3.0/10
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17 user 7 critic

Shiner (2004)

Unrated | | Drama | 5 June 2004 (USA)
Raising the subtext of "Fight Club'' into text, "Shiner'' depicts a pair of amateur boxers gratified by punching each others' lights out. Theirs is among a trio of twisted love stories in ... See full summary »

Director:

Christian Calson
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Cast

Cast overview:
Scott Parietti ... Tony (as Scott Stepp)
Derris Nile Derris Nile ... Danny
Nicholas T. King Nicholas T. King ... Bob
David Zelina ... Tim
Conny Van Dyke ... Bob's Mom
Seth Harrington ... Reg
Carolyn Crotty ... Linda
Ryan Soteres Ryan Soteres ... Charles
Carl Strecker ... Almost Dead Guy
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Storyline

Raising the subtext of "Fight Club'' into text, "Shiner'' depicts a pair of amateur boxers gratified by punching each others' lights out. Theirs is among a trio of twisted love stories in the narrative feature by 29-year-old Los Angeles director Christian Calson. There's also a woman literally fighting her male lover's affections and another boxer who stalks his own shy male stalker. "Shiner'' transcends sadomasochism in that no one seems aware of what he or she is doing. "I'm trying to look at desire head on,'' the soft-spoken Calson said by telephone. "('Shiner') is about the politics of wanting and being wanted and how people respond differently.'' Rife with ugly behavior, "Shiner'' rejects the trend of queer filmmakers seeking straight understanding. "In L.A., we have this kind of sadness we carry around, that the only way we can make gay stories is by making more like 'Will and Grace,' '' Calson said. Like the activist-filmmakers tackling the marriage issue, Calson went into "... Written by Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 June 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Desire Is Relentless See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many of the blurry, unfocused moments in the film, as well as "problems" with angles and sounds, were done intentionally. See more »

Quotes

Danny: I don't like guys. I don't like him. I just like getting beat!
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User Reviews

 
Hmmmmmm . . .
11 May 2005 | by gpadilloSee all my reviews

What an unfortunate mess is "Shiner." I wanted to like this over-the-top, anti-film aspirant, and in fact found a number of moments with powerful resonance. Sadly, those moments are few and far between. While I appreciate some of what Calson was attempting, any advantage aspired to by bare bones, no budget cinematography was destroyed with some truly atrocious editing that benefited the movie not at all.

While bad acting abounds in low budget (and big budget) cinema, Shiner has some remarkably bad performances that are nearly painful to watch. In particular the "straight" couple Linda and Young Guy. These are the two most poorly written characters offering almost nothing to the story. The acting is so abysmal and neither actor seems capable of resisting smirking or cracking up as they drearily drop their lines with an appalling lack of skill. The choppy editing almost lends the feeling that these roles were entirely gratuitous and dropped in to avoid the films being stereotypically cast as an oddball gay film. It would have been better off as such.

With all that is going wrong for it, there are several performances that seem to capture what Calson was hoping to get. In particular the story centering on Bob and Tim. These are the two most richly drawn characters and offer the most rewards with genuinely captivating performances by Nicholas T. King (Bob) and David Zelinas (Tim). Tim is a boxer with some serious issues. Remarkably low self esteem is disguised by an almost cartoon like arrogance that he wears like armour plating. Obsessed with Tim, the seemingly harmless yet ultimately creepy Bob, stalks the boxer in classic cat-and-mouse fashion. When the tables are turned and hunter becomes the hunted, the resulting in the film's only genuine emotional catharsis. In a film so artificially hard-edged (that's a compliment) one character MUST have that revelatory break through (or breakdown, as the case proves here) and the final confrontation between Bob and Tim provide Zelinas and King opportunity to display some real acting chops.

As played by Scott Stepp and Derris Nile, Tony and Danny seem to be the focus of the movie, and despite some bravado moments of their own (including one truly disturbing scene revealing the sex/violence obsession), but they can't seem to escape a cartoon-like artifice and it's difficult to look at - or beyond their seeming one note symphony and find anything other than the obvious.

Ultimately this same raw material could (and should) be used to tell this story in better fashion. Alas, there really isn't much to recommend this yet, the performances by Messrs. King and Zelinas, really do offer something special and a glimpse of what might have been and are ultimately worth seeing.


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