Reel Affirmations 2003
Review by Sean Bugg
Rating: (3 out of 5)
Monday, 10/20/2003, 9:00 PM
Shorts presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre
SEX AIN’T ALWAYS pretty, so consider yourself warned. This group of short films is the proverbial mixed bag, but the weight of the program is definitely toward the downer side of the spectrum.
Starting off on a bright note, however, we have A Bear’s Story (), in which a big and bearded obituary writer has apparently been living under a very large rock, unaware that there are things called “bears” in the gay community. By happy chance, he ends up at a bear pool party, where the Atkins-be-damned menu of hot dogs, cake and ice cream signal that he is soon to be the object of sexual desire that he never was in West Hollywood. A cute, though perhaps a bit cloying, look beyond the Queer Eye beach set.
Rock Bottom () has the best double meaning title of the whole series, as another large, yet considerably less-well-adjusted man picks up an even less-well-adjusted hustler on Santa Monica Boulevard. He proceeds to make every hustler mistake known to mankind, starting by bringing the hustler home and letting him fire up the crack pipe. You too will be thinking, “You get what you pay for.”
In the Australian Contact (), a middle-aged gay man whose partner has died tries to find solace with his unknowing family. At the beach, he becomes infatuated with a young surfer, even as potential violence hangs over him in the form of a group of menacing skatepunks, forcing him to stand up for himself. Too bad his personal growth is overshadowed by the creep factor of pursuing teenage boys at the beach.
Even creepier is Encounter (), in which a young slacker — new to town and being rebuffed by a friend he seems to have harbored feelings for — gives in to the requests of an old guy in the park who wants to pay money to see him naked. Creepy old molester and half naked teenager — squirm-tacular!
Stardust () takes place in D.C. at the 2000 Millennium March, when a young man arrives in town by train to visit a friend with whom he’s obviously in love. Much to his dismay, said friend is tricking with another guy when he arrives, and, even worse, it turns out he dances naked for a living. Just gives you the vapors, doesn’t it? Still, it’s worth it just to hear Anne Heche in the background speaking about the joys of being gay.
Raw () is an 11-minute harangue about barebacking that feels like a sexual version of those old highway safety films featuring dead bodies on the highway. A New York City gay man has an improbably hard time finding a guy to fuck him sans condom, so he ends up at a bareback sex party that’s far more Fellini-esque than is perhaps usual. He’s now addicted to sex because he’s a bad, bad man.
Finally, the French More of Paul () pretends to be a romantic comedy straight out of a Mentos commercial, but ends on a nasty twist meant to induce a “wow” but more likely to induce an irritated snort.