The Kid has no money, no place to live and nowhere to go. He's done more than he cares to admit just to survive on the streets.The Man has lost the one he loved. He is losing his eyesight. ... See full summary »
S. Leo Chiang
Jay Michael Ferguson,
What happens when two profoundly lonely men who are strangers, one older and gay, and the second younger and questioning, take one last chance at making a sincere human connection? Based on true events in the life of the writer/director.
The very, very bad one is the one that some people like best. It's called "Gaydar" and it's about--and possibly by and for--screeching queens who think it's funny to torment a pet cat (over and over) until it hisses (over and over) and finally runs away (That's not the central story, by the way, but it's what I remember). I don't deny such people's right to exist and make movies--I just don't enjoy their company. (The cat torture is what bothered me, by the way, and the relentless unfunniness of everything that happened--not the fact that they were screeching queens, whom I usually like.) I fast-forwarded through the last third of that piece of garbage to see if it got any better, and it didn't.
But the other six movies on this DVD are gems, the most consistently good and diverse collection of short gay films I've come across in a while.
Sure, "Touched" is a middle-aged gay man's fantasy that would never happen in a million years, but it's surprisingly fresh and lovely anyway, sweet, sad, and genuinely touching. What some have called the "stiff" performance of the lead actor just seemed to me like the way a real person, not an actor, might really be in such a situation.
Near the other end of the age spectrum is "Burl's," in which the lead actor looks so young it made me a little uncomfortable. He's supposed to be in middle school, but he doesn't look any older than about nine. I assume, though, that he really must be older than he looked, and the story is original and delightful, particularly his encounter with the guys in drag.
I even enjoyed "10 Pesos" a lot; some other viewers evidently found it boring and irrelevant, but I liked it. It's clever and fast-paced, and the closing credits are the best I think I've ever seen, extraordinarily creative and as much fun to watch as the film itself.
"Masturbation" is a little predictable, and not particularly original in parodying 1950s school hygiene films, but it is funny, the only one of these films that had me laughing out loud more than once.
"Safe Journey" is similar to "Touched" in its bittersweet bringing together of an apparently mismatched younger and older man, but there's enough originality in both films that they don't seem at all like clones.
My only complaint about "Shaving the Castro," an extremely short documentary about a barber shop, is that it was over much too soon. Saying that about any movie is a serious compliment.
I noticed that several of these films identify themselves as film-school projects, at least two from USC. Sometimes when reviewers want to put down a movie they'll say it seems like a film school project, but if these short films are typical, the kids are doing better work than the guys who run Hollywood.
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