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|Index||12 reviews in total|
Everett Lewis is a writer/director who continues to look at the various
aspects of gay life and the way it is influencing young people. His
work is a bit raw and unpolished as yet, but his sentiments are strong
and translate well in the films he has created thus far.FAQS is a
strong conceptual film and one with a new take on gay activism.
India (a talented natural actor Joe Lia) is a young runaway from Colorado who has come to Hollywood where he can be the gay person he accepts he is. Living homeless under a bridge he is obliged to make his living as a hustler, and as we meet him he is participating in a demeaning pornography film at the smarmy hands of a cheating pornographer. After the shoot he is ambushed by two gay bashers and is saved only by the intervention of a tall, flamboyant black drag queen Destiny (Allan Louis) who gains India's respect and is invited to live with Destiny in her small apartment, a place she shares with other gay people in need such as the lesbian cross dresser Lester (Minerva Vier). Destiny sets down rules of the house: no drugs, be careful of straights, spend two hours a day naked in respect for your body, always use condoms, etc. and India settles in, feeling 'home' for the first time. Soon he meets another hustler Spencer (Lance Lee Davis) who is bent on killing his bigoted parents (just as India is bent on revenge for his pornography adventure), but who falls for India's loving attention and the two become lovers.
At the time of India's encounter with the gay bashers Destiny takes the coat of one of them for India's warmth, a coat which bears the basher's name Guy (Adam Larson) and address. India and Spencer decide to find them and take retribution, but when they confront Guy, India senses Guy's sexual proclivities and the three return to Destiny's ever growing 'family'. The manner in which the other basher intervenes and the changes that occur among the tenants of Destiny's home supply the predictable but satisfying end.
So why with all this praise does this film only rate 3 stars? There are production problems that prevent a higher rating: the sound is poor, the dialogue is often buried in ambient noise, the editing is choppy, etc. But the actors are surprisingly good given the fact that most are inexperienced. Allan Louis as Destiny gives a bravura performance, one of the finest roles of a drag queen ever filmed. There are some well managed sexual encounters and some frontal nudity (but only with Joe Lia and that is so in character that it works well): the chemistry between India and Spencer is palpable and credible.
But despite these minor flaws (each of which is imminently forgivable) this is a well-made film that shows the power of 'extended family' in the lives of gay youths at risk in a homophobic society. There is tenderness, there is comedy, and there is a solid amount of political statement! Recommended. Grady Harp
Knowing that director Everett Lewis equated his characters with gay superheros goes a long way toward enjoying this quirky but extremely well-done film. Even when the acting is awkward, there is an honesty about the portrayals that is extremely watchable. Allan Louis is terrific as Destiny, the drag queen "avenger" who is part mother, part Dirty Harry. The cinematography is surprisingly good and the guys look terrific obeying Desiny's '2 hours of nudity a day' rule. Last minute cast substitution Minerva Vier seems incredulous at first as a tough street dyke, but her spunky reality won me over quickly. I cracked up at Destiny's line "Child, I feel just like Mrs. Brady. So white. So suburban. I'm gonna have to get me a pert blonde wig, honey. 'Cause I just feel pert. Pert, pert, pert." Classic. There are some lapses of credibility in the plot, but this is a superhero world, not real life, so go with it and you'll enjoy getting the FAQ's.
First I will say that the movie was a nicely done piece of art. For an
Indi film, it was all the better.
However, I didn't like its message of 'straight people and cops are evil', when that just isn't the case.
Also, I didn't like Destiny. I enjoyed his/her character and such, however it is because of flamboyant people such as him/her homosexuals are incapable of getting the respect we wish for.
Yeah, I'm a lesbian. As such, I didn't like the movies portrayal of lesbians either. It seemed to me that the movie felt they were all dykes, and male-hating.
Now, I agree that gay-bashers suck. I hate them as much as the next gay person. I've been the victim of them more than enough.
But not all straight people are like that, regardless of what the movie's characters seemed to believe.
I know they've been given the short end of the stick, and their lives have been less that happy... but still. They movie seemed like nothing more than an overdone 'straight-bash-fest'. There wasn't a single decent thing to say about straight people. Not even 'well, you'll meet the occasional one who doesn't suck'.
Even with all that, I enjoyed the movie. So it gets 5/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A fairy tale really, where love conquers all. Attractive performances, and attractive male actors, frequently with their shirts off. There is some sex, but not as liberated and erotic as might be expected given that the film seeks to cast gay love in the teeth of straight, repressive society. India is a cute boy, new on the scene in West Hollywood, stiffed out of his food money by a straight porn director. He confronts a couple of gay bashers (who figure romantically in the finale) but when things get out of control, he is rescued by a hugely handsome drag queen with a gun, a job, an apartment, and a heart of gold (and rules for living that exclude crystal and mandate condoms -- no self-destruction on his watch). Family is constructed, the straight world is scorned. There is an undercurrent of violence that always gets deflected into statements of love. Nothing bad happens ... perhaps plausibly. I think there is a story here, but it ends up as a one-act soap, with looping individual stories, rather than a three-act drama. As long as we had all these great bodies, a few more images of men "in the heat of passion" (as Destiny puts it) would have been appropriate. There are a lot of annoying continuity and sync-sound problems. On balance though, the writer/director wants to say something worth saying: too many gay personal histories begin in violence -- we only wish that they may end in love.
Yes, this film is low, low, low budget. And yes, its far fetched. But I
thought it was tons of fun.
See the world in a surrealist fashion through the eyes of a modern gay teen and thats where you get this movie. Every character has been caricaturized for your entertainment. This film is a modern gay Indi movie with 1960's batman style heroes. All thats missing is the "bam" and "pow" animations during the fight sequences.
So support your GLBT Indi film makers, try not to take yourself too seriously, relax and enjoy this film. And remember, kisses are louder than bombs ;)
"FAQs" has a daring concept, but it is almost irretrievably lost by its
amateurish execution. The film is about the construction of a family of
throw-away teens rescued and mentored by a flamboyant drag
queen/pornographer named Destiny (Allan Lewis). It boldly portrays the
grittiness one would imagine such a situation would entail. The
characters' resentment of their past abuses is palpable in every scene,
and the film never compromises its heroes or its message. It's not a
The major strength of the film is Lewis's deft performance as Destiny. His portrayal brings out both Destiny's power and her vulnerability. The viewer can sympathize with her while disagreeing with some of her judgments and admire her without adopting her attitudes wholesale.
The other outstanding element of the film was the music. It supported the action of the film beautifully without intruding and calling attention to itself.
Virtually everything else about the film was lacking. The dialog was uneven, sententious, and often artificial. The pace was ponderous, all the more so because of the long, dead silence between many of the lines. I suspect some of these silences could have been corrected by editing, but in many of the running takes, the actors simply didn't pick up their lines. Apart from Lewis, the actors were uneven at best in their performances.
Finally, the film looks awful and sounds worse. I finally gave up trying to find an appropriate volume and turned on the subtitles.
If one is looking for an angry gay film well-made on a low budget, one might settle on "The Living End." Because "FAQs" has a more promising premise, I couldn't abandon it. I really wanted to like it, but ultimately it was a huge disappointment.
It starts off in a promising way. Some interesting characters with some
way-out ideas. It even reminded me a little of an Almodovar film at the
beginning, and that's always a good thing.
However, it doesn't live up to its early promise. The characters turn out to be very shallow. Some of the more interesting ones just disappear from the plot without a trace of explanation. There are some "twists" in the plot which which had my eyes rolling around in my head. I wanted to scream out a request for a bit of originality.
Worst of all, it relies, like far too many other films, on the outrageous concept that problems of violence can be solved with guns. This notion is not just annoyingly simplistic. It's extremely dangerous
Had a free movie rental coupon, was in a hurry, and picked this movie
out. Sounded like a good story and, over all, it was. But it took soooo
much to get through this movie because of the acting.
The two key characters, India and Destiny, were the strongest performances and thats not saying a whole lot. When India first meets Destiny I thought I was watching "Jackie Brown" or "Christie Love", come to someone's rescue. It was so retro and amateurish, something, I feel, a few more takes could have solved. Clearly, from watching other scenes, these actors were able to deliver convincing performances, but for whatever reason the director settled.
The same can be said for the sex scenes. Some were great while others were mediocre at best. Yes, there was a good deal of flesh and as someone else commented the guys looked like your everyday "joe" hot guy and not some groomed, tanned, perfectly figured porn guy. This gave the movie a reality feel, which also kept me watching. I felt like these were people I could relate to, touch, walk with (be apart of my life).
But the thing that held me the most was the message of the movie. Now, of course, I can't tell you what that is, but suffice it to say that as the movie unfolds the message, like a painting out of a cylinder container, is layed out. Even though its done in an idealist, and somewhat corny, way.
In a nutshell, worthy material, with some good, and some bad scenes. Good amount of nudity, if you're into that.
I'll keep an eye out for future movies by this director/writer. Hopefully with a bigger budget and maybe more time another good story, with better performances, will go to theatre.
While I liked the movie, I didn't really like the beginning. It has a documentary feel with facts about gays and the state of Texas...and then all of a sudden we're in L.A. So that was confusing. The eye-candy in this film is pretty good. Some of it is predictable and some is just really not believable as far as I'm concerned. I hated the ending tho. I thought the ending scene could have been written much better. I thought the main character, India, was really cute but Spencer really got on my nerves and I kinda wish he'd have been ditched at some point. And I usually can't stand drag queens, but Destiny was actually a pretty cool character. All in all tho I gave the movie a 7.
I found FAQS by chance at my local Blockbuster. I'd already seen Luster
which was also directed by Everett Lewis, and although I didn't like
Luster I decided to give this one a chance. The movie paints gays and
straights into very strict categories which works for the message of
The opening credits almost turned me off - as though I was going to be watching some political piece, but instead turns into a believably realistic look at the prejudice that gays in general are often subjected to and manage to overcome.
Without giving anything away, I can tell you there is some acceptable eye candy - but presented realistically - the average gay guy vs some tweaked out gym bunnies.
Overall very satisfying and recommendable even as a date movie.
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