especially when one breaks out into song singing America the Beautiful. The audience I saw this with was stunned into silence and snickered at this feeble attempt at high drama. It wasn't even in the category "so bad it's good", it was just plain excruciating to watch. The 3rd short film was so-so, the last segment was interesting was the characters thought were displayed in split-screen 3-parts segments that spun like a slot machine. It was an inventive idea but all in all I would avoid this movie like the plague. There is lots of good gay cinema out there but THIS IS NOT IT!
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