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Surfer film with Family discord
While I've seen some over-the-top homophobic comments of two 'reviewers'. This is not a "gay-themed" film. There's a small, but bright facet that is gay-themed.
Family, sibling rivalry among brothers, loss, teenage high-jinx, and a lot of surfing overshadows the fact that one brother is gay. The few PG moments of sex are between two older teen boys and their girlfriends. If seeing a male butt, (in a non-sexual context), makes you squirm, you better stay away from a ton of "regular" movies and museums too.
Anyway, "Newcastle" is the story of how a tragedy enables a family to overcome nagging internal tensions. There are no villains, just victims of their own fear and disappointment. The performances are all topnotch. A minus for US viewer: occasionally the Aussie accents are a little hard to understand.
Almost a meditation.
"Boy" was the third segment of "Boy Briefs 4", a gay-themed compilation.
This short film is about a small town teenage male prostitute (Jesse Lee) and a killing. The boy knows who did it. Entirely without dialog, events are wrapped within an eerie sound track and interspersed with almost subliminally quick captions, flashed in different parts of the screen. It's beautifully made, with all the elements of a meditation.
His day-to-day life, made up of a loving grandmother, the creation of junkyard doll art, the abuse from his schoolmates and and from just about everyone in the town, gives context to the conclusion where justice prevails.
Straight and Gay teenage buddy drama
This is a coming of age drama centering around Van (Norman Reedus), a teen taking time off between high school and college. He is floundering between his old would-be hoodlum buddies who do B@E's in the local neighborhood and college friends who along with his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend are leaving him behind. His alienation from both crowds is reinforced by the recent death of his mother and the need to care for his handicapped double amputee, alcoholic, domineering father who caustically discourages Van from any pathway out of his dilemma. Van finds out that his buddies have been stashing their break in loot and weed in the cellar of Van's mother's up for sale house.
When unexpectedly, a family moves into the house, the gang ponders what to do, but soon enough they all meet Doug (Chad Low), the teenage son who they befriend and bond after smoking some dope. It should be mentioned that the gang excluding Doug comes off like a slightly evil stupid version of the happy days crowd. When they try to grab their loot from Doug's cellar, he catches them but it's all cool. Van a swimmer in high school learns that Doug swims for "State" (college) and his Dad is the coach of the team. As you might expect, Doug and his father encourage Van to pursue his education and swimming.
Doug's father comes off as a hard ass coach who snipes away at his masculinity, with all sorts of meaningful looks around the table, particularly after Van wins an arm wrestle with the father who says: "there's finally someone who's man enough to beat him".
At a sleepover Van sleeps Doug's bed, while Doug sleeps on the couch. Van finds a gay magazine that slips out from under the Doug's mattress, (do boys still hide stuff there????) when Doug is in the room. Even though Van, who as far as we know is straight, say's "it's cool", Doug freaks out, saying "Get the f#*k out of here ." etc.
Up to this point the film is engrossing. It then becomes rushed and somewhat contrived. The ending, not a happy one, is real enough but suffers from the sense (my guess) that scenes that would have made it all fit together, were cut.
Tan Lines (2005)
With a taste of Larry Clark's teen angst and desperation but without the moral emptiness of Clark's "kids", the teens in this Aussie film do care for each other and for the most part "do the right thing." The surreal scenes: a geriatric drunken game of strip poker, a chorus of Christian wall images occasionally commenting on the action, a Gothic setting where the "hero" Midget "works" (too bizarre to describe and ruin it for you), all these make it interesting. That Midget is struggling (but not too much) with working out his gay desires along with a try for a girl doesn't compete with the dreariness of every day life and the hope to leave this dismal town.
If a modest goal is to make the viewer care about the people and the plot, this movie achieved that goal and more. The photography was effective with snappy cuts from one scene to another.