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For want of a good editor...
This film is about a young man, David, who flies into Spokane, Wash., to attend his brother's wedding. There, he meets James. James knows David is gay, but James also doesn't fit well into the married brother's clique of friends. The two get to know each other, and then David suggests they go smoke some weed in James' car.
Under the influence, James inquires nervously about "how fags do it." The conversation is one almost any gay man has heard, and it provokes a lot of laughter from the audience. James' homo-curiosity is more than obvious, but he is unwilling to run with it.
David hijacks the poor schlub, and off they go to a local strip joint. After several hours fondling female strippers' boobs and pouring money down the drain, they head back to David's hotel. David is about to call it a night, when James hugs him friendly-like. Only, there's "a moment." They kiss. David takes James to his hotel room.
Here, the film finally falls apart. For more than 15 minutes, David gently and gradually seduces James by playing straight porn on his hotel room TV, getting the hunky straight stud drunk, kissing him, removing his shirt and pants, and then fellating him and putting a condom on him. James doesn't feel comfortable actually having sex, however, so the two men masturbate. The next morning, James sneaks out.
The lighting was so extremely poor throughout that it was nearly impossible to see anything going on in the truck or the hotel room. At one point, as the two naked men are getting it on, an audience member shouted, "Turn up the contrast!" No kidding: A filmmaker who teases the audience by purposefully keeping the lighting crappy so as to hide the nudity of his two actors is engaged in the worse kind of audience-manipulation. Either be honest and keep a strategically placed thigh or bedsheet over the genitalia, or be honest and show full-frontal nudity. Don't cheat.
But in the end, the real flaw with this movie is that there's no reason for it to exist. Is the movie saying something about closeted straight men? Or the nature of gay-straight hook-ups? Are we supposed to care about James, or David for that matter? Other than pure voyeurism, is there any reason why we should be watching this?
I don't think so, and for that reason the film fails pretty badly.
Comparisons to porn by other reviewers are quite ridiculous. The sex scene in this film is one of the most uncomfortably realistic sex scenes I've ever seen on film and I congratulate the film maker for capturing a side of male sexuality seldom revealed or acknowledged by society. What this film reveals is not so much about closeted men, but to me is an exploration of how virulently labels and concepts of homosex have shut many otherwise predominantly heterosexual men from experiencing an aspect of sexuality that has so long been considered taboo. Yeah the lighting is dark and homemade looking and this adds to the realness of this encounter. This short film moved me and remains one of my favourite male male sex scenes I've ever seen captured. Congrats to the actors for an amazing portrayal.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A raw and marvelous short movie, capturing a kind of sexual encounter many people have had, but few wish to talk about. You feel as if you're eavesdropping on actual events, yet there is no fancy "pseudo-documentary" shaky-cam nonsense--there is always a reason for the camera to be where it is. The encounter itself is disorganized and awkward, yet unstoppable--just like most such encounters in real life; the motives of the two men aren't entirely clear (perhaps even to them), and there isn't some phony morning-after emotional revelation--we are left to speculate on how the two men will remember this incident and fit it into their lives. Was it just sex? Did one or both of them hope for something more? Everyone who sees this movie will likely have a different opinion about it; it's an ideal conversation piece.
Were there imperfections in screening quality? Yes, there were. Is this
film shocking, daring, or even offensive to some? Yes - ask the people
who walked out of Sundance screenings.
How has Spokane been received? My fellow actor and I received Best Actor nods from the One Reel Film Festival this year (2004). Also, Larry Kennar's film was Honorable Mention at Sundance 2004. These people and institutions know their films as they see so many of them.
That being said, if a person dislikes messages due to the messenger, then disliking Spokane due to technical elements is understandable - some tend to throw the baby out with the bath water.
What does it say, this movie? For me, it seems to be an indication of the isolated nature of society. The prevalent condition for humanity is isolation and any other condition requires investment of self, not satisfaction of self. Even the most intimate situations between humans does not a communion make if the intention is to sublimate what is going on in one's head, heart or genitalia.
Looking past the technical imperfections, this is the mirror of Spokane reflecting back at our time and species. Bold, daring and worth a viewing - most definitely a powerful 30-minute short film.
It wont be making my collection of movies filmed in or around Spokane, WA. First its nothing more than a movie about a gay male conquering a str8 male. Second, its mostly as close to a porn movie as you can get. Third, I'm not a really a big supporter of the whole gay/lesbian/trans movement. Four, its a very short piece. Five, I don't really like how IMDb requires you to write 10 lines for a comment to go through, I mean how much can you say about a 30 minutes piece of garbage anyways? You end up having to think of stuff to say. Like that the acting is really bad as well. I think maybe this movie was only something to pad the actors resumes so they can break into the porn industry.
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