Feb 20, 2011

[Movies] Boy Culture (2006)

Boy Culture (2006)LGBT-centric movies are a pretty mixed bag given the only thing that keeps them associated to one another within the genre is the fact that they deal with LGBT characters and LGBT-fueled stories. And these do not include cheap comedies that utilize the occasional stereotypically queer character as an element of comic relief.

The end result is a heck of a lot of movies, many of them falling out what I would traditionally call my target market as far as movies are concerned. But we still get a lot of romantic dramas, slapstick sexual comedies and of course a few chick flick quality romantic comedies to complete the mix. I am a science fiction and fantasy person after all.

But still I try to devote a good amount of time taking in LGBT content in general support of the industry and in order to spread the world when some really good LGBT talent comes along and tells a really good story. That deserves a good amount of time and effort for sure and I've certainly factored this into my geeky activities ever since I decided to regularly post content of this nature on Sundays.

This movie was an interesting piece that was certainly well thought out and had some pretty lofty goals for itself.

Boy Culture is a 2006 LGBT drama written and directed by Q. Allan Brocka as based on a novel written by Matthew Rettenmund. Q. Allan Brocka is the same Filipino writer-director behind the movie Eating Out.

The protagonist of both the book and the movie is the "X" (Derek Magyar), who keeps his name a secret in order to protect his privacy given his trade as a male escort. It's established early on that X only has 12 main clients at any one time and when one of them dies, he then has room for a new "Disciple" to join the ranks of his select clientele. X soon starts to develop an interesting "business" relationship with the older and equally enigmatic Gregory (Patrick Bauchau), who refuses to have sex with X until X desires him as much as he desires X. Thus you have this complex relationship and X's great deficiency that he is unable to enjoy having sex without getting paid for it.

Darryl Stephens was one of the celebrity hosts...Image via WikipediaAs for his home situation, he lives with two equally attractive roommates also of queer orientation. First there's Andrew (Darryl Stephens) who is of African American descent. He's somewhat confused about his sexuality and tends to favor open relationships why he works out what he really wants in life. The other is the younger twink Joey (Jonathon Trent), who is still living the wild life of the single young man while he determines the kind of queer he really wants to be. X is in love with Andrew but given Andrew's situation, he does not return X's feelings. At the same time, Joey is harboring feelings for X but is unable to earn the attention and respect of the escort.

This movie felt like a pretty significant shift from Brocka's other popular LGBT movie, Eating Out, given it was a pretty straightforward drama. There were moments when the movie seemed to be teetering over the edge of wanting to become a comedy and I'm not sure if this stems from out the story was originally written or given Brock'a directing sensibilities. However the movie remained on the side of the line that it wanted to, thus resulting in a pretty good movie.

Derek Magyar is undeniably a pretty little thing to watch on screen with or without his shirt and he has a certain manner about how he carries himself in the movie. At first I was getting a tad annoyed with all the narration throughout the movie but when I found out after watching that it was based on a book, the excessive dialog made more sense. That much narration from the perspective of one character can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. I say this as a fan of the Dune books who didn't fully enjoy how David Lynch decided to interpret it as a movie with a similar need for extensive introspective narration. At the very least, the narration mare more sense towards the end of the movie given the plot device, although my partner and I felt this could have been introduced earlier.

While the movie had its share of LGBT movie tropes such as the older gay role model who ends up imparting wisdom, the underutilized lesbian character or the inevitable need and/or desire for roommates to sleep together, but they didn't get in the way of the telling of the overall story. In fact, I did enjoy the evolving relationship between X and Gregory despite the occasionally feelings of creepiness I picked up and that instinctive distrust of the older character given movies have trained me to be suspicious. But that's just me.

The relationship between X, Andrew and Joey was an interesting one that I wish had been better conveyed or perhaps given more time on screen. They three had a lot of potential chemistry together but I felt the actors could have used more time getting more comfortable with one another. Magyar and Stephens were definitely more comfortable with one another than both of them were with Trent, although that may have been their attempts at interpreting the dynamics based on how their roles were written. I'll give the actors a little leeway in this regard.

On the whole, I still enjoyed the movie and felt it was a still an LGBT drama that was better than most that come along. As I think back to similar movies that I've seen in the past, there have been quite a number of traumatic experiences that I had to get through that made me appreciate this movie a bit more. I definitely like it a bit more now as I write this compared to once I first saw it. That kind of confused opinion-making somewhat speaks of the quality of the film whereas simple endeavors easily polarize one into one decision or another.

Boy Culture is an above average LGBT movie that may or may not have pearls of wisdom for the average gay man. I guess that really depends on your individual principles and the kind of life you live whether steadily monogamous or playfully promiscuous. It gets 4 crazy montages of X's "Disciples" out of a possible 5. The movie is available interpret it as a movie via TLA Releasing.



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